Today I leave on a 2,000 km motorcycle trip from Toronto to Quebec City and back, my first big motorcycle road trip in over a decade. I’ll be riding just over 350 km (217 miles), see Transformers, the world’s biggest apple, and I’ll find a place to stay for free for the night. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to rain.
While I was anxious about the trip before leaving, the second I was done loading up the motorcycle and hit the starter, all worries were left behind. I just wanted to get away. In my last video I talked about how I hadn’t taken a motorcycle trip in over a decade. Life, career, responsibilities, and starting my own business had gotten in the way. I was finally in a place to be able to leave all that behind for a while, so I was just so happy to be on the road.
Toronto to Port Hope and Primitive Designs
I chose to take Highway 401 to leave the city. It’s a major highway. So major, that part of Highway 401 that passes through Toronto is actually the busiest highway in all of North America. The stretch of highway 401 just a couple kilometers north of my house gets up to 18 lanes wide and sees an average of 500,000 vehicles per day. I figured there’s no real scenic route for leaving the city anyway, so why not take the fastest route to get away from everything?
After just over an hour, I get to my first stretch break: Port Hope’s On Route gas stop. Port Hope has a good ring to it. I stopped here on my last motorcycle ride too, when I rode to Quebec on a 250cc cruiser that had no business doing that kind of travel. It’s a good time to check on bike, bags, and rider, to make sure everything’s in good shape and take care of some business.
After taking care of business in Port Hope, it was time for another short jump on the 401. 14 km further down the highway is my first real stop, the incomparable Primitive Designs in Port Hope, Ontario. It’s a place I’ve been wanting to go to for far too long, and one I’ll have to go back when I have my truck and some money to burn. Check this out, I think you’ll want to go too.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you saw at Primitive Designs you thought was most cool.
Port Hope to Colborne and The Big Apple
23 minutes later, and only 146 km from home I’m already making my third stop at the world’s biggest apple. That’s right, it’s not New York City. The world’s biggest apple is right here in Colborne, Ontario.
The Big Apple is an orchard as well as a roadside venue with tons of baked goods and sweets, mini golf, little train rides for kids, and other family-friendly stuff that I couldn’t care less about. I am just here so I can say I bit the biggest apple in the world. I did. It tasted like red paint.
At this point one of my GoPro batteries basically exploded while I was flying my drone. It’s not particularly interesting in the grand scheme, but this is the first time any GoPro product has let me down in 4 years of use, so in the spirit of keeping it real, I thought it was worth the mention.
Colborne to the 1,000 Islands and Brockville
I don’t worry about the battery for two long though because I have some bigger concerns on my mind. I really wanted to take a scenic tour of the famous 1,000 Islands, but based on how slowly I’m making progress that’s not going to be possible. A family in Brockville Ontario, offered to host me for the night and make me dinner too, and they’re still 200 kilometers and two hours of highway riding away.
I make one more stop at the Trenton On Route for some gas and a snack to carry me through the second half of my ride. Gas prices are a few cents more expensive per liter at On Routes, but being able to gas up without really leaving the highway is worth the 20 cent premium this stop will cost me.
The first 175 km of my trip has burned about 7 liters in gas, or 1.85 gallons, meaning I got about 4 liters per 100 km or 58 mpg. My pickup truck gets about 4-5 times worse mileage than this BMW G650GS, so I’m really happy I left my truck at home, right up until it start raining.
Around me are the 1,000 Islands, they are really beautiful, you can visit them from both the US and Canadian side of the border. I really wanted to do a cruise of the 1,000 Islands and see them with my own eyes and my eye in the sky drone, but as it threatens to rain and minutes keep ticking by I know that will have to wait for another day.
This is when I realize the downside of depending on others to take care of me: I’m now accountable to them. I said I would be there, so it’s important to me that I do that. I rode the next 170 km with no interruption to Brockville Ontario to the home I’d be staying in for free for the night.
How’d I get a free place tostay? Well, I met Melissa (and later her man Michael) through a website called Bunk A Biker. Bunk A Biker lets you host or be hosted by motorcyclists for free. They offered me a warm, comfortable, dry room to sleep in. I offered to help with whatever I could around the house but they wouldn’t take me up on it. Melissa barbecued up some chicken and potatoes and we had a nice meal with her family.
End of the Day 1
Overall I rode 352 km today on this BMW G650GS. I was grateful for the upgrades made to the bike which made this much more comfortable than it otherwise may have been. I’ll make a video about my setup soon.
Between traffic moving well, everything going smoothly, Primitive Designs being so cool, not getting caught in the rain today, and getting a free meal and place to stay for the night, I rate the first day of my trip 5 stars. Tomorrow’s calling for some very bad weather, so be sure to see how bad it gets.
I just watched the first day of your trip and really enjoyed it. This is my neck of the woods and I’m glad you enjoyed some of the roadside attractions. I ride this area a lot and if you look on Large Canadian Roadside Attractions you will see all the places and photos I have taken in the area. If you come through this area again you might want to try some of the back roads. There are some great roads to ride ion this area.
Thanks Scott. I’ve used that site before and I love it, just wish it had a map function. I’ll put out more videos from this series over the winter. Ride safe! :)
Just so you know there is a map function on Large Canadian Roadside attractions from all over the country
Hey Scott, thanks so much for pointing that out. I just updated your comment with a link to it.