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We are starting to plan a trip with about 8 other couples (mostly GL1800 Goldwings) to the great Northwest. Will be leaving in the second week of August and taking about 2 1/2 weeks from Colorado. What would you definately want to put on the itinery in Washington State and the British Colombia area? Any advice would be appreciated. We will be staying in motels (not camping).
 

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wish I was going to be around when you make it through this way...

You must ride across WA 20,try to fit that into your plans.
The post title mentions the San Juans..
If you are going to Vancouver Island,take the Anacortes/Sydney ferry rather than the ferry in BC.

how much time are you spending in this area? Ther is so much to do..
 

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Have to agree on WA-20 across northern WA -- just a great ride end-to-end, including the north Cascades. I also really enjoyed riding the Columbia River Gorge (really liked the WA side headed west), the forest road from Carson (along the Columbia River) up the east side of Mt. St. Helens to Randle, and hanging out for a few days in Packwood, taking in the Mt. Rainier area. Also wish that I had spent a little more time in the Hell's Canyon area between WA and ID, perhaps taking the jet boat on the river.

Anacortes area is very nice, as is the ride from there down to Deception Pass and the ferry over to Port Townsend.
 

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I would second NF25 from Carson to Randle, but also don't miss the road off 25 to Mt St Helens - Windy Ridge Road (NF99). It's awesome.

From there, the road to Paradise on Mr Rainier is also good. It's Paradise Rd from the west, and Steven's Canyon Rd from the east.

Then if you head east on 12, you want to take Tieton Reservoir Rd around Rimrock lake. It's a little hard to find from the west side, but can be done if you are looking for it, or with a GPS.

If you wanted to head North from there, head north where 12 meets 82, but just outside Yakima you want to get on SR 821 - another good road. After 821 rejoins 82, just after it becomes 90, you want to get on 97 - another good road - to Leavenworth which is a nice Dutch themed town.

Now there are any number of roads north that will take you to hwy 20, which I agree is a great road.

Of the San Juan's, Friday Harbor is my favorite. If you get there, stop at Roche Harbor for a meal. The restaurant is perched right on the water. As you head clockwise around the island, there is a lighthouse you can stop at and there is a resident pod of Killer Whales that can often be seen from there.

In BC, the Duffy Lake loop is pretty nice. Basically it's a loop from Vancouver that goes Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet, Hope, Vancouver.

If you get to Vancouver Island and can come in to Naniamo instead of Victoria, that puts you closer to Vancouver Island's best road. The road from Qualicum Beach to Uclulet and Tofino.

Are you open to a local tagging along.............
 

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Canyon Dancer - you did not say which direction you are going right hand loop or left hand, or if you prefer freeways, by ways, scenic routes, etc.

If you are heading across Idaho to get there, and want to stay off I-84 (nice in places, boring in others) and want the lessor traveled roads, here are some suggestions.

Boise to Lowman on ID 21. Paves, crooked, leaves flatland to mountains, little traffic, very scenic and definitely a motorcycle road.

Lowman to Cambridge via Garden Valley, Horseshoe Bend and US 95. Follows Payette River, little traffic until Payette and US95, rugged canyons to Horseshoe Bend, farmland and distant scenery to Cambridge, good road easy travel.

Cambridge to Enterprise OR via ID 71, Snake River Canyon, OR 86 to NF 39 (about 5 miles), Hells Canyon and Willowa Natl Rec Area to Joseph and Enterprise. Very scenic, starts as farmland, Brownlee Dam and Snake River, up the east side of the Willowa Mountains (Fun tram ride at Willowa Lake State Park). All good paved road, zilch traffic, crooked, overlooks, up creeks, over passes, nearly as good as some of the CO country. Called the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

Another good route is Baker City to Ukiah and Ukiah to Biggs via Condon. Called the Blue Mountains Scenic Byway to Ukiah and the Elkhorn Scenic Byway out of Baker City.

That would get you to the Columbia, and if you are going down the river, cross over and get on the WA side on WA 14. Prettier than 84, just as fast, lot less traffic, and just a great ride.

Then, just as Wingnutzz suggested, downriver to Carson, up the hill to Mt St Helens, east side or Mt Rainier.

Here is a link to some of the more scenic rides in the Oregon area.

http://www.oregon.com/byways/

The WA Pacific Coast leaves something to be desired, but the west side of Hood Canal and Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics are nice.

Best ferry to get to Vancouver Island is the WA state ferry between Anacortes (US 20) and Sydney. Several stops at different places along the way. Or the Canadian Ferry from Tswassenn to Nanaimo. I prefer the Canadian Ferrys - crews are a lot friendlier and boats are cleaner. And a must do is have a Nanaimo bar while there. Our neighbors to the north know their candy....

Going up Vancouver Island there are two roads - 19 is the new one, a superslab that is just more concrete. 19A is the old one that stays on the waterfront and has all the scenery and things worth looking at, flowers to sniff, etc.

If you head out the Island, the side trip thru Port Alberni to Tofino is a really nice ride. You can also take the packet freighter from Port Alberni down to either Tofino or Bamfield thru the Pacific Rim National Park for a beautiful boat trip.

You will have a great time.
 

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Canyon Dancer,

In 2005 we did a similar trip with just my wife and I. We had three weeks and rode 6000 miles and took 3000 photos.

From Denver we went to Glacier Park in Montana. Crossed into Canada on highway 93. We went up through Banff and Lake Louise and up to Jasper. The Canadian Parks have mountains that are spectacular. From Jasper West on 16 and then South at Tete Jaune Cache.

At Little Fork we turned west on 24 over to 97. About halfway between Clinton and Cache Creek highway 99 takes you toward Vancouver. 99 starts out looking very much like the Colorado mountains, but after Lillooet the road gets twistier and much more scenic.

There are a number of one-lane bridges with wooden decks along here. Some of them have a sharp turn at the approach, so watch your speed. We saw little traffic until about Whistler. From there to Vancouver the traffic gets heavier. There are a number of rest areas along here where you can pull off and take in the scenery.

From Vancouver we headed east to Abbotsford and into the US at Sumas. We went south on WA 9 to Sedro Wooly and then east on 20 to Anacortes. We stayed three nights in Anacortes. The first day we Island hopped the San Juan Islands. If you get an early start, you can ride all the San Juan Islands in one day. A caution getting off the ferry at Orcas Island: You exit the ship to a steep grade with a T at the top of the hill. Since motorcycles are first on anf first off the ferry, you can usually just keep going. http://www.usssalmon.org/canada05/images/dscn0074.jpg

The second day we went south over Deception pass on to the southern end of Whidby Island. There are many twisty roads on Whidby. You can easily spend a full day getting yourself lost and found.

After our third night in Anacortes, we took the ferry to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Make sure you make reservations at least a day in advance. Although we got to Sidney about 10:00 in the morning, we found a room and dropped the trailer. A trip over to Buchart Gardens made for a low mileage day.

The next morning we headed south to Victoria to catch a ferry to Port Angeles. Make your reservations early here also. We made ours early the day before and had no problem, but this was after Labor Day.

Once you are on the Olympic peninsula, head east on 101. A few miles west of Port Angeles take 112 to Clallam Bay. The road parallels the ocean for much of the way and the scenery is fantastic. If you are up to riding a few miles of gravel road take a side trip to Cape Flattery. It is the most NW point in the lower 48 states. There is a parking area and about a half mile walk down to the point. Well worth the time.

Make your way back to US-101 and head south. Forks is a good place to spend a night or two. You will want to see the Hoh rain forest and ride up to Hurricane Ridge. From there head south on 101. We went down to Northern California and the redwood forests. At Crescent City jump on US-199 east to Grants Pass. This is another twisty scenic road.

From Grants Pass ride a few miles on south I-5 to highway 234. At highway 62 turn north to Crater Lake. Beyond that take US- 97 to Bend.

From Bend we went east to Onterio and jumped on the Interstate for a Day. This turned out to be the longest day of the trip. I-84 to I-15 to Spanish Fork. Then US-6 to Helper and US-191 to Green River. The Best Western there is right on the river and has a restaurant that is second to none.

We headed west on I-70 and then south on US-191. We spent a couple of hours riding through Canyonlands National park. And then lunch in Moab. From Moab we rode to Durango that night.

From Durango we took two days to get back to Denver. US-160 to South Fork and then 149 over Slumgullion and spent our last night at Gunnison.

Through out the entire trip we only made one motel reservation in advance and that was at Gunnison. We did not have trouble finding a room anywhere, but I would recommend motel reservations on the Olympic peninsula earlier in the season. Keep in mind that we left Denver on Aug 27. The second and third weeks were after Labor Day when the kids are back to school.

This year we are planning to go back. We'll skip the Oregon coast and hit the Columbia River Valley. We'll also explore more roads in Washington. We've also discussed a side trip to Hyder, AK.

Check out the Destination Highways Destination Highways books for Washington and British Columbia at http://destinationhighways.com/. There are more rides than you could do in an entire summer.
 

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Canyon Dancer,
Sometime when you have time and may want to see some personal pics of the San Juans you can read of our workamping experience there here: http://www.itchyhitch.com/the-good-bad-ugly.htm.

Keep in mind that waiting for the ferry takes a long time sometimes; then the trip across takes a couple hours by the time you disembark. Once you get to the islands, the speed limit is 45 mph and actually most roads are only suitable for 25-30 mph. Cops watch speed limits, especially around towns, pretty closely. While I consider the San Juans very desirable to visit (extremely bucholic) given your tight time frame it would be hard to do the islands, even if only seeing one, in less than two days and an overnight factoring in the ferry rides. If you do go, be sure and hit Orcas and the tight twisties up to the top of Mt. Constitution!

I second all the comments about the area around Randle and up to Mt. Rainier. Just spectacular.
Have fun,
 
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Thanks for the information

Thanks for the information everyone! Total trip is still in the planning stages. Will let you know our approximate route when we get it finalized (this is being done by committee so it might take a while to get the details ironed out). We have traveled more or less as a group over the last 6 years (two trips thru Italy) so we all get along pretty well considering we all kind of have to "give" a little of our personal preferences to satisfy everyone. We'll be incorporating the roads mentioned. Local's joining us is fine.
 

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What ever you do, make sure you have a U.S. Passport when entering & leaving Canada otherwise expect severe delays. If you don't have one you still have time before you leave in June, it will probable take 3 to 4 months now to get one. Good Luck.
 

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Re: Thanks for the information

Canyon Dancer in Colorado said:
Local's joining us is fine.
Does that mean I can come along on the whole trip with you??? :shock: :x :? :D

Just kidding. Wouldn't dare poach on someone else's vacation. :p

Hey CD - I'm thinkin' of organizing (very unstructured-like) a gathering of front-range Wing riders. Maybe give Dave (Wingnutz) a chance to ask for some help with RG. Perhaps in the late-March / early-April timeframe. What think you?
 

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There are three ferry companies that operate to Vancouver Island:
- Coho between Port Angeles & Victoria. one ferry (older), runs about every 4 hours from each city
- Anacortes to Sidney (just north of Victoria), one ferry (older), runs about every 6 hours from each city
- BC Ferries, betwen Tsawassen (vancouver) & Sidney (victoria), Tsawassen (vancouver)& Duke Point (nanaimo), and Horshoe Bay (vancouver)& Departure Bay (nanaimo).

The BC Ferries run every hour, are much newer, and offer decent food.

You do not require reservations on any of the three companies for motorcycles.

Route suggestions:
- Glacier National Park, highway to the sun
- Cascade loop in Washington State (#20)
- Olympia to Port Angeles, ferry to Victoria (Butchard Gardens, Whale Watching etc)
- north on highway # 1, to Parksville, highway #4 to Tofino (long beach), return to Vancouver via BC Ferries at Nanaimo
- highway # 99 to Whistle to Lilooet
- highway # 3 from Hope to Cranbrook
- highway # 93 from Jasper to Banff (Columbia Ice Fields)
- Mt. St.Helens (windy ridge lookout is great)
 

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They also give preference to motorcycles on the Washington Ferries, . . . .
FIRST ON, . . AND FIRST OFF! YEA! :D
 

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I absolutely agree with everything PingJockey is recommending - you will absolutely love this trip. Do spend the time to go up to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.

Also, as has been noted, make sure you all have passports. Also be advised motorcycle liability insurance is mandatory in Canada, and there is an international proof of insurance form you can get from your provider.

Enjoy - I know you will.

Carl


PingJockey said:
Canyon Dancer,

In 2005 we did a similar trip with just my wife and I. We had three weeks and rode 6000 miles and took 3000 photos.

From Denver we went to Glacier Park in Montana. Crossed into Canada on highway 93. We went up through Banff and Lake Louise and up to Jasper. The Canadian Parks have mountains that are spectacular. From Jasper West on 16 and then South at Tete Jaune Cache.

At Little Fork we turned west on 24 over to 97. About halfway between Clinton and Cache Creek highway 99 takes you toward Vancouver. 99 starts out looking very much like the Colorado mountains, but after Lillooet the road gets twistier and much more scenic.

There are a number of one-lane bridges with wooden decks along here. Some of them have a sharp turn at the approach, so watch your speed. We saw little traffic until about Whistler. From there to Vancouver the traffic gets heavier. There are a number of rest areas along here where you can pull off and take in the scenery.

From Vancouver we headed east to Abbotsford and into the US at Sumas. We went south on WA 9 to Sedro Wooly and then east on 20 to Anacortes. We stayed three nights in Anacortes. The first day we Island hopped the San Juan Islands. If you get an early start, you can ride all the San Juan Islands in one day. A caution getting off the ferry at Orcas Island: You exit the ship to a steep grade with a T at the top of the hill. Since motorcycles are first on anf first off the ferry, you can usually just keep going. http://www.usssalmon.org/canada05/images/dscn0074.jpg

The second day we went south over Deception pass on to the southern end of Whidby Island. There are many twisty roads on Whidby. You can easily spend a full day getting yourself lost and found.

After our third night in Anacortes, we took the ferry to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Make sure you make reservations at least a day in advance. Although we got to Sidney about 10:00 in the morning, we found a room and dropped the trailer. A trip over to Buchart Gardens made for a low mileage day.

The next morning we headed south to Victoria to catch a ferry to Port Angeles. Make your reservations early here also. We made ours early the day before and had no problem, but this was after Labor Day.

Once you are on the Olympic peninsula, head east on 101. A few miles west of Port Angeles take 112 to Clallam Bay. The road parallels the ocean for much of the way and the scenery is fantastic. If you are up to riding a few miles of gravel road take a side trip to Cape Flattery. It is the most NW point in the lower 48 states. There is a parking area and about a half mile walk down to the point. Well worth the time.

Make your way back to US-101 and head south. Forks is a good place to spend a night or two. You will want to see the Hoh rain forest and ride up to Hurricane Ridge. From there head south on 101. We went down to Northern California and the redwood forests. At Crescent City jump on US-199 east to Grants Pass. This is another twisty scenic road.

From Grants Pass ride a few miles on south I-5 to highway 234. At highway 62 turn north to Crater Lake. Beyond that take US- 97 to Bend.

From Bend we went east to Onterio and jumped on the Interstate for a Day. This turned out to be the longest day of the trip. I-84 to I-15 to Spanish Fork. Then US-6 to Helper and US-191 to Green River. The Best Western there is right on the river and has a restaurant that is second to none.

We headed west on I-70 and then south on US-191. We spent a couple of hours riding through Canyonlands National park. And then lunch in Moab. From Moab we rode to Durango that night.

From Durango we took two days to get back to Denver. US-160 to South Fork and then 149 over Slumgullion and spent our last night at Gunnison.

Through out the entire trip we only made one motel reservation in advance and that was at Gunnison. We did not have trouble finding a room anywhere, but I would recommend motel reservations on the Olympic peninsula earlier in the season. Keep in mind that we left Denver on Aug 27. The second and third weeks were after Labor Day when the kids are back to school.

This year we are planning to go back. We'll skip the Oregon coast and hit the Columbia River Valley. We'll also explore more roads in Washington. We've also discussed a side trip to Hyder, AK.

Check out the Destination Highways Destination Highways books for Washington and British Columbia at http://destinationhighways.com/. There are more rides than you could do in an entire summer.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Great help!!

You all have been really great with the detail and effort you put into your posts. Jeff in Ferndale: we may want to meet with you one evening if you are available/looks like you are right near Anacortes where we want to spend a couple of days; Wingnutzz: Thanks for the suggestions regarding Randle and Hell's Canyon (we'll see if we can get it in the trip); Ron Leonard: Friday Harbor is on the map; IR Harry: Still plotting your recommendations but I notice you also recommend Hell's Canyon Scenic Byway as did Wingnutzz so that's a must see; PingJockey: What can I say but a huge thanks for all the work you went thru to help me out, I am working at plotting your trip thru Jasper and Glacier Nat'l Park. How in the world did you guys cover that much ground in 3 weeks? I've located all the points you mentioned in your long, well written response and decided if you could do it in three weeks, we should be able to also! Question...seeing you are in Denver and we are in Loveland, is there any chance we could meet for dinner somewhere inbetween and take a look at your maps of your trip and maybe get a better feel for time requirements? Thanks also for all the great links you all provided. They are very helpful.
 
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