BC advice please

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

  1. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    just throwing it out there, as a viable option. : )
    access to the (recommended) campsite does not require any city driving. location is 10 minutes by bus, to downtown. great amenities within a 5 minute walk.
    caveat - the site is essentially under the Lions Gate Bridge. one might require ear plugs, if in a tent.
    #41
  2. MikefromNL

    MikefromNL Long timer

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    Vancouver is a great city to hang out in. I've really enjoyed the last 18 months of living here!
    I would not recommend that campground in terms of being a nice campground. A big lot where you have to pay an RV price regardless of what you're sleeping in. It is the only option in the city though, and it is convenient!. Squamish has lots of great camping!
    #42
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  3. bcguide

    bcguide Adventurer

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    What's with you guys. The best way off the Island is to take the Sidney to Anacortes ferry through the San Juan islands. From Anacortes head to Concrete and up to Winthrop.
    Bc is a big place you could easily spend 2 weeks riding on the Island alone.
    summer traffic is not that bad and is better than farther north you go
    #43
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  4. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

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    Re Vancouver...it's as much time as anything. I do want to smell the roses and that's why I asked. It's really far away, you know. 8)

    I've skied Whistler and around Banff, so not totally unfamiliar, but have seen enough to want more. And I want that more to be on a bike. BC is huge and there is no way, I know, to see anything approaching all of it, or even a big chunk of it, in any reasonable time frame available. So, my aim is a nice ride, beautiful sights, great photo ops and at least touching upon some of BC's "greatest hits."

    Would you say that Vancouver Island is a must see? It would seem to be, but that does limit how much I could ride inland near the coast.

    Are there any questions I should be asking that I am not? I plan on totally motelling it, no camping at all.

    And thanks for all the encouragement and help. This is a big deal...it's about 3000 miles each way, PLUS the travel in BC.
    #44
  5. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    forest fire season can require a loose agenda. there's traditionally been less smoke on The Island.
    personally, i would say The Island is absolutely worth it - if you enjoy uncrowded ocean-side bliss.
    #45
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  6. shuswap1

    shuswap1 Long timer

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    yamalama raises a good point, perhaps retain some flex. If the Forest fires are as bad as they have been the last few years I'd seriously consider spending your 6 BC days on the island. If not, head to the interior, depending if you want to spend most of your time riding or not. Vancouver can be very nice, great city, but if you seek riding you won't find it in the city. Are you preferring asphalt or gravel?
    #46
  7. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Your getting lots of good advice here, but if you followed Lycan1's route you would see a lot of the good stuff. Too much to absorb. I would add a day out to Tofino on the Island if you like the Ocean there are some wonderful beaches out there. I would really advise being flexible and just wander, most of Southern BC is great. Some of the roads you have to ride twice just to say you did, plus it will make you smile for days after. Of course some you might not notice the roads cause your too damn busy looking around. Some nice scenery around these parts. Don't just stick to the highways, look at the maps and find the little back roads, some are real gems and spit you out right where you want to be. Last bit is, BC is a big place, don't feel bad if you don't see it all the first time, just plan on coming back
    #47
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  8. LoneGoat

    LoneGoat Its says Im a NooB...

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    Im located near Courtenay on Vancouver Island.. There are so many beautiful places here. How big of a bike are you riding? There are back road trips in every direction that will offer spectacular views and vistas. I lived in Vancouver my entire life. Ive put a lot of miles on exploring some of the lesser traveled routes. If your on facebook, there are groups you can find that will provide you with tons of good riding options. There is a ferry that goes from Port Hardy (north Van Isle) to Bella Coola. It will cost you both of your nuts to ride but if you have the coins its well worth the ride. Get on in Bella Coola and then head down island from Port Hardy. Hit Woss and admire some cool logging history and the locomotive thats parked on display. Hit Port MacNeil, Sayward Campbell River. Detour to Gold River and Tahsis. The country side will blow you away. Comeback towards Cambell river but veer off onto logging roads and come out near Port Albernie. From there you can go through Cathedral grove and witness some of the old growth forests that have been preserved. A trip to long beach could be another sider if youre in Port Albernie.... So many options. Van Isle is just around 250 miles long but you can zig zag it to the tune of 1000's of miles. If you find yourself on the island and drop me a note. Be glad to ride a day with you. I just wish i was still on the mainland for no other reason than being able to ride into the interior.
    #48
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  9. LoneGoat

    LoneGoat Its says Im a NooB...

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    LoL!! If you go to Tofino... count how many pairs of rubber boots that you see! Hahahaha!!!

    Check out DualsportBC for local news and information.
    #49
  10. bcguide

    bcguide Adventurer

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    You could set up a home base a town for a few days and ride a few day loops . It saves packing up every day.
    I know the Duncan are as I lived there for 8 yrs.
    Do the Renfrew loop one day. Make sure to take the old lake Cowichan hwy. River bottom rd is a nice detour off of it.
    Ok after giving this some more thought I'm going to let you connect the dots.
    shawnigan lake, kinsol tressel ladysmith chemanis westholm crofton Cowichan bay Bamberton westholm glenora mill bay.
    There are lots of rides in the Victoria area, beacon hill park. Hopefully someone from Victoria will chime in here. I can not put a name to some of the roads but there is a coast ride that is nice.
    If you were taking the Port Hardy to Bella Colla ferry spend half a day and ride to Coal Harbor Port Alice .
    Going a bit of topic. I rented a Garmin Zumo in Spain last year and it is an awesome bit of kit. You set what kind of roads you are looking for and off you go.
    Sorry for the ramble but my writing skills are sub par
    #50
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  11. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

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    I'm on a r1200GS LC, and I do not want to risk dropping it.
    Way too heavy for this 168#, 73 yo to pick up (alone and lonely), so rocky terrain is not in the cards or anything gnarly, eg water crossings, sand deep mud---I'll leave that for the younger crowd! But I have about 250k miles on 2 wheels, and about 45k on this bike. Paved back roads are fine and preferred, well packed gravel to get to a photo op is fine, half mile easy hike is fine. Cautious safety is paramount on what could be a 8k+ ride, for me. I do ride with a SPOT always.
    and Damn! y'all are giving me some good stuff. I think that speaks well re how fine BC is, that so many people are enthusiastic with their recs for this old swamp boy!
    The idea of basing in one place and taking day rides does appeal, and could be that I could do that 2 or 3 times, a couple or 3 days each.

    in the summer, should I expect any freezing temps, icy roads, snow (at higher elevations?). Is summer typically rainy? Will I be seeing rain everyday? Obviously best guess for that, no one has a crystal ball.
    I will likley be changing tires before the ride...my two recent favs are Pirelli Scorpion Trails (II) and Metzler Tourance Nexts...those should be fine, right?
    carry bear spray?
    #51
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  12. MikefromNL

    MikefromNL Long timer

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    Last summer in Vancouver (and I think even more so in the interior), we had something like 73 consecutive days with no rain. Southern BC gets very hot. Icy roads shouldn't be a problem. 40C in the Okanagan isn't rare. mid 20s to low 30s elsewhere. It's hot here. Bringing a sweater never hurts though. I hope we get regular rain this year to hlep with the wildfires. Any tires you like are fine. Carrying bear spray is never a bad idea. Make sure you know how to use it before the need arises though.
    #52
  13. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer Supporter

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    Been following this thread, and where i think your preferences are. I certainly understand your preference with your bike. i've also got a 1200 GS, an outstanding machine in most every way, but travelling alone on a gravel road, most gravel roads in BC, there is a particular parallel linking gravel roads in BC with highly above average remoteness. Also be aware, that BC is massive, huge, that pictures of BC on a map are very much at a different scale % versus most all U.S. states. Distances are very big, and other than southern Vancouver Island, the central southern Okanagan [Kelowna and region] and the very southwest BC mainland, there are generally only main arterial highways linking towns, the only other options being remote gravel roads with no services, or phone links. There are different tools for different jobs. I certainly would not consider riding an XR650L from New Orleans. A big ADV is the correct tool most definitely. Taking a fully loaded ADV alone up many of these gravel routes around here just doesn't compute with me. Guys do it. But most are smaller enduro bikes set up with higher fuel capacity, on bikes that are easy to pick up, and won't make you cry when you decide to fix the cosmetic damage Taking along a SPOT or some such emergency device is smart, but what are you going to do if you're unhurt but can't pick up your bike.

    Metzeler Tourance? Great tires! I've run them for 8 years on mine, perfect compromise to do anything rain or shine. Riding in from New Orleans, you may find yourself needing a new rear, depending on payload, and routes. Roads in WA, OR, MT, ID, etc are great roads, but use pavement that, while offering incredible pleasing traction in any weather, is very hard on tire life with the type of asphalt they use. Keep an eye on the tires, and be aware that some dealers amazingly do not stock these tires during riding season, even after phoning ahead a month in advance [BMW of Prosser/Yakima WA are you listening?], although I will say that the 4 BMW dealers in BC [Victoria, Vancouver, Langley, Kelowna, and in Ferndale, WA, 8 miles from the main Metro Van border crossing] most definitely understand "seasonal riding season" and will have a good stock.

    Freezing temps/icy roads? The diversity of weather as you can imagine of such a massive province, will be all over the place. Understanding the weather you are accustomed to, high heat and high humidity, June thru September in the Southern and Central Okanagan, with the influence of it being the northern tip of the Sonoran Desert, will be simply lovely. Very low humidity. The odd late afternoon thunderstorm, maybe. either your late June, or September arrival will be very nice in the Okanagan desert region. Either end of full summer, expect highs around 80F,,,,, LOL, Kamloops, Ashcroft, and Lytton [ hottest place in Canada] probably 90'sF, night lows 50ish F. Southwest BC, including Southern Vancouver Island [Victoria], Metro Vancouver reaching as far north as Squamish, east as far as Hope, to the border, either end of summer, expect highs 60-80F, lows 45-50F. Septembers universally spectacular, late June should be nice, although higher influence of the Pacific Ocean can mean often misty mornings around 45-50F. The local Coast mountain range often corral incoming cloudy times, and set up rainy conditions in the eastern Fraser Valley [Chilliwack/Hope] and North Shore [North Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay/Squamish], yet glorious clear skies and warm 10 miles away to the south and West. This influence makes Victoria, White Rock, and such southwest locations within SW BC a better bet, although less hot because of Pacific Ocean moderation.

    Higher elevations are a different thing entirely. I've been stuck in snow in mid July in the Banff/ Lake Louise area, and late July on the Coquihalla Hwy high alpine route. It can snow 12 months of the year. Weather forecasts are a priority. There of course will be snow lined highways of altitude in June, it will all be gone by September.

    Be aware that hotels in downtown Vancouver will be much more expensive than eastern suburbs. Very handy transit lines with hotels near transit hubs offer economy, yet easy access to downtown sites. Doesn't sound like camping will be in your priority. There are a couple places handy to transit if you need to know about them.


    Not sure of which route you will take entering BC ? Spectacular riding awaits you, as mentioned, the best street/highway roads for motorcycles in all of Canada are found in southeast Kootenay region, West Kootenay region, and Southern Okanagan Valley. Your route will be much enhanced in every way by entering BC at the southeast corner and heading west. Many small outstanding hot springs await, lovely cabins for a nights stay. Take your swimming trunks! I can give you a list of must stay hot springs in the West Kootenay region. Astounding. Should you for some reason decide to enter BC at the southwest corner, please do yourself a favour and ride WA state Hwy 20, at least from Twisp/Winthrop, WA west. Perhaps THE apex street road in the Pacific Northwest, it will take you from pure desert to high alpine to classic west coast massive Douglas Fir forests within 50 miles. 4 border crossing options along the WA/BC coast.
    #53
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  14. ToothDocJay

    ToothDocJay Been here awhile

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    If you pressed me for a single area of BC to see and ride, I'd have to go with the Kootenays because it's bigger with more options to ride. I'm biased in favor of the Island too and I think many people skip it because there's a Ferry ride involved and they are missing out. Less riding (paved) options than the Kootenays is about the only thing critical I could say about it. In return the area is beautiful especially if you haven't seen much of the west coast. I'm going to mention Toad Rock again cus I love that place.

    I'm in the Cobble Hill area just north of Victoria so if you do decide to come over here drop me a line and if the timing is right I'll go for a ride with you and perhaps bring a couple of other locals with me.

    Really, you can't go wrong either way and you can save the other part for another trip sometime.
    #54
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  15. Bayner

    Bayner Long timer

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    Yes, as others have said the best of BC's riding and relaxing on paved routes is in the Kootenay area. Many of the roads run sandwiched between hillsides and alongside gorgeous lakes that can be crossed by free ferries. There's many days of exploring between roads there and those further west in the Okanagan. The weather is pleasant and the people are usually friendly. (We're talking about an area of Canada most of the population would be happy to retire to).
    If you arrive in the region and decide it's not quite what you were looking for it's easy to head back east into the Rockies (Banf, Jasper, Icefields Parkway) and the heart of foreign tourist bus routes or west towards the coastal mountains and Vancouver/the Island.
    You really can't go wrong! :ricky
    #55
  16. Philadv

    Philadv n00b

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    Hi John,
    First your contemplating a great ride, a friend and I did this in 2018. 15 days and 5000 miles from Denver to Victoria.
    We mapped it all out on Google maps then translated files to GPX, about the easiest way to do it.
    After all that precision mapping, its just a guide - not a rigid plan.

    I've been meaning to write all this down so here it goes...

    I rode an BMW F800GS Adventure, my friends a BMW R1200GS. Both Bikes handled everything fine.

    Basic Route - To YELLOWSTONE - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK - KOOTENAY LAKE (Toad Rock Camp Ground) - West to Victoria - MT St Hellens - IDBDR - UT BDR - back to Home

    A few points to consider:
    - Bring some warm gear - will be needed at altitude or in rain.
    - You may want to buy a National Park Pass - depending on your routing
    - How much time do you have? From New Orleans, 3 weeks would be nice.

    - WEATHER: I looked into the Northwest weather – the LEAST opportunity for rain was last week of July, first week of August. We had Blue skies the whole time(rare)
    https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/united-states/us

    - All dirt roads were easy to drive(dry)
    - Getting to Canada: How fast do you want to get out of the southern heat? From Denver, we ran northwest to Jackson Wyoming. Then YELLOWSTONE AND GLACIER.
    North of Jackson is the HEADWATERS CAMPGROUND. You can get a small cabin there and be in position for a early morning/traffic free run through Yellowstone. It works! A 7am departure puts you ahead of the traffic, the Yellowstone gate is not manned before 7am - you can drive through without stopping. By the time we were outbound on the Northside of the park, some tourist traffic was starting to trickle in from the opposite direction.
    NOTE: RESERVATION NEEDED IN ADVANCE (TRUE FOR ANYTHING NEAR YELLOWSTONE)
    It may be in the upper 30s low 40s at night/early morning

    - Press on to White Sulfur MT for lunch at the Branding Iron Café (https://www.facebook.com/BrandingIronCafeWSSMT/ )

    - Press on to St Mary and camp for the night.
    ( NOTE: RESERVATION NEEDED IN ADVANCE (TRUE FOR ANYTHING NEAR Glacier National Park)
    You’re now in position to do an early morning run thru Glacier National Park
    It may be in the upper 30s low 40s at night/early morning

    - Depart St Mary by 7am, and expect a great northwest bound traffic free ride thru Glacier National Park ending at the south end of Lake McDonald.

    - Decision Time: If weather is good then you have two choices

    - 1) Go north on gravel/dirt (well maintained) the Home Bottoms Ranch for Breakfast
    ( https://www.google.com/maps/place/H...7054758773141!8m2!3d48.7132438!4d-114.2544002 )

    Assuming you have a GPS that can MAP GPX files - go north from the Home Bottoms Ranch, then follow forest service roads west to HWY 93 then north to the Roosville border crossing. Press on the Cranbrook for Lunch

    - Alternate Decision: You can take highway to Roosville border crossing(3hour) or easy dirt roads from Home Bottoms Ranch (4 hours) to the Kootnay Bay Ferry.

    - TOAD ROCK Motorcycle Camp Ground - This place is an amazing place of every walk of Life. Riding in the Kootenbay area is amazing. Mary is the owner
    http://www.toadrockcampground.com/

    - From the Toad Rock, riding across Canada is about as good as it gets.

    USER Lycan1 previously posted routing information that was pretty much as good as it gets fro heading west across Canada. For the Ferry at Horseshoe terminal, buy your ticket ahead online. We road the 500 miles from Toad Rock to Horse shoe terminal in one day, missed the last ferry and ended up sleeping on the ferry ramp. Very few hotel opportunities near by the terminal. Also in hindsight; take two days and follow the Lycan1 routing. The riding is as good as it gets.

    - We hotel-ed in Sooke Bay at the Prestige Hotel for a break, not as expensive as it sounds, plan ahead and you can probably get something in Victoria…also Sook Bay was nice. Before Sooke Bay, we rode from the ferry terminal to Tofino for Lunch. Tofino is as far west as the Canadian HWY system goes. A beautiful ride, the only downside is the amount of traffic. We rarely book ahead but Glacier, Yellowstone, sometimes Toad Rock & Victoria it is needed.

    - The return leg can be whatever you want to make of it, although I highly recommend going to the Windy Point viewing sight of Mt St Helens. You drive in thru the blast area from the 1980 eruption. One of the most interesting and beautiful rides I’ve been on. We left Victoria via ferry for Port Angeles WA. From Port Angeles down 101, frankly, the drive was not that interesting. We drove to Cougar WA, camped for the night and did an early morning run (60 miles or so) to Mt St Helens Windy Point with no traffic.
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Cou...2!1d-117.4260465!2d47.6587802!3e0!4e1!5m1!1e4

    Highly recommended

    - If your interested in some significant dirt road tracks, go to Wallace ID and jump onto the southbound IDAHO BDR for a few days. The ID BDR has a big loop to the east, we skipped that and kept diving southward. The first night we stayed in the Clearwater Hotel in Kamiah ID. We then camped one night in the back country. The day after that we arrived at Bear Lake Utah, then the following morning did the first 3 hours of the UTAH BDR. Then time dictated we headed by highway back to Denver.
    https://ridebdr.com/IDBDR


    Lastly, I’m retired and enjoy recording the ride and making a movie for the family. These are on YouTube user Apollohistory11 - https://www.youtube.com/c/apollohistory11
    Our YouTube movie is in the works for the ride your considering.
    The Victoria ride will not go public for a while but here’s the trailer.
    Some photos:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/TeC7fZe3K6pKfUuR9



    It’s a great ride - enjoy!
    Regards,
    Phil
    advridertech@gmail.com
    #56
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  17. Philadv

    Philadv n00b

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    A couple of more items:
    All the above mentioned is easy driving for a R1200GS
    Toad Rock Campground is a great base to operate from for the Kootenay Bay area
    #57
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  18. bcguide

    bcguide Adventurer

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    Don't bother with reservations for the bc ferries if you are on a motorbike. As long as you are in time for the ferry they will get you on
    #58
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  19. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer Supporter

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    Correct. Guaranteed loading as long as you show up within 10 minutes or so. Except the big BC Ferries runs out of Port Hardy northbound, and the inter island “milk run” in the southern Gulf Islands. And of course the privately run Highways Ministry ferry runs in the Kootenay Lakes crossings.
    #59
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  20. mroddis

    mroddis Been here awhile Supporter

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    All these great suggestions makes me realize I've only scratched the surface of all the great riding in my backyard....thanks for sharing, all.

    M.
    (Can't wait to get insurance on the big KTM!!)
    #60
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