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Old Yesterday, 08:06 PM   #1
Shizoku OP
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Canadian Road Recommendations?

I'm calling it quits after 37 years of either talking to airplanes or supervising those do. Late July I'll be heading from the LA area to Rathdrum, ID (just north of Couer d Alene) to meet up with another recent retiree friend of mine. He will have about 10 days of road time available to him.

From his digs in Rathdrum we will head over to Glacier Nat'l Park, WY for a day or so, after which we make our way to Banff, BC. Our plan is to set up in a campground for a day or two, explore the Banff area (suggestions?) then move out on a day run to the Canadian Glacier Nat'l Park, then back to Lake Louise and set up camp for a day or two (again exploring/hiking/suggestions?). After Lake Louise it's north through the Icefield Parkway to Jasper, camp, explore, etc.

I figure we will have used up 6 to 7 days of travel time about the time we are leaving Jasper. SO, my question is should we head north toward Prince George or turn south out of the north end of Jasper? If we head north what is worth seeing with 3 or 4 days left before my buddy needs to be home and conversely, if we head south, what recommendations are there for the remaining 3 or 4 days?

Thanks, and if anyone has any tent space or a couple spare rooms available, we will supply the brewskis

Thanks in advance for your recs...

Dave In Valencia
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Old Yesterday, 08:52 PM   #2
Steve G.
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Originally Posted by Shizoku View Post
I'm calling it quits after 37 years of either talking to airplanes or supervising those do. Late July I'll be heading from the LA area to Rathdrum, ID (just north of Couer d Alene) to meet up with another recent retiree friend of mine. He will have about 10 days of road time available to him.

From his digs in Rathdrum we will head over to Glacier Nat'l Park, WY for a day or so, after which we make our way to Banff, BC. Our plan is to set up in a campground for a day or two, explore the Banff area (suggestions?) then move out on a day run to the Canadian Glacier Nat'l Park, then back to Lake Louise and set up camp for a day or two (again exploring/hiking/suggestions?). After Lake Louise it's north through the Icefield Parkway to Jasper, camp, explore, etc.

I figure we will have used up 6 to 7 days of travel time about the time we are leaving Jasper. SO, my question is should we head north toward Prince George or turn south out of the north end of Jasper? If we head north what is worth seeing with 3 or 4 days left before my buddy needs to be home and conversely, if we head south, what recommendations are there for the remaining 3 or 4 days?

Thanks, and if anyone has any tent space or a couple spare rooms available, we will supply the brewskis

Thanks in advance for your recs...

Dave In Valencia


Congratulations on retirement. Fill your days,,,,you know what they say, if you rest, you rust.

Of course you are going to get many differing opinions on your proposed route. So, I'll give you mine.

Glacier National Park: Simply astounding views, and, if it were not for the 1/2 million motorhomes in front of you, a fairly entertaining area for a street bike.

Banff: A tourist meca in summer, they don't use motorhomes, expect Greyhound busses with millions of Asians with cameras. Simply beautiful area.

Lake Louise: The same as Banff, even more beautiful.

One thing I will point out while touring the northern Rocky Mtns, is the weather is quite changeable, and if given a chance will usually swing on the side of being cool, sometimes cold, even in late July. Dress and ride accordingly. Get a very good tent and warm sleeping bag, the nights are quite cold, wet, and even snow in July.

I'm not sure what kind of riding you are looking for, or what kind of bikes you guys will have. I've been to Prince George [a pit imo] , through the cariboo, and everywhere south of Williams Lake [another pit].

If it were me,,,,,,I'd head south and west. The weather gets WAY better, the roads WAY better, the small towns and camping possibilities WAY more numerous. Be aware that the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert reaches into BC, basically from Osoyoos-Princeton at south, and reaches as far northwest as Vernon/Kamloops and as far north as Lilloett, as far east as Penticton-Kelowna. Fine riding, cool little towns, and Kelowna and Kamloops as medium sized cities. We are talking cactus, rattlesnakes, etc. Great riding, hundreds of wineries to visit, warm but not super hot, lakes everywhere, lovely.

By far the best riding, and most pretty part of BC, IMO, is directly south and west of the Banff/Lake Louise/ Upper Rocky Mtns area, namely the west and east Kootenays. This area, along the U.S. B.C. border, basically from Osoyoos all the way to Creston, and north to say,,,Kaslo/Nakusp/New Denver, and as far north as say, Revelstoke, is prime riding, camping country, the best in Canada. At least 5 hot springs within a days ride of the border, from quaint [Nakusp Hot Springs] to massive [Radium] to simply friggin' awesome [Ainsworth Hot Springs]. All the hot springs except Radium have camping options btw.
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Old Yesterday, 09:15 PM   #3
Shizoku OP
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Originally Posted by Steve G. View Post
Congratulations on retirement. Fill your days,,,,you know what they say, if you rest, you rust.

Of course you are going to get many differing opinions on your proposed route. So, I'll give you mine.

Glacier National Park: Simply astounding views, and, if it were not for the 1/2 million motorhomes in front of you, a fairly entertaining area for a street bike.

Banff: A tourist meca in summer, they don't use motorhomes, expect Greyhound busses with millions of Asians with cameras. Simply beautiful area.

Lake Louise: The same as Banff, even more beautiful.

One thing I will point out while touring the northern Rocky Mtns, is the weather is quite changeable, and if given a chance will usually swing on the side of being cool, sometimes cold, even in late July. Dress and ride accordingly. Get a very good tent and warm sleeping bag, the nights are quite cold, wet, and even snow in July.

I'm not sure what kind of riding you are looking for, or what kind of bikes you guys will have. I've been to Prince George [a pit imo] , through the cariboo, and everywhere south of Williams Lake [another pit].

If it were me,,,,,,I'd head south and west. The weather gets WAY better, the roads WAY better, the small towns and camping possibilities WAY more numerous. Be aware that the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert reaches into BC, basically from Osoyoos-Princeton at south, and reaches as far northwest as Vernon/Kamloops and as far north as Lilloett, as far east as Penticton-Kelowna. Fine riding, cool little towns, and Kelowna and Kamloops as medium sized cities. We are talking cactus, rattlesnakes, etc. Great riding, hundreds of wineries to visit, warm but not super hot, lakes everywhere, lovely.

By far the best riding, and most pretty part of BC, IMO, is directly south and west of the Banff/Lake Louise/ Upper Rocky Mtns area, namely the west and east Kootenays. This area, along the U.S. B.C. border, basically from Osoyoos all the way to Creston, and north to say,,,Kaslo/Nakusp/New Denver, and as far north as say, Revelstoke, is prime riding, camping country, the best in Canada. At least 5 hot springs within a days ride of the border, from quaint [Nakusp Hot Springs] to massive [Radium] to simply friggin' awesome [Ainsworth Hot Springs]. All the hot springs except Radium have camping options btw.
Great info...thanks!
Yeah, we are somewhat prepared for the tourists, motorhomes, and busses. But we want to check out the Canadian Rockies.

After Jasper we will be heading south to the Kamloops area, which is where we will be splitting off. He's got to head home for a wedding, I'm headed west to Whistler, West Vancouver, and the ferry to Vancouver Island.

I'm hoping to find some tent space/couch surf availabilities.

Dave In Valencia
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Old Yesterday, 09:45 PM   #4
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Highway 99 is very cool on a bike. I hope you enjoy it.
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Old Today, 04:06 AM   #5
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Highway 99 is very cool on a bike. I hope you enjoy it.

until you have to cross vancouver, the worst traffic city in north america, ahead of LA.
http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/trafficindex/

So, you might want to avoid doing east to west... to end up in this fresh hell in afternoon...Trust me.
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Old Today, 07:45 AM   #6
edwin
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Dave, what sorta bike ya'll riding? are you expecting front or back road riding or both? as far as camping, obviously you have your own gear and free lance camping is the way! i'm with steveg on the hotsprings...shower and soak. have a wicked time!
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Old Today, 09:59 AM   #7
Shizoku OP
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Dave, what sorta bike ya'll riding? are you expecting front or back road riding or both? as far as camping, obviously you have your own gear and free lance camping is the way! i'm with steveg on the hotsprings...shower and soak. have a wicked time!
I'm on a 2013 Ducati MTS GT, my buddy a new BMW GS1200.
He's newly retired as well, we worked together for the better part of 25 years. Time to relax and 'smell the roses' and drink a little Crown XR :-))

Neither of us have much experience on the dirt, but been riding the street for the better part of 40 years.

Suggestions for roads, things to see, and any tent space offers would be much appreciated. Cool to meet and visit with like minded folks!

Dave In Valencia, CA
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Old Today, 12:40 PM   #8
Drif10
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Once you're west of Kamloops, go find the Duffy Lake road and take that to Pemberton. Beautiful.
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Old Today, 05:35 PM   #9
Steve G.
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Strictly for road comparison, there is a book on road quality for motorcycles: http://www.destinationhighways.com/default.htm
While I'm not in specific agreement on their ratings, I will generally agree that the best street motorcycle roads without a doubt are in the south east and south central of BC [and indeed Canada].
I will point out at this time that in no way can the best roads of B.C. come close to matching the quality and number of fantastic riding roads in Central and northern California, or indeed central Oregon or Washington. But it's the best we have here north of the border.
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Old Today, 08:08 PM   #10
bcfellow
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some thoughts

Here is my caveat emptor. It’s been awhile since I have been on some of these roads, and there are so many great roads, off shoots and sites in BC that I can only scratch the surface. I made these suggestion with the assumption that paved is better than rough, and pretty while making distance is better than freeway ‘gotta get there’.


001

Banff to Lake Louise, back south and over to Revelstoke
-This road is pretty stunning. I’ve only done it North to South, but figure it is worth doing in both directions. Give yourself more time than you think – when I rode it I was hoping off my bike to take pics constantly. Riding it back south means you can head through Golden and into Revelstoke. This is better paved riding than Prince George in my opinion (and I am originally from Northern BC so it is not a personal thing – there is some great stuff around PG, but the highways are not as nice).

-pic 001


002
Revelstoke to Coldstream

I spent a summer as a lumberjack in revelstoke. There is some great organic farming here and if it is a hot day you can ride north, check out the damn and go for a swim.

Depending on how you are doing for time you can book it down hwy1 and it is a fairly nice ride out of Revelstoke. There is an ‘enchanted forest’ which is a bunch of fairy tale props, etc in the forest. I figure it may not be your thing, but I’d mention it anyway.

If you have more time I would head south on the 23 instead of hwy 1, towards Nakusp. You’ll end up on a ferry that crosses upper arrow lake. Once you get off you have two options : North or South.

Once you get to Nakusp, you can inquire about some of the local natural hot springs. It’s been years since I have been, perhaps they are more off limits now. Either way you would need to ride some gravel road.

002A
North takes more time. It will put you on a smooth dirt road and you’ll end up eventually heading south in a pretty valley until you hit Kaslo. This is where you will be back on pavement. Kaslo has a cute main street and you can get a Nelson brewery beer at a pub/restaurant by the end of the street. I have a fond memory of riding back from Alaska and washing some road grit down that way. My memory capacity is usually on par with a fruit fly, but that was so good it is etched in my head. You will also get the chance to ride from Kaslo through New Denver to Naksup, and that is a fun road.

-pic 002A

002B
South from the ferry will take less time (and I have not been this route from the ferry to Nakusp so I can’t compare it).

From Nakusp, keep heading down the 6 until you end up in Fauquier. Take the Needles ferry and make your way to Coldstream (Vernon just past it). This road gets one of the top ratings from Destination Highways.

-pic002B

003 Vernon to Lillooet
Here is where I would have a dilemma if it was me on the bike. If you are planning to get to Vanvouver Island, you want to go to Lillooet and ride the backway through Pemberton – a much, much, much nicer way than Hope to Vancouver in my opinion. Also, this lets you cross at Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo so you can ride down the island (assuming you want to see Victoria). So if you are short on time you would probable want to keep a fairly straight path from Vernon to Lillooet. If you have time you can head down some of wine and fruit country and ride a bit of the yellow head. Here are some suggestions either way:

003A West Focus to Lillooet
This still wanders a bit, but gives you a taste of the Okanogan (factor in some time for stopping at roadside stands if the fruit is in season). From Vernon head to
Spallumchean, and then south towards Peachland. Once you hit the 97C take that west to Merrit. From Merrit, go to Spences Bridge and then onto Lillooet.

-pic 003A

003B Wanderlust to Lillooet
Head south out of Vernon to Kelowna. From there head east a bit to follow the 33 that will take you take you south to Rock Creek. From Rock Creek you can start going west again and this will put you through Osoyoos. The first time I did this was at night after a full days ride, the first tight corner on the hill going into Osoyoos was a bit tighter than it looked at first glance. It woke me up pretty quick. After Osoyoos you can head up to Penticton so you can eventually come back on the Green Mountain Road from Penticton to hwy 3A. If you are getting anxious to see the coast than just stay on the highway from Osoyoos and keep going west. Either way you’ll be going past a little town called Hedley. If you are hungry pull into the town and stop at ‘the hitching post’. It’s a good excuse to stretch the legs and check out some older mining nick nacks if you poke around town. Just west of Hedley there is a meat shop (yellow building near a campground) they have damn good beef jerky. Keep riding west through Manning Park and into Hope. From Hope to Vancouver it is quicker to take highway 1, but feed your soul and follow the Fraser Canyon up to Lillooet.

-pic003B

004 Lillooet to Pemberton
Enjoy!

After Pemberton, keep going south, past Whistler until you reach the Horsehoe Bay ferry terminal. The boat will drop you off in Nanaimo.

-pic 004

005 Welcome to the Island.
If you are headed to Victoria, go south from Nanaimo. Try and get onto the ‘old island highway’ 1A instead of the regular highway 1. There is a roundabout way to Vic if you cut over near Duncan and go past Cowichan Lake. You’ll end up in Port Renfrew. From here you will skirt the ocean until you reach Victoria. If you want some good fish and chips, head downtown and near the float plane terminal there is a shipping container that is now a food stand. Red Fish, Blue Fish. Eat everything on the menu. Then find one of the great local microbrews to wash it down (I suggest Hoyne Pilsner, Hoyne Dark Matter, Phillips Blue Buck, and on and on and on)

-pic 005
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