Smelling the Roses: Day 51 - Tobermoray to Owen Sound Ontario - And Then We Pedalled...... Cross Canada 2015 - CycleBlaze

July 23, 2015

Smelling the Roses: Day 51 - Tobermoray to Owen Sound Ontario

Some days are meant for putting your head down and knocking off the km's. Others are meant for savouring the moment. Today was one of those savoury days and a great bike tour is one that's heavily weighted to these.

There are also a few basic rules to follow for a great bike tour.

Rule number 1 is : get off main highways as much as possible. Failure to follow this rule may result in more daily mileage, but it's mileage that I'd rather not do, and it will look something like this.

Highway 6 - the main traffic route down the centre of the Bruce Penisula. Shortest distance between A and B. A for aggravating and B for boring
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Rule number 2 is : take the advice of local cyclists on where to ride. It's usually best to spot them when they are actually on their bikes doing something similar to what you are doing. The best advice today came from a couple of ladies, Anne and Denise, from Dyers Bay. Adhering to this rule puts you on roads like this, and will take you by great places to eat:

Anne and Denise. Thanks for the route advice. We stopped for an early lunch at your coffee stop too! It was great
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Part of the route Anne and Denise suggested. Note the absence of semi truck traffic. This enables the photographer to sit in the middle of the road to get more interesting camera angles
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Miller Lake Resort, a great little stop for lunch. Classic family resort on a 'just the right size' lake. Nice lunch. I even had a good cappuccino. I took the chance given we had not seen any bait for sale signs at all today. We are getting closer to urban land!
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The complementary rule to the "listen to local bikers" rule is:

Don't take advice from paunchy middle aged men with ball caps sitting in road construction pick up trucks. The don't know jack shite about decent cycling routes.

Once we had our rules remembered, and adhered to, we had a wonderful day. We didn't get an early start, the dangers of staying in a hotel. Hit the snooze and keep the curtains closed and next thing you know it's 8 am.

We got packed pretty quick and had a very marginal, and not cheap, breakfast at Cragies restaurant (steer clear of here if you are in Tobermory) and headed out of town on Hwy 6. Early in the morning the traffic's not too bad, and you have to be on this road for at least 20 km's before you've got other options. The weather was perfect for riding, sunny, low 20's temp and a west wind (again) and this time we were travelling south east!

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Since we're on the Bruce Peninsula, we saw a few things called Bruce. Here's one:

Here's one fine establishment in Tobermory for you Joe!
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There were several more sprinkled throughout the day. Once we were about 20 km out of Tobermory we headed off on one of the suggested bike routes established by the Ontario tourist board. They really don't have bike tourer's in mind when they put their maps and descriptions together since they say things like " this route is mostly paved with some gravel section" but give no indication of where the gravel is! We were about 10 km into the route we had chosen when we hit gravel, and luckily also hit Anne and Denise (figuratively).

They showed us a route that would get us back on paved local roads after a few km's of good hard packed gravel, and they said it would also take us past a nice place to have coffee. All of this proved to be true. Rule 2 confirmed!

The rest of the day continued like this. We were in no hurry to get anywhere in particular and the roads we were on we either going through cottages by lakes, nice forests, farmland or spectacular views of Georgian bay. This was smelling the roses.

Next thing we know we're approaching Owen Sound and the really nice municipal campground they have at Harrison Park. Our odometer read 128 km and we recalled seeing a sign in Tobermory saying Owen Sound was 109 km. for an extra 19 km we had a classic day of touring through beautiful countryside on semi-truck free and largely car free roads.

Rule number one confirmed in spades.

Song of the day:

Les Rues D'Ottawa by CANO

This song brought back all kinds of memories for me. I used to listen to CANO a lot in the late 70's and saw them in concert in Calgary. This song has an ethereal feel to it and Rachel Paiement has such a beautiful voice. I was listening to this as we were riding along a winding rural rode just outside Lions Head. Although the song is set in Ottawa in the winter, and we're in Bruce in the summer, it paints a very flattering picture of Ontario, and that's what I was seeing and feeling.

In some ways this could have been song of the day for any of the last four or five days. As I said, I was a big fan of CANO, Coopérative des artistes du Nouvel-Ontario, who were from Sudbury and the surrounding area. So last Saturday when we were sitting in Brent and Troys back yard along with Claude and Martin, we were talking about the French community in the Sudbury area. This rekindled my memories of CANO and I comented on how much I liked their music but I only had them on vinyl so I didn't listen to them much anymore. Then I remembered its 2015 and 10 minutes and 10 bucks later I've got them on my iPhone. Great to listen to this again on 'native soil'

Historical monument of the day:

Wiarton Willy - Canada's very own groundhog!

Some no name town in Pennsylvania has a rodent named Phil. Not to be out done by our southern cousins, the fine folks of Wiarton came up with our own rodent, Willy.

We didn't go and see the live one but certainly took the opportunity to have a photo shoot with their oversized cement mascot at the edge of town! There was no saddle on him so Kirsten couldn't ride him. Only fish get that I guess.

Some more roadside attractions at Miller Lake. You don't get this stuff on the highways!
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Heading towards Georgian Bay west of Lions Head. Great riding!
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Georgian bay and the escarpment near Lions Head
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A closer view of the Lions Head escarpment
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More Bruce stuff!
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Heading into Wiarton along Georgian Bay
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The famous Wiarton Willy with one of his biggest fans!
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Hey Spud, should I put an offer in for you?
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More farms appearing as we get closer to Owen Sound. I like barns with silos
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Brand new pavement on Hwy 17a heading into Owen Sound. And downhill too!
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Another shot of Georgian bay outside Owen Sound
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These Ontario towns have some gorgeous old houses from the late 1800's. Owen Sound looks to have a good and well kept stock of them
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Saw this park stand off while we were having dinner. The squirrel had scored part of a sandwhich from a garbage can and the Sky Rat was trying to make a move on it. We are easily entertained! Pretty blurry zooming on an iPhone, but hopefully you get a feel for the duel!
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Today's ride: 128 km (79 miles)
Total: 4,996 km (3,103 miles)

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