Rural Road Rambling (Southwest Ontario)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by B10Dave, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I live near the Town Of Aylmer Ontario in the southwestern area of the province and about 15 kilometers north of Lake Erie. I like to ride my motorcycles at any and every opportunity that presents itself. Sunday afternoons are some of my favourite times to tour around my area. Today it was the turn for my 2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor to be let out of my shop and carry me on a nice 300 KM (180 mile) ramble. I left home about 1 PM and headed in a northerly direction to Thorndale and on to Middlesex Cty 16 to get me around the City of London and it's traffic. A few minutes on Hwy 7 and then north on Hwy 23 brought me to Whalen's Corners where I went west to Hwy 4 and into and north from Exeter. At Brucefield I made a Left on the Bayfield Road with the intention of going to Hwy 21 at Bayfield and up the lake to Goderich and beyond. Before I got to Bayfield I saw a sign at the Village of Varna directing me to Stonehouse Brewery. Thought that sounded good so I made a short detour to get a variety six pack to take home.

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    Back to Varna and then right to Bayfield and Hwy 21 North. As I was leaving Bayfield I saw another sign advertising River Road Brewery and Hops. A short 1 KM detour saw me there buying another six pack to take home. I also bought a souvenir glass at each place to add to my beer glass collection.

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    Back to Hwy 21 N and on to and through the Town of Goderich. No stop there today as I was on my way to a small relic of local railroading a bit more to the north at Hwy 21 and Nile Road. This small bridge and concrete culvert were part of the short lived Ontario West Shore Railroad. The culvert is original and the bridge span on top of it is a recreation from about 2014. More detail is in the script on the sign.

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    From the small historical site I went back east on Nile Rd to Londesborough and down 4 Hwy back south to Clinton. Clinton Ontario RCAF Base was where the first radar training school in North America was established. There is a large radar antenna set in a parkette in the middle of town to acknowledge this.

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    Across the street from the antenna there is a mural on a building wall to show the "Grand Parade of the Clinton Old Boys Reunion of 1925".

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    Continuing south on Hwy 4 brought me back to Exeter where there is another mural of the former Grand Trunk railway station on a wall beside a downtown parkette. The actual station has been moved to Grand Bend and is now renovated into a dentist's office.

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    I left Exeter and retraced my route back down Hwy 4; the Whalen Line and through Thorndale and Dorchester and back home. 300 odd KMs and a very pleasant afternoon of rambling.

    I hope to add to this thread as I ride my bikes and take pictures all over southwest Ontario. Thanks for looking.
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  2. zzzak

    zzzak Long timer Supporter

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    Looks like a short piece of track.
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  3. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    I noticed that you picked up on the brewery directions. :lol3
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  4. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    That little bridge/culvert is the only visible remains of the railroad. It only stretched about 20 miles when it was in operation.
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  5. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Sometimes my eyes are drawn to signs as if by magic.:drink
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  6. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    I'll be following along Dave...

    I wish I could explore up there but the border closure seems to get extended each month. Plus, if you happen to make it across, you're subject to a 14 day quarantine...

    best regards...
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  7. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    August 12th. I left home mid morning to meet a riding buddy at the corner of Belmont Rd. and Dingman Drive. We use Dingman Dr. to skirt the southern boundary of London and miss all the traffic. It is a nice small road with little traffic but straight and featureless. It goes through farming country and ends at Wonderland Rd. which we take to get to Lambeth and Longwoods Rd.

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    Longwoods Rd. is the former Provincial HWY 2 which runs from the Quebec border in the east all the way to Windsor in the west. Windsor is across the river from Detroit Mi. We were going as far as Thamesville on this road. There is a historic marker for the " Battle of the Longwoods" from the War of 1812-14 between the British and their Native allies and the Americans and their Native allies. Unfortunately the stone from the monument is polished and reflects too much to get a good picture. It has a good account of the battle and lists the important people from both sides and who was killed.

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    There is also a stone cairn on the hill about where the American encampment was located.

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    From this point we continued west towards Thamesville. At the Chatham/Kent county line the road is called the Tecumseh Parkway; named for the Indian Chief who brought together many tribes to fight alongside the British ( the lesser of two evils in his mind ) against the Americans ( who Tecumseh hated for pushing his people out of Ohio and other states and ruining their way of life).

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  8. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    A little further along there is a monument honouring Tecumseh and many plaques telling the story of the battle that cost him his life. The plaques go into great detail about the men on both sides and have mini biographys of the opponents and details of the battle and who was killed by whom in some cases. We spent over an hour here taking in all the details presented on the plaques.

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    This plaque is in the native language of this region.

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    There were 6 signs like the one in the next picture and 12 like the next one. They go into much detail and tell quite a tale of parts of our history during this short span of time during one battle in the War of 1812.

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    Also on site is a large sculpture depicting a turtle shell for the Turtle Clan of the local natives and with it several bench like signs telling their history.

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  9. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    When we left this site we headed further west towards Thamesville. Normally we would turn south on Little John road and cross the Thames river and go through the Moraviantown Reserve; but due to the covid 19 virus the First Nations reserves are closed to outsiders so we have to go into Thamesville to go south and access the River Line to Chatham. This is a nice curvy road that follows the river and is a pleasure to ride. No pics as I was having too much fun to stop. From Chatham we go north to Wallaceburg and west to the St Clair river and head north on the St Clair Parkway towards Sarnia. The St Clair river separates Ontario from Michigan and is the International border along its entire length. Great Lakes water levels are at near record highs this year and docks are just out of the water. They usually have about 15 inches between the water and the underside of the docks.

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    The Great Lakes and St Lawrence River waterways see huge annual tonnages of freight both down bound and up bound. The first ship we saw was actually a self unloading barge named Erie Trader which is paired with the articulating tug Clyde S Van Enkevort. The barge was built in 2012 and is 740 feet long. The tug was built in 2011 at the same shipyard.

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    We continued north past the decommissioned Ontario Power Generation Lambton Generating station. It is being torn down. The Liberal government wanted to get our province away from using coal fired generation of electric power to reduce pollution. I will say nothing about the coal fired station less than 1/2 a mile away in Michigan. Prevailing wind comes from that direction by the way. Great decision Liberals. This plant was partially replaced by wind and solar generation. Contracts signed with the operators of these systems make Ontario power some of the most expensive in the world. Again; great decision Liberals.

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    We continued along the parkway to the park at Marshy Creek where I took pictures of the Edwin H Gott downbound towards Detroit and Lake Erie. This ship is one of eight 1000 ft. vessels currently sailing the Great Lakes.

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    #9
  10. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Lunch time was well past so we stopped at Annettes Grill in Courtright for take out which we ate in the riverside park across the street.

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    On up to Sarnia followed lunch. We got cheaper gas at the reserve on the south end of Sarnia and then went to the Refined Fool Brewery for a six pack to take home and another glass for my collection.

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    A quick trip to Pt. Edward for ice cream under the Bluewater Twin Bridges( which span the St Clair river between Pt. Edward Ontario and Port Huron Michigan.) finished our trip and saw us on the way home.

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    I parted from my riding buddy on Dingman Drive and stopped to pick up some sweet corn at RJ's ( a local vegetable stand) and then on down to my road and home. A very nice day spent in good company and excellent weather for a total 330KM/ 200mile trip.

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    Attached Files:

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  11. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Thanks for the getaway ride and history lesson Dave...

    I get my riding fix through RRs until it cools down from the heatwave we're having this week...
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  12. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks for tagging along Rudy. Hope things get cool and green for you soon. Summer here has been hot but not unbearable as most days don't get past 85 degrees. Happy riding when you can.
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  13. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Friday August 14th I decided to go for a ride in search of some railroad activity. I went straight north for 9 miles on the road I live on and turned right (east) on the road (Cromarty Drive) I used to live on 18 years ago before we sold our farm. This is a pleasant rural road with quite a mixture of things on it. There are modern farms, a mushroom growing operation, a sand and gravel quarry, a golf course and several (horse and buggy) Amish farms. One with a sawmill beside the road.

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    I continued on to Putnam Road where I turned left to go into the hamlet of Putnam. I turned right towards Ingersoll and bore to the right to go down to "5 points" intersection where 5 roads meet and where 2 of these roads are crossed by the Ontario Southland RR tracks. Sadly, no rail traffic here.

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    Continued travel eastbound brought me out at the backside of the Cami Automotive Assembly plant. This was originally a joint venture between GM and Suzuki but is now all the "General" and produces Chev Equinoxes. The yards at the back of the plant store cars; provides space to load auto carriers and contains the OSR rail yard where auto racks are loaded. Rats; no train activity here either. So I went around the front of the plant and on into Ingersoll to the OSR yard. No activity here either. Only a lonely tie crane sitting by itself.

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  14. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I rode over to the City of Woodstock to check for the OSR train but it must not be running Friday as it wasn't in Woodstock or anywhere on the track between Ingersoll and Woodstock. So I rode back west to Salford to the OSR maintenance facility where there was also no activity. Damn; this is getting frustrating. Nice ride but no trains!!!

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    Continuing west from the Salford shops I returned to Cromarty Drive and took a pic of OSR's high wheeler crane with a brush mower mounted on the boom. Still no actual trains.

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    I continued west on Cromarty to Belmont road and south to RJ's vegetable stand (mentioned earlier) for some sweet corn to go with supper.

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    From RJ's I went south to Belmont and east to Dorchester Rd. (my road) and on home where I parked the Royal Enfield with it's stable mates the B33 BSA; the A50 Royal Star BSA and the R50/5 BMW. Nice afternoon ride and good corn but NO TRAINS!!! Oh well; maybe next time.

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  15. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Great stuff! :clap
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  16. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Friday August 21st. 2020
    Today's ramble was on my 1948 BSA B33. This bike was purchased recently from a friend who is a BSA specialist/enthusiast who only works on single cylinder bikes from the BSA motorcycle brand. It is a bit of a bitsa but it all came together into a very nice bike both cosmetically and to ride. The engine was completely rebuilt so the ride today was to add some more break in miles.

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    I left home and headed south on Springwater Rd. I stopped at the dam at the Springwater Conservation area for a picture and then continued south.

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    I turned west (right) on Pleasant Valley Road and rode it over to Quaker Rd. where I turned south for a bit and then turned west again on Fruit Ridge Line.

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  17. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I passed the Quai DU Vin winery on Fruit Ridge Line and rode on til I got to Sunset Rd. where I turned south for a bit.

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    At Sparta/Union road I went west again. This is a nice curvy road that passes the Union Golf Club and passes over the Port Stanley Terminal Rail line. It then continues through several curvy bits and down hill sections to arrive at Roberts Line.

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    Sparta line turns south over an old iron bridge and Roberts Line continues east from that intersection.

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  18. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I continued east on Roberts Line and crossed the PSTR rail line and Sunset Drive and turned north on Stone Church Line to go into Union village.

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    This is the reason for the road name.

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    In Union I turned east on Sparta/Union road and headed for Sparta. Just before you get there you pass the Sparta Drag Strip. This is the oldest continuously operating drag strip in Ontario. This weekend is their " Big Rig Weekend" They will have a large truck show and truck drag racing.

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  19. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I entered the historic village of Sparta. It was founded in 1813 by Quakers. There is still an active Quaker meeting house 207 years later. From Sparta I continued east on Sparta Road.

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  20. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    When I reached Imperial Rd. I turned north and went to Calton Line where I turned east again. Went through the hamlet of Mt. Salem and on to Calton where I turned north on the Richmond Rd. It has some nice curves and hills and two bridges to cross.

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    When I reached the village of Richmond I turned west to 3 hwy. and north on Carter Rd. to Glen Colin Line where I went west. There is a large rural settlement area of Amish people on Glen Colin Line and also along College Line, the next road north. Here is one of their rural one room schools.

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    I continued on Glen Colin Line till I reached Dorchester Rd. where I turned north for home. Last pic is my BSA in front of my shop door. Very pleasant ramble of 58 miles to help break in the BSA's rebuilt engine.

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