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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Where to go and what to see. About 1950 miles before any side trips. I can take about 7 to 10 days for this. I plan to "Free Load" when I can. Camp, Members houses/back yards and as few Hotel/Motels as possible. So look at the map of my planned route and IF you are near by, come out for a ride.

Canada west1.jpg
 

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Not bad, Sir. Those are the places i have yet to discover. MacDoc might know more.
 

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I live in Airdrie, Alberta

I would omit going to Edmonton and go from Jasper to Calgary. Going through the parks from Jasper to Banff will be a much better ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would omit going to Edmonton and go from Jasper to Calgary. Going through the parks from Jasper to Banff will be a much better ride.
This is the type of information I am looking for. Thanks.
 

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This is the type of information I am looking for. Thanks.
Bandy ought to know...
he lives between Edmonton & Calgary...;)
 

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Further info

A few quick notes. If you have never travelled to Canada before you will find things are more expensive. Especially alcohol. Gas in Alberta right now is about $3.00/US gallon in Canadian funds. Gas is a lot more expensive in BC. When you enter the parks to get to Jasper, Alberta you will have to buy a pass. I rode my bike there for the day in September 2014 and a one day pass (which would cover seven bikers) was $20.00. There is a national sales tax in Canada of 5.00% otherwise known as the GST. In BC there is a provincial sales tax of 7.00%. Prepare to pay 12.00% combined tax in BC and 5.00% in Alberta. There is no provincial tax in Alberta.

The reason I suggest omitting Edmonton from your trip is that from the east national park entrance outside of Jasper to Edmonton to Calgary is basically flat prairie. There really is not much to see.

Jasper is smaller than Banff and much less “touristy”. I prefer Jasper and I have been there many times. From Jasper to Banff there are some spectacular sites and practically all side roads from the highway are paved. Make sure when you hit Lake Louise to go to Emerald Lake and Lake Louise which are a few miles off the main highway.
 

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Forgot to mention

Be careful speeding in BC. There are signs up that if you are caught a certain amount of kilometers over the speed limit they can seize your vehicle.
 

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This is our back yard. We've been all over the area.

From Cache Creek, go north on BC99 to BC24 and skip Kamloops. You're not missing much. There is camping at Bridge Lake.

From Jasper, head south on 93 to Banff. I reiterate --- there's nothing in Edmonton that would justify a two day detour. The best riding is in the mountains.

IMHO, BC6 is the best way easy-west across BC. The road is fabulous and there is little traffic. From Banff, you can go south through Kootenay Park to Cranbrook and west to Creston to get to the best riding in BC, or you can head for Revelstoke and then south to Nakusp. BC31A is choice.

Model A Inn in Branbrook is clean and inexpensive.
Toad Rock Creek Motorcycle Campground (near Ainsworth) is not to be missed. If you have time, stay two days and on the second day do the loop Toad Rock to Kaslo - New Denver - Nelson - Toad Rock.

The Kaslo Hotel has great food.

Dome Quixote in New Denver is a funky place to stay, not expensive.

The Bear's Claw Lodge in Cache Creek is clean and inexpensive.

There is AWESOME food at The Pony in Pemberton. No accommodations there except B&Bs.

Heading back, the ride from Osoyoos through Omak and across the North Cascades Highway is awesome. The riding between Kettle Falls and Omak is also fine.

If you come south through Salmo, stal on Le Clerc Rd on the east side of the Pend O'Reille River. There are crossings at Usk and Newport.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. As I said, we've been through BC and Washington many times. I plan this trip annually. on the way to or from Victoria via Washington and/or BC.

BTW, the ferry will add another $100 to your trip, but Port Townsend or Anacortes to Vancouver Island will bypass the urban desert between Auburn and North Vancouver.

Regards
Scott Fraser
Calgary
 

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Hate to admit it

I lived in the Edmonton area for twenty years and you are not missing anything. The only thing I would add to the previous post is to build a bit of flex into your schedule. There is a lot of great roads and side trips to take.
 

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The suggestions by dsfraser are very good. Another alternative is to continue east from Cranbrook BC to Highway 22 north near Pincher Creek Alberta. Continue north as far as Longview. This is called the Cowboy Trail. At Longview head west and north on highway 40, the Kananaskis Trail, a favorite of Calgary cyclists. At Highway 1 you may want to skip the big city of Calgary and head west to Banff and on from there. The Cowboy Trail and Kananaskis Trail are two of my favorite roads for both scenery and cycling.
 

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Scroll serf just stole my thunder. Take his suggestion and a camera. Thank us later. Pushed two different herds of mountain sheep down the road went we went through.
Regards, Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I wish to thank all of you so far. I will be jotting notes to take with me. I figure I can do this trip for about $1000 USD. I looked at this route and compaired it to Edelweiss Bike tours one and it is close but they want $8500 to $9500 for renting a bike and lodging.

If you don't know me, I am an all weather rider. Rain does not bother me a bit and wind tickles. I do cruise at 5 to 10 MPH over the speed limit so I do know I must watch it. Gravel roads are a bit of a problem but I can handle them if needed.

I plan on doing all maintenance before I leave and have a fresh front tire. The Darkside Car tire I have on the rear is about 60% tread left and should be fine. I may make a trailer to tow behind me and carry some extra gas and other items.

I know no GUNS! How about a hunting style knife and a Estwing Tommyhawk hatchet? The hatchet has a pointed hammer head on one side and a razor sharp blade on the other.
 

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Done all of these routes many times and so far agree with all. You have to do the Jasper/Banff parkway...there is nothing like it and the front range cowboy trail is a don't miss as well. When you do the Banff/Jasper parkway(not if!) be sure to take the side trip to Mt. Edith Cavell, recent good pavement, lots of curves, and great scenery as well. Look up and mark all of the hot springs on your map, Banff, Radium, Ainsworth etc, etc, I never miss them when riding. Also join the Canadian Hostelling association which is good in B.C. and Alberta and costs an average $25/night, they all have cooking facilities, are usually situated in the best areas for tourism and have very knowledgeable staff or "other inmates" for up to date road/weather info. I would stay away from Vancouver and the coast and make a circle tour through the Kootanies, cowboy trail, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise etc. If you do come to Vancouver follow your map which shows the Duffey Lake Road, Pemberton, Whistler route or if you come through the center of the province use No. 1 Trans Canada and stay away from the Coquihalla which is a very fast direct route with very little soul. I'm jealous :D Oops, I forgot...if you go to the front range see if you can fit in a trip to Drumheller, fascinating history and museums there, don't go any farther though...nothing but flat after there!
 

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Another thing I forgot to mention, there is no free camping allowed in the Parks and they are very vigilant and knowledgeable at knowing where to look for you so that's why the hostels are such a good idea in the Park zone. I do know of some "secret campgrounds" but they are not really advisable for motorcycles and as MacDoc's photos show there are an incredible number of bears out there who are VERY used to looking at us as a food provider! Let alone the bears, the parks are chock full of any number of animals who will do their best to make certain you don't get any sleep. Another good place to sleep, at least in Banff, is the Salvation Army! Right in the middle of town and just a few blocks from the Banff Springs Hotel which is another cool place to visit.
 

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The suggestions by dsfraser are very good. Another alternative is to continue east from Cranbrook BC to Highway 22 north near Pincher Creek Alberta. Continue north as far as Longview. This is called the Cowboy Trail. At Longview head west and north on highway 40, the Kananaskis Trail, a favorite of Calgary cyclists. At Highway 1 you may want to skip the big city of Calgary and head west to Banff and on from there. The Cowboy Trail and Kananaskis Trail are two of my favorite roads for both scenery and cycling.
If you go this route, be very wary of the weather. Don't go there if the sky is black. Trust me on this one. It is an hour-long stretch through the Porcupine Hills and there is no shelter, not even a tree. The weather through there can be freakish dangerous, with 40mph crosswinds, copious rain and hail they have to plow off the road. Go north on AB 2, where there is a town every twenty miles if you need to run for cover. Otherwise, it's a very nice drive. As scrollderf suggests, the road west from Longview through Kananaskis to Canmore is spectacular, but start with a full tank of gas. Highwood Pass opens on June 13 each year. The main highway is at the top, with Banff is a few miles west and Calgary an hour to the east. (Hi there!)

Another road you should know about is the Banff Parkway, which cuts off the highway just west of Banff. It is a fantastic ride if there is no traffic, paralleling the main highway to Lake Louise.

https://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=Bow+Valley+Pkwy/AB-1A+W&daddr=51.2542479,-115.853684+to:51.2925359,-115.9744571+to:Unknown+road&hl=en&sll=51.252461,-115.935974&sspn=0.657536,1.229095&geocode=FWjKDAMdYi8b-Q;FecTDgMdjDYY-SmhNq9nCEx3UzEOxRbJP5uDIA;FXepDgMdx14W-SnjXImbqU93UzH3foY7YArusA;FfyxEAMdc08T-Q&mra=ls&via=1,2&t=m&z=11

Anyway, those are random suggestions. The way we roll, we cover that distance (3200km/2000mi) in about nine days. If you have more than that, there are lots of options.

Regards
Scott Fraser
Calgary
 

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Knives and Hatchet

There is no issue carrying camping supplies such as knives, hatchets, etc into Canada if you are driving across the border. As you know, guns are a no no as are undeclared supplies of booze, tobacco, banned drugs and certain foods and firewood. If you are hauling a trailer there is a remote chance they might ask you to open it up for a quick peek. Sometimes border officers may ask that you remove your helmet for photo id purposes. It is also taboo to wear sunglasses during your discussions. That is pretty well universal.

As others have mentioned, you may want to forego the Edmonton leg of your trip. The city is nice but the scenery along the road between Edmonton and Calgary involves a great deal of flat prairie grassland. Instead, you might want to consider adjusting your route to take in Drumheller's Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology before hitting Calgary. The topography (Badlands) in this neck of the woods is quite pretty.

One final consideration is the time frame in which you plan to travel. Roads and accommodations are packed during the prime summer vacation period of July 1st till the end of August when the kids are out of school. June and early September travel periods tend to be less hectic on the roads with lower rates for accommodations.

I have been coast to coast on a motorcycle in Canada and can truthfully report that riding through the Rockies, visiting Banff and Jasper National Parks, and surrounding areas, should be on everyone's bucket list.
 

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Have to agree with dsfraser

The weather can be unpredictable. There have been a few times where the sky turned and I got pounded by rain and hail with no place to get shelter. The Highwood Pass through Longview is a great trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Rain, not a problem. I live in the Pacific NorthWet. Hail and snow does not bother me too much IF I am caught out in it but I will not start my day thinking "I'll just ride my scooter 30 miles in the snow". I battle 40 to 50 MPH winds so often that it too is not a problem.

What is a problem is when you can see the weather is turning bad so you stop and donn the wet weather gear and then the sun pops out and here you are, "The Michelin Man" in 90 Degree F sunshine.
 

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Rain, not a problem. I live in the Pacific NorthWet. Hail and snow does not bother me too much IF I am caught out in it but I will not start my day thinking "I'll just ride my scooter 30 miles in the snow". I battle 40 to 50 MPH winds so often that it too is not a problem.
Don't underestimate the ferocity of an Alberta thunderstorm. We get more hail here than anywhere else in the world and the Porcupine Hills are prime territory. I lived on the Wet Coast for years and the weather there is nothing like it. In 2013, Canmore was flooded out with 39" of rain in three hours. That's thirteen inches per hour, more than they ever get on the coast.

In 2011 we were headed north on AB22. Ten miles up from Cowley, we stopped to don our rain gear. A woman was coming south, saw us, pulled in and ordered us into her truck. She said the road was closed ahead until they finished plowing and that there was big hail coming. She was right. On the ground, it was the size of golf balls. An hour later we saw the plows go by and ten minutes later we continued. We rode through ruts, wet pavement flanked by 3" of accumulated hail. There were six vehicles in the ditch along the way: one car, two SUVs, a third SUV with a smashed house trailer, a fourth with a smashed boat, and a fifth with an undamaged toy trailer. This was the July 1 long weekend...

In September 2012 I discovered I was mortal. My son and I rode from Cranbrook to Calgary and came up AB22 when we were caught in heavy rain. This was day four in the rain for me and my gear was damp. The air temperature was 36° F. By the time we reached Longview, my hands and feet were soaked and I was suffering from hypothermia. I could not focus on the road, nor could I move my fingers to manage the controls. After a few hours my wife came to get us and we rode our bikes home next day. It was an experience I plan carefully never to repeat. Just sayin'.

The storm in July and the one in August were freak events, but not uncommon. The September soaking is my own fault for pushing the limits --- I was on the wrong side of the mountains when the season changed.

The point is that the weather along that highway can be very violent and can change from sunshine to freezing rain in thirty minutes. Beware. If the sky is black, don't go up AB22. Take the main highway, where there is a town every few miles. Be safe.

What is a problem is when you can see the weather is turning bad so you stop and don the wet weather gear and then the sun pops out and here you are, "The Michelin Man" in 90 Degree F sunshine.
That's just part of riding, no more than a nuisance. Staying dry and warm is all that matters.

Ride Safe
Scott Fraser
Calgary
 
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