Sunday, July 31, 2016

Elmhirst's resort

I decided at the last minute.

There is still so much to do to get our new home to where it needs to be, and Susan and I don't want the work dragging on forever. That why I was reluctant to set out to join fellow members of the Toronto Motor Scooter Club for what was billed as a day long ride. When Susan said I should go, I threw my hat in the ring. I was lucky there was still room for me on the ride.

The weather was nothing short of perfect. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. I was wearing mesh and taking the expressway. A slight chill in the air made me button up as I headed east to the rendez-vous in Scarborough, a short thirty minutes away. I knew the cool morning air wouldn't last so I enjoyed it while I could. I refueled about a kilometer west of the Tim Horton's where the gang was gathering. After a minor unaccountable Google maps snafu, I arrived about five minutes late. No harm done.


After some introductions, relaxed chit chat, the mandatory waiver, and group riding briefing we set off. I'm still new to Toronto and environs, and hadn't bothered to check out the route map that was handily posted to the MeetUp app, I wasn't really sure where we were going or where we were at any given time. I was just happy to be riding and discovering more that southern Ontario has to offer.

Shortly after getting underway, we crossed the Rouge river (I believe we were on Sewel's Road). I know of the Rouge river in Quebec's Laurentians. It was a surprise to find another one here. If there are two, there must be others. If you see one near you, I encourage you to explore it. Based on the two I know now, my best guess is that they're all picturesque and worth getting to know.

I have said before that the landscape of southern Ontario undulates in long deep waves running from east to west. We were headed northeast and were treated to one wonderful vista after another as we crested each successive ripple.


Riding, even group riding in spite of demanding even more concentration and discipline, never fails to please me in the most fundamental way. There is something special about being in the saddle and flowing with gravity and centrifugal forces while warm summer air streams over you. That feeling of freedom and being intimately connected to the world around you as you glide along your way is what the magic of riding is all about.

We made good time and arrived at Elmhirst's Resort a little ahead of schedule just after eleven thirty. Janusz, our ride leader had made a reservation for Sunday brunch and we were just a tad early. That worked out just fine because it was an opportunity for more pleasant exchanges, and the chance to check things out.

The resort sits on the northern shore of Rice Lake. The lake is long and narrow and runs more or less east west. The main building sits on a rise overlooking the lake and offers beautiful views.





At this point I was not quite famished, but definitely way past peckish. Thankfully the buffet was easily one of the best appointed Sunday brunch buffets I have experienced. There were the usual breakfasty things in abundance from cheeses, breads and cold cuts, through scrambled and poached eggs with plenty of hollandaise, ham, bacon and sausages to keep them company, and on, and on to pancakes and waffles, the most incredibly delectable perfectly braised beef ribs with plenty of meat on the bone, a huge roast of beef, and certainly not least, or by any means last, a towering display of cakes, pies and pastries. Enough food to put even the hungriest man into a slumbering coma of satisfaction.

We were seated at a nice long table with a fine view of the lake. We ate and chatted, and chatted and ate, and drank, and ate some more. Thankfully feasts like these only come along maybe once or twice in a season.



If I've left you pining for that Sunday buffet, and if you have a pilot's license, there is a faster way to get to the Elmhirst resort. Mere steps away from the parking lot there is an airfield with plenty of parking for your Piper Cherokee.




Sooner than anyone would have wanted it was time to saddle up and head back to the city.




The ride home was more of the same joy. Unfortunately I had to keep one eye on the Vespa's clock because Susan and I had dinner plans and I promised to be home by around four o'clock.

Just north of Oshawa I bade my fellow travelers adieu and high tailed it due south to the 401. Returning cottagers slowed things down somewhat, but it was possible to average about 65 kmh, easily faster than the meandering but infinitely more pleasurable back roads. As soon as I hit the fork where the express and collector lanes begin, speeds picked up and I managed to travel at about 120 kmh the rest of the way home while jazz played on my Sena headset. Just as enjoyable as a ride on winding country back roads, but an entirely different kind of riding pleasure.

I made it home at four fifteen. Not too shabby.

All told about 330 kilometers of pure Sunday bliss.

19 comments:

  1. David, it's great that you got out on a longer ride, and I was happy to read another of your ride reports (it seems like it's been a while). Tasks will wait, but fine weather and a great day for two-wheeling?... Well, they wait for no one.

    You mention the Rouge River, and I think of the industrial art of Charles Sheeler, specifically his commissioned works of the Ford Motors Rouge River Plant in Detroit, Michigan.

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    1. Wise words Ry.

      Well there's a third Rouge river. I wonder why the French explorer's felt compelled to name rivers 'red' all over the place.

      Perhaps the most famous of all is the Red River that runs through Winnipeg.

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  2. I've been running into more Google Map errors such as roads that don't exist, aren't completed yet or closed. Before there was never an expectation that they would have all of the small roads like there is now. Looks like a pretty cool destination.

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    1. Actually, Google Maps is very, very good. I get a feeling that Google is ramping up the detail as part of a long range plan to. Support self-driving cars.

      But every now and then it's like the app goes just a little haywire and you get plain weird directions you know are flat wrong. It's OK when you more or less know where you're going, but when you are depending on the GPS...

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  3. David,once you mentioned Rice Lake I knew exactly where you were. Have never been to the resort, but have been through the area many times. It's lovely around there.

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    1. 'Lovely' describes it well. There are those nice quiet country roads punctuated by really quaint little villages that feel so warm and friendly, like Stouffville, Creemore, and Elora, to name a few. It all adds up to 'lovely'.

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  4. Waiver for an informal group ride?

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    1. I was thinking the same thing...

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    2. Ya they want waivers. I just sign, don't bother reading. I think it's club policy. Canada isn't really litigious, but private suits for personal injury involving motor vehicle accidents still exist in Ontario, unlike Quebec.

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  5. Looks like it was just what you (and your Vespa) needed, David. With 330km in total it counts as a major road trip, and hence, certainly justifying a huge lunch as well as a dinner date ;-)

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    1. It was wonderful Sonja. It was also two weeks ago. Keeping up with blogging is a challenge. There is a backlog waiting for the editorial staff to catch up.

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    2. I hear you. I am also a about three weeks behind (blogging) schedule...

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  6. If it is one thing Canada knows how to do right it is a brunch buffet. I have fond memories of the Banff Springs Hotel and their Sunday brunch buffet. Eat, walk around, eat some more.....

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    1. Banff Springs is a magical place. That corner of Alberta has more than its fair share of the earth's beauty.

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  7. Now that's a lunch ride! Lovely area and a very rewarding ride; I'm headed to my maps as soon as I push Publish.

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    1. Doug I estimate it's a 13-14 hour ride from Red Wing ;)

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  8. Now you found a new home within your new home...

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    1. Well Peter, maybe not a new home, but definitely a place Susan and I will seriously consider when we're looking for a nice getaway.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.