With fall closing in fast here in Eastern Ontario, my wife and I have been eager to squeeze in a few more day trips when the weather cooperates. Luckily after a cold October, November has proven to be mostly dry and punctuated by warm sunny days between frosty mornings and damp chilly evenings. Not camping weather but certainly worth getting on the road with the BV250 for some new roads for the day. The Ride <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=BV250.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/BV250.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> (being so friggin cold, we never took the camera out unless we had stripped down in a cafe - therefore the video link below has the riding action) <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/0BeC4K7-Leg?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0BeC4K7-Leg?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object> We thoughtfully planned this trip so that every hour or so we could stop at a town large enough that it might have a cafe open on a fall Sunday. A wise choice. The Route: Home (near Napanee) to Tweed 58kms Tweed to Bancroft 92kms Bancroft to Haliburton 60kms Haliburton to Algonquin Park 80kms Through park to Whitney 70kms Whitney to Madoc 140km Madoc to Home 80kms Total: 585kms <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=tripmap.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/tripmap.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> In total, Google Maps says it was going to be 585kms with 9 hours of riding. Considering that most roads were posted at 80 and expected road speeds are 100, I figured the trip would actually be around 6 hours riding. This was exciting as the longest single trip I had done so far was to Muskoka to visit my brother on a chilly autumn day last year, which totaled 5.5 hours. We were officially breaking some personal records. Cool. The first stretch through our home turf of county road 41 through the village of Marlbank and Stoco into Tweed was ominously chilly. We had expected the sun to be warming out backs by the time we hit Tweed but despite the glare and the clear sky, we arrived in tweed numb and worried. Judy pulled off her helmet and looked like a piece of candy pink and red and slick with dribbling snot. I cant feel my face. She was not complaining just observing I was proud. We skipped across the road, leaving the scoot in the sun and into the By The Way cafe. Run by husband and wife team of Glenn and Lisa - recently transported from Toronto we sat down to scalding organic hot chocolate and fresh scones slathered in butter. Good road food. Risking burning ourselves in exchange for some borrowed heat, we chugged done the chocolate and enjoyed the places ambiance all creaking wood, wilting house plants and sedate jazz. Pulling plastic, Lisa grimaced, they only take cash. Found some antique money accumulated in our pockets and paid up. <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=IMG_0519.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/IMG_0519.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> Judy: Is it possible to get frost bite above zero? Thats what I was asking myself. And wed only been on the road ten minutes. It was supposed to be sunny and 10 degrees today. Perfect for a fall ride on the scooter. Thats what Tom said. Now, bombing down the highway at 100 km an hour, instead of enjoying the whiz of the fields and trees passing by like I normally do on the stretch of highway heading north out of town, I was seriously wondering whether my ears would freeze and fall off. Or my nose. With the wind chill, it felt like 20 below. Then I remembered Id left the house with wet hair. The wind was whistling through it and I was seriously unsure how to manage the intense burning pain I felt above my neck for another 10 hours. Wed stop at the nice little café in Tweed a half hour away. Id be fine till then. A half hour later, the pain turned to numbness, which wasnt so bad. I imagined us sitting in the cafés warmth, smiling at each other over steaming lattes. Then in my imagination, I tried to smile but my face was frozen and I drooled into my cup. Very attractive. <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=IMG_0521.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/IMG_0521.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> The café was lovelier than I imagined: diminutive tables with table lamps casting warm glows. Classy magazines that I didnt have time to read but liked to know they were there in case the urge struck. Warm, homemade scones and hot mocha. And Tom to look at across from me. Nearly as good as a summer day trip. This is why I love going new places. We walked into the little hardware store next door and found a balaclava for me to wear under the helmet. That should do the trick. This was to be the longest ride Id ever been on with Tom, but I was happy about it, even if it was in November. I love sitting on the bike, inside the scenery as opposed to just looking at it, with my thoughts to myself and the giant sky. To feel our motion so keenly, to know were going places. And to squeeze Tom whenever the mood strikes. Wed done plenty of day trips, but not ten hours worth, nor 600 kilometers. Tom: Stepping into Home Hardware next door Judy found a balaclava to survive the winter storm that was going on inside her helmet. Fired up the BV and turned it north. Time: 10:15. <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=IMG_0524.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/IMG_0524.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> The only major highway riding was number 7. Which, as a single lane major thoroughfare, can be a real drag to ride when busy, too many trucks and double yellow lines to safely pass and lots of cops watching when you do. But today it was an abandoned strip of tarmac gray and frosted in the shadows, steaming in the sun. We turned north unto 62 and then the trip felt like it had properly begun. North of the town of Eldorado (home of Canadas oldest gas station - it was closed) you are far enough from the big centers along the 401 highway that people up here are not commuters they live and work here, and what a desolate place here is. The question Judy and I always ask is what the heck do these people do? The homemade billboards advertising Chads Chimney Care and Bills Bait Shop are peeling and do not instill much confidence in the robustness of the regions economy I would gamble many of the businesses advertised no long exist. We are in the middle of Deer hunting season so 4-wheelers out number cars on the roads and in front of the homes that flash by on the side of 62. Guys in Blaze Orange hang around idling pick-ups at forest access points, smoking and listening to their two-ways for news of moving deer. By Bancroft the sun is up proper and stopping the bike on main street I can feel the warmth through the thighs of my Oscar pants. However it is getting close to noon and we have hardly begun to trip. Judy pulls off her helmet and announces that besides her head everything is cold. We walk aimlessly around town, stomping and moving fast to get the blood moving. We stop in at the army surplus store to buy some mitts for Judy but they dont have any. Like soldiers never get cold hands. The weird guy behind the counter is surfing the net on a screen that we cant see and tells us to try Stedmans next door without looking up. I find that a little creepy. We find ourselves in a bakery/cafe and get some tea and a cookie. The cafe is blisteringly hot and we sit and sweat in our thermal undies, riding clothes and wind breakers. Judy puts on some more layers. <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=IMG_0529.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/IMG_0529.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> Judy: Our next stop was Bancroft, which is kind of pretty. It has a slight cottage country feel, with plenty of white haired people to signal it is nice enough to retire to, and cafes and gift shops, rather than pawn shops and strip joints. It has also got great rocks, particularly a stunning granite cliff just outside of town. I was frozen again, the only part of me warm being the part under the balaclava. So we stopped and walked around to send the blood back into my feet. And went into another little department store for liners to go inside my skidoo mitts, and another pair of socks. You know youre in Canada when you can walk into a small town and find a pair of 30 below socks. And Tom had laughed at me this morning when I put on my down winter coat beneath the motorcycle jacket. Hah! The café we found in Bancroft was very warm, the tea and homemade cookies delightful, and I had the pleasure of watching Tom discover that there are off-road car rallies less than 2 hours from his front door. The sparkle in his eye practically burst into flame when he found an ad for a car rally school within driving distance in New Hampshire. Guess I know what to get him for his birthday. <a href="http://s974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/?action=view¤t=IMG_0526.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae228/TomRiddolls/IMG_0526.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> Tom: It is after 12 when we get back on the road. The landscape breaks from scrubby flat rocky plains populated by struggling cedars and unemployed people to rolling hills of pink granite. The road cutting through towering hills and bridging frozen lakes. I stop to turn on the Hero cam attached to the front fairing. We are warm, there are few cars and I realize I have not seen another bike all day. With the indicator telling me we are just under half a tank Judy shouts in my ear that we should stop for gas and not bypass Haliburton as planned. Compared to Bancroft which is a town that survives on its own, where people who live there are either rednecks and born there or hippies and came by an antiquated VW van, Haliburton is tainted by being that much closer to Toronto. It is cottage country so while Bancroft has everything you need, Haliburton has everything you dont need stores that can supply you with your aromatherapy needs and a wide selection of throw pillows. In the winter it shuts down for the most part and become a depressing place to be like Coney Island in February. Judy: We stretched our legs at a Haliburton gas station, then realized wed not actually covered all that much ground for the amount of time wed been on the road. It was time to get serious; it was not getting any warmer. On the way to Dorset, the granite sparkled in the sunshine and the fox that crossed the road ahead of us paused and looked back at the odd trespasser in his little stretch of Earth. I was close enough to see his cheek whiskers puff up. Through rock offcuts with swirls of black and pink, azure lakes, and golden brown shrubs we headed to Algonquin Park. The landscape seemed to get darker and darker. Tom: I filled the BVs tank, drained mine, and got the heck out of Dodge. The problem with rich people is they tend to buy stuff like beautiful countryside. The land around Haliburton is some of the prettiest and rugged this side of the rockies yet much of it is behind decorative fences and blemished by massive holiday homes and tennis courts. Millions of years ago the Earth did some pretty extreme exercises in contortionism in the area that would become Muskoka and we drove for an hour and hardly ever saw a spot flat enough to park an 18-wheeler that had not been created by man. Now, Toronto money is sculpting the wilderness to allow for golf courses and lodges and more cottages. We entered the park an hour later passing signs announcing the lack of fuel and I regretted not filling up again as we pushed up the hills through Dorset. The BV gets 250kms to the tank with just me, traveling under 100km/h on flat roads. I could only assume that with Judy and the hills we would be lucky to make 170 kilometers before the reserve light winked on. And currently we were not far above half going into the park and anyone who knows these scooters knows that most of the gas is above the F line. We passed one station and Judy urged me just to keep going so I did. Then just before entering the park and old plastic gas sign was swinging from a rusty pole. The needle had been falling steadily and now well below half. I pulled in and saw that the pumps were the antiquated ones with those little plastic balls that whirl around to show you the gas is flowing. No pay at the pump here. Then I notice a Beware of Dog sign stapled to the cedar rail fence surrounding the office and felt that was an odd thing to see at a gas station. As Judy was swinging her leg over a very large and assertive looking Alsatian came bounding around the back of the building. Twisting the throttle and spewing some gravel we sped away hoping the pumps on the other side of the park were more promising than this one. Judy: The scooter only holds 10 L, so Tom stopped again for gas even though we had half a tank and I wondered why we werent pressing on. He obeyed me, then stopped at the next station five minutes on and cursed that it was closed. His cursing made me nervous so when we passed the sign that said NO GAS FOR 65 MILES, I started poking him till he pulled over. Did you see that sign? Do we have enough? Yes, I saw the sign. That is why I wanted to get gas the first time. It doesnt hold very much, he responded. Well why did you listen to me? How am I supposed to know? How odd. Still, by my calculations we had enough to get the distance on the sign. As long as the station was open, added Tom. He can be so reassuring. I gritted my teeth and tried to not watch the needle lean toward empty. More to come.