BC advice please

Discussion in 'Canada' started by JayElDee, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

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    I am looking at a ride from home, New Orleans, up into British Columbia and then back through Victoria, and then diagonally across US back home.
    I'm good on routes up to and back from the border, but looking for advice on Canada routing.

    I am looking at crossing into Canada northeast of Kalispell, MT, maybe significantly NE, but then heading generally in the direction of Banff, Jasper, Peyto lake, then west into BC, possibly riding the coast there, down to Vancouver Island, then hop back across to Washington state.

    Obviously looking for scenic, fun riding, but pavement, though some well-graded gravel would be ok. I would probably have as long as a week for that limb of the trip. I am on a r1200gs with Tourance Next tires.

    I've looked for tourist provincial maps from the gov's there and struck out--everything is online. I think paper maps are a real plus for me--in addition to my gps.

    Any tips for roads, routes, must see_s, avoidances---all appreciated.
    I am planning this for mid June-mid July or perhaps September, tho the earlier date may be preferable.
    If there are any ride reports that address, that would be helpful also---I did a quick search and struck out.

    TIA

    John
    #1
  2. Tytan

    Tytan Been here awhile

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    Can't help with the Eastern section of B.C. If you don't want to go too far North take Hwy 20 from Williams Lake to Bella Coola, take BC Ferries to Port Hardy then head South on Vancouver Island to Victoria. If you want to venture further North take Hwy 16 from Prince George to Prince Rupert then take BC Ferries to Port Hardy the ferries on these routes are very scenic during the summer. Avoid the lower mainland around Vancouver unless you like city traffic, multi lane highways and possible gridlock.

    https://www.bcferries.com/
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  3. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer Supporter

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    IMO, the most fun paved roads,,,,not just in BC, but all of Canada, are found in the southeast Kootenay region of BC, and the southern Okanagan valley. Again, IMO, Jasper, Banff, etc are not fun roads for a motorbike, not challenging technically, but offer the option of dramatic views and scenery, all whilst sharing the scenery with 100’s of rental class 3 motor homes going through there as well. It’s just the way it is.
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  4. MikefromNL

    MikefromNL Long timer

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    Check out the Backroads mapbooks. Good, detailed maps from a BC company.
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  5. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    IMAG1011.jpg
    Any of these for pavement and easy gravel will suffice.

    IMAG1012.jpg

    color copies of map pages laminated can save weight, space and be used in the rain. Before the GPS era, it is what I always did for trips.

    I'm doing some GPS routing for a trip of my own this coming summer but won't have time until tomorrow.
    I have a huge library of BC tracks so give me a day and I'll put something great together for you. I may not live in BC but there are not many roads there I have not travelled.

    I like the Chief Mountain crossing up past Waterton park to Pincher Creek on hwy 6. Nice scenic pavement, although there are gravel options.

    Then if easy gravel and great back country scenery with less traffic work, the trunk road to where it joins Hwy 40 to Peter Lougheed park. You can stay on pavement to hwy 1 over to Canmore and Banff or take the beautiful Spray lakes road, gravel that drops you into Canmore from above the Nordic center.
    I would take the 1A to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and the 93 Parkway to Jasper. Don't miss Mount Edith just south of Jasper on 93A or the run into Moraine lake just east of Jasper.
    I'd return along 93 and use the Trans Canada as far as Revelstoke, then head south on 23 to the Galena Bay ferry and over to Kaslo on 31 some of which is good gravel.
    Don't miss 31 A from Kaslo to New Denver, or take a side trip down to Balfour over the Ferry and south to Creston on highway 3A. Considered by some the best bike road in BC. I would dispute that as it is busy, has a slow speed limit and there are a few much better roads in the area.

    From New Denver go south to the Needles ferry and west along hwy 6 to Lumby and Vernon. West side road is my preference along the west side of the lake to get south to Kelowna. From there so many back road options like Green mountain road to ultimately arrive at highway 3 across to Hope. That section of 3 is the most scenic in my opinion.

    From Hope depending on your time I would go north to Lytton and onto 12 to Lillooet then 99 to Pemberton. From there to the ferry at Horseshoe Bay along the Sea to Sky highway.

    Again, depending on time go across to the sunshine coast and up to Powell River and over to the Island at Courtney. Then south to Victoria.

    Working on my phone from memory so sorry if a little vague on details.

    Side note: The inland ferries are free. Only the island ferries cost and I was looking at the rates the other day. About $17.00 for an adult and $28.00 for the motorcycle. Depends on which ferry of course but not much variation, maybe a few dollars either way.

    More to come.
    #5
  6. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

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    Wow, big thanks. All that info will have me busy!

    If I am doing the out-route East to west, and wind up on Vancouver Island,
    1) Is Victoria an easy place to get around on a motorcycle? Are there Steep city hills like SF or something more tame?
    2) Leaving Vancouver Island and heading back East (with or without a visit to Victoria), and wishing to avoid Vancouver and other big cities, suggestions where to dive back south and east into Washington State?

    again, many thanks
    #6
  7. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Get off Vancouver Island via the MV Coho ferry.Google? Victoria-Port Angeles ferry?
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  8. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    Victoria is easy to ride around. Take the west of the Island going south and into the City. It's a nice coastal trek.

    The Port Angeles ferry to Wa is downtown Victoria.
    #8
  9. dammitdave

    dammitdave Long timer

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    JLD, I like the International Travel Maps that can be ordered from their online store. www.itmb.com (604) 879-4521 Good cartography and printing. The Backroads maps are better for details. I don't see good map resources on the BC Tourism site although they have a downloadable PDF road map. Good advice from Lycan here, killer riding in the kootenays! Especially on weekdays. Destination Highways for British Columbia is a good resource as well. Be sure to check for current passport, insurance and other entry requirements. Our neighbors have a beautiful place to visit and ride. You'll be blown away by the people and scenery. dd
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  10. wanderlost

    wanderlost Been here awhile Supporter

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    The Nelson area as mentioned earlier has great roads. Going North you can get some gravel and then cross over to Vernon. You can also go North to Balfor and up to the Trans Canada. Then head over to Lilloet and down to Revelstoke and Whistler, eventually getting to the ferry across to Vancouver Island. Then take the smaller island roads down to Victoria (you can find gravel roads much of the way). Once in Victoria, take the ferry to Port Angeles. Once there you can choose to take the coast south or go into the cascades and work south through the mountains until you decide to turn east to home.
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  11. mroddis

    mroddis Been here awhile

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    You'll have to go through Vancouver if on the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, but you'll be fine. Re; Question #2, if you want a nice mountain road, cross the border at Blaine, then south on I5 for a bit to Sedro Wooley. Head east along Higway 20 - one of the best mountain roads you'll find. Gets you to Winthrop and from there you have a few choices to continue south or head east. Alternatively and if you're feeling adventurous, you could head east on the Crowsnest Pass highway from Vancouver to Osoyoos, then cross the border at Nighthawk and do the northern section of the WABDR to Winthrop. Make sure it's well into June or else some of the higher roads could be impassable due to snow. Ask me how I know and I'll tell you the story of dragging a 500lb KTM across a snowfield...

    Agree with other suggestions - so much great riding here. Google Gang Ranch, Big Bar Provincial Park, Hurley Pass, West Pavillion Road, etc...

    m.
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  12. RevyRider

    RevyRider FXD Traveler

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    For your planned route East to West on primarily blacktop, I couldn't agree more, Lycan has nailed down a good route. Route 99, Duffy Lake Rd. is also a favorite of mine. Depending on your schedule I also recommend Highway #20 to Bella Coola, taking the Ferry down to Vancouver Island. The Island is great riding. If you decide to do the Island I also recommend the Coho Ferry to Port Angeles Wa. All great routes that will have you engaged as a rider with vistas and scenery galore.
    Enjoy your ride!
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  13. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Here it is in GPX format with a bunch of POI included. Fuel, Camping, some hotels and stops of interest.
    This should give you a good head start. Bit of a Meander but you can chop off any section needed by taking the connecting highways if you end up short on time. The Apex mine in RED is gravel but worth it.

    BC road trip.JPG

    Attached Files:

    #13
  14. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile Supporter

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    If you follow Lycan's route you'll hit a lot of the good roads BC and Western Alberta have to offer. Branch out a bit if you have time or talk to the locals. Lots of little hidden gems out there. The National Parks are busy so technical riding is out the door but you'll be too busy looking at the mountains to notice. Enjoy
    #14
  15. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

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    Thank you all so much, plenty of food for thought.

    Just to maybe clarify. I am open to gravel if need be, but prefer pavement. I do not seek out gravel, and, when I say gravel, I mean well-packed small pieces of crushed rock gravel, not looking at all for deep or gravel the size of marbles to golfballs or larger. If it happens, it happens, but I am not seeking it. I don't want to struggle to pick up my bike---if I still can at 73--in the middle of nowhere, with no passers by to help.

    If I were to arrive in Canada around June 21st, would I be encountering LOTS of tourists in RVs or would I be a bit ahead of them?
    At that time of year, what is the bug situation?

    It's beginning to percolate!
    #15
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  16. MikefromNL

    MikefromNL Long timer

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    How early do you get up in the morning?
    There will be lots and lots of tourists anywhere near anything anyone wants to see. But most of them aren't on the road until 10:00. Those months the sun is up by 5. I tend to get on the road by 6 when its dead and have my miles in before the RVs get too thick.
    It will be worse a week or two later though once school gets out for summer.
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  17. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Bugs,
    In the mountains very few other than pine Beatles. I tend to ride visor down now through the trees. Other than that nothing of consequence. It's not like the prairie or far north.
    Like .Montana, watch for deer mostly, while riding. There are others but Deer are the most likely to dart out in front of you from the tree line.
    I agree about the hours of day. I'm up with the sun and find the first few hours the best for no crowds and best light for photography.

    The trunk road is usually hard pack, and even after grading not to bad. Spray Lakes road can be deep and dusty, but staying on highway 40 to number 1 if it is solves that. All the rest of the route except a section 31 north of Kaslo is paved. You can miss that by going to Nakusp after Revelstoke after getting off the Ferry from Galena Bay.
    If you let ADV know when you are coming through, you likely won't have to ride alone and worry about picking up a dropped bike solo. There are lots of retired members on here.
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  18. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer Supporter

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    July 1st is Canada's July 4th, FYI, and yes, it's just as busy July 1st here as July 4th in the US.
    June 21st. Be aware that the 3rd week in June is usually the 1st week of summer holidays for kids out of school, this weekend is when the ball starts rolling for family summer holidays.
    Hey, I'm not telling you not to come. It's just that the main routes through the Rockies, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, are the traditional, and non challenging routes that RV machines take. I happen to be a sub-contractor repairing rental fleet motorhomes and RV's for the largest 3 RV sales/rental companies in Canada. I know for a fact that come 3rd week in June, over 750 RV's , mostly class 3 rigs and pickup/camper rigs, get loaded up by mostly Germans and English tourists at Richmond , BC [international airport] and Abbotsford BC [international airport] and head to the Rockies specifically. I've seen the maps and the routes suggested by the rental companies. They don't want their rigs going down technically challenging for them routes. Long, straight, safe. They've got them sticking to Highway 1 and Highway 5 primarily, and 3 if need be. With few exception areas, Hwy 5 and 1 should be just avoided on a motorcycle if you want to have fun. Of course, you'll have to use these routes to get to the good stuff, I get that.
    Be aware that British Columbia is,,,,,,frickjin' huge! North of the 52nd parallel, there becomes much less road options, and distances between towns can be big, which is not a big deal, but the fact is, the roads generally become more straight, through vast distances, built as main links to towns for logging, transport, etc. .
    Vancouver Island is great! Much less busy north of Nanaimo.
    #18
  19. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

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    Ok, with that said ^^^ and being somewhat flexible on my time...when would be a better time? Late August? September?
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  20. MikefromNL

    MikefromNL Long timer

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    I would say yes to September but eith the fires the last couple years it is impossible to predict what things will be like. I had to turn around halfway through a trip last year in August because of wildfires and smoke from them. Earlier in June would be my recommendation.
    Although things had calmed down a lot by September with the fires.
    #20