Coast to Coast Canada in winter??

Discussion in 'Canada' started by paulmondor, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. beemer67

    beemer67 Really Old airhead

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Fish Limb, B.C. Canada
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Deuce
    Phil Funnel, the old Vancouver BMW dealer did it with an old airhead and sidecar. He also went to 'Took in the NWT in January the year after (late '70's I think).

    Quote:
    Hey I met Philip Funnel when he was heading up North, he was known for his love of BMW's so seeing him on a FLH was kinda strange, he had a sidecar and all sorts of electric gear, hippo hands on the bike, said the only time you could go to the far north was during the winter because the muskeg and the rivers freeze over and they plow a road thru, he was a regular contribute

    This was two separate trips. He rode a solo R80/7 to Tuk in 1979. His FLH days were in the early 80's. He was carrying an extra batttery in the top box and did have to drain the oil and heat it up. He was running 5-30W in the engine and 20-50W in the tranny in the really northern bit. Another problem after several falls his handlebar windscreen shattered like glass due to low temps. Ended up making a shield using a foam camping pad over the remaining framework. Visor on his helmet also shattered.

    Phil still lives east of Vancouver, BC, but is retired from motocycles due to health.
    #21
  2. MadMmmike

    MadMmmike DBG

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    182
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta,
    After speaking with a guy that rode all winter and lives in Canmore/Banff area.
    He had a KLR, and with an electric blanket wrapped around the motor at night, it would start the next day, he also used heated clothing and big mukluk boots.....he had those big mitt's that fit around the bars and stay permenatly attached with heated grips I believe. He used Karoo tires with sheet metal screws as studs, at first things were sketchy but after the heads of the screws wore off it was better, but he said to never take traction for granted, he also never went down, and that includes riding the columbia icefields in the beginning of january.

    It sounds like a cool challenge, but I think it must be done smartly in order to be done as safely as possible.

    If ya do it, And stop in Calgary, drop me a PM, I'll see if my Roomie doesn't mind a guest for a night!!!
    Peace,
    Mike
    #22
  3. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    51,384
    Location:
    Gates of Moscow
    Good words here.

    I would check the jetting on the carbs in -30, just to ensure that it'll fire, and not run too lean. Colder air=denser air, remember.

    Think about ensuring that you avoid carb freezing in the intake. I seem to remeber something about high speed air in small aircraft carbs and heaters for them.

    Use a sled helmet and shield, a decent one stays fog free. Buy a set of "hippo-hands" for the bars, and top of the heated grips. Use some Moose barkbusters without the plastic shields, just the aluminum bars. Good for crashing, plus they'll keep the hippo hands from pressing on the controls.

    The leg shield idea can work well, don't forget to shield your feet. :D




    What the hell, dare to be different. If you need a place to warm up in eastern Ontario, drop me a line. Got a full shop too, so if the bike needs some tlc, gotcha covered.

    And I got some scotch to fix the rider, too. :evil
    #23
  4. kdude

    kdude Happy to be here !

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,039
    Location:
    Montreal & Ft. Lauderdale
    Quebec had 41cm of snow yesterday and it all fell in 11 hrs ! And its not exactly warm here either.

    Ontario also got hammered by the same storm. If your very lucky you'll get mostly freezing rain as you ride further east..

    Just a wake up call. As for the gerbings. I was the pants , jacket , socks and gloves and believe me they won't help you during a Quebec winter.
    #24
  5. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,542
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    You're crazy. I like that.

    Let me know when you're coming trhough, (PM me)
    and I'll turn up the heat, and keep a warm beer around for ya.

    EDIT: BTW, all the motels along the trans Canada have outdoor
    receptacles for block heaters. They make a block heater that replaces your
    oil drain plug, but I'm a bit unsure of a supplier. You could try a
    small engine place, there's one on my snowblower.

    When I get a chance, I'll throw a battery in the KLR, and see if it starts.
    #25
  6. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,008
    Location:
    Bow, WA USA
    just roll the sucker in your room:1drink
    nobodys gonna screw with a crazy riding a MC in CA winter.

    also try to recognize signs of hypothremia
    #26
  7. Newfie_DR650

    Newfie_DR650 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Edge of the World, St. John's, Newfoundland
    People always ride snowmobiles in the winter.

    Just dress for it and you should be fine.

    I have ridden ATV's in very cold weather and they start just fine, I'd go with a lighter oil but all should be OK.

    And as another posted, Newfoundland is the Offical END of Canada.

    When you make it to St. John's, NL and if you don't want to ride back to BC after the cold on the way over you can leave the bike in my garage and fly back. I'm planning on the Trans Lab Highway sometime this summer so you could fly back and ride across that with me.

    Good Luck.
    #27
  8. Madtowner

    Madtowner Top of the Notch

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Sugar Hill, New Hampshire United States
    If time is a non issue, I think this can be done. Keep in mind that you may have to hold up in Quebec City if the snow is flying. They often close parts of highway 20 from Quebec City to River du loup (flats along the river) because of drifting. I assume this is the case out in the midwest as well.
    #28
  9. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Update..
    I have had quite a ot of good feedback on this..
    I have a guy modifying an oil pan heater for the bike here..
    so foar so good..
    I am from northern Quebec and believe me having spent 3 years almost with the infantry in the 22's i know about cold and surviving in it....I have personallly experienced as low as -85 in CFB Alert.

    My buddy jean-pierre is looking as we speak for snomobile equipment.. one piece heated suit.. the mits and the Sorel boots that are known to be good to -60.

    tirewise? i have ridden in snow before did the road between Montreal on the norht side of the st lawrence to quebec city in a snow storm.. 8 hours to do 180 kilometers.. so i have an idea of how to ride in snow..
    i also know that studs can be easely screwed on and off a tire but to make it more solid you have to seal them inside the tire with proper sealer and hardware.. BUT on asphalt they would wear off and vanish in no time..
    so studs are out of the questions..

    I will not have a sidecar. if i want to do it with a sidecar might as well just do it in a Mini convertible and call it a day! sidecar would be cheating..

    fuel antifreeze. low viscosity oil. and portable air pump to deflate or inflate the tires according to weather, speed and conditions will be mandatory..

    i have also another weapon. i was born wit a metabolic body temperature of 100.6 at all time.. so i am warmer by 2 degrees. this has allowed me to endure cold in way most people cannot relate to.

    I am very confident this can be done.. I have driven rigs for 11 years and al ot of it was in the gredat white north and to be honest with you i have rarely seen long patches of ice on the road.. except during a storm..
    as for surrounding trafic it is a concern.,. I sure would take as many side roads as i can... and in some place use the shoulder..
    Speed is not needed and i will have all the time it takes...

    as to why??? well i have crossed this country of ours on bike a total of 17 times and as late as in late October when the temperature behind the screen on my 1150 adventure has reached -16. Also, probably over 100 on a rig..

    So doing in the warm weather does not in any way or form represent a challenge..
    I like risk and i think it can be done if done for the right reasonn.
    my reason is that I have not done it and i know i can.. Plus it is a personal challenge i can get others involved with.. Just like i am doing now.
    There are 1000's of us out there who love to go all over on 2 wheels just because we are passionate about our sport..
    I am sure that with advice, help and support from my fellow riders all over the place i can do it..:pope

    Plus we all are adventurers in our ways and i think i would carry a bit of all those who helped me and encourage me and in many ways it would be a success for them as well..:thumb

    So! So far we have year to prepare me.. Launc date 1st of january 2007..

    PS i will keep in note all the addresses of those who kindly open their doors to me and i will stop by during the trip.. To chat, to laugh, to sharre and to thaw!:freaky
    I am so damn looking forward to it..
    One more thing.. i am not sure about which bike..
    Any advice on this?? my 1st choice so far is a 650 Dakar and then an Adventure with lower suspension.
    #29
  10. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    51,384
    Location:
    Gates of Moscow
    You were a vandoo?

    So you're predisposed to lunacy. :loco

    Was a 031 myself, years ago. 935 now in Trenton. Drop me a line here when you get closer to doing this.

    As for a bike, I wouldn't recommend a 640 Adventure. Too tempermental. I know this cause I own one. F650 seems reliable, that or a KLR. I think the F650 has a higher alternator output, which you'd need for the heated goodies, so I think that'd be the better choice. 640 Adv only puts out 200w @ 5500 rpm, so that's another knock against it.
    #30
  11. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,233
    Location:
    Prince George, BC Canada
    Dude...you're my kind of stupid:D

    There is NO REASON why you couldn't pull this off. Personally, I would stick to the roads less traveled and avoid the freeways. No real reason to stick to highway 1 to cross the country. But you will need to ride somewhat slower to avoid windchill. I don't forsee you doing this trip at 60-70 miles an hour. A nice big windsheild might be a worthy investment.

    Don't forget you can outfit your tires with studs for icy roads and deep snow. I am not sure if they would be street legal, but they stud car tires around here so it might be fine.

    Lastly...pay no attention to these nay sayers. I say give it a go and see if you can do it.
    #31
  12. Noddy

    Noddy n00b

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9
    Its totally doable. One of my secret desires is to do an overland crossing from Prince Rupert (BC's Northernmost port) to Goose Bay, then by ferry through NL, and the Maritimes. The ONLY time this would be possible is in the winter when the ice highways exist.

    Sadly, most ice highways are north - south, not east - west, so some overland navigation would be required. This is still a 'back of my mind' fantasy right now, so details aren't firm . . . so congrats on setting a date for your trip.

    As a former mountaineer, climber, and from a quick read of the tread allow me to offer the following opinions:

    - Ditch the electric riding gear. Its heavier than it needs to be, and less thermally efficient than proper winter gear. If your bike breaks and you have to hoof it overland to safety you'll be carrying extra (useless) wires that provide no heating value. Don't talk to me about battery powered. Unless you're in an RV, a Canadian Tire add, or a Goldwing there's no space for that many batteries an / or charger. As it sounds you'll be travelling solo, you need all the space for functional tools / parts in your bags.

    - Don't rely on 1970s / 1980s lore about taking the oil out and sleeping with it / heating it up / etc. Oils and antifreeze has come along way, check with the locals. From what I've seen, people leave it in these days, however, check with the locals. I used a camp stove to heat up my oil pan every monrning for a stubborn old Yamaha in the 1990s. Same may apply in your case, especially if you're riding every day.

    - Likely your battery will take a lot of abuse. You may want a back-up, or post yourself a few along the way (to the local Hotel / Motorbike store).

    - Riding gear - I saw an article on a winter northern tour (via DRZ400s) to native villages in a Cycle Canada magazine from either 2003 or 2004. They did limited winterization, but the Hippos were crucial. I would reckon snomobile gear would be optimal. If you're from the military, esp. the Canadian Military all I can say is . . . don't buy surplus military gear - I used to climb with a guy who thought his milspec gear was the best. It can be the best for someone who plans on dropping their gear a lot, versus light and functional. The Helly Hansen (polipro or poliester) underwear previously mentioned is ideal.

    - Electrics - Cycle Canada from 2005 02 has an article on a 1200GS which they took cross canada (in the summer). They had the Garmin 176C and the Mapsource Canada disks. (I have the same). They claimed to follow all backroads for 80% of their ride.

    - Bikes - the 650GS may be a little heavy for overland during the winter, as you'll have to drag it over frost heaves, etc. If you're planning on roads, should be fine. My wife has the 650CS and its a great little tourer.

    Thats all I can think of right now, I'll check back and see how the thread is going. If you're doing roads, Canada is civilised enough that a good riding suit and shear bloodymindedness will get you through. With 2007 01 as a departure date, you've got plenty of time.

    Enjoy, and best of luck!
    #32
  13. Noddy

    Noddy n00b

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9
    Oh, and studs . . . Legal in parts of BC, Illegal in most other provinces. Legal in Ontario (I believe).

    Each province (state) sets the rules for the road. So . . . if you plan on studs you'll have to check the provincial transport websites. As an example:

    http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topics/driver_info/index.htm
    #33
  14. Baba Iguana

    Baba Iguana Bored Track Racer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    544
    Location:
    Ottawa
    It can be done. Bonne Chance !

    I ran my XR500 for several full winters in Cold Lake Ab. at 20 miles to work with temperatures down to -52C. Ran thin synthetic oil, and only a kick starter. I carried a spray can of ether for first start of the day. I didn't have any electric gear, but I did have a full flight suit, and a snowmobile helmet.

    Knobbies work best on snow covered roads. Studs are great on packed snow, but wear quickly when pavement patches show through. Once the studs are worn they are useless, so you need to carry spares.

    I would add extra yellow fog lights, and brighten up the tail light. Remember no one will be expecting you on the back roads and they will pull out right in front of you. You need to be seen.
    #34
  15. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    Thank you all for the valuable info.. It is very much appreciated....
    I will start entering soon coordonates on the GPS for people along the way who have offered me to stay for a night and warm up or whatever..

    It is really appreciated.... so far I have people in BC, AB, SK and ONT...
    I am shopping foe a snowmobile suit right now through my brother IN PQ..
    If any of you have advice on which to buy and what weather ratings thay have it would be much appreciated..

    so far I have bveen reseaching weather archives and histories of the provinces for weather between December and February..
    It is safe to say that so far the lowest temperature average is -62 and the highest is +8 and that 8 was here in BC..

    Looks like that between AB and NL I can expect and average of -30 to -45 conservatively..
    And that is without the wind factor..
    It will be fun.. I am so looking forward to this..

    I will post as I go with pictures and comments so you can follow me..
    Till then i am looking forward to put this together with all the help you ahev given me so far..

    Cheers! :freaky
    #35
  16. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,542
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    I'm a bit busy right now Paul, but when I get a chance, I'll email you a picture of this glue on block heater that I have. It looks like a piece of flat rubber,
    with two wires sticking out.

    I might even have a spare one kicking around, I'll have to check.
    #36
  17. Slowphil

    Slowphil Big Man in a very very small pond

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,760
    Location:
    in the land of highest tides
    When are you going to be in Nova Scotia, there's a bed, shower and a drink waiting for you in the Annapolis Valley, just outside Wolfville. Don't know if you have driven around here much but due to the fluctuating temps we tend to get more ice on the roads here than someplace where the temps drop and stay there. Good luck

    Slowphil
    #37
  18. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    I have been looking for Weather history in Ontario, Sask, NB and NS for he January and February periods.
    Also! Does anyone have a good knowledge of snowmobile suits? I asked my Brother on PQ to look them up but you know salesmen? They will say anything..
    So far I have been told that Ski-Doo and Artic Cats make the best ones as far as cold resistance is concerned..

    I have also rechecked my abilities to stand cold last week end.. I went for a swim in the pacific and Sidney BC and the water was about 35 degrees.
    It was great..

    Thanks to those who have given me their adresses so far and I am still looking for some more...

    Thanks and i wil keep you posted aas it develops.:evil
    #38
  19. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,233
    Location:
    Prince George, BC Canada
    Paul: With snowmobile suits, you get what you pay for most definetly. I have a coat made by Choko and have survived many excursions into -40 centigrade weather quite comfortably.

    Personally I would opt for a coat and pant combo. A bib overall type pant with half-zippers to the knees and a 3/4 length coat would suit you fine.

    Don't overlook your helmet either. You can buy snowmobiling specific ones that are better insulated than your standard bike helmets.
    #39
  20. paulmondor

    paulmondor Iceman

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Victoria BC God's garden
    :rayof I have just ordered a Ski-doo BV2S helmet.
    check this link
    http://www.ski-doo.com/en-CA/Snowmobiles/2006/Riding.Gears/Product.htm?CS_ProductID=445763&CS_Category=HelmetAccessoriesBV2s&CS_Catalog=ski-dooSnowmobiles_2006_CA&sortBy=SortByProductOrder&currentIndex=0

    I think this will work fantastic for this cold trip.. Looks damnn good too..
    the removable mouth mask will accomodate the autocom mike and keep it from freezing and getting too much wind.
    i want to be able to hear people talk to me from their lazy-boy in front of the fireplace and hear the fire crackling in my helmet..:rayof

    Cheers!:evil
    #40