North to South America on a Honda 250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,063
    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    if you come to Baja Mexico, you let me know! I am in!!
    #41
    knight and Joris van O like this.
  2. Hogges

    Hogges Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2018
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    If Canada is too cold, take a slight left down to Burlington, VT. Definitely can offer a bed, shower, food and even free bike parking. Plus it’s not flat and plenty fun roads from here heading West through the Adirondacks.
    #42
    Joris van O likes this.
  3. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hahah :lol3 Wasn't really planning on going there. In Quebec we did go to a bar called Le Drague though, which was interesting to say the least. Might have to try the Poutine once more then, but I'm not fond of the cheese they use.

    I'm currently in Montreal, it is so much nicer than Quebec City. And summer has arrived which is really helping to lift the spirit. Couple more days here then onto Toronto and Niagara Falls!

    I'm planning to, give me a couple of months though. Might be October before I'm there.

    Thanks, appreciate the offer! It's finally warming up here so I'm going to continue with the original plan and head west from Toronto to Calgary and the national parks there. I'm planning on returning to the US east coast in a month or two.
    #43
  4. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,063
    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    you take your time! I will be here!! Saludos!
    #44
    Joris van O likes this.
  5. ryder1

    ryder1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    5,186
    Location:
    SEPA
    Nice RR. If Canada is in summer temps then you will be sweltering in the US by the time you make it down here.

    This week, sofar, the low temps are about 10 to 15C and the high is 20 to 25C in Lancaster, Pa.
    #45
    Joris van O likes this.
  6. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    What's your route from QC to ON?
    #46
  7. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    After three days in Québec it was time to move on to the next city, Montréal. It was very convenient that they are not far apart. I got on the highway (because rain) and checked in at the hostel in Montréal four hours later. The route wasn't super interesting so I only stopped for fuel.

    Montréal I found a much nicer city than Québec. Yes Québec is fun to walk around a day or so, but their selling point is that it is a very old fortified city and (not to sound cocky) having seen a lot of old European city's it does not make that big of an impression. Oh and what amazes me is their lack of bilinguality. As Québecans they speak French of course, but living in an otherwise English speaking country one would assume they could speak both or at least attempt it. At least I got to brush up on my French. In Montréal which is also French speaking it was less of a problem, probably because it is a much larger city.

    Arriving in the afternoon gave me some time go for a stroll. It felt a lot more vibrant here, maybe it was the change in weather that caused it or maybe it were the people but I was really enjoying it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The next day a Swiss guy, a girl that was also in Québec and I went for a walk to Mount Royal. The park at the top provides a wide view over the city so we sat down for a while and had a little picnic. Lots of Tulips in Montréal too, they're really beautiful! We walked back through 'The Underground City', a combination of tunnels and shopping areas stretching almost 32 kilometers under the city. Ideal for the cold winters and hot summers here. In the evening we had dinner and some beers with a bunch of people which was awesome. So great to meet so many cool people in such a short time.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Slightly hungover the following day the three of us visited the Botanical Garden. They had different types of gardens both indoor and outdoor so it was easy to spend a couple hours there. In the afternoon the Swiss guy and I went to the fine arts museum. Every Wednesday from 5pm you can enter for a reduced price, sounded fine to us. What they forget to tell us is that the whole museum is closed except for a temporary exhibition about clothing. Could have spent that money on a beer or two, we were outside within 20 minutes.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I tried to stay a couple days longer but the hostel was fully booked (except the ridiculously priced private rooms) so on Thursday I retrieved my bike from yet another parking lot, packed my overloaded bags and got on the road. It was raining that day but the temps were up and I was able to ride without winter gear! It is around 550km to Toronto so it made sense to split it up in two days and leisurely follow the back roads along the St. Lawrence river.
    [​IMG]

    I planned on camping somewhere on the Prince Edward peninsula so took the Glenora ferry. While waiting for the ferry I get talking with a guy named James and his girlfriend. They are super friendly and James even calls his friend in Whitehorse to let him know there might be a dutch guy on a small motorcycle passing through in a couple of weeks. Just before we get of the ferry he hands me a bottle of craft beer. On the label is the ferry that we were on. Amazing! Made my day!
    [​IMG]

    The spot I had seen on the map falls through as it is forbidden to enter so I find a spot in a nearby field. Cooked some dinner and enjoyed a real fine craft beer while the sun went down. Once I had convinced myself it were only deer that were making so much noise around my tent and scared them away I slept really well. Didn't even need extra clothes to stay warm.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From the shores of Lake Ontario it looks like the Mediterranean Sea with its blue water, shame it is still very cold.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Riding into Toronto was a bit stressful, I hit rush hour and of course lanesplitting is not allowed. Just have to sit patiently until traffic moves a bit. Gave me time to look up at the high buildings and take a picture or two, that was alright!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Not sure what eating these will bring you..
    [​IMG]
    #47
    Riel, mb300, powderzone and 10 others like this.
  8. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Currently in Toronto, making my way down to Niagara Falls and from there start heading west to Calgary!
    #48
    roadcapDen likes this.
  9. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,161
    Location:
    Satellite of Love
    Loving the pics! What kind of mileage (kilometerage?) do you get?

    Looking forward to more! :beer
    #49
    Joris van O likes this.
  10. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks! It averages about 28 km per liter, so with the 16 liter tank I can go 450km. I once got 480km from a tank but that was running on fumes.
    #50
  11. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Great pics! See you soon!
    Also have 2 brothers in Calgary that you could stay with!
    #51
    Joris van O likes this.
  12. landyguy

    landyguy Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Calgary,Alberta,Canada
    If you need a place to stay in Calgary just message me.
    #52
    Joris van O likes this.
  13. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Luckily I had booked a hostel in Toronto a day before so I didn't need to search around for a place to sleep. Arriving early again ment that I could go for a stroll through the city. So I walked along the harbourfront to Old Toronto and Chinatown. There are lots of impressive buildings rising to the sky downtown but absolute number one is of course the CN Tower. That thing is high, incredible!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At night I met some other people and went with them to a bar in the University district. It was fun but we felt a bit out of tone as we were all way older than the rest of the public (and I'm not that old).
    [​IMG]

    The following morning, or maybe it wasn't morning anymore, I got myself tickets for the CN Tower and the Aquarium. As rain was expected I decided to leave the tower for another day and first went to the aquarium. Walking into there could have been the same as walking into kindergarten, there were a lot of families with kids running around, screaming from excitement. Eventually it thinned out a bit and I was able to see some of the fishies which turned out to be great! I especially liked the jellyfish, they had some lights in the water that made them look real awesome!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Opposite of the aquarium was the railway museum. A couple of old locs and coaches and the fully functional roundhouse. They were driving the loc back and forth on the roundhouse while it was rotating. Inside there were scale models and a lot of photos of the old days. I sat down and watched a couple of videos about the Trans Canadian Railway before walking further towards St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I grabbed a slice of pizza at the market and continued to the distillery area. The predicted rain arrived which gave me a good reason to dive into one of the many cafés and do some writing.
    [​IMG]

    During the day the Toronto Blue Jays lost their baseball game, but in the evening the Toronto Raptors won their basketball match and entered the NBA finals after which Toronto exploded. Outside there were people singing (or screaming), cars honking, and in the hostel we also had a small party after watching the match. There were many interesting characters in the hostel that night, most of them live there semi-permanent and are almost like a family, some -like me- are there just for a few days and some were only there one evening. Take Thomas for example, originally from Ireland but now living in Toronto and/or Halifax. Looked like Brian Johnson from AC/DC, with a beard as long as his hair. Sounded the same to, and had great stories to tell! Then there was Vince, normal guy that just got divorced and then he was no longer needed at his work so was sent on a payed leave for a couple months. His two little dogs stole the show though. There was also Carlos, he looked like some old Japanese Yakuza mobster (think bold with a long grey beard) but was originally born in Guatemala. His father apparently was highly involved in the Guatemalan coup in 1954. He started picking a fight with another Irish guy called Steven later in the evening. Steven was around 23 years old I would say and just got I new job in Toronto. He only gets paid every two weeks and was now living on one meal a day to save money until payday. I offered to buy him food but he was alright he said. There were many more people that I don't even remember their names of, they all had an interesting story.
    [​IMG]

    Again slightly hungover I got up, made some sandwiches and then took the ferry to the Toronto Islands. Everyone took the ferry to Centre Island so I took the one to Hanlan's Point. The ferry provides a nice viewpoint of the city but it soon became apparent why there were so few people taking this ferry. Because of the high waterlevel in the lake a lot of the islands were flooded. I took of my shoes and socks and waded through, managed to help a guy out by carrying his stroller across. I then sat down on the beach for and hour or two to read my book and eat the sandwiches I made earlier. Super beautiful view of the lake from the beach, the water looked so nice but was still very cold. If I had brought swim gear I would have gone in (maybe).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After a look at all the attractions on the central island I walked on along the boardwalk to Wards Island to grab a beer and a hotdog at the Island Cafe, before heading back to mainland.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I still had my ticket for the CN Tower so from the ferry I went straight for the entrance and got in line for the elevator. It took about 45 minutes in to get in, the elevator takes about 1 minute to climb the 350 meter. What a view! I waited two hours for the sun to go down to see the city light up at night, worth it!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #53
    mb300, Stubanger, td63 and 9 others like this.
  14. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Uitstekend! = Excellent!
    Bedankt:photog
    #54
    Joris van O likes this.
  15. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    811
    Location:
    East Texas
    Awesome report - great job your doing so keep it coming
    #55
    Joris van O and roadcapDen like this.
  16. mashrider

    mashrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    122
    Location:
    Cullman AL
    I am in Alabama if you get this way!!!! I have tools and a garage,
    #56
    Joris van O likes this.
  17. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Way behind with the blog, currently in a Tim Hortons in Thunder Bay. Takes a lot of time riding from one place to the next here..

    RoadCapDen had offered me a bed and a beer, which I gladly accepted. I sent him a message that I would leave Toronto on Monday and if it was alright to show up on his doorstep that evening. No problem he said! There was rain predicted on Tuesday so I decided to first ride to Niagara Falls on Monday and then backtrack to Den's place.

    The Niagara Falls, I think there are very few people on earth who have not heard about them. That also means that there's a lot of people visiting them. With good reason, 'cause man.. It is impressive! Look through all the casinos, giftshops and other crap -or not as it gives the place a certain flair- and it is an artwork made by nature. I admired it from above, but to get a real grip of the scale I went on the boat and got drenched. Its a wall of roaring white water 180° around you, towering high in the sky. I had a great time, and got closer to the US border than ever before but it will take some time until I actually cross it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Except for some traffic jams (no splitting lanes here) the ride to and from the falls wasn't that interesting and I was happy to finally arrive at Den's place, which was easily found as there was a beautiful old Honda C76? in red parked on the street. I had no idea what to expect as this was my first time staying with someone from advrider, but before I even had the chance to get my gear off I was handed a cold one and we were checking out one of his many bikes. At the end of the day I was feeling pretty tired, not sure if it was the long day, the many beers Den supplied me with or something else, but I sure slept well that night.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In the morning he had to get parts to fix some of the learner bikes at the school he's teaching. We picked up the parts and dropped them off at the location after visiting the Harley Davidson dealer to which he sold one of his bikes (the 2-stroke).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    While Den checked what more needed fixing he let me have a go on a Honda Grom and a similar Kawasaki. What a great little bikes! They were fun to ride around the parking lot but I don't want to think about riding long distances on em. There's no space for your legs, got to leave those at home..
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I was also able to wash my bike and adjust the chain, then Den gave me a set of new mirrors to replace the one I broke well over a year ago. In the evening we watched Easy Rider, a cult classic that I had never seen before. Weird end though..
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The following morning before I set off, Den's wife blessed the bike and me with an old Odjibwe ritual by burning white buffalo sage (smelled really good) and a eagle feather. I don't know how or why, but I felt really good the following days, and the winds did indeed come from behind.

    I can't thank RoadCapDen and his wife enough, inviting a stranger into their home, providing a place to sleep, feeding me, showing me around, entertaining me, new mirrors and what not. Truly incredible! Thank you, I really enjoyed it :-)
    [​IMG]

    Before making my way further West I had to ride back to the hostel in Toronto because I forgot to bring my winterjacket. Then back to a road that Den had recommended through Rattlesnake point which were probably the first switchbacks I have come across in Canada.
    [​IMG]

    Ended the day at a way to expensive campground in Owen Sound. I had Wifi in my tent and hot showers, so not all bad. And there were some beautiful hikes around Harrison Park leading to a waterfall. The leafs on the trees are so green here, really cool, looks fluorescent. I also almost shit myself when I followed a overgrown trail and saw something small and black move around in a crevasse and and it stared at me. Then I saw a porcupine climb up in a tree and realized I stumbled upon a little family. No bear encounter luckily!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #57
    mb300, Stubanger, severely and 11 others like this.
  18. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Great write up and pictures my Friend!!! Thanks!
    The (smaller than your) Honda is a 1963 C95, 150cc twin.
    Joris was a pleasure to host, great guy!
    May the roads rise with you and the wind be always at your back:clap
    #58
    wee-twin, td63, bluestuff68 and 4 others like this.
  19. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    187
    Location:
    Netherlands
    From Owen Sound I rode up to Tobermory to catch the Chi-Cheemaun ferry across Lake Huron, about a 100km ride through quaint little towns and farmlands. It amazed me how big the ferry was, like a proper sized ocean going ship. But then again these lakes are massive, like oceans, so what else would they use. Motorcycles were allowed to bord first, so that's how I met Dave. We were both waiting at the front of the line. Dave had left Plymouth Michigan at 4:30am to catch this ferry to Manitoulin Island and ride his Honda VFR? around there for the weekend. We talked a while about bikes and trips and stuff until we were allowed onto the ferry. We had to sign a waiver that made us responsible for the bikes and had to strap them down ourselves.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From the upper deck there was a great view all around, so for the two hours it took the ferry to cross I sat down in one of the deck chairs and enjoyed the sail. They held a fire drill and all the crew dressed up but no real fire fortunately.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Riding off the ferry I followed Dave and he was signaling me to pull over. He asked if I was hungry and offered to buy me dinner. Well yeah, sure.. How could I refuse. We rode to a little restaurant close by and got the fish and chips. Some great characters in there, could hardly understand what they were saying because their accent was so thick. Once Dave told them that I was riding the 250 cross country and down south the stories came. The owner told us about a guy that was standing outside, so he asked him if he was waiting for a ride. 'No, I'm fine' he said.. 'What are you doing outside then?'. 'Oh I'm just walking'. 'Walking from where?'. 'Toronto, left three and a half week ago'. 'So where you walking to then?'. 'Vancouver, and then to South America'. 'Jeez, that will take a while eh?'. 'Yeah, about 26 to 27 years'. 'Well I'll tell you one thing, you sure as hell ain't gonna walk back that's for sure!'. Then another began about Alaska, and that he once had to protect a couple of German bikers from a grizzly. I asked him what he did. He said 'The fucker spoke English but wouldn't listen'. So I asked him again, what did you do then? 'Well I had a shotgun and he didn't', so he lost'. I had a good laugh there, they all had some great stories.

    Outside I thanked Dave for taking me out for dinner. It still amazes me, someone you just met, buying dinner for them. Incredibly kind, thank you Dave, you're awesome! I hope you had a good weekend and can get some time off to ride north, you should make it happen!
    [​IMG]

    Following highway 6 north on Manitoulin Island was such a nice ride. I saw Amish and Mennonites working the land and driving the horse and carriage. Fascinating that in this day and age they can still continue their lifestyle. Didn't take pictures though, that would have been rude.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On Ioverlander there is a place just outside of Blind River to pitch the tent for the night. There was space to camp next to the railroad, but on the other side was a beach that looked far more inviting. I tried to cross the tracks with my bike but soon realized that wasn't going to happen so carried my bags to the beach instead.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On the beach was a little shack but it looked scruffy inside so I pitched my tent in front and spend the evening warming myself by a fire. Later when I went to sleep I figured I might as well move the tent inside, close the door and not worry about wildlife. Had a good quiet night sleeping in that shack. That's why I picked a free-standing tent, try getting pegs into concrete.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next day was again spend chipping away at the Trans Canada Highway. This is such a vast country, ride the whole day and it will still look the same. It's never boring though, it is beautiful and especially here around the lakes the road snakes its way through the hills and rocks and along lakes and swamps. I made it past Sault Ste. Marie all the way to Wawa where there was another beach to camp on. Best spot so far, and with the sun still high I took a dip in Lake Superior. Still bloody cold but a good replacement for a shower. When I sat by the fire a couple of locals came around walking their dogs but it was all alright, friendly people around here.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #59
    OldCoot, mb300, Stubanger and 14 others like this.
  20. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    982
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Epic!!!
    #60
    garfey likes this.