Saturday, March 28, 2020

Life threw me a curve ball

I just realized my last post to my blog was in June of 2019! I do apologize for not keeping up with my writing. I had a blast all summer exploring the road less travelled, I just never kept up my writing, and sharing my adventures with you, my bad. 

Better late than never, I will catch you up on my travels from last summer.  After all it is still a tad too chilly to ride, even though it is supposed to be Spring!

Here are some highlights:

June 22, 2019:  I took the road less travelled to Severn Bridge. I always manage to find gravel when I am out and about, but my Li’l Rebel handles these types of roads with ease.

July 12, 2019: I got lost on the back roads off of Pickerel & Jack Lake Rd. in Burk’s Falls.  I found this nice little lake for the perfect photo op.

July 25, 2019: I took a tour around Lake Bernard in Sundridge. It was a nice relaxing ride and the views were spectacular.

August 25, 2019: I explored South River and happened upon the cutest church in the middle of nowhere.

I may have not gotten out as much as I had wanted to, but I made the most of each ride and was happy just to get in a little wind therapy now and again.  So now you are all caught up, well sort of…

You probably were also waiting to see my adventures in Florida over the winter. Well, life threw me a curve ball and we never went to Florida this year. I know, it was horrible spending the entire winter in Canada! You feel sorry for me, right? I didn’t think so.  We actually ended up selling the house just before Christmas. Sad but true. But now with all that is going on with the Coronavirus maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

I also moved from Emsdale to Midland. Long story, and probably one I will never get around to telling you about. On the brighter side I am anxious to explore the roads around Georgian Bay this year. I can hardly wait to get back out on two wheels! Now I just need this damn weather to start cooperating.

Until next time keep...

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

On A Mission, with a bit of twisty fun sprinkled in

Mon June 17

Today's ride was more about finding out about what (and how much) it was going to cost to get my motorcycle more comfortable on longer rides.

I knew the day I bought my Rebel that there were going to be a couple of things that would have to be changed or at least modified. The rock-hard seat and the uncomfortable position that my arms are stretched out on the handle bars are my major issues. The more I go on longer rides I realized it was time to look into what I could do to alleviate these issues.

Aspdin Road

My first stop was at Muskoka Upholstery in Hunstville off of Aspdin Road. I spoke with Curt and he recommended getting a gel insert. This also wouldn’t affect the seat height which was very important. I want a comfy tushy but not at the expense of loosing my perfect flat foot position. So, it was settled, he would order me the gel and I would bring the seat back (on a rainy day of course, which probably would be soon as sunny days are few and far between this year) for him to install it. Although that brought me to my next little problem and explained that the bolts were super tight and I couldn’t get the seat off. He was very helpful and worked on loosening the screws for me.

I also mentioned that the passenger seat was just as bad and pointed out to him how the dealer installed the saddle bags over the seat. He agreed that they did look odd that way. Well I have to give him credit, he had a hard time loosening that screw and broke one of his Allen wrenches in the process! But he did it and to my surprise he went ahead and adjusted the strap over the fender. He had to cut the flaps a touch for it to fit better and then put the seat back on. I couldn’t thank Curt enough. That had been bugging me since the day I got it.  Now I can hardly wait to get that gel installed. I left Curt and headed onto the next stop on my mission.
before                                              after

On such a beauty day I took advantage of taking the scenic route and long way to get there.  I continued on Aspdin Road which is full of curves and it is just an awesome road to cruise down. There was very little traffic, at least there wasn’t any at the time I motored down it this morning. It brought me into Rosseau where I stopped at this cute little restaurant called Crossroads. 

I didn’t go in and just chugged down some of my water in the parking lot and snapped a quick picture. I think this would be a fun spot to stop at with some other riders for lunch sometime. There was a really nice outdoor patio area with some really comfy looking Muskoka chairs. After my short break I turned left onto Hwy 141 to head back towards Huntsville. 

Hwy 141 is a very twisty road with lots of sweeping curves, a must for any biker. It is on my bike-it list this summer to go from one end of it to the other. It starts from Hwy 11 (Port Sydney/Utterson) and will take you all the way to Parry Sound. Again, I lucked out and had no traffic. When I came to a little place called Bent River, I stopped at the quaint general store/gas station. I topped up my tank and continued on my way.

As I got to Utterson my next stop was in my sites. Flybyu motorsports. I had looked for a motorcycle shop as close to me as I could find and believe me that is an extremely limited list where I live. This seemed to fit the bill when I first found it on Facebook

I spoke with Derek to see what he suggested for the issue I had with my handle bars. He suggested the cheaper route was to get 1” risers and bring the bars forward. I was all for the cheaper option. I still have many, many payments on my two wheels of bliss and would like to be able to still afford to ride it after I fork over the bucks to modify it for my comfort. He assured me that if there would be a problem with the ABS break lines that he would just return the risers. He seemed confident that this would work though. So, I told him to go ahead and order them. I was also happy when he told me when the part came in that I could wait while he installed them. Bonus another road trip! I am super stoked about how well my little mission turned out today. Now I just have to be patient until the parts come in. I took off from there with a huge smile and connected onto MD 10 that would bring me through Port Sydney. 

I stopped at the Jamieson's General Store for a water break and a little photo op. I love those cute country stores. There is so much charm to them. I continued on my way along MD 10 and headed towards Huntsville via Brunell Rd and the downtown core. It was the perfect twisty way home. 

As I turned off on the Novar exit to connect with the 592, I took the opportunity to snap this pic. I have always loved this scenic view.  A perfect end to a perfect day while I accomplished what I had set out to do with the added bonus of an awesome ride.

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride....

Route: Aspdin Rd to Hwy 141/Huntsville

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Curves & Twisties, oh my

Sat June 8

The weatherman promised a gorgeous weekend and wow he was spot on (for a change) The sun was shining and even a deer decided to see me off this morning as he watched me pull out my bike from the garage. 

I went through Burk’s Falls and hooked onto the 520 towards Magnetawan. This was a fun road to travel with plenty of curves and luscious landscape to gander at as you cruise. Best of all there was hardly any traffic this morning, although I am sure this road can get quite busy once the summer cottagers are out in full force. 

Along the way I made a stop in Magnetawan at the Lion’s Park to take in the view of the Magnetawan River.  This is a beautiful spot to rest at with plenty of trees for shade and places to sit for a spell. Usually there are a lot of boats using the Magnetawan lock, but I suppose it was a little on the early side for boaters this morning.

Further on down the road I took another little pit stop in McKellar at their nice little riverside park. There was a motorcyclist also enjoying a break and we both agreed that it was an awesome day for a ride.

I continued on the 520 all the way into Parry Sound. I had never actually been downtown Parry Sound so it was interesting to cruise through town. It is a bustling little town with tons of shops on the main drag. Traffic was still fairly light as I passed through, although I got caught at a few stop lights.

As I left the downtown core, the traffic dwindled to non-existent once again. I turned onto Oastler Drive for a short distance until I turned onto Hunter Drive. Hunter Drive becomes the 518. 

Along the way I stopped at the Orrville Bakery & Barista to utilize a photo op in front of a giant gnome. There was an ATV rider parked nearby and we chatted briefly about how beautiful the day was and how it was nice to finally see the sun shining instead of rain. By the way, rain is in the forecast for Monday.

The 518 is a biker’s paradise with endless twists and curves from Parry Sound to Emsdale. It wasn’t long before I seen a sign informing me that it was going to get very twisty for the next 8 km. Oh what a ride! It didn’t end there, this whole road is full of curves and quite a few hairpin twists. It can be challenging at times even for a seasoned rider. I really don’t recommend it for beginners. I will also caution you that there is a stretch where the pavement turns into tar & chip and gets a little on the rough side. After several kilometers the smooth pavement came into view and still it continued on with endless curves. 

When I got to Sprucedale I turned into the gas station to gulp down some of my water, I was parched! Coming into Sprucedale the road does straighten from there and it wasn’t long before I was back in Emsdale and home. 

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride…

Route: Burk’s Falls, 520 to Magnetawan/Parry Sound 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Do not try this at home… at least one road in particular

June 1

My tour had more than its share of rough roads this time around. I am all for exploring the road less traveled, but I think I went a tad overboard especially on one of my choices. 

I was intrigued by a road called Yearly Road off the 518 because it is also a back way into Huntsville. Naturally, this was a hard-packed gravel road. As I ventured down it there were plenty of twisties and hills to make it fun, although because of the surface I kept a slower pace. Eventually it became pavement, although parts were covered with a lot of sand so I had to be very careful in the turns. 

I crossed a little bridge with an amazing view and quickly took a few pictures. The blackflies are still in full force so any length of time you are stopped will have them swarming.
(Those things might be small but have a mighty bite to them)

I turned onto Aspdin Road and it became fairly decent and was a pleasant ride. Even as I turned down Domtar Road and followed the railway tracks the road surface was good. That is until I made my turn onto Stephenson Rd W 8. On the map it is called Concession Rd 7W, but I knew that my turn was before the railway tracks and turned down it. The road was very gravelly which made it extremely slippery. I just kept it slow. It didn’t matter that I may have been travelling slower than a car would because on these roads there isn’t any.

I crossed hwy 11 to Greer Road and hooked onto Muskoka District 10. This was an awesome road and brought me through the quaint town of Port Sydney. The place was just buzzing with people. I have no idea what was going on, maybe because it was a Saturday and everyone was out and about. I didn’t stop, maybe next time when it is not so busy. Once I passed by the town MD 10 was a really fun road with twists and turns, ups and downs. I had a blast riding this road, especially seeing I was the only one on it. MD 10 ends at Brunel Road [MD 2] 

Brunel Road will lead into downtown Huntsville (by turning left). This road is just as fun, however the speed limit drops to 50km the closer you get to town. I went through town to connect with Ravenscliff Road [MD 2]. My last tour  had me travelling the length of this road but this time around I wanted to check out Old Novar Road.

Old Novar Road was not one of my better decisions on roads to go down. It started pretty much like most of the back roads that I have been on so far. I was only a mile or so when I seen a couple of ATV’s in my mirror and decided to pull over to let them pass. They stopped to see if I was okay. (That was very nice of them) I explained I was just pulling over to let them pass as I (obviously) couldn’t ride as fast as them. We chatted a bit, and I told them I just like going down roads I have never been before. They probably thought I was a nutcase attempting this road (or should I say soon to be trail) on a motorcycle. One of them offered me some bug spray, which I declined and said I wasn’t planning on stopping again. We wished each other happy travels and they disappeared around the next curve. It wasn’t long before the road narrowed and became more of trail of hard packed dirt than a road. As I proceeded this road was the biggest challenge I had ever faced since I started riding. I barely got out of 1st gear and some sections the hard dirt became huge rocks to cross over, this was in the low-lying areas where it appeared that at certain times washes out the trail. In some places the hills were steep and the corners were sharp.  I will say this road tested every bit of my skill I had as a motorcyclist. This is one road I will never again ride down.

Eventually it connected to Boundary Road, (a hard-packed gravel road that will eventually become paved) I was so glad to see just a normal gravel road. I continued on Boundary to my ole familiar 592 and headed home. 

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Full Route: I don’t recommend going down Old Novar Road, unless you have an adventure bike, even then this road is not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Exploring back roads… Sprucedale to Huntsville

May 27
May has been a cold, soggy month here in cottage country. Since getting my new motorcycle I have been able to squeeze in a couple of rides between the rain drops. Before the next predicated rainfall (that by the way came right on schedule this morning) I took full advantage of the rare dry day to explore a few back roads that would lead me to Huntsville.  
View the route from Sprucedale to Huntsville  

The ON-518 is a fun twisty road that cuts through the country side and spans from Hwy 11 to the 400 near Parry Sound. However, todays ride had me venturing off the 518 onto Sisted Road when I came to Sprucedale. (There won’t be any gas stations for 33 km when you take this route, so if need be fill up your tank in Sprucedale).  Sisted road starts off in fairly good condition, but I warn you that eventually the road surface degrades into tar and chip. 

As I was motoring along a unique looking sculpture caught my eye at the entrance to someone’s driveway. I just had to stop and snap a pic. Must be a motorcycle enthusiast. The moment I stopped I realized how bad the black flies are at this time of year. Uugh, those pesky things started swarming and I couldn’t get back on my bike fast enough. 

Sisted Road ends and turns into Ravenscliff Rd. that will lead into Huntsville. The beginning of Ravenscliff is a little dicey to say the least. There were even places where parts of the road almost looked like it had been washed away and there was still a lot of sand on it. There was also huge pot holes to dodge, luckily there wasn’t any traffic so riding this obstacle course was easier than I thought. If you don’t mind putting up with the less than favorable condition of this road at the beginning it will be well worth it once the road becomes a smooth paved surface and there is nothing but fun twisties, sweeping curves and hills, not to mention some awesome views. 

There was a little pull off along Ravenscliff to take in the view of Buck Lake. But the blackflies had me take a quick pic and quickly get moving again.

Ravenscliff will bring you directly into Huntsville and you can stay on this road to explore the downtown area. I opted to head up Hanes Road  and crossed highway 60. I turned onto Golf Course Rd just because I was curious about this road. That is the beauty of riding, I love to just explore roads that I would never venture down if I were in my car. It just led back out onto Muskoka District 3 but it was a twisty little road that I was glad I went down. 

I continued along Muskoka District 3, opting to go along Old North Road instead of heading back on Highway 11. 
This road too is not in the greatest shape the further you go, but it was fun to explore none the less. It brought me to a little burg known as Melissa where I had no choice but to but get onto Hwy 11. It was just a short jaunt to Novar where I exited to Hwy 592 and headed home. 

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Full Route. Some stretches on this route are pretty sketchy, but oh there are tons of twisties that will make suffering through the less appealing parts worth it.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

1st Rebel Ride

Well I must say my first ride on my new Rebel 500 was far from epic, but it sure was nice to finally go for a ride, even a short one. 

The early morning was iffy to say the least, it had obviously rained overnight (again) and the air was still quite cold. As I watched the sun come up or should I say the gloomy sky just brighten a tad. I had my doubts whether I was going to get a chance today to make it out for even a short ride. 

As the morning progressed, I caught a slight sliver of sunlight and figured this might be my only chance to finally see how my new Rebel handled on the road. It was about 10 am when I geared up. It was only about 14C/57F so I made sure to bundle up. I wrapped my bandana around my face because I have a half helmet and knew I would need to cut the wind. (I caught a glimpse of myself in the door window and I looked like a gangster) I also opted to wear my gauntlet gloves to cut down on any wind that might work its way up my jacket sleeves. I put on a heavy hoodie under my jacket and my thickest jeans. (Seriously, I probably could have put on my long johns, but I had an inkling that I wouldn’t get a chance to ride for too long) 

When I pulled my Rebel out of the garage it was a challenge to find a somewhat level place in the driveway so that I could park it and gather the rest of my things before taking off. It wasn’t easy but I found a spot, I never realized how unlevel the driveway is. The sun was very encouraging as I mounted my motorcycle and slowly made my way down my gravel drive. 

I am lucky to live in an area where there really isn’t much traffic, especially on a Sunday morning. I am glad because I admit even though I have been riding for 10 years I did have a few butterflies bumbling about in my stomach. They quickly faded as I opened the Rebel up and headed down the road. I was impressed how smooth and easy it handled. A completely different ride from my Harley Sportster. It also took to the curves with ease. I admit it certainly isn’t top heavy like my Sportster and even making tight turns were effortless. I think what I like the most is the weight. It is so much lighter than what I am used to. I honestly don’t even have to struggle to back it up. Although, I found it strange having a sixth gear, but I quickly adapted to it.

Still my only complaint is those damn handle bars. My arms are straight out and spread to an uncomfortable position. I am not so sure if I were to go on a lengthy tour that I wouldn’t run into problems. For now, I will just have to see how it goes. My other concern when I bought the bike was the seat. There certainly isn’t much cushion to it. I will have to wait and see if this also becomes an issue.

If the dark clouds hadn’t moved in as I was touring around my “neighbourhood” I would have took a little ride to Burk’s Falls or even Magnetawan. But the darkening sky kept threatening my little excursion and I thought it best to cut my ride short. I managed to put on 42km, actually 33km – if I minus the 9km that were on it when I got it

Thunderstorms are predicted for today, and I really don’t trust the weather, so a short ride was better than no ride. I hope in the coming weeks our weather eventually gets better and I can plan for a proper tour. Until then at least I know that this is the starting of a beautiful friendship.  

Until next time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Friday, May 17, 2019

My Honda is Home

I finally got my new bike, a Honda Rebel 500! Oh, it looks sweet! I just love the colour! 

The day it arrived it was pouring rain and even the next morning there is no sign of the sogginess letting up. So, seeing at the moment I cannot ride I thought I would work on getting a few things in order so that when the rain eventually stops, I can actually ride it instead of admiring it - its gotta stop raining eventually right? 

I do have a few gripes after getting my bike. First off, I am not impressed that the owner’s manual is stowed under the seat, and an Allen wrench is needed to remove the seat. After a little searching around the house, I found an Allen wrench that fits so I can remove the seat, or so I thought. Those screws are so damn tight I can’t even budge them! You would think when they deliver a motorcycle, they would at least have the book out for your convenience. Even the delivery guy said the same thing. 

My other gripe is that the moment I seen how the saddle bags were installed I wanted to change it. Maybe they are supposed to be slung over the back seat?  Bottom line, I hate the look and I think they look stupid! They would look much better if the they were slung under the seat instead of over it! Which brings me to my next problem, I can’t budge the backseat screw either! If the BF was around, I would get his muscle to wrench those damn screws, but he won’t be home for another five weeks! For now, I guess I will just have to wait until either the BF gets home or I find someone to get those screws off. 


Okay, two projects that I can’t remedy at the moment, so onto the next. Those tank warning label stickers! I am sure everyone will agree, just put a removable tag on the bike and save us all the hassle. Anyway, at least it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be to remove those stickers. I looked it up on youTube to see what the easiest way to remove them was and it actually worked. I heated the stickers up with my hair dryer and they peeled right off. (I admit I was praying that I didn’t explode while I did it) Then I sprayed some WD 40 on a cloth and wiped away the glue residue. 

Now can the damn sun come out so I can ride!

Until Next Time keep

Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...