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Ontario 2005


Ontario Loop June 10-20, 2005

For those of you who expect a full blown description of touristic atttractions: you will be very disappointed. My father and I set out on two motorbikes with the aim to see the Northern and Western part of Ontario and that's what we did, no more, no less. Here are some statistics using the data of the trip computer of the Garmin eMap to begin with:

To put it into perspective: on average we drove about 570km a day, and were very generous with our breaks, as we only drove 62hrs in 10 days. My plan was to take the Transcanada Highway 17 as far as we can and turn around after 5 days.


June 10

We started off in the early morning towards Orangeville and Collingwood. We took our time and figured that taking the Tobermory ferry would leave us in "unknown territory" on Manitoulin Island. I knew for sure we would find a hotel in Greater Sudbury quite easily, so we went there and arrived in good time. On the way we saw our first bear, a smaller one, black. A shower and a meal did the rest. Good start with no major hickups. Garmin Track Data
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June 11

Left Greater Sudbury early morning heading North on 144. After about 120km we wanted to go west on one of those private roads, but the locals did recommend not to do it as those lumber transports would cause a lot of stones and gravel to fly around. So we went further north through to Timmins and that sort of changed our plans completely. We decided to take the Northern route out West on the old Transcanada Highway 11. That night we ended up in a small community called Smooth Rock Falls. Needless to say that we were entering into bush, tundra and forest with no major cities and quite some distance between gas stations. And another black bear on the way. We saved a turtle from being killed by crossing the road without watching the traffic! For the rest of our trip we ... were more careful. By now we were 1000km North of where we started. Garmin Track Data
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June 12

Forests, lumbertrucks, again forests, roads are straight for miles and miles, so this became a major leg: nearly 700km that day. Nice road up to Nakita on 584. It was here where we were pulled over for speeding ... on a road from nowhere to nowhere with no houses, cars, kids or anything around. Well, to cut a long story short: he was a young guy, sent to his post to "make some tickets" and obviously aware of the nothingness around him (and us), so after a few questions and a mild abnomition he advised us to stay below 100km/h (60mph) so that "the cops wouldnt bother us" and ... let us go. We came the same way back and he waved at us. Nice one. Thanks to a very reasonable copper from Barrie. Nothing further spectacular and we ended up in Nipigon. Weather reports indicated we would be running into trouble soon. Garmin Track Data

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June 13

We went through to Thunder Bay and then took the 527 North to Armstrong: 240km with one gas station inbetween. Not that this meant anything to us, as our beemers are good for roughly 420km per tank. Nice Twisties, a few near-jumps, a really nice road. We stayed in Thunder Bay that night. Garmin Track Data
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June 14


Ok, so we woke up and it was pouring down, than raining, than pouring again, all day. We were able to make 350km (even crossing the time zone and gaining one hour) and ended up in Ignace in the worst hotel we had on the whole trip. On this day, I had to change my rear tire which I thought would make it. But the first 2000km killed the last 3mm and I was not happy to drive in that sort of rain with slicks. Excalibur was the name of the one and only independant motorcycle dealer. He has got a warehouse which you can use for repairs or whatever, he also helps travellers with on-the-spot service. A very nice person, with strict rules who does not appreciate when people are doing their own work in his workshop, so be aware. Highly recommended, so here is the address and phone number: Excalibur Motorcycle Works Ltd., 316 South May Street, Thunder Bay, Ont. P7E 1B6, (807)-622-0007.

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June 15


Bright sunshine. So this day would be good to dry out my shoes (which I wore with plastic bags inside the day before cause they are not suitable for rain). We spoke to a local police officer about our travelling plans and he advised us of some trouble with First Nations on some routes. So we skipped Pickle Lake and Sioux Lookout and went straight to Red Lake. A wolf (or wild dog) on the way. Red Lake, A beautiful place where we spent a couple of hours sitting on the deck of a restaurant by the sea watching the float planes come and go serving the Northern communities with everything they need. From here, it is only by boat or by plane that you can go north. Maybe a few trails. We went back and spent the night in Kenora. Garmin Track Data

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June 16


50km to the provincial border: from here on we would go back East and actually, we would be on our way home. Other than me re-adjusting my steering head bearing on the road, both bikes were running absolutely brilliant and working flawless, the engines humming along just like sewing machines, just a bit lower frequency. From Kenora we changed to again to go the old Transcanada Highway 11 and stayed in Atikokan, a small village inmidst all those lakes. Did I mention that: lakes and water wherever you looked. Reminded me of Sweden ... Still have not see moose.Garmin Track Data

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June 17


From Atikokan, we went further east to Rossport, a very small but lovely fisher village, the Rossport Inn was the best accommodation we had so far and the food in the restaurant was exellent. I had the Trout Hemmingway and it was as good as they say on the website. The owner had, believe it or not, a 1972 R75/5 with Velorex sidecar in his barn, which urgently needed attention. Nad (the owner) however stated that he would always run it a couple of times in sommer to drive kids around. He mentioned he might be interested to sell and we put ourselves forward as potential buyers (of course!). I decided that this hotel with its brilliant restaurant was the perfect place for the silver anniversary or the honeymoon my wife and I have yet to have ... after nearly 16 years of marriage. Garmin Track Data

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June 18


We made our way further East on that lovely coastal route to Sault Ste. Marie. Fantastic views, wonderful beaches, definetely a place to come back to. Here we saw our first moose: two live ones and a dead one in the middle of the road, the van 100yrds away with significan damage. Must have happened only minutes ago. Empty beaches just before the main season starts, Waikiki on Lake Superior at times (it said Katherine Cove though ...) Garmin Track Data

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June 19


From Sault Ste. Marie to Espagnola, one loop on 129 and the big loop around Elliot Lake (comes highly recommended which I can confirm), another nice place to spend some time (if you have no kids to entertain that is!). Garmin Track Data

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June 20


Highlight of the last day was certainly the travel through Manitoulin Island and the ferry crossing from South Baymouth to Tobermory. Met a nice guy from the States on a Kawasaki DR650. From there heading South on 6 and a couple of minor roads. Garmin Track Data

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Overall, it was a fantastic experience and an eye opener what distance means in Northamerica. What else have we learned?

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