Book Ends

We finished the riding season the same way we started it, we were delighted to have such  wonderful experiences, both times. They were pretty similar but also different, the first one, we were looking forward to a wonderful riding season ahead and anxious to get it started but this weekend, the one we just experienced, we were excited to get a great weather weekend and have one more chance to get away.

We got a late start on Saturday, but we were okay with that, the temputures were getting warmer with each passing hour.  As our journey started, we took the scenic route the whole way there, beginning with Riverside Drive, with a pit stop for a delicious breakfast at The Sandwich Nook, in Tecumseh. Once nourished with eggs, bacon and lots of coffee we continued through Belle River, Stoney Point, and a short side trip to Lighthouse cove, as we continued on our way we throughly enjoyed all the autumn sights, the colours of the leaves, the sun reflecting off the water and at one point a flock of birds flew over head, it was quite a sight to see.

 We were surprised how quickly we reached our destination, once in Chatham, we checked in our new favourite hotel, Retro Suites, we loved our room - the amazing thing about the hotel is that each room is decorated uniquely with touches that make it charming and delightful - after unpacking we decided to go for a walk, which was really enjoyable, we explored downtown and had a lot of fun checking out the different stores, following the path along the Thames River and enjoying the sights along the way.

For dinner we choose our favourite restaurant, Mama Maria's, we didn't have reservations and therefore, couldn't get a seat, however we sat at the bar, had an appetizer and ordered our dinner to go. It worked out well, we sat in our room, ate wonderful food and watched a movie, after dinner Larry got dessert from The Chilled Cork for us both, such good food.

Sunday, we drove home after promising to do this again as soon as possible, and enjoyed it thoroughly, almost at every stop light we looked over at each other and said what a great day it was, again the weather was perfect and the views amazing. Larry wanted to be home for 1pm to watch the Lions game and we pulled in the driveway right on the minute, the Lions won, which made Larry very happy.

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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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A Perfect Night

Today it was too nice to NOT ride my bike, so I rode it to work this morning - it was the type of day that made me want to keep going - such a pretty a day, the kind you just can't get enough of. I was excited that things worked out so that Larry could meet me after work and we could go for a ride, we went along Riverside Drive until we got to Tecumseh where we stopped at one of Larry's favourite restaurants  'The Wrap Shack' for a quick bite and then we were back on the road.

The route wasn't particularly exciting and it certainly wasn't new to us, but it was the perfect journey for tonight. The weather was perfect, the sun was just starting to set and the water was a breathtaking backdrop for our ride. Spring smells filled the air, cut grass, flowers, everything smelled so fresh - I was breathing deeply and felt totally relaxed and completely exhilarated at the same time.

Couldn't think of better way to spend the evening

A great ride, surrounded by water through most of it. The part in purple is where we had to double our ride, no complaints though - great views.

Post Script

Just a quick post, a follow up to the last one (First Long Ride 2015) where I may have spent too much time whining about the cold - Wednesday (the next day) turned out to be the beautiful day that was predicted. After catching up with some work I found myself free at 4:30pm and took my very clean & shiny bike for a ride along Riverside Drive, it was all I was expecting - I throughly enjoyed it!

Costa Rica Again

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I'm just getting home from Costa Rica, while there I had the pleasure of riding Matthew's bike-only once because we were very busy. So here I am without a helmet riding a bike that is held together with string and other miscellaneous stuff. I stayed close to home, partly because I was breaking a few laws such as the helmet thing and I didn't have the required papers for the bike as well they require people to wear a reflective vest - my other concern was the bike breaking down on me, you want to be close to home if that happens.

It would be so fun to take a real bike trip there one day and explore the whole beautiful country. I did enjoy my little jaunt, it felt good to be on a bike again and the breeze that came up from driving so fast was somewhat refreshing from the heat of the day.

I did get some fun video, here is a short part where my shadow takes on a life of it's own - I think my shadow makes me look super bad ass, what do you think?  Me & My Shadow

 

 

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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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?

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.

Lost

My throw back Thursday post; July 2012

We were lost somewhere between Port Stanley and Port Dover, sometimes being lost is an adventure, other times it's just frustrating - this was a good time and a good memory.

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I thought we should have of made a right at the last intersection but uncertainty crept in and I kept going straight, I knew I was wrong when the scenery change and became much prettier.

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We came across this cool wooden bridge.

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We had such a good time, we got off our bikes and explored the area, took a few pictures, we never saw another person or car drive by the whole time we were there. It was such a nice break, we got back on our bikes and eventually found our way.

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Weekend Ride

We decided to go for a weekend trip, which was extra fun because we did an overnight trip the weekend before - sometimes you just need to get away and have some fun. This time we decided to head to the St. Jacobs area, we arranged to stay at a B&B in a little town called Conestogo, Ontario, just outside  the Waterloo/Kitchener area. We headed out Saturday morning but ran into some delays, so after having breakfast at Marija's (my favourite breakfast place) we headed out on Riverside Dr toward Chatham and set the GPS to scenic route, which was fun although we got turned around after coming across a couple of detours, I'm sure we were retracing our steps a few times. We came across roads and tiny towns that we had never heard of before but we persevered and had a lovely trip. Our first break in Chatham, Ontario

When we got to Stratford we stopped to eat at a chain restaurant because I was starving, then we drove around the city a bit - it was a very pretty, I think the next we go that way I'ld like to stay there. It didn't take us to long to get to our B&B after that - but we did get there late, it was just turning dark. This is basically the route we took;

Headed to our B&B in Conestogo

 

The room was very cute, located in the upstairs of a rambling older home, our bathroom was across the hall but it was private.

The B&B

 

We had a great night sleep and were ready to start out again in the morning, this time we were concerned about the weather, rain was predicted and the sky was cloudy. We drove through St. Jacobs, Elmira, Elora (where we stopped for breakfast at Uptown Cafe - very good!), Fergus, Georgetown just skirting the rain then ended up in Brampton just before the rain hit and meeting up with some incredible friends who are the most gracious hosts.

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The next day, Monday we again started out, this time we headed home, the long way. My good friend suggested we start out going out the back roads and we followed her directions and we throughly enjoyed the ride, we stopped for breakfast in Waterdown at Angels Diner, seriously such a good breakfast.

Our Journey Home

We talked to a helpful server at Angels and she gave us directions for a great scenic ride, it was breathtaking. After we left Waterdown, we went through Hamilton, Dundas, Cope Town, Caledonia, Simcoe, LongPoint, Port Stanley, Blenheim and McGregor - where we were able to stop at Allens Grocery Store to pick up a few beers and a bottle wine. The ride got a little difficult as the heat of the day set in, we stopped at Long Point for a bite (do not order the fish sandwich - just sayin). After Long Point we got gas in Port Stanley and we took a much needed break at Tim Hortons in Blenheim, the rest of the ride home was fun as we found a new route trying to get to Allens, and the weather cooled a bit. After we left Allens we were home in about 20 mins and 10 mins later I was in an epsom salt bath with a glass of wine. Awesome weekend!!

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!

Port Stanley

We woke up last Saturday morning and spontaneously decided to go for an overnight ride, the weather was promising to be beautiful, after seeing rain pretty much all week I was ready for some sunshine also we both were ready for a break from our busy lives. So we put a few essentials in the saddlebags and started out, we decided to go to Port Stanley - it's about a 2 hour drive if you take the highway, but about a 4 to 5 hour ride if you take the scenic route and stop for a leisurely breakfast. After reserving a hotel in Port Stanley, (which took a bit of work to find a place that wasn't booked) we headed out, we drove for about a ½ hour or so and stopped for breakfast in Essex and then carried on, after Leamington we took highway #3 most of the way. We arrived in Port Stanley around 4ish, checked into our hotel, we were pleasantly surprised with the room.

We went for a walk along the beach, it was surprisingly crowded, lots of people, tents and umbrellas.

Busy beach day.

Busy beach day.

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Creativity on the beach, seen during our first walk.

 

Dinner was nice, we sat on the patio at a local restaurant and worked off the creme brûlée with a walk around town and  on the boardwalk.

Two guys catching minnows for bait.

A memorial to The Olga Disaster.

Dusk

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Oh, and just for the record - it's illegal to drink on the beach, uh oh

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Sunday morning we had breakfast on the patio, I had eggs with perch, so good and very relaxing. We headed home around 11:30, we took the long way and got home around 5. It was short but a great time :) Can't wait to do it again.

 

Essex County Road 50

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County Road 50

One of my favourite roads is county road 50 between Amherstburg and Kingsville, it runs along Lake Erie and goes through a few cute towns, the first one is Essex and then Colchester, Oxley and it eventually leads to Kingsville.

Signs along the way

It's a small 2 lane highway, approximately 30K's long, starting at county road #20 and ending at county road #20, it's the long way but scenic. On a nice day you'll have lots of company including fellow bikers, sight seers in cars and bicycles, as you drive along, farmland, vineyards, cottages, road-side stands, wineries (at least 8, many offering samples), restaurants and beaches will line the road. There is a b & b, called The Bell House, a blueberry farm and John R. Park Homestead (a step back in time), and once a year this highway is celebrated with an Explore the Shore weekend festival.

A pit stop at one of the very small beaches along the way.

We'll often take this way and find someplace in Kingsville or we'll go a little further to Leamington for a bite to eat, a fun night out. We've had breakfast at the beginning of this route at Ure's County Kitchen, a place that serves up good food as well as gas, firewood, and it has a convince store.

The beginning of County Rd 50

I also enjoy cutting this route a little bit short and making a right on Cull Street and then another right on Queen Street and you'll find your self at Lakeside Park, a park that has a small beach, a play area for the kids and a bathroom - it's a good place to take a break and have a snack, which is exactly what I did last time I went.

Lakeside Park, Kingsville

Roller Skating

About 3 years ago I joined the local Roller Derby team as a referee, I joined because  I love to skate and was excited to have the opportunity, through that experience I found out that there was an arena in Livonia Michigan. I was pretty excited, the first time I went it was to a referee clinic, we went early to skate. As I walked in the doors I felt like I stepped back in time, it was very exciting, the walls are covered with carpet, there was a disco ball and they were playing oldies. Skating at Riverside Arena for the first time with a fellow referee.

Since then I started going fairly regularly on Thursday mornings, usually I go with my sister however yesterday I went by myself, it was a beautiful day so I decided to take my bike. I took the scenic route my gps directed me to take, it was a fun ride, I seen a different part of Detroit as well as a lot of unique graffiti, it brought me through areas I've never been before.

After talking to a fellow skater I was introduced to Hines Road, a group of us drove on it on the way to a restaurant in Pontiac and then I followed it most of the way home. It was quite scenic, especially compared to my ride there. LgQnLl8yNt-2                       LgQnLl8yNt

I outlined it red in the maps above to give you an idea where it is.

I'm pretty excited to discover some great routes in Michigan, anybody have any suggestions?

Point Pelee National Park

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Yesterday it was a beautiful day for a ride and I was lucky enough to spend part of it at Point Pelee National Park, I love driving down the tree lined street - the beauty is breath taking.

Point Pelee is a Canadian national park in Essex County, there is a lot of marsh and woodland habitats with a peninsula of land stretching into Lake Erie. There are several beaches in the park but my favourite park is the boardwalk in the marsh. Click on the map for more information.

(picture #1) My bike and I visiting the marsh, (picture #2) and a tiny, tiny picture of my bike from the perspective at the top of the sight tower.

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St. Clair Parkway

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We drove home from Sarnia on the most beautiful day, which was a treat because it hasn't been that nice lately. We started our journey taking River Rd. which is a part of the St. Clair Parkway, a nice drive along the St. Clair River which connects Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron. It's approximately 40k long and provides a scenic ride to Wallaceburg, it passes through some small towns, Port Lambton, Sombra, Courtright and Corunna. An enjoyable part of the ride home.

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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Baby, it's cold outside!

Today, December 7th was a beautiful sunny day with a high of -4°celsius, when I heard the roar of a motorcycle, I was really surprised to see my neighbour take his bike out. How I long for the warmer temps so that I can take my bike out - I just have such a hard time imagining myself enjoying the ride when I'm freezing.  

Anyone else (besides my neighbour) like ride in below 0° temps?

My New Bike

This year, just a few short months ago I bought a new bike, it is a beauty! A 2009 Suzuki Boulevard M50, okay it's new to me :) Sometimes Kijiji really works for me. I love my 'new' bike, it's a smooth ride and easy to handle.  I have spent the rest of the summer months getting use to it, and checking out South Western Ontario, which offers so many beautiful rides. Now I'm disappointed that summer is coming to an end but I'm planning next summer starting now, I'm looking for some fun rides - any suggestions?

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