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I am getting the details of my trip laid out. I am leaving on May 23 and will need to back by June 3. Here is my planned route. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=+Noblesville,+IN&daddr=Calgary,+AB,+Canada+to:Stewart,+BC,+Canada+to:Watson+Lake,+Yukon,+Yukon+Territory,+Canada+to:edmonton,+ab,+canada+to:+Noblesville,+IN&geocode=&hl=en&mra=ls&sll=44.308127,-95.141602&sspn=18.512428,48.691406&ie=UTF8&z=4

I would like to ask a few questions of the board members that have already been there and done that.
I have been to Canada several times but never really traveled through it for any length of time. How should I get Canadian money? Find a bank and convert it once I cross the border? I will try to use credit cards most of the time but sometimes cash will only work.
Should I pack camping gear or are hotels readily available along my planned route?
More importantly what about gas stations? Do I need to plan my fuel stops?
I have a lot of questions so please bear with me. Thanks in advance for your answers and advice.


 

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We rode to Hyder last year...we made reservations along the way to Hyder and then winged it after that.

We did not exchange any American dollars for Canadian. If we could not use a credit card people were happy to take American and give change in Canadian.

Do not pass up the fuel stop at the intersection of Hwy 16 and Hwy 37 - there isn't another until you get to Stewart.

The roads are better in B.C. than in Alberta.

The weather was WET and not too cold and we left Northern California on June 6th.

Watch for moose, big horn sheep, elk.....too bad you are returning via Edmonton instead of Jasper. You will be missing the awesome ice fields.
 

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How should I get Canadian money? Find a bank and convert it once I cross the border? I will try to use credit cards most of the time but sometimes cash will only work.

Go to your bank and get $300 CDN and keep $100 in your wallet for small purchases (Under $7) and put $200 in a 'hidden' place for emergencies. See note below.

Use your credit card for everything and you'll be fine.

Make sure you call your CC company and let them know your are going on a ride or else your purchases will probably cause your card to be 'flagged' and unless someone is at home to verify the expenses are really yours the card will be canceled.


Should I pack camping gear or are hotels readily available along my planned route?

If you are going to be riding an average of 540 miles per day you will not have time to camp.

Motels are decent and often pretty good for 'the north'. Just don't expect a Sheraton type of room. You'll pay for it but will get Motel 6. SOme of your best stories may just come from the interesting places you'll find.


More importantly what about gas stations? Do I need to plan my fuel stops?

No need to worry about fuel if you follow the simple rules:
1. Never pass a gas station of you see a sign 'next fuel is xxx KM'.
2. Never pass a gas station at the the far end of town if your tank is less than half full.


I have a lot of questions so please bear with me.

Sure. Lots of others have made that ride - it is great.

As others have said - watch out for animals. My other suggestions are:
1. Keep your camera handy plus spare batteries and memory close by.
2. Put your rain gear some where you can get it out without unpacking anything else. You WILL need it.
and finally - try not to forget where you stashed that emergency money.
 

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Hyder Seek

I'm heading to Hyder, also. I have traveled in Canada many times.
You can find places on the US side where you can exchange money. Sometimes they give the best deal. Otherwise, go to a bank.
Credit card purchases will be charged on your account in US dollars at the exchange rate in effect on that day.
If you can, take some travellers checks, too. Always good as a backup.
I second the notion of carrying at least $100 Canadian in cash. Makes it easier to pay for snacks and meals along the way.

And don't forget your passport book or card. Or you won't get back into the States, if they even let you into Canada without it.

I see by your route you will be coming through the Twin Cities. Let me know your schedule. Might be able to lend you a bed for a night. Your route is pretty much the same as mine.
 

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The absolute worst thing about using cash in Canada are those damn coins they give as change instead of paper bills. :rolleyes: I also get real tired of using plastic many times a day when I'm traveling. Remember that cash will always work...it's still king! I carry enough cash to cover 1/2 of the expected trip expenses. That can add up to a lot of cash for north country travel because most things cost 50% more in Canada than in the lower 48 states. Yup, the cash goes out rather quickly but at least I know that a lot of my trip is paid for before I leave home. Fortunately, some businesses still give discounts for cash.

Shop around when exchanging US/Canadian money. I've found up to 4% difference in exchange rates at local banks.
 

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The absolute worst thing about using cash in Canada are those damn coins they give as change instead of paper bills.
Funny. I think the worst thing about traveling in the US is the wad of ones that you end up with every day. Besides being bulky, ever notice how ratty much of the $1 paper currency is?

The BEST think Canada did was to switch to coins for $1 and - especially - $2.

Now I'm waiting for Canada to get rid of the penny.:thumbup:

 

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Don't know how much you want to dilly dally on your way up, but if you cross the Mississippi in Dubuque, IA it's worth another 4 hours to wind your way up to Minneapolis along the river on the IA/MN side. Just follow the Great River Road.
 

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Funny. I think the worst thing about traveling in the US is the wad of ones that you end up with every day. Besides being bulky, ever notice how ratty much of the $1 paper currency is?

The BEST think Canada did was to switch to coins for $1 and - especially - $2.
Now I'm waiting for Canada to get rid of the penny.:thumbup:
I certainly agree with John.

GIZMO
"...because most things cost 50% more in Canada than in the lower 48 states."
So NOT true. Firstly at the current exchange rate your are getting 23% more bang for your buck before you even make any purchases.
As of Last week this was the price of fuel:
Average price of fuel in the USA is $2.04 per usGal
Average price of fuel in Canada is $0.88 per liter
Conversion time:
approx 4 litres = one US Gallon (.88 x 4)= $3.52cdn. per USGal.
Now take into account the exchange rate (@23% difference) = $2.71 per US gal.
divide that by 4 to convert US gal to litres = 0.68 per litre
and you have the price of fuel being .20c (USD) more per liter in Canada than the USA.
Certainly nowhere near 50% more.
Geesh... time to get the USA into Metric measurements:nojoke:
 

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And don't ride at night. The moose and bear and sasquatch are pretty big and difficult to see in the dark.
If you have a bank card, check with your bank about transaction fees. It may be a good idea to use a cash machine in Canada. That's what we use even in Mexico.
 

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Thanks for all of the tips guys. I plan on doing a couple of 12 hour days of riding back to back to get me ahead of schedule. I will try to get some Canadian money before I leave. I didn't know you could do that.
If anyone knows of a better route let me know. The route was chosen by the computer and slightly tweaked by me. I have never been to this part of the world so I don't know much about it.
Now on the subject of camping. There was a comment about me not having time to camp but what I do would hardly be considered camping. I can throw my tent up in 5 minutes and be in my sleeping bag within 20 minutes of hitting the campground. Around here in Indiana there aren't any bears. Is it safe to camp in bear country? Should I buy bear spray. Obviously, keeping food out of the campsite is mandatory but is that enough? I have seen electric bear fences on the internet.
 

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A group of 4 of us are heading for Hyder on 6/3 for the HYDERSEEK event and then on up into the Yukon and NW Territories as well as the main part of Alaska. We're bring camping gear, although we are expecting to "motel it" most of the time. Be sure to not bring any firearms or pepper spray into Canada.
 

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The absolute worst thing about using cash in Canada are those damn coins they give as change instead of paper bills. :rolleyes: I also get real tired of using plastic many times a day when I'm traveling. Remember that cash will always work...it's still king! I carry enough cash to cover 1/2 of the expected trip expenses. That can add up to a lot of cash for north country travel because most things cost 50% more in Canada than in the lower 48 states. Yup, the cash goes out rather quickly but at least I know that a lot of my trip is paid for before I leave home. Fortunately, some businesses still give discounts for cash.

Shop around when exchanging US/Canadian money. I've found up to 4% difference in exchange rates at local banks.
You mentioned Canadian $1 and $2 coins. I was in Canada several months after the coins replaced $1 and $2 bills. What I heard from several Canadians was that resistance at first was strong but that most people had come to accept them with the realization that they save their government (taxpayers) considerable money. Coins last indefinitely whereas $1 bills typically last 90 days or so, here in the U S at least. Mechanical coin changers are less expensive and maintenance intensive than bill changers too! The Canadians are way ahead of us on this score, in my opinion.
 

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My wife and I did the Alaska thing in 07, pulling a trailer. Your schedule seems to be very adventourous. We did 8,800 miles, rode the ferry, and spent 4 weeks. There is plenty of info on the net about doing this trip. A mile in Canada is not the same as a mile on interstate. For example I would not travel the northern roads after dark. If it rains the three days before you reach the Cassiar Hwy, your in trouble because of your time frame. Good Luck
 

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Around here in Indiana there aren't any bears. Is it safe to camp in bear country? Should I buy bear spray. Obviously, keeping food out of the campsite is mandatory but is that enough? I have seen electric bear fences on the internet.
In Banff or Jasper National Park you will be notified if there are any bear warnings.
Personally at the time of year that you'll be travelling through that area there is limited chance of having any bear in a campsite area.
Lots of Wapiti (elk) will meander through the campsites.
Now once you are in the Stewart area you are on your own.
Bear spray.... if you can get it out while voiding your bladder, and wondering 'is this really happening' the bear will be so close you are only going to annoy it more by trying to spray it (way too much T.V. and advertising.. don't believe any of it) Best defense is to make a lot of noise so not to startle it. That way the bear hears you coming and gets out of your way.
 

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It's a beautiful trip but it might be a little early. The weather could be extremly cold and you may even run into snow. Mid July to early August would be a better time.
 
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Unless you love riding a lot of real straight and flat roads in open Prairie I wouldn't even consider crossing over into Canada until you were below BC. There is a bunch of real super roads and sights you are going to miss by going that far North in Manitoba and Sask .

Catch Jasper and the Ice Fields on your way back and then work your way South from there .

If you need further guidance/suggestions or escort for the Southern BC portion which I highly recommend let me know , if I am not riding elsewhere at the time . Send me a copy of your Itinerary and let me see what changes I can work out for you if your interested . ;)
 

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Unless you love riding a lot of real straight and flat roads in open Prairie I wouldn't even consider crossing over into Canada until you were below BC. There is a bunch of real super roads and sights you are going to miss by going that far North in Manitoba and Sask .

Catch Jasper and the Ice Fields on your way back and then work your way South from there .

If you need further guidance/suggestions or escort for the Southern BC portion which I highly recommend let me know , if I am not riding elsewhere at the time . Send me a copy of your Itinerary and let me see what changes I can work out for you if your interested . ;)
Strider is telling you right. The route you have picked will be very boring. Head out West and enter Canada through Idaho. The Ice Fields, Canadian Rockies and BC are hard to beat. Take the Red route.

 

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Here's a thread with some good AK trip info: http://208.43.95.107/forums/showthread.php?p=2334195#post2334195

Here's the route I got from a friend on the ADVRider forum. This worked real good and when I head back to AK I'll go this way again.

Try this for size:

Get the boys to Sheridan, Wyoming somehow. Sorry about the long praire run. 331 west out of Sheridan to Dayton

Alt 14 across the Bighorns, Lovell,Powell, Cody.
North out of Cody to 296 (Chief Joseph) and Sunlight Basin Into Cooke City for a quick brewski
Backtrack just a bit and head down over Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge, MT #78 out of Red Lodge to Roscoe and an excellent hunk of hide at the Grizzly Bar/dinner house. Don't miss it cause it's the real deal.

side trip into E.Rosebud lake
Absarokee and into Columbus, Montana. Jump on the slab (90) and head west
Slip off #90 at Springdale and grab 89 north (Ringling, Ringling .. is the place to be ..... according to Jimmy Buffett
Grab a left at # 12 and head into Townsend
Check out Last Chance Gulch and historical Helena
North out of Helena until exit 200(7) and hit Canyon Creek Fleisher(sp) or Stemple to 200 and into Lincoln

Lincoln to Missoula
Northwest out of Missouls on the big slab to #93 and Ravalli and on to #200 200 to Sandpoint and north on #2/95 to Creston, BC


This is where the trip gets real good!!!

3A to Crawford Bay
Free ferry to Balfour
31 north to Kaslo
31A to New Denver and Nakusp 23 north to Galena Bay
Free ferry to Shelter Bay
23 into Revelstoke
Canada # 1 to Golden and Lake Louise 93 Icefield Parkway to Jasper


 
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