Posted by: mckenzie68 | August 19, 2011

Day 2 – WPFG Adventure – Kenora to Sault Ste. Marie

I had a decent sleep, and woke up right on time sans alarm!  Nice to have a good internal time piece. LOL  I looked outside and noticed that it had rained overnight and there were still big thunderclouds with lightning visible to the SE.  No matter, I packed the bike and was off, with only a slight detour at the Timmies just down the street, geez I love their coffee!

I made a quick assestment of the weather and decided not to take the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 17) and instead chose a little longer route along Lake Superior, Highway 71, which winds south from Kenora through the entire Lake of the Woods area.  I noticed after about 10 minutes that I had made the right choice, avoiding the main thundercloud completely, more on that dang dark cloud later.  =D

As I swooped down Highway 71, all by myself, no traffic, zero, nothing, natta…I got to enjoy the outstanding views with lake front cottages, boats, heavy forest, sheer rock faces and morning mist hanging lightly over the water in areas.  If your ever through the Kenora area, avoid Hwy 17 and all the traffic, and construction, take Hwy 71, it is worth the extra time.  The wonderful view along this route lasted for over 200km as I was rewarded with sweeping curves, and postcard scenery at each bend.  Nice.

As I passed through Fort Francis the skies opened up (Dang Dark Cloud!) with a light but steady rain.  I concentrated on smooth throttle control, and perfect riding lines in in every curve to make it through the wet corners in one piece, cause if I went off the road, I might never be found!  I was thinking just that when I saw a vehicle overturned in the ditch about 60km east of Fort Francis!  I turned around immediately and noticed that the OPP had already been there, but clearly this was a bad accident.  I said a little prayer for the occupants, took a couple of pictures and thanked god for not being in the way when the vehicle crossed the lane (mine) through the guard and going end over end in the ditch!

I was sad to see Hwy 71 meet up again with the Trans Canada Highway west of Thunder Bay, and then the reason I avoided Hwy 17 became crystal clear…The Trans Canada is crowded, has tons of construction (I am not kidding, stay away from the Thunder Bay area it is horrible) and not many scenic overlooks for giant Lake Superior that I had expected.

I did stop to pay my respects at the Terry Fox Memorial overlook, a fitting location overlooking the Thunder Bay area, and an outstanding monument to a very courageous young man.

I continued east on Highway 17 (Trans Canada) and felt a bit ripped off, due to all the traffic and construction, it made it nearly impossible to enjoy the scenery or even get off the highway safely.  I also counted 11 OPP cruisers between Marathon and Thunder Bay, so it is very heavily patrolled, I am guessing because of the low speed limits and construction zones everywhere.

Needless to say, my progress was slow and frustrating, because I had expected this stretch to be like Hwy 71…too bad really because it is a nice area.  Despite my personal feelings on this day, the area is raw, rocky and I felt the call of the wild beckoning me!

As I passed Marathon, the weather took a nasty turn, and I was dodging thunderstorms all the way to Sault Ste. Marie!  The road along the way was so curvy that it looped around some thunder heads!  As I pulled into Sault Ste. Marie my luck ran out and the last 10 km were in a down pour…good thing I have awesome gear, the other bikers in front of me were not so lucky.

So I stopped at the first hotel in the city, got a room, unpacked, had a quick bite and then, aaaaahhhhh HOT TUB!!! Oh yeah baby, after riding 1232km I decided to soak and then soaked some more, until I had a nice raisin texture…nice.



  1. So cool!! You are a True inspiration Ray

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