I have been working in Northern Ontario for the past couple of months and riding opportunities have been limited to “to and from work”. Using my motorcycle as a commuting vehicle was driving me crazy, it somehow seems unnatural. I had no adventure in the works but was getting tons of great opportunities : “Greg; Meet me in Mexico in October”, ‘Dude – make an excuse to come to Australia so we can ride together” “There is an extra bike waiting for you here in BC, come on out” or the most tempting offer of all – “Greg – Vladivostok to London, 2013 – you in??”
I needed to plan an adventure, but I also need to work: looks like I will be a “weekend warrior” for a while. I found this really cool website listing all kinds of large roadside attraction throughout Canada, there are tons of them in Northern Ontario so I decided to plan a trip and visit as many as I could over a weekend. It’s not as exciting as crossing two continents but hey, an adventure is what you make it. After some excitement with motorcycle maintenance I was finally on the road, (albeit a little behind schedule) on my first “adventure” since returning to Canada.
My first stop was going to be a giant fish in Marten River. I left Sudbury along highway 17 then turned north on what turned out to be one of the best motorcycling roads of the weekend, highway 575 to Field, Ontario then turn north on Highway 64 until it ends at Highway 11. A two minute ride south on Highway 11 and the first roadside attraction crossed off the list. Whoohoo. It was now dusk, poor lighting for photos and deer crossing the road in front of the bike made me decide to not push it further and call it a night.
Day two was going to be a 500km ride to Hearst Ontario and about a dozen large roadside attractions. A tugboat, railway car, cow and a truck on poles, I was having fun and then the rain came. Taking shelter under a giant Bison kept me dry, but I had to ride in the pouring rain if I was going to get to the Skidoo Tree, Lumberjack and Polar Bear before the sun went down. All was going well until the bike got caught in a “Tractor Beam” from the Spaceship in Moonbeam Ontario, but the bike was finally able to break free.
Continuing North, I really started to take in the beauty of my province, it had been years since I had been this far north and had forgotten how beautiful it is. A landscape covered in thick forest, where every once in a while the road has been cut through the thick rocks of the Canadian Shield. Tiny towns, each with their own roadside attraction briefly interrupt the landscape, making the ride interesting and providing a chance to get off the bike and stretch. Finally arriving in Hearst to what was the largest roadside attraction so far, two giant moose fighting off 2 giant wolves. I was fighting fatigue and was glad to call it a night, tomorrow would be a long day.
(part 2 to follow soon)
A listing of Large Canadian Roadside attractions http://www.roadsideattractions.ca/