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I'm planning a trip across Canada in 2012. I'm am looking for some advice/links about the following:
What is the best time of year to cross Canada. I'm starting in Victoria, B.C. and riding east and then coming back to Victoria after getting to the east coast of Canada. I've got heated grips and heated vest for cold, but being from Victoria, I'm a little worried about that hot, humid weather I hear about in Ontario. But I'm also not wanting to ride in snow or ice in the passes.
I'm wondering about how much time I need to take off work for this trip.
I also thought about coming back through the US, rather than Canada.
And the other option would be to ship my bike east and come back west for a one way trip.
Any places that are a must see?
I'm on a very minimal budget, so will be camping and making many of my own meals and looking for any free or good deals is a must.
I live and work just north of you in Sidney, BC; and have done the cross-Canada trip a few times on my moto. I'll send you a private message with my email and phone number, if you would like to get together for a coffee somewhere I can share what I know with you in person.
If you make it to Nova Scotia, look me up. I live just 2 miles from Peggy's Cove and can let you anything you want to know about the Atlantic Provinces.
Forget going to Peggy's Cove and come up to Wolfville in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, just steps away from the highest tides in the world (and the worlds nicest people). Besides we have better on the north side of Nova Scotia
Let me know when you are and where you will be planning to cross Saskatchewan. Perhaps we can meet up or I can at least suggest some more interesting routes across this vast very flat province.
My husband and I did a trip across Canada on our sportbikes in the summer of 2009. Our trip was from Salt Spring Island, BC (pretty close to your starting point) to Cape Breton, NS and back to SSI. Our trip took 5.5 weeks. This was a reasonably fast pace, but certainly not breakneck speed. We camped 95% of the time and had a really good time.
Route: We went East using more or less HWY 2 in the United States, and then jumped back into Canada through Ontario (from Minnesota). We went as far as Cape Breton, and then returned through Canada the whole way home.
I really enjoyed riding the side roads in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. That was probably one of my highlights of going East.
I could go on and on for days of great riding in BC, but since you live in Victoria I would suggest you blast through BC (because it will always be accessible) and spend your time exploring the further off destinations. We enjoyed mixing things up by travelling through the States on our trip. We find that travel in the States can really help the budget (cheap fuel, cheap camping and cheap food with portions large enough to last you for two meals). So that may be something to consider when doing the route planning for your trip.
Lots of cheap camping in National Forests in the US. I LOVE those campgrounds!
If you have any questions doesn't hesitate to PM me.
...We went East using more or less HWY 2 in the United States, and then jumped back into Canada through Ontario (from Minnesota)...
We enjoyed mixing things up by travelling through the States on our trip. We find that travel in the States can really help the budget (cheap fuel, cheap camping and cheap food with portions large enough to last you for two meals). So that may be something to consider when doing the route planning for your trip. Lots of cheap camping in National Forests in the US. I LOVE those campgrounds!
I second that suggestion - Highway 2 across the Northern United States (Seattle to Minnesota) is a really delightful ride. Parts of that route are classified as 'National Scenic Byways' (see www.byways.org), and the highway goes through dozens of small, friendly, and interesting towns. It will be substantially less expensive in all respects than the parallel Canadian route on the North side of the border.
I have done the trip across the top of the US via Highway 2 several times, and always enjoyed it. It's almost entirely rural and agricultural, which presents a very different perspective on the USA than the interstate highways do.
If you are thinking of leaving in the early spring, the temperatures might be a bit warmer if you take Highway 2 eastbound. But, at the peak of the summer (middle of July), temperatures can be really, really hot along Highway 2 - heat waves of over 100°F (37°C) for days on end are not uncommon. But... every little town has a public swimming pool.
my wife and i and another couple are planning to cross canada east to wet from toronto in junue 2012, i will be watching this thread for ideas, what dates are you planning? maybe meet up over a and a meal somewhere.
Not wanting to hijack Sheila's thread but i would also like some suggestions as to places to visit along the way, we plan a month in canada before dropping down to do some of the PCH.
If anybody on this thread hits Nova Scotia before 1st Aug, your welcome at my place, worlds highest tides and that is a fact(just outside Wolfville, Annapolis Valley), beautiful scenery, good food and cold . Large area to pitch a tent or an extra bed. Your all welcome.
PS after 1st August I'm gone to South America , kiss me goodbye.
Thanks for everyone's tips and suggestions and the offers of places to stay.
I posted this and then got sidetracked for while. Just starting to do some planning again. Highway 2 thru the US sounds great - the advantage of cheaper food, gas, etc... and I like the idea of more rural country roads.
I'm still have the question about the best time to go. I don't want really hot, hot weather. I'm more used to cool weather here in B.C. but I know some of the passes in BC and just south of the border get snow early spring and late fall.
The group coming east to west - love to hear more about your planning and you timing.
I am planning a trip to Halixfax, leaving Victoria on May 4, heading south into the states and then across. Have not picked a definite route yet but lots of folks here have good things to say about the more rural "byways" - which sound pretty good to me!
As far as the weather goes - I ride all year here in Victoria, and only miss the occasional days due to frosty roads or black ice conditions, and the rare snowfall. With the weather being so unpredictable these days, and snow in july as likley as not, I am hoping that things will have generally cleared up enough in early May for a decent ride. The internet makes it pretty easy to scout out road conditions and weather trends - so with a little research, and an adjustable plan, I am good to go!
I am also giving myself the time to relax on the trip - I am not in a rush so if it takes longer due to the weather - so be it!
My strategy is to keep a critical eye on the weather/temperature and not worry about waiting it out from time to time if its frosty or black ice conditions are noted. While on the read I keep an eye on the air temperature indicator which is set to blink at me when it gets cold enough for black ice to form and adjust accordingly.
And quite frankly, with heated handgrips and good warm gear I prefer riding in the cool crisp air - so does my bike.
Have you set a date for your departure - i know you are concerned about the weather, i am too but am prepared to wait it out if it bogs down or even train/truck just to get past it... timing will be everything eh!
Things are coming together nicely for my main trip leaving Victoria May 4 and heading to the states then across to nova scotia. DEcided to camp so I am planning to do a full rig shakedown trip on the island next weekend, head up to rathtrevor friday night then up to courtney for sat night and back sunday.
camping all the way.
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