Pictures by: Daryl Bruvelaitis & Ben Quinn
Think you’ve seen it all? Think Again…
There’s always a new place to explore by motorcycle in Muskoka.
After spending a lot of time in the Muskoka and Haliburton area this summer, I thought I had seen it all. Mind you, I wasn’t complaining when I received another invite to head back to the area. Despite thinking I had explored every inch of Muskoka and the surrounding areas, I was still just as excited to get back on those smooth, windy roads, and check out the beautiful landscape that Northern Ontario has become famous for.
Needless to say, I hadn’t seen it all. Never did I think I would be in for a wild adventure with my friend, Ben, on his 1999 Suzuki GS500, and with me on my 2008 Suzuki SV650. I met Ben years ago while we were volunteering with a motorcycle magazine, and I found there was an instant connection. We both rode Suzuki’s, had a taste for travelling and adventure, and had similar riding styles. There’s some people you can just ride with and trust that they are going to ride and react in a certain way, and Ben is one of those people. We’ve been friends and riding buddies ever since.
Ben and I are both pretty busy people, but sometimes you just need to get away from all of the craziness. I think it was just what I needed that weekend; an opportunity to clear my mind, relax and just ride. I had just gotten new Joe Rocket gear, and was excited to try it out so this provided the perfect excuse for me to get out and use my new motorcycle gear.
Leaving early Saturday morning from Toronto kept us out of too much traffic. We rode along highway 27 out of the city and into the quaint village of Schomberg, located in King Township. A nice leisurely coffee break at Grackle Coffee Company was just what I needed to reenergize for the ride north. We continued our ride along 27 to highway 11, and then headed east on 118. This road gave me the release I had been yearning for; it was long, smooth and had some nice curves. The smell of pine trees invaded my lungs, and I could feel the fresh air cleanse my body almost immediately.
Through twists, turns and hills, we finally came to a stop at the Ox Narrows Lodge & Restaurant located right where highway 11 and 35 intersect, next to Kushog Lake in the Algonquin Highlands. I learned that this restaurant reopened with new owners on August 1st of this year and featured a newly built patio that I was happy to park myself on for a bit of a break. We were encouraged to return in the fall by the owners, who advised us that the fall colours are absolutely unreal in the Ox Narrows area.
Our motorcycle route took us along highway 118 to highway 7. We rode at quick but safe speeds past lakes, forests, and sparkling granite rock on each side of the road before ending the day at a friend’s cottage, located near Bat Lake. Getting to the cottage was a bit tricky though, as I had no idea that the road would be full of loose gravel, sand and rocks. I look at every situation in life as an adventure, so I gave Ben a thumbs up, gritted my teeth, took off my sunglasses to get a clear view and hovered over the back brake as we slowly made our way to the cottage. The end result was worth the trek there; this cottage was situated up on a slight hill and overlooked Bat Lake from pretty much every angle. It was absolutely beautiful.
Exploring the nearby area, we found an old, rotting pick-up truck that served as a great spot for a fun photo-shoot. I went for a quick (and I mean quick!) swim in Bat Lake, which was a bit cooler than I expected it to be, and then spent some time hanging out on the dock reading and writing a few notes about our adventure that day. The lake was so quiet and tranquil, and as smooth as glass.
I enjoyed watching the odd fish jump, and seeing chipmunks quarrel over nuts in anticipation of winter. Gone were the days of ‘people watching’ (which I’m guilty of enjoying too often); and instead it was replaced by ‘nature watching’. We finally ended the night with a nice fire, a BBQ dinner and roasted marshmallows for dessert, combined with good conversation and the odd ghost story that gave me the chills.
Despite a wetter summer, we lucked out this weekend. The weather was perfect; it was warm, sunny, but also offered a crisp wave of coolness when riding around some of the larger lakes in the area. We departed fairly early the next morning, and took a different route home. Off of highway 7, we rode down Airport Road before turning onto North Shore Road. This was my favourite road of the trip! The shaded, narrow and windy road took us around Maple Lake and Beech Lake, right back to the Ox Narrows Lodge and Restaurant! It was clear to me that weekend that there is still so much to see and explore in Northern Ontario. Every trip is an adventure, full of new experiences, challenges, and great rewards in the end.
Need some wheels to do some exploring of your own? Check out motorcycledealers.ca for the best deals on new and used motorcycles in Canada.
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