If you look hard enough, you can find weird and wonderful destinations in your own backyard.
Unique times create unique opportunities. The plague that has paralyzed the world has left two-wheeled pleasure seekers in a conundrum. Fortunately for us, Ontario has more than a million square kilometres of land, more than 119,000 km of paved roads and 71,000 km of gravel roads. Faraway places always beckon, but I thought why not explore the hundreds of unusual things and places to see right in my backyard?
On my trusty old ST1300 and Al McKnight on his Gold Wing, we picked up speed as we left the town of Kirby in our mirrors. Nestled between the verdant hills of the Ganaraska Forest, with the gently rolling, golden fields of the coming harvest rising to our left and right, County Road 9 gracefully escorted us eastward into a rider’s paradise: the beautiful Northumberland Hills.
Stairway to Nowhere
In the bushes at the roadside, just south of the hamlet of Burnley, sits a lonely set of concrete stairs that lead upward to nothing. In decades past, these stairs were trodden by the faithful on Sunday mornings, but after the church fell into disrepair, someone purchased the building and repurposed it into a home in Cobourg. The history of the church was relayed to me by my cousin who was baptized there.
Just two hills east, we jogged south, went downhill on Covert Hill Road and meandered through hardwood forests, along Clarkson, then on Dunbar Road to Morganston. We rumbled north down into the hamlet of Warkworth, where the hillside cemetery evoked many family memories for me — my aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas all rest there.
We crossed Mill Creek, then went up the hill to Godolphin Road. Greenley Road swoops and curves us past pristine farms with their red brick Victorian farmhouses, and suddenly a rafter of wild turkeys scurried across the road into a field of freshly cut grain stubble. At Highway 30, the ecstasy ended, and we arrived in beautiful Campbellford. Here, we took a break at a convenient picnic table beside the Trent Canal. In 1832, retiring British naval officers Lieut. Col. Robert Campbell and his brother Major David Campbell received a land grant from the King in return for their service in the Napoleonic Wars. At the calmest and shallowest portion of the Trent River, settlers crossed over at what they called Campbell’s ford; and thus the name, Campbellford.
Winding slowly north along the…