The Making of a Cross Canada Route
Ever wished there was a route across Canada? A group of us from www.ADVCanada.com (soon to be www.GravelTravel.ca) have decided to do just that. Seems simple, or so we thought. I've started this thread to chronicle the making of a cross country route.
I hope you enjoy reading about our "making of" story as it unfolds.
Where to begin? Canada is huge.....9.9 million square kilometers! The population of Canada is only about 31 million and the bulk of that is spread across the southern strip of the country that borders the United States. What does that mean to us? There is a whole lot of wilderness up here and some damn fine riding. Given the scope of this project and the reason I suspect it hasn't already been done is that taking on a project like this is.... well a bit overwhelming. We've decided to take this project on in two phases. Phase one will be the Eastern half of the country. Our goal is to have this half completed by the fall of 2011 (yikes that less than a year and a half away). The other reason to start this thread is as a motivator. It will make it much more embarrassing and shameful to back out now that we've made it public knowledge :)
The goal: To make a route across Canada that can be ridden by dual sport bikes that are loaded with gear.
The route will primarily be gravel back roads. Some days will have sections of off roading and some will have sections of pavement. Wherever possible we are trying to have as little pavement as possible but it becomes unavoidable at times.
We have chosen to do the bulk of the route as a road book. This decision wasn't an easy one to make. We all have gps's but we certainly wouldn't consider ourselves experts at using them. We spent a lot of time researching the different ways to make the route. Tracks or routes or roadbook? In the end we felt a road book will make it much more of a navagation challenge and really that's what we want. Following a green line on a screen seems to easy. Having maps and a roll chart just seems....well.....more "adventurous". We plan to have the eastern half of the route completed by next fall and it will be available as a free download from our site. We certainly aren't doing this to make money, but rather to share what we think Canada has to offer: good friendly people, tons of remote wilderness, long gravel roads, great off roading, an abundance of wildlife, a very diverse landscape, a safe place to travel and ..... good beer :)
A few pictures to get us started.
The first section of the route to get made was Eastern Ontario.
I met Juames on a pre arranged spot on the side of the highway.
Many many emails had gone back and forth between the two of us over the weeks leading up to today. A potential route was created that we intended to follow. This section of the route starts at the Quebec/Ontario border.
After some gravel/paved roads we took this old rail bed
After a Tim Hortons break (the Canadian version of Starbucks, but better abd cheaper :evil ) in the town of Renfrew we made our way to the start of the K&P Trail. The K&P is an old rail bed that is open to motorbikes and is a fun double track run.
The trail passes several lakes and through a few small towns.
A couple of larger "puddles" during the spring season or after a heavy rain
A detour of off the K&P trail on some gravel roads bring the route to a fun hydro line (Triple Tower Hydro Line)
A couple of rocky sections
A few water crossings
Some nice vista's of the trail curling into the horizon :D
After finishing the hydro line the route takes some nice twisty back roads
A section or two that gets muddy during the wet season
Lot's of nice lakes along this section of the route. This one is at Granite Lake and would make a great spot to spend the night or have a swim on a hot day
Many miles of these types of roads
A great day where nothing went wrong and the riding was fast and fun :clap
I have always wondered what the absolute mileage would be for all the dirt roads in Canada, not including the logging roads. It must be in the millions.
On one of our East Coast tours we found this gem in central New Brunswick. It turned out to be absolutely spectacular. I'd recommend it for your cross country route.
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We've had an unusually warm spring here in this part of Canada, thanks Global warming :freaky
On April 2nd we headed out to do a recon mission of some of these trails. Things were wet but we had a great day. The weather was sitting at a comfy 30 degrees celcius (keep in mind we are typically riding our snowmobiles at this time of year).
A few of these trails made the route and others didn't. One of the big challenges in this portion of Ontario that we are running across is water. Many of the fun trails involve a water crossing. Our intent is to have this route be doable all season long, this means cutting out some really fun sections that become too deep during sapring and after heavy rains. Always in the back our minds are thoughts like, could a fully loaded bike manage this? Also there's a fine line between hardcore enduro and doable with a travel enduro bike. The suggested bike for this route will envitably be something between a 400 cc and a 990 cc on/off road bike. What about a big gs? I've seen some guys do some amazing things on one and for sure they'd have no issues but for the fellow who picks up a new shiny big bike at a dealership and heads out on this route ...... :huh I don't think so :wink:
There will be many days of long gravel roads where the larger bikes will be in their element. The flip side is that there are going to be several back to back days where a small bike will be advantageous. I don't believe there is a perfect bike for this route.... and that's a good thing. Wrestling a fully loaded big bike through some of the terrain WILL be a challenge. Riding a small bike for thousands of miles of long remote gravel roads is in my opinion a challenge. There it is .... no brand preference, no size preference....heck we all know it's the rider and not the bike anyways :super
Thanks for the tip :freaky In four weeks we head east to the maritimes for 2.5 weeks. I hear they enjoy the brews out there as much as I do. Look forward to enjoy the famous "East Coast hospitality" .
Looks like a great idea. Keep up the good work! "Subscribed"
Hi ya Ted-
I hope this trans can route will take the Nord Road and the TT with a airplane shuttle flight to Schefferville to continue on TL road:deal
It could really only be right that way right?
I will keep a very interested eye on this.
Especially if you guys find something in QC and Eastern Ontario.
Thanks for doing this! :freaky
Looks good! Gpx files for each section would be great.. but attachments are not working all the time. :lurk
Had a great day pre running and mapping another couple of trails with Gary in early June. There was going to be a larger group but the impending rains made a few of the lads shy away.
Another fun fast day was had :D The rains did eventually come. If you see black earth it gets real slippery when wet, in contrast the sandy roads actually benefit from some rain to add traction.
Great ride Gary, we'll have to do it again :freaky
What did they open up another one longer than TT:ear
I'll be watching:lurk
A quick high level look at the intended route.
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