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Article on the UNORT in the Manitoulin Expositor

Manitoulin Eastern Side Ride

Manitoulin Eastern Side Ride

Day 5. Mindemoya, Ontario to North Bay

There are three ways onto Manitoulin Island ( in addition to swimming or canoeing!!).  You fly in (there are TWO airports), or you take the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry (that’s what we did), or you take Highway 6 which comes down from Trans Canada Hwy. 17, through Espanola, Whitefish Falls to Little Current, home to a famous swing bridge.

Swing Bridge
For many, this route is the “piece-de-resistance” of a road trip to Manitoulin as it winds through the La Cloche Mountains(among the oldest mountain ranges on earth), complete with fabulous rock cuts.  This is our departure route from Manitoulin as we’re heading east to Sudbury and then North Bay for the Ride for Dad.  (We’re actually going to be in the North Bay area three times on this trip… this is the first.)

But first, our last days on the Island.  From Mindemoya, we’ll pick up Hwy. 6 and head to Little Current, which is the last town on the northeast of Manitoulin Island.  The Swing Bridge at Little Current occasionally impedes progress on the road as it lets boating traffic travel between Georgian Bay and the North Channel.

Small towns along the highway include Whitefish Falls and picturesque Willisville.  Just before we take to Highway 17 is the town of Espanola.  Gas up.  Food up.

We’re on a mission to get to North Bay, but along the way is Sudbury and of course we’ll stop at “The Shop”, Sudbury’s noted Harley Davidson retailer.  These folks will be happy to rent you a Harley for your own riding experience.  We also know a few riders in the area, and we’re hoping to hook up with them too.

The last leg of our trip today is to head into North Bay to hook up with the Ride for Dad event.  Their registration is from 3-to-7 pm in North Bay and we want to get signed up to join them on the ride the next day.  Hey, why don’t YOU come talk to us when you register?  In addition to the motorcycles, we’re in a 31-ft CanaDream RV that’s pretty clearly marked with “Ultimate Road Trip” signs… just look for the red plaid!

We’re gonna eat downtown at the Bull & Quench pub, a handout for the Nipissing Section (chapter) of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (CVMG).  Then, we’re “boondocking” in our RV in the Canadian Tire parking lot with the Ride for Dad folks, ready for the event on Saturday.  (Well, REAL boondocking is in the middle of nature without hookups, but we’re halfway there without hookups).

See you in the morning, and we’ll go raise some money for prostate cancer.

Day 4. More Manitoulin (Can’t Get Enough)

We’ve tweaked our trip since we first conceived the route, based largely on what the people who live in or regularly visit the areas.

cup and sauce

On Wednesday, we were out at the west end of the island, and today we will explore the east end.  Still working out of our base at Mindemoya Court Cottages and Campgounds, our escorts will meet up with us in the morning and take us out and about.

We’re going to meander, and the actual route is up to our (spirit?) guides, but we KNOW we’re including these elements…

Mid-island, there the Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong.  It’s a hike, but you can make it short of long.  We’re told that lots of riders do it in their gear.  Once at the falls, you can take a dip, and even get behind the curtain of water in the falls!

East of there is the famous Cup-and-Saucer trail.  Part of the Niagara Escarpement, this is the highest point of land on the Island and offers an INCREDIBLE view.  It’s another hike that we’re told bikes do all the time.  We’ll check it out and let you know!

Still further east is the First Nations town of Sheguiandah.  Here, at Ten Mile Point, is an incredible view east across the top of Georgian Bay to Killarney.  We’ll continue south and east to Wikwemikong, the largest unceded First Nations community.  Up the peninsula on Rabbit Island Road we’ll come to another scenic vista.

We’ll head back to our Campground, but before stopping for the day, we will head to Providence Bay.  This is home to a magnificent sand beach, complete with boardwalk.

Manitoulin is rich in First Nations history and throughout nthe year there are events and PowWows.  We’ll get a taste of the geography and culture in our brief visit, and we’ll tell you the story so you can choose how to spend your time.