Day 2: Warm Up

July 29th: Port Elgin to Pearl Lake (65km)

We made our first overnight journey a between-cottage tour. Deb’s parents have a place on Pearl Lake, which happens to be a perfect distance from my parent’s place on Lake Huron—perfect for novice tourers like us that is—about 65km.

We set out shortly after noon. It was sunny and warm. Deb wasn’t feeling too sure about herself, but she was determined.

We took the Gore Drain trail to Concession Rd 6, then followed roads along the Saugeen River to Paisley. Unfortunately, you don’t get many views of the river, except in towns. The side roads are quiet and nice for riding though. Only a short stretch of gravel, and not too many hills.

Harvesting a field near Paisley, Ontario

Paisley is right on the Saugeen, which means in a valley. We stopped at the Big Dipper Bakery for a treat, and we needed that fuel to ride the hill on County Rd 1 out of town.Butter tart and tea biscuit in Paisley

We went through Pinkerton (nothing there) and stopped in Cargill to eat our lunch. Cargill has seen better days, but their community centre has public washrooms and a bench with a view of a pretty dam.
Small cascade in Cargill, ONCargill Rd/Concession 8 is a long straight, but rolling route to County Rd 10. 10 was busy and fast, but there’s no other way to Pearl Lake. It was a good test. We know now we can stomach that kind of riding if we have to, and we intend to avoid it as much as possible.

I jumped in the lake as soon as we reached it. Swimming never felt so good. I swear I left a 3m radius scum-slick of sweat, suntan lotion and road grit.

Deb’s parents fed us a huge meal and let us borrow their truck to go to the Hanover Drive-In. The Secret Life of Pets was not good, but Star Trek Beyond was.

Sunset at Hanover Drive-in

Day 1: Shake Down

Port Elgin to Sauble Beach and back (65km)

We set out from Port Elgin without any particular goal beyond Southampton, but when we reached the north edge of Saugeen Shores Deb said she could ride all the way to Sauble Beach. So we did.

Deb at Sauble Beach


Highway 13 is about as nice as a busy road can be for bikes (in Ontario). Although it’s not marked with “share the road” signs, the shoulder is paved and wide. You’re only on it for a few km before you hit Frenchman’s Bay, and can get back onto a nice lakeside cottage road all the way to Sauble.

An ice cream cone at Sauble BeachSauble Beach brings back memories of arcade games, trampolines, and (relatively) big waves. It hasn’t changed much, except the arcade is gone, sadly. I bought cheap sunglasses at a place called Bikini Paradise. If you want a T-shirt with an amusing slogan, you have a lot of options there.


Steve riding on the Saugeen Rail Trail

We took the Saugeen Rail Trail both ways through Saugeen Shores. It’s perfect for riding and where it crosses Hwy 21 you can stop at Highbury Farms. We picked up fresh corn, and other veggies for dinner.