Trip days: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10-12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
Success! Motorcycle shops in Canada are open on mondays, so I lined up a tire and appointment for install with a BMW dealer in Nepean, on the southern fringe of Ottowa, Ontario.
It had rained all night, and was still dribbling a little bit this morning... oh woe is me. I got heading west on the 401 at quarter after ten, and made pretty good time down to the 416 north to Ottowa. The rain started to pick up pretty good just south of Nepean, but luckily I was shortly at the motorcycle shop and out of the worst of it. The shop was pretty busy, but they were kind enough to squeeze me in when I got there and I was back on the road 45 minutes later returning south on highway 416 back to the 401. Again, in the same spot, the rain picked up something fierce and I proceeded to grit my teeth and hunker down through the fierce rain squall for the 150 miles to the Trenton area on the 401 heading towards Toronto. In all I had made do with 220 some odd miles and 3.5 hours of fierce downpour, which was made even worse by the fire hose effect coming off all the semi-truck tires. Not very fun. A couple times I had almost given up after my "waterproof" boots and gloves had finally choked on their water intake and started leaking. I knew, or at least hoped, that the rain had to stop sometime soon. I mean heck, it can't rain forever, right? Thankfully I was right and the clouds broke and I was greeted by wonderful sunshine. Ahhh, nirvana.
I stopped in at a little trucker greasy spoon to wring the water out of my "waterproof" gloves, change into some dry socks, and inspect the protection my riding gear gave me from the water. My suit held up remarkably well as I don't think anything other than a vinyl rain slicker can be 100% waterproof. Towards the last 30 minutes of the squall I started feeling a little damp on my chest, and upon inspection, yes indeed, I had a small wet spot there. The water had leaked in through the double gusseted zipper flap and zipper mechanism. I may not have had it all closed tightly, or it may just have not held up to the bathroom shower-like stream of water for 3.5 hours. No biggy. I was generally dry and not too terribly uncomfortable.
After finishing my lunch I pulled out my Ontario map to figure out the best route through Toronto and towards Michigan. A guy walked up and offered his assistance and motorcycle rhetoric. He turned out to be an avid goldwing rider... the lazy boy recliner on two wheels. In any case he recommended that I take the 407 electronic toll road around the northern edge of Toronto seeing as how Toronto has miserable traffic just about all the time. He also recommended that I cross the bridge into Michigan at the Sarnia crossing rather than Detroit, as it is generally quite a bit less busier.
I followed his advice and upon reaching Whitby just east of Toronto on the 401 I went north on the highway 12, east on 7, and then hopped onto the 407. The cool thing about the electronic toll highway 407 is that it charges its toll by taking a photo of your license plate as you get on it, then bills you by mail. What's so cool is that if you're from outside of Ontario the toll company can't bill you. So I got my free ride and whizzed around Toronto at the peak of rush hour with no rush hour traffic.
After traversing what seemed like the Los Angeles basin sized sprawl of Toronto, I exited the 407 back onto the 401 west of Toronto, and followed it down to the 402 west to Sarnia. I chugged on for a while and as the sun was getting low I started looking for a place to stay. A couple hotels I stopped at wanted $60 canadian for the night, which at the current 73% exchange calculates out to about $44 plus tax. Do not pass go. Plan B was to camp again so I located the nearest provincial park on the map which turned out to be the Pinary Provincial Park north east of Sarnia on highway 21.
As I turned onto 21 the fog started to set in. I found the park about 18 miles north of the 402 and checked in to get a camping area. The girl at the office was quite nice and we yakked for a little bit. Of course, as usual with people I meet travelling, she had been down to the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham with a friend she was staying with in Vancouver, B.C.
I headed off to my camping spot and was suprised that it was nearly 2 miles away. This is one big provincial park to be sure. I finally got there after nearly running over a jack rabbit and a deer that were chilling out in the middle of the road in pea soup fog in the woods. Lying in my tent I read through the Pinery Provincial Park magazine. Pinery has a bit over 1,100 individual camping plots, a whole bunch of services, and spans more than 6,400 acres. It's one big park to be sure.
Tomorrow I'm off to Chicago to stay with my aunt and uncle, Alex and Marilyn Meloy.
Total Mileage for Day: 541
©2003 John Meloy <firstname.lastname@example.org>