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Toronto - Vancouver May 2006

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Toronto - Vancouver May 2006

Old 12-22-05, 01:29 AM
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A first for me and I'm quite looking forward to it. Any interest to tag along would be most welcome!

But...onto the question: Where can I find 1:250 000 maps for the distance (and do they exist)? Might a couple in 1:500 000 suit me well?

I am finding it unusually difficult to find much map information on the 'net, as absurd as that may read--the most fitting, thus far, seems to be MapArt, which doesn't (apparently) show motels and such... (Also: Am I being too nit-picky to seek such detail?)

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Nicholas Kokar; 12-22-05 at 01:32 AM. Reason: Clarification, Grammar
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Old 12-22-05, 03:33 AM
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You won't. The Canadian government topographical service (whatever its name, nowadays) has 1:500 000 and 1:50 000 of the entire country, but they are not up to date. Since you leave only in May, look for Proviincial tourist infos on the net. All provinces send information booklets and many send (or sent) their provincial map at the same time. You will have enough mapping information with almost all their maps. The less interesting maps are:

- BC : if you want to explore the Lower Mainland (aka Vancouver to Hope) and maybe for Highway 3 near Castlegar and the Okanagan valley.
- Alta : their map is smallish, but I don't think too many local roads are missing.
- Ontario : for Southern Ontario only, because there aren't any local roads in the North.

From the other information booklets you receive, tear out interesting pages, put important notes on your maps, etc. and you should be OK.
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Old 12-22-05, 08:06 PM
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Thanks, Michel!
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Old 12-22-05, 08:08 PM
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Shouldn't you be going in the other direction? I would imagine the chance of headwind is distressingly large if you start in Toronto and head west.
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Old 12-22-05, 08:52 PM
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I had thought of that--and that is why I figured none too many east-to-west logs are found on the 'net. :-/

My purpose is to visit a friend on the west coast, and I figured to make the trek an interesting and challenging one, as opposed to flying (or riding the train, or driving) out.

Besides, I am not on a tight schedule.
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Old 12-23-05, 03:05 PM
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From the sources i have gathered, in the early season you have a 50/50 shot a head wind in either direction. Cycling across canada last year, i had 50% head and tail winds. I started June 4th and hit Toronto around mid july. The difference for me: 90kms with a headwind, 250 kms with a tailwind, 150 with no real winds.

As mentioned above, all the provinces will send you free maps via their websites, and you can pic them up at tourism booths along the way (If the are opened in may). The Mapart series of maps is decent enough to do the job, the Provincal tourism maps do have a few extra details depending on the province. Make sure to get the Provincal Camping and Accomedation guides, but dont depend on them. They often leave off campgrounds/hotels and have closed ones still on the list.

Best of Luck!
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Old 12-23-05, 11:13 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Andrew! (By the way: Your journal, "Cycling Across Canada" is an absolute treat.)

I have contacted the tourism boards of each province, and have thus far been promised packages from two. I don't expect immediate reply from all, as it is currently the holiday season. (Also: I did spot a 1:250 000 map--Rand McNally Road Atlas--at the local Chapters this afternoon.)

Further: I have ordered my bicycle! A 2006 Specialized Sequoia Elite. The crew at the shop (Oakville Cycle and Sports) are very helpful (as are many of the places I have checked out, really) and had great information to share.
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Old 12-24-05, 11:27 AM
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I did all the research with the online tourism websites. I think i received packages from them all. Bc is a bit of a pain beacuse they break it up into regions.

One recommendation regarding your bike, have them rebuild the rear wheel before you head off, most bikes come with machine build wheels that i dont trust after my experience last summer. Maybe i am paranoid now. I had no problems with the rear wheel after Urbane Cyclist built it.

THanks for the compliments about the journal, i never like anything i write so i am cheerfully surprised when others enjoy it.

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Old 12-26-05, 07:08 PM
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Backroad mapbooks are another option. This is a series of maps in guide book form that list the smallest possible roads. More info can be found on this page on BT101:

https://www.bicycletouring101.com/Pla...adMapbooks.htm

In the US I've used other books but with similar level of detail. Essentially what I look for is a map book that lists as many small roads as possible.

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Old 12-27-05, 01:00 PM
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Hey, Im doin the same sorta trip starting on May 1st next year as well, But im going from Vancouver to the maritimes, and then im not stopping, im just gonna keep goin around the world. maybe ill see ya in the middle haha. I also had trouble getting maps off the internet, but luckily for me I have connections in the AMA, so I got maps for every province from them, and they work pretty well. cya on the road

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Old 12-27-05, 07:45 PM
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Thanks for the heads-up, Jamie! I'll check that out.

@ Steve: That sounds like an awesome trip! All the best on that. I plan to do an around-the-world once I am a bit more schooled in the whole process, but--dang, that really is awesome. (I am nothing short of envious, as you may have noticed.) See you in the middle!

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Old 12-28-05, 02:56 AM
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I was watching South Park the other night, and according to them there is only one road across Canada, the key thing is to get headed in the right direction.
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Old 12-28-05, 11:54 PM
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True, but only in a few places. Most other places, there are more than one road.

1. In British Columbia, only Route 1 leaves Victoria, and if you choose the northern route, it's Route 16 for some 900 km east of Prince Rupert.
If you were to start from Alaska, it's Route 1 (Alaska highway) for a good part of Yukon.

2. Two stretches of Ontario don't have alternates:
- Route 17 from the Manitoba border to a point just East of Kenora (about 60 km). Then, if you want to be off the 17, it's a 300 or 400 km detour.
- Route 17 (twinned with Route 11) from Thunder Bay to Nipigon (a little less than 100 km). Then, unless you want the solitary Northern Route (routes 11 in Ontario and 117 in Québec), you're stuck with highway 17 for another 300 or 800 km.
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Old 12-29-05, 12:07 AM
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There are a few other possibilities in the West.

It's extremely remote - with a few unpaved sections - and an absolutely brutal climb up Heckman Pass - - but a person could take the ferry from Port Hardy and ride east from Bella Coola to Williams Lake, cut over to Clearwater on the Thompson River and follow Rte 5 up to the Yellowhead.

Then there's Rte 99 heading north fromthe Vancouver metro area going thru Whistler - - pretty busy early on, but it thins out north of Whistler. You can either head thru Kamloops and then north along the Thompson or avoid the Trans-Can altogether by going north to 100-Mile House and cutting over.

Finally there's the Crowsnest highway (Rte 3) which you can combine with the Kettle Valley Trail if you have a mountain bike or have good, wide tires.

I've been on short stretches of the Trans-Can in Sask, Alta, and BC and - - believe me - - I'd much rather ride on other roads if possible. It's not as bad as American Interstates, but almost. The 4-lane parts of the Yellowhead are also yucky.

Consider Rtes 11, 12, % 13 in Alberta. That would mean cutting off from the Icefields Parkway at Saskatchewan Junction, but these routes have lots of nice towns and parks for camping along the way and a lot less traffic than the two transcontinental routes.

I'm no help in the east.

Best - J

PS - Do Jasper and head south on the Icefields rather than Banff and Lake Louise. Jasper is nice - - Banff is a zoo.
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Old 01-03-06, 06:07 AM
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Thanks for all the information, guys.

I will be mapping the route within the next few days.
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Old 01-03-06, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
There are a few other possibilities in the West.

– ... Heckman Pass (highway 20)...
– Then there's Rte 99 heading north fromthe Vancouver metro area going thru Whistler...
– Finally there's the Crowsnest highway (Rte 3) which you can combine with the Kettle Valley Trail if you have a mountain bike or have good, wide tires.
...
PS - Do Jasper and head south on the Icefields rather than Banff and Lake Louise. Jasper is nice - - Banff is a zoo.
I never did highway 20 through Bella Coola, but that one and the gorgeous highway 99 have long sections without services. Also if you decide to use highway 99, there are major highway construction projects planned prior to the 2010 Winter Games, so it might be worth checking through the B.C. Ministry of Transportation website to make sure you won't get a lot of gravel and mud.

As for the Kettle Valley Trail, look through the web, get some books (or other info) and inquire beforehand. Even in the best of times, the Kettle Valley Trail was a more "savage" route, with a few washouts, missing bridges and other semi-permanent detours. So while it probably made a nice offroad trip, it is definitely not an easy alternative to the highway. Not anything like the "Petit train du Nord" or any other well groomed rails-to-trails project. And with the devastating forest fires in 2003 or 2004, many wonderful bridges of the Myra Canyon burned and I'm not sure about the current state of the detours.

As for traffic, in B.C., highways 1, 3 and 16 are all highways with lots of traffic. There are good paved shoulders on most of them, but the key word is "most", so you may be out of shoulders out of the blue in the middle of a curve. Highway 1 has also lots of recently fallen rocks, so shoulders are not always clear. All in all, not too bad.

I don't think the traffic is worst in the Prairies than it is in B.C., except you are not in the mountains anymore. Car drivers are more on "automatic pilot mode", and you too are. So traffic seems much more annoying when you simply ride for 150-200 km in a day than when you climb hills, stop for flowers, etc. Between the major highways in the Prairies, highway 16 is probably worst than highway 1 because most of highway 1 is twinned, so cars may move easily in the left lane when they pass you. Still, with the number of small routes around, use them and your trip will be more pleasurable! In the Prairies – but especially in Saskatchewan – beware that villages are either small or tiny and oftentimes, the only store in town isn't even a well supplied convenience store. When they say that "farming is tough" and that the Prairies are loosing out on population, that's mostly in villages of Saskatchewan and Western Manitoba that it can be witnessed.



Finally, three sites worth checking:
Adam K. website with lots of information on various B.C. routes,
British Columbia – Alaska FAQ.
Mark Boyd's 2001 Tour; he didn't like the very touristy aspect of the Icefield Parkway and much preferred the highway 11.
Personnally, I have driven both; I wouldn't mind cycling the Icefield Parkway in early June or in September (be prepared for very cold nights), but I understand his concern if you ride through these places in the middle of July!
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