A few weeks ago, 23 motorcycles and 29 people (myself included) rode around Lake Erie. It was a trip I planned to ride, probably by myself, but when two members of Star Touring and Riding, Chapter 331, announced that they would be leading a ride, I quickly signed up to ride with them.
When I returned, I had ridden 750 miles, through 4 states, 2 countries, and 1 province. We stopped for the night in London, ON, CA and Niagara Falls, ON, CA. Both overnight stops were well planned; there were ample restaurants/bars within walking distance of the hotels (very important when your only mode of transportation is on motorized two wheels).
What I learned:
- Overall, the Canadians we interacted with, be it service station attendants, bar/wait staff, curious onlookers, etc., are very friendly people. It still amazes me that when you ride, people will approach you to talk about your bike, their bike, your travels, their travels, or just to say “Hi,” and ask “where are you going?” Major credit when you tell them that you are riding around Lake Erie. On the motorcycle.
- The US does not have a corner on the patriotism market. Everywhere we rode, Canadian flags were flying, banners were proclaiming support for their armed service members, cemeteries had little Canadian flags marking graves of former service members.
- The north shore of Lake Erie is nothing like the south shore. The north shore smells wonderfully natural. It is much more open. Access to the lake doesn’t seem as limited as it is on the south shore. Restaurants and bars can be found right on the shore, very unusual for the south shore. There are spectacular vistas from the roads paralleling the lake, unbroken by either housing or industry.
- Outside of Leamington, ON, CA, are the largest greenhouses I’ve ever seen. Rolling into Leamington, you realize why: Heinz has a major tomato processing facility in the town. And you realize that you are in the “Tomato Capital of Canada.”
- You don’t get a stamp in your passport from Canada, that would increase the wait times at the border. If you want a Canada stamp, your best bet is to fly into Canada.
- The road signs are in kilometers. At first, seeing a distance of 195 to London, ON, CA, was a bit of a shock. But then, after performing a little mental math, the distance wasn’t so bad. You have to keep the mental gyrations simple whilst on a bike, especially when you are traveling in a group and to keep the surprises to a minimum.
- Holy crap is having a US cellular phone expensive to use in Canada. It was about $0.89/minute (plus roaming) for a call, $2.05/MB for data. Once we stopped in Leamington, Verizon was nice enough to text me my new “plan,” but I decided to simply turn the phone off. Especially since both hotel’s wireless wasn’t too accessible and there is no wireless on the bike.
Since no one was riding on my bike with me, I have limited photos of the adventure, but what I did take are posted here.
Here’s a shot of a store in Port Dover, ON, CA, a wonderful little town on the shore of Lake Erie.
There will be another Adventure next year, not around Lake Erie, but somewhere else in Canada. I’m already looking forward to it.