We’re thinking about road trips here at Canada Moto Guide, and the best places to visit with a motorcycle. Jacob just discovered some of the best riding roads in the world – or so he says – but I’m not so ambitious: a half-dozen weekends away and a couple of different weeks in the saddle are all the two-wheeled vacation I need.
I’ve been trying to persuade my wife that she’d love to take a week to circle Lake Superior. From Toronto, it’s roughly a 3,300 km ride, looping along the gorgeous Trans-Canada Highway north of Lake Superior, which was built especially to attract American tourists, then back through the northern woods of Minnesota and Michigan.
The other ride I’m thinking of with her is out to Gaspé, through Montreal to circle the peninsula at Percé Rock, and then back through northern New England with a detour to the top of Mount Washington. It’s about the same distance and has the added appeal of grappling with French and climbing to the highest point on the eastern seaboard. Keep following CMG and you’ll find out soon enough which trip won the toss. Or maybe both.
This year though, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are a couple of new destinations for Canadian road trips that literally did not exist last season, but they’re about as far-flung as they can be.
The first is the new road to Tuktoyaktuk, which is a 137-kilometre two-lane dirt road north from Inuvik that provides the very first opportunity for the general public to drive to the Arctic Ocean when it’s not frozen over. Until now, riders and drivers have only been able to reach Inuvik, some 800 kilometres north of Dawson City on the Dempster Highway, and that’s an achievement in itself, but Inuvik is on the Mackenzie River delta, not the ocean. There was a winter road on the ice, but last year was its final season. In Alaska, the only road to the ocean stops a few kilometres short – Prudhoe Bay is a company town, and you can’t enter except on business.
Now, after four years and $300 million of construction on the fragile permafrost, there’s a road to Tuk. It was supposed to be a highway that supports oil and gas exploration, but the Trudeau government suspended that and so, for now, it’s a tourist route for those hardy RVers and ADVers. The hamlet of 900 people is expecting 5,000 to 10,000 visitors this season, and since there are only a few bed and breakfasts, you’ll be wise to bring a tent.
The other destination is France. Yes, ride to France. There’s a new ferry service between Fortune, Newfoundland, and St-Pierre and Miquelon, and for the first time, it can carry vehicles. The small islands off the foggy south shore of Newfoundland are proudly French territory, and until now, you could either fly in or ferry in, but you couldn’t bring your own vehicle. The two new ferries have room for 200 passengers, three tractor-trailers and 15 cars on the hour-long crossing – there’s no mention of how many bikes can be strapped in, but there’s 150 kilometres of French paved and unpaved roads to be explored once you get there.
At least – there’s supposed to be a new ferry service. The CBC reported on Monday that the port town of Fortune still needs its dock to be upgraded in order to accommodate the ferry. It will cost $3.5 million to do so, and it’s still $1 million short. However, considering St-Pierre and Miquelon have already invested more than $50 million in the two new ferries, I’m sure somebody will come up with the money soon.
Our world is getting smaller, although the adventure bikes for exploring it seem to be getting bigger, as Zac showed in his Showroom Showdown last week. Will you be first on two wheels to reach the unfrozen Arctic Ocean, or France? If you are, or even if you’re just close, let us know,