Victoria BC to Yukon, Alaska, and back
I have decided to finally post my trip report, which was up to Northern BC, Yukon, and Alaska, summer 2012.
I had planned on doing this months ago, but life gets in the way. And procrastination!
I had been dreaming of this trip for years, and started to firm up a plan. The stars were beggining to align, and it looked like I might be able to make this happen.
A bit about myself: I am 52 years old, have been riding bikes since I was a kid. i didn't get my road license until I turned 40. I have been riding as much as possible ever since.
I live on Vancouver Island, I grew up in Vancouver BC.
My bike is a 2007 Suzuki Vstrom DL650. I bought it new. It had about 40,000km on the odometer, when I started this trip.
Me playin on the patio :nod
I had started adding much needed farlkles to the Wee, to ensure it was ready for the pounding, and mileage, it would see. I added a new chain and sprockets, new centerstand, new radiator guard, new Givi engine bars, and new Heidenaus front and back. Full service was done prior to trip as well. this ened up eating up a lot of my trip budget, but was had to be done. The bike felt way different, and heavier! I hoped she could handle all that extra weight climbing mountain passes.
I had previously done several week long trips on the Wee, as well as my pre Wee bikes. I had all the camping gear I needed, (almost), so I was reasonably prepared for a two week adventure.
After the new tires were installed, I took the bike for arideon a hot day in July to break in the tires.
I put on over 100km to scrub them in...
new back tire;
new front tire;
I tried to find a bit of road, and a bit of offroad for the new rubber;
And take in some scenery of the west coast;
After a successful ride with the new tires and farkles, it was time to head home and plan some more!
I had been working on convincing my wonderful wife that I was actually doing this trip, and with some negotiating, and a little begging, she finally relented.:clap
With two weeks off work, and a promise to my wife, that I would do my best to return in one piece, and hopefully enough money in the bank, things were starting to come together!
My Plan was to head north from Nanaimo, take the ferry to Horseshoe bay to the mainland, then up hwy 99 to Whistler/blackcomb. Up to Lillooet, then up hwy 97 up to Prince George, and continue on to Hyder, Alaska. From Hyder up the Cassiar hwy up into the Yukon. (with a side trip to Telegragh Creek). From there on my route was to be determined.
I was not using a GPS, just maps. All part of the adventure.
The rest of July was spent picking up a few camping supplies like dehydrated food, yummm...some new thermal underwear, (just in case), stove fuel, and I also treated the Wee to a new Moto Pak tank bag, to match my five year old saddlebags.
The August long weekend (BC day) was fast approaching, and that was when I decided to start the trip.
finally the friday before the long weekend came, and I finished up work, and headed home to do some last minute packing.
After loading up the bike, and saying goodbye to my wife and trusty dog, it was time to get this party started!:1drink
The first leg of trip was a short blast up the Island hwy, to my brother in laws place, where I would crash for the night, and be 15 minutes away from the ferry terminal to catch an early ferry to really begin the trip.
I was greeted by my brother in law, with a beer in hand for me as soon as I got off the bike. He is a rider too, as was very envious of my trip. (He had just bought his place and would be broke for the foreseeable future.)
One beer turned into far to many, and after BBQ burgers, and jamming all night, next thing I new, it was way after 2:00am! :freaky
After about 4 hours of sleep, i woke up to my phone alarm, and luckily the excitement of my trip outweighed the hangover I had.
My bro even got up and made coffe, and breakfast!
I said my good byes, and headed down the back roads to the ferry terminal with a foggy head.
I made it to the ferry terminal in no time, and did not have to wait long until my ride off the Island arrived.
There were lots of bikes on the ferry, as it was a long weekend.
To be continued....
Good intro :thumb
Wee to Yukon
Made a 7000 mile trip up there on my Wee in 2011. Part of the trip included a ferry ride south from Haines to Prince Rupert. Amazingly some of the bike riders did not have tie downs and just left there bikes on the side stand. Turned out to be a smooth trip so no bikes fell but one of the guys parked next to me. He was riding a big Harley that would have done damage to my bike. The Wee handled everything well including my overpacking. Great bike for the trip. Keep it coming. ic
Yer from my home town so I have to subscribe.
Looking forward to this one:clap
Thanks for the replies! I had to shut down last night, I was up to late!
I left off on the ferry from Nanaimo to the mainland. The trip was good, it was a beautiful day, and getting warm early. My trip started during the hottest part of the summer. The scenery is really quite nice on the crossing.
The ferry arrived at the terminal, and we all unloaded. I pictured a nice ride up hwy 99 to Whistler, but instead merged into hordes of vehicles, all trying to get up to Whistler, as fast as possible. What a gong show! There were fender benders slowing down traffic, and police cruisers all the way up the Sea to Sky Hwy.
This was not the ride I envisioning.
By this time the heat was really warming things up, and I was starting to melt. I didnt want to stop, to have the cars, and bikes that I had passed during the brief passing lanes. I arrived in Squamish, I have never seen it so busy.
After a while, Whistler and Blackcomb resort came into view, and I new once I passed through, traffic would be a thing of the past.
A quick pit stop in Pemberton for gas, and I was on my way to the best part of this Hwy. Lots of twisties, hillclimbs, and amazing scenery.
Eventually I decided I should take a break, and stopped at a nice park just outside of Lillooet.
man was it smoking hot up here. I took all my bike gear off, to cool down. i took my boots and socks off, only to burn my feet on the parking lot!
My lunch was trail mix with fruit, and white yogurt chips. The heat had melted the mix into big sticky clusters.:lol3
I still had a ling day ahead of me, and the traffic earlier had put me behind, so Now was the time to get some miles in.
The road from Lillooet up to hwy 97 was more open and I had a blast riding and passing any slower traffic.
My concerns about the Wee being slow with all the extra weight we over, the little bike was doing great, even in the afternoon heat. I think the temperature was 36 degrees (96.8) F!
My next stop was at 100 Mile House, one of of the many towns up on the way up hwy 97.
It is a long ride up to Prince George, passing through several towns, and the country is very open ranchland, some nice lakes, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, etc.
After many hours of riding, I saw signs saying Prince George was getting close. I was dead tired by now, after a late night to start the trip. I did not want to stay in the city, so I found a nice little campground just outside the city.
I checked in, and found a spot away from the RV crowd. After setting up camp, I had a much needed shower,
and heated up my dinner. I stuggled with my campstove, but finally got it working long enough to use. This would be constant struggle as the trip went on.
It was a nice night to be sleeping in my tent. It was still very warm, and already this far north, it stayed light later.
Day one completed with success!
Day one Nanaimo BC to Prince George BC Approx 875km.
Day to started off with another beautiful hot day. I packed up camp, and decided to ride into PG for breakfast.
Arrived in PG, and found a Tim Hortons, so I pulled in , and grabbed some food and coffee.
I rode away feeling good, and was now ready for another big day of riding. My goal was Hyder, and new it was doable, after making it to PG the night before.
Riding through Prince George, I was suprised at how big this place was, and I missed my turn off. I rode about 15 minutes, before I realized my mistake,
and decided to stop and get directions at a gas station. The woman I asked was amused by me, and kept calling my honey!
I said thanks to her for pointing me in the right direction, and was on my way. Riding out of PG you climb up a big hill, and the terrain is hilly with trees eaten by pine beetles.
There is a nice looking trail that follows the hwy for miles. I was tempted to ride it, but needed to keep moving at a good pace.
This was my first time this far north, so it was all new to me. Hwy 16, the Yellowhead Hwy, rolls on for a very long time, passing through some small towns. Eventually I came into Houston, BC. It was smoking hot by this time. I saw a tourist info center, so pulled in to get some maps and camping info.
I was rewarded by a nice cool air conditioned building. I did not want to leave, but I needed to keep moving. With a hand full of maps, I was again on my way.
The riding up this way was nice. the Hwy was in good shape, next to no traffic, and very few cops. I moved along at a fast pace the whole day, slowing down to the speed limit through the
towns the Hwy passes through, then open up the throttle again. Soon I arrived in Smithers. The scenery becomes more interessting here, and the mountains are right outside of town.
I stopped for lunch, and decided to buy a coffee press for camping.
Back on the road I came into New Hazelton, and found this scene;
I met a fellow rider here. he was from Hungary. He had shipped his big BMW 1150GS over, and had begun his ride in New York. He was on his way down from Alaska, and continuing
on down To Argentina! He made my trip seem not so long at all.
He told me a few things, including the best time to see Grizzly Bears in Hyder, was in the evening, a few hours before dark. I wished him safe journey, and continued on, exited by the news I could see Grizzlies feeding on spawning salmon. Afer a while I came to Kitwanga junction. There is a gas station, and a grocery store here and this famous sign;
If you look closely sitting on my dash is my travel companion TK (travel kitty) who comes with my on all my vacations!
Now begins Hwy 37, the Cassiar Hwy!
The road gets narrower right away, and begins to get more interesting, with the bush and trees come right to the edge of the pavement!
Riding this Hwy for 150km, gets you to the 37A intersection towards Stewart, BC, and Hyder Alaska, the road is called Glacier hwy, and it lives up to its name, just past the junction, the temp cools down, and you can feel the cool glacier air! This road is a blast to ride, and should not be missed. I soon saw a few black bears on the side of the road, and one or two ran across the road just up ahead! I had heard of this happening up here, and was cautious of wildlife all around me.
about halfway to Stewart, BC I came around a corner, and found this;
This is Bear Glacier. I have seen pictures, and I work with a guy who grew up in Smithers. The Glacier once came right up to the road, and has receeded a lot in the last several years.
The heatwave I was experiencing up until now, was not helping the glacier much.
And one of me!
Soon after Bear Glacier, I arrived in Stewart,BC. I rode around town a bit, some some bikes on the main street, lots of people camping, and enjoying the nice weather, and the long weekend. I wondered if there was going to be anywhere for me to stay?
I rolled into Hyder, which is just down a rough road from Stewart. There is no U.S. customs going into Hyder, but leaving back into Stewart you must go through Canada customs.
I pulled into Hyder, and found the Sealaska Inn. There were Adventure bikes all around, I felt right at home! You check in here at the bar, and what a place. Some local characters were
having happy hour. I ended up getting the last boarding room left.
I packed my gear up to the room, and relaxed for a while.
Alaska at last!
This is the view from the Sealaska Inn;
Tired but very happy!
I ended up talking to some fellow riders, and met a couple of guys from Washington state, riding KLRs. They mentioned they were heading up to see the bears at Fish creek, about 5 miles up the road. I was heading up there myself, so we agreed to meet up there. Things were about to get a whole lot better!
The ride up to Fish creek goes through the rest of Hyder, the road is rough and unpaved.
Fish creek is a state park and requires a small entrance fee of 5 dollars. Well worth it. As soon as I pulled up this it what I saw;
and a few more;
The two KLR rider from Washington showed up, and we talked for a bit, and decided it would be a great night to ride up to Salmon Glacier, to watch the sunset. I was tired and hungry, but could not pass this up. Lots of people told me the Glacier was socked in by fog and cloud most of the year, so tis might be my only chance to see it.
So off we went, my two new friends led the way, with me just behind.
The dirt road follows Fish Creek for a while, then starts climbing up a mountain. There is evidence of mining activity, and pick up trucks with work crews. The road up to the glacier is a lot of fun, lots of big pot holes, but all doable. We convinced a European guy on a rented Harley to to the ride up to the top, and eventually he made it up!
This place is unbelievably beautiful!
Me in the middle, Dan on the left, Steven on the right.
So happy we rode up here, what a sight, two glaciers in one day!
We ride down content. I let the other two guys head down a few minutes before me, I had the road to myself. I saw a porcupine on the way down, waddling down the road.
Back down in Hyder, we decide to find food, but everything is closed. some one tells us the is one cafe in Stewart open late, so we head there. We have to go through customs,
but that is no problem. Dan drops his lucky ball cap, and rides away, I see it fall, and pick it up for him. I plan on giving it to him at the restaurant, but I end up dropping it halfway there.
(a police car going the other way catches me going a little fast and flashes his lights, warning me to slow down. Thanks! We arrive at the restaurant, and I realize the hat is missing. So Dan has to go find his hat back on the road somewhere in the fading daylight. After a while he arrives with his hat! I feel better. We have a good dinner, and I celebrate a great day with a couple of beers.
We are all heading up to Telegraph Creek the next day, so I ask if they mind if I travel with them, no problem, they say. we head back to the Sealaska Inn, and call it a night.
Day two complete success!
Prince George to Hyder, Alaska approx 700kms.
I wake up early the next morning, another amazing sunny day ahead!::D
I decide to do some bike maintenance, Top up oil, check chain tension, lube chain, check tires, etc...Loaded up, I see Dan and Steven stirring, and we agree to meet in Stewart for breakfast.
I say goodbye to Hyder, vowing to come back here again. Crossing the border one more time, I pull into Stewart for breakfast. Temptations Bakery and Deli looks like the place for breakfast, and is highly recommended.
Soon my two new amigos arrive, and we fill up on great food. I buy some cinnamon buns for later, and we head out. before we leave I take these pics of Stewart;
We topped up our tanks, and loaded up with water, and snacks, not knowing what to expect along the road this day.
We stopped for pics at Bear Glacier on the way to the Cassiar Hwy junction;
A little up the road there is a rest area with this sign;
We arrive at the junction of Hwy 37, and take a left to head north. On toward Dease Lake.
The road is amazing! no traffic, no cops, just bears, suicidal chipmunks running across the road and doing a little dance. The Cassiar winds through pretty country, with mointains all around;
After several hours of riding, we finally arrive in Dease Lake BC. Not much here to talk about, we gas up and buy some food for camping near Telegraph Creek. The gas station in Dease Lake, also has a big market, and is well stocked with food, and supplies of all kinds.
I can't believe how hot is is way up here, were are roasting in our bike gear.
The road to Telegraph Creek is uneventfull for a while, paved for the first few KMs, then turns into gravel:D
Winding through forest with a few sweeping turns, the Wee is handling well, with only a few surprises in areas were the road is freshly graded.
Eventually when I begin to wonder why this road is infamous, (a few people had told us the road is in bad shape)
we come to a viewpoint, where we start to see the Grand canyon of BC.
This bridge is at the bottom of a fun steep corkscrew
I almost dropped the bike here, as the bank was steeped, the guys help me right it just in time.:rofl
The road continues through a valley, with the Stekine river flowing through. There are a few first nation fishing settlements here, as this is there land.
great scenery around every bend;
we find a few spots that would be great to camp at, but we still have a ways to go. more scenery;
We stop to take take pictures every few minutes, its just that good! The road is a blast along the way we see very few vehicles. We are having to much fun to be legal:wink:
After a long hot fun ride, we arrive in Telegraph Creek! There are some old dilapidated buildings around, and no place to have a cold beer:eek1
We ride up the hill to see were we can camp, and find an RCMP outpost with a lawn sprinkler. We decide to get water here, as it looks like nothing else around. As we are filling up our water containers, a guy comes out of the building and asks us whats up. He turns out to be an RCMP officer, and a super nice guy. Tells us all about the area, how long he has been stationed here, and where we can camp up the road a ways.
We ask if there is any where around to get food etc. He points to a building across the road with no markings. Turns out to be a gas station/ food market run by the local first nations. We thank the cop for his help, and head into the store. Ahhhhhhh, the air conditioner is cranked up inside, and its almost cold! We treat ourselves to ice cream, and buy some supplies for dinner.
we head out toward Glenora, and former gold rush settlement long ago abandoned. We ride about 15 more kms, and find a nice big clearing, perfect for camping. There are some trucks parked buy the river, but no one around.
There are a few shacks around, and we discover this is a fishing camp. We get a little nervous, because grizzly bears love fish. The place looks clean though, so we decide to set up camp. Its been another long day, and we are tired and hungry. Here is our camp spot;
We spend the rest of the night sitting around talking about our great day, and wondering when the bears would arrive.
We had a fire going, it was getting dark, we heard a vehicle coming, oh oh...an SUV drives into our meadow, and out jump three people. Turns out they are not hostile, they are travellers like us looking for a spot to camp, we welcome them, and they set up camp near our spots.
They had come down from the Yukon, and Alaska, and gave us some details on weather, roads and places of interest.
A while later another vehicle pulls up, and a first nations woman asks us why we are here. She tells us we are indeed at a fish camp, and gives us permission to camp here. Like we were going to leave! She warns us about the local bear population, and tells us to keep our food well away from our tents. We put everything the bears would be interested in in one of The KLRs aluminum panniers, and we try to rope up in a tree, but end up stashing it away from our tents.
Another great day comes to an end!
Hyder Alaska to Telegraph Creek BC, about 500km cover this day.
'scribed! Great photos!
I had a restless sleep this night, lots of wildlife, wolves, coyotes, and who knows what else was out there howling in the night.
We awoke early, and were all happy to be alive:D
Dan, Steven, and myself broke camp, had a good breakfast of oatmeal, cookies, and coffee. I had bought a bottle of what I call "coffee whitener" which is Baileys Irish cream, and this liquid nectar sure tastes good in coffe when you are in the middle of nowhere.
We begin our ride out, back to Dease lake, 150km of dirt road once again!
We stop several more times on the way back out. The scenery looks just as good going the opposite direction!
Riding out through the canyon was a blast, I could ride this road all day long! We saw more wildlife along the way, a fox decided to run along the side of the road beside us for awhile, then a black bear did the same.
We never saw grizzy bears.
After a couple of hours, we arrived back in Dease Lake for a refuel.
Our destination for the day was the BC/ Yukon border, where Dan, Steven and I would part company, and go in different direction. (They only had a week off, and had to make their way back home.) Watson Lake, Yukon would be their northern destination, I planned on continuing towards Alaska.
From Dease Lake the Cassiar Hwy gets a little more windy, lots of potholes to get around. We are always careful along this stretch of road. It winds up through more mountainous landscape. We arrive it a settlement called Jade City, where there is a Jade sculpting operation. It is interesting to see some of the equipment used here, and of couse the is a Jade store. They have free coffee and tea, and washrooms, so we use this as a pitstop.
From Jade City, we continue on north to the Yukon border.
Our camping neighbors last night told us to check out Boya Lake on the way by. We pull into the campsite here, and it is really nice. A great spot to spend a few days, with a canoe;
After a while, we achieve a goal; arriving at the Yukon Territory border:clap
The weather has been cooler up here, and it gets cloudy off in the distance;
We come to the end of the Cassiar Hwy, and the Alaska Hwy junction. We decide to grab some lunch at a great restaurant called the Hungry wolf. There is a settlement here called Nugget city. Restaurant, Rv park/camping
souvenir shops etc...
We had a good lunch on the patio at the Hungry Wolf, a burger and a beer to celebrate what we had accomplished so far.
We said our goodbyes, and exchanged emails, so we could keep in touch. The guys are planning to visit Vancouver Island for some riding this coming summer!
I was again on my own, and I rode west heading in the general direction of the Alaska border.
I rode with mixed feelings, missing the guys company, yet happy to be on my way to further adventure.
I rode for hours on the Alaska Hwy. The weather getting cooler, and overcast. Could this mean rain?
Dark skies ahead;
Iwas riding hard and fast trying to outrun the rain. It caught me, and the sky dumped water on me with a vengeance.
I heard thunder and lightning, and pulled over at a sheltered rest area to bundle up. I had no rainshell on this trip, but my jacket and pants were reasonably waterproof. I needed to put on my heated vest at this point, and continued on. I kept passing a camper with a family every time I stopped, eventually I came to the famous Teslin metal decked bridge, ther is an overlook just above;
The camper with the family pulled in, got out and gave me a look like I was a crazy man:evil
I did fly by them doing 130km, in the pouring rain several times. The road surface up here was course with excellent traction, so I felt comfortable clipping along.
Crossing the Teslin bridge was a little sketchy, This is the longest metal bridge I have ever had the pleasure of riding across. The wind was blowing sideways, to make it even more fun!
contiuing on the rain let up, and I started getting low on gas.
I was wondering if I would make it to a gas station, when I came to a little place called Johnson's Crossing. Over another bridge, and on my right I see a campground with a gas station! This is just what I was looking for. Its about 8:00pm by now, I am tired and hungry. I walk into the office, and some something good cooking.
The campground owner has a nice wood house/ office and directs my to a campsite. What smelled good was homemade meat pies, and they are for sale:clap I but enough for a camp feast, and say thanks. I see the storm coming I outran, and set up camp quickly. I put everything in the tent, and rainfly except the bike. The rain hit again, and poured. I was snug in my tent though, and dined on my fresh meat pies. I spent the time inside scanning my new maps. I had been convinced by Dan, and Steven to head to Skagway, Alaska, and take the ferry to Haines, Alaska. From there I could ride up the Kluane national park hwy, back towards Tok Alaska.
The rain let up, I crawled of the tent to seek out a hot shower.
Another great day of riding;
Telegraph Creek to Johnson's Crossing approx 630 km.
More to come....
Day five I awake, and peak out side the tent to wee what the weather is like, The campground host told me they were expecting three days of rain. I figured I would get of this area, and hopefully head into sunny skies.
Fifteen minutes out of Johnson's crossing the sun breaks through the clouds, and I smile!
Down the road a ways I come to a turn off for the route towards Skagway. This are is called lake district of Yukon. Its beautiful with the sun out again. I eventually pass through Jakes Corner, then onto Tagish. I like it here, and decided to swing by on my way back down from Whitehorse.
After a while I see a turn off for a town called Carcross;
This is a cool place to spend some time. Very rustic old gold miner destination for people coming up from Seattle, and Vancouver, during the gold rush days. They would arrive in Skagway by ship, and hike or take the ols Railway up to Carcross, then up to Whitehorse, where they would continue to Dawson City via Paddlewheeler up the Yukon river. What an epic journey in search of gold!
Carcross is surrounded by a lake the vies are amazing;
Lots of cool little summer places here. I could spend a summer no problem;
Found this funky bakery in town, and feasted on the best cinnamon buns of the trip:D
Some other cool buildings;
I left here thinking I would like to spend more time here.
Back on the road heading to Skagway, the scenery just kept getting better. Man I love it up here! The view along this stretch of road of stunning;
I found a little pullout with a rock mound that looked like it would be fun to hike up. This is the view from the rock;
Just around the next bend, more jaw dropping scenery;
By this time I had noticed the weather was looking a little overcast. The closer I got to Skagway, the darker it got.
This road is not to be missed, I highly recommend it. I was having a great ride up to this point, thankful the weather had been good up to this point. My luck would soon change.:cry
Soon I came to another landmark on my journey;
Just beyond this sign is the US customs. The road is narrow, and on the right side heading down, there is a steep drop off down to a creek.
The US customs guy was friendly. They all ask me to take my helment off, and when they realize I dont look like a threat to Homeland security they ask me about my trip.
Everyone I have met up here so far have been great.
Leaving customs the road descends steeply to Skagway. By this time the roads were wet from the clouds, and in Skagway It was raining;
I had made it to Skagway, Alaska on my Wee, man did I feel great. I had accomplished some bucket list destinations so far, and I had a lot more to go!:clap
I was not prpared for what awaited me in Skagway. There was four cruise ships in harbor that day, and thousands of people in the little former gold rush town.
I went to the ferry terminal to buy a ticket for the crossing to Haines, Alaska. Turns out the Ferry didn't leave until 4:00pm, and it was only 1:00pm now. I had three hours to kill, with several thousand other tourists! Oh well I will make the most of my time here.
Skagway is a pretty ccol place, lots of activities to spend your money on. Tour helicopters were flying back and forth at a rapid pace it was cool to see them coming in over the ocean, emerging through the clouds.
I rode up and down the busy streets, parked, and wondered into a few stores. I bought a t-shirt and a few stickers. I asked the girl working there what it was like to live here, and she laughed, and said it was a seasonal job. I found a bar in the middle of the main drag, parked the Wee were I could keep an eye on it;
The bar was rockin, and I found a new favorite beer Alaskan amber ale! I got to see some summer olympics, while I ate a tasty clubhouse sandwich. I spent a couple hours people watching here, happy to be out of the rain.
Eventually I went back down to wait for the ferry.
Another pic of downtown Skagway;
At the Ferry terminal my Wee sees a big ship!
I meet some fellow bikers taking the same ferry, so we pass the time talking. Two of the fellows were on old BMWs, and of of the riders, was an English fellow, wearing shiny dress shoes, while his other shiny dress shoes were drying on the cylynder heads of his bike, what a character. I would see these guys off on on over the next couple of days.
On the ferry, the guy beside me is Mr shiny shoes!
This ferry ride is very scenic, the clouds made the trip through the inlet surreal, This was a nice mini cruise for me.
We even say Humpback whales, and lots of Eagles.
The trip to Haines was about a one and a half hour trip. I got off the ferry and decided to find a place to spend the night, It was still raining I was not to excited about camping in the rain. I pulled into an RV park right on the water, and saw a lots of RVs, and campers, and also an undercover area where there were a few tents set up. Hmmmm, I wonder if there is room for me under there. I check in a the office. The Lady running the place is very accommodating, and tells me I can set up under the shelter for tonight, as they are setting up for a crab feast there tomorrow. So this is what my campsite looks like for tonight.:
I see my ferry passing by on its way to Jeuneau, Alaska.
The waterfront from the RV park:
I decide to go for a walk around town, but I see there is a Tavern/ restaurant next door. I have a dinner of Fish tacos, and a couple of Alaskan beers.
By the time I finish, its dark out, so all the shops are closed, The only nightlife I hear, is in the couple of Taverns in town.
I decide to go back to the RV park, and catch up on some laundry.
The wind has picked up by the time I crawl into my tent, and the tarp over head starts blowing, and snapping in the wind. At one point my tent fly goes flying off, and I get sprayed by rain pooling on the sagging tarps.
My tent fly was put back on, and I moved my head to the dryer part of the tent. I had earlier met my neighbor, who had ridden his BMW GS up from Mexico, he spoke very little english, and I speak a little spanish, so we learned about each others trips.
After a restless night of howling wind, and the tarps sounding like they were coming down on top of me, I was happy to be more or less dry.
Day five done Johnson's crossing to Haines Alaska approx 250 Kms.
In the morning, I crawled out of my tent to find the high winds had done no damage, other than a few more rips in the tarp structure over head. The skies were still grey and gloomy. Maybe I would be able to ride out of the of the clouds.
My goal for today was to be at or near Beaver Creek, near the Alaska border. Hwy 3 north west up from Haines eventually connect up with the Alaska hwy 1 at Haines Junction. I asked my camp host if she could recommend a good spot for breakfast. I tell her where I am headed, she tells me about 33 miles up the hwy is a roadhouse with great food. The places in town are all still closed, so I say thank you for the sheltler for last night, and I decide to check out Haines before I depart.
My dinner the night before;
And Oceanside RV park;
Wet and gloomy....
Some of the original houses and buildings looking majestic. A few are hotels now.
Despite the weather, I was excited every morning to be able to discover new places. Riding out of Haines, The road follows The Chilkat inlet, wich becomes a river. This area is the Chilkat Eagle reserve, and is a perfect habitat for them. I could hear Eagles chattering up in the trees, but only saw a few. The road is great fun even in the rain, as it winds it way through some real wilderness.
The river I followed for many miles this day;
At a scenic pullout I found this little guy;
The roadhouse appeared, and I was happy to see they were open.
The inside is quite funky;
The breakfast special was reindeer quesadillas, so thats what I had. They were fantastic.! I was the only customer for a while, but after a while more people showed up, including four guys on rented BMW GS650s. They were travelling light, staying at hotels, and having fun. This place is set up for bikers, there was a stack of bike magazines right at my table. I really like this place. I could have spent hours here, especially when I saw the rain coming down outside. Highly recommended spot:1drink
I had to force myself out of the roadhouse, and back on track for my destination.
A few more miles down the road is another Canada , US border crossing. got through in a minute, and I was back in the Yukon again!
The rain was not to bad at this point, the skies looked a little brighter, I pressed on. The clouds obscured most of the scenery this day, I knew I was missing some great views, but still happy to be on the road. Surrounded by wilderness the Kluanne National park goes on for miles.
Some of the views I did see;
Eventually I rode into Haines Junction, where the road from Haines joins up with the less fun Alaska Hwy. Pit stop for gas, and a sore butt break, then hit the road. A while later Kluane lake comes into view, and the hwy goes around it. Now its raining again, I have my heated grips on all day, and my heated vest is keeping me warm, but the dampness is coming right into my coat now, and I can feel my arms are getting wet from the vent zippers. Kluane lake is huge, and is a beautiful shade of blue/ green. It looks cold.
I didnt take any more pictures for the rest of the day, as my camera is not waterproof.
The Hwy around the lake is quite fun, and after a long while, I saw a place to warm up, and have some coffee.
The place I stopped is called Destruction Bay. There is a lodge with a cafe so I pulled in.
There was a BMW GS1200 outside with european plates on it. I meet the BMW rider, he is from Germany. He has all his gear drying all over the chairs at his table, including his socks! My feet always stay dry, thanks to my Gortex Sidi Canyon boots:wink:
I remove my wet gear, and leave a big puddle on the floor. I see a free use computer to check emails, and find out my wife went boating with friends, and fell between the main boat and the dingy she was trying to get in. Turns out she sprained her shoulder badly, and it took months to heal:cry
After 45 minutes of sipping coffee, and eating apple pie, I decide to continue on. The road follows Kluane lake, and passes through several small settlements. I see the clouds finally dispersing, and blue skies up ahead!:D I finally see sign for Beaver Creek, and see a campground, Beaver Creek RV park. Works for me. I grab a campsite at the back corner, and I start drying off my gear. The weather had warmed up nicely, and I had a really nice evening. I treated myself to some canned stew, and some chips from the RV park store. I was able to charge up my phone as well, at RV site that had power.
I again struggled with my camp stove. I dismantled it, cleaned it, then finally replaced the jet. Problem solved!
I basked in the sun until it set for the night. I had a fire to keep me warm went the sun went down. A good end to a wet day.
Day 6 Haines, Alaska to Beaver Creek, Yukon. approx 330 miles/560 kms.
day seven Beaver Creek Yukon to Dawson city.
Day seven I awake to see this;:D
Outside the tent the sun is shining, and I know its going to be an epic day. The three high lightsof this trip before I started, were to be the Telegraph Creek road, in and out, next up the the Top of the World Hwy to Dawson City. I set myself up for this day, by making it to Beaver Creek. I am stoked about what adventure lies ahead. I had heard all kinds of stories about the Top of the World Hwy, and couldn't wait to do it for myself. I pack up after a quick shower, and ride out of my campsite. I stop for gas, and they place has coffee, and muffins, so that's what is for breakfast. The road begins to climb up out of Beaver Creek, and leads to another US customs border crossing. I get through with a few questions from the border guy, and I am back in Alaska.
Climbing up the road is nice and smooth, overlooking a valley below.
Some of the scenery on the way to Tok, Alaska;
I am starting to look pretty scruffy by this point:evil
I arrive in Tok, Alaska, and have to make a decision. Should I continue on to Fairbanks, or stick with my plan to ride to Dawson city today. I gas up, and see a big building across the road, called Alaska gifts. I pull up in front of a enclosed glass case, with a big stuffed moose inside. I hope this is not the only moose I see on my trip. I really wanted to see a moose or two! I have seen lots of wildl life so far, but no moose yet.
I decide I better get a couple of souvenirs for my wife. Inside I decide to stick with my plan. Fairbanks will have to wait for another trip. I wish I had more time!
Leaving Tok, I backtrack to where the Taylor Hwy junction is at Tetlin Junction. There was once a cool little cafe/ gas station here. This is whats left;
The Taylor Hwy heads up into the hills, and after a few miles I run into a construction crew, with a bit a traffic. The Sign girl waves me up to the front, and we have a good chat.
Once the way is clear, I blast off ahead of the cars behind me.
The view goes on for miles, I am thankful the weather is sunny, and the road is dry:clap
The bike looks clean, after its (wash) from yesterday.
After clipping along at a fast pace, the road changes from rough pavement, to dirt/ gravel either surface its all fun!
Eventually I roll into Chicken, Alaska!
This is the huge gold dredger in Chicken. There was gold in this area, and Chicken was a happening place, during the gold rush days. Its a little quieter now.
After taking this picture, I got back on, and tried to turn around. The front tire hit a rut, and with no momentum, I dropped it on the left side. The ground was hard pack dirt, so no damage, just to my pride. I was so embarrassed, I yanked the bike up fully loaded. Only one person saw me, and he came over to help. I had a laugh, and continued on. My pride only slightly damaged.
Inside the Chicken Saloon;
I was ready for lunch at this point, so went into the Chicken Creek Cafe. Wow amazing! fresh baked cookies, and brownies all over the counter. Lots of good things on the menu.
I met the people who run the place, they were super friendly. This is of course a stop off for the Dust to Dawson bike run every June. I ended up getting a free D to D ball cap, and I bought a D to D thermal shirt. Lunch was delicious;
The two kids in the picture were hitchhiking across Alaska, the birds were snacking on their food, went they went inside:lol3
I had a nice break in Chicken, I could have stayed here longer, there was camping available, but I moved on.
The place is incredible, its in the middle of nowhere, and the hospitality they showed me was amazing. I said goodbye and away I went.
The road from here gets a little more rustic, this is why I spent a fortune on The Heidanaus. They were great on this loose surface, they give me confidence to go fast.:D
On the way to the Top of the world;
After miles of great scenery, I arrived at Canada customs. This is the most northern international border crossing in the world. Its in the mountains way up in the middle of nowhere.
Once again back in Canada! It was to be my last day in Alaska,:cry I will have to dedicate my next trip up here to seeing more of this incredible state.
Another Yukon sign photo op;
I was getting closer to Dawson City! 105 km/ 65 miles of the best road yet! (until tomorrow!)
The road continues along the top of the mountain ridges;
More amazing views;
After a while I come to this landmark;
From here the road starts winding its way down to The Yukon river way below. Eventually I come to this view;
The ferry crossing here takes a few minutes, and I arrive in Dawson City, Yukon!!:clap Holy #&%@*ck, I cant believe I am here. What a day of riding. I am feeling good but tired. The road requires 100% concentration. You do not want to crash in the middle of nowwhere. I cruise through town, looks like a happening place. Lots of tourists around. I ride to the outskirts of town, and find a campground. its got a pay pressure wash, so tomorrow the Wee gets a wash.
I set up camp, and head back into Dawson. I ride around slowly, taking pictures, and looking for a place to eat;
The place has a real wild west atmosphere. all the roads are still dirt, except the main drag through town.
Lots of cool old preserved buildings;
Turns out Robert Service came from Scotland, settled in Victoria, BC, and worked in a bank there.(The old bank is now called The Bard and Banker Pub, named after Robert service. They even have a beer there named after him! Its right downtown in Victoria, check it out, great place!):freaky
The Downtown Hotel;
Famous old paddle wheeler, The Keno;
I never went inside this place, looked like a good place to get into trouble:D
I found a lively place called the Drunken Goat taverna, and sat down to a big Chicken souvlaki dinner plate, and a couple of tasty beers.
There are people here during the summer months, from all over the world. good place to people watch. The waitress was from Australia, and she talked to me for a while. Its interesting to find out how people come to work in such remote places. The food is very good here, it was the busiest place in Dawson.
After a good meal, I decided to take a trip up the Dome mountain road, just outside of town. The road is a blast, and lots of switchback corners to make it fun. The view at the top is 360 degrees!
I stayed up here and watched the sun set. It stays light up here until late in the summer!
After the sun went down, I rode back down to my camp site. I went to bed and I was just about asleep. I heard The sound of running hooves clopping along, and getting closer. Next thing I know, this hooved creature trips over one of tent fly lines, and just about lands on top of me, inside the tent. I hear it run off. Holy crap! it scared the hell out of me:lol3
I had to get up and check things out. Just a pulled out fly line, quickly fixed and back into the tent to try to sleep.
Some kids I saw earlier arrive and start playing guitar, and singing and laughing. I am to tired to be bothered, and soon fall asleep.
Day seven Beaver Creek to Dawson City via the Top of the world highway approx 430 KMs. An Epic day:clap
Fantastic pictures and write up, really enjoying your trip. Thanks for posting it up.:clap
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