Story by: Tami HamiltonPhotos By: Virgil Knapp
Without having a lot of experience in riding a personal watercraft (PWC) I was a lucky candidate to attend a 700km PWC ride provided by GoRide Ontario, July 16-19 2012 from Pembroke, ON up the Ottawa River to New Liskeard, ON along the Timiskaming shores.
I was provided riding gear from Mica Sport that definitely accommodated my riding needs, such as early mornings that were less then 10 degrees Celsius, it shielded me from the spitting rain we met up with for a small portion of the ride, and other times it kept me dry and warm when hitting some high waves! I got to ride part of the journey as a couple on a Yamaha FX SHO Waverunner, and on my own riding a Sea-Doo GTI 155 rental from George's Marine & Sports when it was not being occupied by other riders. I can truly say riding a PWC is very simple, just press the gas and go! I also learned how to set the personal watercraft's trim that assists in a much improved ride in certain water conditions and at different speeds. I felt so comfortable riding the Yamaha and Sea-Doo watercrafts and it only took me minutes to feel that way.
There were 11 PWC's in total heading up the Ottawa River and back. The scenery in Northern Ontario is breathtaking; it’s hard to believe a place like this even exists. The pristine nature, refreshing breezes, green hills, high cliffs, and days when the river looked like pure glass as far as the eye could see with trees amongst each side, you wondered if it was a mirrored image abroad.
I stayed overnight at Best Western in Pembroke, Valois Motel in Mattawa (two nights during the trip), and Leisure Inn Haileybury. The food was exquisite at each place I stayed including the meal provided by President’s Suites in Haileybury. The staff that I met along my travels were friendly, polite and accommodating. My previously unknown fellow riders were the same, and now what I call my friends.
At 28 years old and still having many years to explore, I never knew such a fascinating Northern Ontario existed. I always think of vacations or getaways to be heading down south to the hot beaches, but now I will open up my horizons to more Ontario destinations. This alluring stretch of the Ottawa River is within a few hours of driving for most and can be such a fun, enjoyable and adventurous trip! I highly recommend this part of Ontario to anyone of any age, whether it is exploring an adventure along the highway, or one along the river. It will change your life forever; it will keep you smiling days after you arrive home, but most of all it will allow you to feel at one with this magnificent Northern country, a perfect picturesque place I will definitely go back to.