Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ride Report - Fall colours around Bancroft, Algonquin Park, Georgian Bay

Needed to get out on one last trip before the snow flies -- October is a perfect time to see fall colours in Ontario. With that in mind, Sean and I made plans to ride around Algonquin Park, and possibly to the Georgian Bay area for a few days. As we were getting our plan together I happened to run across a thread on about some folks who were planning a fall colours party at a hostel called The Wolf Den Bunkhouse & Cabins. So, we hatched a plan to crash their party.

I left Ottawa in the pouring rain at 6 pm on Thursday after a long day at work. Traffic leading out of the city was horrible, and it took me 3 1/2 hours to make my way to Bancroft. Sean, who has no schedule to worry about these days, arrived a couple of hours ahead of me -- apparently, he didn't see any rain at all on his ride from Toronto. Bancroft is a perfect meeting point for us because it's roughly the same distance from both Toronto and Ottawa.

Sean was happy to see me when I finally arrived at our meeting place in Bancroft

Friday morning was sunny and dry. We got packed up and checked out of Bancroft's Best Western, and we set out for Oxtongue Lake (on the other side of Algonquin Park) after breakfast at the Rural Roots cafe.

The eastern gate of Algonquin Park.

Sean gives me the ADV salute somewhere along Hwy 60 in Algonquin Park


Somewhere along Hwy 60 in Algonquin Park we pulled over for some photos. Found a nice dirt driveway leading to someone's cottage.

We stopped for a hot chocolate somewhere near the 1/2 way mark in Algonquin Park

Here 'ya go, Sean.

Go figure... the party crashers are the first to arrive at the Wolf Den.

Outdoor washrooms and showers.

The Wolf Den's sauna hut

BMW G650XChallenge

Fully-dressed V-Strom 1000. Owner from Hamilton rode to Alaska in July.

Hot looking DRZ400SM - aftermarket sumo wheels, with two rear knobbies.

There were several of these orange monsters

Couple of late model Big Beemers.

Big orange monster

Honda XR400R

Under-cover orange monsters

The main bunkhouse - this is the "hostel" building which comprises the shared accomodation portion of the Wolf Den. Sean and I had a room in the main lodge.

I've never understood BMW's logic in calling this 800cc bike the F650GS, which is not to be confused with the 800cc version called the F800GS. Something to do with not wanting to scare away noob riders by initimidating them with the engine size. A little less power, lower seat, cheaper suspension, cast wheels (not spoked). Nice bike just the same. And a new KLR in the background.

Another DR650

Another DRZ400SM -- this time with street tires, aftermarket tank, exhaust, blinkers

DRZ400S, similar to the DRZ400SM, but made for the dirt. This one's added a trick custom rack for carrying a little extra fuel.

There ADV'ers are serious beer drinkers.

the upper deck inside the main lodge

the upper deck inside the main lodge

the upper deck inside the main lodge

Looking down to the dining area


The basement has 6 or 7 private rooms

Our room had a single and a double bed. I was nice and let Sean have the single bed.

A small twister ripped through these trees in Emsdale on Hwy 592

More twister damage.

We ate brunch at the Cookhouse Saloon in Dwight. Cool chandelier.

Our cottage at Clear Lake

The laneway that leads to the cottages by the shore of Clear Lake

Adirondack chairs lined up at the beach.

A group of Ottawa-area ADV riders recently mapped out gravel roads and trails in the Bancroft/Algonquin Park area and they found this attraction called "Field of Screams" (read about it here). An art teacher spends all of his time and money building these funky and spooky looking sculptures all over his large rural property. Pretty neat stuff to see. So, when I saw their photos, I asked for the location in case I found myself in the area. Juames sent me the coordinates ( N45 35.470 W79 30.603 ) which I plugged into my GPS. Turns out it`s not far from the cottage we rented for Saturday and Sunday nights, near Burk's Falls. Well worth a look around this place. It`s pretty obvious this guy has put some serious effort into building his giant creation.

He owns 300 acres of land - very picturesque.

I actually convinced Sean to ride his sport-tourer on a sandy rail bed trail. We also rode several miles of gravel roads. Slowly, I think I will convert him to the dual-sport world.

Here is Sean trying to navigate his CBF1000 through the loose sand

and while Sean was having a smoke break, I played.

While Sean took another smoke break on our way from Parry Sound to the cottage in Emsdale, I found a jeep track leading down to a cabin on a small lake, about 1 Km from the main road.


somewhere on the ride back from Parry Sound to Emsdale

BBQ'd beef tenderloin wrapped in thick-sliced bacon, rice, fresh corn, and whiskey.

Woke up to frost each morning. This shot was on Monday, and it was 0 Celcius.

8:00am on Monday morning, 0 Celcius. The beach was bright and sunny, and steam was lifting off the water.

Packing up and getting ready to head home.

Stop for gas in Huntsville. A few minutes after this photo, we parted ways as Sean split for Toronto and I headed for Ottawa.

Somewhere along Hy 60 through Algonquin Park on my solo ride home.

Old church on Rockingham Road -- Yes, of course, I took the scenic route home.