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California-Canada-Maine loop Aug 2020

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Veeblefetzer, Dec 25, 2019.

  1. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

    Joined:
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    It's December, 2019. I have recently started planning a transcontinental motorcycle round trip from San Francisco California, through Canada, to Portland Maine; returning through the States. I will be riding solo.
    The impetus for this trip comes from two sources. In 1994 I wanted to ride my motorcycle across the continent. I was 20 years old, seemed like the thing to do. I rode my 1983 Laverda 1000 from Portland, Maine to San Francisco. That was an odyssey rather than an epic, as it started and ended in different places. Impetus #1.
    In the spring of 2019 I bought an ADV bike. I wasn't in the market for a big bike, but as things shook out I found myself the captain of a CRF1000LD, a Honda Africa Twin DCT. I went about railing it around northern California just the way I used to do my old Laverda in the '90s. I was in my happy place. Twenty-five years later and still I just want to ride motorcycles in strange places.
    Day came I was talking to my work buddy and said I was going back to New England for my holiday. He says, “You're riding your new motorcycle back, of course.” Impetus #2.
    “No” I says, “I already booked the tickets. But next year...”
    It's December, 2019. Next year is closer than it's ever been, as it do. So here's the merest sketch of a plan for the trip. Broken down into little chunks… I had no idea I'd already done so much!
    #1
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  2. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

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    Goals: Get to Maine in time for Labor Day Weekend. Get there by going through Canada, preferably as far into the country as time will allow. Camp as much as possible. Bring amateur radio equipment. Document the journey.

    Experience: Just that trip 25 years ago on the Laverda. Other than that I've never done any motorcycle camping. I've been riding motorcycles since Ronald Reagan was in office, sometimes as a job, almost never in the dirt, though n the past few years I've had a DRZ400 and a TW200 and gone to Dirt Bike Camp. I have a couple 2 – 4 day trips I'll get under my belt before I go, shakedown runs.
    #2
  3. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
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    Equipment: 2017 Africa Twin DCT, currently has Outback Motortek skidplate / engine / crash bars, MRA windscreen, Barkbusters and a cheap Givi tailcase. Aerostich R3 for me. HAM Radio is a Yaesu FT857D, no antenna(s) yet. A DMR/GPS HT might be a good addition. So far I have no camera other than my low-end smartphone. I'm looking at getting the OM pannier rack and some Kriega bags. I might make the Givi into a “go bag” style HAM shack in a box, I don't anticipate transmitting while riding. GPS? Paper maps? I bought a new tent, but have little other gear right now.

    Documentation: Let me tell you, I'm not a social media kind of person. On the 1994 trip I took a pad and paper and wrote notes at the end of each day. Later I typed them up in a Word doc that ran to 36 pages. No electronic or physical copies of that exist anymore, so I'd like to do a bit better job this time around. Unlike 1994, my friends and family can follow the trip in real time, so I feel I should make an effort. A GoPro and maybe an Instagram or YouTube account? Maybe; sounds complicated, though.
    #3
  4. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Route: I sketched one out on Google Maps that goes through Portland OR, Seattle, Nakusp (home of my Laverda parts supplier), Calgary, Saskatoon, The Pas MB, Winnipeg, Ottowa, Montreal and into Portland ME. I cross referenced that with Atlas Obscura's interactive map and realized Google had prioritized efficiency over fun, so some tweaking is necessary. I would love to get on the Trans Canada Adventure Trail, but being a solo rider on street tires with not a great amount of time (and no GPS) will limit that. Still no idea how I'm getting back here.
    https://goo.gl/maps/4j2JxSx6F13GSV2t7

    Timing: I have 5 weeks from August 16th through September 21st blocked out. I'll take longer going through Canada since I've never ridden up there and I've driven across the USA many times.

    Preparation: Well, I think I need to get an augmented driver's license to get back into the USA. I'm not keen on carrying my passport because I don't think anyone should need one between US and Canada, and I'm afraid I'll misplace it. However, if I wreck badly and need to fly home I'm def gonna need the passport so I'll bring it.
    I haven't looked into reserving campsites but I'm really happy to see the Tent Space Map!
    Allegedly my US MC insurance will cover me in Canada, but I need a “non-resident inter-provincial motor vehicle liability insurance card”?
    I have to append the correct provincial identifier to my callsign when operating in Canada. They're sequential so it'll be /VE7 in BC, then /VE6 in Alberta, and so on.
    Read all the threads! Use the Search function!
    #4
  5. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

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    If I can average 300 miles a day that ought to leave me time to see some sights, work some stations, grab some frosty bevvies & such. In 1994 I had a regimen of stopping every hundred miles no matter where I was and just looking around. I also would camp for two nights and spend one in a motel, but that was a bit lazy. I think I can camp 3 or 4 nights in a row. I have a pal in Seattle that may ride out for a day with me, and another in southern New Hampshire that will either ride to meet me or ride out a day on the return trip. If I meet up with anyone else along the way that'll be cool, but not a goal.

    I'm open to questions and advice! Will this thing actually happen? Barring a spinal injury or other disaster, yes. I have a union job with plenty of vacation time and my pay rate is enough to support this boondoggle. So far the AT has less than 10K on it, I'm sure it'll prove a good steed. Ooo, that reminds me, gotta get a tool kit ganged up...
    #5
  6. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile Supporter

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    In! You had me at '1983 Laverda 1000' :thumbup
    #6
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  7. kwthom

    kwthom Retiree apprentice - willing to learn

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    Now, is the trip for YOU, or to appease those that would be watching? :confused

    GoPro your rides? Sure, but who will watch 'em at the end of the day? At the end of the trip?

    Trust me, there is something to be said about doing these things (documenting the trip...); it's reasonably easy to do. If it's mainly for yourself? Consider an old-school motoblog. I tried to blog in (near) real time; it took too much time out of my day to do that. So, I documented a bit better when the ride was done.

    Take a *large* amount of photos.

    Example: https://kwthom.blogspot.com/2018/04/mid-atlantic-tour-day-1-and-2.html
    #7
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  8. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

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    A dive into the Canada Border Services Agency to find out what documents other than a passport a US citizen can use to cross by land into Canada spiraled into this delightfully Byzantine Catch-22
    From https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/td-dv-eng.html
    "What you need will depend on where you are from, how you are travelling, and what documents you are travelling with. Consult entry requirements by country."
    (Wait, what documents you need will depend on what documents you have?)
    The last phrase being a link to this page where I found the heading U.S. Citizens had a one line entry
    "U.S. citizens must carry proper identification such as a valid U.S. passport."
    So I followed the link in the central phrase to
    https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/td-dv-eng.html

    Epic.

    However! In another section I found a bit more declarative statements.
    "If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification."
    https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ivc-rnc-eng.html#a3
    So it sounds like they're going to require a passport. There are 'Trusted Traveller Programs' (NEXUS, FAST) for frequent border crossers, but I'm not looking into those; they require an interview, background check, hassle... where I'm crossing the wait times aren't any more than my local toll booths.
    Helpful border wait times link
    https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html

    I won't be required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization ( eTA, nice acronym), "U.S. citizens are exempt from the eTA requirement and must carry proper identification such as a valid U.S. passport."
    https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/eta/facts.html

    I've heard rumors and second hand stories from some of my more hardscrabble friends of people being refused entry for "no provable means of support" but none of the CBSA websites say anything about that, as far as I've read.
    #8
  9. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    Fantastic! I'm also thinking about doing the trip East next year as well. I will be following along with you closely.

    As for Canada, I used my Passport Card for entry and exit into Canada last summer when I rode to Alaska. No passport booklet is needed.
    #9
  10. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

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    See? I've never heard of a 'passport card', even though I have a passport. We used to take the DRZ and the TW down to Canyon de Guadalupe (in the pickup truck, not riding the whole way) in Baja California, so I brought the whole booklet on those trips (and the registrations, they want to see them!)
    #10
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  11. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    Yeah, when I renewed my passport, I opted for the card as well. It was an additional $60 i think.
    #11
  12. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    It speaks for itself , doesn't it -" what you need will depend on what you have " as in if you HAVE a drivers license you don't NEED to get one , if you HAVE a passport you are not in NEED of getting one , and so on .

    Since you have a passport you don't NEED to get a passport card , save the pointless spending of $60 . Carry the passport in a pouch suspended from your neck under your shirt and you will never forget it or loose it . It is just a passport nothing special to worry about but it makes travel easier, no reason to have fear about carrying it . .

    I'd say go for the ride and take pictures with a good compact camera that will provide better sharper pictures than a basic phone . It is YOUR ride so decide how much you want/need / can afford time for in publicising it . How many people do you know of who really will care ? Since you are posting here why not tell all your acquaintances /family/friends about this ADV site and just post some pictures here and short written background now and then and leave it at that . No use being on social media letting the world know twenty times a day about your every thought and fart .
    As for me I would look at it here but I never bother with anyones running stories and stuff on those things like blogs and facetube and youbook and etc .

    Go for it , and have a fun ride . There will be plenty of camping options out in western Canada ,look for the small town campground at the municipal park s and fairgrounds .
    #12
  13. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

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    The AT as it is now, let's see what it looks like by the time I leave. Fun Fact: That tank bag was on the Laverda in 1994, all the way across the States. Also it will jump into my lap at 85 mph.

    mebike.jpg
    #13
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  14. Booghotfoot

    Booghotfoot Been here awhile

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    +1 for the old fashion motoblog. I bring a small writing book with me and spend a little time reflecting on the day and making notes. It's way more fluid than typing, as when I'm @ keyboard i spend too much time correcting & editing.

    You'll be able to make lots of miles per day across the Canadian prairies and most of the midwest. Of going thru Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan on your return route folks here will be able to offer lots of route recommendations.
    #14
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  15. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I still use paper maps in my tank bag. Use google for detail planning - distances between stops, looking up where the gas stations or hotels are, etc.. GPS is convenient for in-town navigation to a specific destination, but not absolutely necessary. Especially if you are used to navigating with maps. Maps also give you a much wider view of what is around your intended route. If you just set destinations on a GPS and follow whatever route it comes up with, you may discover in hindsight you went close (and missed) to some destination you would have liked to stop and visit.

    I like to document my rides, but keep in mind that anything you do to have a "live" or sort of live update will be very time consuming unless you are very proficient. I typically take still pictures. When GoPro clones got cheap enough to try, I got one and tried to document some day/weekend rides. I found out that even after you got the basics of video editing (which will vary depending on your video editor of choice), I basically needed to quit my job and do video editing full time. Making well edited, interesting videos takes a lot of time (unless you already are a YouTube star with years of experience). As mentioned above, you have to watch all the footage you took that day to find the 5-10 minutes that your audience will be willing to sit through. Still pics work much better and faster for me.

    I use Flickr, but there are several sites that will let you create a trip specific album to organize your trip picture. Some are free, but those are of questionable value anymore (limited number of files, folders and views). If you are planning on using this picture depository for more than one trip, you probably need a paid Flickr or SmugMug account.

    Gustavo
    #15
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  16. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile Supporter

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    If you haven't seen it already there's some helpful suggestions on recording RRs by ADV contributor Elge here: https://advrider.com/travel-blogging-ride-reporting-how-to-get-started/

    It will be interesting to see if and how you record your RR and how that works for you. First time I've seen a short wave radio mentioned in trip planning so hopefully more on that later.

    If you've never been Hwy 6 and other routes to and around Nakusp BC are good riding as is most of BC.
    Lots of local beta here: https://advrider.com/f/threads/b-c-best-places-to-retire-thread.1043620/
    #16
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  17. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    Here's a few things in no particular order.
    * Great bike for this ride. Tires? Unless you are planning dirt roads, put on some street biased tires 90/10(IF you need new tires). Street tires will run much smoother on the slab.
    * Canada border crossing/documents. No need for a passport, just the enhanced CDL. Canadians are great, please don't tell em I said so.
    *Canada and camping. No Guns, knives, pepper spray for self defence. Bear Pepper Spray is OK and if you wild camp definately bring some.
    * Ive posted extensively on Mosquido precaustions...look it up on search.
    * Get a throttle Lock!
    * get the app for ioverlander for camping, services, etc.
    * Your phone is just fine for photos. However, IF you want to upgrade a little, get the Fuji finepix. Its water/dust proof and bombproof. Carry it on you, or you will not use it.
    * Stop and smell the roses. 300 miles a day is easy, so, slow down and enjoy the ride.
    * Maybe get an inreach.
    * Luggage. Mosko Moto.
    * Get some paper maps, AND use your phones GPS (google maps)
    *
    #17
  18. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    Also, look up NooBs rally in the Rallies Forum. Attend IF you can.
    #18
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  19. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    I use the passport card, but I take my passport too as the passport card can’t be used for emergency air travel. The passport card lives in my wallet and my passport buried in my luggage.
    #19
  20. Veeblefetzer

    Veeblefetzer Adventurer

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    Thanks, Bob! Re: your first reply, The Laverda (which I still have) was a helluva motorcycle to ride across country. They have a 3000 mile valve service and at the time hadn't been imported for 10 years, zero support (I managed to find a guy in Chicago with a set of shims, using the "ask around at other shops" technology of the day.) The very first day of that trip I was waiting at a light when a Laverda 1200 went across in front of me; in the 6 years I'd had the 1000 I'd never seen another triple, and only a handful of twins. I went off course to follow the guy north into Vermont and noticed his California plate. Turns out he'd been across on his many times, that gave me confidence. He also gave me the number of a parts guy in Burbank.

    Re: Recording the ride. Well, if I'd had a GoPro that first day back in 1994 I might have some proof that happened, and some idea of who in the tiny Laverda community that guy was, but it was 1994 so I got nuthin'. Maybe the recording of the remaining 3600 miles would have been useless, but just those 10 minutes would have made it worth while. Plenty of weird shit happens on the road, why not try to capture it?
    It's far down my list, though. I bet a GoPro is more useful for day trips, when there's not so much source material to sift through, and more time to do it. I think a nicer phone camera I can shoot some by-the-road commentary on will be fine.

    Amateur radio from a motorcycle is fairly common, but mostly in the UHF/VHF bands that require smaller antennas. HF antennas can get big, but also can be made by literally throwing a wire over a tree. It's called amateur radio because a lot of it is stuff no one has done before, this'll be my experiment. The space requirements for the Ham radio setup may exclude a DVR for the GoPro

    My Laverda parts guy is in Nakusp and has all the insider info, but I'll check the thread too. Thanks!
    #20
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