Note: Having finally succumbed to the stress of dealing with the rest of the CMG staff, Mark’s off on a well-deserved vacation. That means that this week, you get my opinion instead – Zac
It’s mid-summer now, the end of July. The next six weeks could be the best time to ride a motorcycle in Canada. So what are you going to do about it?
Why not go exploring, and see some of our country?
This summer, you’ve seen a variety of touring stories in CMG; I did the Cabot Trail in May, Mark and the rest of the Ontario crew did a short rip in the Haliburton Highlands, and I’ve just got back from a ride through Labrador.
That’s a lot of riding packed into a short amount of time, but that’s the reality of motorcycling here in Canada. We have a short riding season, with only June-September really suitable for touring. And, we have a really big country. If you want to see it, you’ve got to put a lot of miles down in a short time.
The trouble with riding here is, sometimes there’s lots of boring stuff to get through, before you get to the good stuff. British round-the-world traveler Austin Vince once told me the reason most hardcore adventure riders don’t get excited about Canada is that you can go for days seeing the same thing: rocks and trees. It’s a far cry from the gorgeous sandstone formations of the Utah desert, or the canyons of California.
On the other hand, Josef Stalin once supposedly said that “Quantity has a quality of its own,” or something along those lines, and if you want a vast wilderness to ride through, Canada’s certainly got it.
As one of my Facebook friends said about his own Labrador travels: “It’s a beautiful land. Large expanses of ‘alone’ broken by some of the most welcoming people I’ve encountered in all my travels. Where else can you sit on a mountaintop and hear not one man-made noise, or see a single trace of man, not even a contrail in the sky, but for the road that brought you up?”
He has a point. Editor ‘Arris would have agreed with him. When he moved to Canada, part of the appeal was that it was immense, with a lot of wilderness to explore. It could swallow you up, if you weren’t careful.
In the east, Quebec has roads every bit as good as the legendary byways of New England. That’s also true in Ontario, once you get off the beaten track. And as for Atlantic Canada, a combination of great scenery and permissive traffic enforcement make the whole region a must-visit destination.