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Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Stellar Day For A Motorcycle Ride

Happy Canada Day from the
Wolfe Islander III
Blue skies and gentle breezes that hinted of a hot summer to come – yesterday was a stellar day for a motorcycle ride.

It was Canada Day and like thousands of other patriotic Canadians (according to bridge authorities) Ken, Barb and I decided to visit the US. We had planned the trip for last weekend but the weather hadn’t cooperated. With the promise of perfect weather yesterday we decided to ride to Clayton New York, home of the Antique Boat Museum.

We chose the ferry route and headed to Kingston to catch the 10:30 boat crossing to Wolfe Island. Arriving just as the Wolfe Islander III was nearing shore we headed straight to the front of the line of waiting cars. Their envious glares didn’t escape us – the Wolfe Islander loads motorcycles first, ‘gotta’ love that! (Check one for motorcycles) The boat ride takes about 20 minutes and Barb was enjoying the break having not ridden on the back of a motorcycle in more than three years.

Waiting for the "William D."
 From the dock at Marysville it was a short, though rough, hop across the island on hwy 95 to the Horne’s Ferry at Point Alexandria. As luck would have it we arrived just in time to watch the William Darrell chugging away from the dock. The Horne’s Ferry seems to be a little more casual than the Wolfe Island Ferry. There is a posted schedule but it runs more on its own time, it unloads, loads and leaves regardless of the time. The wait for its return was short and gave us a chance to soak up the beauty of the day and the scene that included large ships inching their way up the channel laden with cargo.

Boarding the William Darrel was across a short gravel and plank drive and brought back memories of the little hand held, 8 square, slider games I used to buy for my kids. The ferry operators expertly filled the little side loaded boat, directing cars and ungodly big diesel pick-up trucks this way and that way, one at a time, until they all fit snugly aboard. Motorcycles were loaded last, with as little backing up as possible. The ferry ride lasted a short 10 minutes and cost $7.

Lunch at Bella's on the deck
When you disembark you are immediately in the US Custom’s line up. The line up is finite and only as long as there are cars or people on the tiny ferry boat. Passports ready we had no difficulty, the young officials were serious but friendly and polite and even offered directions.

In Clayton we found Bella’s, a delightful little bakery/bistro where we had a leisurely lunch on the deck overlooking the channel and Grindstone Island. The rest of the afternoon was filled with walk about the town and the Antique Boat Museum property before heading back to the ferry dock and home again.

Packed tightly onto the William Darrell
On the return trip we talked with an American on his way to Haliburton. He had made a last minute route change diverting from the Thousand Island Bridge where he had originally planned to cross because of reports of outrageous, two and three hour line ups.

Round trip total 138.8 k (123.8 k riding; 15 k boating) and back just in time to meet up with friends for the usual Friday night fete at the Creekside.

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