As the sort-of ring-leader of this little circus, I got to work with my buddy Rob in the winter of 2015, planning what became a nearly 1,000 mile route through New Hampshire and Maine, including a lot of time in the wilderness of the North Maine Woods. I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the trip itself as I had something come up with work and had to be in Asia over the same dates, but the trip went off without too many issues, and everyone had a phenomenal time. You can read about that trip on Rob and Mandy (Rob’s fiancée) blog, Out of Ipswich .
With the immense enthusiasm after what we called the “Overland 2016” trip, it became immediately apparent that we had the interest to make this an annual event. After a few weeks of tossing ideas around with Rob last December, I stumbled upon GravelTravel.ca, a website devoted to overland motorcycling that is home to a dozen or so routes through and across Canada. I reached out to Ted Johnson, the organizer of the website, and explained to him my interest in planning a route for the club to explore Canada. He and I spoke back and forth for a while and after receiving GPS files from him for two different routes that he has created, I got his blessing to combine both of them to make a bit longer of a trip for our group.
Rob and I spent a very snowy afternoon in February of this year at his kitchen table working through the GPS files and creating a rough itinerary for what we began calling the QB-5 route, named after being in Quebec for 5 days (the irony is that we'll spend more time in Ontario than Quebec, and though initially I thought the trip would have most of our time spent in the latter province, Rob and I made the executive decision to keep the original name anyways). After using Google Maps and satellite views extensively we had come up with a solid plan for what our summer trip would consist of: roughly 525 miles both on and off pavement throughout the greater Ottawa region of Canada.
With a crew as large as ours, and a 350+ mile trip to our first campsite in very Upstate New York on Day 1, we simply decided we would travel in whatever groups organically formed then meet at the campsite in Upstate New York for dinner on Thursday night, July 27th. Until then each of us would return home and make sure that our vehicles and gear were in thorough working order. It’s exciting and slightly nerve wracking to be heading out to a different country (yeah, okay, it’s Canada and not the Ukraine) and to be reliant on both ourselves and the strength of the group as a whole in a variety of vehicles, but I have little doubt in our abilities to pull this off and have a great time in the process.
So with that, let us begin our second annual vehicular adventure by introducing the cast members of the journey.