cross Canada trip and back - need advice

Discussion in 'Americas' started by dbrum, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. dbrum

    dbrum totally n0ob

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Need some advice. Planning a cross Canada trip from Toronto, and back.

    The route I figured so far would go like this:

    Toronto to Vancouver pretty straight forward, no issues here.

    One of the goals of the trip is to visit Northwest Territories and Nunnavut on my way back.

    So, from Vancouver it looks like this:
    Vancouver to Prince George
    Price George to Fort Nelson
    Fort Nelson to Yellowknife or Prince George to Hay River directly bypassing FT. Nelson and Yellowknife - saves me a ton of distance... and time is running out so would like to expedite the return, but still pass through NWT and Nunavut.

    From Yellowknife it gets murky for me planning wise... I have no idea where to go, and route planning with Google Maps, Earth etc doesn't seem to find any routes that can be planned - says "no clue".

    So - from Yellowknife, to try and at least pass through the lower part of Nunavut to get to Hudson's Bay someplace, what do you suggest? Is there a ferry from Yellowknife I can take to cross Great Slave Lake instead of going around it? Going straight to Hay River saves me lots of distance... but where to next? Ideally I get to Hudson's Bay then drop down through Manitoba and Northern Ontario and home.

    Suggestions from those that have done this trip before appreciated. Lots of planning before next summer (July thinking) - have never done such a long trip. Bike is a R1200GS.

    thanks
    #1
  2. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,898
    I get the impression that you live in Toronto but also that you have not been paying attention to the world nor while you were in school and missed geography class a lot :rofl
    The reason why your beloved googlemaps can't give you any route suggestions from Yellowknife through Nunavut to Hudson Bay is simple.... there are NONE.

    You seem to have hit the answer already but don't realize it. As you mused ..... You must first drop back south into the prairie provinces and head east. Only then can you find ways to points to Hudson bay at Churchill ,Manitoba and Moose factory Ontario which may be only by railroad access.
    Your best bet is to get on the James Bay Highway and have actual road to let you splash in and taste the salt water of James Bay
    . Get yourself some PAPER maps and do some studying. And , do some research on ADV all this has been covered
    #2
  3. dbrum

    dbrum totally n0ob

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks for your reply.

    First of, yes I live in Toronto. Pretty obvious huh?

    I am only using Google Maps for high level planning, of course real maps and a GPS would be used to plan the actual route.

    Should I really be expected top trove through potentially hundreds of posts on this subject, when at this stage i'm just asking for high level advice before serious planning and advice seeking begins? I appreciate the advice though, and will of course start to troll through the many posts on the subject which I'm sure are here.
    #3
  4. lexluther11

    lexluther11 Ride,Eat,Rest-Repeat

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,412
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
  5. dbrum

    dbrum totally n0ob

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks @lexluther11
    #5
  6. willys

    willys Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,937
    We went last summer across the top of each province out to Dawson City from Toronto area for the D2D event. It is easy to find a route using Google, but it will require some time to test all smaller roads out vitually at every level so to speak up each province to find the route you want to eventually take.
    We went from Toronto,ThunderBay,Wnnipeg,The Pas, Prince Albert, Cold Lake, Athebasca, Slave Lake, Dawson Creek, Whitehorse, Dawson City then up the Dempster.

    It took some finding but that was the easiest route as far north as possible without wasting too much time back tracking just to stay far north.
    Hope this helps:freaky
    #6
  7. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,898
    Really ,I think the planning aspect is being overdone by lots of people.All you need is a couple of decent roadmaps of the provinces For examle any of the provincies and territories- if they have a road!- will have free maps ( except Quebec'$ ) . Otherwise just get the series of provincial maps from AAA/CAA . If you really must make life hard for yourself you could get all manner of extremely detailed ($$$) topographic maps from Ottawa or the GPS programs so you could struggle your way through farm lanes, moose tracks and bogs,logging trails, until you drop of exhaustion. There is no need or use for scheduling years ahead of the ride every twist and turn to expect, every feul stop, every scenic spot to tick of a list, every food and potty break..If you have been that way before just pick some different roads each day as you progress depending on what you think you might like to see or as weather conditions might make the decision for you.

    .You already decided the points which you think you want to visit and use as the turnaround target. The only other thing you need to know is the total time you want to dedicate to the ride or the strict time limit other circumstances dictate to you.
    Then just ride to connect those points using the available roads and moving along at a rate which fits the allotted time.You aren't going to the moon or an intercontinental trip to terra incognita, it is just a ride to another bit of your home country.Enjoy it,look forward to it , but don't get tied up in trying to foresee details which will work themselves out as you go along and which will probably differ from any plan you might have constructed. .
    This is exactly the method that I use for every trip I take, no restrictive highly detailed plans made beforehand, just a rough idea of the time and the maximum extent I am aiming for before starting the return .This past summer for example I decided it would be nice to take a ride to Alaska. Worked like a charm.Had considered ,but was undecided about doing the D empster , left that to be decided when the time came . When that time arrived the highway was signed as closed to traffic because one of the bridges had broken. Problem solved, no disappointment, no whining or waiting, just carried onward to Dawson City and Alaska and then a long western loop and back to Ontario.A great trip especially since I hit perfect weather with only 5 widely spaced days with a some rain events during the 5 weeks +1 day of the ride.
    . There is always another trip to be taken to fill in the bits missed if those are considered as important to see.Willy's route is a good one and its roads shows on the AAA maps,done them years ago.
    #7
  8. willys

    willys Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,937
    SB...we must have been there the same time.....the Dempster was closed at the ferry due to too many trees floating aound for the ferrys to be comfortable. It was still a great trip. That was my second time to the D2D, the first time in 2010 and I did it the straight through route through Edmonton and then back after doing the Cassier then across to Edmonton on the way back....my dad lives in Camrose......so that was the reason for Edmonton area routing. This time we went down the cassier after the D2D and then to Victoria then wiggled our way to Camrose and back the more traditional route, super slabbing it.....took all of 5 weeks and was a fantastic trip. I hope to go back in 2014 but this time on a reverse trike, if it comes to be.:freaky
    #8
  9. dbrum

    dbrum totally n0ob

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    @Sjoerd - definitely the way to go I think. I just want the route at a high level, then the before we leave we will have the high level targets in place, and based on our time allocated (2 weeks) we will play it by ear and adjust accordingly.

    We've decided to do this route instead as the up north into the Territories way just won't work with our schedule:

    [​IMG]

    reasons for this route:
    - time, can't do the up north Canada with time we have
    - have friends along key points on the way west and way east - ND, Montana, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg - that's 5 nights of free stays! :-)
    - besides that won't be doing any detailed planning till the day before and go with the flow

    most of my 'planning' now will be focused on gear upgrades for the bike:
    - Sargent seat, factory one kills me after 1 hour, imagine 8-10 daily - ouch
    - dry bag - never owned one, just used hard bags mostly as never did a trip this long
    - GPS
    - 2way comm with friend joining me - I have a Schuberth C3 he has a 'FRS' enabled thing, need to figure out how to connect the 2 of us
    - Centech AP-2 Fuse Panel to connect gps, iPhone, etc
    - new tyres, oil change, check brakes
    - start date

    That's it! Part of this ride should be to experience whatever happens and whatever we get to see along the way. Too much planning and a hard schedule will ruin it.

    Thanks for the tips everyone.
    #9
  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,898
    That looks like an excellent route for your 2 week time limit Drum
    Very smart move to set sights on the reduced distance
    which leaves wiggle room to add some variants.
    For instance if at Livingston WY you find you have the time you
    might take a detour through Yellowstone to come out NE through either
    RedLodge or straight east and across Wyoming to pass by Gilette a nd
    Devils Tower and back on your mapped route
    All such goodies are options you can pick en route
    as time and weather may permit.
    #10
  11. lexluther11

    lexluther11 Ride,Eat,Rest-Repeat

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,412
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Don't cheap out on riding gear, it will pay off if your caught riding in the rain for days.
    #11
  12. willys

    willys Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,937
    Buy a good rubberized rain suit....we spent a good 5 days in solid rain and the good typical rainsuits couldn't deal with the constant pounding and leaked. A rubberized suit will not from what I have found let any water through in bad rain but the modern materials will seep at best disintergrate at worst when riding at speed in the rain. Sure you may sweat some, but that is somewhat controlable by layering your clothing under your rain suit. I would sooner suffer a bit of sweat over a completely wet diaper.....augh!!!!!
    #12
  13. dbrum

    dbrum totally n0ob

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Yeah Yellowstone is definitely on the 'must pass through list'.
    #13
  14. 568V8

    568V8 Ontario Vstrommer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario
    I hate to sound critical but think it's a very poor idea to plan such a long first trip with only 2 weeks. Your route looks more like an Iron Butt misadventure in the planning.
    I don't set any speed records; I'm an old grey guy who can putz along ok and often ride solo, sometimes in a small group and have many miles 2-up with my wife. I do have some experience to share if you wish; I'll touched all 10 provinces and 42 states on my Vstrom. Send me a pm if you want more info.
    #14
  15. willys

    willys Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,937
    I have to agree....2 weeks is barely enough time just to get to the west coast just for a quick look and a semi race home again.....from what I have experienced....and I am not that experienced....lol. Only been across 4 times, twice on the bike and once in the family cage and once in a 1947 Willys flatfender Cj2a.....all took longer than 2 weeks....3 was the minimum......still far too little time to see enough to get a good idea of what is there.
    #15
  16. dbrum

    dbrum totally n0ob

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    We'll keep it in mind... we do have a few more days we could use if needed, and even, cut our trip short at say Yellowstone and head north into Canada from there, back through the Rockies, and back to Ontario.

    As a general rule of thumb, what's the max # of hours per day you would do/have done on a trip like this. Not taking into account stops for sightseeing, photos, etc that are all must do's at places like Yellowstone, etc. We were thinking 4-5 in the morning, break for food/rest then another 4 hours in the evening to stop before sunset or close to that. Averaging 110KM on highways, that's 800+ KM's per day we could do - not saying we should or want to, but is that a wrong assumption to go on based on your experiences?
    #16
  17. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,898
    You can do the shown route in two weeks of steady riding ,just no time
    for a lot of hanging out at anybody's place though .
    Consider it a "drive- by " vacation. Without strict plans and commitments
    You will be free to chop it off at any point to start the return leg.
    The first time I ever rode out west In ' 73 It was a route quite similar to that
    but only up to Calgary and into BC to Kamloops where we
    turned south down the Okanagan to start heading homeward again.
    All together that trip took just over two weeks and was a fine introduction,
    a bit rushed but a good learning drive- by experience
    Since then I have done numerous trips out that way at much more relaxed 3 to4 week
    pace to expand far beyond that first ride all over western Canad and USA.
    It all depends on how you set your
    priorities.If you miss something it will give a perfect reason to take
    the next ride .
    #17
  18. lexluther11

    lexluther11 Ride,Eat,Rest-Repeat

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,412
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I try not to ride at night at all so getting a place to stay I do well before sunset. It sucks when you get to a place where you thought you could stay but there is nothing. Then having to ride at night and seeing the glow of some animals eyes running along the side of the road is nerve racking.
    #18
  19. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,954
    Location:
    The mosquito-y Center of Canada
    800km per day is a lot of riding. Doesn't even leave you much time to get off and stretch. You will not maintain a 110kph average - you need to slow for every town, stop for gas and meals, etc. I suppose it would be OK if you were just trying to reach a destination but it's too much to do any sightseeing.

    On your way back consider going north through the upper peninsula of Michigan rather than south. South you get to experience the wonders of Milwaukee, Chicago, Gary, etc. North you get some of the world's best scenery.

    My wife an I did an 8 day ride from Winnipeg to Michigan's upper peninsula this summer. We didn't see a lot of things we wanted to, 8 days was just not enough time....
    #19
  20. 568V8

    568V8 Ontario Vstrommer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    Kingston, Ontario
    If you want to enjoy the ride, ride safely, see much of anything and take pictures then I'd suggest that you budget for a maximum of 400km per day.
    #20