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Discussion Starter #1

It's funny to think that I can ride almost four thousand kilometers and not leave the province. 3946.9km according to my GPS and about 40km more according to my bike odometer.

My trip was from
Oshawa to Sudbury highways 12, 400, 69
Sudbury to Nipigon highway 17
Nipigon to Kenora highways 17, 11, 71
Kenora to Thunder Bay highway 17
Thunder Bay to Hearst highways 17, 11
Hearst to Oshawa highways 11, 12

The first day to Sudbury was nice and easy. I left at about noon after my wife went to work. It was hot though, man was it hot. Even with my jacket reduced to its mesh and a t-shirt I was sweating. It was one of those days that the breeze doesn't help.

In Sudbury I came up with a great way to pick a motel. Find one that has a bunch of expensive pickup trucks in front of it. Those are bound to be contractors doing road work, forestry or hydro and know cheap clean places to stay. It worked out for me every time.

From Sudbury I was planning on getting to Thunder Bay but didn't quite make it. About an hour short I was feeling tired, saw a place in Nipigon with expensive pickup trucks outside and called it an omen. Those trucks left as I entered reception, it turned out the place only had one room left and didn't have air conditioning. Luckily the room was well ventilated with a breeze blowing through it so I had no complaints. Cheap and clean works for me.

I'd also found out on that leg that my GPS was a lying sack of crap. Until the halfway mark, Sault Ste Marie (normally pronounced Sue Saint Marie or "the Sue" for short) it and the road signs generally agreed on distance.

After the Sue though it claimed Thunder Bay was about 370km away but the road signs insisted it was closer to 700. The signs were right. I'd look down at the gps and a couple of times it claimed that Thunder Bay was getting further away even though I was following the course it wanted me to use.

The next morning when I was doing the morning checks I noticed that my rear tire was wearing a bit more than I'd expect. No worries, I was planning on replacing it in the fall any ways. Off to Kenora.

This had to be one of the best legs for the trip. In Thunder Bay I stopped at the Terry Fox Visitor center took some pictures of the bay from their look-out point as well as their huge memorial to Terry Fox. Most of Highway 11 was spectacular riding. Very little traffic, hills, sweeping corners, it was made for motorcycles. That ended at Fort Frances which turned out to be a surprisingly busy boarder crossing with a lot of road works which bunched traffic up. After a half hour I stopped for gas before going up 72 which was the final leg before Kenora. This got me out of the herd of cars and transport trucks I'd been in for the past half hour. Hwy 72 turned out to be another excellent motorcycling road.

Kenora is a nice and bustling town. According to the waitress at dinner that night, the population triples during the summer. It’s also the only time I had an interaction with the provincial constabulary. I chatted with a couple of OPP officers who were walking down a street about my trip and bike. Nice chaps.

Before leaving, a check of my rear tire greatly concerned me. It had worn down a lot the previous day so it was straight back to Thunder Bay. I reached there about one and headed to Excalibur Motorcycle Works. After an extensive check of the tires they had in stock and the used ones in a pile outside there was no joy. The closest one they had was for another customer and it was an iffy replacement which would only have been to get me home. I'd hoped they would have one and I'd be on my way but that wasn't going to happen. Luckily they could order one in for the next day with about an 80% chance it would show up. So with fingers crossed I went to find a place to stay for the night.

It had rained hard during the night and was still raining when I got up. I checked the bike and found that the hotel had left a towel in a plastic bag in the seats of all the bikes in the parking lot. Best Western Norwester, excellent hotel which offered in a complete breakfast with the room.

As I walked into the bike shop in my rain gear the service managers face dropped and my heart fell into my boots. As I approached though he smiled and said that the delivery van had arrived moments ago with the tire. It's a good thing too, with the rain I wouldn't want the "make do with plan B" option.

As I was waiting for it to be mounted a couple of guys from Chile arrived on a couple of Super Teneres. They had been in just after me looking for the exact same size. Theirs had also arrived but I guess given that they couldn't speak any English, didn't get the face drop routine from the service manager. It was interesting watching their interaction at the service desk being done though a translation web site. The manager would type in a question and they would type in the answer. I could not recommend this shop and team more.

Tire on and I'm off. The rain had let up as I left but by the time I was back on 11 South it was there again. Not a down pore but steady. 11 South was another good riding road but would have been better in the dry. There were an unusual number of transports with over sized loads going north. I wondered if they have to use this longer route than the more popular 17 which I'd used to go north a couple of days before. That day ended in Hearst which seems to survive around the highway and a huge lumber mill. I mean huge. It was fed from and incredible pile of logs in its yard which were picked up and transported into the mill by a gantry crane lifting a transport trucks worth with each grab of its claw. This seemed to be a continuous cycle taking about 3 min. That's a lot of logs.

The last day was not great. It was raining and it was raining hard. This was going to be the longest leg of the trip as it was covering ground I'd been through a lot on previous rides and no longer held much interest to me. By the time I'd gone three or four hours I was going to just call it a day. The rain and traffic were constant and heavy. Then when I reached the point where I was going to stop the rain started to let up and things didn't seem so bad. The rain never completely let up until after North Bay but by then I was no more than three or four hours from home and nothing was going to stop me.

I arrived home at about 5:30 pleased to be back. It had been a great vacation.

Premium Member
91 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
To see the complete trip with the link at the top

You have to Select the pull down beside MC Vacation 2015, select Adjustments, change History to ALL and click on Update map.
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