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Route Canada 2010

2 weeks

4,056 km

2,535 miles



In early September 2010, Jayne (for the first time on her own motorcycle) and I did a tour of some of Canada and the USA, for two weeks. A very quick summary of the trip: We rode from Oregon, past Mount Hood, to the Columbia Gorge. After visiting the American Stonehenge, we rode 97 north through Washington state. The border crossing into Canada a few days later was absolutely no problem. We went further along on 97 through British Columbia to Kamloops, and from there along Canadian highway 5 until we came to the Trans-Canada-Highway (16). Until then the ride was quite unspectacular, but we got on Canadian highway 16 we finally saw what we came to see - mountains. We took the 16 to Jasper in Alberta, and from there the Icefields-Parkway (93) south through Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. We took a short side trip to Lake Louise before we went through Kootenay National Park and back to British Columbia. Again the border crossing into Montana/USA was no problem. We went on to Glacier National Park in the USA and later from there we took the 83 south towards Missoula, with a side trip to Garnet Ghost Town. From Missoula we rode the 12 over Lolo Pass to Idaho and further to Walla Walla in Washington. To avoid at least part of the always windy Columbia Gorge we took some back roads from Pendelton in Oregon, heading West, until it got dark. Then we decided, reluctantly, to hit the Gorge, the 205 south and home. Ofcourse, as soon as we hit the gorge, we hit a torrential rain and wind storm.

General information

Click for Jasper, Alberta Forecast

The best time to go to the National Parks of Jasper and Banff in Canada, and Glacier in the USA, is Spring and Fall, because in the high season you have to expect lots of campers, RV's and other traffic. BUT outside of high season -- even just one week after the American Labor Day holiday, many camping sites, hostels and motels are closed, and the remaining ones fill up quickly, often fully booked by 6 p.m. Also some gas stations in Canada close soon after the season ends, e.g. from Oct. 1st until some point in Spring there is no gas between Jasper and Lake Louise (about 240 km/150 miles). One also has to watch for snow and ice, so its best to check out the Road Condition Report. It can also be freezing or below at some elevations.

The currency in Canada is the Canadian Dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, and often one can also pay with US Dollars.

The road conditions are good to very good, except for road construction areas, and on these, sometimes, one often has to ride on gravel. Sites off the main roads, like Garnet Ghost Town, may be all gravel (more on that later). 

American Stonehenge
The American Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington is on top of a hillside high above the Columbia Gorge. It shows what Stonehenge in England looked like once upon a time. It is well done, and by far not as kitschy as we had expected. American Stonehenge
Washington State Already after a few miles in Washington State we were reminded that most of the trip would be in remote areas. Therefore ofcourse gas stations were few and far apart.
Border crossing Border crossing from Washington State/USA to British Columbia/Canada near Osoyoos. We did not have to go through an American exit and then a Canadian entrance -- just a Canadian entrance, which was absolutely no problem. Showing the passport, stamp, done. Jayne didn't get a stamp and was a little angry about it - she has a brand new passport with no stamps in it.
Owl's Nest Resort
Several days into our trip, in Canada, we wanted to camp in Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, but one had to put up the tent on a rough gravel area, and the grass next to it was off limits for tents, so we left camped at a private camping site (Owl's Nest Resort), which was beautiful.
There are a stunning number of wineries in the area around the Okanagan Lake, and the wine is really good, but not cheap.
Okanagan wine
Yellowhead Highway
When we left highway 97 and hit highway 5 (Yellowhead Highway) the landscape finally started to look like we had imagined Canada to look. Yellowhead Highway

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