Region J's Extensive Area Of Coverage Boasts Some of the Best Riding In North America

Saskatchewan, Alberta British Columbia, Alaska, Yukon

A Little History

Many GWRRA members traveled to Billings in the summers of 1997, 2000 & 2007 which gave them a chance to tour into Region "J". In fact, never was there a better excuse to run just a few miles north of Billings, MT. and start touring the GWRRA's LARGEST REGION in land mass area. Encompassing 1,650,690 square miles, the Region covers Canada's three western Provinces, two of Canada's three territories and the 49th State, Alaska. This makes Region "J" the only International Region in the GWRRA with five Districts nestled into it's boundaries.

The entire Region has a population of approximately 7,678,000 people, a little less than the population of the state of New Jersey. You most certainly won't find hoards of GoldWingers crowding every intersection as you saw in Knoxville last year or Billings four years ago. In fact for the most part you will find miles and miles of highways with very light traffic and a reasonable scattering of amenities that are, likewise, not crowded.

Due North from Billings is the Province of Saskatchewan which boasts a population of approximately 990,000 and is basically flatland in its southern half. There are some interesting sites to see, however.  Cypress Hills Inter-provincial Park just North of the Willow Creek border crossing up Sask. highway #21 has some lovely scenery and is only a few miles from Medicine Hat, Alberta and the Trans Canada Highway. If one wants to venture further into this area of wheat fields and grain elevators you can visit the towns of Swift Current and Moose Jaw before coming to the Capital city of Regina, east on the Trans Canada. North of Regina is Saskatchewan's largest city Saskatoon, the beautiful 'City of Bridges', located on the South Saskatchewan River.  From there you can travel the Yellowhead Route (Hwy 16) to Edmonton, Alberta on the West or back East towards Yorkton and the Manitoba border. North of Saskatoon is Prince Albert and the gateway to Waskesu Recreation area.  Recommended is a run up to Calgary from Medicine Hat or a southern route to Lethbridge and Historic Fort McLeod original headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

If one really wants some serious adventure they can enter Canada through Glacier National Park and the Waterton Lakes area of south-western Alberta. Once you are in Region "J" Gasoline prices tend to be a wee bit higher even though Alberta is one of the largest oil producing parts of the North American continent.  Lots of GoldWingers reside in the area  especially in the two rival cities of Calgary (south) and Edmonton (north).  Their names and phone #'s are in the GWRRA's Gold Book so take advantage of some good ol' Region "J" hospitality and give one a call. Most of the Wingers know the best riding areas and they can advise or even escort visitors on a few guided tours. Visiting Banff National Park or Lake Louise is usually a priority with most Eastern & Southern visitors so take advantage of the chance now that you are so close. A run up from Lake Louise to Jasper via the Columbia Ice Fields will be absolutely breathtaking but fill up with fuel before you take that highway as the gas prices halfway up are the highest in the land.  Be prepared for all kinds of weather while traveling in Region "J"s mountain areas. Weather can be very unpredictable and one can experience snow in those area's during the summer months especially at the higher elevations. It is unlikely that one will encounter that type of weather but it has been known to happen occasionally.

Taking a run into British Columbia will be the highlight of anyone's journey.  Here, even in the south part of the province, one can experience every type of terrain and climate there is except tropical jungles.  There are glaciated mountains, lots of pristine lakes, streams, waterfalls, winding roads, and open fields to peak ones interest. The Kootenays are relatively wild and the sparsely populated south east of B.C. is very scenic. Further to the West you will discover the Okanagan Valley renowned for its fruit orchards and fabulous beaches along the Valley's lakes. In the south is one of Canada's only two desert areas from Osoyoos to Okanagan Falls along Hwy. 97. Penticton, Kelowna, and Vernon are tourist destinations that are fast becoming world renowned. Traveling north to the Cariboo country of Quesnel and Prince George can set you on a journey to the Yukon and Alaska. Don't forget to contact the local Chapters and enjoy some good GoldWinger hospitality though. Great eating spots abound and of course there are those fabulous ice cream stop-overs that we can never resist. A run to the coast and the Vancouver area is always worthwhile, however, rain can beset the weary rider in this part of the province at any time of the year. Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton are the only areas where you can expect to experience a heavy traffic situation, the rest of Region "J" is very open and most highways are relatively free of congestion. Highway 97 near Kelowna can be a bottleneck in the mid-afternoons and some of the Vancouver Island highway gets a little crowded near B.C.'s capital city of Victoria. The North Island is very scenic and there are miles of winding highways there as throughout most of the B.C. Interior.

Those traveling up to Alaska must be prepared for a hard ride. It is, perhaps, better to ride up and take a boat back to the Northern part of Vancouver Island or to Seattle in the Pacific Northwest.  That boat ride can be so gorgeous you may decide to stay on board forever. On the way up to Alaska take plenty of insect repellent of the very strongest type money can buy.   Be prepared for construction zones, slippery mud, and gravel for a few miles at various points. We love visitors but one must be aware of the vast distances they are traveling up there and prepare to take the necessary equipment and clothing along.  Call up someone who has done it for advice, most if not all will be glad to help you out. The Yukon has a tremendous heritage of Gold Rush fever and tales of the late 19th century pioneers who risked all to travel there.  Whitehorse and Dawson Creek have had more movies about them than one can name.  Again, refer to the Gold Book and visit some of the local Wingers who can help you with friendly advise and a possible place to pitch a tent. If you make it all the way to Alaska, and on a Wing there is no reason not to, you will enjoy the extremely long days.  The sun barely sets before it is up again. The scenery is second to none in the entire world and there is so much of it that you can wear yourself out just by opening your eyes each day.  Region "J" is always ready to welcome one and all Wingers to come and visit our exciting and beautiful Region. Whatever your destination, or whoever you are, consider yourself welcomed!We won't blame you if you decide to stay and live here like we have done.

We hope you might be planning a trip soon to the Great Northwest Region J.

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