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...