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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 6 Mar 2006
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Canada East to West (and US West to East?)

Hi,

I'm planning on a trip this summer going from Halifax to Vancouver with 2 fixed stops (Gateway Parklands RV & Trailer Park Fort Lawrence, NS and Trenton, ON) this is for the ride for sight events there.

Other then that I've got absolutely NO idea where to go and what to see. I guess the falls is a must but then??? I do have a rough sketch (sp?) of the route but nothing final.

Any ideas is welcome since my plan in the beginng was more like "Hey that looks like a nice road"-kind of riding. I don't mind gravel or curves but I would hate the 2000km straight highways type of roads.

Ohh by the way I do have a schedule to keep up to but if I find some very nice roads I can stand the boring 2000km-highway-in-no-time riding at the end just to get to my final point.

This is the plan so far:
Land in Montreal around 10th of June.
Fastest way to Halifax (Yupp I know it's around 1500km, but that's only 2-3 days in a good pace) or a long nice trip upto around Prince Edwards Island.
A weeks riding to Trenton (about 100miles East of Toronto).
Heading West and will probably try and hurry through the central part of Canada and aim for the Rockies and spend as much time there as possible until trying to make it to Vancouver in around 10-15:th of July.
Go down to Portland, Oregon and then just head to Montreal to catch the flight on the 4-5:th of August.

So any must-to-see things??? As you can tell I'm not up for the tourist thing but looking for the roads I must ride...

Glad for any ideas on this matter.

Cheers,
Zappa
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  #2  
Old 6 Mar 2006
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Zappa,on your way east after you clear the big empty ,[central plains]swing into Kentucky. You can go to Mamouth cave,longest explored system in the world ride some great roads into the Bluegrass,then southeast twoards the Smokie Mountains,Deals Gap, Blue Ridge Parkway etc. Sorry to sound like a cheerleader for my part of the country but after 250000 miles riding in the U.S.A. I still feel Ky.,Tn.,N.C., and Virginia offer some of the best riding to be had anywhere.If you do come near central Ky. give a shout ,I have camping space ,garage/shop etc ,and I'd love to show you some cool roads .Peace

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  #3  
Old 6 Mar 2006
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At Medicine Hat, AB take rt-3 to Lethbridge and head to Glacier Park. Then go North back to rt-3 in BC.
That will take you to Hope and then on to Vancouver.
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  #4  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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Forget Kentucky! A long way to go to see the inside of a cave.

Since you're in the Canadian Rockies, Canada/US Border area, I'd suggest going through Glacier National Park on the U.S. side (haven't been to the Canadian piece of this park).

Also, if crossing the top of the U.S. on the way back to Montreal, consider a route that takes you through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Both areas have great scenery, Yellowstone was the first national park because it was so unique - it's actually the worlds largest volcano - lots of geothermal features. Its just not a mountain - just a huge area of volcanic activity that fortunately hasn't erupted in a few thousand years.

And if you ride anywhere in the U.S., don't ride the Interstate highways (like the autobahns) unless you absolutely have to (or you want to get through a big city like Seattle or Portland). Use the 2-lane highways - it'll take longer but you'll see so much more of the U.S.
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  #5  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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Hey Zappa,

Sounds like a nice wide open schedule with lots of riding!

You know, I don't mind riding across the prairies. There is just something about being able to see to the horizon with blue sky above that makes you feel small and vulnerable. I guess you'll find out for yourself riding across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and most of Alberta!

I can echo the comments about Glacier National Park, the Road to the Sun is great but it is very crowded. Don't expect to blast along and enjoy the curves. Slow down and enjoy the scenery instead. From there I would head back north taking either the Forestry Trunk Road (if you like gravel) or Highway 22 in Alberta to Longview. Then Highway 40 over the Highwood Pass to Banff/Lake Louise. Up to Jasper next along the Icefields Parkway. Work your way west to Vancouver but take the back way over Highway 99 through Whistler (site of the 2010 Winter Olympics). Coast down to Oregon from there is nice. East to Kentucky would be nice but mid-summer expect the southern U.S. to be warm.

Have fun planning!
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  #6  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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The area around the Great Lakes is pretty scenic - not as spectacular as the West where you've got mountains and big vistas - but Lake Superior is outstanding. If you're not in a big hurry, plan on riding up along Lake Huron and camping on your way to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - then another night beside Lake Superior. You can swim in Huron - Superior is generally too cold year 'round. Once past Winnepeg its prairie country for the next few days.

If you do any off-pavement, both Montana and Idaho are pretty spectacular. Idaho has some of the most gorgeous river systems in the U.S. - Salmon River (a.k.a. River of No Return). There's a 100+ mile 4-wheel drive road from Elk City, Idaho to Darby, Montana (camping and hot springs at Red River). I can highly recommend this for a one-day out of the ordinary excursion. Its very doable on a GS bike with something like TKC80's. Google the Magruder Corridor for info on the road (the corridor is for the road that runs between the River of No Return Wilderness on the south and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to the north (wilderness areas are roadless by law). And for a dose of American History (of the tragic kind) this is the area of the Nez Perce Indians. Google Nez Perce or Chief Joseph.

If you are interested in returning east through Oregon and some of this interests you, I can supply more info (Columbia River Gorge, Hell's Canyon, etc.).

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[This message has been edited by quastdog (edited 07 March 2006).]
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  #7  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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Quastdog,if you don't want to come to Ky. or the southern states its O.K. by me .My suggestion was for Zappa or any one else interested in good riding that's often overlooked by travelers who only consider the coasts and Rockies.

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  #8  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by kbikey:
Quastdog,if you don't want to come to Ky. or the southern states its O.K. by me .My suggestion was for Zappa or any one else interested in good riding that's often overlooked by travelers who only consider the coasts and Rockies.

Actually, I'll be coming through Kentucky in May and was thinking of stopping and seeing the cave. But....to suggest that someone crossing Canada, and then heading back from Oregon to Montreal should go that far out of his way to stop and see Mammoth Cave - why, I have to think you work for the Tourist Council.



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  #9  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by quastdog:


Actually, I'll be coming through Kentucky in May and was thinking of stopping and seeing the cave. But....to suggest that someone crossing Canada, and then heading back from Oregon to Montreal should go that far out of his way to stop and see Mammoth Cave - why, I have to think you work for the Tourist Council.

Well, Mammoth Cave and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History that is.


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  #10  
Old 7 Mar 2006
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Zappa,
I am crossing Canada this summer. I plan to be in the eastern provinces in June. My trip is from Toronto (leaving mid-end of May) to the east coast and back, then Toronto (early July)to BC and back. I have a route planned and a general itinerary. Perhaps we can hook up.


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  #11  
Old 8 Mar 2006
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Wow, I thought most of the replies would be like... "Jeeezzz here's another lunatic not knowning where to go and therefor seeks help" kind of answers but I guess I was WAY out on that one...

Kbikey: I guess I have to agree with quatsdog, Kentucky is abit far away just gettin down and doing some riding and then head back to Montreal... If I take the other option of landing in N.Y I might head down to Ky.

I've been driving a few 1000 miles in US and Yes I known that I should stay away from the dead boring Highways, as much as I stay away from a ..... dead horse??? But the maps I got at the moment more or less only consists of Highways. I know one road I would have loved to ride but it's down i Az. close to Redrock and that's just a tiny bit to far for a 20 mile ride (I think it was like that) but for thoose who lives around and like gravel/mud (depending of the weather) near Prescot Valley between rd 169 and rd 260 there's a small (very small) town named Cherry with a nice gravel road. I did it in the rain in a car and I had about 1" of mud oround the tires and was close to skid off at one point the road must be very nice in a bit dryer condition and on MC...

tor1150r: I love to hook up and get some company, I'm gonna try and keep you updated or else you can check out my site: http://www.biketourist.com That's my home on the web during the trip.

Quastdog: If I like gravel??? What a stupid question, I haven't ridden with a fully loaded bike yet but else of course. Do you think T63 tires will do the trick on that road... That's what I'm thinking of using all the trip even if it's gonna coast me a fortune in tyres but who cares...

Ohh and by the way I'm gonna ride my old trusty Honda Transalp with some minor modifications.


Cheers
Zappa

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  #12  
Old 12 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:


Quastdog: If I like gravel??? What a stupid question, I haven't ridden with a fully loaded bike yet but else of course. Do you think T63 tires will do the trick on that road... That's what I'm thinking of using all the trip even if it's gonna coast me a fortune in tyres but who cares...

Ohh and by the way I'm gonna ride my old trusty Honda Transalp with some minor modifications.
I'm not familiar with the T63 tire. However, a suggestion for you on tires to think about:

You might want to equip the bike for the start with pavement oriented dual-sport tires. Most of your riding from when you land to the Rockies will be pavement. Somewhere near where you hit the Rockies, you may want to switch to more dirt oriented tires (your T63). You may want to figure a place to hit both coming and going, so you can leave your road tires to change back into for the return east. Maybe it'll save you a set or two of tires that way.



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  #13  
Old 12 Mar 2006
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Zappa:

Whatever you do, please do NOT underestimate the vast size of Canada! This is a common mistake made by visitors - and Canadians who are making their first cross-country trip.

To give you a bit of a perspective on things, here are some numbers to consider:

1) The shortest road distance from Halifax to Winnipeg (Winnipeg is generally accepted as being in the middle of Canada) is 600 km longer than the straight-line distance from Nordkapp, Norway to Palermo, Sicily.

2) If you are riding from Toronto to the Pacific Ocean, the half-way point is still inside Ontario.

On Wednesday of this week, I left Toronto to drive to Winnipeg (about 2,100 km) by car. It took me 24 hours (2 1/2 days) of solid driving to do the trip, and I made a point of driving at night, when traffic is minimal.

There are numerous stretches of highway around the top of Lake Superior where the distance between gas stations is about 150 km. Also, the distance between towns is about the same. So, your moto needs to be in excellent condition, and you will soon learn to never, ever, bypass a gas station, no matter how high the price of fuel may be.

My suggestion is that you allow at least 5 weeks to go coast to coast across Canada. Anything less than that and you will feel like you are just 'making miles', not enjoying the riding.

Lastly, although the weather in the summer can be very nice, it can also (rarely) be very cold around the top of Lake Superior. So, you have to be prepared to ride in +15 degree C conditions. The same applies to going through the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and BC.

Michael
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  #14  
Old 12 Mar 2006
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Also, just a note about the Montreal to Halifax portion of your trip: The shortest route between the two cities is 1,130 kms, but to do this, you have to travel through the United States - south from Montreal to US Route 2, then east to Bangor, Maine, continuing east to Saint John, NB, and then taking the ferry from Saint John to Annapolis Basin and thence direct to Halifax.

Below is an illustration of the 'shortest' route, which is also the route that I would choose if I was making this trip for pleasure, rather than just for flat-out speed. US Route 2 is a type of road known in the United States as a "US Highway", rather than an 'Interstate' or an 'expressway'. US Highways tend to be 2 lane roads, twisty and pokey, they go through all sorts of small towns, and are far, far more interesting than major commercial routes, such as what the Americans call Interstates or what we in Canada refer to as 'four lane highways'. If you want to camp, you will find campsites every 10 or 15 miles on these US Highways. They used to be the major American roads before the introduction of the Interstates in the 1950s. Now, they are considered 'secondary' roads, and are much, much more enjoyable to travel on than the major highways.

Michael

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  #15  
Old 12 Mar 2006
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I just did a few route calculations - the road distance from Halifax to Vancouver, via Trenton, staying within Canada (rather than cutting through the United States) is 6,300 km. By comparison, the road distance from Stockholm to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, (on the coast of the Red Sea) is only 4,200 km.

Another way to look at it is this: The flight from Stockholm to Montreal will be shorter than the ride from Halifax to Vancouver.
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