Early fall run to the 6th Great Lake - Georgian Bay or "You can't go home again

The Masons masonjs at nrtco.net
Fri Sep 26 10:03:02 PDT 2008

I loaded up the bike Tuesday morning.  Installed the wire harness for my 
electric vest as the temperature was 3 C (38F) at 7:00 am.  I layered on 
gear and set out about 10:00 am.  By 10:00 the temperature had climbed to 
10C (50F).  My first stop was to drop off some home made choke cherry jelly 
at the 35 km point, where I unplugged the vest & removed it.  The sky was 
clear and the back roads were devoid of traffic.  I stopped at my brother in 
law's "cottage" (2800 sq/ft) in Combermere no one was home so I got back out 
on Hwy 60 and headed for Maynooth, took the Peterson side road, 35 km of 
good twisties and an excellent surface (not an easy thing to come by with 
Ontario's frost heaved roads), took the Loop to Wilberforce then the 
Essonville road (4 km of fresh tar & gravel made the west end of the road a 
little hairy) across to 118 and north to the village of Halliburton 
(basically a tourist town at the north end of the Kawartha Lakes area).  I 
was going to stop and see a boyhood friend who manages Curry Motors a GM 
dealer in the centre of the village but the was a large drug store in its 
place.  I stopped for lunch beside Grass Lake and noticed the temperature 
had increased to about 18 C (65F) so I took off my long sleeved fleece.  I 
continued on 118 to Bracebridge on the east side of the Muskoka Lakes 
district, through it to Port Carling, south to Bala and west to what I 
thought was going to be Hwy 69 and found instead the 400 as they have 
extended the 4 lanes north to Parry Sound. I followed this south for 25 km 
at turned west on Hwy 12 heading for Huronia.  I arrived in Penetanguishene 
about 5:00 pm and 550 km.
I had planned on circumnavigating Georgian Bay, but my daughter who has a 
fairly high stress job working as a Therapist in a Mental Health hospital 
was also looking after my sisters 4 children (my sister and her husband 
being away in South America on a business/pleasure trip, so I volenteered to 
do her duty for the next 2 nights.  The kids are between 11 & 18.
Once I got them off to school the next morning at 8:30 I suited up and 
headed for the Bruce Penninsula.  South on 93 to Elmvale, west to Wasaga 
Beach where the ride down graded to stop and go traffic.  I figured things 
would get better once I hit Hwy 26 but I was wrong, with speed limits of 
50 - 60 kmh (30 - 40 mph).  I was looking forward to the view looking north 
across Georgian Bay 110 miles of blue water but the views were limited as 
large homes and condominiums blocked it out.  When I got to Craigleith There 
were glimps of the water between the $1,500,000.00 cottages that have 
replaced the old $10,000.00 clap board ones of 40 years ago. I finally did 
find a place where the poor tax payers could get down to the water.  There 
were about a dozen older guys enjoying surf casting, sitting around in lawn 
chairs witha gas BBQ, a van with a large cooler.  Looked like an ideal way 
to spend the day.  Since the temperature had risen to 20C (68F) I took off 
my long sleeved fleece and the liner out of my jacket.  I got back up into 
the traffic stream and rolled into Meaford.  I was an Insurance 
investigator/adjuster in this area in 1968, 69 and 70.  I was surprized to 
see Meaford's population at 11,000 as it had been 2500 in 1970.  Hence the 
traffic problem on the only road and only 2 lanes that services the area 
along the southern shore.  The wealthy baby boomers have moved out of the 
cities and relocated in cottage country.  The apple orchards of my youth 
were several million dollar homes each with a couple of old apple trees left 
to remind me of what was there.  It seemed to take foever but it was 3 hour 
to get to Owen Sound at the eastern base of the Bruce Penninsula.  I headed 
north to Wiarton and the traffic decreased dramatically and once past 
Wiarton the road was nearly vacant which was fine with me.  The run the 
Tobermory isn't much of a bike ride basically falt and straight, and once 
there I I turned around and retraced my path to Wiarton.  I crossed the 
penninsula to South Sauble Beach on the east side of Lake Huron .  It was 
calm and the waves that rolled in were only about 1/3 meter (a foot) high. 
I headed down the beach the v strom seemed to like the hard packed sand and 
had no trouble hitting 140 kph (80 mph).  I got off the beach and took the 
Southhampton Parkway to yeah you got it the village of Southampton.  I 
stopped and had some very good fish & Chips.
It was getting a little late and I had to get back to get the kid supper.  I 
realized that 26 would take too long soI opted for a longer but faster (back 
roads that you just have to dodge John Deeres with hay wagons).  This was 
also my route to check on insuance agents.  It is amazing how fast the route 
came back, some places were built up with small subdivisions, the farms all 
looked more properous but by ignoring the speed limit (running 100 - 120 
kph) except for a 20 km stretch east of Stayner where I came up on one of 
our new Black & White cruisers at an alarming rate of speed.  I was waiting 
for him to flag me over, but he must have got a more interesting call pulled 
onto the shoulder let me go by, hauled a bootlegger's turn (and I'm still 
paying for that cruiser) and was got.  I stopped at a farm near Elmvale and 
bought a dozen fresh corn.  It took me 1 hour and 50 miuntes to return from 
Southampton  which was 20 km past Owen Sound on a ronte that added 50 km 
The kids were good with take out pizza and fresh corn.

The return from Penetanguishene to Cobden another day.


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