The season began with a BANG! We had no spring and just jumped into summer. Our plan turned out to be perfect. We had booked train tickets to go up to Cobourg on Friday April 10th, 2015 and then my sister was to drive us to Ajax to pick up our bikes early Saturday morning.
We arrived at the dealer at 9:00 and I had to do a quick install of the Mad Stad Windshield. Adam the Sales Representative gave us a tour and all of the low-down on the two bikes. He then filled them up with gas and by 10:20 we were ready to leave. My brother-in-law (Wayne) met us at the dealer on his Honda Varadero to lead the way through the back country roads to his new house in Colborne by the lake (Wicklow Beach). When we arrived I then quickly set to work to install the GPS Garmin to the PDM-60 Fuse Box. That took about 45 Minutes since I needed to remove some panels to get to the battery compartment. By 2:30 on Saturday we were ready to continue our journey. We planned to ride along the back roads to Kingston and spend the night and have a nice dinner together.
Leaving Wicklow Beach
On the way to Kingston
We took good old Route 2 along the water and enjoyed those lovely little towns and main streets until we entered Kingston a few hours later. We searched the Garmin for hotels and decided upon the Holiday Inn by the Harbor Front along side the docks and marinas. Although I do not have a picture (forgot) but we were greeted out side by Darth Vader and and a storm trooper. Apparently a Hero’s Fest was going on at the hotel that weekend on the sixth floor. I went in and secured a room and then we had to park the bikes in a large paid parking lot across from the hotel.
A Real Find!
We found the most amazing restaurant just four blocks away on Ontario Street named Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smoke House. They were fully booked but allowed us to sit at the bar and order dinner. They made their mussels in a coconut green curry with toasted pepitas, lime and cilantro. I then had their Ceviche Sampler (3-dishes) that included 1 – Alaskan pacific cod with olives,red onions,jalapeno, cucumber, avocado, and artisan clamato and 2- Albacore Tuna “Poke” soya, sesame, ginger, jalapeño, line, scallions and macadamia nuts and finally 3- BC Sockeye Salmon with apple, tomatillos, toasted pepitas, and lime aguachile. It was really tasty!!! Chantal had the Tequilla Shrimp sautéed with tomato, garlic, citrus juices and of course, Tequila. She also had the Roasted BC Sockeye Salmon with smoked bacon-poblano creamed corn on top and she selected seasonal vegetables as her side.
We would recommend making reservations to eat here since it is just off of route 2 on Ontario Street. In fact coming from the east, it is about 6-blocks after you cross the small bridge into Kingston.
Day 2- The Journey Home
We left the hotel around 9:30 in the morning and continued along route 2 until we came into Gananoque. We stopped at a little Breakfast Café Restaurant that was there for over 40 years. Apparently the original owner (Tilly) died 15-years ago and a lady has run this little place ever since. She never changed the name and it is stilled named after the founder. It is your typical little breakfast spot and I know that there are much better places in Gananoque but we just wanted a simple vegetarian omelet and she made us a terrific one.
On the way to Gananoque, I had to stop at the tank where I had stopped 4-years ago when taking my first trip with the Vespa GTV-300. After all, the Vespa 300 was what got me back into riding and therefore could be considered the beginning of this blog and my journey. I had taken a picture of myself there with the tank. So 4-years later, I decided to take the same picture but with the BMW. This is the end, in my opinion since if my wrist cannot handle riding this bike, there will be no others.
We decided to take the 1000 island parkway between Gananoque and Brockville. This is a beautiful stretch of road and one can become envious very quickly of all those beautiful homes and estates overlooking the water. Houses perched up on tiny little islands to your right and estates to your left on mountain tops (going east). It was a great ride and they had some site seeing stops alone the way which gave us yet another opportunity to photograph the bikes.
Brockville – The Final Stretch
Somewhere before Brockville we stopped for yet more pictures at the famous “Battle of the Light House” I had also stopped there on my first trip with the Vespa so we took our final group of pictures shown at the end of this post. From there we headed to Morris burg and then up the 31 to Russell, our Home.
What about the Bikes, you ask?
My friend says that BMWs have many recalls and the biking magazines say that BMWs have the most repairs of all the bikes. But they also say that BMW owners always buy another BMW. I can tell you this about our bikes; if they are recalled and even if they are in the shop for a week every summer (which is unlikely the case) I would gladly accept that versus riding another brand of bike since the ride, the allure of the F700GS, the feeling and the electronics is just AMAZING! The handling is superb since the bike is so well balanced and the center of gravity is low. The gas tank is under the seat on this bike.
Some of the novel ideas is that they put in a speedometer that is actually accurate as compared to my GPS. For those who do not ride, every other bike including the Vespa that I have tried always has a speedometer that reads between 8-11 Km/hour to fast.
The F700GS seems to sail of the bumps on the road and you would hardly know it is a chain drive as compared to the shadow or CTX700.
We do have some adjusting to do this week such as the clutch peddle and I think I will order some handle bar risers to raise and move forward the bars a bit.
I also have to get to work and install all of the goodies I had purchased through the winter:
- Riding Fog lights;
- LED turn signals;
- Throttle lock;
- Garmin VIRB;
- Lots of amazing stickers!
David Masse said:
Very nice you two!
The gas tank is under the seat?? What’s in the big gas-tank-like hump?
Peter Sanderson said:
Battery and then space to put in the PDM-60 Fuse block and connect the lights, Garmin and Virb.
Jim Louter said:
Thanks very much for your story. Mine is similar – got ‘back’ into biking by first (after many years) getting a scooter and then a motorcycle and now an 86 BMW R80. Keep up the blog!