November 4, 2017
Ontario! There was no better way to explore this gorgeous province than by spending a couple of days in the Ottawa valley. The area was not new to us. John has years of paddling the Ottawa river behind his PFD and he introduced me to the beauties of the place not long after we started dating. It is absolutely gorgeous. This time I was lucky, I got to go down the river’s crazy rapids for the first time. Thanks to Robyn who took me down in a sport yak. It was so much fun! We also had the chance to take a brand new Tiguan down for that expedition. Although we missed our Westy, that car was so nice to drive! Thanks to Hunt Club Volkswagen for that great opportunity. Our time in the valley was well filled with biking, boating, fishing and covering our first Ontario story.
We left the Ottawa area to make our way towards Toronto. Like every time, we stopped at our favourite burger joint – Olympus Burger. In 3 years, Giorgos made the Port Hope stop a must for us and many others. For a couple of days, we based out of Whitby in order to visit some family members and explore the GTA. We got to bike at Durham Forest Conservation Area, try our new Surftech boards on Lake Scugog before heading to downtown Toronto to meet our second Sero story and hear all about Babes Brigade.
Barrie was next on our list. We were excited to bike the Bass Lake trails. We hadn’t been in two years and Simcoe County Mountain Bike Club has done a fantastic job there. We had a blast. There is nothing better after a sweaty bike ride than going for a SUP paddle on a lake and go for a swim, which we did…two days in a row! After visiting more family, we headed North for Killarney Provincial Parc.
We had planned for an epic adventure there with John’s sister Julie. Unfortunately, we woke up on the day she was meeting us there with a gnarly stomach bug. We dragged ourselves into Sudbury and spent the following 24 hours not operational and as long recuperating. After these two days though, we were ready to experience Sudbury. We let Julie take us on her favourite bike trails and had a great time there. We had a lovely barbecue and met some wonderful people, one of which ended up being featured in a Sero story. If you make it there, make sure to check out Bell park, the Laurentian Conservation Area and paddle Lake Ramsey, they are great outdoor areas right in the city. Oh! And we ended up making it back to Killarney for a short 6k hike to “The Crack”. Amazing area.
We said good bye to Sudbury, gave a big hug to Julie and started following the north shore of Lake Superior with impressive views around every corner. We had a crappy breakdown on the road but were lucky enough to find a shop opened on the Saturday of a long weekend. The mechanics was able to put us back on the road until we were able to fix the car appropriately in Thunder Bay. We were so happy to encounter some freshwater surf while in Terrace Bay. For two days, Johns wouldn’t get out of the water! What a blast! We also ran into other #vanlifers traveling across. We happened to be at the local beach at the same time as Petit Detour and Rock the World and shared some interesting travel stories! RainDog even got to try out some motorcycle goggles! I think she’s ready for her next adventure.
Thunder Bay was our last Ontario stop. We stayed there longer than expected in order to get parts to fix the van but were lucky that our friend Travis was in the area and took us on all kind of adventures. We discovered great bike trails at Shubia Mines and Centenial Park. We also went for a paddle on a gorgeous summer day. Rain enjoyed traveling on Travis’ boat that day. The harbour is a beautiful place to hang out at on evenings and we got to watch an exciting sailboat race. We were in the city at the same time as our friends from Westfalia Digital Nomads and got to spend some time with them shooting a little video and sharing experiences. We were really sorry to hear that their journey didn’t go as planned after we left them (Armando having been refused entry to the US) but hopefully everything resolves soon. Our last Ontario story was also shot in Thunder Bay, right before we left for our little “vacation”. A vacation you say? Oh yes! With the van front corner back in good shape, we were ready to hit the road. We drove 4 hours south to Duluth Minnesota to bike for four days with our friend Travis. So much fun! We owe a huge thanks for Travis’ family for letting us base out of their property during out time in TBay and feed us all these hearty freshly harvested vegetables and fruits!
It was now time to leave Ontario and make our way to the Prairies, but not before having found one last perfect camp spot along the way just passed Vermillion Bay. Epic!
- 3576 Km driven – includes a 650 km trip to Minnesota!
- 33 nights – 30 in the van, 3 camping in the Ottawa Valley with the Tiguan!
- 4 Sero Stories
- Wildlife encountered: Dear, osprey, bald eagle, baby black bear, beaver.
- The breakdown happened but thanks to John’s knowledge of the van, the help of a good mechanics in Bruce Mines, fast service from GoWesty, we were not stranded for too long!
- We were happy to visit friends and family that we are going to miss greatly over the next 18 months. We realize we are only able to visit a small percentage of friends, family and Searching for Sero fans along the way and are sorry for that. Thanks to all of you for reaching out though.
- John’s highlight: Surfing on Lake Superior!
- Tracy’s highlights: A sick mountain biking trip to Duluth for my Birthday! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than on my bike for this special day!
- Rain’s highlight: Chasing tires! We hadn’t biked so much since we hit the road and Rain was quite happy to get out!