The U.P., Killbear and Rochester New York / by Kenneth Benson

After leaving Wisconsin we headed north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and camped at Monocle Lake just off of the shore of Lake Superior. It was a quiet campground and the weather was stellar. The next day we advanced into Canada, our first of many future border crossings. It was pretty uneventful. Despite having a dog and dog food (apparently you can't take dog food) the border patrol agent barely glanced at us as we entered.  He looked at out passports, seemed annoyed with his job and grumpily waved us through, dog and dog food unnoticed.

We made our way along the North Chanel and Georgian Bay of Lake Huron to our stop for the night, Killbear Provincial Park.  We picked a spot on our atlas with a camping symbol approximately the distance we felt we could travel having no idea that Killbear is a huge park with over 400 campsites in multiple campgrounds and was almost completely full, apparently a top getaway choice for Ontario natives. We got lucky.  It being a Thursday and only wanting to stay one night we snagged a spot just a few sites up from the beach. This was absolutely the biggest campground of the trip and it was full to the brim. The people were friendly though and ever curious about or rooftop tent.

We spent the evening watching a simultaneous setting of the sun and rising of the full moon on a rocky outcropping into the Georgian Bay complete with windswept pines, 50ish other sunset watchers and a stupid drone hovering over our heads sounding like a mosquito buzzing in your ear. It was beautiful, mostly.

A note on drones. While there is a side of me that buzzes with gadgety lust, the reality of these things is going to quickly turn them into an annoyance equal to that pesky mosquito. The proliferation of cameras like the GoPro mounted on the helmets of roughly 30 percent of motorcyclists we have seen on this trip is only the tip of the iceberg. It is already worse than that at the ski hill. The day will come when you are riding with your friends at the local hill and you won't be able to escape the swarm of drones capturing every kids narcissistic fantasy. I will be investing in Daisy Red Ryder stock, it's gonna make a comeback. If it is legal to fly those things through my sunset it should be legal to pick them out of the sky like flies. Kudos to this eagle...

Anyway, the next day we were on to Toronto.  With only one night there we headed into downtown, got stuck in Blue Jays traffic, realized that our vehicle was too tall for any underground parking, Devon broke the passenger side window ;) and we finally parked in time to get a decent dinner in the distillery district.

Our next and last stop before Vermont was with Kris, Mary and fam in Rochester NY for the weekend. Kris is a long time friend/roomie/rock star from way back and was there in the beginning for Devon and me and he was one of the first of my friends to sign off on my cool new girlfriend.  He moved on from SLC, got married, had 2 awesome kids and is currently running his own business, a guitar repair shop in Rochester. Check it out... K-Robin Guitars

Rochester was a pretty cool little town (third biggest in NY). You can certainly see the effects that the loss of some major industries (Kodak and GM) have had on the place.  Unemployment is high as is poverty.  But people are toughing it out and there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. I was super impressed by Rochester's annual Wall Therapy installations. Since 2011 Rochester has been recruiting artists to participate in "an art and community intervention project, using public murals as a means to transform the urban landscape, inspire, and build community." Kris and I spent an afternoon touring around to some of the wall therapy sites he was familiar with.  What an incredible idea.

I snapped a few shots (below) but head to the website to see some amazing art.