Georgian Bay Coastal Route + Deer Trail Route tour
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Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 734
Location: Toronto, Canada
Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:43 am quote
I've just returned from a 12-day tour, following the coast of Georgian Bay and also following the Deer Trail route. Actually, the main goal of the tour was to experience the incredible beauty of the remote Algoma Country - the very scenic roads 129 and 546 (Deer Trail). There are very few dwellings, more bears than people, and off-season even hours can pass before one encounters a car. It is the most beautiful area of the province of Ontario. Experiencing it from the saddle of a motorbike had been my dream.
Deer Trail route is about 250 km. In the counterclockwise direction, starting in the small town of Elliot Lake, it heads north via Mississagi Provinical Park. In that section the road is mostly straight, but there are many hills, some of them quite steep. Once through the Provincial Park, road 546 takes over and follows Little White River. It's all crown land (public land) there, and wild camping is allowed. This section of the route is the most scenic. The road is bumpy (but not harshly so) and in some places has a sprinkling of gravel, so higher speeds are not possible; but why would anyone rush through such gorgeous nature?

As to the Georgian Bay Coastal Route, the east and north sides are mostly along major high-speed highways (90 to 100 km/h legally), though still pretty. The west side is much more interesting, going through the paper mill town of Espanola, and then continuing through a hilly and very scenic section to Manitoulin Island (supposedly the largest freshwater island in the world). Then there is the ferry across Lake Huron from the island to the town of Tobermory.
From Tobermory it's along regional roads (speed limit of 80 km/h) back to Toronto. Actually, I went off the main regional roads and followed some scenic sideroads. It payed off, as I hit a jackpot = Beaver Valley. When you're riding along this road and all of a sudden it drops down into the valley and the valley opens in front of you, it leaves you speechless (well, at least myself). It's a deep valley with some dramatic looking hills. Its picture shown below doesn't do it justice - it must be experienced in person to truly appreciate it.

The whole tour distance was 1498 km, split over 12 days. I preferred to stay in campgrounds, but in some places it wasn't possible or there were those two days of rain. Except for the two rainy days the weather was picture perfect.

Day 1 - Earl Rowe Provincial Park campground (busy regional roads nearby)
Day 2 - Six Mile Lake Prov Park campground (next to a major highway)
Day 3 - Sturgeon Bay Prov Park campground (away from highways, but some trains)
Day 4 - Sudbury (hotel, bloody expensive)
Day 5 - Elliot Lake campground (small, cheap, looked nice, by a road but quiet at night)
Day 6 and 7 - Tunnel Lake Trading Post motel (clean, inexpensive, but looked like a cave or a tunnel [dark grey plaster on walls looking like dark concrete])
Day 8 - Chutes Provincial Park campground (train nearby)
Day 9 - South Baymouth motel (very cozy and quiet, though not the cheapest)
Day 10 - Sauble Falls Provincial Park campground (nice and quiet)
Day 11 - Knights Inn motel in Flesherton (inexpensive and clean)
Day 12 - back to Toronto

Here are links to short videos from the tour:

Deer Trail (the section along road 546):
https://youtu.be/IgEctEsVYKw

Road 129 (Algoma Country):
https://youtu.be/ScvF4cPEyto

Waterfall in Chutes Provincial Park:
https://youtu.be/nqdNZQG3U9s

The ferry:
https://youtu.be/8KF4DuEiBlY

The ferry cost $35 CAD and runs twice a day.
The largest wild animal I've encountered were chipmunks.

tour_route.png
Approximate route of the tour

coastal_route.jpg
Georgian Bay Coastal Route

canoes.jpg
Six Mile Lake Provincial Park camground

sunset.jpg
sunset, Sturgeon Bay

sturgeon_bay.jpg
sideroad through Canadian Shield, by Sturgeon Bay

campsite.jpg
one of the campsites; food hanging

deer_trail.jpg
Deer Trail

MississagiPP.jpg
remote wilderness, Mississagi Provincial Park

narrows.jpg
narrows

crown_land.jpg
crown land (public land), wild camping allowed

rocks_road_river.jpg
road 546

little_white_river.jpg
Little White River

hwy129.jpg
road 129 by Mississagi River, Algoma Country

wet_129.jpg
road 129

evening_glory.jpg
evening glory, Sturgeon Bay

fog.jpg
fog in Algoma Country

waterfall.jpg
waterfall, Chutes Provincial Park

rock_and_road.jpg
south of Espanola

deer_crossing.jpg
automated (motion sensors) deer crossing warning; getting close to Manitoulin Island

swing_bridge.jpg
this swing bridge is the only land link to Manitoulin Island, It swings 90 degrees to let ships through.

Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 734
Location: Toronto, Canada
Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:52 am quote
more photos from the tour
just a few more pics.

10_mile_lookout.jpg
10 mile lookout, Manitoulin Island, Lake Huron

lighthouse.jpg
lighthouse, South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island

ferry_wait.jpg
waiting to board the ferry

strapped_in.jpg
deep in the guts of the ferry

from_the_deck.jpg
South Baymouth, from the ferry's deck

sauble_falls.jpg
Sauble falls

country_sideroad.jpg
not knowing where exactly I was, but heading in the right direction - exploring sideroads

beaver_valley.jpg
Beaver Valley - pictures don't do it justice

beaver_river.jpg
Beaver River in Beaver Valley. It offers about 18 km of easy canoeing .

Hooked
Vespa GTS 300
Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 180
Location: Napier, New Zealand
Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:30 am quote
Beautiful Holiday
Hello Michael B, thank you for that lovely tour, great photos and movies, good to see that you appreciate all that natural beauty around you and what better way to see it, on a scooter and camping, roll on summer. I think if I was on that route it may take me a bit longer as I would have to do a spot of fishing, there would have to be trout in those rivers! surely. All the best, Owie.
Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 734
Location: Toronto, Canada
Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:29 am quote
Thanks, Owie. Yes, I agree - experiencing the land on a motorbike and camping are the best (as long as the weather is nice; camping in rain sucks )
Member
300ie Super, P200e
Joined: 24 Sep 2015
Posts: 7
Location: Carpinteria, Ca.
Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:51 am quote
Thanks for that trip. Beautiful scenery. Didn't look as though you saw another vehicle.
Moderibbit
1980 P200E - "Old Rusty", 1976 ET3 Primavera
Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 8039
Location: Redwood City, CA
Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:10 pm quote
great shots, thanks for sharing!
Hooked
GTS 300
Joined: 19 Aug 2014
Posts: 227
Location: Northern Cal
Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:18 pm quote
Great photos and write-up. Your photos inspire me to break out of my habitual shots.
I will be following part of your route tomorrow. Tonight I'm in Webbwood, ON and tomorrow will go to Sudbury then south on 400 to may-be Niagara Falls if I get that far. I'm on somewhat of a schedule so can't take the backroads route.
Thanks for the inspiring post.
Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 734
Location: Toronto, Canada
Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:15 pm quote
Thanks, guys, for the comments. BIlbo, I'll get to reading your report during the week. My schedule has been hectic since returning and tomorrow is back to work. Too bad I couldn't say "Hi" to you in person.
Addicted
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 821
Location: Minneapolis USA
Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:49 am quote
Top Knotch Photography
Michael B,

Your tour really motivates me to get on the road.
What kind of a camera were you shooting with?
I really must congratulate you on your pictures.
Nothing "back Lit", great framing, great color, Wow.

Thanks for the visual adventure.

Bob Copeland
Minnesota
Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 734
Location: Toronto, Canada
Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:16 am quote
Hi Bob,

thank you. Most of the pics were taken with iPhone 5.
Some with a Sony CyberShot camera. In decent light the iPhone
takes great pics. I didn't take the dSLR as I had no more space.
Cheers, M
Member
vespa gts 250 ie
Joined: 09 Oct 2016
Posts: 29
Location: piqua ohio
Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:28 pm quote
Great pics,thanks for taking me along
Hooked
2005 et4
Joined: 23 May 2015
Posts: 217
Location: oshawa ontario canada
Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:13 am quote
Just looked at this thread again and makes me think I will have to ride that route, or part of it, in 2017.

Lovely photos.
Addicted
GTS 300 ie - traded in; Honda CB300FA; Honda Ruckus scooter
Joined: 12 May 2014
Posts: 734
Location: Toronto, Canada
Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:04 am quote
duane1 wrote:
Just looked at this thread again and makes me think I will have to ride that route, or part of it, in 2017.

Lovely photos.
Thanks, Duane1, it's definitely worth it.
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