Thunder Bay (or bust)

We started our journey yesterday, (Saturday) I was working all day, so the plan was, that Larry would meet me after work and we would head out. We communicated all day via texts, we were pretty excited to get started. I received this text from him in the middle of day.

Ready to go, loaded down bike (please don't look at the messy garage)

Other than starting late, everything went according to plan. My sister took some pictures of us heading out.

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off we go

We headed out on Riverside Drive and drove to Chatham, by time we got to Mama Maria's, I was over hungry (I should have listened to Louise who was 'suggesting' I eat more) and because I was so hungry I ate to much warm, yummy, white bread which meant I got full faster, then when the main dish came out I couldn't eat very much of it but it was delicious!

Then we continued to Sarnia, we were travelling the county roads which was really picturesque - at one point, while looking toward my left, I was able to watch the sun set into some pretty dark clouds. It was an amazing ride, the temperatures dropped quite a bit and it felt so good to have left the heat behind us and feel the cool breezes.

We stayed at my sister-in-law's, who generously let us stay there in her absence - Larry jumped in the pool right away. The next step was to plan out Sunday's journey, we checked the weather, it's pretty hard not to get obsessed about the weather when riding. The weather network predicted rain and storms that were to start fairly early, we checked all the cities that would bring us to our first destination, it looked like the rain threats were going to follow us all the way to Collingwood.

We talked about staying in Sarnia an extra day, and trying to beat the rain but, in the end we went to bed with a wait and see attitude.

We do have a goal, we want to be in Thunder Bay in 4 days to visit with my beautiful daughter, it's like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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Don't forget to check out day 2 ;)

Best of Friends

Yesterday I got busy, I had intended to go for a ride but as the day went on I started readjusting my thoughts, feeling good about what I was getting done. Then my good friend Carolyn, who lives close to Toronto,  texted me around 2:30pm, she was driving to  Chatham on business. Her plan was to head right back home but there was an opportunity for us to have a small visit, I decided to drop everything and meet up with her, how could I resist a ride and hanging out with Carolyn? With a big smile on my face, I got ready quickly, I pulled on my new kevlar jeans, boots, and the rest of my gear and headed out. I decided to take the 401 highway, thinking it would be the quickest and I wanted to make sure I was there on time so I wouldn't miss a minute.

The ride up was pretty uneventful, there was some construction on the highway but traffic was pretty smooth. We got there about the same time, it was great seeing her! We went to my favorite Chatham restaurant, Mama Maria's for delicious Italian food, that never fails to please and of course to catch up.

Sitting on the back patio of Mama Maria's, overlooking the Thames River

We spent a fun hour together, I gave her a tour of downtown Chatham which did not take long, and then we went our separate ways again.

It was pretty cloudy out when I left Windsor and it got cloudier the closer I got to my destination, it has been looking like it's going to rain a lot lately and then it doesn't. I was pretty happy that the rain held off, although I am sure the farmers were disappointed. The ride home was really enjoyable, I took the scenic route and followed Thames River to Lake St. Clair, to the Detroit River. The sun played peek a boo with me all throughout the day but showed up about half way home which was nice, it was a good ride.

The 'loop'.

Once home, I had an overly excited dog on my hands so we went for a walk, it was a good way to move some of the muscles that had been sitting for a while, plus it was an enjoyable walk with fireflies lighting our way home.

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Father's Day

It's summertime, and I'm loving it!

Today temperatures and humidity were high, driving in the city was  hot, hot, hot!!

Being a good daughter I met up with my Dad (for Father's Day), we had breakfast together which was fun and then I was ready for a ride.

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I did a bit of city riding, along Riverside Drive, it was pretty hot and the stop and go traffic wasn't fun so I decided to cut across the county so I could ride along Lake Erie, I could feel the temps drop the closer I got, once in Kingsville, I filled up with gas bought a Magnum Bar (yummy) and went to Lakeside Park to relax. I took off my boots, coat, and pulled up my jeans as far as they would go and relaxed in the sunshine while drinking water, eating the above-mentioned bar and reading a book - I stayed for quite a while and it felt like summer should, very relaxing.

I drove home on Highway 50, I mostly had the road to myself, it was cooler now - not only because I was by the lake but because the day was starting to fade away. The ride home was perfect, I was drinking in the sunshine, the green leaves, the blue lake, and the cottages that dotted the lakefront, I drove the perfect highway road drinking it all in - if ever there was a day to remind myself how much I love to ride, today was it.

There is a feeling I get while riding that is difficult to describe, it's peaceful, relaxing and healing all at the same time. I want to ride forever but my 'seat' starts to let me know it's time for a break.

I'm looking forward to the next ride already!!

Chatham Ontario

It's June and I think it's safe to say that biking season is upon us, it has been a long time coming! I'm starting to plan some trips for the summer ahead, and looking forward to getting out and exploring the world. We already did an overnight trip back in April, when the sunshine came out and smiled on us for a short time.

We decided to go to Chatham which isn't a long ride but we were looking for something low key as it was our first trip of the season. The trip can be done in a little over an hour if you take the highway but we followed the water - starting out on Riverside Drive - it was a delightful ride, a bit chilly but I was well dressed. We followed the Detroit River to Lake St. Clair and then Thames River, we got to Chatham around 4:00pm.

We were really excited when we saw our hotel, The Retro Suites, we were so intrigued with the outside and could hardly wait to go in. While we were registering we couldn't stop looking around, the hotel had a fairly big foyer with a huge majestic staircase, one couch that had the British flag pattern on it with 2 pillows on either side, one with the American flag and the other, of course was the Canadian flag, there was another couch that was more of  a Victorian style, with a couple of chairs for a great sitting area that was very popular with guests.

It was a bit of a maze to find our room but the directions were clear and when in doubt there were signs to point us in the right direction, as we were walking we were so distracted with all the art that surrounded us,  when we got to our room we were so pleased, it was well decorated, very comfortable with a kitchenette, every detail was taken care, this is truly a very unique and amazing hotel.

We even decided to stay another night just to enjoy the hotel a bit longer, every room is decorated differently, so it was interesting to stay in a different room the next night. Also, the room wasn't ready yet when we left for our ride, so it was fun to come back to a room we hadn't seen before.

The hotel is located right downtown and we were able to walk to our favorite Chatham restaurant, 'Mama Maria's', the food was wonderful as always and the walk back was part of the charm of the night.

The next day we headed out for a ride, it was a pretty day, we kept going on #2 and basically just 'winged' it, a right turn here and random lefts eventually brought us to Erieau, a line up of bikes had taken over the parking lots in this small town by time we had gotten there, restaurants were full and people were milling about, everyone was as excited about the sunshine as we were.

We had a quick lunch at Bayside Brewing Company, it was expectantly busy for the staff but they handled it well.

It was fun to check out the county, riding some very familiar roads and discovering some we hadn't been on before, after we left Erieau we followed Lake Erie for a while and then cut across the county to get back to Chatham, The Retro Suites and to check out our new room and relax for a bit before we headed out for dinner.

Monday morning started with breakfast at the Chilled Cork, a restaurant attached to the hotel, it was a nice treat to find out that breakfast was complimentry on weekdays. We had a fun journey home, we again cut across the county and followed Lake Erie and ended up on one of my favorite highway's #50.

It was very exhilarating to be out on the bikes and riding together - it was a great 1st ride!

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The Retro Suites.

 

Victoria Day Holiday

I'm sitting outside on my back deck with a glass of wine, I just finished dinner, I made a concoction of shrimp, fresh whole wheat pasta and a cream sauce with a lot of garlic and a hint of spice - it was pretty good. I am feeling relaxed as I lounge here, listening to the fireworks as they light up the sky, and reminiscing upon my day, which involved a ride of course. Even though the forecast promised a high of 70ºF, this holiday weekend, I bundled up - it was breezy today, with strong winds at times which brought a chill to the air, whenever I stopped riding I was quite warm, when I was riding I was totally comfortable - I went to church this morning, had breakfast afterwards with a beautiful person that I love hanging out with and then I started on my ride.

I've been anticipating this ride for a few days and really looking forward to it, I've spent a lot of time thinking about where to go, what roads to take, it was tough because I only had a few hours and I feel like I've taken every road the county has to offer. I was hoping for a bit of fun and enjoyment and taking the same old routes seemed a bit boring but other than crossing the border there are only so many streets out of this peninsula area.

So I started out, still undecided, I began with taking Snake Lane and then Canard Drive, as I rode I could feel my breathing getting deeper and my enjoyment getting higher, I took back roads until I got to highway #50 and then followed Lake Erie until I got to Leamington,  then I cut across the county to Lake St. Clair and eventually followed Riverside Drive home. What I learned was that no matter how many times I do the same ride, I love it - I love the area I live in, it's surrounded by water. I wasn't bored, not for a minute and thoroughly enjoyed my sunshine filled ride.

It was so much fun to see so many signs of spring, it's the Victoria Weekend here in Canada, most people get 3 days off with Monday being the actual holiday and it seems more like the beginning of spring. Today I saw so many roadside stands with hanging baskets filled with beautiful summer time flowers for sale, as well as Rhubarb (I love rhubarb), tomatoes and a few other things, including starter plants for gardens. There was also Coventry Gardens with the peace fountain in place shooting water up in the most festive way. I love this time of year, and I'm pretty excited for a great riding season.

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It's February

It's February 3rd and the temperature hit a high of 53ºF - this doesn't happen very often.

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I had so many things I needed to accomplish today - when I realized how nice it was I played with the idea of taking my bike out - however I decided to get things done. Around 11 am I went outside with my dog, Charlie and it felt so good in the sunshine, I couldn't stop myself.

I went to the garage, opened the door and sat on my bike, it felt so good, I put the key in the ignition and turned it - I was rewarded with the purring sound of the motor and my heart started racing with excitement. I ran into the house, redressed myself (in so many layers) and I was soon ready to go.

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My shadow 'photo bombed' my picture, it does prove that it was sunny out. I jumped on the bike and it felt so good as I rode down the street, hugging the curves and taking deep breaths. I drove along River Canard, the ice on the water was so pretty glittering in the sun, there were birds standing on the ice, some floating on the water, I stopped to take a picture but my iphone 5 let me down (once again).

I decided to take a jaunt down Riverside Drive, my favourite route, I was gone for about an hour and drove about 55K's. It felt so good being out in the sunshine, waving to fellow riders, soaking in the views, and just being on my bike. I was glad to get home though, I started getting a bit cold and the wind was getting really strong, and of course I was really hungry. Once home, I did eat and now I'm sitting here in front of the fire with a warm drink and a smile on face and I re-experience my day by sharing with you.

Todays Route

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Winter can be hard on a biker.

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The Wave

Sunday (just a few days ago), it was the perfect day to go for a ride - the first nice day of the year with sunshine and temps expected reach 60°f (I use Fahrenheit here because I think it sounds more lovely than 15.5°c.), Larry had the day off and we were both a bit disappointed that I was working because we couldn't go for a ride, but (for the first time this year) I took my bike to work - it just makes going to work more fun. We did however get our ride in, he met me after work, around 4:30 and we drove Riverside Drive - it's the perfect ride, it only takes about an hour, the speed is fairly low and it is relaxing with a great view.

It felt so good to be out, we were not the only ones who felt this way, we saw lots of bikers out which gave me the opportunity to wave. I love the wave, with each wave I feel like I'm saying 'isn't this a blast?'

I've talked about the 'wave' with different people, some seem to tire of it and dislike it - I've seen boaters do the wave to each other on the lake, which strikes me as a bit weird because it's the only type of vehicle out there.  Back when we had our little sporty looking 2 seater, lime green EXP car, seeing another one was rare but when we did we would often honk and wave. One time someone was so excited to see a twin of his car he honked and waved for a good 5 minutes.

Anyway, when I'm out there on the road and hear the familiar sound of a bike, or see one coming up I get a bit excited, someone (a total stranger) whom (I assume) loves riding as much as I do and is happy to just be driving along, soaking in the sunshine and scenery,  I look over and make a connection with that person with a wave of a hand or a nod of my head and for a split second I've related with them, creating a fellowship with someone I've never met and likely will never meet.

It's a fun feeling when you meet someone that you have something in common with, especially when that 'something' is a little out of the ordinary - I feel like that every time I see a fellow biker.

 

War of 1812

Tecumseh Parkway It was a sunshiny day with temps expected to be around the 32°c, perfect for a ride - I hopped on my bike and cruised toward Chatham, starting at Riverside (at the bridge) I headed east, turning on Brighton which brought me to an 'all way' stop sign, I turned left on Old Tecumseh rd ( old highway #2) until the end of the road. I then made a left on  Highway #22 which brought me to Belle River, a left on First Street and then a quick right on Broadway, which eventually turns into highway #2 (which is also know as Tecumseh Rd.), it turns into Riverview Line and is pretty popular with motorcyclist. It follows Lake St. Clair and then Thames River and will take you into Chatham.

Windsor to Chatham The Scenic Drive

One of the exciting parts of this drive is that it is a history lesson, one that takes you through many miles of a scenic drive - the highway has been rename the Tecumseh Parkway, in honour of Chief Tecumseh and in tribute to the war of 1812. You can also stop along the way for a break from the drive.

Pretty view and a history lesson.

There are many stops, with signs indicating that  you are getting close to another site. Once at the site there is information about what had happen there, it makes it so much more realistic to make the journey - the same route they took.

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Thanks Chief Tecumseh for your passion and dedication!

I didn't stop at all the sights, partly because of the high temps of the day, however I did enjoy stopping, reading the signs and checking out the pictures - mostly just taking in the sights and trying to imagine what it would have been like over 2oo years ago to be standing in the exact spot, I was feeling grateful to be a Canadian.

Birdie's Perch

Today I surprised Larry, I parked my bike right in front of his and waited, when he walked out of work - there I was! We decided to go for a ride which turned out to be great fun, we drove down Riverside Drive and continued through LasalleAmherstburg until we were able to take Essex County Highway #50, it was a beautiful day for a ride and the view of Lake Erie just felt right. It was relaxing and exhilarating at the same time, we drove until we came to Birdie's Perch where we appeased our rumbling stomachs. The restaurant is in a double decker bus, the kitchen is on the main floor and the upstairs has booths set up. There are tables and umbrellas set up surrounding the front of the bus, as well as an ice cream booth and a port-a-john - all the essentials. I like that it's casual, I don't feel underdressed or feel like my 'helmet' hair is being judged.

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Did I mention the perch is delicious and comes quickly - 2 of my favourite things.

July 4th

Today I was driving home feeling tired from a long day at work, it was 11pm, the night seemed clear and I was taking Riverside Drive – It’s the road that follows the Detroit River and the Detroit River is a dividing line of two countries. It’s always a pretty ride, tonight the lights seemed bright and reflecting in the water, people were milling about and sitting in outdoor patio bars – the temperature was perfect. Up ahead something caught my eye, it was fireworks on the other side of the River and then I remembered it was the 4th of July, my whole ride along the River was extra fun as burst of colours lit up the night sky. Thank you for making my ride home so much more fun, I would have like to have taken a picture but I only had my phone with me and they seemed so fleeting. Happy Independence Day my neighbours to the north (it is north to this small section of Canada) May your country always be blessed, strong and free – God bless the USA!

Riverside Drive, Windsor Ontario

riversidedrive The weather has not cooperated with my desire to ride, it's been a bit gloomy and rainy but I've manage to get out a few times. My favourite local ride is Riverside Drive, it is one of the main roads here, in Windsor, Ontario, travelling along the Detroit River and it ends in St. Clair Beach, it's a pretty ride, you can usually see the river on one side and the other has homes, office buildings and apartment buildings. There is almost always another biker on this stretch which makes it fun, the speed limit is 50 k/h for the most part and depending on the time of day the traffic isn't to bad. The busiest area is downtown, there are a few traffic lights in a row, so depending on your luck it could go quickly or not. I find the ride relaxing and if you choose, there are many parks along the way where you can stop, take a break and enjoy the view. The 3 main parks starting west are Windsor Sculpture Park, then downtown there is Dieppe Gardens and Coventry Gardens which has our Peace Fountain.

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Last Ride of the Season

Its been a couple of weeks since we got a bit of a break with the weather, I had no idea that it could possibly be my last ride of the season. I remember the day so clearly, I was pretty excited to see that the temps were predicted to go up around 17°c (63°F) and that I was able to take advantage. I bundled up, I had 3, maybe 4 layers of clothing on - which turned out to be needed. I got my bike out and tried to take a picture but the sun worked against me however I included this picture to show the fall colours on my tree, which has since lost all of it leaves. IMG_4623

I started my ride, I decided to do Riverside Drive, it's a classic street that runs along the Detroit River, it's very pretty. You will find a lot of bikes on that road and of course lots of other traffic.  I made my first stop downtown and took a picture, soon after I stopped I was greeted by another biker, there were so many out that day - it's like we all knew it was going to be the last ride.

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So here I am downtown Windsor looking at downtown Detroit, you can see the Renaissance Centre in the background. I enjoyed the ride, it's a slow drive with a fun view, Riverside drive follows the Detroit river which leads to Lake St. Clair where I ended up.

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Here I am with Lake St. Clair in the background, there were actually 2 boats in the water, I'm not sure you can see them but they must have been freezing. I then made a stop to visit a friend and by time I was ready to go home the temperatures dropped quite a bit, so I put on my warm rain pants and thoroughly enjoyed the ride home.