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October 25th 2012

Bruce Grey Minor Mob Tour To Tobermory

On October 25th 2012, a beautiful calm sunny day with temperatures above 20°C, the Bruce / Grey Minor Mob decided to make an end-of-season run to Tobermory, commonly known as "The Tub", at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.


Jim Ellis, his mum Fran and step-dad David, visitors from England, traveled in "Ruby" his Trafalgar Blue '67 RHD Morris Minor, accompanied by Ellie and Rob Ockenden in their Old English White '60 LHD Morris Minor.



From Wiarton the Mob headed north on Highway #6 a few kilometers, turning west at Mar, following the picturesque Red Bay road. We crossed the isthmus between Sky and Isaac Lakes, shortly arriving at the West Bury Road. Freshly paved, this winding road mostly follows the shore of Lake Huron, passing through a series of small scenic communities. Traveling through Red Bay, we paused briefly for photo ops at their waterfront park and at their very quaint old fashioned cemetery. Through Howdenvale to Pike Bay, then past their year-round general store, stopping to check out the spectacular panoramic view at their waterfront park. Another photo op, and to our joy, the park washrooms hadn't closed after Labour Day!









Further north at Spry we admired a roadside home, an Eatons' Catalogue "kit" house, offered by that company in the early part of the last century. Though much and tastefully renovated, its period heritage still glows through.


North again through Stokes Bay, (check out the mailboxes on the way in!), then on to Colonel Clark's Corner where the old night spot has been converted into a private home. The West Bury Road gets a tad rugged at this point, reverting to rough gravel and broken pavement, so we swung east, and in a couple of miles rejoined Highway #6, to proceed north past Miller Lake, Cyprus Lake Federal Park, and on to The Tub. Actually, there are two "Tubs" separated by a narrow spit of rocky land. "Little Tub" is the south docking point for the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, which connects the Bruce Peninsula to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. In season this busy harbour hosts both large and small government watercraft, numerous fishing and cruise boats, and a variety of very large personal pleasure craft. "Big Tub" accommodates smaller watercraft and scuba dive boats, (this is the world's most popular area for fresh water scuba diving).







Touring Little Tub by foot, we stopped at one of the few venues still open this late in the season, a harbour-side book store cum coffee shop cum Lotto centre. This was the friendly owner's 1st year of operation and she planned to stay open all winter. Good luck to her!!!

The Princess Hotel was the next stop on our walking tour. This old structure has undergone a massive reconstruction with tasteful modernization, resulting in a very pleasant harbour-facing dining room, and extensive accommodation. We had an excellent lunch there, English style fish and chips, Okanogan IPA draft beer, pots of Earl Grey tea, and mugs of fair trade coffee. One person, who shall remain nameless, had room for a large site-baked Greek cookie.


It was back to the cars after a short walk to settle our meals, then a vehicular tour of ferry related facilities. Next, over to Big Tub to take in the lighthouse situated on the shore surrounded by amazing huge hunks of seriously eroded limestone rock.




As the day was fast getting on, we tumbled back into the Morrises and headed south down #6. At the Miller Lake Road, the Mob swung east, rolling to the lake's edge. It's beautiful this time of year - quiet, peaceful, and pretty much deserted, except for migrating waterfowl. We climbed out of our cars to watch three diving loons.

Back in the cars again, the Mob headed across the northern side of the lake to the East Bury Road, turning south and arriving shortly at St. Margaret's Chapel. The small quaint limestone structure beside this winding hilly road, was built in the 1920's by locals of all denominations, using local stone and wood. The solid brass bell in her tower, was originally from a locomotive, and came from the Grand Trunk Railway yard in Stratford. Her stained glass windows were donated by Hobbs Glass Factory in London Ontario. The various wooden furnishings were donated both by locals and others from elsewhere around the Province.



Just south of the chapel we passed a flock of wild turkeys in one field and a herd of bison in another. Rather than follow the flat straight main road which swung west, we continued south along what is known as "the Forty Hills Road". Lightly traveled, this narrow, tightly turning and twisting gravel road follows its up and down course through rough rock cuts for about 1 1/2 miles. In over 30 years I've met only 2 cars on this road. That day, on a blind bend, I met my 3rd! Nothing untoward resulted from the surprise meeting, but it was a while before our heart rates slowed. We returned to blacktop and soon passed the site of the local pumpkin toss and riding lawnmower race, and both Whippoorwill and Isthmus Bay before the Mob arrived in Lion's Head, visiting the gorgeous harbour there, then motored on to Rachel's Bakery and Café with its "really cool" '50s diner decor. Orange Pekoe tea for Fran and Jim, latte´ for David, fair trade coffee for the Ockendens, and some very special site-baked goodies for all!











With skies darkening the Mob headed south, past Barrow Bay and Hope Bay, and on through the village of Colpoys before turning south again on Highway #6, returning through Wiarton. As darkness fell, we arrived home, leaving the Ellis crowd to find their way back to Owen Sound.




About 125 thoroughly enjoyable miles on a brilliant fall day!

As Joanna Lumley would say: "Absolutely fabulous!"

Rob Ockenden

Check out:
Tobermory Tourism
The Bruce Peninsula
Explore The Bruce
Eatons' Catalogue "kit" house
mailboxes
Princess Hotel
St. Margaret's Chapel
Cape Chin Bison
Rachel's Bakery and Café

































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