Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Finding the North Star

My original plan was to push through Winnipeg, but my blind servitude to the Garmin Zumo GPS carries me into the downtown core.  Then architecture grabbed me, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank, the Via Rail station.  A rail hub and the former central point of the fur trade Winnipeg has maintained a sense…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Jennifer and Joezs Dream

Just for reference, Ontario is large enough that when the provincial government decided to protect 222,000 square kilometers (56 million acres) of boreal forest from development in July of 2008, comparisons were drawn.  For example, 222,000 square kilometers is equal to the entirety of the U.S.’s road-less areas, half the size of Texas, or the…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Signs of Travel

That’s the last Inukshuk, Highway 17 has been lined with them the past two days.  These human forms, some classic in design and others more avant-garde, have been my constant companions as I cross Ontario.  Whenever I’ve been feeling a bit low I glance up the highway’s stony embankments, and there is an Inukshuk.  My…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Marathon

Sometimes a ride is just a ride, there’s no deeper meaning or context to be provided.  These are the rides magazines never show you, the hard slogs.  Magazines are all about peak experiences, not the troughs.  Leaving Sault Ste. Marie, Highway 17 hasn’t been what I expected.  I was told to brace for mind numbing…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – The Man in the High Castle

Mattawa, Ontario – At the Valois Restaurant and Motel, in Mattawa Ontario, churchgoers have flowed in, nearly filling the restaurant. Worship done they sit at tables craving cold meats on over-processed bread, served with a side of fries and consumed with a dash of Sunday morning righteousness. They are looking askance at the stranger in…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Community

Heading out of Trois-Rivieres, the Ducati Multistrada and I arc slightly south and skirt the edges of Montreal.  The morning starts with something novel and surprising for a wet-coaster like myself, a new type of rain.  I thought I’d seen it all, but Quebec serves up something new – a cool, penetrating drizzle.  I’m not…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – On the Run

On the back roads of New Brunswick, the fall colours are gathering; greens transforming to oranges, yellows and golds. They would make a tremendous backdrop, except right now they’re making a tremendous blur. The road quality is horrendous; we’re diving between potholes, ruts, wallows and severe frost heaves that compress the rear suspension and the…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Transitions

Nova Scotia is built for motorcycle touring. I’m sure of it, provided you hit the right speed to skim over the roads of the Sunrise Trail, which run from smooth to brutally potholed. They are gently winding and combined with late fall light and a warm day the ride makes for motorcycling satisfaction.

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Meet the Smallwood

Under pallid florescent light and surrounded by clinical décor, people pace; sallow, tired, arms folded and tense.  In the corner a man braced against the wall rocks to-and-fro.  Elsewhere, another sits on a metal bench, staring blankly forward at nothingness, his legs in a sewing machine jiggle.  At a table a woman works through a…

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Cape Spear, NFL

This is it, the end of the road. Literally. After 4801kms of travel from Toronto, the Multistrada is the eastmost motorcycle in North America. Cape Spear is (arguably) the most easterly point on the continent. In the mute of the overcast it is also barren, peaceful and contemplative.

Ducati: Many Roads of Canada – Sepia and Purple

Sepia tones of sunset have given way to the purples of dusk, casting the rugged moraine into subtle relief. One hundred and seventy kilometers from St. John’s on the highway one, Newfoundland becomes a heartbreakingly and beautifully desolate terrain of glacial erratics and tolts.