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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 30 Oct 2011
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Early season weather in Canada

We are planning a 6 month trip in the US for 2013. We're looking at options to ship the bikes and one favourable route is to fly them in to Toronto or Montreal. It would be a shame to fly into Canada and not spend any time there before moving onto the US so I was wondering how early in the season it would be practical to start our trip and where we would get to if we spend about a month in Canada before moving south.
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Old 30 Oct 2011
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Coming from the UK you will be surprised at how vast and varied the country of Canada is. For a general overview of weather and travel you could check out:

Canada Weather and Event Calendar - Canada Weather and Events by Month

When I traveled to the UK I remember how bleak and gray the country seemed at the end of winter in March with bare deciduous shrubs and trees , and how spectacular the change was as winter ended and spring began. By late April and May it is like a different place as the trees leaf out and spring blossoms forth. Canada is no different except that spring comes a bit later and faster.

Of course these are sweeping broad generalizations which is all I can offer for such a big question.

Personally, if I were planning a trip to North America and was planning to land in Toronto I would land in May or June and head for the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Lots of backroads and byways. I really liked the winding Cabot trail road on Northern Nova Scotia and the friendly Canadians I met everywhere I went. That could take a few weeks or months in itself.

Instead of heading across the vast prairies of Canada I would take the ferry to Maine and explore the New England states and the northern tier states in the summer when the weather is warm spending more time in Colorado rockies, Utah, northwest Wyoming with the wonderful Tetons, Bighorn range, before heading over Beartooth pass to explore Montana, Idaho river of no return, Hells Canyon......

Okay, I am typing this, reliving all the beautiful places I have been on a motorcycle and I realize the folly of trying to do this in six months.....I was thinking head north to Banff from Montana and hit the icefield parkway to Jasper and all the wonderful roads in the Kootenays or heck why not cut across from Jasper to the Cassiar Highway and head to Alaska.

But you get the idea. Northern area in the summer, southern states and desert southwest in the colder months.

Basically land in Toronto in late spring, hit the Maritime provinces, drop down to New England, definitely hit western North Carolina, the Cherahola skyway, Deals gap and all the great roads in the smoky mountains, jet west to the rockies and don't miss the Pacific northwest, California and the Grand Canyon...

Dang it, now I want to go with you.

Cheers,
John Downs
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Old 30 Oct 2011
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This is a good plan indeed, don't forget to soak in the local flavors

jeige r
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Old 30 Oct 2011
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Hi John.
Thanks very much for taking the trouble to reply and for your excellent ideas. Your suggestion of starting in the NE and travelling roughly SW is about what I had in mind. The further north we start from, the later in year we get off and the later we end up in the south west and we still need to be able to ride back to the East coast to ship the bikes back to the UK, ideally without the snow storms currently mentioned on the BBC news. A quick list of places definitely on our list are Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Park, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. It's a question of joining up the dots and trying to hit these places at the right time of year as well as avoiding the central plains in the hottest summer months. I doubt we'll go as far as Newfoundland but the other places in Canada you suggest certainly look good suggestions.
Paul
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Old 30 Oct 2011
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I concur with John's recommendations.

I don't think you would have any cold weather problems riding in Toronto (or, generally speaking, in Southern Ontario) at any time in May, but if you moved up to Northern Ontario or towards Quebec, you might encounter some cold days in early to mid-May.

If you take a close look at a map of Eastern Canada, you will see that the route from Toronto to Quebec (along the St. Lawrence river and Lake Ontario) is primarily a north-east heading, not simply a heading of east. For sure the weather on the north shore of Quebec will be colder in early May than the weather in the Toronto (southern Ontario) area.

In other words - Southern Ontario is a safe bet anytime in May, but Northern Ontario and most of Quebec could still see some awfully cool mornings (and evenings) in early to mid May.

Michael
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Old 8 Apr 2013
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I concur with what John Downs and Paneuropean say.
I'm from Trois-Rivieres, right in between Montreal and Quebec city in the Province of Quebec.
Generally speaking, from mid-May on, weather is usually decent.
If you do decide to do Quebec, you must stop and stay the night in Quebec City and visit the old part of town (circa 1604).
Then you head up on the north shore to the Saguenay region and take the ferry to Rimouski on the south shore to circumnavigate the Gaspé pennensula and then down to the maritimes. Be sure to ride the Cabot Trail in the Nova Scotia highlands. OR you cross over to the south shore from Quebec City to ride the south shore of the St-Lawrence River.
Also not to miss are the Skyline and Blue Ridge Highway starting in Front Royal, Virginia. 500 odd miles of winding road atop the Appalachian mountains.
I would avoid the Canadian Prairies...it's nice and all, but after a couple hours of riding an ongoing flat plain, you kinda crave for a change in scenery.
Heck...you only have 6 months.
Enjoy!!
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Old 9 Apr 2013
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Spring in Canada

Or you could fly direct to Vancouver where spring starts a month before Toronto and work your way south and east. Air Transat flies uk to Vancouver and used to take bikes.
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Old 9 Apr 2013
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Honestly, you can get cold crappy weather any time of the year in Canada - it just occurs least frequently in July-August-September. I made the mistake of riding up to the Yukon once in early June. I didn't have to worry so much about cold as rain; about half the days I was on the road it rained, and sometimes was torrential.

I find that out here in BC, September is the nicest month of the year for riding. The weather is generally dry and sunny, the days are still more than 12 hours long, and the kids are back in school so the campgrounds are mostly empty.
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