Archive for 2012 MS Ride

Day 16: Sudbury to Wawa

Breakfast at the Artisan Upstairs Guesthouse was great, and we were happy to see that it was going to be sunny to start off the day. Our plan was to rip to Sault Ste. Marie to meet a friend from back home for lunch, but he ended up golfing in the states and couldn’t meet us anymore. Once we got that news, we just took our time… Took our time because of the construction! Good thing we weren’t on another tight schedule.

Just like yesterday, the scenery was beautiful, but what set today apart was the weather. No jacket from morning to night, and of course tonnes of sunscreen.

My bike in front of Lake Superior

I’d heard that once you head north from Sudbury that there is nothing, and I guess it depends on your definition. If you are looking for nice little places to stop off for a pop and some gas, you’re right, there is nothing! There is a lot of nice scenery though, and luckily the distances between gas stations and cities was just right so there were no worries for us.

Texts more than me!

It was kind of a good thing that there weren’t many places to stop as it was hotter than… what’s a good adjective here… fill in the blank yourself, it was HOT. And yeah, that’s dad texting away in the heat.

As we were closing in on Wawa the sky started getting ugly, but luckily we made it to the motel before the rain started. Also lucky to find that there was a pretty good Polish restaurant right across the highway from our motel. Unfortunately no Spiritus though.

It was a long day of riding, and tomorrow will be the same as we head towards Thunder Bay. It’s supposed to be 16 degrees tomorrow afternoon, which makes no sense when it was 30 today, but we’ll see.

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 15: Toronto to Sudbury

So we managed to leave Toronto without being run over or being flipped the bird…

The weather went sideways on the 400 north as we headed to Barrie though as it started raining up, and hailing sideways! It was so bad that we had to pull over, and we weren’t the only ones as other vehicles on the road had to pull over as well due to the high winds and zero visibility! I tried to hide under some trees to wait for the insanity to stop, but that didn’t work as it was raining and hailing through the trees.

Arriving in Barrie!

The 15 minutes or so that we pulled over meant that we were late for the noon lunch meeting I had set up with the Simcoe County Chapter of the MS Society in Barrie. Even though we were about 20 minutes late, we were still greeted with a large group of representitives from the chapter, community members with MS, television cameras and reporters, as well as a newspaper photographer! The support we received courtesy of the Simcoe County Chapter was phenomenal! Thanks!

With members of the Simcoe County Chapter, A&W staff, and community reps!

Unfortunately not everyone could stay around for lunch and the photo (mostly since we were late), but we still had a great time at A&W in Barrie. Along with everyone already mentioned, it was very nice to see MP Patrick Brown greet us as well! Thank you for the warm welcome and support everybody!

Riding north from Barrie to Sudbury

The scenery from Barrie to Sudbury was amazing, and I think that this is the start of the Canadian Shield? Man I can’t remember my elementary school geography anymore… Regardless of whatever it was, the rocks that lined both sides of the highway were amazing. I enjoyed seeing all the little Inuksuk that people built along the side of the road and atop the rocks. Maybe Monst is interested in building one somewhere along the route?

We caught some more rain as we continued north, and by some I mean a LOT more. It’s funny how we could see the wall of rain in front of us… see it… see it… still dry… see it… WHAM! SOAKED!

By the time we rolled into our B&B in Sudbury we had dried out a little, and it was sure nice to be able to take off all the rain gear and go out for dinner. Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a sunny day, so hopefully the rain gear can stay packed away now for a while.

Here are the points of interest from today’s ride:

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Day 14: Toronto to Niagara Falls & Back

This morning started off with me coordinating where I was going to buy a new tbag and gps cradle. I found some places, and also lucked out by finding a guy on kijiji that sold me the 35mm lens that I was after for a while. The lens came in handy today as we ventured out to Niagara Falls…

On the way there we almost both got run over on the 407. Here we were, riding closely staggered in the center lane, when some guy in a smaller SUV decides to start cutting in behind me out of nowhere. I had to accelerate so that he didn’t clip my back tire, and then looking in my mirror I see dad hammering on the brakes so that he didn’t get shoved into the semis in the next lane over. Shocked as to what’s going on, I take a look back and guess what… the guy gives ME the one finger salute!? Anyway, we made it out unscathed… and to the guy that almost took us both out, have a nice day.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls was everything that I hoped it would be and more. I’ve travelled the world, and everywhere I’ve been people asked if I had been to Niagara Falls… embarrassingly I’d have to say no, but today I finally got to see this wonder.

Niagara Falls Rainbow

Niagara Falls Rainbow

As we drove in I saw the first side of the falls and thought it was fantastic, until we continued down the road and came upon the larger falls and it just blew my mind. I’ve seen smaller waterfalls before, but the mist, the rainbow, the sheer size of this place was definitely something that I wont forget.

Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls

Just awesome…

Niagara Falls on the Canadian side

We didn’t want to have to deal with rush hour traffic going back into Toronto, so we stayed at Niagara Falls for a few hours and just absorbed the wonder of it all. The well timed ride back went by like a rocket as we didn’t have to slow down once on the QEW or Gardiner Expressway.

Yonge Street Toronto

Once we got back into the city we went out for dinner and then a beer at Jack Astor’s. In my previous visit to Toronto I checked that place out, and fell in love with it. Why don’t they open one out west already?!

We also passed the 5000km mark today!

Here is today’s points of interest:

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Day 13: Ottawa to Toronto

Somehow I managed to sleep in until the whopping hour of 8am this morning before we started getting ready for the ride out to Toronto. We gassed up, had some Subway for breakfast, and then made our way out to the highway. I was contemplating the 7 vs. the 401, but we ended up taking the 401 as it was recommended to be the best route since it was the weekend.

From all the horror stories I heard about the 401, it really wasn’t that bad. We sailed along nicely, and didn’t get run over like we did in Montreal. Unfortunately along the route today my GPS mount broke and the GPS unit fell right off, but luckily the power cord held it on and it didn’t meet its demise on the pavement. Once again, add another thing to the “unexpected costs list.”

A good thing that happened was that we were recognized again. After stopping for lunch I heard “excuse me!” and when I turned there was a guy that asked if we were the guys riding across Canada! He said that he had seen the website (hey bud!) and was following the tweets. Good to hear that the message is getting out there!

Rolling into Toronto

The whole ride was hot, and it got even worse as soon as we hit downtown Toronto. With every light we stopped at we melted a little bit more. Luckily the traffic, while bad, wasn’t THAT bad and we made it to the hotel without too much screwing around.

Once at the hotel I googled around for a place that sells T-Bags (yeah, very funny all you tweeters) and ram mounts for the gps. I’ve sent a few emails off, so hopefully I heard back tomorrow and can get those two things picked up either on the way or to or back from Niagara falls.

Toronto shot from Milestones at Yonge and Douglas

We had dinner at Milestones on the corner of Yonge and Douglas courtesy of the fine folks at Kelsey’s in downtown Edmonton who provided us with the Cara group gift cards. We really appreciate it!

Elephant & Castle

After dinner we stopped in for a quick beer at the Elephant & Castle before shutting it down for the night. The above picture isn’t really a glimpse at Toronto, more of just me playing with this new lens a little bit.

Here are today’s points of interest:

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MS Ride’s CBC News Ottawa Coverage

Check me out on CBC (skip to the 9:14 mark)

Thanks so much to everyone at CBC Ottawa that helped share my story!

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Day 12: Montreal to Ottawa

This morning we got up bright and early in Montreal and decided to make our way to Ottawa. I had an interview lined up with CBC for 1pm, and we weren’t sure how long it would take us to get to Ottawa, so we hit the road.

We arrived in Ottawa at just after 11, and were luckily able to check in already. I showered up and got ready for my interview with CBC Ottawa and also for my meeting with a representative from the Ottawa MS Society.

Maggie from CBC and Chris from the Ottawa MS Society Chapter

I met Chris from the Ottawa MS Society today, and we got to talk about my ride and the awareness that it’s raising. Thank’s for coming down!

The CBC interview was with Maggie, who is planning on doing something called OYOW (One Year One World), where she will visit 52 countries for a week at a time, over a one year time span. Good luck on your amazing adventure!

Upon completing the interview we headed downtown to Parliament Hill…

The bikes at Parliament Hill… I swear that’s where they are!

Here are the bikes at Parliament Hill… Yeah, you can’t tell that’s where they are, but I swear that’s where they are. We couldn’t get them into a better position for a photo 🙁

Shot from Parliament Hill

The grounds were neatly kept, and the weather was perfect for a few photos.

Monst at Parliament Hill

I didn’t really want to go to Parliament Hill (kidding), but good ol’ Monst basically begged us to take him there. Little fella had a great time, and posed nicely for this picture in front of the main tower.

The weather was hot, and we had a nice ride in to Ottawa. Tomorrow is likely going to be the same… so please send sunscreen!

Today we passed over the 4500km mark, which means that the ride is 1/3 done… wow, already?!

Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 11: Quebec City to Montreal

After finishing breakfast at the B&B right in old Quebec we headed off for Montreal. Luckily there weren’t any incidents like the t-bag falling off, etc, like yesterday, and we made it here in one piece.

Downtown Montreal

We lucked out and our hotel room was on the 18th floor, so we had a great view of the downtown area. Speaking of the downtown area, holy smokes was it ever an adventure getting to the hotel from the highway! Dad almost got run off the road by a guy in a truck, and then the tunnels and off ramps were an absolute rodeo. Luckily the little Garmin kept us going in the right direction and we made it to the hotel without too much screwing around.

Station des Sports Montreal

After checking in we went downstairs and found a sports bar where we had a bite to eat and a few beers. This place was dirt cheap, and had the biggest patio area that I’ve ever seen. They apparently love their patios out here!

No pictures of the bikes today as we pretty much just gunned it from Quebec City to Montreal, with only one stopover at a truck stop for a little food. Here are today’s points of interest:

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Day 10: Fredericton to Quebec City

After sawing some sweet logs at the Knights Inn in Fredericton, we enjoyed the complimentary continental breakfast and gave our thanks to the GM, Norm Boudreau who gave us a complimentary room, and also a cash donation! Thanks so much!

Norm recommended we take a quick dip into Hartland…

Hartland and the world’s longest covered bridge

Sure enough we came across the world’s longest covered bridge! I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to see when Norm described it to us, but it was definitely cool. Bikes sounded awesome in there as well!

Just south of Edmundston my t-bag decided to fall off the bake of my bike! The bag is pretty much destroyed, but luckily all my clothes inside are fine. I managed to get some bungee cords at a gas station to jimmy it back together… unfortunately the the once solid leather bag is now a flaccid piece of garbage.

Somewhere between the t-bag debacle and Edmundston we had a mountie pass us on the highway and wave. When she got just in front of me she blipped the lights for a bit, then continued on her way before we saw her pull over a speeder a short distance down the highway. I’m thinking that she recognized what we were doing and that was her way of saying hi and good job!

We stopped off at a rest stop, and met an Acadian from New Brunswick who happened to have a tire pressure gauge with him. My rear tire had been wearing far too quickly, so we decided to test the pressure to see what was up… I had a shocking 55psi in my rear when the max is only supposed to be 41! I have no idea how that happened as I’ve never put any air into the tires, and when the bikes arrived at Mile 1 in Newfoundland they said that the pressures were all good… maybe just kicking the tires isn’t the best test hey fellas? Anyway, the guy made me laugh when he put the gauge up and shouted “oh &@%#!” when he saw the result!

After letting out almost 15psi of pressure the ride was far smoother, and we had a great ride in to Quebec City.

Quebec City

Quebec City is beautiful, and seems very european. I love the endless patios along Grande Allée Est where our B&B is, and the fortification around the city is something to behold. I think I remember seeing that Quebec City is/was the only fortified city in North America? Am I right?

Rue Saint Louis

Rue Saint Louis

Quebec City, more specifically Grande Allée Est is the most happening place that we’ve come across on the trip so far. The non stop patios and clubs, with all kinds of drunken shenanigans (super troopers anyone?) on the sidewalks is definitely a sight to be seen. Man I wish I had more time here! Oh well, definitely coming back!

At dinner tonight we met a few people from Ontario, and another table from Vancouver, who saw our shirts and thanked us for what we were doing.

Here are the points of interest from today’s ride:

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Day 9: Shaw’s to Fredericton

We’d once again like to send out a huge thank you to Shaw’s Hotel for the accommodations last night, and for allowing us to stay at the oldest inn in Canada. Shaw’s and their staff are world class, and was a true treat! Check this place out!

Shaw's Hotel

Shaw’s Hotel, Prince Edward Island

Upon departing Shaw’s we gassed up and stopped off at TIm’s near the confederation bridge for some breakfast. While there, we saw a mishmash of plates from BC, Alberta, Ontario etc, and upon talking to the riders, we found that they were all riding across Canada for Cancer, and that they have raised over $400,000 throughout the years. AMAZING. Good work by the MAC Rally of Hope team, and thanks for the donation!

Monst at the Bay of Fundy

Monst at the Bay of Fundy

We took the confederation bridge across to New Brunswick, and dipped down into Fundy National Park for a quick view of the bay, before having to turn back for gas. I managed to squeak 348.5km out of my tank before filling up again… yeah the bike was on fumes, and that’s a new record for me. I don’t want to push it that far again.

On the way down there we also passed the 3000km mark for the trip!

Hanging out with the Neon Riders

Upon arrival in Fredericton we had just enough time to drop some stuff off at the hotel before heading to Relish Gourmet Burgers in downtown Fredericton for the joint event with the Neon Riders! From 5-9pm the Neon Riders, dad, and I raised awareness for MS, and raised some money for both of our causes. Rumor has it that Relish was 3x busier than they usually are on a Wednesday night, so I can’t wait to see the final figure of dollars raised via the Neon Riders accountant!

Monst and the Neon Riders

Monst hamming it up with the Neon Riders

Good old Monst made it out to the event too!

Fox 105.3 Events Team

Fox 105.3 Events Team

Thanks to the Fox 105.3 events team for making out out to Relish tonight as well! Great publicity all day on the radio from you guys! Here is a pic that they took and tweeted/facebooked for us:

Misa-Neeeeeeeee-chan!

Misa-Neeeeeeeee-chan!

And finally I ran into Misako, or Misa-Ne-Chan as we called her back at the ski-resort in Niseko Japan that I worked at in ’03-’04! Hisashiburi!!!

Here are the points of interest from today’s ride:

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Day 8: Charlottetown to Shaw’s

The forecast for today was for doom and gloom, but the morning actually starte off pretty decent for us. We ate breakfast at the Cranford Inn (which was excellent by the way), and headed straight for the car wash. The trees outside were dropping these sticky little orange seeds or something onto the bikes, and they were pretty much caking the bikes by the time we got out to them in the morning.

While drying the bikes off at the car wash, a guy named Neil came up to us and asked if we were riding across the country for MS. This media attention is really paying off as people are starting to recognize us in each city we get some coverage!

Upon washing the bikes, we headed out for the far east end of the island, and had some great weather to start off with!

Riding toward PEI’s East Point

The weather was still awesome when we arrived at East Point.

PEI’s East Point

When we got out to East Point, it was hilariously windy, or W.A.F. as we called it last month up in the bird. We sat and ate our snacks provided by the wonderful ladies at the Cranford Inn, all while trying to not get blown into the ocean.

Check out dad’s hair for an indication of how windy it was

I decided to put on my rain pants before we left the East Point as it looked pretty nasty out to the west, but dad decided to risk it… luckily I pulled over about half way to Shaw’s and suggested we put on the rest of our gear as I could just feel the rain coming… and good thing we did as we got pounded again all the way to the Shaw.

Getting rained on between East Point and Shaw’s

Tonight we’re staying at Shaw’s Hotel in the north end of PEI, and we absolutely love it. This is the oldest inn in Canada, dating back to 1860, and we just had the best lobster supper that I’ve ever experienced. Dad says he’s on a sea-food diet here, but I think it’s a see food (and eat it) diet 😉

Anyway, Shaw’s is magnificent, and hopefully we can check out more of the property in the morning if the rain lets up.

Here are the points of interest for today:

On a side note, I don’t have a picture of them, but when I see the giant windmills here in PEI, I instantly think of the tripods from War of the Worlds. Anyone else?

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