Please start here: 8 States, 6 Wheels, 5 Days, 2 Brothers, 1 Adventure
Because of our poor progress west yesterday, we were determined to make up time today – still shooting to make it home by late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. We left Rochester before sunrise. The roads were still wet from the overnight rain, but the skies were clear and the temperature was in the upper 40’s.
We had decided one of the goals was to visit each of the Great Lakes on our journey west. Lake Eire would be the first stop. It wasn’t long before we arrived in Buffalo and headed to La Salle Park so we could do our Lake Erie photo shoot. We drove through the park and John spotted a grassy knoll that would allow us to have a nice shot of the lake in the background. We exited the road for the short excursion to the top of the little hill and waited for the sunrise.
Photos completed, we mounted up and headed north, planning to stop for a few quick photos at Niagara Falls before crossing Ontario on our way west. We couldn’t find a suitable area for pictures on the US side, so to Canada we went. While crossing the bridge we immediately spotted a great location, a riverside sidewalk with several viewing areas. We drove down and pulled our bikes onto the sidewalk, dismounted and walked them into position. The Urals are very easily pulled around by the fender bale on the front fender. It feels like you are leading a horse.
While there a park maintenance truck pulled up with two ladies in it. I pointed to the camera and waved; they waved back and went on their way. A short time later a police officer came by on foot to tell us vehicles were not allowed down there. I explained we had walked them down for photos and would walk them back out. He said, ok and went on his way. However, it wasn’t long before two more officers came driving down the sidewalk in their SUV. They got out of their vehicle, chests fully inflated with self-importance and the one began a smart-assy lecture about us driving on the sidewalk. I interrupted him to let him know we had walked them down; the park department folks seemed ok with it as well as another police officer not long before. He hesitated, unsure what to say, before mumbling something about watching for pedestrians as he got back in the vehicle to drive quickly down the sidewalk. I thought it best not to point out if pedestrian safety was such a concern, he probably should have parked on the street and walked the 100 feet over to us…
As we had come to expect, our 15 minute photo shoot became a 60 minute stop answering questions about Urals. We were prepared with two sets of Ural Emissary brochures, but were rapidly running low.
Back on the road we decided to fill up before we left town, then grab a quick bite from the Burger King across from the gas station – woohoo, bonus – they serve burgers before 1000! While eating our burgers a guy came inside looking for information on the bikes. He saw them while driving by and turned around to find us. I think there is a good chance we sold another Ural…
We hadn’t gone too far before we spotted a nice opportunity for Lake Ontario pictures in the marina behind a Ramada Inn along the QEW. That complete, it was back on the road to cross Ontario. The QEW was our first significant stretch of 4-lane divided. It wasn’t long before we were wishing we were back on the winding 2 lane roads we had been driving on. We also quickly discovered the huge benefit of drafting the trucks to help pull the bikes down the highway.
Our trip on the highway was uneventful and we soon found ourselves on the outskirts of Sarnia. We left the highway to find Lake Huron. It was nice to get back on a 2-lane road and enjoy the scenery. We followed the lake into town to Canatara Park for pictures.
We found the old beach access and I left the pavement and headed towards the water. The sand was soft and deep and the Yamal quickly sunk in. I had visions of us spending hours trying to get back out, but it only took a few minutes to get into 2-wheel drive and back to firm ground. John put the Bondi in 2-wheel drive and circled around with ease. He was sure he could get to the water’s edge and despite my pessimism, he headed there. As I predicted, the Bondi quickly sunk up to the axles in the soft sand. We spent a few minutes trying to push, pull, and drive it out without much success. John then tried ‘driving’ it out by pushing alongside as I pushed from behind. That worked as the bike climbed out of its sand trap and back up to firm ground.
We got some nice pictures with sailboats in the background and we did a few more small sand excursions before heading for the bridge to the US. Going through Customs was a breeze and then we resumed our trek west; with the goal of reaching Muskegon that night so we could board the ferry at 1015. We found a nice 2-lane route that would take us the whole way there and away we went. Things went well, but as darkness approached, the temps began to drop and we had a few intermittent showers.
We reached Muskegon around 2100, stopping to fill up before going to the hotel. Of course we had Ural sales opportunities with several interested individuals. I think at least one will be visiting a Ural dealer soon.
At this point it doesn’t appear we will meet our 5-day goal, but we should get home by our 0900 Sunday deadline…time will tell.
…to be continued…
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