KLR – Backroads

Embarking on the KLR Journey

This is proving to be some of the funnest content. So far it has been a real adventure riding on this bike to places my Honda ST1300 won’t get me or more accurately I won’t take it.

It was in January of this year (2014) that my dad realized that his Kawasaki Vaquero needed a companion in the garage. He decided, after a brief period of deliberation, the bike for this task was a KLR 650 Kawasaki. This would allow him to travel distances in comfort and scoot around the local back roads on something appropriately suited for this type of riding. So bright and early one January morning we headed for Toronto where he had tracked down a lead on one.

The trip along the 401 was exciting, as it can sometimes be, in January with an inch or two of snow on the road and temperatures hovering between wet and skating rink. This point was demonstrated for us in technicolor as we approached Woodstock and the truck decided it wanted to occupy all three eastbound lanes at once.  It was about this same time I had noted in my rear view mirror a tractor trailer and a couple of cars deciding my 75 to 80 km/h in a 100 zone was to conservative for the road conditions and they had some where they urgently needed to be. Strangely, after their front row seat to my recovery from this little adventure they all slowed down and fell in line behind me.

We arrived in Toronto safe and sound at a small shop where the current owner, a self proclaimed motorcycle restorer and fabricator of parts, plied his trade. It was a bit of a sketchy looking operation but the guy seemed OK so we proceed from there to his house where looked at the bike. He trailered it back to his shop and performed…….the sort of tune up and prep one could have predicted from the aforementioned sketchy operation.

Eventually the bike was loaded in my truck and we were on our way. Arriving home safely we placed the KLR in its new nest next to the Vaquero where it would sit and wait for spring, a much longer wait than any of us would have predicted.

Finally the nightmare winter of 2014 ended kicking and screaming. The KLR was taken to a local shop (Wolf WorX) and given a good going over as well as having some high vis LED auxiliary lights added. Conspicuity is key particularly on such a narrow profile motorcycle. Nothing ruins a ride like someone safe inside the confines of a four wheeled tin can not seeing you and pulling across your path. I have yet to fully understand how they don’t see motorcycles, ground s for an immediate and lifetime DL ban in my books but alas I’m not running things. I digress.

Finally it was ready to go. It was late April and daily I received email updates on how many km dad was racking up on the KLR. By the time I got my grimy little fingers on it it was May 4th and he had, in just a few rides, put 500 miles (tac in miles) on the bike.

My First KLR Ride May 4th 2014

I set out in the afternoon for a short ride. Northeast out of London toward Thorndale and north on Valleyview Rd north of Fanshawe lake toward Plover Mills. This is a gravel road and for me that was a rule with this bike, take it where I wouldn’t take my touring bike.

First ride on dad's KLR

First ride on dad’s KLR

Plover Mills

Plover Mills

I zig zag my way toward St Marys. I am not even sure I could retrace the route if asked to but it was all gravel.  Near St Marys I took a dead end gravel road and came upon this golf course in the background.

Who knew

Who knew

I went into St Marys and out the north west end and followed the Thames river a few miles out of town eventually crossing over the Thames and returning toward St. Marys on the west side of the river. It was a great ride. Awesome gravel road.

St Marys

St Marys

Along west side of Thames

Along west side of Thames

I made my way south and west through Prospect Hill, Granton and Arva. Great first ride. About 80 miles or so.


Grand Bend – May 28th 2014

An impromptu ride the RJ.

Grand Bend


Tobermory – May 30th, 2014

This was just a couple weeks ago at the end of May. A Friday to Sunday excursion to Tobermory’s Cypress Lake area.

Excellent weather with 20 to 22 degree days and nice tent sleeping weather at night of around 8 or 10.

Did a couple of really nice hikes. Got 5 stitches in my finger…..typical camping trip really.

More of come on this trip on a tour post…..check back

North of Forty Hills Rd North of Lions Head

North of Forty Hills Rd
North of Lions Head



Cypress Lake  Camping bandits

Cypress Lake
Camping bandits


Grey Rd 10 South of Hepworth, Ont

Grey Rd 10
South of Hepworth, Ont


July 11th, 2014

Lots of gravel roads on this one. North west from London. The areas of Glencoe, Arkona, Thedford, Parhillish.

A few little loops that brought me right back to where I started but totally worth it. In addition a couple dead end “unmaintained in winter” roads that ran off Sylan Rd. were definitely worth investigation.

All said and done about 187km. Nice Ride!


Download file: 2014 KLR Kool 1.gpx



Mill Rd. Near Delaware


Parkhouse Dr west of Mt. Brydges



Sexton Rd

Sexton Rd

Sexton Rd

Sexton Rd. This is why you stop before crossing!


Elmtree Dr west off Sylvan Rd


West end of Avenue Dr. West of Boothill Rd

River Rd northish from Bog Line. Near Thedford

River Rd northish from Bog Line. Near Thedford

P1010310 P1010306

New Ontario Rd near Ailsa Craig

New Ontario Rd near Ailsa Craig




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One Response to KLR – Backroads

  1. Elgin Austen says:

    Who would ever think of the number of unique and
    remote looking areas in our own back yard of south western Ontario.
    Great story and shots.

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