Monday, August 23, 2010

Ottawa - Days 8 & 9

After our very soggy - wet 370 KM ride in to Ottawa we got to our hotel in West Kanata - 3.5 hours later that we wanted to - but we arrived in one piece!
 I really - really love the patio doors - man I can't express how easy unloading and loading back up is because of them!
tourism information
Again - tourism information is available in abundance.

The Breakfast Room - larger than at many of the Comfort Inns..
The Breakfast Room - larger than at many of the Comfort Inns...

 Comfort Inn - West Kanata

222 Hearst Way
Ottawa ON
(613) 592-2200
Make sure you tell them Belt Drive Betty sent you if you decide to stay there - and use your BDB Club card!

After we all got checked in, we got the directions to the Biker Church function and off we went - we were terribly late and it was raining but guess what - there were still about 200 - 250 riders present and the pig roast feast still had enough grub for a person to chow down - OMG can those women cook!

I found Pastor Rob and got a long awaited hug, then came his wife Heather and another really wonderful hug. Now I was in hunt of my sisters from the Chrome Divas - it did not take me long to find them! After hugs and kisses from Crystal & Danni we went off to find Scott from the Biker Coffee Company and some REAL coffee - I mean Timmy's is OK and the coffee at the hotels and many restaurants along the way has been passable but I wanted a Belt Drive Betty Blend cup of Coffee - their medium roast bares my road handle!

More hugs, my tour pack now filled with goodies - coffee (Road supplies!) Some Hogswipe from Good 'ol HG which I need to try out the minute the rain lets up...I was invited to speak to the riders who were present about F.I.R.R.E. and handed out phone books to those who wanted one - both Pastor Dave from the Kawarthas Biker's Church in Peterborough and Pastor Rob took membership forms and will be encouraging the members of their congregations to become F.I.R.R.E. members!
George Bushman
George Bushman was kind enough to provide me a picture of me talking to the riders!

We went back to the hotel to straighten out the reservations for Danni and Crystal - the first gal they talked to at the hotel did not want to honour our Conga Rate but again, that was quickly resolved with a quick chat with the gals at the front desk.  I am not sure where these guys find their staff - but other than the trainees - which is completely understandable that they are not polished - the rest of the staff have been incredible - efficient, polite and courteous - and all have had a great sense of humour!

We all went out to dinner at a restaurant called Tommy's right behind the hotel - the food was good and the company was superb!
In the morning we had breakfast together and Lou & Graham headed out for Toronto.


Danni, Crystal and Danni's sister Rose who lives in Oca QC and I smudged ourselves with cedar in a Cree clearing ritual, shared hugs and laughter and then soon Pastor Dave & Karen along with another couple came to pick the gals up.

 After they left - I buckled down to work on the paper for a while and then we had a visit from Mike Haufe and his gal Kaelen from XXX Chopper Works in Orleans ON. We had a BLAST visiting with those two - Mike loaded us up with tee shirts and sweat shirts and some booty shorts for my daughter and he became a member of our Rider friendly Business Association and is going to start advertising with us!
Mike & me
 Mike has an outrageous sense of humour and he kept us in stitches the entire visit - when he put on my old helmet backwards we decided it would make a perfect picture!

Kaelen, Mike and I
Kaelen, Mike and I
Mike and Kaelen headed out for a dinner engagement about 5:30 pm and again I settled in to work on the paper. I completed a 32 pager and turned in at about 11 am. I then got up at 4:30 am and started working on cathching up on all of my travel blogs - I know me - if I didn't do them now it was going to be a while as today is my brother's viewing and tomorrow is is funeral - I could see me getting into a funk and getting writers block so I steeled myself to the task and by 10:30 am I was finally caught right up! A little bit of book work and guess what - the sky has even started to clear up.

I know one thing - when we get to Montreal - I have a box to ship home. coffee, embroidered cleaning cloths from the Kawarthas Biker's Church, Tee Shirts from Hogswipe, and the Wounded Warriors - thanks Graham...yes, all of these great gifts made a lot of what we packed redundent - time t ship dirty clothes home...well not dirty caus ehubby was nice enough to do laundry while I worked on the paper!  

We might even get a chance to do a little bit of tourism stuff here in Ottawa before we head in to Montreal...I feel a smoked meat sandwich, poutine and maybe a hot dog steamee coming on!

Next stop - Montreal!
Until then...ride safe

North Bay to Ottawa - Day 7 & 8

Our Hotel in North Bay lost our reservation. Even though I had the confirmation number the poor gal at the desk could not find it. I convinced her to perhaps try calling her manager and that phone call quickly erased all challenges!

Comfort Inn
 All of the Comfort Inns & Suites so far have had great tourism racks filled with local information - and they are deeply appreciated by many too!

The Comfort Inn & Suites North Bay
676 Lakeshore Dr.
North Bay ON
(705) 494-9444

While we were waiting to check in Lou DeVouno of the Hero's Highway Ride and his friend Graham walked up! Hugs and more hugs - we all got checked in, unloaded the bikes and promptly went to eat.

We ate at the East Side Marios - what a fabulous meal and the service was even better!
The company was fantastic and Lou and I were able to catch up on each other's news.

We headed to the rooms and I got some work done...the next morning we woke up to English Sunshine! The ride to Ottawa that should have taken about 4 and a half hours took 8. Twice we had to pull off at a restaurant to wait things out - at times there were rivers of water running down the highway. Lou was riding his new Victory - which he adores and his friend Graham was riding a Heritage Softail that he bought from Classy Chassis & Cycle.

an interesting sticker
Outside of our hotel we were treated to an interesting sticker on a guys car
We were also treated to a pair of raccoons - cute but viscous and rotten little creatures that get into everything...
Sadly - for some strange reason none of the pictures we took of Lou, Graham or our really, really wet ride to Ottawa turned out...I am hoping the when I can talk to Lou he will have some pictures he can share with me! Technology - you gotta love it!

Next stop - Ottawa...ride safe

Sault Ste Marie to North Bay - Days 6 & 7

Hubby and I arrived in to Sault Ste Marie after a 700 KM day in the saddle that was absolutely perfect riding. I even sort of got my new Hero Go Pro Camera figured out - now I just need to learn how to edit all of the film I have!

Any way - we stopped at BP for some supper, called the hotel to let them know we had arrived but were just eating first. The gal at the hotel was incredibly friendly on the phone.

When we were done eating we rode the block over to the hotel and this same gal who was so cheerful on the phone greeted us with a teasing comment" So, you didn't get enough protein on the road today - you actually had to stop and eat"...well hubby and I both cracked up laughing - what a character!

The service in this location was above and beyond! Again - a comfortable be, nice room and great patio doors that make hauling tour packs and bags into the room a dream.
Comfort Inn Sault Ste Marie
Comfort Inn Sault Ste Marie
Comfort Inn Sault Ste Marie
333 Great Northern Road
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6B 4Z8
(705) 759-8000

If you decide to stop here for the night - please use your BDB Card and tell them that Belt Drive Betty sent you to take advantage of the special pricing for riders!

We took advantage of our morning and what was to be a nice light day of riding in over cast but dry weather and we toured some of the Soo.

We went to the water front and watched a ship come in through the locks, took in the Algoma Art Gallery and the Sault Ste Marie Museum.
The old power plant - at the time it was built it was the largest power generation station in the world.
A beautiful Water Fountain in the harbour
 makes for an interesting back drop
Art Gallery of Algoma
ship that has just come through the locks
A ship that has just come through the locks

Algoma Blue is the name of the Steel Sculpture that graces the yard of the Art gallery - it pays tribute to the steel industry of the region. 

One of the galleries was dedicated to eagles and paper art.

Another was dedicated to miniatures of a local gal who designed play sets and costumes.
After the tour of the art gallery and it's grounds we headed over the the museum. The architecture of the building was stunning - it was the original post office before the historic society took it over in 1983...

A lovely older gal made sure we had the pamphlets and information we needed and off we went to explore the three stories of the museum. The manager of the museum - Rick is a rider and apperently the guys in the office seemed to feel he would be disappointed to not meet us! Perhaps on the way back - we shall see.

There is a room dedicated to our troops and the mariners of the region

Another area that is dedicated to the blacks who had been held as slaves - their stories preserved so that those atrocities might never be repeated.
The artifacts on display here are in stunningly good shape and in some cases evoked some great memories.
The wood work in the building was stunning - the craftsmanship of the day made one feel very nostalgic.
The native handi works that were on display - again - incredibly preserved.
A replica and tribute to the Edmond Fitzgerald
A replica and tribute to the Edmond FitzgeraldA replica and tribute to the Edmond Fitzgerald

A whole room devoted to the sports and the sportsmen/women of the region
Next stop - North bay and a meeting with Lou DeVouono of the Hero's Highway Ride and his friend Graham who works very hard for the Wounded Warriors Project and who is himself a veteran.

Until later...ride safe.....

From Kenora to Thunder Bay - Days 5 and 6...

Our Journey to light a F.I.R.R.E. in the souls of every rider we can would take us to Thunder Bay after Kenora it was a 500 KM day.

The riding was wonderful and for lunch we decided to stop at this little place on the side of the highway called Busters BBQ in Vermilion Bay. The smells coming from this place preceded it for a 1/4 mile and by the time we pulled into the lot our mouths were watering.

This BBQ place has quite the history and the most incredible Blueberry BBQ sauce. They have won awards in all types and kinds of food competitions and the place is eclectic and quirky.

The Wall of Fame and Below some of their ribbons

All kinds of quirky and intriguing artifacts and pictures grace the walls and some had me
giggling really hard!
The food here was phenomenal and the service was excellent.  I had the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potatoe fries and that BBQ sauce was stunning. When I get home I intend to get on their web site and order me some:

There was a really large Inukshuck in the parking lot that I just had to have my picture taken at too.

Mark and I had thought we would get in to Thunder Bay to the Tim Horton's we were to be meeting the retreads at about 6:30 pm - sadly - I thought the time changed after Thunder Bay - wrong! We did however get to meet up with about 1/3 of the members who had come out to ride with us. At Kakabeca Falls hubby noticed a group of riders eating ice cream so we turned around and sure enough - there were the Ontario Retreads!

After a delicious ice cream - a round of introductions and some pictures, Leo took Mark and I to our hotel via the back road so we could avoid the road construction.
14 members of the Ontario Retreads who weren't camera shy take photos with hubby and I
We arrived to our hotel - the Comfort Inn which just happened to be conveniently located next to Thunder Bay Harley-Davidson.
comfort Inn
Comfort Inn Thunder Bay

The Comfort Inn Thunder Bay
600 West Arthur St
Thunder Bay ON
(807) 475-3155

I honestly don't remember much about the hotel other than the frustration at our cell phones not working. (The Thunder Bay area is the only region left in North America with it's own private phone company - other phone services work there sporadically - it cost us $25 to make 2 calls from the room)

It was on this day that I got word that my brother who had been battling cancer lost his fight and died in his son's arms. I remember being on the second floor and our bikes being parked under the drive through canopy in the front of the hotel and the amenities of the hotel were similar to all of the others but the breakfast area was located on the tiny lobby and it was rather cramped and uncomfortable. The food was great, the service by the staff was good but that breakfast area was...well...too small.

At 9 am, Leo and Robert of the Retreads joined Mark and I and my new sales rep Kevin - we walked over to the Harley shop - what a gas that was - an ice cream stand in the parking lot along with a bar and restaurant on the other side of it... talk about creating a destination!

After the tour of the Harley Shop we hopped on the bikes and Robert and Leo took hubby and I around to some of the must do stops in Thunder Bay. We started with Signal Hill and the war memorial there.
Parked in front of the war memorial
One of the "walls" of names of those the Thunder Bay region has lost to war.

The Signal Hill Bell that was used to warn of all kinds of emergencies and impending danger

The Sleeping Giant Island below was one of the most incredible visuals...

After Signal Hill we headed to the water front that is filled with memorials and tributes to those whose lives are lived and lost by the sea.  The whole area is under construction as they are creating condos and a new marina, but none the less - what a beautiful area.

A couple of the many memorials
A couple of the many memorials

The old marina area

Some of the other memorials
Hubby decided there needed to be an additional memorial - we are not sure to what though!

After taking the tour of the water front our final stop in Thunder Bay HAD to be the Terry Fox memorial - it is truly the most incredible tribute for the most incredible of young men.
The Bronze statue and all of the stone carving is stunning and fitting...

Mark (L), Robert (M) and Leo (R) having a gab while I take pictures
The view from the memorial is beautiful.
From the Terry Fox Memorial we headed to Nipigon where Leo and Robert turned to head back to Thunder Bay - thanks guys for being such GREAT tour guides.

One of the best things about them being tour guides was my mind and soul were kept busy.
We headed towards Sault Ste Marie on roads that were lightly trafficked and sunny skies....perfect riding weather.

Until later...ride safe!...