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The article below has been contributed by my friend Leonard, who is becoming a regular contributor to the Dirty Girl Website. Motorcycling brings people together in such interseting ways. Although I've always lived in Canada, and Leonard has lived several places in the USA since I've known him, we connected initially through a shared interest in Kawasaki Vulcans, in the mid-90's. But we're riding buddies, and we and stay in touch still. Leonard has a vast wealth of touring and motorcycle traveling experience, as well as a very charming wit...

Leonard - Motorcycle Touring contributor

Interesting food on tour

I once read a long time ago, about a touring group who took their tours just to eat at different famous restaurants. Judy and I have never done that, but have happened upon some interesting places and have eaten food that was more then unusual to us.

I think one of the most pleasant out of the way places where we happen to eat, was "The Village Bistro and Caterer" at Calabogie, Ontario, back in 1998. Calabogie was a tiny village on Ontario's secondary highways where # 508 & # 511 join. However I think we took back roads from the Provincial park we were camping at to Calabogie.

We had met and camped with Andrea Goodman and her friend Owen and they suggested a nice ride would be the "Calabogie run." Trusting Andrea, we agreed to ride with them. It was a wonderful ride through a lot of sharp curves, long curves, over many hills and through pleasant valleys. The scenery was fantastic. Better then most we had seen on the major highways.

1998 - The Calabogie Bristo, in Calabogie Ontario We arrived to what appeared to be a simple house with café signs posted out front. The staff took a personal interest and served our assortment of sandwiches with enthusiasm.

The food was unexpectedly delicious. The interior was colorful but not gaudy and presented a clean and fresh appearance. I highly recommend this little out of the way place, based on our impression back in "98."

An unusual place that we have dined at was "Curtis's Bar B Cue" in Putney Vermont. Curtis’s café is located in what would be best described as a small park. He cooks all his bar-b-cue chicken, ribs, burgers and other fare inside of an old school bus. He then yells out your order number and serves the food through a side window. After you retrieve your food and beverage from the bus window, you sit at picnic tables outside to dine. It's a nice way to meet strangers and learn a little about them as you eat. And while you eat, Curtis's pet pig walks around begging to have his ears scratched and a tiny morsel tossed his way. I highly suggest a stop at this place, because it is about the best bar-b-cue we have ever eaten. The diner is only open during the warm months of the year, which is fine for motorcycle riders.

We found the breakfast at Rock Springs café, in Rock Springs, Wyoming to be "Purdy durn good" as the cow pokes would say. The portions were large and cooked to perfection. The inside of the café appears the same as I would imagine it did a 100 years ago. However, it was well maintained, modern and clean. It's worth the short drive on a side road off the interstate highway to eat at this café. Did I mention how good the pie was?

The Jam Pot Bakery, Michigan Once when traveling through upper Michigan, near Eagle Harbor on state highway M26, on the very north tip of the state, we came across a bakery called "The Jam Pot" in the middle of no where. The bakery is owned and operated by an order of Catholic monks of the Byzantine rite. We ordered a muffin each for lunch, because they were the size of softballs. And they must have been divinely blessed, because they were absolutely delicious.

Pasties One tour brought us to a small town near Lake Placid, New York. It was suggested to us by a young lady at the service station that we go eat some "Pasties" at a local café. (We have since forgotten the name of the café and town.) We did go to the café and we each ordered a Cornish Pasty. We found the first half of the pasty, which is a double crusted type of pot pie, to be quite delicious. However after eating the first half, the palette refused to accept any more of the mince meat-turnip mix. We've never encountered a food that did that to us. We both found it odd, that at first it was very delicious, but half way through, the pie seemed to become quite bland. Since then we have learned from other New Yorkers, that the pasty can be made with various other ingredients, which may be more to our liking. Regardless, you won't see me rushing to eat another.

Canadian Poutine Just before leaving western Ontario, we stopped at a café in Kenora on Provincial highway # 17. The nice matronly waitress suggested we try the poutine. I think it was something like huge curds of rubberized cottage cheese, laid over the top of French fries or fresh cuts and then topped with a very thick dark gravy. I say rubberized curds, because they actually squeaked when you bit through them. We split a bowl of poutine and ordered some additional familiar food. The poutine was okay, but we're glad we had ordered the other food too. I suggest you try the poutine at least once.

But, one time we did encounter a food of which we could never get enough. Saskatoon pie! We were told, the Saskatoon berry seems to grown only in the Saskatoon area of Saskatchewan. We had this burgundy colored berry pie in different small towns and each café or chef puts their own little twist to the pies ingredients, which makes it even that more desirable. We ate pie that was just a little tart, some were more sweet, one had a hint of cinnamon, whereas another may have a touch of nutmeg. We suspect one pie may have been laced with brandy, because it was ultra delicious. Try the Saskatoon pie. I think you too, will like it.

If time and space would permit, I could talk at length of the great out of the way places we've eaten at in Iowa, Maine, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Ohio, Montana, Alberta, Ontario and countless other places. But, there are just to many to discuss.

When you tour, try to take some of the back roads through the small villages and towns. Stop at a café and ask what the local favorite food is and give it a try. You just might be surprised. But, keep the Rolaids handy, just in case.

Leonard R.

More of Leonard's articles: Two Wheels by the Campfire

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