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Old 06-29-2009, 08:44 PM   #1
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25th Wedding Anniversary - Ride to Alaska!

Saturday, June 15, 2009

In reality, this trip begins twenty five years ago with two young kids a year out of high school. In love and ready to face the world, we get married.

Fast forward to about a year ago. Still married after all these years and as we are celebrating our twenty fourth anniversary, we have the discussion of what to do for our big “25”. In the back of my mind, I’m hoping at least for an Alaskan cruise. But she says “How about riding the motorcycles to Alaska?” “Sold! Done! Lets start planning.” Did I pick a good one or what?

During the later stages of planning we realized the best plan would be no plan. No reservations. No goals. Just head north and see what happens. If you plan, something will go wrong and then it gets stressful. We both work full time plus, so we don't need any more stress. We want to leave that behind for two weeks.

First day of travel had us leaving our humble abode, two horses, two dogs and three cats. Home is in Battle Ground, WA. We headed for the super-slab to take us quickly north-bound, I-5. Before we made it 20 miles we had to pull in under an overpass to put on rain gear.

By the time we reached down town Seattle, it was stop and go traffic…with a lot more stop than go. We had to suffer through that for almost 20 miles before it finally broke. We stayed on I-5 until Bellingham, where we headed off on HWY 539 North. This led us to a smaller border crossing and an easy connection to Trans Canada Hwy 1 which we were taking to the coast. Going through Canada’s Vancouver, we got stuck in more stop and go traffic jam crap. Getting out of the major population areas and all this traffic will leave us with the peace and solitude we are seeking in this trip.

Our mileage for the day was 354 miles.

The bikes, all shiny and new. A just broke in ’09 R1200GS Adv for me and a ’09 F650GS for Sheila.

Warming up and gearing up.

Stopped under an overpass on I-5, putting on raingear. A sign of things to come.

Traffic jam. Just wonderful.

Some of the Seattle downtown sky line.

Pulled in to the covered parking at the motel in Squamish, BC.

Hills around Squamish.

'09 BMW R1200GS Adv
'06 Suzuki DR650
'02 Kawi ZX-12R

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Sunday, June 16, 2009

Sunday morning, we awoke to an overcast sky. This morning’s plans were to run the Sea to Sky Hwy that goes over the mountains and through Whistler in lower British Columbia. There was a lot of construction areas as they prepare for the winter Olympics, but nobody is working on Sunday, so we make good time through the mountains. As we get close to Whistler, I look for a gas station to top off at, not knowing what lies ahead. A few miles before town I see a small station too late to turn into without doubling back. So we head on and into “downtown” Whistler. A beautiful little community of very wealthy people, but not gas station to be seen anywhere. At the far east end on town we pull over and consult the map. Pemberton is not too far off so we head out again. Pemberton is a nice little town that actually caters to people passing through and has two well marked gas stations and other traveler handy restaurants. So if you are passing through, forget Whistler and leave your hard earned dollars for the folks in Pemberton who deserve it.

The Sea to Sky Hwy is Canada’s hwy 99. We stayed on it until it intersected with Hwy 97 North. About a ¼ mile before this intersection is a place called Hatt Creek Ranch. We pulled in there for a late lunch. Not knowing what to expect, we got great service and fantastic food! It was so good, we wanted to camp there just so we could also eat dinner and breakfast there too. For anyone passing through. I highly recommend stopping here. They were also telling us how hot it had been and they sure wished they could get some rain soon.

From there it was Hwy 97 north. Best described as the most boring section of the whole trip. In 30 seconds, you will see what you will be looking at for the next several hundred miles. Right after turning on this stretch of road we were hit with a thunderstorm. Torrential rain, small hail, thunder and lightning. We were soaked within minutes in our “waterproof” ballistic riding gear. But within an hour of riding through the storm, we were dry again. The evening had us stopping at a RV park/campground where we tried the “tenting it” thing. It would have been a very nice experience if it wasn’t for the hordes of mosquitos constantly attacking us. Surveying all the newly acquired welts the next morning, in addition to Shiela’s fear of bears, we decided it would be motels the rest of the way.

Dinner that night was across the street at a tavern. We had our first beers of the trip and were totally shocked to be paying $5 per beer for bottled beer.

Mileage for the day was 394 miles.

Getting ready to head out.

A lake just east of Whistler.

The trees and the mountains.

A doe and a fawn. I didn’t see the fawn until I downloaded the pic onto my pc.

Stopped at a pullout between Pemberton and Lillooet.

Beautiful countryside.

Looking almost straight down! A deep canyon.

Sheila taking it all in.

Hatt Creek Ranch. Stop here and eat, you will not be disappointed.

We filled up at 150 Mile House. I went in to use the facilities and saw this. Is this how they make Canadian beer?

Stretching our legs at a rest area.

Our camp spot for the night.

But, first across the street for dinner before they close up for the night.

Got the tent pitched. The mosquitos are attempting to drain us dry.

We are used to camping in a 38 foot toy hauler 5th wheel.

Looking out the tent door.

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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Monday, June 17, 2009

Monday morning started as packing up the sleeping bags and tent while swatting at the millions of mosquitos. Once underway and on the highly exciting Hwy 97 north we were back into the rhythm of the road and putting on the miles. Prince George was not too far north. Here we turned on Hwy 16 west towards Prince Rupert and the Cassiar. At least the scenery was changing on this road. We stopped for lunch somewhere around Decker Lake at a little roadside restaurant. $7.00 for a grilled cheese sandwich! Inside they were talking about how hot and dry it had been for the last several weeks and they needed rain badly. Ten minutes after lunch we were poured on. For about the next forty miles, nothing but rain. Thirty miles later we were dry. We quickly decided it was best just to ride through the short storms without raingear.

Mid-afternoon found us in New Hazelton. There was a reproduction Indian village, called Ksan, I wanted to check out (mentioned in the Milepost). As a fan of the Northwest Coastal Indian art I had to do it. It did not disappoint, I recommend this stop to anyone with similar interests. With the next towns with any services being a ways away on the Cassiar, we got a motel in New Hazelton. Most of the motels were full due to road construction workers.

Mileage for the day was 317 miles.

Leaving the campground, I had to take a picture of this. Sheila refused to go in it. The campground did have nice washrooms than this.

Lunch stop.

Pulling in to Smithers, BC.

A glacier in the mountains over Smithers.

The entrance to the Ksan village.

Me and my lovely bride.


A small canoe.

The village.

A longhouse.

Totem pole.

Totem pole and longhouse.

Another longhouse.

Top of the totem pole.

Totem pole detail.

East end of the village.

Snack time.

Old totem pole.

The arch-nemesis of the totem poles.

R1200GS and a totem pole.

Top of the pole.

Sheila leaving the village.

Me unpacking at the Bulkley Motel.

Sheila says, “Hey, check out these cool bathroom colors”. But it was very clean.

Rugged mountains to the south.
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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Tuesday, June 18, 2009

With just a few miles remaining to the start of the Cassiar, it felt as if the start of the “real” riding was just beginning. We were pumped! It started raining. We were now used to it. The rain only lasted until the start of the Cassiar.

While doing some quick internet research on the totem poles at New Hazelton, I found a place called Kitwancool just a little ways up the Cassiar. It was an old section of the road and not well marked. We found it and were rewarded by many more nice old totem poles. The road eventually hooks back up with the “new” Cassiar hwy. This lower section was in fantastic shape and we were able to cruise along at 70 mph, a pace we had been keeping most of the whole trip so far.
Meziadin junction did not have any services, as reported. We turned off on 37a to Hyder and Stewart. Even though it was overcast skies, we could see well enough that we were treated to some incredible scenery along this stretch, by far the best of the trip. Bear Glacier was incredible.

We pulled into Stewart and gassed up. When I went inside to pay, Paradise by the Dashboard Lights by Meatloaf was blaring on the stereo. Had to chuckle at that. Then we crossed into Hyder. There is no border crossing station for this direction. We stopped at the general store for a snacks and something to drink. The owner filled us in about the area and was very helpful. He confirmed where we had to go for the bear viewing area and Salmon Glacier, along with local history. Continuing down the gravel main street, several miles out of town we came up on a black bear in the road, eating berries along the sides. We sat there for a minute watching him, waiting for him to run off. He was less than 50 feet from me. Finally I revved up the GS and inched closer. When I was within about 20 feet he finally gave me a funny look and a big sigh, ran off about 50 feet and then into the bushes (do not try that with brown bears). A half a mile down the road was the bear viewing area…where there were no bears. After walking around there, we continued up the road, which is a mining road, to the Salmon Glacier. The viewing points are 17 miles from down town Hyder. There were more bears along the way too, all black bears.

Back in Hyder we had to stop at the infamous “Bus” for fish and chips and Alaskan Amber. We learned that Robin Williams ate there during the filming of Insomnia. Good eats! Crossing back into Stewart required an official border crossing. We topped off the fuel again as a precaution and headed back for the Cassiar.

Eventually we came to a road construction area where we learned a mud slide came down. It was a 20 minute wait at the flagger. The mosquitos were terrible, but the flag lady was a native Indian that was really funny and enjoyable to talk to. Further down the road we ran across more black bears. Finally we came to a place along Kinaskan Lake that had little cabins. We procured a “deluxe” cabin that had a bathroom and shower attached. It was burgers for dinner, very tasty after a long day on the road.

Mileage for the day was 393 miles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

Kitwancool totem poles.

A small lake along the Cassiar.

We are here:

Bridge over the Nass river.

A very full Nass river.

Wooden decked bridge. These are very common up here.

Starting up 37a to Hyder.

What additional scenery would there be if it was clear out?

A small glacier.

No, I’m not stopped in the middle of the road taking pics.

The mighty Bear glacier, with bikes.

Without bikes.

Blue ice at the bottom of Bear Glacier.

Hyder General Store. Great place to stop, grab a snack and visit.

We are near the bear viewing area, but the way is blocked by a black bear.

I finally have to the bike up VERY cose to him to get him to move off. (Don’t attempt with a brown bear)

Black bear ID plaque at the Hyder bear viewing platform.

Brown Bear plaque.

Looking down the platform. There were no bears to be seen…

Heading up the mining road to see Salmon Glacier.

Salmon Glacier.

The scooters and Salmon Glacier.

Last shot of Salmon Glacier.

Another small glacier. Right after this I almost hit another black bear in the road.

The Bus, as everyone says, a must stop in Hyder.

The Bus menu.

Good eats!

Looking towards Stewart, BC from the docks.

South to the mountains.

A loading or un-loading dock.

Heading back east towards the Cassiar.

We finally pull in for the night. The “deluxe cabin”.

Inside the lodge.

One of the best burgers I have ever eaten.

An unlucky moose.

Um, yeah, should be sunset by now….not this far north……
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:57 PM   #5
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We headed out around 7:30 and rode to Dease Lake where we fueled and got breakfast. A little further up the road was more road construction. The flagger lady said there was an injured black bear nearby and he had been hanging for days, but was non aggressive. “If he shows up, feel free to jump in my truck for protection.” Sheila says ”If he shows up I’m outta here, stop sign or not!” The flagger said they figured he was hanging around people for protection from the other bears that would attack him because he was injured. Once we got to go, at the far end of the construction zone we saw him gimping along, not using his left rear leg at all. Several miles later it started raining.

There was a few gravel sections, the longest being maybe 7-10 miles that was in great shape. We slowed to 60mph for it. There were a couple of short sections that were loose gravel, around 30-40 mph to be safe. There was one section of maybe 3 miles that they were crushing the old chipseal surface back to gravel and that was very loose and deep and slow. In the last 20-30 miles of the Cassiar, there were short gravel patches that were like mounds in the road, but not bad going. Overall, the Cassiar proved to be a nice road in good shape, I would take my ZX12R sportbike over it.

We had lunch at the junction with the Alaska Hwy at a little restaurant that only had a couple of tables. And a lot of locals.
Continuing west on the Alaska Hwy was kind of anti-climatic after the scenery of the Cassiar. We rode to Teslin where we fueled up, and decided to stop for the day. We doubled back a few miles to Dawson Peaks Resort where we got the last room. It turned out that almost all the rooms in about a hundred mile stretch were booked by road construction crews. Only those that stopped a little early got rooms, the rest had to keep going.

That night we decided to book the ferry for the return trip, something we wanted to do all along but were on the fence about it because of the price. I tried to make reservations on my laptop, but couldn’t get anything to send on through. So we decided to just ride to Skagway the next day and make the reservations in person.

Mileage for the day was 374 miles.

Heading north on the Cassiar.

Big mountains to the left.

A gravel section.

Sheila smoking along in the gravel.

Dawson Peaks Resort where we landed for the night.

Our room was in the “motel” section. I think these were old ATCO trailer buildings spruced up with wood.

Sheila say’s “check out there hot bathroom colors!”

They also have cabins closer to the lake.

I would assume these are the Dawson Peaks?

Inside the lodge. Yes, that is there entire dinner menu on the white board.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:00 PM   #6
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

We hit the road the next morning heading for Skagway. We took the cutoff to Carcross where we saw our first moose. We also saw two grizzly cubs and momma griz. Fueling up in Carcross, we met two couples on GS’s that were from Columbia South America. They had shipped their bikes to L.A. and rode the rest of the way. Very nice people. Just outside of Carcross we saw another grizzly.

The trip over White Pass did not disappoint. It was the most stunning scenery we had ever seen. Better than Banff or Glacier NP. Do not pass up an opportunity to see this area! When we went through customs coming down off the pass into Alaska, the customs lady warned us that five cruise ships were in town.

We got to Skagway and found the ferry terminal. We were lucky that we were able to get reservations at such a short notice, including a four berth cabin with a sitting room. Then we headed back to a landmark I had spotted on the way in to town, Skagway Brewing. There were so many fricken people in town from the cruise ships we could hardly get motorcycles through. The locals couldn’t drive anywhere. Thousands of people clogging the streets. We finally got a beer and lunch though. A nice brewpub, worth the stop. We got one of the last seats as it was full of blue hairs from the cruise ships. Ted Nugent was blaring on the stereo, My Big Ten Inch. We were contemplating trying to stay there a night and enjoy the town, but it was too much of a madhouse we decided to soldier on. It started raining.

Back over the beautiful White pass, through Carcross to the Alaskan Hwy. We decided to stop for the night in Whitehorse since it was big enough to have stores where we could buy tiedowns for the ferry ride without busting the bank. Whitehorse has a Walmart.
To my Sheila’s delight, it also has a Starbucks! We get a cheap motel that has laundry facilities and proceed to do chores. We were not impressed by Whitehorse at all (sans the Starbucks) as it is full of graffiti and garbage. Police sirens constantly going off. Drunks wandering around all over.

Mileage for the day was 273 miles.

Scenry begins improving again along the Carcross cutoff road.

A small moose in the river.

Tutshi Lake to the left.

Mountains and an old mine.

The old mine.

Just about to White Pass.

Entering into White Pass.

There are lots of small lakes from the recent snow melt.

What beauty hides in the clouds?

Are we having fun yet? You Bet!

There is no way to capture the magnitude of this place.

What more would a clear day reveal?

A bridge in the distance as we are heading down.

The tourist area of Skagway. We are just barely ahead of the hoardes as we park.

Skagway Brewing. Just can’t pass up a good brewpub.

Lunch, with our self imposed one beer limit.

But, oh the humility….a tap for PBR?

Back up White Pass.

If you ever are in Skagway by water only, you have to at least do the train ride over White Pass.

More White Pass.

Notice the two different water colors, they are in the same lake.

Sheila, still trekking along with me after twenty five years.

We met this guy in Carcross. He, his wife and another couple are from Columbia, South America. They shipped their bikes to Los Angeles to then ride to Alaska.

We stopped for the night at a “motorcycle friendly” motel in Whitehorse, an un-friendly feeling town.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:02 PM   #7
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Friday, June 19, 2009

The biggest surprise of the day for me was waking up in the morning and finding our bikes still there, un molested, and without graffiti.

The highlight of the day for Sheila was that we were able to start our day with coffee and breakfast at Starbucks! From there we headed up Yukon Territory Hwy 2 towards Dawson City. Part of this road follows the mighty Yukon River. We had a few gravel sections, including one that was real soft muddy gravel with ruts in it. It was a short one, maybe half a mile long.

Lunch was at Pelly crossing. Lets just say the locals here were an interesting bunch. Money just can’t buy this type of entertainment. You gotta go way out and seek it out. After lunch it started raining. OK, not just raining, the entire sky fell down. It rained so hard all the auto traffic came to a stop in the road until the worst of it was over. Neither one of us could see a thing. All the other rain showers we rode through we just slowed to 65-70 mph. This one brought us to a stop too. Twenty minutes later it was over.

We were dried out by the time we made it into Dawson City. We rode through town looking for a motel and there were a lot to choose from. So Sheila said lets just go to the Visitors Center since they usually have listings for everyone’s rates. They were very helpful there and even called around for us checking availability. We got into the Eldorado for a great rate. They had forgot to change their rates at the visitors center, but they had no problem honoring the old rate.

After unloading in our room for the night, we walked the town. Despite being touristy, it is a nice town with lots to see. We walked most of the streets keeping an eye out for a place to eat dinner. The place we wanted to go was a pub and it was standing room only. We ended up at the Drunken Goat Taverna, a Greek restaurant. The food was outstanding, the best meal of the trip to this point. A fresh salad too, something we were both missing. It seemed like the further north we got from the lower US border with Canada, the rarer fresh fruits and vegetables were.

After dinner we went back to the Eldorado for an adult beverage. While in the lounge the power went out in the whole town. But the taps still worked just fine, and without the TV’s on, it was back to the locals for entertainment. And that seems to be the best entertainment as it gives you a feel for life in the town. An hour later, power was restored and we went to our room and turned in for the night.

Mileage for the day was 334 miles.

Sheila is happy happy happy! Starbucks, the mark of a civilized world for her.

The Yukon River outside of Carmacks.

The mighty Yukon.

More gravel sections.

Looking out over the Tintina Trench area. We stopped here to de-fog due to torrential downpours.

The sign for the area.

Dawson City post office.

The ferry across the Yukon River. We will be crossing tomorrow morning.

A few cars on there. This ferry is free.

Multi-colored water here too.

Down town main street Dawson City, Yukon Territory.

An old river boat it looks like you can tour.

The Eldorado where we called home for a night.

We walked the town looking for a place to eat. There was a pub close by in another hotel, but it was standing room only. This was our second choice.

The best meal of the trip so far! Gyros and fresh Greek salad.

After dinner we enjoyed happy hour back at the lounge in the Eldorado. I had to laugh this sitting at the back of the bar.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:05 PM   #8
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

It was kind of a bittersweet awakening this morning. It was the realization the difference a day can make. If the ferry left Haines on Tuesday instead of Monday, we would have the time to get to Inuvik, one place I wanted to get to. It did turn out to be the best day of “motorcycling” of the whole trip.

After coffee in the motel room (not Starbucks), we went and fueled up at the Shell station. There we met a gentleman from England that was riding from New York to Prudhoe Bay and back. He was on the back part and gave us lots of great advice. From there it was a short ride to the free ferry that crosses the Yukon River. The start of the Top of the World Hwy. Research prior to the trip listed the section of the road in Yukon Territory as paved the whole way. As it turned out, there is only a few short sections of pavement and chipseal. They have let the rest of the road revert to gravel as I guess it is less work and money to maintain. The gravel was in great shape to the US border. The section in Alaska is narrower and rougher, not maintained nearly as well, in other works, a heck of a lot more fun to ride. It was like the logging roads back home. This proved to be the most fun we had riding the entire trip.

Arriving in Chicken, we topped off our fuel and had some snacks. All the tourists were freaked out on how “bad” the road was, but we were all grins. Several miles out of Chicken, the road was paved with intermittent gravel sections. It started to rain. It began to pour. We rode through some long heavy rain showers, but would dry out between them without using any raingear. The Top of the World Hwy has some incredible scenery along the way. It follows a lot of ridges giving views for hundreds of miles in each direction. There is no way photos can catch the magnitude of this country. You ride through a lot of alpine tundra so there are no trees in the way and you can see hundreds of miles of mountain ranges to the northeast.

At Tetlin Junction we headed southeast on the Alaskan Hwy towards Haines Junction. There are long distances along this section without any signs of civilization, let alone services. At first the road was great, many miles of fresh new pavement. We were making great time. Then near the Yukon border, the road began to get rougher. Old pavement with lots of dips in it. It was fun to ride as long as you stood slightly on the pegs at each of the dips. Once across the border and into the Yukon Territory, there were long stretches of gravel. Gravel that was no so friendly to loaded, heavy adventure touring bikes. Deep gravel, almost like round rock instead of the crushed that packs well. Those sections we had to take at 35 to 45 mph. But it was back to 70-75 in the dip-filled rollercoaster pavement sections. The wind was also howling through these sections. Severe side winds and head winds depending on which direction you were headed.

We pulled into Burwash Landing to see what they had for rooms. Just double beds in all rooms, whether it was one, two or three beds per room. We ate dinner there and then hit the road again. We pulled in at Destruction Bay and checked on rooms, same story, so we headed for Haines Junction.

We finally found a room with a queen bed at the Kluane Park Inn. But it was right next to the tavern and was noisy for late into the night. The bikes were parked right outside our room, but still next to the tavern side door. Despite staying awake most of the night and listening for any signs of tampering with the bikes, the bikes were OK the next day. We did meet Tom from California riding a BWM RT around and learned we would be on the same ferry.

Mileage for the day was 449 miles.

Sheila riding the ferry across the Yukon.

We were behind this toyhauler 5th wheel that had to be at least 40 feet long with triple slides and evidently they were planning on dragging it over Top Of The World Hwy. That’s crazy…or stupid.

TOW hwy, long high mountain ranges to the right.

Nice gravel road and the sun at our backs.

Sheila eating dust at 55mph.

Some sections there wasn’t even any pot holes.

Absolutely beautiful scenery.

An old log cabin near at rest area along TOW hwy.

Looking south at the rest area.

There are a couple of paved sections her and there.

Open tundra.

Still some snow along the northern facing slopes.

Big country!

US Customs at TOW hwy.

Makes it feel like going home.

A rain shower in the distance.

Them clouds are getting very dark.

Now the Taylor Hwy.

Dropping in altitude and the scenery begins to slowly change.

Overlooking Chicken, Alaska.

A Chicken gold dredge.

This is down town Chicken.

Some lakes in the distance. This is a rest stop along the Alaska Hwy and is port of the Kluane National Park.

Mountains in the Kluane National Park.

These whimsical trees are all over the Yukon. An inspiration for Dr. Seuss?

Finally, another moose.

A curious otter that swam real close to us at a lake to check us out.

The otter’s home in Kluane NP.

Looking out or motel room at 9:00pm.

Sheila say’s “Hey, check out the colors in this bathroom!”
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:08 PM   #9
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Oddometer: 312
Sunday, June 21, 2009

We gassed up across the street, ate some snacks for breakfast and hit the road. We took our time riding since the days mileage was going to be short. We saw several huge fat porcupines along the way. Going over the pass was very, very scenic, but it did not up-stage White Pass. We had our last customs of the trip and the border agent kinda laugher at us for saying how glad we were to be back on US soil for the remainder of the trip. Nothing at all against the great people of Canada, it just feels a lot more like home. After re-entering Alaska, I try to keep the pace at 60 mph indicated (58.5 on gps). Its not an easy task since almost the entire trip was spent at 70 to 75 mph. It began to rain. Luckily though, the rain was short lived.

There is an eagle sanctuary right before Haines. We do not see a single eagle. We have spotted hundreds and hundreds of them along the trip, but not a single one in the sanctuary.

We reach downtown Haines and head for the Visitors Center to get an idea of where to stay. The woman attending the center is not overly helpful, we guess a volunteer vs a paid person in Dawson City, but the rates and motels are listed. We choose Hotel Halsingland that is part of the old military base. We love staying in old historic buildings and while there was certainly much more of a restoration to be done, it did not disappoint.

After booking the room by phone, we headed for the infamous Pioneer. World famous halibut fish and chips. Being somewhat choosey on my fish and chips, this was one of the two places I wanted to eat at on this trip (the other the Bus). We stopped in for just a beer first though as we waited for our room to be ready at the Halsingland. We waited a couple of hours and headed for the hotel, but the room still wasn’t ready. No big deal since it was still way early than standard check in time. So we wandered around and took some more totem pole pics, then just laid back in the sun. Finally we got the room, still way early compared to normal check in time. After settling in the room, the highlight of the day was a Fathers Day call back to my dad who probably didn’t expect a call since we were on vacation. My wife turned on the TV. The Andy Griffith show was playing. There was a nice cast iron claw foot tub for soaking.

Eventually we walked back into town to the Pioneer for that fish-n-chips dinner. Not bad, not the best I’ve had, but the service and the atmosphere were outstanding. Stop and eat here. Ghost Busters was playing on the TV in the bar.

Mileage for the day was 161 miles.

Kluane Park Inn, where we didn’t get a good nights sleep.

The view from Haines Junction.

Since we were taking our time, we pulled in to little lake.

Another lake o the opposite side of the road.

Getting close to the pass

The back end of a large porcupine.



And more mountains….

A straight stretch of road.

A glacier.

Another glacier.

Up above the tree line.

Motoring on, it doesn’t get much better that this…

Even some sandy areas near the top of the pass.

Looking back towards the summit.

Dropping down in altitude.

Looking back north up the Chilkat River

Another glacier.

Famous halibut at the Pioneer Bar and Lounge, down town Haines.

Inside the Pioneer.

Mmmm….beer. Spruce Tip Ale.

A couple of old farts (us) enjoying a beer.

The mountain view from Haines.

We were going to be staying in one of the old military buildings that is now a hotel.

The port of Haines.

A massive machine parked along the road. We are killing time waiting for our room to be readied.

Here are the cool old buildings that are now used for a hotel.

Some of the smaller building have other uses, from a B & B to duplexes.

There are some totem poles in a park in the middle of the fort.

Taking a nap.

Corner pole.

Walking back up to Hotel Halsingland to see if the room is ready yet. We are still way earlier than what a normal check in time would be.

The view of Chilkoot inlet from Hotel Halsingland.

The room still wasn’t ready. No big deal. We’ll just lay back in the grass and enjoy the day.

Once inside the room, I check out the bathroom, trying to beat Sheila to the surprise. But there is a nice cast iron claw foot bath tub there. Her favorite!

The Andy Griffith Show was on the television.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:10 PM   #10
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Monday, June 22, 2009

After a light breakfast, we walked over to a museum that was closed on Sunday. It was a Native American museum where they still carved totem poles.

This day’s duties were to do laundry and get some groceries to help offset the reported high cost of meals on the ferry. We arrived at the Haines ferry terminal way too soon in the day, but we joined Tom we met at Haines Junction and later Casey and Jason (BWM and Triumph Tiger respectively) for several hours of bench racing and swapping stories. Almost the entire road from downtown Haines to the ferry terminal was under construction and we got to watch them detonate a string of charges under the road to break up the rocks below it. Cool!

We finally loaded they ferry at 9pm and from there the challenge was to secure the bikes with tiedowns so they wouldn’t fall over in the next four nights travel.

Mileage for the day was 4.7 miles.

A cedar bentwood box.

I wanted to buy this poster, but there was no good way to get it home on a motorcycle and I didn’t want it bad enough to mess around at a post office to get it shipped.

Plans for a totem pole that is being carved in the museum.

Top part looks done.

Here’s looking at you.

Another totem pole in a school yard.

A cruise ship docked in Haines.

The MV Columbia. We will be on this ferry later in the day. They have to run to Skagway yet.

Coming back for us.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:25 PM   #11
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Location: Battle Ground, WA
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009 through Thursday, June 25, 2009

This is a very scenic ferry ride that follows the Inside Passage of SW Alaska and British Columbia. There are high mountain glaciers, rocky islands and shorelines. We have seen several bears on the island beaches, porpoises swimming and lots of whales. Sometimes the shore is less than 100 feet away though the narrower channels. This is a sea kayaker’s paradise. I am in a dream land here! Why can I only get two weeks off a year? We stop in Sitka with a layover of several hours, but we stayed on board with plans not to spoil the suspense for a return trip, Island hopping along the ferry line in a few years. There are other stops in the night, Juneau, Wrangell and Petersburg.

We meet some more interesting people on the ferry. Some of the most interesting is three bikers that boarded in Juneau. They had a rally there, but home to them was Ketchikan. They had lots of interesting stories and one had won almost twelve thousand in a fishing derby that same weekend. He also showed us an actual prescription from his doctor allowing him to do this rally despite a workman’s comp claim from his job at the shipyards in Ketchikan. He was ready to be back to work though.

We finally take leave at Ketchikan. We get a cab and take it to the nearest totem park. It is the smallest on in the area, but the closest. It leaves us about a three mile walk back to the ferry, welcome exercise though. We will have to make that return trip for the other two parks. Ketchikan boasts the most totem poles of any of the coastal towns.

One pleasant surprise on the ferry is that meals are more affordable than any other part of this trip, short of the lower 48. With the groceries we did buy, we are only having to pay for dinners. After the stop at Ketchikan, it gets dark closer to a normal time. Sleep will be easier tonight.

The last day the ferry went through the Queen Charlotte Sound. This is an un-protected crossing and the wind was blowing pretty good. There were some decent sized swells. I was surprised when the ferry, being 418 feet long was being tossed around pretty good. We were sitting up at the front viewing area and the bow of the ship had to be going up and down more than twenty feet. It would rock side to side when a lot too when we weren’t taking the waves straight on. Some people trying to walk around were falling. We could hear stuff crashing to the floor in the galley. Guess I know why we tied the bikes down good now.

Sheila kicking back in our spacious four berth cabin.

Inside the cabin.

Bunks, lots of room to spread gear around.

Looks like an RV bathroom.

Off we sail.

Timer shot with stairs as the tripod.

Some art in the hallway.

Alaskan flag.

Mountains at night

You can sleep under the solarium in these plastic lounge chairs and avoid the cabin fare. But for four nights….

Two black bears on shore. Sheila finally felt safe looking at the bears.


Mountains rising up to the clouds.


Just watching the hills roll by.

Rusty remains of an old steel hulled boat.

Old boat at a small ship yard in Sitka.

Oldgrowth snags.

Why couldn’t it be clear skies?

Dinner the second night aboard the ferry. They have a full service restaurant.

Eagle on the rocks.

Grizzly on the shore.

Lots of commercial fishing boats.

This is what you would have to look at all the time if you made a living fishing up here.

The forward viewing area.

Pete’s Corner in the lounge. The three people you can see the face of are bikers from Ketchikan and very interesting to talk to. Genuine people.

I’d like to drop this off the side and take ‘er for a spin.

A crabber.

Dang, are we getting close to a sunset?


Some colors under heavy clouds.

Rays of light beaming down from the Heavens.

Island illumination.

Silhouetting the trees.

Silhouetting the mountains.

One last grasp on daylight.

The next morning.

Small island with a light house.

Zoomin in on the light house.

Old cannery in Ketchikan

Float planes flying all around.

My guess is flight-seeing tours with people off the cruise ships.

Three more ready to go.

The Port of Ketchikan

More totems.

More totems..

More totems…

More totems….

More totems…..

More totems……

OK, last one, I promise.

One of two cruise ships in Ketchikan port.

A touristy, yet cool part of old town.

Everything built on stilts.

Back in the ferry, we check on the bikes to make they are still tied down.

They are, and this will later prove to be a very good thing due to rough seas.

The little F650GS along the wall.

Under sail again. An old boat graveyard.

Another old boat.

Leaving Ketchikan behind. We have much more to explore in these small towns of Alaska.

Another desolate lighthouse.

This one is near some civilization.

Another angle.

Old abandoned cannery.

Ship directory.

View from the front windows.

One of the rear deck where you can pitch your tent and duct tape it down.

The final evening aboard ship.

We met Jason in Haines. He was riding with Casey. Jason rides a new Triumph Tiger and has been a lurker here.

Last shot from the ferry.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:26 PM   #12
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Location: Battle Ground, WA
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Friday, June 26, 2009

The last day of riding. It was a super slab trek south through Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Battle Ground. We fueled up shortly after leaving the ferry and stopped for fuel and a quick bite in Tacoma.

Mileage for the day was 273 miles.

Back home.

Killed lots of bugs with the big GS.

The little GS got more than its fair share too.

That’s it. Not a hiccup from either bike, no flats, not even a loose bolt.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:02 PM   #13
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Lake Stevens, WA
Oddometer: 3,399
Great ride report! I'm jealous your wife rides. I've been married 16 years and the wife hasn't ridden any of mine yet.

Beautiful pictures.
5f? Is that like riding down a 90 degree cliff face into a lake of fire? I thought 4f was bad. Abdelhub

"Assembled Spectator Scoring With Incriminating Photographic Evidence" or A.S.S.W.I.P.E. - Granparacer
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:28 PM   #14
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Rainy-Soggy (Bothell), Washington
Oddometer: 65
Great ride report. Thanks for sharing!

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Old 06-29-2009, 10:58 PM   #15
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Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Northern BC Canada
Oddometer: 2,069
Thumb Thanks..

Great report and I was just up that way and remeber passing both of you near Whitehorse. Me and my friend were on 1200ADV, 1 Silver, 1 Red..
Thanks for sharing your ride with us..
PS: Me and my wife have our 25th this year and she does NOT want to head north.
Ride Safe,
Hope you both have another 25 years of happiness and health.
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