Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Ride Tales, Trip Reports and Stories > Ride Tales
Ride Tales Post your ride reports for a weekend ride or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the ride is. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

Like Tree15Likes
  • 12 Post By motoyen
  • 1 Post By motoyen
  • 1 Post By Turbofurball
  • 1 Post By motoyen

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10 Jan 2022
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3
My First Motorcycle Road Trip Around Western Canada

In 2020, as Covid hit and the world went into lockdown I moved back to Canada still pondering when my next trip will be. However, with the borders still closed international travel still seemed a long way off. Then I had an idea – I was going to explore the open roads of my own country on a motorcycle.

Route Planning

For this road trip, the old Ralph Waldo Emerson adage rings true: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” For me, the journey itself was the reason I was travelling. So, I set about choosing some of the best roads in British Columbia for motorcyclists, selected a few towns and cities to stop in, and my route pretty much wrote itself.

From Victoria, I would travel by ferry to Vancouver, ride up the Sea to Sky Highway, through the Kootenays, before making my way east to the Rocky Mountains. I would then turn back through Prince George, Prince Rupert and down Vancouver Island.

My bike is a 2018 Hond a CB500X, which I purchased used with just under 3000km on the clock. To make the bike a bit more roadworthy I made some additions, including attaching a set of Givi Trekker Outback side cases and a Nanuk 930 top case. I also installed the Givi crash bars, a Pipe Werx exhaust to give it some sexy sounds at full throttle, a set of inexpensive fog lights from Amazon because the stock light has all the light output of a candle, and several camera mounts to allow me to document my journey.

As I have mentioned, my trip was almost entirely determined by the roads I wanted to ride. The towns I visited were largely incidental, although in this section I will outline where I stayed, as well as some of the highlights and attractions, allowing you to decide whether or not you want to visit them on your trip.

Vancouver to Whistler

My road trip actually began on the water as I caught a short ferry ride across the Strait of Georgia from Victoria to Vancouver. It takes around 90 minutes to cross the 60km stretch, and you can spend your time taking in some picturesque views of the many local islands inside the Strait.

BC Ferries operates several sailings between the mainland Vancouver Island. I highly recommend making a reservation for vehicles during the summer months, but you won’t need it for a motorcycle as we always get to go to the front of the line!

Now, entire guide books have been written about Vancouver but, having lived there and run a business in the city for more than ten years, I was eager to get out of the city. No sooner had I arrived, I was heading back out of the city across the Lions Gate Bridge, where I connected with the Sea to Sky Highway, which would take me east to Whistler.

Officially known as Highway 99, this famous route is filled with incredible sights at every turn. Soon I arrived in Whistler for a quick lunch stop. Whistler is seen as one of the finest mountain resorts in the world, with world-class skiing in the winter and magnificent mountain biking trails in the warmer months.

Highway 99 eventually becomes the Duffey Lake Road, connecting Pemberton to Lillooet. As mentioned, this was one of my must-rides at the start of the trip.

It’s an 80km trip, filled with even more amazing scenery and miles of exciting twists and turns. I was really able to open up the bike and have some fun.


After a long day of riding, my first stop was in Merritt, BC, where I had booked into a comfortable hotel room to crash for the night.

Not to disparage cities such as Merritt – which have their own unique quaintness – but there isn’t a great deal to say about them, especially when spending such a small amount of time there.

In fact, Merritt has a population of just 7,000 people and there’s very little to actually do. Yet, they still manage to host a popular music festival in the summer months – the Rockin’ River Musicfest, held in late July.


Refreshed and recharged after a good night’s sleep, I was back on the road for my second day, where I would be riding east to the village of Nakusp.

On the way to Nakusp, I would be making a planned pitstop in the city of Kelowna, as it was the city in which I spent a few years of my childhood. It had been 34 years since I last lived there and, as one of the fastest growing cities in BC, I was curious to see what had changed.

It was fun to see my old school and my old home, although I was a little saddened to see all the changes and development. It seems that no city in BC is immune from the rampant pace of generic condo development.


From Kelowna I made my way up to Vernon and then east to Nakusp. Coming out of Vernon the traffic was surprisingly heavy, so I was expecting a rather boring ride to Nakusp. However, it was a nice surprise when the traffic thinned out and the road turned nice and twisty. I was able to open up and enjoy the turns and twists of Highway 6.

All too soon I arrived at the Needles Ferry which is a free cable operated ferry across Lower Arrow Lake in the West Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia.

The village of Nakusp lies at the north end of Arrow Lake and is known for its restorative hot springs and picturesque lakeside setting, sitting in the shadows of the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges.

I arrived at Nakusp in the late afternoon, which gave me enough time to grab some gas and some food, before finding my hotel for another night of well-deserved shuteye.

Highway 31A

Day three saw me make my way south from Nakusp to the small village of New Denver. Here I would ride east to the village of Kaslo via the infamous Highway 31A – aka, the Valley of Ghosts.

Ghost hunters may be a bit disappointed to find out that the stretch of highway is actually named the Valley of Ghosts on account of the many old towns it was once home to, as opposed to otherworldly spirits.

For ghost hunters, it may not provide the chills you crave, but for motorcyclists, Highway 31A is 46km of endlessly fun twisty roads!


At the other end of Highway 31A sits Kaslo. This was a very pretty village, sitting on the sandy shores of Kootenay Lake in the Selkirk Mountains. There’s also a lively downtown area with heritage buildings, offering enough choice for dining and shopping to justify an overnight stay.

It’s worth noting that Kaslo is a very popular stop for motorcyclists in the summer, so hotel reservations are definitely recommended.

Mount Buchanan

Day four began with a trip to Mount Buchanan, which is located about 11km outside of Kaslo. It’s a popular hiking and mountain biking area, but I had heard that there was a gravel road that would take you to the top of the mountain, a perfect test for my little “adventure bike”.

The view from the top of Mount Buchanan overlooking Kootenay Lake was magnificent, and it made for a fantastic picnic spot.

The historic fire lookout at the top is one of the very few in BC that is still standing, and to see it in a fully-restored condition was a nice bonus before I made my descent.


One of the reasons I wanted to take this trip was to see the scenery in Alberta, Rocky Mountains. So once again I packed up my bike and set off for Canmore.

This part of the trip involved a crossing the Osprey Ferry, which, to my delight, was also free of charge. As someone who lives on Vancouver Island and has to take the rather expensive ferry to Vancouver a lot, I was really enjoying all these free inland ferries.

The day also involved riding on Highway 3A, which is a fun winding route along the north shore of Kootenay Lake, surrounded by stately homes, log cabins and fruit farms. As July was mid cherry season, it seemed a shame not to stop to sample a punnet of fresh cherries on the way!

I didn’t actually know about highway 3A before my trip, so it proved to be a surprise highlight for me.

Banff National Park

The next day I was up well before sunrise to meet Martina, a Canmore based photographer who offered to show me the amazing scenery of the Banff National Park.

The crowning jewel of the Canadian National Park system, Banff offers stunning views of waterfalls, emerald green lakes, majestic mountains, and local wildlife.

We set out very early in the morning to take advantage of golden hour. It was great to get off the bike and get up close to some of the nature that I had seen from the road and with Martina’s guidance I was able to take some fantastic photos!


After our photoshoot I was back on the road and heading west to the small town of Invermere, where I was meeting up with Michael, who runs a motorcycle guiding business into the local mountains.

The mountain scenery was amazing and the off-road riding wasn’t as hard as I thought, despite taking a bit of a fall at the top due to my motorcycle bottoming out. With such beautiful scenery, fun riding, and a relaxed local vibe, Invermere is definitely a place I’d like to return to.


From Invermere, it was time to get back on paved roads. I was looking forward to this, as I was about to ride the famous Icefields Parkway to Jasper – the halfway point of my trip.

This road is actually rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller and I got to see glimpses of why. It’s 232km of fast highway that winds along the Continental Divide, offering views of soaring rocky mountain peaks, thundering waterfalls, and more than a hundred glaciers.

Unfortunately for me, most of the amazing views were hidden behind a thick haze of forest fire smoke. A shame, but a good excuse to return to ride the Icefields Parkway again in the future.

The alpine town of Jasper is a picturesque little place with plenty to do. The town itself is home to dozens of boutique stores and restaurants, although most people visiting will be interested in exploring Jasper National Park, which is one of Canada’s 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Jasper’s own website claims that it is ‘the perfect place to reconnect with nature and marvel at the majesty of the universe’. There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, such as elk, bear, deer, moose, and sheep.

Unfortunately accommodation in Jasper is very expensive so I was only staying for one night but luckily for me my Airbnb host and fellow CB500X rider offered to show me her horses.

This proved a nice end to the ‘outbound’ leg of my journey – it was now time to head home.

Prince George

I woke refreshed and ready for day eight of my road trip, which would see me cover a good chunk of the 1200km I had planned for the next two days. I was heading west on Highway 16 towards Prince Rupert, with a quick stop over in Prince George.

Prince George is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, with a population of just over 74,000. As you may expect from any large city, there is plenty to see and do in the spheres of culture, arts, dining and sports.

However, for me it was just a place to crash as I continued my way home.

Prince Rupert

As I pulled into Prince Rupert, the majority of my road trip was complete. Myself and my trusty bike had covered just over 3500km.

It was now time to put my feet up and take advantage of some rest and relaxation before traveling the penultimate leg of my journey, which would be a ferry south to Port Hardy.

Prince Rupert is a beautiful port city with an abundance of hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities to enjoy, as well as a Grizzly Bear Sanctuary with around 80 bears roaming in a protected area.

My time in Prince Rupert was primarily spent reflecting on my trip. My favorite moments were discovering so many epic roads in southern BC. Before the trip, I knew the roads like the Duffey Lake Road, the Sea to Sky Highway, and Highway 31A would be fun, but I loved discovering new roads such as Highway 6, Highway 3A and Highway 31A, which were a delight to ride.

But there was one more road to navigate before my trip was complete.

Ferry to Port Hardy

The Northern Adventure operates regular sailings from Prince Rupert to Port Hardly and between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii.

On the ferry, you can reserve premium seating in the Aurora Lounge, located near the bow. With reclining seats and panoramic windows, this area offers you the chance to enjoy some stunning views of both the ocean and islands along the Inside Passage. Most of the sailings are run during the day, due to COVID and an unplanned schedule change, the sailing I was on ran overnight so I opted to check into a private cabin.

As I arrived back on Vancouver Island I was in the homestretch of my journey with just 500km separating me from home.

The ride from Port Hardy to Victoria can be done on the main highway but I recommend taking the scenic route of Highway 19A. Known to the locals as the ‘Old Island Highway’, this scenic oceanside route between Campbell River and Parksville offers miles of picturesque coastline, charming small towns, and outdoor adventure along the way.

The Final Stretch

As I cruised back into Victoria, I was in a reflective mood and even though I hadn’t travelled to some exotic locale, I was surprised at how much fun the trip had been.

The two weeks I spent riding through Western Canada motivated me to start planning an even bigger trip next year.

If you want to see the video of my trip here's the link
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Jan 2022
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Portugal permanent, Sweden during summer
Posts: 464
Home area

Great trip.
A lot of us (including myself) have realized how much there is in you own country/the area around you.
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Jan 2022
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 7,238
A great "mini-adventure" in your own back yard can be hugely rewarding, and in these COVID times, even more so, and as motoyen said " motivated me to start planning an even bigger trip next year."
And too it's a great shakedown to get your gear sorted, so you're not off-loading "too much stuff" and "sending another box of stuff I didn't need home" like too many of us - myself included!
Great writeup motyen, and for me, a reminder I should get out there and ride it all - again - this summer. It IS my backyard!
Grant Johnson
Seek, and ye shall find.

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
Reply With Quote
Old 11 Jan 2022
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Oxford UK
Posts: 2,105
That was a really enjoyable read over a cup of coffee; thanks for doing it. My nephew is in Whistler at the moment, working as a ski lift operator I think he said when we Facetimed him over Christmas. Sadly it's not an area I've ever been to although my daughter did spend her gap year working on both Victoria Island and further inland near Kamloops.

Can I ask how you managed to get some of the pictures of you actually riding the bike - I'm putting together some camera gear at the moment for a bike trip in the summer and these things are catching my eye!
Reply With Quote
Old 12 Jan 2022
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3
Thanks for the feedback.

For the shots of me riding the bike I was using a 360 camera mounted on a selfie stick. The 360 camera hides the stick so it looks like someone is filming me.
Reply With Quote
Old 12 Jan 2022
Turbofurball's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Catalunya
Posts: 279
Banff national park looks amazing, and what a great trip too!

Whats "not exotic" to you is another world to other people, it's always great to see people enjoying whats in their locale
FreeBSD fan since before it was cool ...
Reply With Quote
Old 13 Jan 2022
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by Turbofurball View Post
Banff national park looks amazing, and what a great trip too!

Whats "not exotic" to you is another world to other people, it's always great to see people enjoying whats in their locale
This is a good point and something I didn't think about, having spent so many years in this area. I'll make sure to keep that wider audience in mind for my next film.
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Jan 2022
BlackTR48's Avatar
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Turkey
Posts: 2
Watched the movie last week (One week)
Banff is worth exploring
And you took a nice shot too
Youtube: we2strom
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Jan 2022
Turbofurball's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Catalunya
Posts: 279
Originally Posted by motoyen View Post
This is a good point and something I didn't think about, having spent so many years in this area. I'll make sure to keep that wider audience in mind for my next film.
I need to take my own advice and take more photos while pootling around here too, lol
FreeBSD fan since before it was cool ...
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A detailed Guide on buying a motorcycle in Colombia mak SOUTH AMERICA 50 25 Aug 2023 13:43
Bicycle trip vs Motorcycle trip | Expenses Comparison Popo Overland Bicycle Travel 30 22 Dec 2021 09:50
not all those who wander are lost | two earthlings ride around the world Rockwell Ride Tales 84 7 Dec 2014 14:23
Planning a Trip across Canada in 2012 Sheila1940 North America 21 16 May 2014 14:45
A Gringo in Colombia Ride4Adventure Ride Tales 13 20 Apr 2012 02:15



Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.


Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!

Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.

Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:59.