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Old 07-14-2013, 07:39 PM   #31
Nanabijou OP
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part IX - The Camper's Beach

Well - after several scrapes, some stumbles, and a couple of near falls down the slope - I finally arrived at the lower road that led to the camper's beach. Like a scene straight out of the Simpson's - when I stepped onto the roadway - I looked to my right and saw a nice staircase and trail leading to the campground about 30ft away. Doh! I decided to walk along the beach and take a photo along the length of it about 2/3rds of the way down. Because it was so close to the campground - this became known as the camper's beach. Being the first beach that visitors to the park came upon - many from out of town just stopped here - unaware that a nicer, more open beach existed another couple of minutes further along.

Here is a view of the camper's beach. Not the widest stretch of sand by any imagination. But during peak season - on weekends - this beach was well used.

Here is what the views of Windy Lake look like from the camper's beach.

In the other direction is the Onaping Falls Golf and Beach Club. You can see the 8th hole fairway in the photo below. In addition to a small beach, the club featured a dock and diving board. One afternoon around 1980 -my dad decided on a whim that he'd take up professional diving even though he had no formal training to speak of. His first feat would be an attempt to complete a backward double-twisting feet entry "dive" off the board. The board itself was about 2 metres above the water. I considered myself pretty daring at the time and couldn't fathom that my dad was about to do something that other adults and kids would have considered crazy. Changing roles for a moment - I even asked him to re-consider. As a warm-up he decided to start with a backflip to test the board and his gross-motor skills. People started to gather around. Suddenly - there was a lot at stake here. Remember how you felt when Evel Knievel was about to be launched across the Grand Canyon in his Skycycle? This seemed just as pivotal except that dad didn't have the option to pull a chute. I remember him bouncing on the board a few times. I also seem to remember it bending obscenely under his weight. I secretly hoped it would snap so the attempt would be aborted - with no pride lost. Then he jumped and completed what looked to me like the best damn full layout backflip I had witnessed any human perform. People actually clapped. I was in shock. For his next attempt - he completed the same maneuver with a double twist. Now he was taking requests. The next one involved a pike position back-flip one and a half-with a twist. This request sounded more like a drink order to me. Apparently - some members of the gallery had spent time in gymnastics. Unfortunately, this one didn't go quite as planned. Somehow his cerebellum received mixed signals from his frontal cortex and he ended up spinning out of control kinda like Darth Vader's Tie Fighter at the end of the first Star Wars movie. I don't remember exactly how he hit the water - but from the size of the splash - my guess is that it wasn't a "rip" entry. His reign was over. I still think that Louganis would have been impressed. And on that day I can honestly say that my dad put on a pretty impressive show. I still don't know how he did it.

As teens many of my friends belonged to the local canoe club. We would sign-out canoes and paddle them out to the point seen in the image below and dive for golf balls off of the 8th hole - and sell them. The trick was to be able to do this when the water warmed up in late June. Those courageous enough to brave the deep and colder waters earlier in the season were able to reap a bounty of balls. Titleist were coveted. Golden Rams sold well too.

My friend Curtis sent me this photo a few years ago. That's him standing on the diving board at the Golf and Beach club. I'm in the red trunks. Our other friend Brent is sporting the jean shorts. We sure had a lot of fun back in those days. I'd say that this was probably circa 1980. It was such as strange surprise when he sent this photo. I found it hard to recognize myself in it.

From the beach I returned to the roadway and began to walk the kilometre or so to the boat launch area. I was surprised to discover that the park now featured some walk-in sites along this section. These campsites require you to walk in a short distance from where your car is parked on the road - to your site which is typically surrounded by trees and next to the water. If you want privacy - these sites certainly offer that - and provide a much more authentic camping experience as well. They are by far my favourite sites to book when tenting.

Here is the Windy Lake boat launch area. AKA - the "rock launch" area. In the distance you can see the embankment of the CPR rail tracks.

As mentioned at the beginning of this report - I recall my dad and I challenging each other to a contest to see who could throw a rock across the water to the other side of the channel (remember when everyone didn't automatically win a prize - and self-esteem was something you earned?). I remember that after a few serious efforts - I eventually launched a rock that made it across. My dad I believe - came close - but was never able to clear the gap. Now, 25 years later at age 46 - I wondered why I needed to prove to myself that I could still do it. But what I think it came down to for me was that I was curious. And I simply needed to know. Whether I succeeded or not - I thought it'd make a good story and a fun bit of reminiscence to share with my dad. I've since taken a look at this spot on some online topo maps as well as on Google Earth using the ruler tool to measure the distance. If the measurements are valid - the distance from the gravel (we didn't throw from the dock) to the other side is about 300ft. I knew I had to take some practice throws to stretch and warm up. When I was finally ready I then had to select some suitable stones. Ones that were flat enough to gain good lift, yet heavy enough to maintain their momentum in the air. Apparently, the art of rock throwing isn't something to take lightly. I found a few reasonable candidates - but saved the better ones for last. I threw about 10 rocks that early evening. The first few went reasonably far - but the trajectory was either too high - or too low - and they ended up falling well short of my goal. One of the last ones launched felt great - and I was confident that it would clear the gap - but I was disappointed when it landed about 5 ft from the edge - producing a clear splash and ripple in the water. I had two stones left. And these were the best ones I had. If I was going to succeed - I needed to make it work with these two. With the next one - I cleared the gap - but it wasn't by much, as I could see it ricochet off the ground on the other side. It was good enough. It felt even better than I thought it would. I wonder if there's a type of therapy in California that uses this technique?

From here I made my way to the old beach. I wonder if it looked as spectacular as I remembered it on those early evenings many years ago. Judging by the overcast sky - I had my doubts.

See Part X - to find out.


Nanabijou screwed with this post 07-29-2013 at 07:36 AM
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:17 AM   #32
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part X - Evening on Windy Lake

As I was nearing what we used to call the "old" beach, the sun was beginning to pierce the menacing clouds. The brighter lighting might make for some interesting photos during my wandering photographic journey I thought. I took the photo below along the shore where a group camping section of the park used to exist. I believe it is now being re-claimed by nature in an attempt by the park to return it to a more natural setting.

I also wanted to snap a photo of the Tower Bay Hill seen in the distance below. On top is the Cascaden Fire Tower. We used to canoe to the tower and climb it as teenagers. The hill itself is somewhat of a monadnock in the region - standing out from the lower hills that surround it. At 1645 ft, it's one of the higher peaks in the area and sits 550 ft above Windy Lake. At one time there were rumours of a possible ski resort being built on the hill. There are cliffs located in the bay that we'd jump from into the deep dark water below. As you can see - it creates a nice centrepiece when looking out over the lake.

Continuing my walk along the shoreline - I was startled when the sun suddenly broke through the clouds as I was approaching the old beach. With the contrast of dark, ominous clouds above the brightly lit beach below - I thought this would make an interesting photo. And I snapped a quick image before my fleeting window of opportunity slipped away. The lone picnic table looked just like the ones I used to sit upon while looking out over the lake.

And this was the view I had when lying on the beach under the hot July sun years before. The water looked pretty inviting. When I dipped in my hand - I was surprised that it felt rather swimmable - particularly for late June. It appears that park staff are preparing to set the buoy lines in place - a wet job no doubt. In the late 1980s, my sister had a pen pal from England (Nottingham) come to visit in the summer. I decided to give her a tour of Windy Lake. When we approached this view - she was taken aback by how large the lake appeared. I remember her joking that in England this would be considered a "sea". I would later take a photo of myself in the same spot - with snow up to my waist n the middle of winter - to highlight the remarkable contrast between seasons here.

As I was walking along the beach I spotted what looked like a canoe - far out on the lake. When I zoomed in - I captured not only the canoe - but the fire tower in the background as well. It was a great evening to be plying the waters of Windy Lake, as the lake itself clearly wasn't living up to its namesake. I thought the photo nicely embraced what I'd call a typical Canadian Northern Ontario summer wilderness scene.

After snapping a few more shots, I made my way through a trail out of the park and gave my friend Chris a call on my cell. He picked me up near the CPR rail tracks and we drove back through the park entrance to the campsite.

He also brought a cooler filled with ice and Pepsi. When I took my first sip - there were tears welling up from my eyes. It tasted that good. Ice seemed like a new invention to me. It's hard to beat sipping a cold drink, on a warm evening, beside a hot fire. That is - unless you add salt & vinegar chips. And plenty of reminiscing. Chris works for the mining company Vale, and also builds houses on the side. We looked at a variety of projects he'd been working on - via photos on his cell. It was great to have the company of a good friend tonight. In many ways this place still felt like home.

Before I left for Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park the next morning, I wanted to explore a nearby waterfall that we used to call "The Trestle", as it was hidden behind the CPR rail line. It really wasn't a rail trestle in the strictest sense of the word. But it sure sounded better than "The Culvert".

Stay tuned for Part XI.


Nanabijou screwed with this post 11-05-2013 at 08:30 PM
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:37 PM   #33
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:50 PM   #34
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Kudos to you for partaking of such an adventure on such a small bike!!

Are you and the chiropractor now on first name basis as he tries vainly to "unwad you" from that cramped riding position on a mini-bike like that?
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:10 PM   #35
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part XI - The Trestle Falls

The last time I stayed at Windy Lake I remember being less than delighted by the musical stylings of a CPR air horn, each time a train passed during the night over the nearby crossing adjacent to the park. This time I wasn't sure if there were simply no trains that night - or if I just slept soundly through it all. Either way - I had a fantastic sleep and was ready to do some exploring. I made my way toward a trail near a section of the park that is within a few "boat-launch stone throws" from the tracks. After crossing them, I made my way to a sand pit and dune area where we used to ride our dirt-bikes. I remember a large pit that had steep sides and I aimed to seek it out. It was a bit challenging to find - but eventually I prevailed. There was no mistaking it. It had changed from what I remembered though - as a teen. An ORV trail was now carving through it - and these strange green things called trees were growing on the top. My friend Curtis (see Part IX) was the only one brave enough to attempt to conquer it with his beat up Yamaha IT175. Then again - he was the only one in the group on a bike with enough power to have a fighting chance. I recall some pretty dramatic moments as we heard his 2-stroke ring-dinging somewhere off in the distance as he prepared for his run - and then the distinct sound of it shrieking with every gear change - followed by a feverishly high pitched howl that grew increasingly more intense and frenetic as he closed the gap from his starting place somewhere off in the distance. We would all stare at the foliage marking the entrance to the pit - watching nervously and in suspense - as we heard him approaching. When would he come shooting through the trees? And then it happened - he suddenly appeared - blue smoke rocketing out his end pipe like a crop-duster spraying DDT - and the bike sounding like it might self-destruct at any moment - dancing - on the edge - skipping along the top of the loosely graveled - pit runway. How he managed to maintain any semblance of control on this beast was anybody's guess. We were awed. Yet still smart enough to scramble for cover. But he rarely wrecked. More typically - we were treated to a fine wobbly rooster-tail as he shot his way straight up - like Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster shooting toward the sky - but with an occasional miscalculation that saw him sailing over the lip and disappearing followed by a hard low-travel suspension bottom-out crunch on the plateau above.

The route Curtis took better resembled what can be seen to the left of the ORV tracks. As I'm writing this a funny thought just crossed my mind. I wonder. If I reach 90 years of age, would I be telling the same kind of stories to a younger generation about these really simple engines that used to be featured on some dirtbikes - that operated on a mixture of gas and oil, puffed blue smoke, idled unevenly, and made funny ring-dingy sounds. Oh - and made abrupt, crazy power like the "on-off" character of a light-switch?

I continued up the connecting trail that used to be Curtis' personal runway and turned right when it intersected with a more prominent roadway. I believe this road used to be a former alignment of the "Old Cartier Road" as it was called. I could still see some remnants of the guard-rails that lined the highway at one time. It looks like it's now a snowmobile/recreational trail and featured a new crossing. The sign on the bridge read "Windy Creek". However, we used to refer to this speckled-trout stream as "Lord's Creek".

Just past the bridge, I found the grown-in trail that we used to climb down to access the falls. We used to call this section just above the falls "The Slide" - because the rocks were so slippery - you could sit down up stream and let the current carry you over the smooth rocks below - before bailing out before the drop. Not sure why we didn't call it "Leach Lane" because it seemed inevitable that some naïve participant would be enjoying the fun when all of the sudden they'd scream like Janet Leigh after discovering a small version of the facehugger from the first Alien movie irreversibly attached to the skin between their toes.

And here is the falls. We used to sit under the rushing water, and sometimes move the rocks around and lie in the pools below. When the lake was still too chilly to swim in - this was the place to go. I made a lot of memories here.

I remembered a trail on the left-hand side of the creek - so I waded through the water to the other side and saw that it was still there - though it was heavily grown in now. There used to be so many kids running around this spot growing up. Now - I imagined that this trail was hardly used. Parents were more likely to keep their kids indoors - to shelter them from all the bad stuff that would likely kill them outside. I wouldn't be surprised if this place was off-limits to most kids now. Too bad. We had so much fun here. And we did get hurt at times. We learned much from those encounters though....

A short distance down-stream was the culvert and CPR embankment. I climbed to the top and snapped a few photos of the boat-launch from this perspective. You can see Windy Lake and Tower Bay hill in the background. I wondered about how many great views like this existed along the rail-line - that only rail employees were privy to.

Right after this shot was taken, I decided to walk along the tracks back toward the trail leading to my campsite. I wondered when the next train would be passing by. It might be hard to believe - but just after this fleeting thought - I heard an air-horn - and a train approaching. It felt like I was an unwitting participant in a corny "Just-For-Laughs" T.V. gag. I decided to vacate the tracks before the train helped me vacate my bowels. You can see my haste in the nicely spaced sandal prints dotting the embankment. I captured of a photo of the lead engine.

After the train had passed, I climbed back up to the tracks and used them as a guide as I steered my feet back toward my campsite. Before I got there, it slowly began to rain - so when I reached the site, I packed all my gear inside the tent. That meant that the tent itself would be the only thing packed wet. I hoped that it was sunny when I reached Ivanhoe Lake so I could let my tent dry in the midday sun. As I climbed back on the bike for my last destination before returning to Thunder Bay I reflected on the events of yesterday and this morning. I felt a warm sense of comfort and satisfaction in having returned home to explore some special places. In life - anything can happen. I sometimes wondered if I'd ever visit these areas again. Now I didn't have to wonder. And it felt good. Yes - you CAN go back. At least to visit. And recounting the memories made it all worthwhile.

As I was writing the above chapter - I suddenly recalled something that I bet many kids growing up in a small town - had to endure. The ridicule of those living in a city. Every now and then you'd meet someone who'd seriously wonder why you'd ever want to grow up in a small town. I remember being asked "How about if you wanted to go out with your friends to see a movie?" Clearly they were left with the impression that you were being severely deprived in many ways based on where you lived. And I remember trying to defend myself - but really missing that well-timed, knock-out-punch-of-a-retort that would leave them stunned. Ironically - the answer was lying all around me the whole time. We had the nicest beach in the area where we could swim and even drink the water straight from the lake, a canoe club to sign-out canoes, and nearby cross-country ski trails that were - and still are - well-known across Ontario. I skied down to the nicest alpine ski area in the Sudbury Region on winter weekends, wore out lots of felt playing at a well-kept tennis court down the street, and swam at an indoor pool in our community center during the winter (I'd eventually serve as a lifeguard there). We even had a hockey arena and a Junior B team, an outdoor skating rink, a curling club, and the list goes on. People from the city came here in droves during their free-time! It's hard not to laugh once you develop the wisdom and emotional maturity to see past such a naïve and ridiculous question. It was a great place for kids to grow up.

Stay tuned in to Part XII.


Nanabijou screwed with this post 08-09-2013 at 12:20 PM
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:56 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by advmgm View Post
Kudos to you for partaking of such an adventure on such a small bike!!

Are you and the chiropractor now on first name basis as he tries vainly to "unwad you" from that cramped riding position on a mini-bike like that?
Actually - the newer generation CBR is quite a bit more roomy than the old one. To most people, it looks like a full-size bike now. And it feels more like it too. I find it pretty comfortable - with the exception of the seat - as mentioned in my report.


Nanabijou screwed with this post 07-15-2013 at 09:09 PM
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:30 PM   #37
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part XII - Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park

I knew I had the luxury of taking my time as I wound my way up Hwy 144 past Cartier and onward towards Ivanhoe Lake - a very modest 320km trip for the day. I soon found my thoughts returning again to Windy Lake. Over the past 4 years - I had motorcycle camped at eleven Ontario parks and Ivanhoe Lake would be my twelfth. I would have to put Windy Lake on my mental list of the top 5 parks I'd visited over this time. Why? I'd be the first to admit that my fond memories of the area - and brief yet memorable stay there - biased my impression. But I thought that it deserved some accolades for a variety of reasons. Like the simple things it got right. Like a vast sandy beach offering a spectacular view over a crystal clear lake, large campsites that offered plenty of privacy, cell service from your site, a modern comfort station, proximity to the highway, supplies close by in Onaping and Levack (only 5 mins away) and a gatehouse that stayed open late. All the essentials could be checked-off. The trains rumbling by all through the night could deter some. Yet as mentioned - I somehow managed to escape this annoyance this time around.

The roadway up to where Hwy 144 and Hwy 101 meet is about as exciting as watching a chia-pet sprout. And it feels like it accesses an area of the province that is far more remote than any map will show. That you don't pass through any communities after skirting Cartier - is probably a major factor. It's hard to imagine that a city like Timmins could exist at the end of this route - after hours of nothing but continuous bush and lakes on either side of you. After about 110km I took my first break for fuel at the Watershed Restaurant where the junction of Hwy 144, the Sultan Industrial Road and Hwy 560 - meet.

As I approached Foleyet on Hwy 101 west - I briefly considered stopping for fuel - but decided to continue to the park - figuring that I'd have to return to town again anyway for dinner later that day. As I approached the sign for Ivanhoe Lake Road - I was struck by some surprising mixed feelings. I was first and foremost excited to have made it this far, and to stay at a park that I had been curious to visit for quite some time. I also remembered what it felt like to be riding through here previously on my way to Temagami - only one week ago. I could now recount the stories that only recently had never existed. And I was also both sad that my adventure was nearing the end - and excited at the same time knowing that I'd be soon returning back to Thunder Bay, to hold my girlfriend in my arms -and adjust to a more conventional life once again.

The road to Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park was an interesting and unique visual experience. Many cottages lined the lake along the route. I even passed by an airbase and lodge (Air Ivanhoe) as well as another resort just down the road (Red Pine Lodge). At the bottom of one hill I crossed over a dam spilling out of Ivanhoe Lake and then wound around the twisting, scenic shoreline before reaching the gatehouse. It came stocked with friendly attendants. I picked site #92 - the only remaining site available on the lake. When I asked about places to eat in Foleyet, the attendant suggested some eateries just around the corner. I decided at once that I'd eat at the Air Ivanhoe Lodge that evening. She also mentioned that the Red Pine Lodge had fuel - so I was relieved that it wouldn't require a trip back to Foleyet - even though it was only a 15kms ride away. I was starting to like this place already. Less than a year ago - the prospect of ever camping over-night here seemed unlikely. Last Fall the Ontario government decided to close 9 Northern Ontario parks and turn them into "day parks" (strangely - with a locked gate at their entrances) to save money - claiming that these places required expensive upgrades and had low visitor numbers. The parks included Caliper Lake, Fushimi Lake, Greenwater, Ivanhoe Lake, Mississagi, Obatanga, René Brunelle, Tidewater, and The Shoals. Over the past few years - I've motorcycle camped at Mississagi, Obatanga, and The Shoals and was thankful that I had the opportunity to stay at them when I did. But I regretted that I would miss out on Ivanhoe Lake. I thought our parks were something akin to a birth-rite. A Canadian institution! I guess not. Thankfully, in the new year a few of the parks reached a deal with the government to keep them open - via a short reprieve - with the understanding that any cost over-runs would be footed by the local municipalities. Thus Ivanhoe Lake was spared - at least temporarily - and I thought I'd capitalize on this chance and support the park with at least one nights stay. I remember thinking as I was riding through the campground at the time that this seemed like a really special place. With so much activity around the lake - I bet there was a lot at stake if this park closed down. Apparently there was widespread outrage when the initial list of closures were suddenly announced and Ivanhoe appeared among the unfortunately few.

The views as I entered the campground were quite inspiring.

The sun was now shining and I looked forward to setting up my tent and drying it out in the hot mid-day sun. I even found some nearby tree branches to conveniently air out my riding gear. When I tried my cell phone - there was no signal. I shouldn't have been surprised. Granted - I rarely use my cell at home. It was purchased solely for traveling purposes. But It was hard not to feel so disappointed when 90% of the time that I tried it - there was no signal. This wouldn't bode well if an emergency presented itself. I found it amusing to consider that the only times I used my cell - it wasn't operational. I could tell my friends that cell phones in my experience - were incredibly unreliable devices.

With each of my reports I've always found it necessary to explain my tent setup. Why? Perhaps a recent experience will enlighten. A few weeks ago I was telling a friend about the camping gear that I typically took with me on my motorcycle. When I mentioned the word "cot" she broke out in hysterical laughter - and couldn't stop. Even when she calmed down a bit and seemed to recover...and I then continued - she would suddenly collapse into a fit of uncontrolled giggling that seemed more appropriate for an episode of Beavis & Butthead. Still - many of the comments I've received about my reports concern my sleeping system. People find it hard to believe that the entire she-bang can be carried on the back of a motorcycle - let alone one displacing 149cc's. Yet those I've camped with who have actually tried the cots - all agree - after one restful slumber - they could never go back to sleeping on the ground. The bed consists of a Camptime Roll-A-Cot - the best, easiest to set up, lightest, and most durable tent bed I've owned (including army cots). If you want more information - here it is! . This cot is now an essential part of my camping gear. Occasionally - people will respond with disbelief that I carry a cot with me - like it defeats the purpose of camping in a tent somehow. Strangely, these responses mostly come from people who exclusively stay in expensive hotels on their motorcycle adventures. Nevertheless, with the combination of this cot, my Nemo Cosmo Air Insulated mattress, my new North Face Dolomite 3S (20F) rectangular bag, and camp pillow - I can be assured of having a restful, deep sleep - every night. Not only do I look forward to crawling into bed at night - but I have grown to trust that I will feel well rested when I set-off for another destination the next day. Feeling tired and cranky before setting out on a long days ride - not only dampens your fun - but can be dangerous as well. There are other pragmatic reasons for bringing it along too. Here are some notable perks: 1) The cot sits about 15" above the floor so you can store all your gear underneath as you sleep, and saves lots of space so you can actually bring a smaller, lighter tent as an option, 2) Storing gear under the cot keeps you from having to leave it outside under a vestibule where it can still get wet should it rain overnight, 3) You can sit on the side of the cot and get dressed more easily in the morning, which is worth bringing this cot for this reason alone, 4) When the ground is uneven - you can sleep above the rocks, twigs, and bumps - the cot remains level, 5) You can use the cot at home as a spare bed for guests - it sure beats a pull-out bed that jabs you in the back with cross pieces and coiled springs. For me - it offers much of the comfort of sleeping in a bed - especially when you place an air mattress on top. It doesn't get any more luxurious than this when camping in a tent.

My next plan was to ride naked to the comfort station. At least it felt that way. I wore only my sandals, shorts, tee-shirt, and helmet. I couldn't believe I was going to be actually "squid-ing" it for the very first time. After showering - I looked forward to putting on fresh clothes, shaving, and riding the short distance to Ivanhoe Lodge to re-fuel my body and then onto Red Pine Lodge to re-fuel my bike. As I was riding to the comfort station a number of things caught my attention. One was how tiny my grips felt without large puffy gloves. I'd never ridden bare-handed before. The other was something I hadn't noticed since visiting provincial parks as a kid with my family in our Starcraft tent-trailer. There were lots of kids riding bikes and playing everywhere. This is what I remember from my youth. And it felt great to hear the laughter and screams of delight as they rode on two-wheels too - on their own adventures - that included catching frogs alongside the water. I wondered if they'd write their own trip reports describing "How I Spent My Summer Holidays" when back at school in September. This indeed seemed like a special place.

While the showers and sink area looked to be from a different era - and a little short on the room I needed to perform the limb contortions that were a part of my regular washing ritual - I was so thankful at this point for the opportunity to feel clean - that I didn't mind. After removing the Billy Gibbons-like level of scruff from my face - I felt like I could now risk a public appearance without being unwittingly entered into an impromptu YouTube "Bum fight" contest. I rode to Air Ivanhoe, parked the bike, and entered the restaurant. Before finding a place to sit, I asked a staff member about nearby Wifi hotspots. This seemed like a bold request considering the locale - so you can imagine my shock and surprise when she gave me a password and I was able to access the lodge's Wifi from my dinner table. Did I say that I was starting to like this place yet? While waiting for my meal - I checked my e-mail and connected again with the outside world. It felt great to have this level of luxury only a few minutes from my campsite. And the food was great too. I had a burger and poutine that was incredibly tasty - and filled the plate - making it a challenge to scarf it all down. I managed to find a way. Barely. After the meal I chatted with the Lodge staff about the park and the recent threat of closure and how this would impact the community. It was clear after our conversation that everyone was passionately committed to fighting to keep Ivanhoe open. Yes - there was a lot at steak (oops still thinking of food) here for all involved. The park is an important financial and recreational contributor to the area. I found it hard to believe that it could fall so easily under the knife. Before thanking the staff - I wanted to snap a few shots of the lake from outside. They suggested that I climb up to the second floor for a better view. This is one of the images I captured from up top.

After re-fueling at the Red Pine Lodge and enjoying the cool breeze in my new ATGATT (Absent Typical Gear At The Time) setup - I decided to take a photo of the beach that runs along much of the campground. I didn't realize it at that moment - but this would be my last photo of my trip. The sun would soon be setting - marking the end of the day - so it seemed fitting that so too would my 4000km long adventure. Once back at my site I retired to my tent to finish some reading. At one point I remembered I had left a PowerAde drink in my hard case and reluctantly left the coziness of my bed to venture outside to retrieve it from my bike. As I was fumbling for the drink - I noticed a staff member doing her rounds and said "Hi". She approached me and she asked where I had come from today. She looked familiar. I discussed some of my trip that included a mention of my stay at Wakami Lake last year - when she announced that her brother worked there. That was the cue I needed. I had met her before. Last year at The Shoals Provincial Park. Her name was Heidi and she suddenly remembered me too. We had a good chat and we shared some of our experiences camping at other nearby areas. I found this a pleasant coincidence.

The last photo of the trip.

The next morning I awoke early and quickly arranged and positioned my gear in their respective places on the bike. The sun had been good to my tent - and I was grateful to be now packing it up dry. As I was leaving - I said a mental goodbye to Ivanhoe Lake - and hoped that I might return again sometime. I knew that the final leg would be a relatively long one - covering about 700 kms in total from the park to Thunder Bay. Yet after stops in Wawa, Marathon, and Terrace Bay - I was able to split up the ride nicely. The weather made the trip easier too - encountering only a sprinkling of rain when nearing the land of Nanabijou.

What can I say about the trip? Considering my adventure took place over a relatively short 10-day period - I was surprised by how many things I'd seen and how many memories had being consolidated over this time. You appreciate this even more - when you finally sit down and begin to write up the story mysteriously hidden behind the many photos - knitting everything together on the screen as the tale unfolds in front of your mind's eye. While the ultimate goal of each trip report I've written is to share the experience, insights, feelings, and encounters I've faced along the way with other like-mind people - each time I do so I quickly realize that the experience of writing it out leaves me feeling like I've returned to these very places in a startlingly vivid and compelling way. And it's incredibly rewarding to relive the sights, sounds, smells, and thrill of your own personal collection of these discrete moments in time. When there is snow on the ground outside and ice hanging from the windows - I sometimes re-read these trips so I can once again transport myself back to these special places - to escape.

Many were surprised that I would attempt such a feat on an admittedly atypical adventure bike. Others have since appeared incredulous when I insisted that the bike never at any time detracted from the experience - and if anything - likely contributed an interesting mix of character to the trip - making it even more special and memorable. Recently I heard someone call a Honda Fit a "city" car. And that it could "never be used to travel across the country. You'd definitely need an SUV for that". Granted - you can't deny the comfort of a large, luxurious vehicle. But I think the uniqueness of the conveyance makes the experience that much more memorable and endearing. One of my best trips ever was in 1985 when three of us climbed into my brother's 1973 Super Beetle and headed 700kms to Mont Tremblant, for a week of skiing. Plywood served as the rear seat, the heater barely worked, and many placed bets that the engine would blow up once we were cruising on the highway. But we were young and full of adventure. Heck - we had an Alpine stereo inside that was worth considerably more than the car itself. And we didn't care. It was the journey that mattered. Yet - we still laugh about how much crazy fun that was and believe that it wouldn't have been the same without the character of the Beetle - which came through for us when we needed it to.

As with my previous small-displacement trips - I hope this report inspires others to do more with less as they build a bond with their small bikes - and set off on their own adventures while proving to others that "You CAN tour on that!" Some big bike tourers may scoff at you - but you'll have just as much fun out there. Honest.

The End.


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Old 07-17-2013, 12:34 PM   #38
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Awesome RR Mike!! I'm willing to bet you've inspired many people to go ahead, jump on whatever bike they're riding and take an adventure

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Old 07-17-2013, 12:52 PM   #39
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Ack Am sad to see this RR end

Thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks so much for sharing!
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:44 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by L.B.S. View Post
Ack Am sad to see this RR end

Thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks so much for sharing!
Excellent RR !! , you have captured the spirit of the smaller bikes. They are more fun, on trips or just riding , to me anyone can tour on a huge 1000 cc monster, but the smaller bikes make it an adventure. Its sad that so many never reach the pleasures of a 250cc [or smaller bike] and IMHO miss the real joys of riding. Take more trips please, can't wait for the next one. CMS
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:07 PM   #41
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Mike, that's "ucken fossum"... You are the master of small bike travel!!!
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:55 PM   #42
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that's awesome! i may have to get my 200 that way. ivanhoe lodge is about 12 hours from my house and we always enjoyed the trip up there.

lookin' for a place to happen;
makin' stops along the way - the tragically hip

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Old 07-17-2013, 09:11 PM   #43
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That was a great ride report Mike!

I can't wait to go with you on the "next Adventure"...(and we'll be on the perfect roads for a CBR125 or two!)
Great minds think alike;small minds seldom differ...
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:14 PM   #44
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Like previous reports, this is fine reading. Great job Mike.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:05 PM   #45
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Thanks everyone for all the positive comments. Thought I'd include some other photos that didn't make it into the report.

Here's the bike parked at the lookout east of Nipigon.

I zoomed in on Lake Superior for this one at the top of the lookout near Ney's Provincial Park.

I had to capture another one of the bike at Rabbit Blanket Lake Provincial Park.

And this is what Rabbit Blanket Lake looked like when I first arrived.

And here is a view of my site from the shore of the lake.

This is the parking lot of Potholes Provincial Park east of Wawa, ON.

The trail leading to the Kinniwabi River and the potholes.

First view of the potholes.

The rest-stop along highway 11 at Aide Creek.

This is a shot of Aide Creek next to the rest-stop.

This is a view of the roadway next to my site at Finlayson Point Provincial Park.

Here is the beach at Finlayson.

A view from the Petro-Can station in Temagami, ON.

I zoomed in to capture a view of the beach next to my site at Finlayson. This shot was taken at the Petro-Can station in Temagami, ON.

A view of the cupola inside the Caribou Mt. Fire Tower.

A view of Temagami down below.

If you look closely - you can see my CBR in the parking lot below the fire tower.

This is the trail leading to Au Clair Gorge.

The first view of the river at Au Claire Gorge.

One view of the falls at Au Claire Gorge.

My tent site at Adam's camp near Bancroft.

Another view of the camp. Airing out our gear.

Some riders in the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally.

Here is a photo from the Forks of the Credit River - on our way back from Bancroft.

An interpretive panel at High Falls (A.Y. Jackson Lookout) - on the Onaping River.

The parking area at the campers' beach - at Windy Lake Provincial Park.

Forest tower (Cascaden Tower) on Windy Lake from the campers' beach.

Taking advantage of my 20X zoom - a close-up of the tower.

The view from the boat-launch at Windy Lake Park looking out toward the lake.

Trail from the boat-launch back to the paved roadway through Windy Lake Park.

The CPR tracks lie just on top of the embankment.

A view of the old beach at Windy Lake Park.

Another view of the beach.

A play set next to the beach.

A canoe near the boy scout camp out on Windy Lake.

The former camping area next to the old beach.

Looking back at the lake.

Another view of the lake.

Yet another view of the lake - under different lighting.

The path next to the CPR tracks - leading out of the park toward the Elks Club.

Sand pit near Windy Lake Park.

What's left of the old bridge along the former alignment of the Old Cartier Road.

The top of the trestle falls - looking down.

Another view of the trestle falls.

Below the trestle falls - looking toward the CPR tracks.

At the top of the CPR tracks.

A train passing by.

A view of my site from the water at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park.

A view from Ivanhoe Lodge.

Looking out over Ivanhoe Lake from the campground.

Hope you enjoyed looking at a few more photos from the trip.


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