The Making of a Cross Canada Route

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Deadly99, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. ciedema

    ciedema мотоциклист

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    Hopefully I can knock the maintenance stud over here while I wake for my wife.

    Sent from my GT-I9305T using Tapatalk 2
  2. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    I got you covered from Friday afternoon for a place to sleep and a shed for maintenance.
    GPS Kevin left my house in June headed west on the same journey.
    Congrats.
  3. ciedema

    ciedema мотоциклист

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    That's tops. I'll grab your details tomorrow at some stage. I am a very tired puppy tonight. That train line took it out of me today.

    Sent from my GT-I9305T using Tapatalk 2
  4. ciedema

    ciedema мотоциклист

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    So I was a little tired by the time I got into St Johns last night, that railway track?? Well lets just say my favourite parts of the TCAT lay elsewhere.

    So I rode this from Osoyoos on the moderately loaded KTM990. I have been travelling since April 2012 and normally my wife is with me. She went home to be part of the arrival of a grandchild with some mention of wanting to see Newfoundland, so I decided that I would drop her at the Airport in Seattle and make my way east along part of the TCAT, it was a "just lets do this to fill in some time" idea, in hindsight I now wished I had of done the whole thing from start to finish. I got to ride some of the Island earlier this year and gunnerbuck has done a great job over there with some very nice trails.

    I found that for the most part the trail was easy work on the big 990, as I said earlier this could be done two-up, I would probably cut out the old rail tracks from St Johns and also Sudbury if I were to do this, but otherwise it is pretty straight forward. I would spend some effort in getting your suspension right before heading out and think about changing it to suit the conditions, the rail line out of St Johns has lots of big whoops, but after that washboards on open roads will be your biggest issue.

    Being by myself I rode at a fairly moderate pace 100/120 most of the time, but many of the open roads are good enough for 140/150, especially if you are packed nice and light.

    In terms of big bike/little bike I think take a big bike and enjoy the open parts of track or take a little bike blast through the tighter stuff (the quad bike trails that take you from Dolbeau Quebec to Timmins Ontario would be a blast on a trail bike). All that said the only stuff that was hard work on the 990 was the last 2 days and that really was because I wanted to ride faster than what I was able so I was pushing it the whole way, in the notes it suggests 3 days for this and I did it in 2 so maybe if I had taken it a little slower I would have found it easier.

    On timing - I left Osoyoos on July 24th in the afternoon and arrived yesterday Aug 28, so 34 days with two days in Saguenay waiting for tires. Most days I didn't get started until after 10am, sometimes later and most days stopped for an hour or so to have lunch and faff about on the Internet. I think with some discipline around starting early this could be more than easily done in 4 weeks.

    Best campgrounds:
    - Marathon in Ontario - free fire wood, wifi and showers with really nice grassed sites also has a laundry. $20 something a night.
    - Lions Campground just outside Vauxhall Alberta $10/night free showers.
    - Ellipse lake Ontario - free campsite on a nice lake that is maintained by a bunch of people that go there every year.

    Best riding: Not having ridden everything, but I really enjoyed Poisson Blanc to Dolbeau, the stuff around Calabogie and eastern BC.

    Most scenic: I loved Saskatchewan, fields full of colour and some beautiful old buildings, the Lab and NFL coasts.
  5. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    Vancouver Island, Bitchin' Columbia, Canada
    We have had a couple Kiwi's, a couple Limey's and now one Ozzie do the route. When is one of us going to do it??

    :1drink
  6. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Well I have done the eastern half and will be doing the western half next year...
  7. bwokentoof

    bwokentoof Pollyanna Man

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    no fixed address Ontario
    The wife and I just did the post to post Ontario run. Lots of fun and great job on the tracks. Thought about naming Gord's section the "Trans Wawa Adv Trail" until I clued on the acronym.
  8. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Point to point meaning Quebec border to Manitoba?
  9. bwokentoof

    bwokentoof Pollyanna Man

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    no fixed address Ontario
    Yup except for a little 120 km "cheat" near Kashabowie so I could set up moose camp for the fall. Saw lots of rain/bears/deer in Chapleau, met Gord and caught the drag race in Wawa, got goofy with Ron/Mike/Steve and a bottle of scotch in Tbay, broke parts in Shebaqua...etc....

    'Twas a grand time had.

    Sent you a pm
  10. amk

    amk Been here awhile

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    533
    Not sure if it worth to mention, or was it mentioned before, anyway, 1 of BC tracks, called 08 BC 02 001 has a small part which is closed to all motorised vehicles. They are restoring wild life habitat, and asking to report all violators to provided phone. Too bad I did not take a pic of the warning, it was big, on both ends, cannot miss it. Here are GPS coordinates, closed in between here N49 49 43.6 W115 42 42.7 and here N49 57 19.1 W115 40 09.2 I rode it anyway, no wildlife to be seen.
  11. Lurkerlou

    Lurkerlou Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    402
    Location:
    Kamloops BC
    Can anyone please help me download the tcat files?

    I must be missing something as I go to checkout get the confirmation email etc and when I try to follow the link it comes up as invalid.

    I have tried on my iPad , PC , iPhone to download the file .........well basically everything shy of throwing my Garmin gps directly at my computer in hopes it will work.

    I must be missing something here , you all worked too hard on this TCAT for people to not be able to access it.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated .
  12. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Thanks, will look into it :thumb

    Could I bother you to try again? Server was "offline" during some maintenance....I just tested it and its working fine and I see others are downloading files with no issues.....

    Cheers
  13. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    For those who may see them....I just sent Ciedema out the road but he is now two up and on a slightly more street oriented tire. Road loaded and headed west. Stop and have a chat....they have a good yarn to spin.
  14. ciedema

    ciedema мотоциклист

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    Big thanks to murph for giving somewhere to crash and recuperate for a couple days. Outstanding hospitality.
  15. darbya

    darbya Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    16

    Now that we are home and have more time on our hands, before I start university, here are our thoughts on the TCAT.

    1) Route. Let us look at the route itself and any difficulties associated with it. Fortunately the Kiwis have reported on most of the problems but here are some thoughts that reiterate what they found and additional stuff especially with regard to VI. You will note that they are nearly all blockages associated with the weather and during any other year will more than likely not exist.

    In Ontario and Quebec there were many washouts due to the high level of rainfall and these have been well documented by the Kiwis. Of particular note though was the Technical Section in Quebec during Route QC08. The Technical Section turned out to be a short section of good gravel road whilst the Normal Route was some 25km of narrow, rocky and at times overgrown single/double track. It would appear that the two sections should be labelled oppositely i.e the technical section as normal and the normal section as technical. On top of that the normal section had at least two washouts some 15-20 metres across and 5-10 metres deep which were completely impassable.

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    In Saskatchewan during SK05 there is a section where the trail turns off the 225 on to a mud road and enters Batoche First Nation land. Soon after the turn off the route was completely flooded though we followed a track being used by First Nations people that cut through crops around the flooding.

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    This work around was very easy but then after a couple of km the trail then became overgrown and disappeared into a very wet section that was impassable.

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    On SK06 between Vonda and Kyle, I cannot remember exactly where we can across more flooding.

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    Once in Alberta there was a section of gravel road during AB07 which led up into the mountains towards Crowsnest Pass and was impassable due to numerous washouts. We managed to get through 3 but the 4th beat us. This was unfortunate since locals who we met said that the remoteness and views made this section extremely beautiful and a lot of fun. This section was also documented by the Kiwis.

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    Once in British Columbia and on leaving Horsefly, on BC15 the trail led to Quesnel Lake and I am sure that it was here just past a Provincial Campsite on the lake that we encountered a washout that was also hidden by fallen trees. The workaround here was quite simple and it was possible to pick up the trail about 2km later.

    [​IMG]

    There was also some confusion regarding the area around the Cariboo River in Route BC16. On leaving Likely the trail proceeds NE and then NW and as the trail approaches the Cariboo River an old sign informs you that the bridge is out. This is where we expected to cross the river so we searched the river bank in either direction for 200m or so without success.

    [​IMG]

    We tried for some hours for a workaround and we even came across plant equipment being used to show roads were closed. Eventually we had to go back to Likely and take the Highway to where we could pick up the trail.

    [​IMG]

    So onto the Vancouver Island Section. There were a couple of locked gate issues for this section of the route and the first was soon after leaving Nanaimo. After turning right off the HWY1 onto the paved Mt Slicker road close to Cp Chemainus R the road twists and turns on pavement for 5km or so and then turns to gravel. After approx 1km of gravel the route was barred by a closed barrier that was impassable and bore the notice ‘Gate Closed due to high fire hazard’. There was no workaround that allowed us to get back on this portion of the trail so we followed HWY1 and then Hillcrest Rd route 18 to where the trail crossed this road.

    [​IMG]

    Warning of the next closed gate was given in the TCAT description for the section out of Port Alberni. This was Track VI03 and we did not need to use the alternative route since we were able to get around the gate. Our excuse was that it was clear that ATVs and motorbikes had previously gone around and we would just plead ignorance as Brits. This was a really nice part of the trail and gave some good views and fortunately a vehicle was just passing through the gate at the other end of this area so we were able to get out without any problems.

    2) Bike Selection The 2 bikes that we took were a Suzuki DRZ400s and a BMW 650X Challenge. The first mistake was that we broke the golden rule of not taking bikes that differ in performance. Generally fully loaded the DRZ was a little underpowered but would have been great without camping equipment. The BMW had great power to weight ratio and handled well so my choice if I was to do the trail again would be a bike with a minimum capacity of 650cc.

    3) Camping. There were plenty of places to camp along the route. Wild, provincial and commercial sites though since RVs are all the rage many sites have a layer of gravel making it hard to drive in a tent peg. I am sure with a light bike, minimum kit and riding hard it would be possible to stay in a bed every night.

    4) Distance. The total number of km we clocked up were 16,800.

    5) Experience. Stupidly I embarked on this route with very limited off road experience and what there was involved 100km or so on gravel roads. Consequently I could be regarded as a novice and without a very patient riding partner would probably not have completed the route. For those of you who have a similar amount of experience to mine then I would say think very carefully about starting since this trip though not technically difficult is testing especially in terms of its length and concentration required.

    There are many great things about the TCAT and in terms of the non riding component it is very easy. There are plenty of fuel, no prolonged border crossings or language problems, the ease in paying for and plentiful availability of supplies and of course no corrupt policemen.

    Can I say thank you to all involved in producing a trail that has given us some truly memorable moments!!!
  16. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    Canoodia
    Appreciated the email updates while you were on the trail - and the next time I'm in the city and you're free, coffee is on me. All its gonna cost you is some TCAT Stories.
  17. darbya

    darbya Adventurer

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    Be great to meet up and I have plenty of stories :1drink I am in the process of putting together a presentation for friends and colleagues in Halifax.
  18. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Myself and others would enjoy hearing about your trip :nod

    Maybe a ride report?

    :lurk
  19. G-Mac

    G-Mac Been here awhile

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    Nov 26, 2007
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    567
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    Peterborough Ontario Canada
    I second that. Great pics deserve a great read with them. (Even if I have to get someone to read it to me hehehe)
  20. Trane Francks

    Trane Francks Been here awhile

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    Sep 4, 2012
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    Tokyo, Japan
    Forgive me, for I have been out of Canada for over 20 years now. CT = Canadian Tire. TH = Timmies. RA? Surely, it must be obvious, but it completely escapes me.