I had wanted to do the drive to Vancouver since I had got into bikes and having a bike I trusted to make the trip was what always held me back in previous years. This year with my recently acquired 2007 Triumph Bonneville I was fortunate enough to be able to find a couple of weeks to do it. The thing is I wanted to hang in Vancouver for a week which meant I had 4 days to get there and 4 days to get back. Which seemed manageable when doing the numbers; roughly 1100km a day.
DAY 1: Toronto to Marathon, ON - 1087km
Literally got rained on from just outside Toronto to Sudbury where it cleared up. Kind of a bummer way to start the trip but what can ya do? The only problem I had on the whole trip was I ran out of gas on the first day in Lake Superior provincial park because I wasn't factoring extra weight into my fuel mileage, luckily someone stopped and gave me gas as I had just started hiking towards Wawa. I love the ride between Sudbury and Wawa. There's so many great spots you just want to stop at along the way but with a bit of a time crunch the most I managed was a few photo ops. Thankfully though the ride is very scenic and super fun with lots of hills and twisties and I was feeling great despite not stopping to smell the roses. I had wanted to stop in White River but when I rolled into town all the rooms were booked at the two hotels. Cautionary note: if possible book your hotels in Northern Ontario ahead of time if possible or get in early because they fill up fast as no one wants to drive at night in moose country. Called ahead and got a room in Marathon and took it slow on my way there.
DAY 2: Marathon, ON to Winnepeg, MB - 987km
This ride was pretty easy compared to the other days with just under 1000km covered. The ride west leaving Marathon is still very scenic all the way through to Kenora. Lots of lakes, hills and interesting little towns to pass through and lots of swimming holes if you're so inclined. Getting into Winnipeg you're driving for a couple of hours with fields on either side but great view of the sunset if you're blessed with good weather. I didn't take many photos so must have been enjoying the ride!
DAY 3: Winnepeg, MB to Strathmore, AB - 1274km The prairies were great but super windy which took a bit of the fun out of it, was getting pushed around a lot. Super quiet as far as other vehicles on the road. This was my longest day of riding but an early start (6:30am) and the lack of things to stop for plus the extra hour going back a timezone made doing almost 1300km without night driving possible. A deer ran out in front of me as I was driving into Strathmore which was my closest call with mother nature on the trip.
DAY 4: Strathmore, AB to Vancouver, BC - 1023km BC / Alberta heading into the mountains was amazing but freezing. Something about coming up on the mountains is always so impressive no matter how you're travelling. Glad I had brought proper gear for the cold. Basically what I was wearing at the my coldest was: long johns, jeans, Held Rano rain pants on the bottom, thermal top, t-shirt, hoody, Held Novara Gortex jacket with insulation in and then some heated gloves and I was still wishing I had a heated vest or something else to put on. The roads were mostly in great condition and very fast and fun with lots of turns and twists. Great riding day.
I ended up getting into Vancouver around 7:30 and went to meet up with Alex and some friends for dinner. Unfortunately my phone died as I was taking my first Vancouver photo at the Gastown clock. Was hoping for something a little more dramatic but I was tired and did not care at the time. I was really happy to do the 4400km in 4 days. Probably wouldn't want to do it that fast again but glad to make that kind of time. Maybe next year I can convince some of my riding buddies to take the time off and join me.