First days in Ontario

Cycle Day # 33. 39 kms. West Hawk Lake to Clytie Bay

Cycle Day #34. 58 Kms. Clytie Bay to Kenora

Cycle Day #35 120 Kms. Kenora to Nestor Falls

Cycle Day #36. 123 Kms Nestor Falls to Fort Frances


We were welcomed at the Ontario border with a beer stand operated by a couple of elementary kids where we enjoyed a few cold ale courtesy Ford’s liberalized beer selling policy. Woohoo! (H)ale Ford Country!

Survived a short practise ride down Hwy 1 to access road to Clytie Bay. Time with Jay’s cousins leads to fishing, cribbage and endless conversation topics – about the Jets. Unsubstantiated locker room gossip continued for hours, with entertaining speculation abound.

Yukon, Barb and Rick with Jay

We toured the beautiful lake and even “wet a line” where Jay caught his first Muskie!

Yukon generously bulked us up on walleye, steak, great Canadian breakfasts, beer and (for Jay) a wee dram or two before sending us on our way back down the beautiful 20 km (paved) access road to the highway to Kenora. There was little question in Yukon’s mind as to whether the access road was paved or not but somehow Jay interpreted Yukon’s instructions as the access road was “rough and unpaved” which led to some debate between Jay and I as to whether we were on the right route coming in. And that was long before the scotch offering.

Jay with the Legendary Yukon Larry so named by Jay’s Dad many years ago because Larry lived and worked in Yellowknife, which is no where near the Yukon. But “Yukon Larry” sounded much better than “North West Territories Larry”.

I finally got to savor the world famous French fries from the Kenora chip truck – deep fried in lard. They were admittedly very good, but I could never be so smitten as Jay is here.

“Extra large with salt and malt.”

This is fishin’ country. Every vehicle passing us is towing a Lund fishing boat. Licence plates say Ilovfishn. Mail boxes are fish. Slippers are fish. The fishin’ prayer (!) is on every wall. People are just back from fishin’ or they are just going fishin’ or they wish they were fishin’. People are either talking about fishin’, thinking about fishin’ or dreaming about fishin’. This is the home of the 25 year Zammit Walleye Challenge and the resulting 25 years of lies and legends that come out of that one weekend a year trip. I was lucky enough to stay at the same lodge, and enjoyed my cabin which is apparently a significant upgrade from the ones they stay in.

Brrr… cold wet day today

Highway 71 winds around innumerable lakes from Kenora to Fort Frances. Lakes with descriptive names like Slender and Two Mountain. Lakes that must have a storey to them, like side by side Love Lake, Lake Hope and Lake Despair (Wonder which came first?). The trees along the road hide a lot of the water, but every so often we would turn a corner and get an amazing view of a stunning lake, speckled with fishin’ boats of course. We travelled back roads from Nester Falls down to Highway 11 to end up at Keith’s, near Fort Frances.

Keith is my buddy from high school. Keith is a genuine, hardworking, energy-to-burn, give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back kind of guy. Keith and I haven’t seen each other for about 20 years, but I broke into his beautiful home and was drinking his beer before he even got there. That’s a life long friend.

He just happens to live on Rainy Lake where we enjoyed a spectacular day boating, and fishin’ of course.

Tough to leave this piece of heaven that Keith and his two lovely kids Bryce and Maria call home.

17 thoughts on “First days in Ontario

  1. Leila Wiebe

    Every bit of scenery you have enjoyed along the route is spectacular! Great photo of you and a Keith. Glad you got together for a visit.

    Stay safe!


  2. Marianne and Gary

    Looks like you had some beautiful sunny days. Perfect for fishin’, or thinkin’ about fishin’ or even better, eating the fish and thinkin’ about drinkin’!


  3. Ma and G

    “These eyes” were “laughing” and had us “shaking all over” just thinking about “no sugar tonight”! Glad you weren’t running back to Saskatoon!


  4. Heather Doucet

    You are almost half way between the peg and Sudbury! Beauty ahead? Have you found trails? Or are you on the highway?

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Karen

    Welcome to Ontario!! Love your posts….where do you find the energy at the end of the day to write?! Let us know your ETA to Ottawa/Gatineau 🙂 Sending hugs and energy (via chocolate) Karen & Dan xo


  6. Scott Lanyon

    Beautiful country and looks like you had good weather. Deb mentions a musky but there are no pictures! Another mystery muskie I guess.

    “Four wheels move your body, two wheels move your soul.”


  7. Rod Maxwell

    Jay and Deb:
    Day 33 to 36, West Hawk Lake to Fort Frances (and all the stops in between):
    Stunning images of lake country. I am laughing so hard my stomach hurts. Just loved your take on fishing and the 25 years of Zammit legends. Keep up the blog, I look forward to every update with expectation and a smile on my face.


  8. Terry Doucert

    “There is a town in North Ontario; Extreme comfort memory to spare” N.Y. Unplugged I am sure he was talkin ’bout fishin.


  9. Judy Kutney

    Lovin’ your take on your adventures!!
    You are now in my stompin’ grounds. I was born in Fort Frances and both Ron & I grew up in Red Lake, ON, so we are especially enjoying this leg. Breath taking scenery. Love your humour!!


  10. Mike de Jong

    Well done Jay and Deb! …. Enjoying your updates and progress that Frances has been passing on to me. You are my hero’s! Beautiful pictures of Northern Ontario too … I miss those lakes!

    Cheers, Mike


  11. Keith Gilbert

    Miss you ‘guys’ already. So wonderful to share in a small part of your trip; it’s an amazing adventure you’re on! Can’t wait for you to stop in again on your return cycle home! Ha!!! 🙂
    Safe cycling my friends.
    (For some reason there are extra beers in the fridge. Thank you Jay!)


  12. Linda Malcolmson

    We may just move to Ontario so Dave can operate a beer stand to keep himself in boats! Your pictures are amazing. Dialogue hilarious. Thanks for sharing your adventures as you go. May the weather and roads as you go be in your favour. L&D


  13. Jodi Zammit

    I love Kenora!! It is just beautiful!! Great pics
    That’s cool that you saw a friend from years ago Love when that happens!
    Hope weather stays good


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