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Thread: Cross-Canada, back via US?

  1. #1
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    Cross-Canada, back via US?

    I知 planning to ride from PEI to the Pacific this June. My planned route is via Val d丹r Quebec, Timmons Ont, then north of Superior, Winnipeg, the Red Coat Trail, Kelowna,, Tofino.
    The part of the route I知 concerned about is the Red Coat Trail: does anyone know how much gravel road there still is, and what accommodation is available? I知 intending to motel rather than camp.
    Secondly, I plan to return via Washington Hwy 20, then Hwy 2 to Duluth then to the Soo via Marquette.
    Several concerns on this route: will Washington 20 be open, what shape will it be in? Is Hwy 2 ok for accommodation and gas? And am I going to be safe as an unarmed Canadian travelling alone on a motorcycle? I知 aware I値l have to keep my lip buttoned some of the time regarding politics.
    Any advice gladly received. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I cannot offer advice about the Red Coat Trail; never been there.

    Washington 20 should be open and in good riding condition. I have ridden it that time of year in previous years and it was fine.

    Highway 2: as with most of the US West be prepared for long stretches with limited services. My rule is never pass a fueling opportunity if the tank is half full or less.

    Safety?: I cannot imagine why you feel unsafe riding alone in the US. Canadian license plates do not have bulls-eyes on them as far as I know. I suggest you watch less television news and get out and ride more.

    Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  3. #3
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    James, I just re-read my post to you and it sounded a bit snippy and off-putting to me. I am sorry, should have re-read before I hit send.

    Anyway, I did not intend to sound preachy about your safety concerns. What I should have said was, do not believe everything you hear about angry Americans and all of us being ultra-conservative and gun-nuts out to shoot anyone who offends us. Our free news media seems to seek that type out because they know that such coverage sells air-time and newspapers. We aren't like that.

    Welcome to south of the border and have a great ride!
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  4. #4
    Prefers to play martinph's Avatar
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    Red Coat Trail has very little gravel. I rode it a few years ago and it was fine. Only issue I had, Some of the patches were gravel and I found them quite loose. Had to slow down. (2 up heavily loaded GS) As you are going to Kelowna. Stop by.
    Martin. BMW MOA Ambassador.17748
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by royce View Post
    James, I just re-read my post to you and it sounded a bit snippy and off-putting to me. I am sorry, should have re-read before I hit send.

    Anyway, I did not intend to sound preachy about your safety concerns. What I should have said was, do not believe everything you hear about angry Americans and all of us being ultra-conservative and gun-nuts out to shoot anyone who offends us. Our free news media seems to seek that type out because they know that such coverage sells air-time and newspapers. We aren't like that.

    Welcome to south of the border and have a great ride!
    Thanks Royce. I appreciate your advice.
    Jim

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinph View Post
    Red Coat Trail has very little gravel. I rode it a few years ago and it was fine. Only issue I had, Some of the patches were gravel and I found them quite loose. Had to slow down. (2 up heavily loaded GS) As you are going to Kelowna. Stop by.
    Thanks Martin. I already have a place to stay in Kelowna but might give you a call for local riding tips.
    Jim

  7. #7
    skibum69 skibum69's Avatar
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    Doesn't count if you don't start in Newfoundland.
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  8. #8
    US 2 will be a fine route, with one caution. There is a lot of oilfield activity in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. It has dropped off some with oil prices down but could pick back up. The stretch between Wolf Point, MT and Stanley, ND might have scant lodging and it may be expensive. It is not bad today in Williston but if the oilfield activity picks back up it could be. That is about a 200 miles stretch so easy to plan to go through in one day and avoid the need to look for a motel or campground. The rest of the route will be mostly small towns full of friendly people.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  9. #9
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    As others have said, no need to be any more concerned about personal safety in the US than in Canada. I travel in the US several times each year and have never had anything happen that wouldn't be also possible in Canada. The only exceptions to that would be:
    • Credit Card safety - unfortunately the US Banking system and credit card security leave a lot to be desired compared to most developed countries. They are at least 2-5 years behind Canada, the UK, and Europe. Because of the extremely lax security measures, your credit card info is very vulnerable. I am typically in 4-8 countries every year (8 or 9 in the past 12 months) and my cards are only hacked in the US. Usually every 1-2 years or 4th to 5th trip it seems. Very frustrating. I actually keep a card that I just use for the US. That way, it doesn't mess up the rest of my travel. Just got a call last week from the bank asking if I was purchasing gas in Texas, meals in California and electronics in Boston all on the same day. I can ride through 3-5+ states in one day but not those three states. ;-)
    • Police - they don't mess around and tend to be far less personable than the typical Canadian police. Some of that is to be expected due to the increased risks associated with the job, etc. It is best to remember and don't try to be funny, etc. Just have a straightforward interaction.
    • Customs - Same as the police, for many of the same reasons. Just like in Canada, you can get ones that are fine and others that are miserable. Answer the questions asked politely, directly and with no added commentary.


    As for politics, they rarely come into everyday conversations but can get partisan on both sides, just like in Canada and most every place else. Every country has gotten more polarized over the past decade or so and each side will blame the other. The truth may be someplace in the middle, but it is a fool's errand to try and figure that one out and an idiot's error to try it in someone else's country. ;-)

    Have a great trip. My riding this year will have me doing the Eastern Seaboard of the US, GA, AL, TN (MOA Rally) on my bike and then BC and WA on a rental.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    US 2 will be a fine route, with one caution. There is a lot of oilfield activity in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. It has dropped off some with oil prices down but could pick back up. The stretch between Wolf Point, MT and Stanley, ND might have scant lodging and it may be expensive. It is not bad today in Williston but if the oilfield activity picks back up it could be. That is about a 200 miles stretch so easy to plan to go through in one day and avoid the need to look for a motel or campground. The rest of the route will be mostly small towns full of friendly people.
    Thanks, I値l make a note!
    Jim

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanColes View Post
    As others have said, no need to be any more concerned about personal safety in the US than in Canada. I travel in the US several times each year and have never had anything happen that wouldn't be also possible in Canada. The only exceptions to that would be:
    • Credit Card safety - unfortunately the US Banking system and credit card security leave a lot to be desired compared to most developed countries. They are at least 2-5 years behind Canada, the UK, and Europe. Because of the extremely lax security measures, your credit card info is very vulnerable. I am typically in 4-8 countries every year (8 or 9 in the past 12 months) and my cards are only hacked in the US. Usually every 1-2 years or 4th to 5th trip it seems. Very frustrating. I actually keep a card that I just use for the US. That way, it doesn't mess up the rest of my travel. Just got a call last week from the bank asking if I was purchasing gas in Texas, meals in California and electronics in Boston all on the same day. I can ride through 3-5+ states in one day but not those three states. ;-)
    • Police - they don't mess around and tend to be far less personable than the typical Canadian police. Some of that is to be expected due to the increased risks associated with the job, etc. It is best to remember and don't try to be funny, etc. Just have a straightforward interaction.
    • Customs - Same as the police, for many of the same reasons. Just like in Canada, you can get ones that are fine and others that are miserable. Answer the questions asked politely, directly and with no added commentary.


    As for politics, they rarely come into everyday conversations but can get partisan on both sides, just like in Canada and most every place else. Every country has gotten more polarized over the past decade or so and each side will blame the other. The truth may be someplace in the middle, but it is a fool's errand to try and figure that one out and an idiot's error to try it in someone else's country. ;-)

    Have a great trip. My riding this year will have me doing the Eastern Seaboard of the US, GA, AL, TN (MOA Rally) on my bike and then BC and WA on a rental.
    Thanks for the advice. Coming from PEI where the cops (on the rare occasions you see one) are astonishingly tolerant, I値l be watching out for them everywhere.
    Jim

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanColes View Post
    Just got a call last week from the bank asking if I was purchasing gas in Texas, meals in California and electronics in Boston all on the same day. I can ride through 3-5+ states in one day but not those three states. ;-)
    Question, Alan. You mention this as an example of a bad thing in the US credit card industry, but I am treated the same way by my credit card companies and I consider it a GOOD thing that they do. It is an early warning (usually within an hour or so, sometimes quicker) that someone has possibly hacked my card. It has saved me having to get a new credit card several times when I have in fact been traveling on the bike and purchasing gas in small quantities in different towns along the same route.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  13. #13
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by royce View Post
    Question, Alan. You mention this as an example of a bad thing in the US credit card industry, but I am treated the same way by my credit card companies and I consider it a GOOD thing that they do. It is an early warning (usually within an hour or so, sometimes quicker) that someone has possibly hacked my card. It has saved me having to get a new credit card several times when I have in fact been traveling on the bike and purchasing gas in small quantities in different towns along the same route.
    The problem is not that the US banks and Credit Card companies are not vigilant at identifying possible fraudulent activity, its that the US banking system as a whole is way behind on implementing the most modern security systems available to prevent fraud from happening. Much of the shortfall is on the technology side of the systems and is largely due to the way the US banking system is structured with so many smaller independent banks and financial institutions that provide services but fail to adopt rigorous security measures and are not absolutely required to under lax regulations. You may be with a responsible secure institution for you card, but the gas station that you used your card at to fill up may be using a small local bank that has not adopted the most up to date (expensive) technology and now your card is compromised.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2019 F850GSA

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibum69 View Post
    Doesn't count if you don't start in Newfoundland.
    Yes, well. I致e sailed to the Rock a few times, though.
    Jim

  15. #15
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    Like others have said, Hwy 2 is a bit shy on services, but here is decent gas stops every 50 miles or so. More even if you count the smaller towns, but some of those stops can be a bit run down.

    I second the mention of rolling through eastern Mt and western ND in one day, but be careful, the oil field traffic is brutal, roads are in poor shape from all the traffic, lodging is generally full, gas stations are very busy, people can be a bit stressed. Personally I might even consider bypassing it if possible, but if not, just be wary.

    Generally, the whole Hwy 2 is an ok ride, rolling plains, not very exciting. I can not tell you how many times I have been across it from Grand Forks, ND to Columbia Falls, MT over the years.

    As far as safety, you don't have to worry, even poking a bit of politics at the old farmers sitting at gas stations can be entertaining. Unless you plan on cruising alley ways, behind crusty beer joints in the middle of the night you have nothing to worry about.

    About the only place on the route I ever felt uncomfortable is Browning MT. Right in the heart of an indian reservation. The town is run down and just doesn't have a warm feeling. Buying gas and food is fine there, but I wouldn't plan an overnight stay. In fact I would avoid any over nights in any of the indian reservations along the route in Montana. I might be over reacting, but they just seem a bit rough to me. You would be save in your motel, but you never know about your motorcycle outside.

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