Classic Country Riding
As a kid I spent a lot of time travelling a short distance North to visit family. Every other weekend we would be headed out along the same route. As a kid the rides always seemed super long, but I always enjoyed them and the stops we made along the way. As an adult, I don’t find the ride very long at all. A little short actually. Probably because I am on a motorcycle and not peering out the back window of a car. Still, a nice ride with great stops, but I need more than just a quick jaunt, and with all my family gone I need another reason to go back to my roots.
Go for the Ride, Stop for the Sights
Rolling out of Winnipeg point yourself North on Highway #236 and head out to Stonewall, MB. Stonewall is a cool little town of around 5,000 just outside of Winnipeg that has a really neat Quarry Park (for those about to rock!) and Oak Hammock Marsh is only 20 minutes away. Nature at it’s finest.
From Stonewall jump over to Highway #7 North and take a trip up to Teulon, MB. As a kid we always stopped at the corner store in Teulon for either ice cream or onion rings. It was a must. 30 years later it is now a Country Kitchen restaurant. If your looking for an early lunch, this is a good stop to make before heading out.
In Teulon hang a left on to Highway 17 and enjoy a scenic ride. About 30 minutes North on Highway 17 you will ride through Narcisse, MB which is home to the world famous Narcisse Snake Dens. If you like unusual sights or, better yet, are a snake lover, then this is a MUST. When you’ve had your fill of slithery serpents, keep riding up to Poplarfield, MB. There is not a whole lot going on it this little town (sorry Poplarfield!), but it really makes for a nice scenic ride.
Take Highway 68 East out of Poplarfield and ride into Arborg, MB. Another small Interlake town with some nice classic scenery. The coolest spot in Arborg is the Heritage Village highlighting the best of the areas history. There are a few towns in Manitoba that have very similar attractions, all worth the visit for any history buff or anyone looking for something different to do.
Ride the Viking!
Continue on Highway 68 East until you get to Highway 8 South. Highway 8 was recently redone, making it a super smooth ultra nice highway. But nothing to see. It is a Point A to Point B highway. Don’t worry, not on it for long, just a quick rip South to Gimli, MB. Gimli is a Manitoba icon. Home of the Vikings! Gimli boasts a wonderful harbour with very cool artwork all along the boardwalk. See the art, see the boats or walk along the beach. Gimili has a LOT going on for it, not just for the town residents, but for the tourists. A Viking Museum, loads of great restaurants and shopping and they even play movies on the water on summer evenings. Grab a spot on the beach and watch a movie on the giant floating screen. How cool is that?
When you have had you fill in Gimli (you will be back!) head South along Highway #9. #9 is the slower, more scenic route back to Winnipeg. You can take #8 is you enjoyed a late movie and want a quick ride home, but #9 is much more visual. Take Highway #9 down through all the cottage/beach towns along the way, enjoy the laid back pace.
Stop in at Winnipeg Beach to grab an ice cream if it is not too late and go for a stroll along the historic boardwalk. Winnipeg Beach in summer has been a tradition for everyone in Winnipeg for generations. There are all kinds of events happening along the boardwalk all summer long, lots of tasty restaurants, a bandstand with live music and, of course, the beach. Go for a stroll or take a quick dip to cool off. Much like Gimli, this is a stop you will want to make a regular destination.
Keep heading South along Highway #9 headed toward Selkirk MB, and then back home to Winnipeg. If you ride straight through the whole way, you will make it in roughly 5.5 hours. But no one should ever just roll through. Make the stops, enjoy the sites and take it all in. Make a full day of it. Every stop along the way has a gas station, so even if your riding with a peanut tank, you can make this trip.