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...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

This Harley Rider also bought a Honda!

(Friday May 10, 2019)


I did it! You have heard me moan and groan for several years now that I am bike-less when I am home in Canada. Well, no more, or at least I won’t be moaning about being bike-less.

I am not getting any younger and I want as much ride time as I can get in the remaining years I have left. One never knows when your time is up. Sure, I am a little stressed out (maybe a lot) about the added expense over the next five years. (Anyone hiring? LOL)   Deep down inside I just knew that if I didn’t do it now I probably never will and the thought of  having to live with that kind of regret just didn’t sit right with me. 

I threw caution to the wind and bought the bike!

As you know I love my Harley in Florida. Although for here a Harley was just priced out of my reach. For my second bike I had looked at several makes and models of motorcycles but it was the style of the Honda Rebel that really caught my eye.  Not to mention at a mere 5’ 1” and somewhat of a lightweight the Rebel was just a good fit for me.

Living in Emsdale Ontario it is not like there are any dealers in my neighbourhood, so I ended up travelling 1 ½ hours to Barrie to check out the Rebel 500 at the Honda Powerhouse dealer. I had made an appointment earlier in the week with Stuart Todd to take it for a test ride. By the way, I can’t say enough great things about Stuart. I give him 5 stars all round for excellent customer service and being attentive to my additional needs and requests. If you are in the market for a motorcycle I highly recommend getting in touch with Stuart! 

I went for the test ride on Friday (May 10) and it was chilly (6C/42F), with dreary overcast skies and even had rained a bit on my drive in. I opted to just take it around the parking lot because of the weather. Another factor was that the traffic on Mapleview drive in Barrie made me a little nervous to take it out on the street - kind of weird because when riding in certain places in Florida the traffic is just as heavy if not worse and doesn’t bother me a bit – although it probably had more to do with the fact that it wasn’t mine, yet.  Non the less, just having a brief ride around the lot and I was sold. I can’t really compare my Sportster to the Rebel as they are two completely different kind of rides. I will just say that I am liking the smoothness (as in less vibration) of the Rebel. 

I really wanted a black one, but black apparently was last year’s colour. This year it is dark gray, which I actually like just as much. The only other colour available is brown, kind of one of those “poopy” colour browns, at least I thought so. Definitely not for me. 

There were a couple of extras that were “must haves” that I added when I purchased the Rebel. I have “stuff” when I ride, and I need a place for that “stuff”. I went with the saddle bags that are an additional Honda accessory mainly for convenience. Stuart hooked me up with an aftermarket windscreen. The one that Honda offers is too small making it useless as far as wind protection is concerned. I know, I could have gotten both these items cheaper shopping around online, but Stuart gave me a good price and I don’t have to deal with the installation. 
 

With the BF in Germany for the next six weeks I am fending for myself and I admit that I am just not good at that mechanical kind of stuff. I am sure if I really had to I could, but hey isn’t it easier to delegate that kind of stuff when you can. (wink)

There is an issue with this motorcycle that I have Stuart working on. The handle bars. I just find that my arms are spread way too wide for my comfort. I had the same issue with my Harley, however getting replacement bars for it was an easier process. The Rebel has an ABS hydraulic line that is complicating finding a suitable replacement. Stuart has assured me they will find a resolution for this and I am confident he will.

Now that I bought the motorcycle, I had to figure out how the hell to get it home from Barrie when it is ready. Need I say the weather and road conditions are still not favorable for riding the bike home this time of year. If the BF was here it would be easy, he would have hooked his enclosed trailer to his pickup and TaDa problem solved. (In case you’re wondering, I am a nervous wreck just driving his “huge” pickup let alone pull a trailer!) But Stuart also hooked me up in that department.

So now, we all just have to wait until next Thursday until my L’ll Rebel gets delivered. Stay tuned for the unveiling!

Can you tell I am happy? 

Until next time keep
Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Our last ride in Florida, Fort Myers Beach

April 21, 2019 (Easter Sunday) 

Our season in Florida is nearing an end and these snowbirds will have to take flight and head back to the cold north soon. I am not kidding about the cold, there is still some snow back home! Hopefully with all the rain most of it will be gone by the time we get there. But I am pretty sure the temperature will be a complete shock to the system after we have been enjoying the upper 30’s (80’s F) 

I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the Florida sunshine and the new friends we made this year than by taking a ride with them and checking out a few more hang outs. 


Seeing it was Easter Sunday we headed out to “Biker Church” (also known as The Mermaid Lounge) on Fort Myers beach.  This place opens at 8 am and serves $1 Bloody Marys until 11 am. For the record we did not get there that early!

I am glad we got a chance to experience this place. Soon this iconic favorite biker hang-out that has been around for 35 years will be bulldozed under to make way for the new developments that are in the works for Fort Myers beach. Personally, I think this will make the strip just another money grabbing “tourist trap” with high end hotels and restaurants. It will be sad to see that all the new development will take away the charm that these old establishments have to offer.



As you can see there is quite a congregation, standing room only.

The bar cleared a little and we were able to grab a table
to have communion at “Biker Church”. 
Katy a friend of Elaine & James joined us. Nice meeting you Katy!

Quite a turn out this morning.
Photo credit goes to Elaine who went across the street to snap this shot for me.
You make quite the photographer Elaine!


After 11 am “church” starts to let out. We headed outside to finish off our refreshments.
It is not often that I get in on the pictures, thanks again Elaine!
Glad to be out in the sunshine again, I was getting chilly in there.
Katy, Elaine & James.

We headed over to the Nauti Parrot for lunch.
Just a short ride up the road and over the bridge. 

Katy joined us for a refreshment at the Nauti Parrot.
Looking good Elaine, show off!

A nice customer at the next table took a picture of all of us.

The Nauti Parrot is a great place to take in the awesome views of the waterfront.



If you’re interest here is my take on the food, from a “non-foodie” like me. 
There seems to be a theme to my eating habits, Philly Cheese Steak. I have been sub-consciously ranking them so I thought I would share my thoughts…

Here is the low down covering all the restaurants we have eaten at this year where my Philly Cheese steak was involved.

The Philly at the Nauti Parrot ranks #3. It was delicious! But it could possibly tie in at #2 as the bun was nicely toasted and the fries were very crispy. The Ale House still is my #1 but lately I am very disappointed with the customer service there, but that is another story. 
The Boulevard Deli ranks in at #2 as the beef is tasty perfection, however the bun seemed a little too doughy for my liking, maybe it just needs to be toasted more, fries were crispy delights. The Ragged Ass Saloon comes in #4 as it is served with a bag of potato chips. I would definitely tie it with #3 on the tasty scale. I have had an order of their French fries and I would have to say they are the crispiest and most tasty. Lastly the Nav-A-Gator comes in at #5, mine seemed to skimp on the cheese, and seeing I only order it without the garnishing of onions and peppers, cheese is very important! The Boathouse doesn’t make it on my list only because they don’t offer Philly Cheese Steak, but I had a burger there and if I start a list for hamburgers I would currently put it at #1. FYI, I did not eat this all in one day!

After lunch the day was still young and we road over to the Bimini Bait Shack in Punta Rassa. This is located just before the bridge to Sanibel Island.


There is plenty of atmosphere at the Bimini. It is like being up in a tree house of sorts. Although I didn’t much care for the climb up. (I did notice they had an elevator, so I suppose I could have wimped out and took that, but I didn’t want to be called a sissy LOL)

Hey I am in another picture! Thanks Elaine! Ugh those stairs!

The views are amazing from up here.

The bar has swing chairs on each corner and the musical entertainment plays above.
Lots of interesting treasures hanging about.

The fish tank bar provides just as much entertainment as the performers above. 
At first, I didn’t think this was a real star fish, then it slowly moved across the tank

I even caught a glimpse of a lobster, at least I think it is a lobster.

When the place cleared out a little, we managed to snag those swing chairs. 
I never sat on a swing chair at a bar before. 
Very cool, however they were a tad hard for my bony butt. 

Before heading home, we had our last drink at the Boathouse and said our goodbyes to Elaine & James. I am so glad we met you and look forward to many more biking adventures with you. You will be missed, until we meet up again. Alas, it is time to put our bikes away and head back to Canada. 

(Many thanks to our "travel guide" James who plotted out our course for the day. We will let you do that again sometime)

Until next time keep
 




Cruising Through Life & Enjoying the Ride…