Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ontario Bound – Day 18

I headed out of Winnipeg bright and early on Thursday July 21st.  I stopped for fuel and a Powerade at a gas station just before the Ontario border where I met up with some riders from Thunder Bay. Howard and Sirpa Huhta, Gary Kosola and myself rode to Rushing River, they agreed to play tourist with me and embarrassingly admitted that they had never stopped at the Rushing River Park. So off we went – it was one of those perfect riding days, not too hot and yet filled with glorious sunshine. Just outside of Kenora, we turned off the Trans Canada heading south on Highway 71. The Rushing River Park is only about 10 minutes down the road and I am ever so glad we took the time to go see this out of the way gem.

The roads in the camp site are mostly paved and the cost for an hour pass was $5.25 for the three bikes.  We stopped at the concession for a cool beverage and scoped everything out. A little fella who according to his mother has begun a love affair with motorcycles asked if he could sit on the bikes and Howard, in true biker fashion was more than happy to oblige the young man and his younger brother. The grin on this little man’s face was priceless.

We got back on the bikes and rode around the park to the rapids – it was breathtaking. This park is so pretty and well done. We sat there after taking photos and just listened to the song the river sang as it rushed over the rocks. It was simply gorgeous.

We all left the park feeling so grateful we had followed Kirk and Hyla’s advice to stop here. Before we left the park we discussed lunch and I had asked them if they liked BBQ and had they ever stopped at Busters in Vermillion Bay – NO was the chorus so I said, well folks you are in for a treat. 

We got to Busters and ordered a big platter of ribs for 4 with sweet potato fries and potato salad and coffees and water all around.

I had to giggle when Gary made the observation that it was amazing that it took someone from Grand Prairie AB to show them a great place to eat and force them to be a tourist in their own province!

Back on the road we headed towards Thunder Bay. I had expressed that I wanted to see Egli’s Sheep Farm and Animal Park, I had no trouble getting these riders to agree to stop there the farm and store is located at 20232 Hwy 17 Minnitaki, ON

What a great place! The store is filled with a variety of wool products and Howard was a good sport and sat on the sheep rocker to pose for a picture. Sirpa and I went for a tour of the animals – the Elk were in full velvet, the red deer were on the run the minute we approached their pen…the donkey’s were getting their feet trimmed by the Ferrier and you should have heard the ruckus they were making! The Bison could have cared less that we were there, never lifting their heads to look at us and the Llamas and Alpacas were curious and hilarious – they are sure funny and very curious creatures!

There were two types of cattle I had never seen before – one was black with a white strip in the middle of their core and the other was the woolliest thing I have ever seen!

After the tour of the farm off we went for Kakabeka Falls where I was to call Dave and Vi Alderdice of the Superior Riders so that we could meet up. The plan was they would meet me at the falls and ride me to the hotel.

The falls at Kakabeka are absolutely stunning. They are known as the Niagara Falls of the North and I now know why!

I could have sat there watching the falls for hours, the are 39 metres high and I have no other word to describe them but STUNNING! The park here offers fishing, camping, walking trails and bicycle trails canoeing and more

Well – my plans to contact Dave and Vi were dashed as my phone does not work in the Thunder Bay region so when we got to Howard and Sirpa’s after visiting the falls – we phoned Dave and Vi and they came to Howard and Sirpa’s to meet me. While we waited for them to arrive I was treated to some Finnish bread and cheese, a Finnish cake and a wonderful cup of coffee.  When Dave and VI arrived, we visited for a bit, made plans to meet for breakfast the next morning and off to the Best Western Plus Nor'Wester Hotel & Conference Centre we went!

I was sure impressed when I checked in too!
I went through the usual check in process and then was given rags for the bike and told I could get a bucket for water by calling the front desk when I was ready!

This hotel has really friendly staff and a fabulous fitness area complete with pool, hot tub and saunas.  The restaurant menu has a good selection and there is even a deck you can sit on to watch the sunset from.

The room was spacious and had lots of power outlets and a screen slider for easy access to the bike from the room!

Something else I was impressed with – my room…the cabinet that the TV stood on also housed the microwave, coffee pot and a fridge!  There was a wonderful closet for hanging gear up, two sinks one in the bathroom and one outside of it and a wonderful desk and executive chair to sit in and I accomplished a lot at the desk!

This was a wonderfully comfortable room with a fantastic bed and I settled in for a wonderful and much needed night’s rest.

Next time your travels take you to Thunder Bay why not check them out!

The Best Western Plus Nor’Wester Hotel & Conference Center
Is located at 2080 Highway #61, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7J 1B8
Phone: 807/473-9123
Fax: 807/473-9600

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