Ride the Highlands would not be what it is without the locals who make up our communities’ very colourful personality. If you can’t tell, we love our locals and how welcoming they are to you, our two-wheeled guests.
It’s not rare for riders to meet a local who is keen to strike up a conversation, tell you about the area and give you insider tips. To show how awesome our locals are, we introduced you to six locals you needed to meet earlier this year. We decided to highlight eight more locals you need to meet on your next ride.
Charlie Drevniok (AKA Charlie D)
Where to find him: Charlie D’s, Barry’s Bay, ON
Be prepared to meet one of the friendliest people you’ll encounter in Ontario’s Highlands. This says a lot, since almost everyone you will come across on your trip will be super nice. When you pull into Charlie D’s and park in the priority motorcycle parking area, Charlie will probably be one of the first people who greets you. Charlie D’s is a great place to take a break from your ride to grab a bite to eat and find locally made products for purchase. Charlie D is usually found in the store and is very willing to scoop you some delicious ice cream. A motorcycle guy and having grown up down the road in Combermere, Charlie will let you in on his favourite local places to ride in the area. His employees say Charlie knows a little about everything and a lot about some things. So grab a Poutine with personality (16 varieties) from the food truck or ice cream cone and take a minute (or two or three) to chat with Charlie D about the secret twisty roads in the region.
Chris Thompson, Chris Thompson & James Innes
Where to find them: Whitewater Brewing Co., Forester Fall or Cobden, ON
You didn’t read it wrong; two of the owners at Whitewater Brewing Co. have the same name and that’s not the only thing they share. Originally bonding over a passion for white water rafting and running rapids on the Ottawa River as professional guides with Wilderness Tours, these three friends decided that they wanted to get into business together with another one of their passions- beer. Similar to the road builders of the past, who handcrafted motorcycle roads just for your enjoyment, these three guys also appreciate the made-by-hand process. Their goal when opening this brewery was to craft beer with locally sourced quality ingredients in an effort to support the local economy. Their beer has already made a noticeable impact on the community. Roll into one of their two locations to sample a beer and grab a bite to eat while watching the brewers in action.
Where to find her: The County Cupboard, Petawawa, ON
You won’t experience a better greeting than when you walk through the door at the Country Cupboard and meet owner Cheryl Jordan. An entrepreneur and military wife, Cheryl has become a prominent presence in the community, especially for her support of other military spouses by hiring them in her store or connecting them with community partners. Cheryl’s store may be called the Country Cupboard; however it’s anything but your average country store. Cheryl has worked very hard to make it a destination, ensuring that you’ll leave with something to put in your saddlebag (she stocks a wide variety of biker themed signs). Cheryl’s moto is to treat everyone the way you want to be treated, which includes customers, staff, delivery people and children. There’s a reason why she’s been in business for over 20 years.
Karen Bretzlaff & André Post
Where to find them: Wes’ Chips, Arnprior, ON
Wes’ Chips has been an institution in Arnprior for over 50 years. Both Karen and André understood this when they took over the business in the early 90s. They take fries very seriously and pride themselves in the quality chips they provide to their patrons. They are so confident in their fries that they don’t sell anything but. Make sure you include Wes’ Chips as a stop on your riding itinerary to fuel up on their delicious handcrafted potato goodness. Also, ask André about his 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD, that he converted to run on used French fry oil. People often say he smells delicious as he drives by.
Where to find him: Coronation Hall Cider Mills, Bristol, QC
A man of many trades, Greg Graham is the owner of Coronation Hall Cider Mills, an amateur historian and a local playwright. When he’s not providing tours of the facility and teaching visitors how to press apples to make cider, you might find him on stage in the 1936 Coronation Dance Hall located onsite performing in local plays. As a history buff, Greg also provides heritage and archaeological tours. With his knowledge of the area’s history and his family first arriving in 1840, around the time the road builders began crafting our epic roads, Greg is filled with many stories and is willing to share them over a slice of homemade (on site) apple pie and a glass of cider.