Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ride Report - Algonquin Park, Manitoulin Island, Bruce Peninsula

Me and my long time buddy, Sean, had been planning a summer motorcycle getaway since last fall. Sean rides an '08 Honda CBF1000 all decked out with hard luggage. He lives in Toronto, and we arranged to meet in Bancroft, which is about 1/2 way between Ottawa and Toronto.

My luggage setup consisted of my Givi E37 topcase, with a 20-Litre dry sack strapped to the seat along with my small tent. I wore a fancy backpack with an integrated hydration system, and carried my rain gear in the backpack portion. I also have a small Kappa tank bag for my electronics, but instead of strapping it on the gas tank, I hung it over my dashboard area, tucked in neatly behind my adapted windscreen (the OEM screen from Sean's CBF, cut down and made to fit with handlebar mounts from a crappy Spitfire screen).

I had been readying my DR for the ride: I replaced the nearly worn out rear tire (a Continental TCK-80) with an Avon Distanzia, fresh Rotella-T oil and filter, I re-padded and re-shaped my OEM seat with better foam, I removed the OEM tool box and installed my own ghetto tool tube made from ABS platic pipe, chain adjusted and lubed, and I purchased some ultra compact / lightweight camping gear (back-packer's matress, sleeping bag, pillow). And although my TM-40 carburetor had been working very well and provided very respectable fuel mileage in the upper 40's (47-48 mpg), I decided I would try to push the envelope a little. The day before leaving, I raised the needle clip to slot #2, which lowers the jet needle further down into the main jet, resulting in a leaner fuel mixture between 1/4 to 3/4 throttle opening. After making the adjustment, power deliver seemed identical. The result was improved fuel economy, but it would take me a tank of gas to see the difference.

I left work a little early on that Friday, and I hit the road just in time for rush hour traffic. Wasted an hour just getting out of the city. Then it began to rain. Oh well, this is how adventures begin... I was going to be away from the wife and kids for over a week so nothing was going to dampen my mood. No appointments, no schedules, nothing particular to do. Just riding my motorcycle, and hangin' with Sean.

We didn't  have any particular route planned prior to our departure. We had just talked casually about some destination points we'd like to visit: Algonquin Park, Manitoulin Island. So, with no set stops or schedules, we set out on our journey.

The route: from Ottawa to Bancroft, to Algonquin Park, then onward
to Parry Sound, Sudbury, Manitoulin, Bruce Peninsula,
then back to Bancroft, and finally back home to Ottawa.
Just over 2,000 Kms on the odometer in 8 days.

Genrick's Lake sunset, Hwy 28 about 30 minutes from Bancroft.

This is a funky little cafe in Bancroft. Good coffee, and good food.

Break time, near Dwight / Huntsville.

Fist night of camping - Algonquin Park.
My DR650 firewood hauler.

Sean fashioned a whiskey cup from a Budweiser can.

Sporting my mosquito net.

Disposable clothing... yes, I packed old clothes and burned
them after I wore them. My luggage got lighter by week's end,
and I didn't have a bag of smelly clothes to carry.

Momma moose with her two babies, being followed
by a cloud of mosquitoes.

Yes, we had a bear in our campsite at 4:00am. 
Armed with a poking stick for the campfire, an LED
flashlight, and a filet knife, I chased it away. I didn't
have my camera ready, so I didn't get photos of
the actual bear.

Sunset at Killbear Provincial Park

Some greasy spoon diner somewhere on Hwy 69, near Sudbury.

Sean gives the ADV Salute as we try to escape
the heavy rainfall on the ride to Sudbury.

The sun came out after the rain.

Ah, Manitoulin. Lots of nice dirt roads.

My new Scala Rider G4 Bluetooth headset. 
Bike-to-bike communication really made the
trip a whole lot more enjoyable. How did I ever
get along without it??

We stopped to ask this friendly resident of Manitoulin
directions to the Red Lodge Resort. He got up from his lawn
chair and hopped into his car, and we followed him for about
7 or 8 Kms as he led the way. Who needs a GPS?? Amazing.

I caught a fish THIS BIG !!!

Sunset at Lake Manitou (Red Lodge Resort)

 Chillaxin' with a cold beer at Red Lake Lodge

Sunset at Lake Manitou (Red Lodge Resort)

I had to stop when I saw this 1977 Honda CB125. I rode an
identical bike for nearly 10 years when I was much younger lad.

Bridal Veil Falls, Manitoulin

Gore Bay lookout, Manitoulin

This doe was watching me snap photos of Gore Bay.

Taking a rest in the middle of Hwy 540.
Very little traffic here, and it was scorching hot.

Bike parking at Meldrum Bay Inn, a great B&B with a great restaurant.

Ribs and beer.

ADV'er name Dave, from Tennesee, rides a nice Multistrada
and also owns an '09 DR650. He was circling Lake Huron.

Water at Meldrum Bay was crystal clear.

Ferry boat from Manitoulin back to the mainland, Tobermory.
Crazy rider was travelling all over Ontario on this loaded down
CBR125. We chatted with him for a while, he was a nice fellow
and was just out for an adventure.

All strapped down for the ride on the ferry

View from the ferry, leaving Manitoulin.

This ADV'er shipped her bike from Australia to Alaska.
She was on her way to Newfoundland, and then
she was to be heading south (as in "South America??).
Suddenly, Sean and I both felt inadequate and small.
Vagina envy, maybe? She's living our dream.

$35 /night bunkie with queen sized bunk beds.
Trillium Woods Campground, near Wiarton.
A skunk lives under this cabin. I poked my head
under there to see what was making all the noise.
I decided to leave him be when I saw the big
white stripe on his back.

Improvised beer cooler. Yes, it worked very well.

More fishing, this time at Spry Lake.

Cookin' over the fire

Honey garlic sausages, baked potato with
sour cream and bacon, sweet grape tomatoes.

Mechanical moose on display at an art gallery,
next door to the Rural Roots cafe in Bancroft.

Sean and I spent our last night back in Bancroft,
where we started, then we parted ways and headed home. 

Almost home. Somewhere outside Packenham.

I kept a very detailed fuel log for the entire trip: I averaged an amazing 53 mpg (4.52 L / 100 Kms) overall. My worst fill-up was 51 mpg, my best was 56 mpg. It's also worth mentioning that I always ride with a heavy throttle hand, I love to accelerate hard, and I loft the front tire into the air every chance I get. And with Sean on his shiny sport tourer, we also kept a very brisk pace. I was extremely pleased with my gas mileage Sean's fuel-injected CBF averaged about 48 mpg, which is also very good considering his four-banger hasgot a thousand cubic centimetres.

I should mention that my trusty DR performed flawlessly throughout the ride, but that comes as no suprise.

I left on a Friday afternoon, and I arrived home the following Friday afternoon. The trip I had been looking forward to for so long was over before I knew it. My odometer and GPS logged just a little over 2,000 Kms in total. I was suprised to find that my GPS's trip meter and my bike's odometer were in perfect synch, off by less than 0.5 Kms by the end of the trip. The Suzuki speedo? Well, that's another story. We all know it reads about 8 % fast.

When I arrived home to the wife and kids, I dumped all my kit on the floor and jumped into the shower. After a 5 minute chat, my wife and I packed the kids into the minivan and we were suddenly headed to Hamilton (some 600 Kms away) for a great-grand-mother's 90th birthday party. Gheesh...all of this within an hour after arriving home. Reality quickly sets in...   The planning phase for the next big ride begins right away.