A Ride of Thanks
This may be the last ride of the season. The weather just happened to smile on us. I’m thankful for the day; for the weather; for my family; for my wife’s love, generosity and support; for my near-perfect motorcycle (for the purpose); for my warm comfortable protective gear; for my ability to ride; for my interest in motorcycling; for my passion for the activity; for my good fortune to live in an area so conducive to this particular form of recreation; and the wherewithal to make it happen.
That’s a lot of thankfulness.
Two motorcycles, a father and his Son. Some of the most motorcycle-conducive roads in the hemisphere. We kit up and leave from our cozy cottage on the river. Heading north out of my adoptive hometown. Bracebridge could well be the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting. This town of 16,000 souls is blessed with more waterfalls within its town limits than any other municipality of its size in North America. On our way North, our first order of business is to turn off the Main Street onto High Falls Road. This thoroughfare is the perfect blend of new smooth pavement, sweeping curves, hundreds of feet of elevation. Not to mention scenery; and this weekend, crowned by the Autumn colours at their absolute peak. A sculptor couldn’t have crafted a more perfectly proportioned model to place in the middle of the prettiest cottage country in the world.
We take The King’s Highway #11 north ( yes, King, that’s what the sign says, crown and all), past Huntsville. We turned west onto Highway #518. This highway was resurfaced the previous year, transforming it into a physicist’s dream of g-force, adhesion, velocity, gravity, and ensuing engineering. All those theories I don’t pretend to understand. That Newton guy was onto something.
I tuck in behind my Son on my nimble V-Strom, bowing to his skill, and his Honda VFR’s larger displacement and precise handling. The leaves dance; disturbed in the wake of his rear tire. A pirouette intended for us, as if to urge us on in support of today’s endeavour. A brief reprieve after their descent from their brilliant earlier display, before their eternal sleep.
On to Orrville, and the quaintest coffee shop east of Seattle. Not a Bistro, oh no, a Barista no less. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere. At the convergence of some of the most significant motorcycle roads in this, my neck of the woods. A welcome stop on our journey. Apparently we are not the only ones to claim exclusivity. We begrudgingly admit it doesn’t exist solely for our pleasure. Judging from all the helmets, jackets and boots, we are not alone in our route planning. Right off the bat we are approached by three like-minded enthusiasts mounted on an eclectic mix of Yamaha, BMW and Ducati. They are already inquisitive and complimentary on their way towards us across the parking lot.
“Is that the Interceptor?”
“Oh, it’s the 25th Anniversary Edition.”
It doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least their accolades are directed towards Sam’s bike instead of mine. I’m proud of and happy for him.
Spirited banter ensues…cubic centimetres; handling; power to weight ratios; lean angles; chicken strips ( if you have to ask). The topics continue on to routes of choice; close calls; comparisons of severity of past injuries.
This age-old form of one-upmanship soon exhausts itself as we don our helmets; eager to test limits of man and machine on the next leg of today’s adventure as the trio fills the void inside the Barista vacated by us. The ritual of emptying bladders and refilling of same with hot Maple Latte specialty coffee.
Where to next? Parry Sound, Rosseau, Peninsula Road towards Port Carling?
Could life get any better on this iconic Autumn day in the heart of my beautiful Province within the immense splendour of the Dominion of Canada?