Cruise the Coast Motorcycle Ride Along St. Clair River Shores
It was clear I had taken a wrong turn. I
“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of
How to pack and prepare for a motorcycle trip means you need to ensure all essentials are included, yet space is limited so you need to travel light. The guiding rule truly is ‘less is more” which is also a fun part of the adventure of motorcycle touring!
Need an uncomplicated getaway or a destination to slow your fast paced life? Hop on your motorcycle and let the lazy road take you along the easy riding St. Clair River’s coastal banks. Its many quaint parks and towns which border its shores will bring you back to simple living, friendly folks and what life is about – the here and the now.
Motorcycle Cruise Along St. Clair River Shores brings you coasting for 53 kilometres from Sarnia to Wallaceburg along County Road #33 running beside the river’s water. The speed limit is a gentle 50 km/h giving you little resistance against the pulling relaxation which takes you over. And when you give in, you’ll then begin to appreciate the winning floral gardens, sandy beaches, picturesque parks and charming waterfront communities framing these sparkling blue shores.
The Route via Toronto
My route started in Toronto (650 kilometres) direct via highway to Sarnia, It’s about a three-hour ride. You of course can plan various country back roads instead. It’s easy after arriving in Sarnia, just join along County Road #33 south all the way to Wallaceburg. Along the way you’ll have many stops to enjoy including opting for a short ferry ride over to the USA- readily available at the little town of Sombra.
Cruising along the St. Clair River is best done from North to South. This way you’ll be on the same side as the St. Clair River’s shores for safe waterfront viewing. This also makes it easier at short notice, to pull in to one of the outlook parks.
Your “ride and see” to do list will include, culinary delights, notable attractions, beaches, unique shops, or hop on a boat cruise.
Moore Museum, Mooretown
Not far along County Road 33 you’ll cruise into Mooretown, approximately 25 minutes south of Sarnia, Ontario. Here is a must stop to visit the Moore Museum. It’s a 12-building site, home to intriguing displays, fetching programs and interesting events. The sites fame is of John Courtney an English sailor and fur trader. It was in 1800 that John and his wife were the first recorded English settlers of the area. The shoreline was unnamed until then.
You might be able to capture the “Courtney Cabin” in a picture with your motorcycle! And then enjoy walking about the setting.
The Bluewater Ferry depot sailing to the USA, is taken via Sombra. Motorcycles cost just $4.00 and the ride takes a quick fifteen minutes. Here you can opt to ride over to the states adding a little ‘international accent” to your cruise.
Sombra, Ontario & Ferry Crossing to USA
Plan for a little more time to hang out and enjoy Sombra’s quaint boutiques, bakery and tea rooms.
The “Three Sister’s Gallery” and Gift shop is quite special. Run namely by First Nations Canadian Sue Walliser one of the three sisters, originally from Yellowknife. Sue’s sister Yellowknife Dene First Nations – Dawn Oman is a famed artist whose art accented products take a prominent spot in the boutique. There’s a wide of array of incredible “must haves” and a few more shops in the back. Almost a little village in itself. And next door to “Three Sisters Gallery” is the “Lazy River Gift Shop & Antiques” serving small baked goods and refreshments on their front wooden deck café.
On the corner, you find an ice cream shop and the Wildlydelish restaurant, bed & breakfast, coffee-house and gift shop – all in one. It’s new owner Brenda and Bill are still in the midst of fixing things up during my visit. Yet most sections of the property are ready to serve.
Still following along on the 33, you approach Walpole Island and Walpole Island First Nation reserve inhabited by the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa peoples. The reserve is referred to as Bkejwanong, meaning “where the waters divide.
When I came upon Walpole, there was a fall fair happening in the roadside park just before the small bridge to the island. I took a look around and was a great stop with activities, good food and of course First Nations art and treasures.
The ‘Island’ boasts a unique ecosystem including 6,900 hectares of the richest and most diverse wetlands in all the Great Lakes. Walpole Island is also known for its rare flora and fauna. Citizens of this First Nation, unbelievably, can still support their families through hunting, fishing, trapping, and guiding activities.
Further along about 15 miles from Walpole Island is a famous historical site Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It is the end of the Underground Railroad. The museum and outdoor displays tell much about the Underground Railroad and the life of Rev. Josiah Henson.
Tecumseh Monument and Historic Site / Battle of the Thames
You’ll get to Thamesville after passing Wallaceburg via County Road #33 which turns into #32, then connects to Highway 40 followed by #78 East; 21 East; #2 East also called Longwoods Road. Here you’ll enjoy the peaceful country setting ride. When passing through Wallaceburg you can opt for lunch at fun pub style “Johnny Quest Adventures Food and Drink”.
Once you reach Thamesville, the following stop at the Tecumseh Monument and Historic Site, is just four kilometres east of the town. Here’s an interesting stop to the very site commemorating the Battle of the Thames and the death of the great Chief Tecumseh. Tecumseh’s death represented the loss of a dream for First Nations people and contributed to the highly regarded military leader becoming U.S. president.
A Place of Many Grasses
My favourite aspect of this location was the true pleasure I had enjoying the amazing sculpture by Gordon Reeve in tribute to Chief Tecumseh. It’s called “A Place of Many Grasses“. Gordon Reeve a Chatham-born sculptor designed this sculpture as a journey to echo Chief Tecumseh’s life. It was wonderful to stand under it and enjoying its spirit looking at the blue sky above and the array of symbolic animal spirit cut outs.
Parks Blueberries and Country Store
Continuing along Highway 2 is a must visit stop to Parks. This is now in the region of Middlesex and its gorgeous country fields and tall red barns. Visiting Parks is the perfect change to grab some of their homemade Blueberry Jam to bring along. Warning, their blueberry butter tarts are impossible to resist. Hopefully you’ve some panniers or saddlebags such as I had making it easy to bring some of these simple pleasures home with you! And if not, enjoy the eat-in house restaurant.
Heading onto London Ontario and then the highway back to Toronto makes for one full day of riding pleasure. By now you’re completely relaxed and have left the fast pace life far behind.
You can also plan in an overnight making this a two-day ride. There are many B & B’s, hotel/motels and campsites you along the route.
The incredibly blue St. Clair River waters will calm your thoughts and sooth your soul. There are plenty of treasures to be found along these shores and it doesn’t take much to get there.
Visit Ontario’s Southwest for extended lists of events, restaurants and activities along the route.
Have a great ride!
By Vicki Gray
Editor, founder MOTORESS; motorcycle basic, advanced and race instructor certified for over 28 years. Motorcycle On-road and race licensing examiner. Coached, taught, examined riders for European, Caribbean and North American training institutes.