This fall I was invited to ride a newly created motorcycle route in the Explorers’ Edge region of Ontario, Canada, with three other riders.
There’s little better than a long beautiful route with great riding compadres. Showing up to a group ride where you don’t know someone’s riding style (whether the group is big or small) can be daunting. But when you get a good crew together, it can be better than the best solo ride.
Once the group arrived in this region of Ontario, which includes world-renowned Algonquin Park and Muskoka, it became quickly obvious that this would be a great trip. Each of the riders came from a different background, but were all seasoned riders, eager to check out this route.
Left to right: Alicia Elfving (of themotolady.com), David Burbach (of Road Runner Mag), Graeme Jones (of Inside Motorcycles mag), and Ron Keyes (of Motorcycle Mojo Mag)
Everyone was paired up with bikes: David Burbach (of Road Runner Mag) on a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic, Graeme Jones (of Inside Motorcycles mag) on a Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited, Alicia Elfving (of themotolady.com) on a BMW F650GS and Ron Keyes (of Motorcycle Mojo Mag) on his BMW K1600GL.
We discussed the route, looking at the map and getting our game faces on. Everyone was smiling between bouts of stern concentration, and it was obvious we were all there for the same basic things: to ride motorcycles and have a good time. Those of us who needed to get acquainted with our rides did so and a few minutes later we were on the road.
Almaguin Highlands Welcome Centre
The surfaces were clean, long and open with those lovely curves that you can see both your line and beautiful scenery through. Among other roads, we sailed along Highway 141 and 518 on our way to grab food in Gravenhurst. The sustenance at the Wolff’s Den was the perfect answer to the call of a hungry traveler’s belly, replenishing energy before we hit the road again.
With crisp air and a light layer of clouds blocking the sunshine, visibility was great and the temperature was perfect. Tires sticking to the road with ease, riding through the beautiful colors of turning leaves… ah, Ontario in fall is lovely. It’s hard to explain the feeling of being at home and lost at the same time, but it’s part of any good road trip. The sort of feeling you hope to get every time you ride – it’s often hard to achieve in your daily stomping grounds.
Hwy 522 – Near Loring
Huge wide open landscapes, stretching into big rock formations and rolling hills covered in orange, red and yellow trees. Not only is it a beautiful area for a motorcyclist, but there are plenty of places to stop with delicious eats and glorious views for the shutterbugs. You could spend weeks on all the back roads, going back and hitting your favorite spots again and again.
Throughout the region, traffic is minimal and folks seem to share the road and move aside to let motorbikes pass. Lanes are big and signs remind you of important safety tips like: “Share the road – big or small!”
The ‘twisties’ of Maple Island
After getting some good sleep at Hidden Valley Resort and a breakfast full of bacon, sausage, eggs and hash-browns, we headed out for another day of pleasantly twisty roads and vibrant scenery. A long unpaved road took us farther out into the country where we were introduced to the Midlothian Castle and the ‘Screaming Heads’.
Midlothian Castle – Near Burk’s Falls
Built by a rather colorful gentleman, the fortress was open to the public for ogling and made of cinderblock, rock, cement and whatever else. The screaming heads were almost two stories tall – towering ghouls, shrieking into the fields. While it sounds fiendish, it was a highlight of the trip for all of us. Fresh made farm goodies, peacocks, giant jungle-gym-like-structures and gargoyles! Too cool.
After a long day of meandering, photographing, and seeing the cinderblock castle… we found our way to our lodging for the evening. A group favorite, the Woodland Echoes Resort had a cabin for each rider equipped with a full bathroom, kitchen, living room, and bedroom with Jacuzzi. The driveway areas proved perfect for parking our steeds, and wrap around porches overlooking the lake provided a nice place to relax and take in the whole experience.
Riding The Edge… Even in a little rain
Later in the evening we headed over to the main hall for a fish fry and beer, and you’d be right to expect the Hockey game was turned on after we finished our meal.
Explorers’ Edge is an amazing place to ride. The Bunny Trail with its undulating hills, orange trees tipping in above you ever so slightly, the wake of your speed kicking up leaves in a whirlwind… it can only be grasped fully by experiencing the Explorers’ Edge yourself. So go on, go ride the edge!
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