A Tour of Upper Canada

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We are supposed to be in Pickering tonight at Sara’s cousins home to meet up with he family again. We set out the 120 km for Pickering at 6 15 and stuck to the main roads to make time. This was on the 7 to the 115 to the dreaded 401. This is here an 8 lane highway with very high speed drivers. It was nice to have a family dinner and spend time with the kids. Thanks Erin for the great home cooked meal and wine!

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Today we have some time to lay low here, relax at Matt and Erin’s and get caught upon some work as we are only going 39 km to Bowmanville. The rest of the gang was off to Canada’s Wonderland.

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We have been invited to the home of Doug and Sharon Wildeboer. They have been kind enough to ask us to spend the evening with them to talk about planning their big bike trip.We had a great time with them and their family. Sharon cooked us a fantastic meal and Doug took us on a small evening ride to the ice cream shop.

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Getting up in the morning we have just 107 km to Oakville to the home of our dear friend Cara from Meds 92. We again stuck to the highway and the 401, which near Toronto is a 14 lane nightmare. We hit some traffic on the DVP, but otherwise it was just dealing with Ontario speeders.

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So great to see Cara and we always start back as if we saw each other yesterday and not 5 years ago. She lives near the lake and so we stuck close to home for some R&R for a few days.

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From Oakville it is just a 41 km to Toronto, where we will visit with Sara’s cousins Cynthia and Ben, our friends Paula and Barry, and her sister Emily and see a few more friends from University.We headed out on the Gardner east and then on the 427 to the 401. It is much faster to go around the city than thru it. We headed south on the Allen Expressway to Maplewood.

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Here we also were warmly greeted here and then we drove over for a very nice brunch at the Oretskys. We spent the rest of the day sitting on the stoop at Ben and Cynthia’s and then borrowed their car to have dinner at a friends. We 3 graduated  together in 1992 from Western. Our day today is to help Cynthia clear our the apartment of her recently departed dear mother Evelyn.

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Then we had a 86 km ride out of the city, on the 401, and the 400, all of which were stressful with he traffic and speeders. They really need average speed cameras here. Ontario drivers are too intense. We got off the highway  and relaxed on the concession and side roads to get to Sara’s cousins Chris and Tanya.

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We are here to try out the new smoker (ribs) and visit for a few days.

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Today Tanya was nice enough to drive us north to the Vasey cemetery to visit the graves of Sara’s grandparents. We were accompanied by her great aunt and uncle Aldene and Glen. She could point out lots of old graves in which we had relatives buried including this monument for my great great grandfather. Tonight we did wings on the smoker that were amazing.

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We set out at 9 south towards Oakville again as we had dinner with Dan’s cousin. They had just moved out of their house today and so we are staying at Cara’s.  We went thru Hackley Valley and the small roads until Brampton and then hit the 427, which was mobbed with cars and only let up when we could go west away form the city.

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It is 29 degrees and very humid today. It is also pretty windy. We have had too little sleep, too much food and alcohol in the last month and are worn out from the party. Nice to arrive back to Cara’s at 11 and have the entire day to relax. She was home at 4 and she was on fire to make Tinto de verano after reading my Camino posts. We had dinner plans this evening with Dan’s cousin Brad and his wife. They are the last of our old friends we need to see here before we head west. Great to reconnect and make plans for when they move near to us in the new year.

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We had planned to stay around for a few more days and maybe go to Point Pelee the southern most point in Canada. Unfortunately we have had some sad news Dan’s Uncle in Whitehorse has passed away and his uncle in Calgary is gravely ill with cancer. Both were just diagnosed. We will try to get to Calgary sooner than planned.

Today we are finally headed west! There are 2 options either ride to Tobermory and get the ferry to Manitoilin Island across lake Huron, or ride all the way around the lake. We will take the more scenic ferry route to end up in Manitowaning in 389 km.

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It is Thursday of the labor day long weekend and the only ferry reservation we can get is for 340 today. We also got the last room available on bookings for the entire of Manatoulin Island. We decided it would also be faster and easier to go west to Burlington and then north on the 6 this avoided the mayhem that is Toronto traffic (voted worst in NA).

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We set out from Cara’s in Oakville at 845 when it was 15 degrees and finally got to Guelph by 10.

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It is cold and windy again today. The 6 north is mostly 2 lane and with good flow except for the frequent stoppages for construction. You know you are in Canada when it is slightly cloudy day in late August and you wish you had your heated jacket on.

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We stopped for gas in Owen Sound and then went straight to the ferry dock at 130. Here you are directed to the check in where they make you sign a paper that says you will follow directions to tie you bike down (so not Indonesia, but at least you do not have to worry about the boat sinking). From here you ride to the ticket booth 40$ per bike for the 2 hour trip. We had to check in before 240 for the 340 departure and so we had time for lunch.

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There were about a dozen bikes and lots of tourists also waiting to board. The ferry rear door opens like a big shark and you drive thru the jaws.

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You are directed to the front of the ship, asked to park between the deck tie points, and told to use the ropes to secure your bike. We used our tie down as the ropes looked greasy.

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The crossing was a pleasant 2 hours on Lake Huron with Dan singing Gordon Lightfoot’s Edmund Fitzgerald! We arrived at 530 to South Baymouth.

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The motel we booked is 30 km directly up the #6. There are several other bikers staying here too.

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When we arrived after 6 the owner told us the town grocery was now closed and the next restaurant is 30 km up the road. Luckily Cara sent us off this morning with a bag of home made granola. We did walk 1.5 km into the village to see the “lighthouse” .

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2 Responses to A Tour of Upper Canada

  1. Danielle says:

    Hi Guys,
    You are now in familiar territory for me . I have even taken the ferry from Tobermorry once on my way to visit my Dad in Elliot Lake off the highway on the north shore of Lake Huron. Your post brought back some very happy memories! Can’t believe you left Elliot Lake off your tour! (ha ha!).
    Enjoy your ride across this vast country of ours!
    Have fun and stay safe!
    Danielle

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