First Ride 2015

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Today, Wednesday March 11, 2015 was officially my first ride of the season - yes, it was a bit cold, yes, there were snow banks on the side of the road, yes there was ice on the river - totally worth it!

It started out with sunshine and warm temps, the longer the sun shined the more I thought about taking the bike out. The warm temps that I anticipated were teasing me, I went out to the garage to check my bike and there it was, I put the key in, turned the ignition and the sweet sound of a purring engine filled the air.

 

First start of the season.

I once again pulled my long johns on, the same long johns I wore just a few days ago to protect myself from the unseasonably freezing temps while I walked my dog - this time I was more excited about putting them on, I pulled my jeans on, turtleneck, my super warm sweatshirt, my boots, winter coat, gloves and went outside, found my helmet and put it on - We were ready to go.

My bike and it's shadow

 

I decided a ride down riverside was just what I needed - it's easy, short and scenic. It was a great ride although a bit cold, I stopped in Walkerville to catch up with my sister at Jones & Co and pick up a few groceries from Williams, driving through Walkerville is a treat with the unique stores, big trees and lots of people milling about.

In Walkerville

Then I continued my drive down Riverside, still enjoying the sunshine and the way it reflected off the ice in the river, the roads were wet from the snow melting, the dirty banks of snow along the side of the roads won't be here from much longer - unless a freak of nature happens, ugh!

It was my bliss, I was defiantly smiling - the ride was even better on the way home, the temps must have gone up a degree or two (or maybe the wind was behind me), I stopped along the way to get a picture of my bike along the river with the ice.

Small break for a picture at the Sculpture Park, by the Detroit River

And then a friendly young guy came along and offered to take my picture, then he he let me know that he had some free time if I wanted to take him for a ride - sorry no extra helmets ;)

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Weather

After spending some time visiting a country that has a consistent weather pattern and having people look at me strangely  when I comment about how nice it is out today (because it's always nice), it makes me realize why we Canadians talk about the weather so much - because it's always changing and keeping us guessing.  It's very unpredictable, regardless of a meteorologists supposed ability to foresee the future, although I find myself constantly checking the forecast (it's like gawking at a car accident) and I was supper excited and somewhat hopeful to see that I can expect 10°celcuis (50°fahrenheit) on Thursday. I was thinking maybe I could take the bike out for a quick spin but I'm told that I should wait for a couple of good rains to wash the salt away because salt with rust my bike, which I do not understand - how does salt rust my bike, or my car for that matter.

Here is the expected weather pattern for this week, it does give hope - hope that maybe this long, cold winter will release it's grip and the snow will melt and flowers will grow, but most importantly I will once again be on my bike, smiling because I'm almost always smiling when I'm on my bike.

 

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Me smiling in St. Jacobs and having fun while on a mini vacation hitting all the quant spots in the area.

 

 

 

March

March has made its entrance, after February's record breaking cold it seemed too much to expect a tropical weather change with the arrival of a new month, so it was a pleasant surprise that yesterday brought sunshine with temps as high as 2°Celsius - it seemed almost balmy.  Charlie, my new foster dog and I went for our daily walk and this was the first time I 'over' dressed plus we had the longest walk, although it didn't seem to tucker him out at all - if anything he only seemed to have more energy.

Although breaking the freezing point is exciting, it's not good biking weather.

In exactly two weeks I will be saying goodbye to this weather and hello to Costa Rica and hopefully I'll be getting some biking in. Also another hope is that spring will be here when I get home. Such an exciting thought!

Charlie

Charlie

 

 

Snow and Brochures

The other day I stopped at the  Windsor Tourist Information Centre, I was hoping to find some local postcards and while there an idea popped into my head - I asked about biking maps and I was pretty excited to come home with a handful of brochures. My Brochures

 

So now, I'm sitting here in front of the fire with a coffee in my hands day dreaming of summer days and doing some cruising, while outside many people are digging themselves out of the record breaking snow fall we just had.

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The brochures have pictures of clear days, groups of bikers riding and beautiful views, I want to jump into the picture. All the brochures are from Ontario, which is handy because that is where I live, however some would be quite a drive to get there.

My handful included Cruise the Coast (I already did a blog about how much I love that one), I'm enjoying The Top Ten Motorcycle Routes in Ontario, also Deer Trail Touring Route looks pretty great and very remote and I'm looking forward to diving into Ride Grey Bruce. I think these brochures with be worn out and dog eared before long as I drool over the maps and plan for summer adventures - can't wait.

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GoPro

I bought a GoPro, I'm pretty excited about it. So many times while riding I want to capture my surroundings and other times it seems like such a hassle to stop, find a place to park, get off the bike, get the camera out, take the picture, put the camera away, get back on the bike and continue going. Am I'm being sucky? I have the winter to figure out how to use it, it took me an hour to figure how to get it out of the box, ugh!! However I'm having fun using it and making small movies with the GoPro Studio, which I'm also figuring out - little by little.

 

imagesHere is an image of the Go Pro still in the box, stupid box!

For those who don't know, a GoPro is a small camera that has a really wide lens and can capture amazing video's.

 

Christmas

It's Christmas Day and I'm sitting in a very quiet house waiting for someone to get up so we can open presents, it's a strangely relaxing time for me, a time for reflection, a time to enjoy the quiet before I enjoy the fun, but most of all - a time for prayer and to appreciate all my blessings.

A favorite tradition in our family is the Christmas Stockings, this year - among other things, I put this book in Larry's stocking.

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I'm really excited for him to read it and pass it on to me, I've read some great reviews - has anyone read it? Any thoughts?

Benmiller Inn

It's a typical December day outside, the high temperature is suppose to hit 4°c (39.2°f) but it is gloomy - no wonder we all go crazy with lights this time of year. I don't think this year is going to be as bad a last and I'm thinking I'll be able to get my bike out, last year at this time we had a huge snow fall. I'm sitting here drinking green tea (because it's healthy for me), looking at my Christmas tree lights and remembering summer, sunshine and rides.

About 3 years ago we went for a ride on the long May weekend, it was a really warm weekend - even hot. We drove to Sarnia and stayed with my Sister in law & family and the next day we drove to Owen Sound and stayed with my Brother in law & family on the way home we stopped at Ben Miller Inn.

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 It was a wonderful place to stay, very homey and warm.

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It turned out to be a sibling weekend, at Ben Miller we met up with my Sister and future brother in law

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It was truly a fun ride and the first of many that summer, I loved meeting up with my sister - it turned out to be a really fun long weekend that was spent with family and I have a great family!

Askew

Although it does seem like a dim memory, I do remember driving in Essex County and coming across a road called Askew Rd, both Larry and I thought it was an intriguing name and wanted to explore further. We were a bit disappointed - the road was pretty straight forward but it's always interesting to discover new things and let no mystery go unsolved.

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Erieau

One day, it seems like a long time ago (sometime in July, when the weather was warm) -   before the summer got busy, we decided to go on a quick get away. We didn't have much time so we decided to go to Erieau, which is about 2 hours away, if you take the long way - which is my favourite. Larry came home from work and we left soon after, it was a great ride, when we landed in Erieau we checked out our hotel room at Erieau Motel and then quickly (because I was so hungry) went to find some place to eat, we decided to eat at a restaurant close buy at the recommendation of our hosts. We ate at the Bayside Brewing Company, and it was a great choice. It was a hopping place but we did get a seat on the patio and enjoyed the beautiful night.

Our patio view

Although we did have to share the table with a cute guest, who turned out to be irresistible, so I may have shared my meal.

Our dinner companion

They make beer on the premise, so we sampled

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It was a beautiful evening, even the cat was satisfied.

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We then went for an evening walk, which was very beautiful and peaceful

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It's funny how you can be less than 2 hours away from home and feel like your a million miles away. It was such a relaxing time, and so much fun.

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Cruise the Coast

It's not the destination, it's the journey...

I love riding in  Southwestern Ontario, my hometown area and discovering new routes. This summer Larry and I took a lot of short 'weekend' rides and had such fun exploring the area and revisiting places we had been before, it was almost the end of the season while we were in Port Rowan staying at 'Seasons', a bed and breakfast,  that I came across a great motorcycle guide/map. I was so excited, I read it completely while waiting for breakfast and loved it, I then checked out the web site - I could not get enough of it, it inspired me to ride and I was already pretty inspired!!

Someone put a lot of thought into this work of art, it includes;

~ 10 different routes that are clearly marked with the length of the ride and how long it should take.

~  a 'Places to Visit' section, which includes gas stations, emergency info and fun places to stop.

~ a 'Rally of Events' section, biking events in 8 different counties.

~ a description of those counties with information that will make your journey more rewarding.

~ an 'Attractions, Restaurants and Places to Stay' section.

It is made of water resistant paper and folds up small enough to fit in a pocket for easy access, and looks great to boot!

Check out the website:  http://www.cruisethecoast.ca

I have given them my mailing address and I'm looking forward to receiving the new 2015 when it comes out, I suggest you do the same - I contacted them through this email address -  tourism@norfolkcounty.ca

Cruise The Coast Map

I would love more guides like this from different areas, I'm ready to plan next summers adventures.

Does anyone know of any?

Autumn Ride

One day last week, there was a nip in the air, the sun was bright and the sky was blue - the perfect fall day, the kind of day where I want to take a deep breath and drink it all in, the kind of day I hear my bike calling my name. However I had many errands to do that required a car, as I drove around the city I saw a few bikes out, I  got so jealous and started planning for an opportunity to go for a ride, however I was concerned about being too cold while riding, the wind seems to cut right through everything I'm wearing.

Around 2:30 I had some free time, I waited for Larry to come home so we could  go together.  I bundled up, I mean really bundled up, I started with long johns and then jeans and my riding pants went over that, I pulled out my warmest socks, I was 3 layers in with sweatshirts and then I dug out my leather winter coat hoping it would counter the wind better than my biking jacket and finished it off with my full face helmet.

Here I am all ready to go.

We drove along Riverside Drive, my heart was singing, the sights and sounds around me came alive, I was so happy we went.

I was pretty comfortable, not too cold nor too hot (until we sat in one place too long), however I did not feel like I could move very easily, I found the helmet to be somewhat limiting - I have much more visibility with my other one, also with so many layers maneuvering was difficult.

There has got to be an easier way to make the biking season last longer, to be warm, comfortable and be able to move easily.

We split up in Tecumseh because Larry had an appointment and I took Riverside Drive home, I stopped at a liquor store because my good friend was coming to visit me, I picked up my bottle of wine and noticed another biker in the parking lot, we started to chat a bit, my first topic of conversation was the weather, he said he was fine and told me I should be wearing long johns (like I didn't have 3 layer's on), am I the only one who gets cold on the bike?

Always fun to talk to a fellow biker, and fun to get back home too, peeling those layers of clothing off and walk once again like a normal person. Tonight was extra fun as my friend and I got to catch up over a bottle of wine - doesn't get much better than that.

I was so glad we went for the ride as it may be the last one of the year, the weather has turned, there is even a few snow flurries in the weather forecast for tonight. It seems so sad to me right now, no more rides for several months - I think I need to discover a fun winter sport.

 

 

Back Again

I've just spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica, I didn't get the chance to ride there as I did the last time (check out the post here). So I was excited to get home to ride again, however the weather has not co operated.  It seems like I went from summer to autumn in one little plane ride. Today was my first chance to ride and the weather wasn't as delightfully warm as I had hope, instead I got this; Today's weather

I did bundle up though, starting with long johns, jeans and then my Harley Davidson rain pants (and that was just the bottom layer) - It wasn't as cold as it was windy but yet the chill did make it through all my layers. It made the bath I took when I got home so very wonderful!! Today we started with breakfast at Marija's and then we were off to Ace's, he replaced my clutch lever (which has been on order for the whole season), I was pretty excited about that. I was following Larry as we drove throughout our area, it just felt good being out on my bike again :) Also felt good getting home again. Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 11.33.18 PM

Why I Ride

I love riding my bike, it's hard to describe but I feel like I step out of myself for a little while, at one with my bike and with all that surrounds me. I love exploring new territory, I throughly enjoy riding along water and pretty much everything else.

I find it clears my mind, helps me to think - I get the most creative ideas while on a ride.

Robert Pirsig, author of 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', wrote "You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

and that seems to sum it up!

Today it was beautiful out and although it was easy to get distracted with all I wanted to get done, a ride was high on my list. I didn't get out until 2 ish, but I was happy to get started, with the sun shinning I was ready.

I made a circle around Essex county, took a break in Kingsville and finished the journey,  Essex County has some of the most beautiful rides, one of the best parts I look forward to is at the end of my ride, just before I arrive in Amherstburg -  the views of Lake Erie are amazing.

Todays Ride.

Riding

I met Larry at work today, it was a beautiful day and I needed to be on my bike. We started out by taking Riverside Drive and drove out to Belle River, we made a right on Belle River Rd - we usually make a left and head out on #2 towards Chatham, but this time we were headed south. It was a great ride, I was following Larry and he was going up and down roads we either hadn't been on before or haven't traveled much on, we drove by so many farms, everything was very green - there is something I find  relaxing about riding in areas that are expansive. We found ourselves in Wheatley and decided to start heading back (towards home), we drove up to Deer Run RD (from Erie Street), I stopped to take a photo.

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We have these awesome signs in Ontario that will point you in the direction of the more  'scenic' path or 'water front' trail, after we made our turn on Deer Run Rd, we made a left following the sign that promised a waterfront view. It was kinda exciting because we've never taken it before, we were not disappointed, there were a lot of cottages dotted along Lake Erie but still some areas of just the pretty Lake,  we saw marsh and lot's of green, there were some tight turns and curves - all in all, a great ride, my only complaint is that it was to short. The waterfront views ended at Hillman Marsh, a beautiful area, we then shirted our way to Point Pelee Drive where we had the best fish taco's at Birdies Perch, we've been there numerous times before and enjoy it every time.

Our ride from Deer Run Rd and Erie to Point Pelee Drive

Surrounded by beauty all around I finally gave in and stopped for a picture.

It was a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niagara Region

Fort Erie Waking up on Saturday to total cloud cover and the prediction of rain and thunderstorms all afternoon left us wondering what to do, we ended up making a great decision - we decided to stay put, in Port Colborne at our bed and breakfast - The Talwood Manor. We arrived late the night before, and even though we throughly enjoyed the ride we were exhausted, (read about it here) and I know I was looking forward to a break. The rain was promising to show up after 3pm so we decided to go for a ride on the Niagara Parkway which seemed like a short ride and it seemed possible to be home before it rain on us.

Beautiful Ride!

We started out in Fort Erie, it was a spectacular ride and we throughly enjoyed it! We almost made to Niagara on the Lake but the rain kicked in around 2pm, it started slow, we were able to put our rain gear on before it really came down. It took us over an hour to get back to the b&b, the roads were slippery and we were pretty wet but the rain gear did its job and we were glad to get back.

You can see the Peace Fountain in the distance.

 

Start of the Parkway

 

The b&b had a luxurious bathtub and it didn't take me long to get into it, we had a relaxing day and the Niagara Parkway was worth it!

Our bikes, putting up with the rain.

The view from our room.

On the Road Again

It all started with a phone call, bright and early Thursday morning, we had been talking about the potential of going for a ride this coming up weekend but the weather seemed uncertain and it was Larry's first week back after vacation, so it was starting to seem unlikely, but the call was the the news I was hoping for, he had booked off Friday and Monday - we were going for a ride. We mostly packed the night before, the goal  was to leave at 9am Friday morning but I consider the 10am real departure time a sign of victory, it could be the earliest  we've ever left.

We left home going the quick way, taking highway #8 to #3 until we stopped in Wheatley where we took a break for 'second' breakfast at Jacks Coffee Shop, delicious!

Beautiful sunflower crop, somewhere between Blenheim and Morpeth on Talbot Trail.

The ride was wonderful, the sun was shining and I felt no cold at all, it could be because I was wearing long johns (that's right, it's the middle of august) and was well dressed, we both found it exhilarating!!

 

We did take the long way and we were pretty tired when we arrived at our B&B in Port Colborne, the highlights were;

  • just being able to ride
  • the glorious day
  • seeing a hawk swoop down
  • the sunflowers and other wonderful natural sights
  • River Rd, off #3 in Cayuga

 

River Rd., starting at Cayuga off #3 and brought us almost to Port Colborne.

 

 

 

 

Blueberries

Yesterday the weather was perfect for a ride, we went on a short ride with a mission in mind.

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I love blueberries and Klassen has the best! The place was hopping, they serve pies, ice-cream, blueberry sauce and more.

After securing the blueberries in a saddlebag we continued on our way, Klassen's is right on scenic highway #50 so the ride was delightful. It was a beautiful day and a fun ride, I highly recommend it.

 

No New Post Lately

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This little cutie came to visit me with her sister and new baby brother and there has been surprisingly little time for riding,

 

Margo, Thelma and Phinehas Bo are here to visit.

 

The weather hasn't co-operated much lately, this could be the wettest and coldest summer we've had in a while so I don't think there would have been much riding, which is okay because I'm throughly enjoying my guests.

 

One last picture

Margo really liked my helmet.