TN to Canada and back! - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Travel Registry Help a brother (and sister) out. If you are available to help your fellow V-Strom owners if they are in a situation while trotting the globe, put as much information here to help them as you wish.

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post #1 of 15 Old 03-19-2015, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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TN to Canada and back!

I am trying to plan a trip starting in East TN heading up the Blue Ridge Parkway, then over to Washington DC. From there go to New York City and then to Boston (I have friends in Boston.) From there I plan to make my way up to Montreal and work my way over to Toronto and the Falls. I'll be passing through Ottawa as well.

What I would like to know is if there is any places you guys recommend to stop along the way to visit/eat/sleep/etc...!

This will be my first long trip, is there anything I should consider that I might not normally think of?

Thanks for any help and feedback!
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-19-2015, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.deux View Post
I am trying to plan a trip starting in East TN heading up the Blue Ridge Parkway, then over to Washington DC. From there go to New York City and then to Boston (I have friends in Boston.) From there I plan to make my way up to Montreal and work my way over to Toronto and the Falls. I'll be passing through Ottawa as well.

What I would like to know is if there is any places you guys recommend to stop along the way to visit/eat/sleep/etc...!

This will be my first long trip, is there anything I should consider that I might not normally think of?

Thanks for any help and feedback!
This may seem a little weird, but here goes: Take warmer clothing than you think you will need. Do not eat large meals on the road for breakfast or lunch. It makes you sleepy. Catch up at dinner time with a larger meal and sleep like a baby. Stop relatively early. You will then have time to get your undies washed and have a nice dinner and relax for a little plus get a good night's sleep. Get off the highway when you can and take back roads and eat at local eateries. Treat the waitress well and tip well and give us all a good name. Don't try to do too many miles in a day. Stop and look at things. Have a great trip
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-20-2015, 05:13 PM
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Sounds like a great trip. Last year I did closer to the opposite - coming from Toronto, to Maine, south to Deals Gap and then home via Kentucky/Ohio.

When you are in the Ontario area, there are a lot of nice roads, although nowhere near as nice as in your part of town. If you can make it up to Algonquin Park, the riding around there is really nice.

You might find some valuable route planning tools in this thread: https://www.stromtrooper.com/canadian...rio-roads.html

Are you camping or staying in motels/hotels along the way? When is your trip and how long for?

For your first long trip, I suggest you do a search on motorcycle packing, there are some good lists floating about for ideas of things to bring, how to pack it in your bags and it's different for each person. I always like to have a small headlamp with me. I also make photocopies of all my ID and stuff it an some petty cash in a small zip-lock bag and stash it somewhere hidden on my bike, just in case I need it. I also ride with a 1/2gal hydration knapsack so I can drink while I ride. I also bring tons of electronics (gopro, mp3 players, cameras, phone, etc)

I would also suggest doing a weekend trip with all your gear packed in to see how it all fits. There is so much more...
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-22-2015, 11:40 AM
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I suggest you avoid the NYC area on a bike if you can; take a wide swing around it (there is a lot of great riding to the west of it) and cross the Hudson well north. DC is easily navigable on weekends but the traffic during the week is tough.

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post #5 of 15 Old 03-22-2015, 10:27 PM
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Coming out of Montreal to the Quebec/Ontario border, you are pretty much stuck on either Highway 20 or 40. Once you're into Ontario, stop at the first visitor centre and pick up an Ontario map - the official government one if you can. Then choose north or south to avoid Highway 401 - dull, fast and busy.

If you choose south you'll be following the St. Lawrence then Lake Ontario, not necessarily along the shoreline, but it's the slower, scenic route. It is Highway 2 you are looking for. I believe you can pick it up at Lancaster, the first exit west of the Quebec border on the 401 at county road 34. Follow it. You can go all the way to Niagara Falls on Hwy 2 and see lots of beautiful country, farms, factories, small towns, urban sprawl, suburbs, cities, more farms and beautiful country.

Continue on 2 from Kingston and you'll go through Napanee, Deseronto and Belleville. Going south from Belleville is Prince Edward County. Flat, but beautiful riding, farmland, restaurants and wineries.

If you want to see Toronto, continue on 2. It will lead you straight downtown and out the other side - at a snails pace and you'll have a sore clutch hand. Toronto is a traffic nightmare so consider coming into town late morning or early afternoon, and exiting town earlier in the day.

Continue following 2 until Burlington, then follow signs toward Niagara on the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way - big messy highway). Once you are across the big bridge - the Burlington Skyway, look for exits that will lead you to the Niagara Parkway - it may also be called Lakeshore Road/county road 87 and change names to the Niagara Parkway at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Parkway will dawdle you past farms, vineyards and small towns - lots of B&Bs if you want to stop - through Niagara-on-the-Lake, then up river toward the falls.

Tourists take the QEW straight to the falls. Smarter folks take the Parkway and see the river along the way and other places like Queenston Heights. There are quite a few places where we are quietly reminded that we kicked your butts in 1812.

The stately homes along the parkway are worth gazing at as you go by. As a bonus, there are very few stop signs or traffic lights on this route, but beware of the speed limits.

The Parkway will lead you right past the falls. Park your bike for a minute. Take a selfie with the falls in the background and continue on. The road past the falls for about twenty minutes is a nice ride, then you're basically on your way to Fort Erie/Buffalo. Alternatively you can turn back and cross at the Rainbow bridge over the falls.

OR

If you prefer the more northern route, which used to be rather rough, but has become gentrified more recently, once you cross the Quebec/Ontario border, instead of going south at Lancaster, go north on county road 34, then turn left/west on 43 at Alexandria. 43 will lead you through some Canadian Shield country and through some nice towns like Smith's Falls (look for the big new government sanctioned grow-op for medical marihuana!!) and Perth at Highway 7.

Turn left on Highway 7 and follow it west through Sharbot Lake (actually you have to go a little south on regional 38 at Sharbot Lake to get into town, but it's nice place with a couple of good coffee spots). Continue following 7 west. As long as it's not a cottage weekend the traffic should be easy. Otherwise get used to following powerboats and sea-doos on trailers...slowly. It's rockier than the southern route, but the bonus is blueberries in season.

You'll go through little places like Madoc and Marmora, and then larger places like Peterborough (the lift locks are worth seeing). Highway 7 gets mixed in with some other highways around here, but generally head west toward Port Perry through Lake Scugog. Then 7 dips down toward the Toronto sprawl. Again, if you want to see Toronto, pick up Highway 48 south all the way down to Lake Ontario, and turn right on Highway 2.

If not, stay on 7 and go through endless awful suburbs and big box malls. Some people probably like that. If you want to zip through, get on Highway 407, which is an electronic toll road. They'll mail you a bill in a few months. You can decide whether or not to pay it


On this Northern/Highway 7 route, if you want to avoid the Toronto sprawl, just west of Port Perry, Highway 7 turns south with Highway 12. Don't turn. Go straight ahead toward Goodwood on 21 to Goodwood, which turns into 40. Turn right onto 48 or any other north/south road past it and then left onto 31 toward Newmarket. At Yonge Street, the worlds longest road, 31 becomes Highway 9. You'll be going through a little big box territory and small towns too.

Highway 9 follows the Holland Marsh along the south side, some of the most productive farmland in the world - leftover glacial lake deposits at a million dollars an acre.

Follow 9 toward Orangeville, then pick up 24/124 south. 124 turns southwest toward Guelph - good beer there and lots of farms. Guelph is a nice small city and a little confusing, but follow 124 in and then pick up Highway 6 south. Highway 6 will lead you to Highway 401 and you'll have to go one exit east at Morriston to pick up 6 south again.

6 south leads you to Hamilton - think of it as Pittsburgh in Canada. At Hamilton, take Highway 403 East to QEW South (or Niagara) which will let you pick up at the Burlington Skyway as described above and on to Niagara.

Of course, if you like superslab, stay on the 401 from Quebec all the way across until you see 403, then follow it to the QEW to Niagara Falls.


Oh - if you're taking the Highway 2 route along Lake Ontario, but you want to avoid Toronto, just after Bowmanville, turn right on county road 57 and go north to Enniskillen. Turn left onto road 3, which leads you into the suburban north end of Whitby at Brooklin, but then you can turn right on Highway 12 and go north. Turn left/west at road 21 toward Goodwood, as described above on the Highway 7 route.


There are plenty of other ways to do this, but taking Highways 2 or 7 gives you a full two days, or a pleasant three days, across south-central Ontario. Don't forget, you'll need a passport.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102

Last edited by KZDon; 03-22-2015 at 10:36 PM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-23-2015, 03:50 PM
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...or...the northern south-central Ontario route

…and…in addition to the post above, if you want to avoid Toronto entirely and have good riding in spectacular scenery… go north.

From Montreal, follow your map or set your GPS to Portage du Fort or farther northwest to Waltham. I believe it is Quebec highway 148 you will be aiming for, at least northwest of Ottawa. You can cross the Ottawa River from Quebec to Ontario at either town. From Portage du Fort you will be crossing over to Highway 653 which goes straight west to Highway 17 about halfway between Renfrew and Cobden. From Waltham you cross into Pembroke. Either way your aim is Highway 60.

If you cross at Portage du Fort, when 653 meets 17, turn left and go south to Renfrew. Turn right on 60 into Renfrew – nice little town. Follow 60 out of town to Eganville – great roads and scenery. 60 is paired with 132 for some of that stretch.

OR, when 653 meets 17, turn right and go north to Pembroke and Highway 41…more below on the route to follow this. This stretch of the Ottawa River is home to some of the best, navigable class IV and V rapids in the world, and there are a number of rafting companies in the area, some of which I used to work for.

If you cross at Waltham into Pembroke, aim for Highway 41 going southwest out of town. It is reasonably well signed from what I remember. Follow 41 to its meeting with 60 just north of Eganville. You can scoot into Eganville by turning left, or turn right onto 60, which you will be on for the next several hours to Huntsville.

Google maps says Pembroke to Huntsville is 233km and should take three hours to drive. Give yourself at least half a day and enjoy it.

Highway 60 runs through lots of Canadian Shield, forests, little towns like Barry’s Bay, Madawaska (another river rafting and kayaking mecca). Whitney, with lots of quiet highway in between them. The tourists in the area are more likely to be towing ATVs with gun racks, or kayaks than anything else.

You will enter Algonquin Park from the southeast, and 60 becomes the Frank MacDougall Parkway. There is an information booth at the East Gate. Clean washrooms and nice people there. You will be following the Parkway in an arc through the southwest corner of Algonquin – very peaceful riding, as long as it’s not a summer weekend.

The Parkway exits Algonquin and becomes 60 again. Follow 60 to Huntsville. Turn left where all the stores are at King William Street, which is also regional road 3. Follow three to Highway 11, then choose.

You can follow 11 south about two hours and then pick up Highway 9 westbound and follow the directions in the above posting. About two thirds of 11 is pleasant, divided four lane highway. For the last forty minutes it joins Highway 400 southbound and is busier, but not bad….exit at Highway 9 toward Orangeville and enjoy the farming country.

OR

You can continue from Huntstville on 3 and ride through central Muskoka cottage country. Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph are where the fancy people have their getaways. Kurt and Goldie have a place there. Follow 3, also known as Aspdin Road, to Rosseau, then 141 west to Lake Joseph Road south OR continue on a few more kilometres and pick up Highway 400 south. Even if you take Lake Joseph Road you will eventually have to take the 400. The number of lakes in the area make straight or contiguous roads very difficult.

Once on the 400, follow it south toward Barrie (where it meets Highway 11) and follow it down to Highway 9 and go west toward Orangeville.

That area of Muskoka is touted as being the butter tart capital of Canada – probably the world. Moto-writer and cottage water-systems expert Max Burns points to G&G Restaurant and Gas Bar in Rosseau as having the best. Google search “Max Burns Butter Tarts” and click on the archived CBC radio program “What makes a great butter tart?” (link here, I hope - CBC Digital Archives - My Canada Includes Tourtière - What makes a great butter tart?). Max is one of three butter tart experts interviewed by the late Peter Gzowski. One of them mentions the general store at Hawkestone – sadly the lady who used to run it retired. The new proprietor is very nice, but the butter tarts are commercial. Wilkie’s Bakery in Orillia, however, is still there, but moved to 169 Mississaga St E, Orillia, ON. You’ll have to take the Highway 11 route south from Huntsville to get there. Beware, Orillia curves around a bay and is difficult to navigate, but everyone knows Wilkie’s, so just ask. Go there mid to late morning for butter tarts or their incredible Chelsea Buns (You’re not anti-gluten, are you?).


Going this northern route through south-central Ontario, means you’ll avoid Toronto and get good riding in. You could do it in one day, but allow two or even three. Do not ride Highway 60 in twilight or after dark, for all kinds of reasons. Except for Highways 11 and 400, the speed limit is generally 80km/h on all of the secondary highways. You can generally keep it just under 100km/h and avoid the interest of the police. For you, if you keep it pegged at 60mph you should be fine.


Let us know how it goes.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-25-2015, 04:27 AM
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He must be confused complitely, but - nice suggestions KZDon.

Last edited by Rick123; 03-25-2015 at 03:11 PM.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-25-2015, 01:24 PM
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consider the water route to Kingston - 2 ferries

Find your way to Cape Vincent NY and take the small private ferry, Horne's Ferry, for a cost of about $5 to Wolfe Island Ontario.
There is a very small Canada Customs building on the Island at the dock.
The island is flat and has pavement across to Marysville. The bigger ferry from Marysville to Kingston is free and will give you a great view from the top deck. Ya can't beat a free boat ride.
Track me down for a place to stay.

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Last edited by 568v8; 03-25-2015 at 01:24 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-25-2015, 02:44 PM
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He must be confused comlitely, but - nice suggestions KZDon.
I've been down with this year's bizarre and nasty flu, notwithstanding the flu shot, so I had some time on my hands...and I was well medicated.

In any event, now I see the OP is a one-poster and has not been back. At least I've done a little route thinking for myself.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-31-2015, 07:51 AM
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After you get to Ottawa from Montreal I suggest moseying over to calibogie and then making your way to Toronto by way of the 500 series highways.
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