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Flyred 05-23-2010 10:03 AM

SKMo Joe
Travels with Jumbo. Part 5

Once again headed North. This time for the Dempster Road to Inuvik, NWT. I knew it would be questionable if I could complete the trip due to getting across the rivers via the seasonal ferries.
Unfortunalty, that was the case. So the end of the trail was at the Peel River Crossing, looking at the ferry on the other side of the river, now in the water and being prepped for the summer but not yet running.
The trip was still a blast and I have to admit,IMHO, The Dempster is a better ride than the Dalton for a lot of reasons.
So with the introduction complete, here is my ride report.

Day 1 camp at Whisker Point CG Lake McCleod, BC 660 miles

Beavers 1 Trees 0

The Beavers are kicking this camps butt. Trees are down all along the shoreline.
An Irish Whiskey and a cigar finish the day:freaky

Flyred 05-23-2010 10:14 AM

Day 2 473 miles
Fort Nelson BC
Another beautiful day with a stop in Dawson Creek for the mandatory pictures at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway

The ride starts for real after Fort Nelson. Before this point it's all pretty Ho Hum. But after that the scenery really starts.
The West End Campground is located on the ...uh... West End of town at Fort Nelson. The cool thing about this place is it has all the KOA type stuff plus a good restuarant and a bar.

The tent area is currently being used as a dumping ground for a remodel project so it's a bit of a mess. But did I mention they have a bar?

BitesTheDust 05-23-2010 12:57 PM


Flyred 05-24-2010 10:49 PM

Day 3 Takhini Hot Springs
636 miles
Ahhhh. Nothing like a hot soak after a long day.
Crossing the Northern Canadian Rockies. One 10 mile stretch took me 3 hours because of all the photo stops.
Lots of game along the road. 10+ bears. 10+ Bison. Cariboo.
After watching all the bears, I figured I should stop and get a pic of at least one. This one was chilling 50' off the road so I stopped the bike. My stopping got the bear shambling off but every 4th step he would fall on his face. The pic doesn't show it well but the bears right front leg is broken and sticking out at a 90 degree angle from where it should be.
Poor bastard is toast.

Here's a healthy and lazy Bear

On a happier note.
The Pink Mtns

Breakfast at The Toad

Back into the Rockies with a full stomach and gas tank

Muncho Lake Prov Park. My oh my!

The fuel stops were frequently very scenic

You need to carry fuel up here. I didn't know they made Peg Packers for cruisers.

A fuel and food stop in Whitehorse. Some really good Pizza at Boccelli's next to the Head Shop and the Soup Kitchen. Hand tossed thin crust. Good stuff!

Then there's this boat parked in town. Don't know why

30 km out of town is the hot springs. A tent space with use of the pool is $27. Perfect way to finish off the day

Takhini is a natural choice for a camp along the road to Dawson City.

There is an old Road House along the Hwy that is falling apart and looks a thousand years old. It stopped working commercially in 1957. The Yukon is tough on structures

DC is a comfortable days ride from here with a couple side trips thrown in. Like to Mayo, AK

Mayo's cemetary. Seems like they all died in 1923

Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

If you ride this route you will see this.

Flyred 05-24-2010 10:50 PM

Day 4 Dawson City
Camp at the Yukon River Hostel.

The Yukon River Gold dredging takes away all the soil, leaving glacial till behind. There are housing developments built on this stuff

KTM. Not what you think. It's the Klondike Thawing Machine Co.

Perma frost FAIL

The Downtown Hotel. It's where you get the Sour Toe Cocktails

The Tasty Byte. Internet Cafe and home of killer homemade donuts. Say hi to Ron.

And then there's this boat in town. Don't know why

Hard working miner in Dawson City

Flyred 05-24-2010 10:51 PM

Day 5 Flying with Eagles, lunch at Chicken
350 miles of gravel

The US Canada border. Pop 2

The road to Eagle is in very good condition, much better then the Top of the World road. Eagle itself was hit by a flood May 2009 and the front street was washed away. The grocery / gas station is 100+ yards up the hill and it had water up to the door knob.
All due to an ice dam on the Yukon River during break up.
The town didn't have anything worth taking a picture of. Gas and go

The liquer store on the road to Eagle-Closed

The Top of the World


Chicken for a great burger

Back into Dawson City after a long great day. A stop at the Downtown Hotel for a Sour Toe Cocktail. If you haven't had one, it's a shot of Whiskey-Jack Daniels- and a black, pickled human toe. You have to give the toe back.

Flyred 05-24-2010 10:54 PM

Day 6 The Dempster. Que ominous music
That shows you how tired I am. I spelled cue wrong. Sheesh
Da da daaahhh.
267 miles of gravel and a few loose screws

Before you start up the Dempster you have to stop at the Klondike River Lodge. It's the last place to buy fuel and has a very good cafe and Wi-Fi.

The lodge is owned by Gib (Capt Gib) an ADV nOOB that is trying to build a great motorcycle destination. Gib is asking for advice on what we want to make this place the best destination for a rider. My idea was to allow drop shipping of new tires and set up a tire change area.
Contact Gib at with ideas and requests. His Lodge is
Here's your chance to create something perfect for us.

Capt Gib and Tanisha.
Gib has ridden this Harley up the Dempster, the Dalton, and the Top of the World all on street tires. He's got bigger balls then me.

Mile 0 Here we go
The scenery starts getting good about 50 miles in and stays distracting the rest of the ride.

The South side of the Tombstones

The Dempster Hwy Tombstone Mountains Info center-Closed

The Tombstone Mtns

The gravel is large and like riding on marbles. Big marbles

Tastes like chicken

Sapper Mountain

Fuel stop at Elephant Rock

The climb up the ridge

What was to be a quick fuel stop at Eagle Plains turns into a repair stop.

Which turns into a night stop. The smell of dinner cooking pulls me in.
Nothing around for a few hundred miles

All fixed. Note to self: carry a lot more washers. They make bolts shorter when needed.

No stopping. Look up

Flyred 05-24-2010 10:59 PM

Day 7 The rest of the Dempster and back
517 miles of gravel and way too much beer.
Start this morning from Eagle Plains Hotel. This place is like the Moon Station. It's 200 miles up the road and it's 120 from the next town. It sits on top a ridge with unbelievable views in all directions. They have a good restraunt and bar. Fuel and a huge maintenance shed, then when the roll up doors are open has to be the most scenic place a mechanic can work. They truck in all their water from a stream about 30 miles away. They have their own sewage treatment plant. A room was $140 a night. An excellent burger was $15. Considering everything is trucked in from the other side of the world. It's resonable
Slow WiFi but so does everybody else.

Howling winds out here. 30-40 kts.

The wind sock along the road at one of the Emergency runways

It's so windy out here that the Porta-Potties are tied down.

Still blowing 30+ kts cross wind. The road is in pretty good condition...but occasionally the surface becomes deep golf ball sized rocks. When you hit these areas with the cross winds hang on and slow down as smoothly as possible. You will get pushed off the road quickly. Right Eddie?

I saw 3 vehicles in 520 miles. 1 was an RV that had a flat tire and was hauling the occupants of car 2 which had 2 flat tires and was disabled. Vehicle 3 in this picture was the tire repair truck. That was it all day.

The end of the road. The Peel River ferry is in the water but wont be running for a few more days.

Midway Lake, currently a ghost town

Lunch and a pot of Starbucks

Weather station on Oglivie Ridge

Bullet magnet

Cariboo skin. I guess they shed their skin like snakes?

There are 3 sheep in the picture

Flyred 05-24-2010 11:01 PM

Day 8 Ross River. why is this town here?
372 miles 100(?) of gravel
What a sh#t bag place full of strange people.

Leaving my favorite camp. The Yukon River Hostel. Just across the Yukon from Dawson City. A shared room is $21 and I had it to myself the first night. Since it was raining on the Dempster, I rode to Chicken and back so I stayed a second night. After getting beat down by the Dempster the next couple days I came back because I wanted to sit in the wood fired sauna. I liked this place.

Before I left for good how ever I rode down the river bank a couple KM's and checked out the Stern Wheeler Graveyard.

There are at least 5 ships on the bank and slowly falling apart.



After that, cross the river one last time and head for the Campbell Hwy.

Pelly Crossing, YT

5 Finger Rapids

There are convoys of identical RV's headed North. I am so glad I'm headed South

Faro. The best kept secret???

Faro is near Ghost Town status. The only gas station burned down 3 years ago. You need to gas up in Ross River. The grocery store is boarded up. There are adandoned houses and apartments all over town. The only thing that I didn't see was Zombies walking the streets saying "Braiiiins"

This is one of the motels. There are people still living in the town still working at the mine. But most of the town looks really bad.

Ross River Yukon College. I post this because my son is mad he didn't get into the UW. Instead he's headed to WWU in the fall. Hey son. It could be a lot worse.

Camping at the "City Park"
Kind of creepy and probably nothing but...
I drive into town looking for an open gas station and instead find a British guy-Trevor- out of Calgary camping in his van. A nice guy, he is doing sales calls all over the West and North trying to sell an invention he's involved with that turns methane or natural gas into 150 octane Gasoline. There is a lot of nat gas up here but few refineries so all gasoline gets trucked in. Every village could set up their own plants. is his company website. While I set up my tent, several natives cruise by and look us over then leave. Next thing I know, Trevor is driving away. WTF??? Did he get wind of something bad???
All that night, every few minutes a local would drive down to the river where I was parked, check me out and slowly drive away. Now I understand it was probably a slow news day here but somebody could have stopped to say hi. Nada. So all night I sleep with 1 eye open waiting...

The Pelly River pedestrian bridge. This used to carry the CanOl pipeline now is the footpath over the Pelly when the Ferry isn't running. Like now : (

If it's on the Pelly, why is this town called Ross River?

The Pelly Barge. Closed until June 3. So much for riding the North CanOl.

So I'm parked by the pumps at the Ross River gas and grub waiting for it to open so I can get the heck out of this town. Sitting on a milk crate by the loading dock enjoying the sunshine and a good cigar after a lousy breakfast. Numerous locals-all natives-walk past and ignore me. Finally after an hour I stop a native and ask when this place opens. "Normally 9, but today is a Holiday so it's closed". These FF were going to let me sit.
There's a new Card Lock gas tank across the street so over there and refuel and scoot for the CanOl

Flyred 05-24-2010 11:05 PM

The dreaded Canol Road
Why is there a Road closed sign?
350 miles or so. 180 on gravel.
What a fun road. ruts, mud, rocks, cliffs, blind curves with cliffs and rocks and mud. All done at speeds up to 30 mph!

Okay, it was slow going for the first 95 miles to Quiet Lake. Speeds from 10-30 mph was about it, and I like to go fast. The problem was that last year the road had gotten muddy and then rutted. Now the ruts have hardened into Mother Natures equivalent of rail road tracks. With a loaded down bike, the handlebars will get snatched from your hands.

WW 2 Era Bailey Bridge made in England

The hard ruts and ribs
More ruts

Still frozen

5 of these

Another Bailey Bridge

Quiet Lake. And it was

Springtime on the lake.

More damn ruts

From Quiet Lake the road improves enough to really get you into trouble. It's smooth so the speed gets to 70mph then OH NO! a sea of big pot holes or ruts. Wheelie through and slow back down only to get suckered again in another mile.

And then, only 150 miles later, you're out and back on the AlCan

Only 226 KM to Ross River

At the Shell station at Johnsons Crossing I met Alex Wong-Rock Star. He's riding a 660 Yamaha from Brazil to Deadhorse. He's been out 61 days and is riding 1000-1300 KM's a day!

Good luck

Here's Alex's music and videos

The Shell also has a bakery and the Apple turnovers were just coming out of the oven. A short coffee break was then required

HawaiianMaile 05-24-2010 11:56 PM

SKMoJoe huh? Cute title.
So, all that and no self portrait? :clap


Maybe next time, aye?

I didn't see that last picture, Me Bad!
Oh, late addition...

BitesTheDust 05-25-2010 03:19 PM

What's the weather been like?

Thanks for taking the time to write up an RR. This is one trip I plan to do in the near future :D

Flyred 05-27-2010 11:54 PM

The weather was and is beautiful. In fact it was damn near perfect. Cool enough for ATGATT and almost-emphasis almost) no mosquitoes. Never below freezing at night. And I just saw the Inuvik was 75F today.
Got back home to the Seattle area tonight and it was crappy rain again. It's better weather in the Arctic then it is around Seattle

Flyred 05-28-2010 06:30 PM

On to Watson Lake and the beginning of the end : (
358 miles from Ross River

After finishing the CanOl my plan was to turn West again and head to Haines. A look at my tires tells me I need to head for home instead. I should have spotted tires up here and changed them both out. Last year I changed the rear only because the front TKC 80 usually will last 9,000 miles. This year they both are looking like crap after only 4,000 miles.

Over the Continental Divide

Another scenic gas station

The RCAF Pilots Lodge owned by Mike the German. a great place to stay the night. Mike is a rider as well and is rebuilding a wrecked 650GS with all the TouraTech bits. The Lodge is clean and quiet.

The next morning I start late to take advantage of the Lodges Wi-Fi. Then over to the Watson Lake visitors office to give them the promised road condition report of the South CanOl. "But it's closed!" they said. "Well sure it's closed but the road really isn't that bad considering.
They were not amused.

Breakfast at Sally's Cafe. Same place as last year. Food is all homemade and great.
It's at the junction of the AlCan and the Cassier

The problem of the day. I'm out of cash. None of the businesses have an ATM so it's back into Watson Lake and then back to the junction. An extra 24 miles.
Away I go down the Cassier.
What a great road. I remember last year thinking how boring and I wonder if that was because the mountains were snow free. This year I am distracted looking at the scenery.

Gas station pets

No gas

Jade City

The site of marital stress

Gready (sp) Cunt !

Bell 2 CG

enjoying my Jade City Cigar ash tray

Bell 2 is a Heli-Skiing base camp and resort. They have a hot tub and sauna. They have gourmet pizza and sandwiches in the fridge as well. I was convinced after the mention of pizza

The road to Hyder

The Bear Glacier

Welcome to Hyder, AK Population 30

The Border

Mile 0 again

Down at the Yacht Club-Single wide house boats

Downtown Stewart BC for breakfast
The famous Toaster Museum

Morning rush hour

Back on the Cassier and headed home

Coffee break at Bonus Lake

Kitwanga BC and the end of the Cassier.

What he said?

Zip up the Darian Jacket here comes a big storm heading into Smithers. It dumped on me.

Last camp at Stone Creek RV- 10 mile South of Prince George, BC. Owned by a Swiss guy, the camp is as clean as a golf course. Even the fire pits are cleaned. The only trouble is you are right by Hwy 97 so it's loud. The good news though is the other camp at Hixon is much worse. Stay here if you are tent camping

The view from my tent

Another early departure. Long shadows.

The road to Whistler BC runs along the Fraser River-same as my last camp spot. Coming into Lillooet is impressive because of the canyon.

If you're a Chelsea Handler fan. this will be funny

Hard to believe Jumbo is only 2 1/2 years old

Finally home. This time to an empty apartment since my wife and I have been separated for a while now.Still no marching bands but at least this time there was cold beer in the fridge.

Flyred 05-28-2010 06:34 PM

12 days 5,642 miles
Jumbo has 41,329 on her with zero maintenance issue- ok the exhaust heat shield screws fell out-but aside from that no problems except she eats tires.
I was getting almost 50 MPG the whole ride.

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