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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Question Lake Ontario ride

Winter is here and time to start planning my road trip for 2013. The plan is to take a lap around Lake Ontario: starting in NYC and heading north to Montreal, then west towards Ottowa and Toronto, swinging south around the western edge of the lake to Buffalo and Rochester, before heading back to NYC, presumably through the finger lakes region.
I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on sights to see, roads to take (or avoid), places to eat or sleep, from any riders familiar with any section of that route.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 01:48 AM
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I wouldn't go near Montreal or go further north to Ottawa unless there is something you want to see. Traffic sucks and all the signs are in french. Montrealers can be real jerks to non-french speakers.

I would stay on the US side and cross the St. Lawrence at Syracuse/Kingston and pick up the 401 there. Scenery from the bridge at the 1000 Islands is spectacular. The hwy 401 stays close the lake the whole way. It's well serviced and the scenery is nice. Then, like I mention below, to avoid the 401 in Toronto, go south at the Don Valley Parkway/404. Alternately, you could go north on the hwy 404 at that point and then take the hwy 407 to by-pass Toronto completely, but there's not much to see and it's a toll road. You'll get the bill in the mail.

If you really do want to do the Montreal and Ottawa thing, then suggest you do Hwy 7 east from Ottawa. The scenery is outstanding. Lots of lakes etc and vacation areas. Then go south on hwy 35/115 at Peterborough down to the 401 westbound, near Oshawa, follow the hwy 401 towards Toronto, and cut down the Don Valley Parkway.

Roads to avoid: Hwy 401 anywhere near Toronto. Or Toronto in general 6am - 9am and then 3pm-7-pm.

Try and hit Toronto mid day or evening if possible. From the 401 Westbound towards Toronto, take the Don Valley Parkway south to the Gardener Expressway to the QEW towards Hamilton/Niagara. This take you right through downtown Toronto and you can see the Roger Center (the old Skydome), the CN tower and all the skyscrapers of Yonge and Bay St. as wells as the Toronto waterfront. Between Hamilton and Niagara you will go over a couple of pretty neat bridges. First the Burlington Skyway with a great view of Lake Ontario and Hamilton Harbour and further on the Garden City Skyway in St Catherines. From the Garden city Skyway you can see the Welland Canal that connects shipping between Lakes Erie and Ontario. For sure exit the QEW at Niagara Falls (take 420, there's plenty of signs) then follow the signs to the falls. After your time at the falls get back on the QEW towards Fort Erie and cross into NY state at Buffalo. You may be tempted to just cross at Niagara, but you will need to go through some nasty sections to get to the I190. Better to go to Buffalo.

An alternate from Hamilton to Niagara is Hwy20 if you prefer 2 lanes. Exit the QEW at Hwy 20/Centenial Parkway Hamilton, and follow 20 all the way to Niagara Falls. When Hwy 20 turns left on Hamilton mountain about 3 miles east is Suck, Bang, Blow. The parking lot will likely be full of bikes. Stop for lunch. Personally, I prefer the QEW as you follow Lake Ontario shore most of the time and you go through the Niagara wine region. Very pretty. Many of the winery's have tours and tastings. There are signs on the QEW.

A couple of suggestions for Harley dealers: When travelling on the QEW towards Niagara, once you are over the Garden City Skyway east of St' Catherines, exit at Glendale Ave northbound, turn right at York Rd, and about 1km along is Clares HD Niagara-on-the-Lake. Alternately, right in the falls on Clifton Hill (the main tourist st) is Clare's at the Falls. No bikes, just a t-shirt store, but they have the Niagara Falls designs.

I live in Hamilton. PM me for my cell if you want to hook up. If it happens to be a Wednesday, I can take you over to Suck, Bang, Blow and the best bike night ever. Also, nolonger8 and 2stangs8689 are in the Buffalo area.

Last edited by chris_lacey; 12-12-2012 at 04:18 AM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, that's a ton of useful info and greatly appreciated. I'll start mapping out your suggestions and looking up some of those areas on the Internet. I'll keep your invite in mind and give you a shout if we can.

Thanks again!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 11:10 PM
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Hit me up, I'll meet you in Niagara Falls, and we'll ride all the way to the other side of Rochester, depending on your chosen route..
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 11:57 PM
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I will try to join as well.!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds great. Got all ur names and I'll give everyone a shout in advance. Not sure when we're doing this. Would love to do a late spring trip but weather is always iffy at that time of year. May end up being a summer trip.

Thanks again, and keep the suggestions coming. Still looking for suggestions on the Rochester to NYC leg. I've never been through the finger lakes region of the state so looking for recommended routes and sights.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 12:04 PM
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If you want to go thru the Finger Lakes, Rt 14 is very nice, it will take you almost straight South from just off of Lake Ontario, all the way down along Seneca Lake, thru Watkins Glen and etc... Great ride from 20 and south.... One I do quite often.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 02:29 PM
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If you end up coming through Syracuse, you've got to hit the Dinosaur BBQ.
Keep us posted on when.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 10:54 PM
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Robert c

If the stars align . . . I make myself available . . . formerly of the great city of Toronto (depending on how you define it!), I have relatives in Ottawa - have information to share . . . and if that is on your agenda, I recommend coming west through Algonquin Park (I have many weeks of experience in A.P.!!!!) . . . depending on your time/desires, you could by-pass T.O. and go over to Lake Huron (via a route South of Georgian Bay) through some lovely countryside, then south to Hamilton . . . but the 'Big Smoke' or, 'Hog Town' is a lovely city to ride through . . . any way you may want to go, and there are many, we can get you to a hand off to chris_lacey in Hamilton/Niagara Falls . . . of course there are a lot of stars that have to align to ride with you - gotta work for a living!!! How many days in Ontario are planning to spend? ==>BIG QUESTION - BIG PROVINCE!! In the best case scenario, I could meet you in Oshawa or at the West Gate of Algonquin and ride with you further west towards chris_lacey . . . If I can't ride with ya - I'd be pleased to share a route or critique a route you think you want to take . . . wanna get a guest through the 'north shore' as pleasantly as possible!

Come on back or PM me, I'll try to be regular on here (I love this forum!) at least until April! Then prolly hit and miss after that - last year, I just couldn't keep up and disappeared to manage my available time . . . hoping for a better year this year!

Best wishes,

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-23-2012, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rickenbacker View Post
Robert c

Come on back or PM me

Best wishes,
thanks Rick, and everyone else. As I work out the trip details I'll likely check in with more questions and check everyone's availability.

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