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Old 04-21-2013, 06:24 AM   #1
Claimsman OP
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Crossing Canada - June 13 AK to MI

My 14 YO son and I are riding one way from anchorage to Cleveland the first week of June. In considering the route, I'm torn. Years ago I rode from Cleveland AK across the US then north from Seattle to Alaska. Since then I've crossed the US many times and would like to cross Canada instead (where I haven't spent any time). There appear to be two routes, one almost straight south through the Canadian Rockies (through Banff/Calgary) then across southern Canada. Or, you can basically take a 45 degree slant from Beaver Creek, YT through Alberta into Edmonton, then Saskatchewan and finally into the US above Minnesota. We are looking for big night skies, few people, wilderness and will be averaging just at 400 miles/day. We'd like to stay on 2 lane paved, as far north as possible in each of the provinces and do have time to make some interesting stops as found. Google maps shows a direct route and it looks efficient, but we'd welcome suggestions for other roads, interesting lodging locations (camping and hotel), links or other thoughts as to the visual benefits of each route. I've heard AB and SK are beautiful and am looking forward to passing through. Questions welcome, thanks in advance.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claimsman View Post
I've heard AB and SK are beautiful and am looking forward to passing through.
You heard wrong.











Seriously, have you ever done the Icefields Parkway Jasper to Banff? If not, that would certainly be a better choice than the diagonal route. But you are looking for big skies and few people, SK is fine. Wilderness will be in the north, farmland in the south.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:45 AM   #3
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May I ask what bikes you will be on?

400 miles a day nothing for a gold wing, but can be considered aggressive on a KLR, DR650, etc.

Maybe you guys have something in between comfort and utility?

One thing I learned that does not pertain to your route question is, "start looking for what might be considered suitable lodging" before you get desperate or perhaps before dark. If I have a couple routes in mind, I like to at least Google some lodging "options" and have some printed material on board, and if I can see that my path and time of day is going to take me near one of the places I re-conned on the net before I left, I will give them a call earlier in the day at a lunch or fuel stop and just book something, rather than leaving it to fate and arriving at 10:00 p.m. in the rain and finding them and everyone else booked, with 90 miles to the next "town".

Sorry to stray from your question, but Canada can have some fair gaps between lodging per my experience, especially on the secondary routes. I do realize you may camp part of the time as well.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:49 AM   #4
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Check out "Making of a cross Canada Route"
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594395
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post
May I ask what bikes you will be on?

400 miles a day nothing for a gold wing, but can be considered aggressive on a KLR, DR650, etc.

Maybe you guys have something in between comfort and utility?

One thing I learned that does not pertain to your route question is, "start looking for what might be considered suitable lodging" before you get desperate or perhaps before dark. If I have a couple routes in mind, I like to at least Google some lodging "options" and have some printed material on board, and if I can see that my path and time of day is going to take me near one of the places I re-conned on the net before I left, I will give them a call earlier in the day at a lunch or fuel stop and just book something, rather than leaving it to fate and arriving at 10:00 p.m. in the rain and finding them and everyone else booked, with 90 miles to the next "town".

Sorry to stray from your question, but Canada can have some fair gaps between lodging per my experience, especially on the secondary routes. I do realize you may camp part of the time as well.
Good advice, there are three bikes going. Mine R1150 Adv, FJR 1300 and a new 800GS. Once route is determined, hope to have lodging secured a day or two ahead of each stop as I'd prefer a hot shower to a gas station refresh. Recommended stops are appreciated.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:59 PM   #6
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One of the best parts of western Canada is the Alberta / BC rockies. The ride from Jasper to Banff, while not a bike road in any sense of the word is spectacular.

East of Calgary is a nice ride but boring compared to the rockies.

If you head east from Edmonton you will miss a good bit of the Rockies, your call but I rode west from Toronto last year and one of the highlights was Banff-Jasper.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:23 PM   #7
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Instead of crossing the border in MN or ND. Look at Hwy 17 that crosses the northern section of Lake Superior. I found it quite nice, with plenty of opportunities for the necessary things on your journey. I camped out in Dryden and Wawa. There are plenty of provincial parks to camp out as well.

Cross into the States from Sault Ste Marie and head south through Northern Michigan. Just a thought

Safe trip!!
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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Rt 17

Thank you for the rt 17 recommendation, we've got that on the agenda now as it looks quite interesting and are planning to enter at sault ste marie. Chuck
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claimsman View Post
Thank you for the rt 17 recommendation, we've got that on the agenda now as it looks quite interesting and are planning to enter at sault ste marie. Chuck
I used to drive that(Hwy 17) and Hwy 11 to the north every week as a commercial truck driver. My advice; Do not run it after dark, as there are LOTS of moose along both. It would also be a waste on Hwy 17 as it is very picturesque.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:33 PM   #10
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If you want to get the most for your buck search out Cassier highway #37 that goes directly down the middle of the northern BC. Search out Telegraph Creek, Salmon Glacier. These are locations not to be missed IMHO. Then turn east across 16 and then down toward Banff, then east towards Calgary and then across the flatlands. Then across the top of the great lakes and then down into the US.

Just a thought. To miss the best part out west would be a huge mistake....seriously...it's breath taking!!!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claimsman View Post
My 14 YO son and I are riding one way from anchorage to Cleveland the first week of June. In considering the route, I'm torn. Years ago I rode from Cleveland AK across the US then north from Seattle to Alaska. Since then I've crossed the US many times and would like to cross Canada instead (where I haven't spent any time). There appear to be two routes, one almost straight south through the Canadian Rockies (through Banff/Calgary) then across southern Canada. Or, you can basically take a 45 degree slant from Beaver Creek, YT through Alberta into Edmonton, then Saskatchewan and finally into the US above Minnesota. We are looking for big night skies, few people, wilderness and will be averaging just at 400 miles/day. We'd like to stay on 2 lane paved, as far north as possible in each of the provinces and do have time to make some interesting stops as found. Google maps shows a direct route and it looks efficient, but we'd welcome suggestions for other roads, interesting lodging locations (camping and hotel), links or other thoughts as to the visual benefits of each route. I've heard AB and SK are beautiful and am looking forward to passing through. Questions welcome, thanks in advance.

although you have crossed the States, maybe your son and riding partners haven't, so i would recommend a combo trip since you have the time.

from alaska, south at haines junction, ferry from haines to skagway, south on the cassier (telegraph creek and hyder), east on 16, south on the icefields, crossing into Montana at roosville. you can ride an interesting route through montana, wyoming, and south dakota (much reading and route help available), backroad route east through minnesota to duluth/superior (several available), and then decide to follow the lake on the canadian side or through the UP, either way you end up on the same roads south through michigan.

if you stay north on the alcan, instead of turning south on 37, lodging may be difficult to find from ft. nelson east. i would choose the cassier.

there are many good reasons to cross the border in montana, then east. heck, even Canadians schedule riding vacations down there.
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by squiffynimrod View Post
You heard wrong.











Seriously, have you ever done the Icefields Parkway Jasper to Banff? If not, that would certainly be a better choice than the diagonal route. But you are looking for big skies and few people, SK is fine. Wilderness will be in the north, farmland in the south.


You sound like a great ambassador for the "stubble jumping region" of Canada.......
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:03 PM   #13
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You sound like a great ambassador for the "stubble jumping region" of Canada.......
Well it's tough to get excited when you live smack dab in the middle of the big unforested patch in this map



Don't get me wrong, I like living here. But I'm getting kind of tired of having to ride 10-12 hours to get to good stuff.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:18 AM   #14
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I would somehow plan your tip to miss Saskatchewan & Manitoba if possible. The reason ( I've lived in one of them & been in the other ) is that it is totally flat and the main highways can be in rough condition. Not really good motorcycle riding.

But then again if that makes your route work then go, its up to you.

If you end up in Southern Alberta Hwy 22 ( the Cowboy Trail ) goes from Waterton Park right up the east side of the Rockies and ends just west of Calgary.

The Road to the Sun in Montana ( a very unique ride ) is not open until later on in June or even July ( 2011 it opened on July 13 ).
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:39 AM   #15
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thanks very much

From this and other inquiries we are on the last leg (fargo to cleveland) of an incredible journey. It will end up at 4300 miles over 9 days and we took everyone's advice riding south to banff before turning left across canada and reentering the US in ND. The ice fields is truly one of the greatest roads in the world. Great friends, old and new and wonderful times. My 14 yo has been a champ and barely complained a bit (much more wows than ows) and is not contemplating his own roadie in a couple of years. Thanks again ADVrider for being the place to get info, questions answered and advice.

The 2004 R1150GS has performed flawlessly (other than a flat on the cassiar in front of a mangled bear can) and been more comfortable than my full touring bikes of the past. Not the fastest, certainly not the lightest, not the....but really competent overall. It's a keeper.
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