Cruising Through Dynamite Alley – Some road trips are about quality not quantity
Story by Dustin A. Woods, photos by Virgil Knapp
Dustin Woods is a professional writer and avid traveller who has been a lifelong motorcycle fanatic. Imagine his surprise and delight upon discovering that these passions could all be combined through his pursuit of motorcycle travel writing.
Some road trips are about logging as many miles as possible to get to a certain destination, while others are about just searching out the best roads to aimlessly explore new areas – quality over quantity. Come summertime, gas stations and coffee shops are full of guys (and gals) on bikes sharing their favourite roads.
Among them is ‘The 507’ located at the southern tip of a region known as Ontario’s Highlands. I’d ridden it several times, but little did I know that it was just the tip of a massive iceberg just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Regardless of the riding experience you’re planning, this vast area known as Ride the Highlands, offers options that will cater to what you’re looking for. Hoping to spend a weekend away with a couple friends where rest and relaxation were the priorities, we opted to explore a 508 kilometre route known as Dynamite Alley.
Taking our time, we spent a couple days cruising though the Haliburton and Bancroft area, stopping when we needed fuel or food, or sometimes just to pause, take a breath and enjoy the beautiful scenery. We spent the night just outside of Haliburton in a family-owned and operated resort called the Bonnie View Inn, a lakefront haven that blends traditional charm with modern amenities. Andrea Hagarty, the ever-exuberant and hospitable owner, started working there as a 19-year-old student and fell in love with the place so much that she returned every summer in between semesters until finally purchasing the place. She now runs it with her friends and family and the passion they all share is contagious.
The traditional country resort on Lake Kashagawigamog isn’t more than couple hours away from Toronto so we took full advantage by exploring the area and arriving with enough time to enjoy the sunshine. Boasting lake-view rooms, great food, extremely comfortable beds and a licensed lakeside patio that features live music on weekends, once the kickstands were down they stayed down for the night. Swimming in the lake and enjoying the sunset on the dock, we had a great meal in their restaurant followed by a few late night beers by the fire pit. They even provided the marshmallows.
Given the complication the Canadian shield created on road building in the area, sometimes you travel over, other times around, and even better yet, occasionally straight on through massive pre-Cambrian era rock formations. Presumably carved out of the dense rock formations and vegetation by forestry workers with imagination and foresight, the roads through the region are well-suited to transportation of the two-wheeled variety – particularly the dynamics of the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special. We’re not talking highly technical turns or spontaneous hairpins, just mile after mile of sweeping curves through frequently changing landscape. It’s the kind of riding that is conducive to relaxation.
Faithful to the customs of their ancestors, many people live a far simpler, less stressful lifestyle than we big city folk do. Touring Ontario’s Highlands can occasionally cause you to feel like you are travelling back in time due to the historical architecture, traditions and pace of life. Cruising over to Bancroft, we notice they’ve opened a new pub, the Bancroft Eatery & Brew Pub. Should you find yourself there on a Thursday, they’ve got half price wings. On Friday’s there’s live entertainment if you feel like parking the bike for the night.
Ontario’s Highlands is currently the province’s best kept secret. One can only imagine being given free reign to design the perfect motorcycle route, custom-tailored to your motorcycle, riding style and travel tastes. Our personal motorcycle mecca discussions included wide open roads free from traffic and stop lights, with each unique route connecting distinctive small towns with local charm and friendly people with a total lack of pretension. Well lo and behold, we discovered that such a place actually exists – and less than three hours from our front door no less!
For more information, visit: www.ridethehighlands.ca