Ypsilanti to Ypsilanti via Manitoulin Island and southern Ontario

Discussion in 'Americas' started by thomasona, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. thomasona

    thomasona older than he looks

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    I originally posted this in the Canada Regional forum, but there's so little traffic there that I'm cross-posting this here. Hope that's not frowned upon.

    I'm looking at doing a solo tour around Lake Huron, but cutting east of the Georgian Bay and taking the ferry from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island.

    I'll be making the loop counter-clockwise, starting off from the Detroit area, crossing into Canada at Sarnia, coming back into Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie. I've never been through any of these places, save for the whole Michigan route, and it will be my first tour on a motorcycle.

    I'm driving a Ninja 650, so I'm trying to avoid dirt if I can. I'd like to take four days to make the trip, which I think allows me to stop, take pictures, and enjoy the scenery a bit. Seeing as it'll be my first tour, I don't want to commit myself to an excessive amount of saddle time each day.

    My thinking is that I can take off in the early morning and camp near Tobermory the first night, catching the early ferry to Manitoulin Island. I want to cruise around the island, seeing Meldrum Bay at the far eastern side. Once I leave the island, I hope to take 17 across to 108, through Elliot Lake, and complete the route back to 17 down 546. That will skirt me through the edge of Missisagi Provincial Park, and 546 looks like a twisty low-traffic road.

    Once back on 17, I'd take that to 638, which would loop me the long way to Sault Ste. Marie. Once there, it'd be a pretty quick jaunt back down the mitt to southeastern Michigan, and I could likely fit the Tunnel of Trees in there along the way.

    I'm looking for opinions of people who have driven those roads. It appears that some of 638 is dirt, which shouldn't be too much of a problem. Am I missing any great roads along the way? How is the camping situation throughout the area? I'm open to staying in cheap motels, if I need to, but I don't want to plan my trip around having to find a motel every night, especially if I'm on Manitoulin Island or a bit further away from proper civilization.

    As far as timing goes, I'm thinking of doing this around the first weekend of September. Weather Underground tells me that I can expect highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, with a low chance of rain.

    Basically, if you have advice or opinions, I'd like to hear them. I've used a Ninja as my good-enough-weather daily driver since summer 2008, but I'm very new to the two-wheel touring scene. If there are any FFs along the way, I'd be happy to stop and buy you a beer at the local watering hole. :slurp
    #1
  2. thomasona

    thomasona older than he looks

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    #2
  3. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    The maps for Ontario provided by Thomasona is nice , but maybe divert your route away from te lake Huron shore a bit more inland after Goderich .Highway 21 actually runs a few km in from the shore so you only really get to see water close up a few times. All the yellow roads are paved and a many of the in between concession roads are also hard surface so no worries there , Like Michigan it is all straight grid roads so it is a matter of doing 4 left and 5 right or 5 right and 4 left turns, as it were. But farther from the lake you do get a bit more varied landscape.
    From wiarton you coud take county road ( through Colpoys bay and up to Lions Head, avoid some of the heavier traffic on Hiway 6 and get a bit more rustic landscape, view of the coast cliff. You will have no trouble doing Sarnia to Tobermory in a day
    From Espanola take the Lee Valley road to Spanish , very nice and no traffic till you get back on the Transcan
    #3
  4. thomasona

    thomasona older than he looks

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    Thanks for the tips!
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  5. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

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    I modified your map to reflect what Sjoerd said, plus get you off the 402 a little sooner after Sarnia, north of Sarnia is my stomping grounds let me know when you go and maybe I can help more or go for a spin with ya.

    I took almost 2 short days from here to Tobermory, but lots of dirt and detours, a day on pavement is easy. I included some of my route after Goderich like Sjored said and his Wiarton to Loins head as well. i took a little of this in between dirt and I think its a nice quiet seconday road.

    Im thinking of something similar in th opp. direction(MI first) so will be interested in your trip.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Bluewater+Bridge+E&daddr=Lakeshore+Rd%2FCounty+Road+7+to:County+Road+1+to:County+Road+1+to:44.813019,-81.142273+to:Front+St%2FON-6+N&geocode=FdoakAIdOlAW-w%3BFa5KkQId-I0a-w%3BFVC3oAIdjIol-w%3BFTeCowId-S4n-w%3B%3BFReSsgIdgOQh-w&hl=en&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=4&sz=10&via=1,2,3,4&sll=44.808147,-80.944519&sspn=0.469617,1.347198&ie=UTF8&ll=44.639346,-80.941772&spn=0.470989,1.347198&z=10


    Cheers, Todd
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  6. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

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    Oh ya, this little detour from Port Elgin to Southampton has great twisty views of the lake and just side tracks you a little. I could give you too many of these, but this one is worth it if you can make the time, ive gave you a route in from north of Paisly, but easy from 21 as well. Great burgers at the Walker House in Southampton.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=County+Road+3&daddr=Concession+Road+4+to:Green+St+to:McVicar+St+to:44.474461,-81.387405+to:Railway+St%2FON-21+N&hl=en&geocode=FfT6pAIddoAn-w%3BFTGQpQIdhMAl-w%3BFZ8XpgIdxgIm-w%3BFZI9pgIdJtcl-w%3B%3BFUrQpgIdSEsm-w&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=4&sz=13&via=1,2,3,4&sll=44.473359,-81.378651&sspn=0.059042,0.1684&ie=UTF8&ll=44.470051,-81.3517&spn=0.236181,0.673599&z=11
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  7. thomasona

    thomasona older than he looks

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    Excellent! These additional tips are well taken. Looks like it'll be worth the detour to get off of 21 and see the eastern side of the peninsula. I figured that the first day would be the most boring part of the trip, so this should be a nice detour.

    That's the thing about living around here -- I'm not used to very twisty roads, so a trip that would bore somebody from the Appalachians can still be interesting to us flatlanders!
    #7
  8. ChuckS

    ChuckS Adventurer Wannabe

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    Land's End Park in Tobermory is my favorite campground there. Close to town, nice facilities. Craigies in town has good whitefish and breakfasts.

    Yes, go up the east side of the Bruce Peninsula. Rocky Raccoon Cafe (they moved- I don't know where) is an excellent eatery.
    #8
  9. OldSilverFox

    OldSilverFox Let's Go!

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    I'm sure you'll enjoy the ride. If your on Manitoulin and going to ride to Meldrum Bay on the West end try the Cup and Saucer trail. Take No 6 north to Sheguiandah and follow Townline Road west. Turn left on Bidwell road. It is up on a ridge and the views are great. Bidwell Road ties into No 540. 540 West ends up going all the way to Meldrum Bay. There's not a lot of activity in Meldrum Bay, a campgroung marina, general store and a B&B Hotel. The last ime we were there the food was great though. If you get to Meldrum Bay it's worth the short ride to Mississagi Lighthouse. I think the road is gravel but reasonable (about 5 km).
    Coming back to the mainland from the Island you'll love highway 6 between Little Current and Espanola. Lots of sweepers and rock cuts.
    The ride north from 17 to Elliot Lake and further on 639 and 546 (the deer trail) is great although on 546 have an eye for logging trucks . They travel quickly and take up the whole road. The road is good in most sections but with some bumps and some sandy sections in the corners. Enjoy the Journey
    #9