Routes across Ontario?
I suddenly find myself wanting to visit Iowa, to spend some time and money there.
I live in Philadelphia, so the most direct route would be a straight shot across Interstate 80, but... I'd rather visit Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and maybe Vermont. And then north into Canada...
Google Maps is recommending QC-15 to Route 101 and King's Highway 11 (Montreal- Malartic-Hearst-Thunder Bay). Would a more urban route, Montreal-Ottowa-Sudbury-Thunder Bay) be better? I'll be on a K75, travelling in July or August.
Should be showing a route 17 in Canada, from Sudbury to I think Thunder Bay? I like 17, nice scenic trip. Before getting to Ste St Marie there is a little town called Bruce Mines, if you find the timing correct there is a nice German Restraunt/motel called the Bavarian Inn I would recommend for food and rest (and beer:drink ).
From Ste St Marie, yeah you could go around the north of Lake Superior, that's a nice trip in itself, I loved the trip from Thunder Bay to Duluth/Superior, I think the US half was better than the Canadian side. Or you could go from Ste St Marie into norther (UP) of Michigan, I would recommend highly Paradise MI to see the shipwreck museum (it is located on Whitefish Point, the point that is the tip of Whitefish Bay, which is where the Edmund Fitzgerald was trying to reach when it sank, worth a visit), and from there I would recommend Copper Harbor/Keeweenaw Peninsula area of the UP, really nice scenery and roads. Oh if you have time, after you leave the Sudbury ON area you could also consider a trip south from Espanola to Manitoulin Island, very nice country there. You could also go all the way south on Manitoulin Island to South Baymouth, to Tobermory (ferry) and explore that area (Grey-Bruce Peninsula) thence to the Blue Water Bridge into Michigan, cross Michigan to Ludington MI, cross Lake Michigan to Wisconsin (ferry), then to Iowa.
So there are a few ideas for you, I got pretty familiar with these routes when I went to the Rolling Broccoli Riders rallies, which was the Grey-Bruce Peninsula area.
As Gilly said Hwy 17 would also be my first choice thru northern Ontario if you plan on heading towards Thunder Bay. There are some excellent parks along Lake Superior including a provincial park by the same name and a national park called Pukaskwas if camping is on your list. The scenery on many sections is first rate. Make sure that you pay attention to the gas stops in some of the more remote areas.
The following will give you some good info:
Make sure that you check the links to:
Lake Superior's North Shore
Great Ontario Bikeroads (especially the northern Ontario sections).
Another bonus is the favourable exchange rate. The Greenback is currently trading at about $1.24 Cdn.
OH the exchange rate came back? WHY wasn't I informed!!!!??
Over by Thunder Bay is also Kakabeka Falls [url]http://www.ontarioparks.com/English/kaka.html[/url] which is worth a short side trip, they had a campground which was quite rustic when I was there quite a few yrs ago, but I liked it OK, I am usually more of a KOA camper. But there were other bikers in the camping area who welcomed me into their circle and I made the most of it, it was fun and a beautiful area.
Enter Canada via Cape Vincent NY on the ferry. Cape Vincent has a nice hostel.
From there, make your way to Hwy 60 through Algonquin Provincial park to Huntsville and then head towards Sudbury and the Giant Nickel (photo op). From there over to Sault St. Marie and follow Hwy 17 to Wawa (home of the Giant Goose) and from there head to Thunder Bay (Terry Fox monument and park). Clean and reasonably priced motels; Wawa - The Beaver, Thunderbay - The King's. As mentioned previously, camping is found along the route.
The Hwy 17 ride along the northern shore of Lake Superior is very scenic with wide sweeping curves. As well there are lots of truck passing lanes on the hills, not that there is a lot of traffic. Once you get to Marathon, the road is cut between trees for the most part and is obviously not as beautiful. Gas is not a major concern as every other town has a gas station. However, it you should take Hwy 11 out of Thunder Bay, village gas stations seem to be spread out a bit further apart. Down that part of the route in the cage, but not on a bike. However, I would assume that you'd be taking Hwy 61 from Thunder Bay to Duluth and then south to Iowa.
I have been across Manitoulin Island and was disappointed with the ride/scenery. Michigan's UP Route 2 is certainly not as as scenic as the Canadian north shore. However crossing the Mackinaw Bridge is a real thrill on your first crossing. That I've done five times now and none of the subsequent crossings were as thrilling , nerve wracking or as dangerous as the first time.
Our gasoline is running about $1.00 per litre ($4 an Am gal) right now, but your dollar is worth about $1.20 to ours. Expect gasoline prices to be a bit higher this summer; they always are during the summer months.
Have a blast whichever route you decide upon.
Paul: Across Manitoulin Island or just across the North Channel? You couldn't really ride [I]across[/I] Manitoulin Island, you would drive down to it, around it, then either ride back up to Espanola or take the ferry south to Tobermory.
Parts of the North Channel aren't all that interesting, you might have 1/2 hour to an hour where it seems a tad boring in a couple places. The road isn't all that challenging in any area, but it's scenic and some really quaint villages to stop at if so inclined. Manitoulin Island itself is really nice, I could see retiring in an area like that. But I'd have to learn the language, eh.....:scratch
Thanks for the suggestions and URLs! :ca
[QUOTE=Gilly;443189]Paul: Across Manitoulin Island or just across the North Channel? You couldn't really ride [I]across[/I] Manitoulin Island, you would drive down to it, around it, then either ride back up to Espanola or take the ferry south to Tobermory.
Parts of the North Channel aren't all that interesting, you might have 1/2 hour to an hour where it seems a tad boring in a couple places. The road isn't all that challenging in any area, but it's scenic and some really quaint villages to stop at if so inclined. Manitoulin Island itself is really nice, I could see retiring in an area like that. But I'd have to learn the language, eh.....:scratch Gilly[/QUOTE]
I've been on Manitolin twice, one direction by bike, the other direction by car. Crossed by the ferry each time. On my first crossing it was by bike and I remember the extensive road construction being challenging back in '06 but not much about the scenery. I also remember being given only ropes to tie down my bike on the Chi Cheemaun. Remembering that I could never pass my knot badge in scouts, I opted instead for the tie down straps that I always carry for such situations.
In '07 while on the second trip by car I was especially pleased that I had used my tie down straps during the first trip. Four motorcyclists were called down to the car deck to pickup their bikes after a domino affect took place. Since they came back laughing, they obviously had a better sense of humour than I would have had in their situation.
As you said, the roads aren't challenging, but they are very scenic with the lakes on one side and the Canadian Shield on the north, from the North Channel to Marathon.
I skipped last year's RA Rally but from what I've read, the roads in the UP around Houghton were great riding roads. However, I have only ridden US Routes 2 and 41 in that area and did not find the roads demanding or interesting. However, on Route 2 last May, deer warning signs were almost non-existent but there must have been a dozen deer carcasses on the shoulders. Some must have found Route 2 challenging.
In summary I enjoy the road along the North Channel and along Lake Superior to Marathon. After Marathon last August, I questioned why I was on that stretch of road (on my trip out west).
I would not touch the UP, it is pretty boring compared to Hwy 17 to Thunder Bay and then onwards to Duluth. The North Shore of Superior is quite stunning but watch for bears and moose as road hazards.:blah
Keeweenaw peninsula is worth the drive though, as well as the Paradise MI area.
[QUOTE=74937;444169]I would not touch the UP, it is pretty boring compared to Hwy 17 to Thunder Bay and then onwards to Duluth. The North Shore of Superior is quite stunning but watch for bears and moose as road hazards.:blah[/QUOTE]
I tried to be more diplomatic but I was trying to say the same.
On a different note, I had to take my wife to emerg on Sunday morning after the dog bounced her to the ground. On the way out the door I grabbed a few magazines that I was behind with my reading. One was the December '08 issue of Road Runner. In it was an article about touring Manitoulin Island. According to the writer, Manitoulin Island has interesting scenery and fun roads to ride which is not the same scenario that I had described to you earlier. If you should ride the island, please let me know if my assessment of Manitoulin is wrong.