The schedule below is rather general. I am not listing every exact road from point A to point B as there are variations such as riding on the Missouri or Illinois side during the July 27/28 segments plus Mapquest often gives two to three options from point A to point B. I will recommend a suggested route and you can take it or leave it.
While we can, I am taking advantage of inexpensive accommodations. If you don't like the suggestions, do a mapquest and find a lodging of your preference close by. Later on, in Canada and Alaska, lodging will NOT be cheap so lets economize when we can.
About a week before we begin our trip, I will send each biker a condensed itinerary with suggested gas stations for our daily mid-morning and mid-afternoon stops, plus a suggested lunch place (rationale: If members of the group gets separated due to traffic conditions, etc. knowing where everyone will stop for gas will help us find each other AND using online tools, I can suggest service stations that not only have decent snacks but reasonably priced gas (every year, there are a couple of places in Canada that after riding for two hours without seeing a gas station, everyone automatically pulls into the first gas station not realizing that just half a mile further down, there is a much better station with a convenience store and restrooms (the first gas station didn't have restrooms!) FYI -- "all" gas stations accept major credit cards. I've done entire trips with less than $10 Canadian. Wait until you get to an ATM after we get into Canada than wasting time at the border exchange stations. Check your credit card company ... some have no foreign transaction fees and some refund ATM charges.
FYI, virtually every place will take your US currency and "exchange" it for Canadian (but at an exchange rate which "favors" them so using a credit card without a foreign transaction fee will be cheaper). Get about $20 of loonies and toonies ($1 and $2 coins) for laundry machines.
Oh, did you visually confirm your passport isn't expired?
I'm not a "micromanager" but just wanted to have something written down "just in case" and also as a base for adjustments.
A reminder ... if your bike requires premium gas, bring octane boosters as many gas pumps up Northwest may not carry premium.
July 26, 2014 -- St. Augustine, Florida to Chattanooga, Tennessee -- 505 miles
7:30 a.m. (time change) Meet at Georgie's diner for breakfast with tentative kickstands up at 8:30 a.m. We may have a police escort.
We will simply take I-95 north to I-10 west to I-75 north. Since we will be going through Atlanta during early afternoon, traffic should not be an issue.
Suggested mid-morning fuel stop -- Adel, Georgia (186 miles) -- Adel Truck Plaza .. 1503 W FOURTH ST .. exit 39, north on Georgia 37 two blocks.
Suggested lunch stop -- Byron, Georgia (112 miles) -- Pilot Travel Center --2965 HIGHWAY 247, Byron Georgia -- exit 146, West about half a mile. Truck centers usually have plenty of gas pumps and food!
Suggested mid-afternoon fuel stop -- Emerson, Georgia (125 miles) -- Love's Travel Stop, 150 Old Allatoona Rd SE, Emerson, GA -- exit 283
Suggested Lodging: Motel 6 East Ridge #4423 2281 Camp Jordan Parkway I-75 at Exit 1, Chattanooga TN 37412 -- Merge right off Exit 1-A. Hotel is on the right (left at stop light). This is the southeast's highest rated Motel 6. Special pricing for us! Ask for SKI-HI rates -- single $32.99, standard double $39.99, king $42.99. Call (423) 894-1417 for reservations.
(I always encourage bikers to FIRST make reservations for two at every stop -- assuming they want to split costs with a room-mate -- and THEN as bikers register and we email each other, we can make rooming arrangements and cancel unneeded reservations -- hopefully, holding onto rooms until June so to make room for last-minute bikers).
Tentative rendezvous at 7 p.m. Porkchops Bar & Grill -- 6729 Ringgold Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37412
July 27, 2014 -- Chattanooga, Tennessee to Burlington, Iowa -- 655 miles
6 a.m. Kickstands up and on the road after we eat breakfast at Waffle House, 6513 Ringgold Rd. This means that at 6 a.m. we leave Waffle House without having to stop for gas, etc.
Route: I-24, north past St. Louis, I-57, I-64, then Illinois 267 then 61 North.
John Laurie suggestions: From Mt. Vernon to head west on I 64 to St. Louis and then you can see the
Arch....and just stay on I 64/40 and it hooks right into US 61 North to
Hannibal...the Missouri side is a much better ride.... Map
Suggested mid-morning fuel stop -- Pilot Travel Center, Oak Grove, KY (exit 86) -- 188 miles
Suggested lunch break/fuel stop -- Flying J, Mount Vernon, Illinois (exit 95) -- 181 miles
Suggested Lodging: John Laurie is inviting the bikers to stay in his home (I will send out the address via personal email to the bikers and they can RSVP to John) and will have a cookout for us. He may have press coverage arranged when we arrive.
Quality Inn $75 and up....319-753-0000 Super 8 $51 and up...888-946-3379 HoJo $71 and up...888-253-1628 AmericaInn $70 and up...800-634-3444 Comfort Inn and Suites $85 and up...319-753-1300...VERY NICE PLACE....John Laurie's pick ...newest of all..... The PZAZZ $86 and up...866-430-2692...casino and resort/spa/complex...it is nice...smoking allowed in casino...
July 28, 2014 -- Burlington, Iowa to Minneapolis, Minnesota -- 378 miles
8:30 a.m. Kickstands up and on the road after we eat breakfast at a place to be arranged.
Suggested Lodging: Motel 6 Minneapolis North - Roseville #759 2300 Cleveland Avenue North, I-35W at Exit #24 Roseville MN 55113. Rates as of Aug 2013 are $65.99, $59.99 seniors, two beds for two people.
A local motorcycle group affiliated with one of our bikers is planning to have a welcome dinner at 7 p.m. at Joe Senser's Sports Theater. Since this is a short day ride, this would be a perfect time for laundry and bike wash.
July 29, 2014 -- Minneapolis, Minnesota to Minot, North Dakota -- 499 miles
Breakfast rendezvous: Meet at Burger King right at Exit 24 -- 2080 County Road C W .. kickstands up at 8 a.m.
Suggested route: It's time to get off the interstate! Up I-35W then take US Highway 10 all the way to Fargo, ND then US 52 West to Minot, ND.
Suggested mid morning stop: As we enter Staples Minnesota on US 10, let's stop at SuperAmerica on 1101 2nd Ave NE.
Suggested lunch stop: Flying J truck stop, I-29, Exit 62 in Fargo, North Dakota
Suggested mid-afternoon stop: Tesoro, 7 4th Avenue N, Carrington, ND -- this is on Highways 281/52 as we come into town.
Suggested Lodging in Minot -- Magic City Hotel, 1901 South Broadway, Minot, ND Phone (701) 838-4840. There is a state fair going on so prices other places may be quite high. Single bed rooms are going for around $65 here in Magic City Hotel in Minot. I was told there is also a Harley store nearby. At least three bikers got reservations here as of December 16.
Suggested rendezvous: Magic City Hotel restaurant at 7 p.m.
July 30, 2014 -- Minot, North Dakota to Saskatoon, Sasketchewan -- 407 miles
Rendezvous with kickstands up at 8 a.m. at Flying J truck stop West of town 3800 Highway 2 and 52 west -- so please arrive here with enough time so you can grab a bite to eat and gas up with us being on the road at 8 a.m.
Suggested Route: Highway 52 West all the way to the border. US 52 W becomes SK-39. We will then take SK-6 and then SK-11 N
Suggested mid morning break: Estevan, SK (at the border, you should change your GPS to the metric system). Estevan Mohawk, 942 45h St. -- this is on Canadian 18/39
Suggested gas stop: Downtown Esso, 2005 Albert St in Regina, SK It's on SK route 6 as we enter town. After gassing up, go back south about 1/2 block to Chili's Texas Grill on 2062 Albert St.
No suggested afternoon stop as it's only 160 miles to Saskatoon, SK
Suggested Lodging -- Motel 6, Highway 16 at 231 Marquis Drive Saskatoon, SK S7R1B7 Ouch! Rates are $118.99 for two people, two beds, $107.99 senior rate. Still, this is cheaper than the $130 or $150 rate others charge. There are some as cheap as $95 but they have "shared bathrooms". Now, you can see why we try to "economize" as much as possible in the States when we can.
Suggested Rendevouz at 7 p.m. Husky House Restaurant, 315 Marquis Dr W, SASKATOON, , SK S7R1B6
July 31, 2014 -- Saskatoon, SK to Edson, Alberta -- 447 miles
Suggested morning kick stands up from Husky House Restaurant at 8 a.m.
Suggested mid morning break ... after 170 miles, we will arrive in Lloydminster .. let's go through town to Petro-Canada -- 5904 44 St. FYI, there will be a Wal-Mart on the left side of the highway after you cross the Alberta border.
Suggested lunch stop -- after 156 miles, we will arrive at Edmonton .. you may be in for a shock .. a large city .. has one of the world's largest indoors mall! Take Highway 16 through the city and stop at Petro-Canada --15023 123 Ave NW
No mid afternoon stop as it will only be 125 miles to Edson, Alberta.
Suggested Lodging -- CHANGED on Sept. 27 due to a biker's recommendation from Howard Johnson North Ridge Inn to Best Western, 300 52nd Street, Edson, AB, T7E 1X8, Canada -- Phone: 780/712-2378 because "...Howard Johnson will not give a refund if you cancel or even change your dates, so I went with the best western across the street."
Suggested rendenzvous -- a block away from Best Western is Mountain Pizza & Steakouse, 5102 4 Avenue. Let's plan for 7 p.m.
August 1, 2014 -- Edson, Alberta to Prince George, British Columbia -- 334 miles
I am assuming there will be breakfast at Best Western. Let's have kickstands up at 8 a.m. from there.
When we get to Jasper National Park, there is time for you to go south to Lake Louise (plan about 5 hours for this segment) ... simply awesome! You will need to buy a park pass to do this. You might want to plan your return trip home south to Calgary instead.
Suggested morning gas stop as we arrive in Jasper -- Petro Canada, 300 Connaught Dr
Suggested lunch stop and gas at the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies .. Mt. Robson! Get your cameras out!
This will be a 200-kilometer stretch with no gas until Prince George!
Suggested Lodging -- Prince Motel -- I stayed here three times. Across the street, to your right, there is a strip mall and on the corner is a very delightful Japanese sushi place. Prince Motel is a rather old place but all three times my room was clean and it had the FASTEST wi fi on the whole trip!
You might want to have your bikes serviced at Cycle North -- CALL AHEAD TO MAKE RESERVATIONS! If you didn't have new tires installed when you left home, you may want to do this!
Suggested evening rendenvous .. the Japanese sushi place at 6 p.m. There's also an A & W root beer restaurant across the street from Prince Motel.
August 2, 2014 -- Prince George, British Columbia to Hyder, Alaska --441 miles
Kickstands up at 6:30 a.m. at McDonalds (two blocks before Prince Motel).
Smithers has a full service Harley Davidson shop and also Eyecandy Custom Cycles (Sam Henderson -- make sure you tell him you know Mike Tuccelli!). From this point on until Anchorage or Fairbanks, you simply won't have a place to go!
We will have lunch at Kitwanga where we get off TransCanadian 16 and go North on route 37. No more gas until we get to Hyder!!
Suggested accommodations ... you have King George Hotel or Motel or Ripley Creek Inn, among others. If you take the motel and ask for a 1st floor room, you can park your bike in front of the door. The hotel has bike parking on the sidewalk. Personally, I like the Ripley Creek Inn. I plan to stay all day August 3, 2014 and then head back home (winging it) either via Utah or Colorado or Montana or North Dakota or go up to Arctic Circle if the weather forecast shows little or no rain. For bikers who are not going to continue North after Hyder, I strongly suggest you stay for two full days and take in the scenery.
If you continue north on 37, you will get onto the Alaska Highway. If you go West immediately, the Rancheria Lodge comes in mind. One biker in 2013 said it was the "worst room" he ever had. Another biker in 2011 said he loved it.
A third biker sent me this email October 13, 2013: "Saw your comments about the Rancherio--and I must say it is without question the worst place and filthiest place I have ever stayed at. So for future reference, I would turn right and go to Watson lake--then U turn and continue to Alaska the next day. The Air Force Motel at Watson Lake is super clean --it has communal bathrooms and communal showers--that said they are all private stalls and as clean as anybody's home--it was 69 for a single room for the night with Internet and a desk. They also have bigger rooms too. A lot of bikes were there as well as families etc.--- there are other places there and nice places to eat."
You might want to go East about 20 miles to Watson Lake. This is the home of the "Signpost Forest" and there are quite a few motels here. Air Force Lodge seems to be the choice of most of us. I have a reservation there also.
The next day, you might want to stay at Haines Junction. Reserve your room early as they fill up quickly! This is a nice short day trip. I got a reservation at Raven Hotel, the top rated accommodation. Alcan Lodge as of December 16 was full. Another biker got a room at Cozy Corner Motel.
The next day, you can either stop at Tok, Alaska or continue to Anchorage or Fairbanks which is under 500 miles. A map of this portion can be found here.
For an extended stay, contact summer housing at University of Alaska at Anchorage and/or Fairbanks. You can get a private dorm room for a week really cheap and use it as a "home base".
Here are my plans for return home ... updated August 5
August 2 - 3 -- Ripley Creek Inn
August 4 -- North on Route 37 to Watson Lake, stay at Air Force Lodge
August 5 -- East on Alcan to Fort Nelson, BC, (side trip to NW Territories) stay at Super 8
August 6 -- Edmonton, Alberta
August 7 -- Billings, Montana
August 8 -- Denver, Colorado
August 9 -- Wichita Falls, Texas
August 10-11 -- Houston, Texas
August 12 -- St. Augustine, Florida
North to Alaska -- for the memories!
A suggestion for your route back home:
Maybe stay at Yellowstone Under Canvas! Scenically set along the South Fork of the Madison River, just 6 miles from Yellowstone National Park's West Entrance, Yellowstone Under Canvas is a luxury tent camp where guests can enjoy the great outdoors without giving up the comforts of home. Some of these "teepees" or "tents" can sleep four people .... 3111 Targhee Hwy West Yellowstone MT 59758 -- do a mapquest to find your own lodging if this doesn't appeal to you.
In Alaska ...
Suggested lodging at Prince Edward Motel/Hotel in Stewart, BC or the scenic collection of old buildings ... Ripley Creek Inn!!
I suggest two full days here ... you will want to rest. The weather changes so much ... maybe 4 hours of rain, 4 hours of sunshine, etc. If you stay for two full days, you will indeed have a window of opportunity to go to top of Salmon Glacier and also to the bear observation deck on Fish Creek. You don't want to miss "The Bus" restaurant!
Most bikers will have already been emailing back and forth for months making plans and most likely will split up into three groups: Some will head back home via California or Montana or go East. Some will head for Anchorage while others for Fairbanks and even some for Prudhoe Bay.
YOU WILL BE ON YOUR OWN AT THIS POINT. Enjoy the benefit of a group ride home (this is why we email back and forth for months making plans) or just doing it solo "winging it". IT IS YOUR CHOICE