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My First Tour

Old 12-11-12, 01:34 PM
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CCgirl83
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My First Tour

It's been a few years in the making but I set my date. May 2013 I will start on my trip across Canada for my first real big tour.

I'm a bit nervous to say the least trying to think of everything I need for the trip.

What I do have is my Long Haul Trucker, tent, sleeping bag, gas stove, rear panniers and one paper map of Saskatchewan (its the first to arrive).

Can any one tell me how to get a copy of Alberta's road maps that would make my day.





Any advice?
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Old 12-11-12, 03:14 PM
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When I cycled across Canada a couple of years ago Alberta, B.C. and Quebec were the only three provinces I wasn't able to get a free map from the tourist agency. I ended up buying maps for those provinces when I arrived.
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Old 12-11-12, 04:48 PM
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Thanks for the heads up, I just thought I was bad at finding them. What route did you take? Any suggested ways?
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Old 12-12-12, 01:21 AM
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Are you a member of Canadian Automobile Association? If so, you should be able to get free maps of all the provinces.

If not, when you get into Alberta, you can get maps at the information centres, or gas stations, etc.

If you're in Canada, you can also check bookstores ... many of them have maps of places all over the world.



Which direction are you going across Canada? I can give you quite a bit of advice about getting across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and a little part of Ontario. Alberta is pretty easy to cross, depending on what you want to see.
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Old 12-12-12, 02:12 PM
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I'm planing to go from Mile 0 to all the capital cities starting with Vancouver, to Calgary by way or Revelstoke and Banff (Friends live here) next to Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina to Winnipeg. I'm Not sure if I want to take the 17 or the 71 from Kenora to Thunder Bay. Then I was thinking From Thunder Bay along the 17 to the 11 to visit family in Cochrane and North Bay or just follow the 17 to Sault St Marie. From Sault St Marie if I take the 17 I'd go on to Sudbury then South to hit London Back up to Toronto up on through to Ottawa Montreal Around to Fredericton to Charlottetown down to Halifax and if fear doesn't stop me on to St Johns.
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Old 12-12-12, 03:17 PM
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I would recommend taking 71/11 from Kenora to Thunder Bay. There's very little traffic on it. Instead of going to all the way to Sudbury and then heading south, I would recommend turning south at Espanola, and going across Manitoulin Island. Again, much less traffic.
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Old 12-12-12, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by paul2 View Post
I would recommend taking 71/11 from Kenora to Thunder Bay. There's very little traffic on it. Instead of going to all the way to Sudbury and then heading south, I would recommend turning south at Espanola, and going across Manitoulin Island. Again, much less traffic.
My information is old and dated, but when I crossed Canada 15 years ago, 17 direct from Kenora to Thunder Bay had a reputation as being one of the more accident-prone Canadian highways. I did 71/11 instead and it was a good ride. I hope Ontario has fixed 17 in the mean time, so that might not be an issue any more.

I also crossed from Espanola via the Manitoulin Ferry. The route I took was pretty good across there, though I ended up on some roads not too far from Toronto (which I skirted) that were fairly busy without much shoulders.
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Old 12-13-12, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CCgirl83 View Post
I'm planing to go from Mile 0 to all the capital cities starting with Vancouver, to Calgary by way or Revelstoke and Banff (Friends live here) next to Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina to Winnipeg. I'm Not sure if I want to take the 17 or the 71 from Kenora to Thunder Bay. Then I was thinking From Thunder Bay along the 17 to the 11 to visit family in Cochrane and North Bay or just follow the 17 to Sault St Marie. From Sault St Marie if I take the 17 I'd go on to Sudbury then South to hit London Back up to Toronto up on through to Ottawa Montreal Around to Fredericton to Charlottetown down to Halifax and if fear doesn't stop me on to St Johns.
So, up the Icefield Parkway from Banff to Jasper, then across through Hinton, Edson and into Edmonton? Out of Edmonton to Saskatoon is probably going to be some of the most boring part of the journey, although the Battlefords may liven things up a bit. You can probably ride the Yellowhead in Alberta (it should have a decent shoulder), but the pavement and shoulder will deteriorate as you get into Saskatchewan. There you might want to try some quieter secondary roads.
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Old 12-13-12, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
My information is old and dated, but when I crossed Canada 15 years ago, 17 direct from Kenora to Thunder Bay had a reputation as being one of the more accident-prone Canadian highways.
As of two years ago, Highway 17 had a good shoulder from Kenora to Dryden, and then the usual crappy shoulder from there.
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Old 12-14-12, 04:01 PM
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Thanks I'll keep that in mind
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Old 12-14-12, 09:48 PM
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From Hope, B.C., I'd avoid much of the Trans-Canada Highway in B.C. and follow Highway 3. It's a two-lane highway with narrow shoulders in places, but traffic isn't too bad and motorists are respectful of cyclists. There are some beautiful places on this road, but there are also some huge hills.

To go north to the Trans-Canada, Highway 97 is quite busy through the Okanagan Valley. It's beautiful country, but the summer traffic has a lot of motorhomes driven by people without much experience handing such a big rig.

If you instead continue east, you can follow quieter roads to connect with the Trans-Canada and the Alberta border.
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Old 12-15-12, 10:48 AM
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From Vancouver to somewhere around Chilliwack, you can't be on the TransCanada either, but there are lots of other roads which can take you out of Vancouver all the way to Chilliwack. Check out 0 Avenue, for example. Traffic there gets a little thick around Sumas, and it does have some steep hills, but otherwise it's not too bad. There is a grid of other roads as well in that area to choose from.

Somewhere around Chilliwack, you can go onto the TransCanada, and it isn't too bad. It is busy, but there is a wide shoulder. I've cycled up and down on it between near Chilliwack and Hope.

And I agree with Newspaperguy ... Highway 3 is probably your better option. I've driven that 2 or 3 times in recent years (last time just about 6 weeks ago), and thought it might make a good cycling route. But it does indeed have some significant hills so if you're going to do something like that, you'll probably want to think about travelling light and training on hills.
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Old 12-15-12, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
If you instead continue east, you can follow quieter roads to connect with the Trans-Canada and the Alberta border.
If you decide to go east from Osoyoos to Sparwood the roads are quiet. There are a few hills (passes) to climb but the camping spots are well spaced. One thing is that you enter Alberta near Pincher which has a reputation for being a bit breezy. Nothing you can't overcome though.
Lots of cycle tourists use that corridor.
I rode to Cranbrook last June during the rainy part of the month. If you head out in early June you might bring some heavier clothes that you can mail home once you clear the hills.

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Old 12-16-12, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You can probably ride the Yellowhead in Alberta (it should have a decent shoulder), but the pavement and shoulder will deteriorate as you get into Saskatchewan. There you might want to try some quieter secondary roads.
We rode the Yellowhead through Saskatchewan last year up to Yorkton, and the shoulder and pavement were fine (with the exception of a few miles of it outside Saskatoon, where the shoulder turned to gravel.) The shoulder was wide the whole way. It is a fairly busy road, though.

If you go that way, you should definitely stop at Battleford and also Elk Island outside of Edmonton.
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Old 12-17-12, 12:21 PM
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Thank you for the good advice about routes but I really want to see the area going up towards Kamloops and Revelstoke. Then over to see Banff.
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Old 12-17-12, 12:51 PM
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The best choice would be to take side roads in the Lower Mainland until Hope. From Hope to Kamloops, you have three choices.

The Coquihalla Highway is a short and direct route, but you do not want this one. The traffic there is intense and it's not a nice ride. It's high and it's rather boring. Avoid.

The Trans-Canada from Hope is a beautiful road, but there are seven tunnels along the way. Be careful. In some of the tunnels, there is a light signal you can push to indicate to motorists that there is a cyclist inside. Some also have dedicated bike areas. There are some good climbs on the Trans-Canada in that area, but nothing too bad. Once you get through the tunnels, you'll go through some beautiful dry country. Before the Coquihalla was built, the Trans-Canada was the main highway from the Lower Mainland to the B.C. Interior. Now it's not as busy. Towns along the way are small and services are limited, particularly if you need something bike-related.

If you don't want the tunnels, you could follow Highway 3 to Princeton and then go north along Highway 5A. Highway 3 has quite big climb up Allison Pass and another lesser climb to Sunday Summit. Highway 5A is a quiet road and it's good for cycling. There's a bike shop in Princeton and I think Merritt has something too. Both of those are big enough to have a decent range of services.

From Kamloops east, the Trans-Canada is a busy highway, especially in summer with the tourist traffic. The section from Kamloops to Revelstoke is not bad, although I think the summer traffic is a little heavier on the weekends than during the week.

From Revelstoke to Golden, you will pass through eight covered snow sheds. Use caution. There are too many accidents in these snow sheds, even in summer. The highway from Revelstoke to Golden is around 150 kilometres. There's one gas station/store/restaurant at the summit if you need food or water. It tends to be expensive there.
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Old 12-19-12, 06:43 PM
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I'm leaning on taking the TCH from Hope. I I don't mind tunnels and plan on doing some camping along the way as funds will be limited.
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Old 12-19-12, 07:07 PM
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Where are you from, and have you done some cycling in Canada?
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Old 12-19-12, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Where are you from, and have you done some cycling in Canada?
I live in souther ontairo, I've done a couple of day trips down to a local beach and back with some killer hills. I've been wanting to do this trips since I was 18. This time I'm not letting anything stop me.
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Old 12-20-12, 08:59 PM
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You might also have a look at the Cycle Canada site. It might give you some ideas of where they run their tours.
http://www.cyclecanada.com/
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Old 12-24-12, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You might also have a look at the Cycle Canada site. It might give you some ideas of where they run their tours.
http://www.cyclecanada.com/
Thanks for the link. I checked out their route and it looks like they go along the same one I was planning for the most part. Their fees on the other hand are a lot more then I was looking to spend.

I was planning on stealth camping, using the site warmshowers.com and the kindness of strangers for places to stay during my trip. That way my money would be used for food and not camp sites.
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