June 9, 2013 - June 16, 2013
We left a week and a day late but it was nice to have a little extra time with everyone. We had everything packed at Rocky's moms house but we spent the night at my moms. I tried to cuddle my cats as much as possible before leaving the next morning. Saying goodbye was obviously tough, I cried. My mom wasn't about to make it easier on us. She tried a few guilt trips, hoping I would change my mind, but her and I giggled at the attempt. My brother, Mike, drove us around the corner to Rocky's mothers house. Rocky's brother Jay was there with his wife Andrea and their daughter Mady. My best friend Greg showed up with his girlfriend Eden, and our friend Peter, who lives next door to Diana (Rocky's mom) was also there with his two children. I cried, again. We left there and headed towards my sister, Maryline's house. Her husband Dennis and their four children, Lucas, Josephine, Madison and Sofia were all there. I was glad that my tear ducts were completely drained, otherwise I would have bawled. I'm going to miss everybody.
Our next destination was Tobermory, Ontario, a really cute town with an unspoiled countryside. It is known for its relaxed pace of life and fresh water scuba diving. There are numerous shipwrecks that lie in the surrounding waters, but we stayed on land. After splitting an order of delicious, fresh White fish and chips and clam chowder soup, Rocky and I rode around in search of a place to camp. We found the perfect spot by the water, next to a historic lighthouse. Just before we began unloading the bike, we met a guy named Ivan. He mentioned that he was also from Hamilton, Ontario. He lives in Tobermory with his girlfriend and pet dog and works as an engineer on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry.
We woke up early the next morning but it was a bit chilly and I didn't want to get out of the sleeping bag. Rocky warned me to get up because it would rain, I should've listened. We got a bit wet packing up the gear and loading up the bike. We were going to take the Chi-Cheemaun ferry. It traverses Lake Huron from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island. $51.50 was a bit expensive but it was an hour and a half journey and I'm not a good swimmer. While waiting to dock, we met a young man named Marty, who was from Austrailia and also touring on a motorcycle. He flew to British Columbia and took a train to Toronto, where he bought a Kawasaki. He is also heading to Eastern Canada and I wonder if we'll bump into him again along the way. Ivan, the engineer on the ferry, found us and offered us a tour. I don't know much about boats but I found it really interesting to look at. He took us through the engine room, all the control rooms, along with the bridge, where the captain was. I felt like I was on a really awesome school trip.
As soon as we reached Manitoulin Island, it was raining pretty hard. We rode at least 5km up the rode and stopped at a Home Hardware store for refuge. We were soaked. The rain didn't seem like it was about to stop, so we decided to ride a couple of kilometers up to a restaurant. We found a great little place called Musky Widows where we met Matthew, the owner. After a hot meal and a few cups of coffee, it was still pouring rain outside. Matthew mentioned an abandoned barn a few minutes away and said he would take us there if we were interested. We were excited to sleep under a shelter.
We peeked into the barn where we were prepared to stay until Matthew mentioned the Hanger a few meters away. We chose the Hanger instead. It was easier to unpack all of our things and bring the motorcycle inside. We kept the large doors open to watch the storm. Our belongings didn't dry well because of the moisture in the air but at least they didn't get any worse. It ended up raining all night. Although I enjoyed sleeping there, I have to admit I was a bit scared. Raindrops and every other small sound echoed loudly. It got a little bit scary in the complete darkness.
We took our time getting out if bed in the morning. Once we packed, we took a ride back to Musky Widows for breakfast. We left the small town of Manitowaning and headed towards Sudbury, Ontario. It was getting late and we almost settled for a place to camp. I'm glad we kept searching because we found the most perfect location. Ramsey Lake is extremely pretty and surprisingly quiet. We walked across large rocks were we found a patch of grass just big enough to fit our tent. It was simply a perfect place to be.
Our plan was to go visit Rocky's dad. He recently moved to Cobalt, Ontario. The ride was only a couple of hours from Sudbury, Ontario, and it rained on us the last hour. At least this times we were prepared. We pulled over to put on our rain liners just before the rain came down. Cobalt is a small town with a population of 1500. Known as Silver City, it is the Silver Capital of Canada. The only other thing that could be said for Cobalt, Ontario is, it had delicious tap water. Conrad, Rocky's dad, is in his 70's and looking for love, ladies. He is a really nice guy with a funny vocabulary. He uses words like gee willikers, gosh golly and darn tootin. When he addresses me, he either calls me Sis or Salami. He is hilarious. Even when he is sleeping, he is funny. We've caught him talking in his sleep. He has full conversations.
We were there a few nights and decided not to leave until Fathers Day. It was tough saying goodbye but we got everything prepared for Conrad to get his passport. Since he is a French Canadian we assume France would be an easy sell. We would love for him to visit us in France.
After a year and a half of being back home, working, saving and rebuilding the motorcycle, we set back out on the road. We left Hamilton on June 9th and headed north.
Our second day on the road, we crossed over to Manitoulin Island on the ferry from Tobermory. The crossing took about two hours and cost $50 for the motorcycle and two riders.
While waiting for the ferry, we met Marty. Marty is from Australia and purchased a motorcycle in Toronto to ride across Canada.
The night before taking the ferry, we met Ivan. Ivan mentioned that he was the lead engineer on the ferry to Manitoulin Island, called the MS Chi-Cheemaun. He told us to find him onboard and he'd take us on a tour around the vessel.
Shortly after arriving on Manitoulin Island, a torrential downpour also arrived. Paula and I found a restaurant in a nearby town to hang out and dry out our soaked gear. Matthew, the owner of the restaurant, called Musky Widows, offered to take us to an abandoned farm where we could spend the night out of the rain.
The farm had an old barn and a hanger, where we decided to set up our tent.
The rain poured down throughout the entire night, pinging the metal of the hanger roof until morning.
Morning came and the sun finally broke through the clouds as the sky cleared up.
We spent the next night in Sudbury, Ontario. One of the best parts of traveling the way we do is trying to find a spot to camp for the night. With the sun going down, we found this perfect little spot on the edge of Ramsey Lake.
Our next stop was Colbalt, Ontario, where my father had recently moved after separating from his wife.
The last time I had seen my father was almost two years prior, during the first part of our trip. He had aged noticeably since, but hadn't lost is lively spirit, despite battling bouts of depression over the break-up of his marriage.
We met "King Ross" at a Tim Horton coffee shop in the nearby town of New Liskeard. I don't know whether he was the craziest or one of the most intelligent people I have met, but he certainly was entertaining and interesting to talk to.
My father's diet consisted of beer and cigarettes (though he didn't inhale). He woke up one morning and got a beer from the fridge at seven in the morning. I mentioned that there was already a freshly-opened beer on the table. He thought it was mine, as though everyone had a beer first thing in the morning.
After a four-day visit with my father, we left Colbalt and headed towards Montreal. While with my dad, we applied for a passport for him and made tentative plans to meet him somewhere in the world, maybe Paris, France.