September 15, 2003 GMT
Michigan and Ontario

Leaving Milwaukee, we drove around the top of Lake Michigan and over the magnificent Mackinaw Bridge and down to Flint where we had a great weekend with Robin (who we’d met on the ferries on the Inside Passage of Alaska and then in Sturgis) who made us really welcome and helped Dom with the new panniers (side boxes) on my bike. These are state of the art Coleman Esky’s (cool boxes) in a beautiful army green colour. They look perfect and along with the frames that we picked up in a outdoor store cost the princely sum of $30. Compared with those fancy aluminum ones (that don’t even keep the beer cold) at $700, we look a class act. They are fantastic and Dom did a magnificent job on them.

Robin and her friends gave us a fascinating tour through the GMC pickup truck motor plant where they work. We saw robots at work and watched while a single shift assembled some 1100 engines.

From Flint we headed east into Ontario and stopped just over the border in a tiny town called Coruna. Here we took Dom’s bike into the Kawasaki dealer as it had been using oil. It wasn’t obviously burning oil and it wasn’t down on power but it was gradually using more and more. The head mechanic, Mark looked at it and stripped it down. What he found was that the cylinder from new had been slightly warped. When the rings were new they were able to compensate but once they had worn a bit they were allowing a tiny, but ever increasing, amount of oil past on each stroke. Hence, the oil loss without any obvious signs. Fair
play to Kawasaki, they had a new piston sent out overnight and Mark had the cylinder rebored to an oversize of 20 thousandths of an inch. Kawasaki covered everything under warranty and we were back on the road the night after dropping the bike into the dealership.

From Coruna we headed to Niagra Falls arriving late at night. We drove down past the falls and back up to the main street which looks like a mini Las Vegas. We jumped off the bikes and immediately got chatting to a guy called Steve. He was part of huge group that had been at an Automotive Industry Trade Exhibition. Well what a welcome we got when Steve brought us back to the pub with him. These wonderful people from all over Canada made us feel like royalty. To the extent that when Ray remembered he still had the keys to 3 suites in the Sheraton (that he had been presenting his products in) and we were given our choice of which room we wanted. We had unlimited views of the most famous
waterfall in the world from our balcony. The traveller life is a rough life.

The next morning we took some photo’s and sadly said farewell to Canada – What a wonderful country with wonderful people. Thankyou all so much. We are already talking about where we’ll go next time we visit.

Posted by Leah Chapman at September 15, 2003 09:51 AM GMT
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