Day 55 – Oeuf Wiedersehen

Barbara and Dave Wynd tout their morning fare as the “Best Breakfast on the Bruce” — and they ain’t lying. The long polished oak table in the plant-filled dining room is laden with a colourful spread Dave calls “Barbara’s German Breakfast,” but there’s a lot of Bruce Peninsula involved with local summer sausage, Barbara’s homemade bread and muesli, and veggies from their garden. Fresh fruit salad, a variety of cold meats and cheeses, pickled herring and smoked salmon, and deep dish baked apple pancake complete the spread. Barbara prides herself on offering guests the “perfect egg” boiled to order, and dressed in tiny handmade warmers. Carafes of strong hot coffee and tea are never empty, and Barb keeps an eagle eye on the dishes to make sure guests never want for anything. Nothing is greasy or fried, and whenever possible dishes are made from scratch. It’s a table to linger over with conversation and laughter, something the wisecracking Wynds are never short of.

Barbara and Dave purchased the former Taylor’s Bed & Breakfast on the quiet cul-de-sac across from trees and farm fields in 2004, and with a typical twist of humour renamed it Taylor Made — built by Taylor, and tailored to their guests’ enjoyment. With five spacious, bright guest rooms ranging from twin to deluxe queen with ensuite and a cozy guest lounge and foyer and backyard hot-tub, the B&B is a warm and welcoming spot for travellers to stay while enjoying the great hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, antiques and unique out of the way shops of the beautiful Bruce Peninsula. Barbara and Dave are both long-time riders and offer covered bike parking and seasoned advice on the best riding on the Bruce. Barbara owned a Bed & Breakfast in Norway for six years, and Dave’s spent many years managing hotels. They welcome guests in German, Norwegian, French and English!

After their daily duties keeping the B&B sparkling — and ours working away on our assorted blog-related creative endeavours — they took us to their favourite fish & chip spot for dinner. DNA take-away is housed in a turquoise and fuschia trailer on highway 6, and Dave raves about their lightly battered fresh whitefish — swimming in the morning, frying in the evening — and thick homemade french fries. The Lone Wolf drive-through coffee shop complements their offerings with cold and hot beverages — Dave and Mike rolled through in make-believe choppers, much to our delight.

A quiet evening in Barb & Dave’s cozy kitchen telling stories over nips of bourbon and herbal tea wound the quiet rainy day to a close and we retired to the trailer to get ready for our 450km jaunt to North Bay tomorrow.

Tomorrow — North Bay Karaoke! We’ve been practicing all week…

Photos by Alexandra Sawicki


Day 54 – On the Big Canoe

Our day started with an early morning ride to South Baymouth. A beautiful place at any time of day, the early morning is when Manitoulin shines with promise. At every turn, a new treasure: The night’s dew still glistening in the deep grass as the sun rolls over the fields; deer picking their way gracefully along the breakfast buffet of the roadside; queen anne’s lace and purple primrose peering out of the gulches; and cows grazing along the weathered logs of pioneer split-rail fences. Big Lake, Lake Manitou and South Bay wink through the trees along the winding country roads.

The ferry line-up in South Baymouth was just starting to grow when we arrived, and after parking the bike at the front of the line — motorcycles on and off first! — we headed into the Pierside Diner right across from the line-up for a quick breakfast before loading. We entertained ourselves with sampling the entire line of Manitoulin Island jams, jellies and spreads that are open on every table. From hazelnut chocolate spread to pecan coconut butter to the Island specialty Hawberry Jam, Hawberry Farms makes it all — right on Manitoulin Island. The adjoining gift shop sells the entire product line if you’re looking for a unique treat to take home. The Chi-cheemaun dock is one of the most highly trafficked areas on the whole island, and there are several comprehensive gift shops lining the road for last-minute purchases while you wait for the boat.

The hour and forty-five minute ferry ride from South Baymouth to Tobermory on the MS Chi-Cheemaun went by in a flash from our sheltered perch starboard aft ensconced in brightly coloured adirondack chairs. Georgian Bay was at its absolute bluest, the sky clear and light with one or two fluffy white clouds. In the distance, the north shore of Lake Huron to the north and the northernmost tip of the Bruce Peninsula to the south are grand and rocky with cedar forest stretching inland, small whitewashed lighthouses with the requisite red roofs guiding the way.

The Owen Sound Transportation Company has operated passenger ferries between Tobermory and South Baymouth since 1931, starting with the small, wooden vessels the MS Normac and SS Kagawong. The diesel powered MS Norgoma and SS Norisle were added to the fleet in 1963, and 1974 saw the maiden voyage of the state-of-the-art MS Chi-Cheemaun, the anglo-phonetic spelling of the Anishinaabemowin word for Big Canoe.

Landing on the Bruce Peninsula, we stopped to explore Tobermory and let the ferry traffic drift south down the two-lane highway 6 ahead of us. A summer-only tourist town, Tobermory is a bustling harbour lined with gift shops, ice cream parlours, fish & chips and adventure outfitters. The gas stations close early, so fill up in Ferndale on the Peninsula or on the Island if you’re heading to or from the ferry after 8pm. If you’ve got time to explore, tours to Flowerpot Island and Fathom Five Marine Park depart several times a day aboard glass-bottomed boats, and the lookout tower of Bruce Peninsula National Park is only a few minutes away.

Half an hour south of Tobermory, we said hello to our hosts Barbara and Dave Wynd of TaylorMade Bed & Breakfast in Lion’s Head and set up the trailer in their RV spot. An afternoon swim at the sheltered sandy beach by the Lion’s Head Marina welcomed us, and Alexe and I spent a lovely afternoon reading books under a tree on the much-widened original breakwater looking out over the cliffs and turquoise waves of Georgian Bay.

We capped off our gorgeous day with an evening ride along the water with Barb & Dave and their Harley-riding guests, and enjoyed a big homemade spaghetti dinner on their well-appointed deck.

Tomorrow — The final ‘work day’ of the trip in lovely Lion’s Head, and fish & chips with Barb & Dave!

Photos by Alexandra Sawicki

Day 53 – I Heart P0P

Father/son owners and management team Greg & Jack Adams of Mindemoya Court

We decided when we first arrived on Manitoulin that we would stay a day longer than our itinerary prescribed, and then remain in Lion’s Head for an additional day as well, skipping over southern Georgian Bay in favour of more in-depth coverage of the Island and the Bruce Peninsula. The hectic pace of the first 50 days was catching up with us, and we realized staying in one place for a little while would do wonders for our flagging energy.

On Thursday morning, five days seemed to stretch on forever. But today we all felt the pangs of ‘the last day’ — granted, maybe me more than most since I have 30 years of experience not wanting to leave Manitoulin at the end of the summer — and took the afternoon off to just enjoy the peaceful island pace, sunshine and sand. Except Mike; he never stops working.

He, Kelly and Jamie headed to Little Current in the morning for Chris Hughes‘ Motorcycle Tourism presentation, and I gathered everyone’s laundry and trotted into Mindemoya to get that out of the way early, stopping in at the Espresso Bar for a delicious iced cappuccino while the clothes were drying.

On my return, Alexe, Bogdan and I piled into the truck with our swimsuits and went to the big beach at Providence Bay. We’ve been driving past it almost every day, since the Ride Manitoulin event took place at the Prov Fair Grounds, but we haven’t really lounged around and gotten swimmy with it. Providence Bay is one of the nicest public beaches on the Island with clean white sand stretching out in a several kilometre shallow horseshoe, flat Lake Huron rocks stepping in to the water at the eastern end of the Bay. The Prov sand dunes are unique to the south shore of the Island, formed 3000-4000 years ago from post-glacial lake deposits. An elevated wooden boardwalk traverses the dunes, heading east along the beach from the interpretive centre and playground.

Picking up another round of absolutely delicious fresh fish burgers from Lake Huron Fish & Chips two minutes from the beach, we picnicked in the sand then hung out neck deep in the rolling waves for a long long time. On a hot hot day there is absolutely nothing better. Except maybe ice cream — which we grabbed from Three Boys and a Girl in Mindemoya, and lingered over on the little beach at the Ketchankookem Trail turnoff on the way back to Mindemoya Court.

When Mike returned, we barbecued our homemade hamburgers at the cookout patio as the sun glowed orange and purple over the lake. After chatting with Greg and Jack Adams — owners and managers of Mindemoya Court for 26 years! — Mike and I jumped into the windy lake for a wild last swim in the waves as the sun set.

Goodbye P0P! (The postal code prefix for Manitoulin Island)

Tomorrow — The Chi-cheemaun ferry to Tobermory, and TaylorMade Bed & Breakfast in Lion’s Head!

Photo by Alexandra Sawicki

Day 61 Video – The Last Daily Update!

Our trip ended like it began – torrential rain in Etobicoke! Episode ten – the LAST EPISODE is live tomorrow!

Sweet Peeks of the Week #8