A perfect day for a ride, well almost perfect. The sun was out and again no humidity, yeah! Temps were to get up to 23C, however leaving at about 9:30 am (Sunday July 30, 2023) it was about 18C.
Round trip: 208 mi / 334.74 km
Map: Matawa, Rte 533-Ottawa River
As much as I like to avoid all major highways, even highway 11, for this tour we will have to spend a little time on highway 11. Sometimes there is just no way to get around it. We did the usual 592 through Burk's Falls then out onto hwy 11. At least it wasn't long before we were turning off at Sundridge (for the record, we could have got to Sundridge by the back way, however the last time we were on Muskoka Rd it shook the hell out of us, the road was so bumpy and was just a very unpleasant ride.) We exited to Hwy 124 and went through Sundridge and South River then back out onto hwy 11 to exit at Powassan.
We turned right onto Memorial Park Drive, the a left onto Alderdale Rd. All was going fairly smoothly on paved roads until the next turn onto River Rd. You guessed it, gravel. I just have this talent of finding gravel lol. Anyway, it wasn't the really horrid gravel, it was hard packed with just a light smattering of gravel spread across it. I have been on worse.
The next right turn onto S Shore Rd was the same surface. Finally found pavement again when we turned right onto Development Rd. and then made a left onto Gagnon Street which was still paved, if you could call it that lol.
This little town is Bonfield and we were close to our first stop.
Making a left at Trunk Rd and headed toward Kaibuskong Park.
After a rest we were back on the road heading along Rte 531 it was just a short ride before turning right onto the Trans-Canada Hwy . Until this point there wasn't much traffic. It was a little heavier along the Trans-Canada, but not bad.
We stopped at the Esso station to fill up. When I had originally plotted out this route I also had a planned stop at the Pimisi Rest Stop/Picnic Area, but because we had a nice rest at the Kaibuskong Park we decided to stop in Mattawa instead. As we drove by I think it would make for a nice stop.
As we headed toward Mattawa I noticed the clouds were increasing and some had that ominous darkness to them. But so far the sky wasn't too threatening.(Famous last words) This was the first time I had ever been in Mattawa, and for such a little burg of 2,500 it was full of life and rocking. As we rolled through you could hear music blasting from a bar/restaurant and people milling about. Curious, I later learned that it was the annual Voyageur Days festival that was happening.
A quick look up on google; I found in the Northern Ontario CTV news an article: "Every summer since 1998, this festival of local heritage sets the Laurentian Mountains and two rivers: Ottawa River and Mattawa River as its backdrop." Read more here
Next it was off onto the road that had intrigued me, Rte 533. On my google map it looked like an interesting and fun road to ride and certainly did not disappoint. As we started along Rte 533 that ominous cloud I mentioned before decided to sprinkle on us, but as the road twisted around it kept those nasty rain clouds to the left of us, just hovering on the edge. Rte 533 has lots of twisties and the road itself was in good shape, making for a wonderful ride. This road definitely feels like it is out in the middle of nowhere, and I guess it is lol. It had walls of trees on either side and as it wound around you could catch glimpses of the river. When we had first started along it, a car had passed us and had sped off leaving the road mostly to ourselves. The entire length of this road maybe four cars came from the opposite direction and other than that one car passing us, no one else came from behind.
The sky looked very threatening in the direction we were headed. Not much we could do, so we headed out towards the darkness. At first it was a little sprinkle, then the further we went the harder the rain cascaded down. It had turned into a cold rain, which made getting soaked even worse. Then my teeth started to chatter. It was also getting a little hard to see, although there really was no place to take shelter, so we just had to push through it. (If you are wondering, no we did not have any rain gear) Eventually I could see the brightness ahead and thankfully about 20km or so before North Bay the rain stopped. I was glad when the sun came out and the air turned warm again to air dry our wet clothes. My socks were still soggy. We went through North Bay and then got back on hwy 11.
We went along Callander Bay Rd. and hopped back onto hwy 11 until turning off onto the 124 again. We filled up gas again in South River.
Except for my soggy socks and very wet feet it turned out to be another great ride.
Until next time... Keep