Adventure – ECT17 – Mapping It Out

Click ahead to join me on my East Coast Trip. I’ll be taking my MEC National South through the United States to the East Coast, where I will re-enter Canada by Ferry and travel along the Southern Coast of Nova Scotia, up through Quebec, and back to Ottawa.

East Coast Trip 2017
What: A 5,000km Grand Bike Tour
When: August 2017

What is the East Coast Trip 2017?

The East Coast Trip 2017 is a little something I’ve been planning ever since I biked to Montreal and Kingston last year. The trip will total approximately 5,000km and it will take me through Ontario, New York, Vermont, Maine, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Quebec.

Eventually, there will be a whole series of updates as a result of this trip, but for now, I’ll start with two main articles – the trip planning, and what equipment I’ll be bringing on this tour.

East Coast Trip Planning

I had a few challenges with this, as initially I had tried to plan the whole trip on Google Maps. While this tool is great (And free!) to get you from point to point, as soon as you try adding more than a handful of waypoints, it pretty much stops working.

What I was doing with Google Maps was basically this:

  1. Select my starting point (Ottawa, ON)
  2. Select a destination at least a couple days away (Portland, ME)
  3. Make sure to select the bike icon (VERY Important!)
  4. At this point I would drag the route to a few locations that I wanted to visit. In this example, I wanted to visit Lake Placid and I also wanted to go through the Mount Washington area.
  5. This gave me a rough outline of the route I was going to take, so then I broke up the route visually, into sections – Ottawa to St.Regis Falls to Hinesburg, to Mount Washington, to Portland – that’s 4 days of traveling at an average of 165km per day.
  6. Then I would start a new map with the endpoints Ottawa and St.Regis Falls, for example, and just work on that individual daily route.
  7. With this finalized route, I would then go about trying to make a little crib sheet for paper directions.

It was evident pretty quickly that this would take a long time to accomplish, and if I wanted to make any changes, I would have to pretty much start over each time.

I tried a few different apps and websites, and also installed Google Earth, but my workflow with each of them was pretty much the same until I tried out RideWithGPS.

Working with RideWithGPS

RideWithGPS has some pretty nice resources for planning a longer trip. Not only is it much more flexible with the number of way points you can setup, but it also has multiple maps to choose from, so you can see local city bike paths, common bike routes, as well as satellite and general road view.

Once I clicked and dragged my entire route, I was then able to save it, and then cut it into little pieces for my daily routes. Once I had my 30 days or so of routes, they were then all exported to my Garmin Edge 520 – easy peasy!

Some other nice things about this is that I now not only have the maps in my GPS unit, but I also downloaded the routes to my phone via their app in offline mode, which means I can access them even without cell reception, and I also downloaded all of the maps onto my tablet. With 3 places to check for directions, I will not be bringing any paper maps.

The Final Route

So here’s the final route. I’ve decided to stay in a major city every few days using AirBnB, and camping the rest of the way, so I am planning on completing the trip in 34 days, with an average of 120km or so per day.

The full planned trip

From Ottawa to St.Regis Falls, Hinesburg, Mount Washington, Portland, Yarmouth, Hunts Point, Halifax, Aulds Cove, Baddeck, North Point, Margaree, Baddeck, Port Hawksbury, Caribou, East Coast,  North Coast, West Coast, Moncton, Fredericton, Saint Johns, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Montreal, and finally, back to Ottawa!

What’s Next?

Next time I write about this trip, I’ll go through the list of equipment I’ll be bringing along this tour!