Riding around BC - accommodations and routes!

Discussion in 'Canada' started by shanekingsley, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

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    In a few weeks I'm going to ride from Ontario out to Richmond BC to visit my sis and will have 28 days to do this. I thought I would ride up through Banff, Jasper, stop in to visit a childhood friend in Fort St James, then also check out Prince Rupert and then Bella Coola before heading south to Richmond.

    I’ll be on street tires, so paved roads only.

    Once in Richmond, I was going to stay with my sis for about 10 days, but would also like to ride out to the island and over to Port Hardy, Tofino and Victoria to visit my cousin. I figured I would get an oil change done while in Richmond as well, and might need another one in Alberta.


    On my way home I would ride southern BC and then visit some relatives in either Calgary or Edmonton. Both directions I would only stop in Manitoba for gas only.


    I may bring my tent and gear with me, but am leaning heavily toward staying in motels/cabins the whole trip to save time, space and weight.


    I have read that Bella Coola is currently off limits to non-locals, but access to the ferry may now be open, if I should want to boat over to the island.


    Are there are any other areas where I should be concerned with finding suitable motels, cabins or places to stay?


    I work with our local Public Health and am quite mindful of the things going on at this current time, both real and perceived.


    Any suggestions and insights are appreciated from our western Canucks!

    Cheers.


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    #1
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  2. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

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    I'll just throw in a bit of caution regarding road conditions here in the West Kootenay during your return trip. There's a 65 - 80 km section of road that isn't paved. The section is from Trout Lake to Meadow Creek (the section in dark magenta).. it's gravel and dirt. Since you're on street tires, I thought I'd mention it. It is doable, if you take it slow... I've seen Harley's do that piece of road. I'd also fuel up in Nakusp as the next guaranteed fuel is Kaslo. Trout Lake has a really old and neat gravity feed gas pump, but it's 87 octane only.

    Pic 1.jpg Pic 2.jpg
    #2
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  3. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

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    That’s very useful to know. If it’s a relatively tame and hard packed gravel dirt road and only 80km, I will do that no problem. Thanks for the heads up!
    #3
  4. MGV8

    MGV8 Long timer Supporter

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    Lots of choice once your here. Just try to avoid any of the major highways. They are all Stupid busy and Covid seems to have made every one even more stupid. Avoid #1 Any of 97 in the Okanagan valley, any of the 4 lane #5 which is just a quick route to Vancouver. Try to avoid most of the lower mainland, Kamloops and Kelowna. All just busy cities. Go North if you can.
    Have fun and camp, lots of good spots
    #4
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  5. SK_in_AB

    SK_in_AB LOOKin to GS

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    That sounds like a great itinerary. I just returned from a 3 day fast run to the west coast

    Day 1
    Calgary – Revelstoke typical TCH -great scenery but slow going with traffic and construction
    Revelstoke – Nakusp – Vernon Beautiful twisties on Highway 23 and 6. Overnight at a marginal campground in Vernon

    Dqy 2
    Vernon-Kamloops on 97 traffic fairly light and lots of passing lanes]
    Kamloops to Merit on 5A nice twisty road avoiding the Hwy 5 freeway. 3 small 200 m gravel sections around washout construction but no problem with a fully loaded RT
    Merritt – Lytton -Lillooet via Hwy 8, 12, Outstanding curvy road with little traffic in the AM
    Lillooet – Pemberton: this is the Duffy Lake road which is known as one of the top 5 in BC. Great mountain scenery, and traffic not too bad from 11-2 on a weekday.
    Pemberton – Whistler to N Van: traffic can pick up around pemberton and whistler so try to roll early in the day. Full two lane from Whistler down to Vancouver makes it easier. Super scenic even if the road is busy

    Day 3 overnight with friends on Bowen Island. Not really a riding destination but a pretty small village and isolated hikes and beaches

    Day 4
    Bowen through Vancouver and Highway 3 all the way back to Invermere near the AB border. There are some good sections on Highway 3 esp Hope to Princeton Osoyos to Rock Creek and 3 wasn't as busy as the TCH

    Had intended to hit a few other highlights like 33 north of Rock Creek to Kelowna but found I was on the Friday of the Aug long weekend at 38C with too much traffic so I passed on these. Rode directly back to Invermere. I missed some great side roads: 3a Creston to Kootenay Bay and 31 and 6 around New Denver but I can do those on a day trip

    Seemed to be lots of nice budget motels in most places with lots off space except Friday pm when the No vacancy signs started to show. Lots of camping too, although the BC Parks are to be reserved by locals only. You could probably get your relatives to book them.

    If you have a chance to pick up a copy of Destination Highways BC before you leave it is a great resource. Some of the motel/camping descriptions are a bit dated, I think the book is 12 years old, but the maps and route planning is invaluable. https://www.destinationhighways.com/Buy.htm
    #5
  6. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

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    The dirt is hard packed, the gravel isn't. It'll be a little squirrely (spelling?) on the gravel.. Take your time and you should be fine.
    #6
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  7. smoky

    smoky Been here awhile

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    That is a very ambitious ride for only 28 days, what are you riding?
    #7
  8. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

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    Excellent feedback - all of it and much appreciated. I will make some minor changes to my route and keep in mind the accommodations stuff.

    I enjoy doing very long days on the bike when the scenery is tops and the roads are technical. While 1000km+ each day for days on end is something have done before on many trips (and I will have some of them on this trip), I have enough time to stop and enjoy the places that I want to spend more quality time in.

    I’m going to be riding a 2010 DL650.
    I bought it second hand last July and it only has 43k on it, of which I put the last 20k on. I also have full heated gear, a new Corbin seat, a newer adjustable Elka rear shock and new Racetech springs & emulators up front with it all set up for my weight by a suspension shop. Also have a full Givi 3 piece hard luggage and a Givi tank bag with a touring windscreen with Zumo GPS. Fresh for the trip I will also have a new Michelin Road 5 on the rear, a new Pilot Road 4 on the front as well as new chain and sprockets. Brakes should be good or maybe I’ll just change them to be consistent and will do a fresh oil change just before I leave. It’s my 3rd first gen DL650 and these bikes treat me quite well!

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    #8
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  9. youngforever

    youngforever Adventurer

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    #9
  10. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

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    Thanks again for the detail in this. I made some changes to my route based on a few things you said and now it's much better!
    #10
  11. spuh

    spuh Been here awhile

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    The other fly in your paved roads ointment is The Hill going to Bella Coola. The Chilcotin highway is all paved except that hill, which is good hard dirt. It also scares lots of folks with its high grades and big drop offs. It's a long hill too. MoTH said that stretch couldn't be done and it took locals to prove 'em wrong. If you're comfortable with exposure and dirt it's no problem but you might want to time it for dry conditions. No option though if you have to make a ferry deadline and the "locals" won't let in to stay in Bella Coola.
    The stretch from Armstrong Lake to Gerrard that Hill Climber mentioned is tame by comparison and the Trout Lake division maintains it well. I volunteered to ride that section on a R12RT for a couple who were worried when it started raining. Turns out the grader had just started a pass and it was a mess of soft muck, not the hard pack I expected; now I was paranoid about scratching their immaculate baby. Turned out all right and I was a hero; I failed to mention how much luck had to do with that outcome. That plus serious sphincter puckering, which is the secret ingredient to keeping a $30.000, 550 pound Beemer upright through such a bog. Realistically your odds of finding this combination of road conditions is extremely low and if you don't like the looks of it, you can always turn around and ride the twisties back to Nakusp and then be rewarded with the New Denver to Kaslo corner fest which I suspect you might enjoy more than the dirt section. It's hard to make a wrong choice of roads in the West Kootenays.
    #11
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  12. DavidR8

    DavidR8 Wanna-be ADV rider

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    +1 on the New Denver to Kaslo corner fest. Brilliant road!
    #12
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  13. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

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    Thanks for the info about the hill into Bella Coola - I did not know about that. I'm fine with high grades and dry dirt, but not when it's really muddy on street tires. I'll play that one by the weather. Doing the ride out to Bella Coola is a 'nice to have' - not a 'must have' item on my trip.
    As for the New Denver to Kaslo corner fest - I think you are talking about the 31A. I didn't even notice it before! If that's the case, then I would just ride it three times instead up going up and around. If there are other roads that are paved and filled with tight corners and elevation changes - I'm always interested!
    Thanks again.
    #13
  14. spuh

    spuh Been here awhile

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    Destination Highways is your friend, get a copy before deciding on your routes.
    #14
  15. shanekingsley

    shanekingsley Motoman

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    Thanks for the reminder - I forgot to do that and just ordered it now.
    #15
  16. Kayne

    Kayne Adventurer

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    The 6 east from Vernon to Lower Arrow Lake is a nice road over the Monashee Pass, makes a nice ride if you continue to New Denver and get onto the 31A to Kaslo. If going from Kaslo south, consider the ferry across Kootenay Lake at Balfour then continuing south to Creston on the 6. The inland ferries at lower arrow lake and Kootenay lake are free but they get pretty busy in the summer. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/...ter-travel/inland-ferries/kootenay-lake-ferry

    If you want a loop into Calgary on way back, then 25 km east of Canmore at Seebee, turn south on the 40 and cross over the Kananaskis Pass. At Highwood House, you would turn east on 541 to Longview AB, then north on 22 toward Calgary. There are any number of options as you approach Calgary, a popular one is to get off the 22 onto the 762 and head to Bragg Creek then to Calgary on 8.

    These are all paved.

    Watch for deer!! Lots of cover along these routes, lots of deer. Enjoy your ride.
    #16
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  17. Zappafeld

    Zappafeld Been here awhile

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    HI all,
    I too am heading West. I was planning finding a location, planting and doing day rides from there, but I could do a trek and camp/hotel along the way. I was thinking about doing an organized tour, but not sure how I feel about that. Can anyone share any GPS routes? I was thinking of the Southwest, Cariboo, Thompson Okanagan areas, but I am pretty open. Maybe the island? I am on a 1200GSA and I am ok with single track, I am an experienced rider. Thanks!
    #17
  18. OTBP Moto

    OTBP Moto n00b

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    If you make your way to Kimberly BC there’s great ride From there to Gray Creek on the Gray Creek FSR. I was turned around by snow in the pass in June but got some pics on Insta, @otbpmoto. From there you are set up to do 31, 31A and if you want some more dirt, take 31 past Meadow Creek to Galena Bay. If you make it into the Caribou I’d have some more recommendations. Cheers!
    #18
  19. OTBP Moto

    OTBP Moto n00b

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    31A and as much of 6 as fits in definitely recommended.
    #19
  20. Zappafeld

    Zappafeld Been here awhile

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    That all looks amazing. I am planting in Castelgar for a few days, and then moving to Toad Creek for a few more so I should be able to hit al of these!
    #20