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post #1 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Ottawa to Vancouver and back through the US?

Going to do the big loop with the Missuz. West through Canada, east through the US. Looking at June/July 2018. Need to get a trip plan together. Any insight on routes to take, places to stay/camp and so on would be greatly appreciated. We are going up over Superior on the way out of Ontario and have a destination on Vancouver Island other than that it's open. Taking the month to do it so no marathon. To much to see and we want to savor this one. At a combined age of 111 we figured we better take the time. Before time takes us. Look forward to any input you may have. Thanks.

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post #2 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 10:13 AM
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No trip advice though I enjoy the less traveled way and avoid cities. I often stay at Provincial Parks in Canada and State Parks in the US. Out west the Public Lands provide plenty of free camping with National Forests, Bureau of Land Management etc. Rural folks are friendly. I do enjoy the Maritimes.

years ago I did some riding around Perth. Stayed at a couple Provincial Parks outside town. I remember some out of the way cafe at MacDonald's Corners? that I visited that was fun. Hard to find for a stranger because it was in someone's house.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 10:58 AM
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Lake Superior National Park is gorgeous, actually all the national parks are beautiful. Prince Albert Park in Sask, Lesser Slave Lake in Alberta, if you can make it to Hyder Alaska (Alaska actually comes way down the coast of BC so it's maybe not as far as you are thinking), the road into there is worth it on it's own.

Strongly suggest going to Carmannah Valley on Vancouver Island.
Icelands parkway is another strong suggestion.
Crow's Nest Pass in Southern BC.
Spences Bridge route from Merrit BC to Pemberton.
If you don't already have them get some Sena's or other intercom system.
Riding in B.C. is incredible, if you have never been I would recommend trying to spend longer in BC than in the middle. The prairies are gorgeous and do change as you cross them, but the roads are very very straight and boring.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 11:45 AM
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Just completed a cross Canada trip this summer (NS to BC & back). I used a couple of provincial parks in Ontario at 41 dollars per night ( no hydro). Other private camping is available on the road, prices ranging from 25 dollars to 36 dollars (no hydro). No tourist information areas in Sask. (all closed) so be sure to get your maps before you leave. I did the run during the last 2 weeks of July and the 1st week of Aug. On 2 occasions I entered sold out campgrounds who were good enough to accommodate me (paid cash- no reciept . In other words call ahead if you can to confirm, or stop early. Also, depending on where you go the camping areas may be off the beaten path (one time 25 km on a secondary rd).

In my case I rode at least 800 km /day and camped all the way ( weather was nice / no rain). Since I was a free agent (wife did not come along) I was free to get up early (0500 - 0600) and took advantage of early stops. My principal goal was riding (distance/day) and so had to take what ever camping was available in the area (which turned out to be ok).

Depending on where you want to go a lot of secondary roads in Sask & Alberta are gravel roads. Sask has round pebbles for gravel which makes it interesting to ride (especially after fresh grading). Small gas stations open around 08:00. I tried to fill up every 200km to be on the safe side. Gas is good but look out for rotten gas hoses, hit a couple of those and upon returning home had to do a gas filter bypass.

Good luck
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanislejay View Post
Crow's Nest Pass in Southern BC.
Riding in B.C. is incredible, if you have never been I would recommend trying to spend longer in BC than in the middle. The prairies are gorgeous and do change as you cross them, but the roads are very very straight and boring.
Did part of crows nest pass - very nice. BC is definitely more interesting than Manitoba & Sask. All depending on what you are looking for.

As far as getting a SENA get advise before you buy. My brother likes his but I find it intrudes into my peace and quiet.

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post #6 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 01:07 PM
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Did part of crows nest pass - very nice. BC is definitely more interesting than Manitoba & Sask. All depending on what you are looking for.

As far as getting a SENA get advise before you buy. My brother likes his but I find it intrudes into my peace and quiet.
I agree with the intrusion, but two up it makes things a lot better for your partner, and more of a friend experience with other riders if they have them. It's really great for animal spotting, four eyes are better than two haha. Just make sure you only use them with people who you want to talk to. When I ride with people I don't really like to talk to, my sena gets "forgotten" at home.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Also Ran View Post
Going to do the big loop with the Missuz. West through Canada, east through the US. Looking at June/July 2018. Need to get a trip plan together. Any insight on routes to take, places to stay/camp and so on would be greatly appreciated. We are going up over Superior on the way out of Ontario and have a destination on Vancouver Island other than that it's open. Taking the month to do it so no marathon. To much to see and we want to savor this one. At a combined age of 111 we figured we better take the time. Before time takes us. Look forward to any input you may have. Thanks.
I was looking at a route to do the ice fields parkway last year but didn't have time. I'm hoping to do it this year. My plan was to go North over superior (stay at Agawa bay campground, the sunset is beautiful!) and then stay in canada and take the trans canada highway with some detours along the way. There is a national park in Saskatchewan(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_B..._National_Park) that looks awesome and isn't far off the route. Once you get to alberta you can take the ice fields parkway North - South and make your way to vancouver island

On the way back I was going to do the US side and hit North and South dakota, mount rushmore, yellowstone, louis & clark, etc. I'd recommend you pick some places on a map of what you would like to see and then find a way to link them all together. I find that works great for me! I likely have my GPS routes still if you are interested let me know your email address and i'll send them to you.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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I remember some out of the way cafe at MacDonald's Corners? that I visited that was fun. Hard to find for a stranger because it was in someone's house.
MacDonalds Corners cafe, wow. Just a black dot on the map. Not far from me at all. My "ville" is a cross road and that's all, no store, no gas, no coffee. But you could bang on doors here and come out with gas and coffee, more likely beer.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-23-2017, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vanislejay View Post
If you don't already have them get some Sena's or other intercom system.
Riding in B.C. is incredible, if you have never been I would recommend trying to spend longer in BC than in the middle. The prairies are gorgeous and do change as you cross them, but the roads are very very straight and boring.
Figured the prairies would be a time to make some quick miles. Save the messing around for Northern Ontario and BC. Thanks for the road list.
Has anyone tried the BTS-2 com system? That's what we were going to get for the ride. The price is nothing compared to the sena. I haven't tried them and have no affiliation with that site but here's the BTS-2's if anyone's interested.
https://www.gearbest.com/motorcycle-...pp_264923.html

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post #10 of 11 Old 11-25-2017, 03:51 AM
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Being from Ontario but living the last 25 years in Alberta and BC, I've done the trip many times. I'll give you my not-so-short list of highly recommended destinations at least on the Canadian side. Some of these will be maybe an hour max off the beaten path (a.k.a. The Highway), so do some googling and see if you think they are worth the detour based on your own interests.

1. I'm from the Sudbury Area, so I always recommend the Big Nickle Mine or Science North and Ramsay Lake for first time visitors. If you have been deep underground inside a mine before, or not into the geology of the North and some general science center type exhibits, it's not necessarily a must see, but cool.
2. Sault Ste. Marie - You can google the local sites, but on the way home, consider Mackinac Island on the US side. Big old fort and isolated Victorian town on a "no-car" pedestrian island. Did it as a family vacation in my youth, and it was very cool and memorable.
3. Wawa - Go right into town for lunch or coffee and see the original Wawa goose (not just the highway one), and some trading posts and local shops. This is the gateway to the north side of Superior, and one of my favorite Ontario drives. The very north end from Marathon to Thunder Bay is amazing. Plan to stop for pictures a lot, lol Maybe hit the Ouimet Canyon/Eagle Canyon as you approach Thunder Bay if you are interested.
4. Thunder Bay - Head downtown and check out the water front. The sleeping giant is viewable from there and Isle Royal is a cool park, but actually involves a maritime border crossing to the US side. Fort William in town is cool, and definitely hit Kakabeka Falls on the west side as you leave town. There is camping there if you are looking to do that.
5. There is a giant moose sculpture along the highway in Dryden along the lines of the Wawa Goose, and Kenora has a cool museum on the north and the lake of the woods area. A nice stretch break.
6. Winnipeg - Go downtown, and check out the forks market at the confluence of the rivers. The old Fort Garry Hotel is worth the big money IMHO if you feel like splurging on a night (old building is coolest). There is a rotating restaurant atop the new wing which would be a hit with the wife for sure. Sunset dinner up there is absolutely divine. You can google the rest of the cities attractions, and decide what hits your interests.
7. Saskatchewan - People who blast through Sask are fools. FOOLS I SAY! It holds many little gems worth the side trips, and it's not all "flat" off the highway. You can bypass Regina too easily, but the RCMP Heritage center is worth the break, especially if they are doing drills with the RCMP cadets.
8. Pick a site or two in Sask based on your interests, but they are all an hour off the highway, so doing them takes a little time. My top two are the Great Sandhills/Leader and Cypress Hills. Did you know there is a big white giant sand dune desert in the middle of Saskatchewan? Most don't because they think it's all farms and are too lazy to get off the highway, lol. There is a cool museum, and then go play in the dunes and feel like you are in the Sahara. Leader Saskatchewan is a Hutterite colony, and has interpretive sites and the amazing history of these folks and this beautiful province.
9. Cypress Hills Park is absolutely gorgeous, especially in the evening and around sunset. And they are not flat! Riding heaven. You'll also hit the salt flats in Chaplin on the highway on the way. Plan to stop and check them out.
10. Moose Jaw and Swift Current have beautiful downtowns if you want to stretch and explore.
11. Alberta holds a lot to see, so you'll have to pick a couple. If you are there around mid July, Calgary Stampede is a must (if you are a country music fan, this is a mini mecca). This city lives for it. Locals love it or hate it, but it is an amazing event. Calgary also has a cool downtown, Stephen Ave, and there is the Calgary Tower too.
12. Get to the badlands in Drumheller and do the Dinosaur museum and explore the park. Don't argue, just do it! lol
13. You'll hit the parks on the way west. My Home. Plan a few days, and Kananaskis is cool, but my top five are: 1- Banff (Duh! Ride the gondola, and consider the dinner package up top - great deal) Plan a full day! 2- Lake Louise (Again, Duh! Plan a half day and go up to the Chateau, the ski hill (another gondola if you want), and Moraine Lake. Lake agnes tea hut is amazing if you have time for a short hike (1hr round trip with a snack up there). Stay there or the Banff Springs if you have the budget. It's only money right? 3- Johnston Canyon, and do the hike. Amazing and easy/quick. The campsite right at the canyon has amazing little cabins you can rent too. 4- Jasper Parkway, DO IT! Seriously, the greatest ride in all of Canada! Life Changing! Stop at the Icefields interpretive center, and if you have the time and budget take the big monster bus onto the glacier, and optionally do the skywalk.
5- Jasper, and the Jasper Park Lodge. Mt Robson and Maligne Lake are cool side trips if you have time. There is another gondola, and so many things to see up here, it's endless and a little overwhelming.
14. The trans canada is the popular way though BC, and I can't discourage that for time alone. Roger's Pass and Revelstoke is very cool, with many sites on the way. The south route across the province adds 4-6 hours at least and you can't do the Cache Creek to Pemberton route. A favorite of mine. The freeway from Kamloops to Hope is nice, but nothing compared to the long way round through Lillooet and Whistler too. Peak to Peak Gondola! Google that!
15. Consider a side trip day down the Okanagan Valley. Kelowna, Pentiction, and Oliver/Osoyoos are all cool and very unique wine country and desert climate.
16. Vancouver, go downtown to Gastown/Robson Ave/Granville Island, and hit Stanley Park for the afternoon too. Lots to see and do. Cool city, and the polar opposite of Toronto in so many ways.
17. Island treats include Downtown Victoria Waterfront/Empress Hotel, Malahat and Goldstream Park, The whole highway north, and all the little island towns. Nainaimo, Parksville, Coombs for sure, and Tofino if you have time. Amazing Ride! All the way up to Campbell river along the water is full of cool towns (avoid the freeway unless you want to make time back down again), and Qualicum Beach, Fanny Bay (mecca for oysters), Courtney Comox, etc. The extreme north end of the island is remote, but amazing. I'll post a link at the end to another site where I posted a trip up there this summer.
18. If you get onto van isle by the Lions Bay/Nanaimo route, consider the Swartz Bay/Tsawwassen route off (it's longer, but the better sail anyway), or if you want to skip into the USA directly, the Port Angeles Ferry from Victoria direct is great on the bike, or there are option direct to Seattle.
19. Speaking of Seattle. SEATTLE! Awesome City! Do the Rock & Roll hall of fame/Art Museum/Space Needle all together, and then go downtown to Pike Market, the water front, and the underground tour. Baseball and Football stadiums are right there too if you are inclined. Great small old-school feeling ballpark if the Mariners are playing. Optionally, the Boeing Factory tour and the Museum of Flight are personal favorites on the south end of the city. Plan a half day or more if you want to hit them both.
19. The route from Seattle to Spokane is beautiful and lots of cool towns along the way. Decide whether you want to go south to do things like Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, or north and hit Glacier Park (Going to the Sun Road!), in which case I recommend considering route 2 through Shelby to Grand Forks and Duluth, and the small towns instead of the freeway. Cool, cool, cool, and a better example of real rural America IMHO. But lots to see either way. I'm still enjoying exploring the US side myself.

Check out some BC parks and Van island ride reports I have done here if you are interested.

Riding the Canadian Rockies and Beyond... | Adventure Rider
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Last edited by TheMartyMac; 11-25-2017 at 04:06 AM.
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