Stealing One From The Icy Teeth of Winter

The days are getting darker, damper and distinctly not rider friendly.  One day this week was into the double digits Celsius, so we jumped at the chance to do a big Max & Dad ride, maybe our last one of 2017.

That night it was going to bucket down with a cold, pre-winter rain storm, but the day promised sun and clouds and a chance to ride, so we took it.  We waited until the numbers got well above zero and then got the Tiger out of the garage and put on leathers and layers of fleece; this was going to be a cold one.

There is nothing more ragged and beautiful than a pre-winter sky over Georgian Bay.  We pushed north across the barren farm tundra that we live in.  Miles upon miles of mechanically tilled and industrially fertilized fields rolled by as we headed toward a first warm-up stop at Highland Grounds in Flesherton on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.

We staggered into the coffee shop just past eleven.  The weather wasn’t anywhere near where the Weather Network promised it would be.  Our low teens, sunny morning had turned into a six degree, overcast slog north along your typical, boring, straight Southern Ontario roads.  Fortunately, nothing cheers us up more than warming up in an independent coffee shop and then heading onto Escarpment twisties.  Highland Grounds was as good as I remembered and we left with warm grins after a vanilla milkshake, a cookie the size of a pizza and a big, piping hot coffee in a ceramic mug.  It was a lot of calories, but we’d shivered those off on the way up.

North past Lake Eugenia where I spend a lot of summers at a friend’s cottage, we wound our way into Beaver Valley and the twisties and views we’d been looking for – so much so that we stopped at the scenic look out on our way into the valley.

    

Of course, as soon as we stopped an elderly couple pulled in behind us and the driver immediately wandered up to find out who made our Triumph.

“Triumph?” I replied, somewhat confused by his question.
“Where are they made then?” he asked.  He has (of course) owned old Meriden Triumphs from the pre-80’s collapse of the Motor Company and had assumed they were long gone.  He had no idea John Bloor had saved the brand in the early 90s and it was now one of the biggest European motorcycle manufacturers.  He’d assumed it was an Asian built Triumph branded thing.  When I told him it was built in the UK at a state of the art factory in Hinckley he was gobsmacked.  I always enjoy telling the story of Triumph’s phoenix like rise from the ashes.  We left him thinking about dropping by the factory next time he’s back in the old country.

We hopped back on the trusty Tiger and headed on through Beaver Valley and out to the choppy shores of Georgian Bay where the sky looked torn and the waves smashed against the rocks, splashing us with spray.


We hung out on the lonely shore for a little while, watching the hyperthermic fisherman standing in the mouth of the Beaver River amidst the surf, casting into the grey water over and over.  Georgian Bay skies always look like they are about to shatter, even in the summer, but with a Canadian winter imminent they looked positively daunting.  Time for another warm up.

We rode back up the hill onto the main street of Thornbury and got ourselves another warm drink.  The goal was to strike south east across the Escarpment toward Creemore for lunch.  The sporadic sun had managed to get it up to about ten degrees, but it was only better compared to the frozen morning.  We headed south behind Blue Mountain and through the glacial remains of Singhampton before turning onto the positively serpentine Glen Huron road for a ride down the hill into Creemore.  Shaggy highland cattle watched us ride by, much to my passenger’s delight.


A hot lunch of philly steak and poutine refueled us at The Old Mill House Pub in Creemore.  When we came back out mid afternoon the temperature was as good as it was going to get, eleven degrees.  With warm stomachs we saddled up for the ride home through the wind fields of Dufferin County, but not before walking down the street to the ever popular Creemore brewery for a photo op and some brown ale.

When it comes to the end of October in Ontario, Canada, you take what you can get, and I’m glad we did.  Soon enough the snow will fall, the roads will salt up and the Tiger will have to hibernate, dreaming of the far off spring.

All on bike photos courtesy of the very easy to operate Ricoh Theta 360 camera – with simple physical controls and an ergonomic shape that is easy to grip, it’s my go-to 360 camera.  No worries about framing a shot or focusing, it takes a photo of everything!
Georgian Bay 2017 end of season ride #triumph #roofhelmet #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Our last big ride of the year?  Perhaps – it was hot baths and fireplaces when we got home.

Leather, fleece and armoured trousers, and it was still a cold one.

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