Ride Report: Yours to Discover to BC | GTAMotorcycle.com

Ride Report: Yours to Discover to BC

ScorpionT16

Well-known member
I left on August 16th, 2020 with a plan to reach Calgary and spend time with my sister, then head out to Vancouver and do a week long ride out to BC. I packed camping gear with the idea to leave it at my sisters in Calgary when out west so I can travel lighter. I would be working on the road as needed so carried a laptop and would just get a hotel/motel as work popped up.

The bike of choice is a Yamaha T7, with a set of new 50/50 Dunlop Trailmax Mission tires, the plan was to do some gravel roads along the way and then some FSRs out west.

Day 1: Mississauga to Sault Ste. Marie

As I ride I add side roads depending on time and how bored I am of the hwy. Along the ride, later on in the afternoon I start to find places to stay and go from there. I find this method affords the best freedom to explore. For the first few days in Ontario I chose to camp as long as the weather was good and I felt fresh.


Starting off the day, weather was good with a few spots of rain here and there, nothing crazy. Every now and then I'd get of the hwy to take some side roads, slows the pace down, I always hope some of them are gravel.


Overall day 1 was pretty quick and not too many pictures, just enjoying the start of the trip. I ended up staying at Blueberry Hill camp, great oweners and very basic campsites, got some free firewood as a bonus. Only downside to the night was a couple in a van a few sites down that had loud music blasting the whole time, took the peace away, and the main road running right behind the site got a bit noisy.












Day 2: Sault Ste. Marie to Nipigon

Day 2 went a little slower than expected, I was supposed to make it Thunder Bay which didn't happen. Taking camp down in the morning took some time and I left a little late, no worries. Sun was out and weather was good. It was also my first time this far up north in Ontario, so I was slowly absorbing the views.


Im not 100% what side road this was, though it went into a residential street and went alongside the lake with some great views and curves. I did get lost here somewhere trying to take some gravel roads back out, and ended up just back tracking loosing some time. This back tracking on gravel roads happens quite often as either the roads are washed out, lead nowhere, or just plain get too sketchy for a fully loaded bike.




One of the viewpoints just off the Trans Canada HWY, the roads were pretty empty and view points like these very quiet.




Along the Trans Canada there are lots of places to stop and take in the scenery. A few people would come up and chat, I ended up meeting another rider who just finished school and bought an older BMW 1200GS as his first bike, he just loaded it and left from Nelson BC, set to ride into Quebec and find a job there till next year. He was just wild camping along the way and happy to be out of the prairie's. This is the freedom I love to see that Motorcycle's afford to offer people without limitations or worries.





The day ended at Nipigon Marina and Campgrounds, highly recommend this place. It was only $11 for the night, quiet, and well behaved campers all around. The views of the river are great at night, as they are in the morning. Only odd part was that they sold firewood and had no kindling, I ended finding enough twigs around to make things work and it was a lovely night.

As the night was clear I slept without the rainfly on the tent, midway through the night I saw a mini aurora in the sky which was awesome!
 
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slowbird

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Love it! Keep the report coming :)
 

MacDoc

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that is light with camping gear (y)
 

ScorpionT16

Well-known member
I did a fair bit of touring on a bicycle before I could afford a Motorcycle, it taught me to pack light and carry what's needed. I just transferred that practice to motorcycle's.

im using a set of Enduristan Blizzard XLs and a Tornado Medium duffle up top, alongside a small 15L nanuk case at the back that just holds basics like the Camera, handwipes, some snacks for quick access, sunglasses etc... Total of about 80 Litres storage, I have a Kriega R15 bagpack I use for hydration/paperwork

There is also a 12 Litre pack attached to the crash-bar upfront that holds tools and a full first aid kit. I learned those should be easily accessible and not thrown far away in luggage.




On my way to Ottawa a few years back, 40 Liters total with camping gear, I did try Hammock camping with the Motorcycle on a tour last year, didn't enjoy that so this year switched to a tent/pad.

 

ScorpionT16

Well-known member
Day 3: Nipigon to Kenora (Rushing River Provincial park)
Plans for the day were to do a little of the Trans Canada, have lunch at Thunder bay then get off onto the Hwy11 and up onto the 622


The night at camp got fairly chilly, waking up I was greeted to the warmth of the sun alongside mildew covered plants and the Nipigon river that had a column of mist. I love moments like these, the boat in the early morning mist, shimmering of the water, and mystery of the mist.


The Nipigon River Bridge is visible from the campgrounds, apparently it lights up at night, I didn't get a shot of that as I went to sleep, however there is a nice viewpoint right next to it that people can climb upto if in the area,


The moment before the packing all starts, I always wipe down the tent and wait a few minuets for things to dry, packing and later unpacking a wet tent is never fun.


I stopped by the Terry Fox Memorial on the way to Thunder bay, i didn't know this existed, just saw the signs on the road. I think its very well done, having studied Architecture, we used to do case studies on Memorials, and they can be hardest stories to design. This one is well done. The approach to the memorial is nicely enclosed by asymmetrical trees and a hard path, as one reaches the sculpture, behind lie the views of Lake superior. The trees symbolize life, ever changing with the seasons and out of our control, never perfect yet frame our destiny, in between lies the hard stone path, showing the contrast and notion that the paths we walk maybe hard and raised with obstacles, however if we keep going through this forest of life, we can be greeted with vastness, not the view itself, the water of Lake Superior reflects the vastness of our ability, also flanked by hills and what seems like a never ending land, and somehow always out of reach yet right there. He didn't run from this fear, he ran toward it.




Once in Thuder Bay I had lunch at the Growing Season Eatery, the food was okay, was just nice having something fresh on the road. In any major cities I pass through I'll find and try the top health restaurants around on Google, if the food is good I stop back on my way and also take dinner/lunch for the next day as take out. I didn't get any pictures here, as I was tight on time to reach Kenora.

On Hwy11 along the way I did see a chopper and pilot loading fuel, if it wasn't for Covid I would have gone up to him and asked for ride to wherever he was going to scout for the day, he was solo and just about to take off.



On the 622, I started the usual side road exploration, however this time things got a little spooky. I took this road that quickly turned red, and had potholes everywhere, as I was riding I was telling myself it looks like a mine field went off here, they were unusual. Then the surface changes to smooth, still red and overgrown all around, I reach a bridge and the road disappeared behind it. I stop to look at the map since it feels like I'm about to encounter the walking dead.



The map just shows the road go around and then a few kms later back onto the 622, so I continue forward to encounter some danger signs and the roads closed, at this point things are feeling very quiet.


I did not expect a Mine hazard area in the middle of Ontario, now I'm wondering if that's what all the potholes on the road were.


So I decide to turn around for obvious reasons, down the road I stop to take one last picture, things are very quiet now, no leaves rustling, sounds, birds, nothing. It's as though I got stuck in a vacuum, the whole area has a weird energy. There was a small stream running toward the left, I look over and hear something rustling, then it starts to throw things into the stream, sort of signalling it knows I'm there and to get out. Now, given that I love the Missing411 cases documented by David Paulides, including the documentaries The Hunted and Vanished, I'm starting to see a pattern in this area. I'm sure there are things we aren't aware of, outside of our perception all around us, in what form, where, or how I do not know, I just love the mystery behind the unexplained. In this case, I got goosebumps, I jumped on the bike, and bolted out of there dodging the mine field stricken pot holes, looking at the back with the feeling something was following me.


Theres a reason for this sticker 😅


On the way up the 622, there are lots and lots of FSRs around, I spotted a few and made note of them to finish them another time, I didn't want to do them now due to time, getting lost, or wrecking the bike at the start of the trip.




I lost a fair bit of time on the 622 stopping and back tracking on roads like the mine field one, so didn't take many pictures on the way to camp. It was getting late, and the only campsite I could get a hold of was Rushing Rivers Provincial Park, I normally hate staying at provincial parks due to the high cost and packed sites. They had a site, and I cannot recommend the place for a nights stay. The site was overgrown, expensive at over $47, on a slope with a rock, jam packed with mosquitoes, and campers all around with kids. The site itself also had a fair bit of sand that was annoying to get off the tent and clean in the morning.


 

ScorpionT16

Well-known member
nice
I need to learn how to pack light like that

how's the T7 for long days on pavement?
I really like it, being 6ft tall I get clean air on the helmet and find the ergonomics perfect. The CP2 engine is smooth, no vibrations and chugs along on hills like nothings there, I do find the seat a bit hard, though its long and lots of ways to move around on it and stand up when needed. I did a few 1000kms+ days, once seat concepts make something i'll definitely try it out. I did buy a sheep skin along the ride I'll mention in the report later :)

i'm more surprised at the Dunlop tires, I thought I'd have to change them half way through, and 11,000kms later, they aren't even 50% worn nor squared off from the prairies.
 
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shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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I really like it, being 6ft tall I get clean air on the helmet and find the ergonomics perfect. The CP2 engine is smooth, no vibrations and chugs along on hills like nothings there, I do find the seat a bit hard, though its long and lots of ways to move around on it and stand up when needed. I did a few 1000kms+ days, once seat concepts make something i'll definitely try it out. I did buy a sheep skin along the ride I'll mention in the report later :)

i'm more surprised at the Dunlop tires, I thought I'd have to change them half way through, and 11,000kms later, they aren't even 50% worn nor squared off from the prairies.
That's pretty sweet. I'm not even at 8000km and maybe have a couple days left on my tire and it's done.

How is the cornering and/or wet pavement grip on those Dunlops?

Nice ride report!!
 

matthew

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You were in sasquatch territory. The Missing 411 stuff plays out in my head all too often when I'm on a desolate road.
 

regder

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Amazing pics and story, great job!!!
 

HarleyHare

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I'm always amazed at why in this vast country of Canada there is so much room to camp and then head off to a commercial campground for
$47 and getting very little in return. In more congested areas or where services are needed it's okay but in God's Country there is so much room to spread out, and as long as we take our trash with us, I can see no problem, other than the occasional axe murderer or sasquatch. Better to spend that on a motel and get a nice shower and warm room.
 

ReSTored

Well-known member
................ I can see no problem, other than the occasional axe murderer or sasquatch...............
If you're travelling alone running off the road and never being found is also a risk. We were in Castlegar last September visiting friends and they mentioned a motorcyclist missing for months. We traveled some of the same roads he might have been on and it's easy to see that if you ran off the road on a curve and went down a steep hillside you'd be completely invisible from the road.


If you travel alone in remote places then some type of GPS tracker/alert device might be a good idea. SPOT Satellite Communication Devices | Saved by SPOT If you're injured then help will come, if you dead then at least they'll find you.
 

Norcorider

Well-known member
Another excellent and informative thread on a Canadian motorcycle road trip, great story telling. This country is best explored by road, and 2 wheels are better than 4. :)
 

boyoboy

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there is a lot of old mining areas w open umarked holes in ontario/canada
I forget the exact number in ontario, but I believe its over 1000 - they are very slowly being capped by the gov...
heed the warnings, I once stood on the edge of an open hole - unmarked and the fence that had been around it had disolved into the ground and was unrecognizable as a fence. death trap. just a heads up for everyone heading in the bush..

great thread !
 
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ScorpionT16

Well-known member
That's pretty sweet. I'm not even at 8000km and maybe have a couple days left on my tire and it's done.

How is the cornering and/or wet pavement grip on those Dunlops?

Nice ride report!!
I had put the Dunlops a bit before the trip, so they actually have 14,000kms on them now, the front is a bit more worn than the rear, though neither look more than 50% worn, maybe less.

Cornering wise I find them great, like an 80/20 street tire, keep in mind the T7 has a 21in front and 18in rear, so it's no sport bike. I also had to get a 140 rear vs a 150 due to no stock, so it's more round and taller, therefore I don't lean much, the 150 would have been even better for tarmac. Wet weather is great too, no slip and I'm confident in them, just as much the Michelin PR3s I had on the SV650. Even if I just did 80-90% street, its the tire I'll keep using

During the trip lots of bikers were asking about them since they just launched and its been hard to find sizes in stock, actually I cant find any good tires for the T7 in 21/18 in stock atm

I'm always amazed at why in this vast country of Canada there is so much room to camp and then head off to a commercial campground for
$47 and getting very little in return. In more congested areas or where services are needed it's okay but in God's Country there is so much room to spread out, and as long as we take our trash with us, I can see no problem, other than the occasional axe murderer or sasquatch. Better to spend that on a motel and get a nice shower and warm room.
I've done a fair bit of wild camping, it's easier with the Hammock, no need to find clean/flat ground. Private campground have all been in the $10-30 range, with full washrooms. In a pinch I would wild camp, however now avoid it if possible. I almost had my bicycle stolen wild camping at night, add the unknowns up, alongside terrain/areas i'm not familiar with, and I won't sleep well. I agree on the motel thing, though at times prefer to sleep in my own sleeping bag & tent, under the stars to a crackling fire, over a smoke stanched room. Before finding a campground, I look at hotel/motels and if there's anything good under $80 I get the room instead. Out west, I left the camping gear in Calgary and just found hotels in BC.

If you travel alone in remote places then some type of GPS tracker/alert device might be a good idea. SPOT Satellite Communication Devices | Saved by SPOT If you're injured then help will come, if you dead then at least they'll find you.
I have a Garmin inReach, I consider it a must have. Lots of areas in the mountains, even just main hwy's with no cell signal. When I take backcountry, isolated FSRs, it gives peace of mind.
 

ScorpionT16

Well-known member
Day 4: Kenora to Verdin


Well, this particular day turned out to be quiet long, originally I was supposed to make it to Regina and just pass through Manitoba, however things took a turn for the worse. I left camp fairly early, passed through Kenora, I didn't take too many images as I was planning to cover some ground. The idea was going to be to skip the Trans Canada Hwy, take the 308 South from Manitoba, and then back roads all the way. That did not go according to plan either and i ended up back tracking, loosing lots of time.

I got onto the 308, and was, at first pleased to see that it was all hard pack gravel. Nice and remote, not much traffic, there were lots of blind corners and trucks going through that made things tricky, so on the corners I went extra slow.


After a few km's, my GPS says to take the following through road, that wasn't going to happen, so I kept going south. After about an hour into the ride, the hard pack gravel quickly turned into very loose, sand type, and deep gravel with ruts. I wasn't making much progress, couldn't get the TPMS sensor off my front wheel to air down the tire, and things felt very loosey goosey. Combined with the truckers flying through and narrow road, I wasn't making much progress and realized it's best to turn around as I wasn't even half way down south. Loosing a fair bit of time, I didn't take many images back up, the views were nice though, lakes, rivers, and some farms.


I reached Winnipeg much after my planned time, though still in time for lunch, a gas stop, and much needed break.


I had lunch at a place called Verde Juicebar just off the North side of the Trans Canada in downtown, highly recommend this place! Everything was really good, I took some peanut butter toast and a smoothie to go as-well. This is my favourite type of meal and search long and hard for it on trips.



I hit the road again, and kept getting bored of the Trans Canada, so, not learning from the mornings error, decided to take some more backroads. Lots of inside gravel roads on farms and such, things were going much slower than I thought on this route, and everything was still straight/flat, so I decided to head back up to the Trans Canada.



Now, i checked a bunch of weather apps, and upto this point the day was all clear sunshine. None showed any rain, so I decide to try and make it to Regina anyway and ride 2-3hrs of the prairies through the night. I start to see clouds form, then a lot of lightning in the distance, I check all the apps again and they show it will either just pass, or is too far up north. I carry on for just a few moments, then things look really bad and I start too see lightning flashes right next to me, I pray for a gas station or a shelter in the middle of the prairie's and this one lone Petro Canada pops up! I pull in, and 5mins later it starts pouring like crazy, lightning and very strong winds. I check the apps, they show it's just passings. I wait about 30mins, and as I see the storm go east into the distant, decide to hit the road again.


After this point, things got bad. It got very dark, so I have no images. I leave the gas station, and 15mins later, out of nowhere a storm hits hard, lightning all around me, and wind gusts so strong I almost got blown off the road a few times and into on coming traffic. I could not keep the bike straight, I didn't even think I'd make it 2mins or alive out of this, I thought I was in a tornado and ready for take off. I get off at the hwy at the very first chance I could, it was right outside a farm house. I park the bike in their driveway, sit under the patio and the weather got even worse. Branches falling all around, more lightning, I'm surprised the bike stayed up on its own. Locals told me off many tornado's this summer, and just a few weeks back 2 people died.

At this point Regina is not going to happen, its 10.30pm and i'm 2.5hrs away. I start to knock on the house door, hoping to just ask to pitch my tent in their barn for the night and leave in the am. No one answers, a Dodge ram pulls into the driveway 10mins later, it was one of the tenants who lives on the property a few houses down. He said the owner of the house called, she was home alone and didn't want to open the door for a lone motorcyclist in the night out of fear, understandable. I explain my situation to him, super nice guy, he said I can stay in their Garage/gym for the night just down the road, awesome! I follow him, the garage was massive, like an Auto shop with lifts and all, he shows me the room then invites me over for coffee, I didn't want to be rude, so said sure. I get to his house, he makes some coffee, we have some nice chit chat, a few minuets later the father in law comes in, see's me, and the leaves. Next thing I know I'm being told to leave because the father in law doesn't want anyone on the property, its now 11pm, still lightning all around. I get back on the bike, and head to the closest town praying for a room and the day to end.

I get to Virden, and the Comfort Inn had a room, for $130 I don't argue, I take it and call it a night. Great place and hotel, clean, comfortable, and polite staff. I eat some Peanut butter and Banana toast I brought from lunch, and hit the sack.


Day 4: Verdin to Calgary

After yesterdays unplanned routes and delays, today was just about making it to Calgary and get out of the prariers as quick as possible, like I should. I took the Trans Canada all the way up, I knew it was going to be a long day at over 1,200kms. I only stopped for Gas, a few mins to snack, and then hit the road again.


Seeing the Alberta sign felt really good!


I reached Medicine Hat at about 7-8pm. The weather was starting to turn, and winds picked up big time. After almost getting airborne yesterday, I was very nervous on the bike in the winds, I didn't want a repeat of yesterday. At one point before Brooks, I just had to stop to throw on some rain gear and take a break from the wind and long day.



As the sunset, before i hit Calgary, I took another small stop, also noticed I brought the whole pest population of Saskatchewan along with me.




Finally made it to my sisters place at around 10.30pm. She had made a nice meal, and I would be staying here now for a 3-4 day break before heading off to do a BC loop.

There's a new plant based sushi restaurant open in Calgary, I really recommend this place, some of the best Sushi I've ever had! Lost count on the number of times we ordered from there. It's called WholeLifeGo. Owners are very nice too and gave me a bunch of free snacks/goodies for the road, very thoughtful, they went out of their way.


 

shanekingsley

Curry - so nice it burns you twice
Site Supporter
Those food places look really good. I love sushi, but usually just get the normal veggie ones - those look great.

How is your bike for doing the super long days?
 

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