Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Weekend in Sudbury

Good Friday

Kim, Mike, Jolene and Robyn arrived in town late in the afternoon. We joined them in their room at the Fairfield Inn and then decided that we would all go to Kelsey's for supper. Afterwards, we stopped by the house so they could see the renovation work, which remains ongoing, before they headed back to the hotel.

Robyn looks happy to be here

The Koolen's have a new van

Still bright and sunny at supper time

Kelsey's Original Roadhouse

Waiting to order

I need a wider angle lens

I restrained myself


Mike had planned to take advantage of an Easter tour offered at Stack Brewing, a local craft brewing operation. The name comes from the Superstack, an iconic smokestack that INCO built at its Copper Cliff Smelter almost fifty years ago. Ironically, Vale (which bought INCO a decade ago) recently announced plans to phase out and possibly demolish the Superstack. As they stopped by the house, friend John from Ottawa dropped by to visit, so he joined us.

The tour was interesting. Lots of stainless steel and vessels named after classic TV detectives (and a Star Wars droid). Owner Shawn Mailloux served as our guide. In addition to describing the current operation, he spoke about expansion plans that are in the works. Crowds were gathering and, by the time we left, there were lineups at the cash.

Stack Brewing, Sudbury Ontario

What better way to spend Easter Saturday

Historic local beer bottles

More history

The Stack offerings

Sandy and Kim waiting for the tour to begin

Shawn Mailloux - brewery owner and guide

Fitting name

So much stainless steel

Shawn explaining the process

High class plumbing

Unlike distilleries, only a little bit of wood

Mike and Jolene checking out the canning line

Where beer is born

It would be interesting to see this in action

Some strange local tradition

Business appears good

Mike stocking up on Stack

Note the rain

After the tour, we decided lunch was in order. Our first choice was the Sizzle Mongolian Grill at the old Cassio's location, but it was closed. Next try was the Taphouse Northern Grill and Pub on Regent Street. It was open, not too busy and we had a nice meal. In fact, my Southwest Club Sandwich with real pieces of turkey, thick bacon and BBQ sauce was memorable. I wasn't as restrained in my menu choices as I was last night.

Taphouse Northern Grill and Pub, Sudbury Ontario

The pizza kitchen

Didn't get any food photos

Art for sale - I like this acrylic

After lunch, Mike, Kim and the girls returned to the hotel for a nap. Sandy and I came back to the house. Mike texted later asking about bowling alleys. There is only one in town as far as I know. We decided to stay in but saw the pictures he posted later.

Easter Sunday

The family went to a local church for Easter services. The pastor was the brother of someone the twins went to high school with and they reported that it was a great service.

We had decided that we would all take Sandy's mom Jan (AKA Great Grandma) to Mr. Prime Rib for supper. Sandy made the reservation and then she and I went over to Extendicare. She has been bringing old photo albums and she spent time going over the pictures with Jan and her roommate, Pearl.

Janet and Pearl's door

View from their window (there's that pesky stack again)

Bringing some different clothes

Pearl, Sandy and Jan looking at pictures

Mr. Prime Rib is one of the better places to dine in Sudbury. Always good service and better food in my experience. We brought Jan and met the rest of the family there. It was nice to have four generations of the family together again.

Mr. Prime Rib - Sudbury Ontario

A nice lady took this - the look on my face frightens me

The signature melt-in-your-mouth prime rib (small cut)


Four generations

After supper, the Koolens returned to the Fairfield Inn while we took Jan back to Extendicare. In the lobby, we ran into Patricia, niece of Jan's hospital roommate Dorothy. It was good to see her and catch up a bit. Then we headed home for the night.

Sandy, Patricia and Jan

Easter Monday

Mike, Kim and the girls stopped by on their way out of town. Mike wanted to get going early to beat the Toronto traffic. We got a text later letting us know they made it home in good time.

We'll be heading south in another month when we'll get a chance to see all the kids and grandkids. Can't wait.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sudbury Ontario to Gananoque Ontario and return

Motorcycle Pickup Mission

Our friend Kevin bought himself a new (to him) motorcycle from a friend of his. It was a 2005 Honda GoldWing, the best year for the GL1800 in my most humble opinion. The only problem was that the bike was in Gananoque, Ontario (near where Lake Ontario flows out into the St. Lawrence River). I figured the Equinox/trailer combination needed a checkout run before we started traveling, so a road trip would kill two birds with one stone.

The temperature was right on the freezing mark as we left Sudbury at 6:25 AM. There are many ways to get to Gananoque but none of them resemble a straight line. Oddly, Google Maps tells us that the fastest way is also the longest. I decided to make a big circle.

We headed south on Highway 69, stopping at the Petro-Canada station south of Parry Sound for fuel From there, we took Old Highway 69 and then 169 through Bala and Gravenhurst; Highway 11 south to Washago; more 169 to Highway 12 through Brechin; and Highway 7 east to Peterborough. After a stop at a coffee place at Fowler's Corners, we went south on 28 to the 401 and then east on the big road to Gananoque, where we arrived at 2:15.

The only notable things were a one lane bridge in Bala and a nightmare melange of trucks in an On Route service centre near Trenton (once in the truck parking lot, we almost couldn't get out). In Gananoque, we fueled and upped the trailer tire pressures to 50 PSI.

 Fueling in Parry Sound

Damn, I look scary

Bala Ontario

Nice Li'l Red Truck in Gravenhurst

Arriving in Gananoque

We headed to the appointed address but Bob, the soon to be former Wing owner, texted and said he wouldn't be able to arrive until almost 3:00. Not wanting to waste time, we hopped over to the downtown Subway for a quick lunch.

Kevin on Brock Street, Gananoque but no Bob

Back at the house, Bob had the bike out and warming up. It was white, a colour favoured by various friends of mine from time to time. I prefer the 2005 because it was the first year without frame re-welds and the last year before you needed all the optional packages to get ABS brakes. It was also a Darkside bike, meaning it had a car tire mounted on the rear rim. Bob said it had the master cylinder recall done last year but that they would not test ride it due to the rear tire. Darkside is a raging debate in the motorcycle community, but I know more than a few who run car tires and absolutely none where it has caused a problem. Still, liability issues frighten many business owners.

I rode the bike into the trailer, tied it down and we got underway about 3:40 PM.

Expert loading job

Kevin and Bob

On the way out of town, we noted that gas at the Ultramar station downtown was $1.066 per liter, compared to $1.216 when we left Sudbury. There is something simply unfair about this, which reminded me that nobody promised me fair when I was born.

To complete the circle, we headed north to Highway 15, which took us north through Smiths Falls and on up 29 to Arnprior where we stopped at Tim's. Then it was straight home on Highway 17 with a final gas stop in Deep River. High water was evident until we got past the dam at Rolphton.

 High water in Highway 15

High and flowing fast

Slowed by a wreck near Renfrew

Nothing too serious

Rolphton Dam

I think it's a good looking outfit

We arrived back in Sudbury about 11:00 pm. I left the trailer at Kevin's with the bike in it so he could haul it over to a bike shop tomorrow for a mechanical fitness inspection (necessary in Ontario to transfer ownership). NB - It seems shops will not pass a motorcycle with a car tire mounted. We covered 734 miles in a little over 16 hours and I did not experience any of my usual fatigue attacks. This was probably due to my passenger, who conversed the whole way instead of napping:-))

I better think about getting our own bike out soon. Tempus fugit.

Today's Route (734 Equinox miles):