Friday, August 5th
Following the long weekend, CL and I decided that we wanted to get away. I had just received a top box for the bike on Wednesday and installed it on the bike, giving us more luggage room for a trip, I booked off Friday and we started to plan. We wanted to explore some beaches in Ontario so we started there. CL turned some air miles into a booked room at the Airport Best Western in London for Saturday night but it was harder to find rooms in one of the other areas we were looking at. So we decided to do a day trip on Friday to Sauble Beach and return to Hamilton that night.
We had a slow start to the morning on Friday so we didn’t leave until about 11:30. The day was very warm and we set out North keeping to our policy of avoiding 400 series highways and looking for interesting stops. We travelled parallel to highway 6 to Guelph where we decided to drop in to visit CL’s friend Dee in West Montrose at her B&B. After a short visit (we found out that the remake of Stephen King’s “IT” had been shooting at and around Dee’s property), we were once again on the road but now watching the gathering clouds and increasingly blustery wind. A little further up the road, we pulled over and once again checked the weather. The radar showed two storm cells on either side of our route so we decided to continue and would pull off if it got bad. We’re not made of sugar, a little rain wouldn’t hurt us.
Our route took us to our first stop, Kincardine. We immediately went to the beach right by the town. We had been to Kincardine last year, but we only stayed long enough for a great dinner. We changed and went in for a quick dip. On the way, CL found the giant chairs that have to be a photo favourite for all visitors. We had lunch on the beach with food CL had packed (I’m no good at that stuff). What a treat! Since it had gotten later in the day, we decided to look in to staying the night so that we didn’t have to leave right away. We were watching the spending so CL got to work on looking for a cheap place to stay for the night. CL contacted Amanda (a Kincardine-ite? Kincardinian?) for advice. Amanda generously offered to have us stay at her place, but we didn’t want to impose so we pressed on. Best Western was $160 but we thought we could do better. With a little more research, CL found a place with “cottages” that was only $80. We checked it out. Cottage is a generous description of the accommodations. They were more like upscale sheds. However, they were clean and we decided to stay the night. A brief visit to the Bargain shop and we had scored some supplies with hadn’t thought to bring on what was supposed to be a day trip (toothbrush, undies, etc.). It was not luxury, but it was cheap and clean. The most missed item was mine, my beloved C-PAP machine (for sleep apnea and chronic snoring). Without it, I slept badly. Dinner was the often recommended The Bruce Steak House and their salt and vinegar chip breaded fish and chips – Delicious! The next morning, we got up early and packed up to continue our weekend.
Saturday, Aug 6th
In order to resupply and pick up my C-PAP, we set out for home (Hamilton). Back down 86, past Guelph and down Highway 6. We picked up our supplies and packed for the next leg of our adventure. We headed to Port Stanley, which we had visited briefly before. As also we didn’t take the most direct route. We went through beautiful farming communities along the way. One thing we discovered is the Ontario Tobacco Belt. we had no idea that so much tobacco was grown here. When we arrived into Port Stanley we realized that they were having their Harbour Day Festival.
We parked and walked over to the beach. We didn’t realize how far we needed to walk as they had put in a new pier since our last visit. The beach we pretty full, we were hungry and we didn’t want to walk back to the bike and back to the beach for a 15 minute swim so we decided just to head for dinner. For dinner, we were lucky enough to get into the Firefighters fish fry (good thing we didn’t do the swim). Four pieces of breaded perch and all the fixings for $15 each. What a treat! One of the things that money from the fish fry was being used for was more winter rescue training and the purchase of additional ice suits. As you can imagine we were happy to hand over a little extra for our dinner. While we we in Port Stanley we were also lucky enough to see a tall ship sailing into the harbour. Unfortunately when we inquired the remaining tours were full. Later, we headed to London and the Airport Best Western. As we were leaving town we passed Shaw’s ice cream stand but both of us were still so full from dinner that we didn’t stop. However, it has been added as a future destination. Upon arrival at the Best Western we discovered a lovely, newly renovated hotel with a salt water pool. We unpacked into the room and headed for the pool for a relaxing swim. The rest of the evening was spent watching the Olympics as we were both pretty tired from the heat and the riding.
Sunday, Aug 7th
We set out for Port Burwell because we had heard good things about the beach there. We also realized that we were visiting three of the Great Lakes this weekend (Lake Huron – Kincardine, Lake Erie – Port Burwell, and Lake Ontario – Hamilto) so that was kind of neat. Port Burwell had a beautiful sandy beach and you have go quite a ways out to even get above your waist. After, we went up the hill to look for lunch. Since we had two great fish dinners in as many days, we opted for the Mexican food truck (the operator looked like he came from the Mexican province of Scotland). Chimichanga for me and burrito for CL. By this point in the trip, even I had to admit that we were eating too heavy. Need to start finding light choices on the road. But boy was it good.
Back on the bike for a quick hop to Port Rowan for ice cream (sorry, Italian Gelato) and a quick shop. CL spilled ice cream on her top, but then again, you can’t take her anywhere. I checked out the funky antique shop and was tempted by an old printing of Black Beauty (1938, I think) and some old manual typewriters (good looking but non functional). Note to self: no room for purchases is another plus of travelling by bike. Back on the bike and on to Turkey Point.
Turkey Point also has a terrific beach with about a million people enjoying the beach with shelters, boom boxes, boats and Seadoos. Much busier with more of a party atmosphere. Changing in the washrooms was an exercise in gag reflex control, but we had a lovely swim and a deep discussion about what type of boat we would buy (you know, if we were to buy a boat). By the time we were back on the bike, I had abandoned my socks and CL had just pulled on a shirt over her bathing suit top. By this time we were getting tired and ready to head home. Our route took us close to Port Dover (another of our favourite destinations), but we continued on home.
Lessons from the trip:
- “Cottage and Spa” = ambitious shed like structure that may be clean but still sketchy with an available hot tub that I’m sure contains whole civilizations of bacteria.
- Wear clothes that you can easily change at the beach where change rooms range from cramped to smelly.
- Slow down on the heavy food – choose your battles and pace yourself.
- Don’t be to set on your destination and enjoy the scenery along the way (we never even made it to Sauble Beach)
Ontario has some lovely beaches that we are going to be visiting a lot more in the future.
Growing up in Northern Ontario (Sudbury and Timmins), I spent a lot of time outdoors, snowmobiling in the winter and cottage life in the summer. I got my first motorcycle (1978 Kawasaki KZ200) when I was at the U of W for Systems Design Engineering. Within a year I picked up an ’84 Yamaha Maxim 650 so that going on highway 69 wasn’t so terrifying. Before long, I picked up a Yamaha XJ750. Marriage, kids and several moves for work took me off of 2 wheels for several years. About 5 years ago, I picked up a much abused 86 Kawasaki Concours (ZG1000), I fixed it up for me and Cherie-Lynn and we haven’t looked back. Riding two up and exploring Ontario has just increased our love of riding. Now that Cherie-Lynn has started riding her own bike, I have moved onto a ’99 Kawasaki Drifter 1500 for our new adventures.