My husband and I are in the planning stages of a modified Northern Tier cross country journey. Has anyone cycled from Sault Ste. Marie east? How is traffic? Are the people hospitable? Are there places to get food and water? Even knowing the quality of the roads would be great. Thanks!
Sault Ste. Marie and beyond
Last summer I did a Seattle to Maine trip which used parts of the Northern Tier route. I had similar questions and now I have answers. My route took me thru "the Sault" (as they say) east to just south of Sudbury, then south on 529 to Parry Sound, then east on 141/3 to Huntsville, 60 thru Algonquin Prov. Park. to Barrys Bay, then smaller roads and winding my way to Prescott/Ogdensburg Bridge. If you really want all the fine details let me know. There is a bicycling map of eastern Ontario available too. First: the route from Sault east is a bicyclist nightmare! There is a good reason why tours never (or rarely) use this route. It is the only show in town for traffic in, as someone advised me, a province "that takes its resource extraction very seriously". That means mucho traffic, lots of logging and mining vehicles going at breakneck speed. There is usually one lane in each direction and 85% very little (12 inches of crumbling asphalt) room where there should be a shoulder. I figured it was only a matter of time before I was dead or there was a headon collision. This lasted until Sudbury and most of the way to Parry's Sound. There were some recently redone sections with a nice shoulder and maybe things have been improving. But I spent most of 3 or 4 days with my eyes on the white line and my rear view mirror. How was the scenery? I didn't see it! I got off the main road whenever possible. There is a small parallel road at Nairn Center west of Sudbury and 2 alternatives on Rt 529 norht of Parry Sound. Those trips were great! Finally got to see Ontario. The rest of the route was quite nice. People were more reticent than in USA. Rather than them first asking about you, I found you had to jump start the Canadians especially in more remote sections. But once you got them going it was as usual; all hospitality, helpfulness, and curiosity. No problems with food or water, but as you can see from any map there are so stretches between towns, so plan accordingly. Many people take the route south at Espanola on Rt. 6, mainly to get off the TransCanada ASAP(as described above). Chickens!! By the way I did live. If you'd like I can give you my whole route across, but I think this reply is long enough already.
I sent an email to your address listed in your profile in answer to later questions. I don't know if you got it or not.
Consider taking the north side (Canada side).
The roads are not as busy and the prices are better for everything except gas - and you won't need gas. Oh, and cigarettes are more expensive, but I hope you won't need those.
Beer is also more expensive. Alas, you will probably need beer.
The temperatures will be a little cooler on the Canada side as well.
Last edited by mike; 04-05-01 at 09:49 PM.
I agree with JK639: I spent a summer riding across Canada and Northern Ontario is pretty inhospitable to cyclists. Virtually the only road that gets you anywhere is the TransCanada highway, and it's a nightmare of logging and mining trucks, cars and (in summer) RV's.
If you are interested in seeing any part of Ontario, head through southern Ontario from Windsor/Port Huron towards Toronto. Back country, farm land, rolling hills as you head towards the Niagara Escarpment. Continue along the north shore of Lake Ontario and head back through the Adirondacks in NY. Toronto's a gem, and easily accessible to cyclists: There's a bike path that takes you 30 km from one end of the city to the other, right along the lake shore.