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Two of us are planning a trip (Ont - BC). We'll be out there around Labor Day for two weeks on a WeeStrom and a Beemer 650 GS. Starting to plan now and just wanted to get some first hand info on a few things . We'll be hitting Vancouver Island, Malcolm Island and whatever good roads look interesting on the mainland. We'll likely be camping mostly.

What can we expect to hit in terms of day / night temps. (If I have to pack both sleeping bags comprising my Woods Yukon 800 I wont have any space for anything else!) Will a 3lb down bag be OK? Also, once out of major cities/Towns what are most small(er) places like in terms of getting gas, supplies etc. In N. Ont I know a lot of smaller places basically shut down after 7 or 8 pm - wondering if it's the same elsewhere. Any recommended roads or attractions - we're both retired so why hurry?

Last but not least, if anyone has any recommendations where we can park an SUV and trailer would be good (I know, we should go all the way but we're older now and the ride across the Prairies doesn't enthuse us the way it did 27 years ago).

Sorry to sound like an absolute newbie but have been out west extensively, but unfortunately only on business, never for extended bike travel. I made a vow to when I retired a couple of years ago to see more of this great country from the ground instead of from the air and this is trip #2.

Appreciate any information you can supply.

Thanks,
Bob
 

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Two of us are planning a trip (Ont - BC). We'll be out there around Labor Day for two weeks on a WeeStrom and a Beemer 650 GS. Starting to plan now and just wanted to get some first hand info on a few things . We'll be hitting Vancouver Island, Malcolm Island and whatever good roads look interesting on the mainland. We'll likely be camping mostly.


What can we expect to hit in terms of day / night temps. (If I have to pack both sleeping bags comprising my Woods Yukon 800 I wont have any space for anything else!) Will a 3lb down bag be OK? Also, once out of major cities/Towns what are most small(er) places like in terms of getting gas, supplies etc. In N. Ont I know a lot of smaller places basically shut down after 7 or 8 pm - wondering if it's the same elsewhere. Any recommended roads or attractions - we're both retired so why hurry?

Last but not least, if anyone has any recommendations where we can park an SUV and trailer would be good (I know, we should go all the way but we're older now and the ride across the Prairies doesn't enthuse us the way it did 27 years ago).

Sorry to sound like an absolute newbie but have been out west extensively, but unfortunately only on business, never for extended bike travel. I made a vow to when I retired a couple of years ago to see more of this great country from the ground instead of from the air and this is trip #2.

Appreciate any information you can supply.

Thanks,
Bob
It's a good time to go, kids will be going back to school so getting a camping spots shouldn't be to much hassel
Temp wise depending where you are 70's for the most part with a chance of rain.
It's a good idea to do most of you riding before 5pm do to deer and things that go bump in the night.
I'd park in Calgary and go from there, zigzag lower B.C on the Way to Vancouver Island, do the mid upper on the way back.
Try to break down your questions a bit, it will be easier to answer.

http://www.ourbc.com/bc_maps/pdf/BC-nologo.pdf
 

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Islandstrom has some good advise. Parking in Calgary and tripping to the island and back would be a nice ride, or are you planning on doing just the coast and the island? If you're going all the way up to Malcolm Island you could hop the ferry in Port Hardy, sail up to Prince Rupert and ride back down through the Cariboo.

If you do cross the province you have quite a few options through the southern part . There are two major hiways, #3 and #1, and lots of interesting link roads between the two. Finding fuel and such after hours shouldn't be a problem, at least in the southern part of the province, but riding in the mountains after dark hides the view, and is a really good way to meet wildlife up close and personal.

First two weeks of September is usually really nice weather, but, in the mountains you have to be ready for anything. The year before last, we got 12" of snow in 24 hours in the East Kootenays. We were camped at 5000' but there was lots of snow lower as well. Temps vary widely with elevation, but I would guess daytime averages around 65-75, with nights dipping down into mid to high 50s? The coast/island are usually milder than the interior.

As Islandstrom says narrow down your questions and you'll probably get more specific answers.
 

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Temps will likely be crisp at night. Depending on how high and north you venture, you might want 3-season sleeping bags. If you're doing the north island, I would definitely recommend taking the ferry up the coast from Port Hardy to Bella Coola (that's a full day on the boat, beatiful scenery). Tweedsmuir Park, near Bella Coola, is amazing (watch for hungry Grizzlies).
As long as you're near the ocean, the temps will be moderate.
September is usually a great month weather-wise, but you never know.
If you don't mind a bit of gravel, the ride up the west side of the Fraser River to Quesnel is pretty cool. There are some fantastic hoodoos near Quesnel, and then ride out to Barkerville and stay in the old gold-miner's hotel in the town. They make the best breakfasts I've ever had.

Truth be told, though, you won't go far wrong whatever route you take.

I also recommend dumping the RV in Calgary. God had motorcycles in mind when he built BC.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re; BC

Thanks guys. Good suggestions. So far looks like we'll do Malcolm Island, Pacific Rim highway and we'll head into interior where there is a fellow Strommer that we're going to hook up with for a few days. Appreciate the advice - I had forgotten Barkerville - that will likely make the agenda as my hobby here is doing all the Backroads and GhostTowns of Ontario (great books by Ron Brown).

Found some "parking" possibilities in Lethbridge, which suits us fine and will allow us to see the Rockies the way they're intended.

I'm in charge of "logistics" more than itinerary (that's my buddy with the 650 GS) but wanted to get the lay of land or some of it. Curently GPSing Suz and BMW dealers- just in case, and then on to campgrounds. Was disappointed to see the Fly Fishing Museum closed down in Vancouver - that was going to be a must stop for me . May be back later on with more detailed questions but that helps a lot. BC travel information came in today so that will help the cause as well.

If any of you ever head out east - be glad to reciprocate.

Last but not least - thanks for reminder re: deer - I should know better given my night travel here and few close calls onj the bike and the cage.

Thanks and safe riding

Bob
 

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Sept. - higher elevations

Having lived in the interior of BC for five years and ridden in most of it for three I'd come prepared for anything in September. Here's a nifty trick for camping at higher elevations in the fall. This worked great in Colorado last September and comes from a buddy of mine from Salmon Arm, BC. Take a small dish towel or such and find youself a nice smooth rock about small grapefruit size. Heat that sucker up on your camp stove, wrap it in the towel and place it in your sleeping bag. Helps to have a large elastic band to secure the towel. The heat will last several hours if not all night. Some people use a hot waterbottle which stays warmer a bit longer, I find but is kind of bulky to pack. Don't forget to wear something on your head to reduce heat loss.
 

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BC - Sept.

Here's another novel idea. Leave the RV at home and ride there you weenies. Ride up over the lakehead and take the Yellowhead Route across from Winnipeg to get the real cross Canada experience. There's nothing wrong with the prairies and there's nothing more spectacular than approaching the Rockies at dawn with the sun rising behind you. The snowcapped peaks light up first like a huge beacon on the horizon. I rode a 1200 Bandit from WNY to S. Dakota then down across Colorado to S. Utah and up to Yellowstone and back across the midwest last September. You guys are retired, right? Leave a week earlier and forget the RV. We're motorcyclists not RVists. OK - relaxe, I'm just playin' with ya. I am serious about abandoning the RV, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jstrom:
No offence taken. We looked long and hard at doing the whole ride - I've already done it twice, my buddy once.Problem is we have a three week hard stop and figured with one tow vehicle and 2 drivers we can probably pick up a day - two days fun time in the area of the country we didn't get to see last time (27 years ago) - otherwise we'd be doing it again. BTW - I like the prairies when you can take sidetrips as I've done a few times- driving through them however is a lit like N. Ontario - after a while there's only so many wheatfields and coniferous trees you can handle.

Hopefully this trip will start us planning for next years - east course or maybe Route 66?. The RV will be ditched for sure then.

Thanks for the tip on the rock. I have an original "pig" -a ceramic cylinder about a foot long and 5 or 6 inches across that was used in old horse and buggies, cars etc. Same principle - heat it on the wood stove, wrap in felt or newspaper and stayed warm for hours. It's probably over a 100 years old. When I camp I have used a heat pack that you boil but it looks like one of the cold flexible packs where the chemicals mix wehn you crush them together. Works great as well. Picked it up at a demo of first aid equipment.

safe riding

Bob
 

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Cross Canada

Bob,
Glad you didn't take offence at my ribbing and hope you guys have a memorable trip.I'm an expat Canuck living down here in the southern tier of WNY about 65 miles south of Buffalo. Like to get up to S. Ontario as much as possible as I still have many friends there. Bought an '07 WeeStrom about three weeks ago and am having a blast on it. Let me know if we can get together for a ride someday. I could ride up your way or you could ride down here. Lots of great riding in WNY and PA.
 
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