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Old 11-25-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
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Northern Reflections

When was the last time you looked up and saw the stars? I mean really saw the stars. Enjoying a frosty beverage on my balcony at The Waterfront Inn on Lake Temiskaming with a couple friends, we were amazed at how much more vibrant and plentiful they can be without the obstruction of air and light pollution. This is just one of the many things that made the motorcycle ride up to the City of Temiskaming Shores a worthwhile adventure.

Located roughly two hours past North Bay, the community is composed of the three former municipalities of Haileybury, New Liskeard and Dymond who amalgamated back in 2004. Each offering their own unique benefits and charm, New Liskeard is a quaint little town that attracts thousands of riders every long weekend in July for the annual Biker's Reunion. Consider it the Port Dover of the North.

Frustrated by the sheer amount of people and traffic obstructing my last few outings in the city, I decided to head North after hearing from several former attendees that the area had a great deal to offer. Turns out, they didn't steer me wrong. The Lake Temiskaming Loop, as it is known, offers a self-guided motorcycle tour that is home to three cultures, two provinces and one lake.

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Old 12-08-2010, 12:44 PM   #2
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There IS a reason we regard our motors as "Iron Horses" indeed!

I enjoyed reading your account of your visit to the wonderous wilderness. Biking can be a wonderful segway to experiencing the world ever present but so often passed by. Your account caused me to recall a trip I took just this spring, from Indianapolis, back to my home in Tampa Bay.
I hadn't taken a MC trip in some 20 years, so this ride promised to be enjoyable, exciting and an almost new experience for me. In years past, my wife and I either rode tandem or on our own bikes, traveling the highways from Florida to the South Rim (Grand Canyon) or taking our annual pilgrimage through the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Parkway, camping at the peaceful and abundant US Park campgrounds. We planned for months, then when our wheels started rolling, the plans rarely came out of the saddlebags - preferring to explore the great unknowns and get lost trying. One of those occasions was on a trip we planned which took us in a grand loop from Florida along the coast roads North, to Maine and then North West toward Maine's lake country. We stopped and drank the cold, sweet spring water that trickled from the rocks alongside the road. One afternoon, while we enjoyed the serenity of a sunny summer overlook we witnessed one of the many seaplanes landing on the lake we had been admiring below. The colors so bright, the mild breeze caressing our sun warmed cheeks, with the occasional buzz of the wild black fly or honey bee.
As we continued, we arrived to the State Border entering New Hampshire and the road pavement ended! We had traveled this one road all day, since leaving Bar Harbor, never seeing a connector except for logging trails. We dug out our maps and to our amazement, the black line was unbroken! Obviously the map maker fudged on this remote corner of the world! We cautiously continued, on gravel, over the next ridge when we came to a sign "Road ENDS here" and it did! There were actual tree stumps in the clearing where the road should have been. As we peered at the map again, (isn't it strange how we place our total unabridged trust in a piece of paper, drawn by a total stranger?) pondering whether to weave our way along the remaining two-trail meandering through the stump forest when we see a little Subaru AWD bouncing, bobbing and weaving to the best of WRC skills, from the direction we needed to go. I looked at my wife and declared that if a little car could do it, certainly two big touring bikes could do it, so off we went. Turns out that this section of road was never finished and stretched for about 5 miles.
As we slowly navigated the ruts and stumps, we could smell the pine forest around us and once even saw wildlife at the woods edge, looking our way as if asking what kind of horses we were on that shined so much and made such a disturbing racket.
4-wheelers just don't appreciate what they miss, with their AC on and windows rolled up. Smells of cut grass, backyard BBQs, the sweet scent of a soap factory or the acrid smell of a paper mill are experiences reserved to the biker or pedestrian.
As I experience these tantalizing smells, sounds and nature, I reflect on how it must have been for our forefathers who pioneered these great lands!
There IS a reason we regard our motors as "Iron Horses" indeed!
This trip I recently took was without my lovely riding companion and planned using an internet map planner. Like the road in New Hampshire, and the map that the maker never witnessed, the internet never traveled from Indy to Florida either. As I struggled with nonsense waypoints it became clear to me to chuck the map and do it like in the old days "Head South dad!" I could hear her say. And you know what? I found my way just fine! And enjoyed the Dragon's Tail too! Life is Good! (and made better on a bike!)
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