Traveling Short-Coupled on a Single

How two college boys rode away from dull care on a 30.50 single and little money

By Henry Plaisance, Photography by Henry Plaisance

By his directions we started on a scenic side trip to Batchawana, a beautiful spot on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. Because of my negligence, we met our first mishap with our motor-ran out of gas right in the middle of nowheres. I stayed with the motor, and Aristide had a two hour hitch-hiking trip to the nearest station. The normal price of gas here is from thirty to forty cents per gallon. We spent a cozy night in the hayloft of some hospitable Ukrainian farmers. Back at the Sault, Aristide bought a suede jacket, and we window-shopped the whole town looking at some of the matchless woolen wares. We passed by the nickel-smelter plant at Coppercliff and Sudbury and next spent a night in a hayfield where we pitched our tent and thatched it with hay. During the rainy weather the next day, we sought refuge in a friendly box-car and liked it so well, we stayed for the night. Our first and only flat tire we had on this gravel road between Sudbury and North Bay. North Bay was the turning point of our tour, and here we spent an hour writing cards which we mailed home to our families and friends.

We found that Algonquin Provincial Park was not accessible by highway, so gave up thoughts of a visit. That night we parked in a nice, large lot on the outskirts of Toronto. While at our repast, we were informed by the guard that we would not be permitted to remain for the night, later learning that we had been on government property. We asked permission to finish the meal and he consented. A few minutes later, another gent, along with his wife, and a terrier on a leash, came by.

“Boys,” says he, “you’re not planning to spend the night here, are you?” Naturally, we thought he was ready to repeat the summons.

“No, indeed,” we replied.

“Well, I was just going to say, if you were, come on over to our lakefront cottage and I’ll give you a cot to sleep in.”

We were dumbfounded. Naturally, we were the guests of the Forson family that night. The first bed since having left Chicago. Those Ontarians just can’t be beat for hospitality.

Our next morning was spent in paying visits to the many motorcycle shops in Toronto. This is surely one motorcycle town. With the high duties on American made cars and the high prices of gasoline, motorcycling is very popular. There are many dealers in the city handling dozens of foreign makes which are to be seen about the city streets any time of the day.

This entire evening we spent at the Canadian National Exhibition, viewing the many and worthwhile displays. That night we were at Niagara Falls, viewing the cataracts under the colored lights, and paying a visit to one of the power plants. The next morning we were at Horseshoe Falls, and made the fascinating trip under the cataract. We crossed back to the States and rode over to Goat Island to get views and snapshots of the Falls from the American side.

We had planned earlier in our trip to make our loop through Canada in time to see something of the National Air Races at Cleveland and get over to Lansing and Grayling, Michigan in time to see something of the Jack Pines. Our spell of rain and cold weather slowed our progress so much that this was now impossible. The National dirt track championships at Syracuse and the National hillclimb at Bethlehem were only a few days off, beckoning to us. They were hard to resist when so near at hand, but we feared being lured too far off our route with the possibility of going broke and having to walk home. So, we turned our backs on these big events and headed back through Buffalo, Erie and into Columbus where we paid a short visit to the A.M.A. headquarters and learned of the results of the Jack Pines.

That night as dusk approached along with a menacing squall we found just in time to avoid a drenching, a country church which was indeed a sanctuary to us two forlorn creatures and harbored us that night. The next day took us through Hillsboro, with side trips to Fort Hill State Park and Serpent Mound State Park with their most interesting burial and ceremonial mounds built hundreds of years ago by the Indians for religious rites.

By Henry Plaisance
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