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Thread: Driving around the Lakes and RV-ing

  1. #1
    The Big Red One sgtbill's Avatar
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    Driving around the Lakes and RV-ing

    Hello all: We are hoping to benefit from the collective experience and Canadian members' knowledge to help us with trip planning.

    Our family will attend the National in MSP this year and we'd like to return to Northern Virginia via the Great Lakes. Tentatively we will head north to Duluth and Thunder Bay, eventually getting on Rt 17 in Canada and going around to Sault Ste. Marie. Is Rt 17 in Ontario a heavily traveled highway? We are hoping to avoid freeway-like conditions if we can. We have an AirStream BaseCamp trailer pulled by a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. We'll have three bikes along with two of us riding daily. What can we expect at the border crossings? Is it easier to cross at SSM? or try a smaller crossing further east? This will be our first foray into Canada and we hope Canada becomes a regular destination.
    sgtbill
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    86 K100RS EML & 79 R100S
    2007 F800ST & 2014 F800GS & 2014 F700GS

  2. #2
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtbill View Post
    What can we expect at the border crossings? Is it easier to cross at SSM? or try a smaller crossing further east? This will be our first foray into Canada and we hope Canada becomes a regular destination.
    Entering Canada, you will be asked your destination, how long you intend to stay, and if you have any firearms. You will also be asked what country you are a citizen of.
    The real hassle is returning to the US. You need a passport or similar document. Expect more scrutiny.
    http://traveltips.usatoday.com/docum...car-21162.html

    Smaller crossings usually have shorter waiting times to be processed for crossing.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  3. #3
    Lost again Texpaul's Avatar
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    Your route will take you past some great provincial parks along Lake Superior. Canadian provincial parks are very good places to stay so make sure you spend some time in at least one of them.
    Paul Mulhern
    MOA# 56330
    '05 1200GS Big Blue

  4. #4
    Rollin' by the River R1100rtp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texpaul View Post
    Your route will take you past some great provincial parks along Lake Superior. Canadian provincial parks are very good places to stay so make sure you spend some time in at least one of them.
    +1 on the Provincial Parks!
    Ride Hard, go far, and keep smilin...

    Karol Patzer, Ambassador, Director MOA Foundation
    2008/2014 BMW MOA Rally Chair

  5. #5
    The Big Red One sgtbill's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips on the Provincial Parks. We received a pair of Honda generators in the deal for our BaseCamp so staying in a nice park doesn't require RV hookups.

    Any suggestions on "smaller" border crossings along Lake Ontario? It looks like east of Kingston there may be some smaller crossings.
    sgtbill
    Duty First!
    86 K100RS EML & 79 R100S
    2007 F800ST & 2014 F800GS & 2014 F700GS

  6. #6
    Sandarm
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    Welcome to Canada!

    I'm glad to hear that you're planning to travel the road north of Lake Superior. It is a fantastic and beautiful road, and part of the Trans-Canada Highway. I will be including it in my ride back from the rally. I haven't traveled that road for many years, so I can't comment on the traffic, but I can tell you that it's not a multi-lane highway. I have traveled through 34 countries and seen a lot of the world, and this drive is still near the top of my list, so even though the road might have a goodly amount of traffic, (It is after all, our main east-west connecting high way) I will be taking it.

    You'll be driving mostly on two lanes, with frequent passing lanes thrown in to allow for others to pass you and your Airstream. The topography is dramatic, rough hilly forested terrain, with frequent views of gigantic Lake Superior.

    The border crossings in Southern Ontario are probably much busier than the ones in the north, and the line-ups here can be long depending on the time of day and whether or not there's a long weekend, or holiday. I just checked on-line to see how busy the crossings are, and there is no waiting involved - you should be fine.

    Hopefully you'll enjoy your visit to our country, and see through the similarities to the fascinating differences in our cultures. If you do come, and if you do enjoy your visit, I strongly suggest you include the Province of Quebec (the French province) in future travel plans. Quebec City and Montreal are both great. And last, but not least, is the east coast, and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in particular. This is the eastern most point of North America, and MUST be seen. The landscape IS at the top of my list (Try this link to Gros Morne National Park: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/Gros%2...ational%20Park ) , and the people are fantastic!

    Cheers!

    Sandarm

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    Border Crossing - Everything you wanted to know

    I am planning on taking the long way from Texas to St Paul - via the Michigan UP and around Lake Superior on the north side. That means crossing the border at two of the potentially busiest crossing points in the high tourist traveling season of the summer.

    I recently came across this web site for border crossing info. It is a real encyclopedia of information. Most important when I get up there is a resource I can check to see what the wait times are at the various crossing points. Hope this is useful for someone!

    http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/

    Happy travels!


    Jerry M
    Houston, TX

    Tags: Canadian border crossing, customs, Sault St Marie, International Falls

  8. #8
    Sandarm
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    Welcome to Canada!

    I'm glad to hear that you're planning to travel the road north of Lake Superior. It is a fantastic and beautiful road, and part of the Trans-Canada Highway. I will be including it in my ride back from the rally. I haven't traveled that road for many years, so I can't comment on the traffic, but I can tell you that it's not a multi-lane highway. I have traveled through 34 countries and seen a lot of the world, and this drive is still near the top of my list, so even though the road might have a goodly amount of traffic, (It is after all, our main east-west connecting high way) I will be taking it.

    You'll be driving mostly on two lanes, and if I remember correctly, with passing lanes thrown in to allow for others to pass you and your Airstream. The topography is dramatic, rough hilly forested terrain, with frequent views of gigantic Lake Superior.

    The border crossings in Southern Ontario are probably much busier than the ones in the north; the line-ups here can be long depending on the time of day and whether or not there's a long weekend, or holiday. I just checked on-line to see how busy the crossings are, and there is no waiting involved - you should be fine.

    Hopefully you'll enjoy your visit to our country, and see through the similarities to the fascinating differences in our cultures. If you do come, and if you do enjoy your visit, I strongly suggest you include the Province of Quebec (the French province) in future travel plans. Quebec City and Montreal are both great. And last, but not least, is the east coast, and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in particular. This is the eastern most point of North America, and MUST be seen. The landscape IS at the top of my list (Try this link to Gros Morne National Park: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/Gros%2...ational%20Park ) , and the people are fantastic!

    Cheers!

    Sandarm

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrym100 View Post
    I am planning on taking the long way from Texas to St Paul - via the Michigan UP and around Lake Superior on the north side. Happy travels!


    Jerry M
    Houston, TX
    Jerry, I am taking the same route to the Rally, Milwaukee towards MI UP and counter-clock around Lake Superior. Anyone want to join me along the way, please let me know. Houghton, MI - Copper habor, MI - Sault Ste. Marie, MI - White River, ON - Thunder Bay, ON - Duluth, MN (Superior, WI) - St. Paul, MN. Leaving on 17th, planning to be at the Rally on 23rd PM.

    Thanks. Miro.

  10. #10
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtbill View Post
    Tentatively we will head north to Duluth and Thunder Bay, eventually getting on Rt 17 in Canada and going around to Sault Ste. Marie.
    If you cross at Sault Ste Marie plan on a little time to check out the Soo Locks.
    http://www.saultstemarie.com/soo-locks-46/

    We have crossed at Grand Portage and SSM several times and I don't remember it being busy, but it's been quit a few years and my memory is not the best

    Leaving the UP you'll cross the Mackinac Bridge. It's a beautiful bridge, but not much fun when you're on a bike and the wind is howling. The center lanes are metal grate

    Lee 2011 K1300S
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  11. #11
    Mongrel Owner
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    Go north of Superior

    It's a beautiful ride/drive, which you will miss if you cross at Sault Ste. Marie. Continue on Hwy 17 past Sudbury and North Bay, as it's relatively free of heavy trucks (they take Hwy 11).
    Keep on 17 and visit our nation's capital, Ottawa, then spend a night at Charleston Lake provincial park.
    You can cross back into the US at Ivy Lea, taking the bridges over the St. Lawrence. That puts you right on I81. The border crossings between Kingston and Cornwall are not as busy as those further west.
    Cheers,
    Tony

  12. #12
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonysR100 View Post
    The border crossings between Kingston and Cornwall are not as busy as those further west.
    Cheers,
    Tony
    +1 Cornwall and Kingston are easy crossings. Kingston had a couple nice little ferry rides. Both Kingston and Cornwall will set you up for great roads in the upper part of NY. Great scenery in the Tupper Lake and Lake Placid area.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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