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Old 01-20-2014, 12:05 AM   #1
Falang OP
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Oddometer: 112
Alaska/Yukon/Cassiar Highways by Motorcycle ... in 1980

Alaska/Yukon/Cassiar Highways by Motorcycle ... in 1980

My muddy, moody meander up the half-gravel Alaska Highway, around Fairbanks, Seward and Dawson, and down the unpaved Stewart-Cassiar Highway in September, 1980, taken from a box of old Ektachromes. The ride covered about 5500 miles / 8900 km in 16 days; of this, roughly 1700 miles / 2800 km were unpaved at that time. For this time capsule I looked up, where possible, what the same vantage points look like today. I emailed old places for recent photos or used Google Streetview and included side-by-side "whatever happened to" comparisons. While researching this Ride Report, I felt like Rip van Winkle, but Rip slept only for twenty years.

The route, the thick red line:

The black lines are other trips made on the same BMW, traced on a paper map decades ago.

Heading Off

The itinerary (as near as I can figure from old photos and notes 33 years later):

01: Vancouver, Fraser Canyon, Cariboo, Quesnel 400 miles / 644 km, paved
02: Peace River Country, Dawson Creek, Fort St John. 480 miles / 772 km, paved
03: Summit Lake, Toad River 353 miles / 570 km, of which about 176 miles / 285 km unpaved
04: Watson Lake, Teslin 363 miles / 585 km, of which about 181 miles / 293 km unpaved
05: Whitehorse, Kluane National Park 221 miles / 356 km, of which about 110 miles / 178 km unpaved
06: Haines Junction, Alaska Border, Delta Junction, Fairbanks 506 miles / 816 km, of which about 107 miles / 172 km unpaved
07: Mt McKinley (Denali), Talkeetna, Willow 295 miles / 475 km, paved
08: Anchorage, Cook Inlet, Kenai, Cooper Landing 365 miles / 589 km, paved
09: Seward, Anchorage, Matanuska Glacier, Glennallen 278 miles / 449 km, paved
10: Wrangell Mountains, Top-of-the-World Highway, Dawson City 324 miles / 522 km, of which about 121 miles / 195 km unpaved
11: Dempster Highway Junction, Moose River Lodge, Whitehorse 343 miles / 553 km, of which about 343 miles / 553 km unpaved
12: Teslin, Watson Lake, Good Hope Lake 317 miles / 512 km, of which about 317 miles / 512 km unpaved
13: Dease Lake 86 miles / 139 km, of which about 86 miles / 139 km unpaved
14: Meziadin Lake Junction, Kitwanga, Telkwa 381 miles / 615 km, of which about 301 miles / 485 km unpaved
15: Cache Creek 492 miles / 794 km, paved
16: Vancouver 212 miles / 342 km, paved

I covered about 360 miles / 580 km each riding day (because of no time) while bush camping most nights (because of no money).

The night before, countdown to a dawn departure:


The packing list:

Riding items: Belstaff Trialmaster waxed cotton riding suit; Uvex goggles; Minox 35EL camera, Ektachrome 200 film; Grantline electric vest; Bandana; Vasque Boots with rubber covers; Bungee cords; Centerstand board, fiberglass; Chain, lock, key; Chapstick; Down jacket; Drivers license; Earplugs; First aid kit; Fog-free for goggles; Lewis Leather gloves; Handkerchiefs; Helly Hansen; Bell Helmet; Hotel guides; Housekey; Jeans; Kidney belt; Laundry kit; Lighter; Local and foreign currency; Long johns; BC, Yukon, and Alaska maps; The Milepost book; Passport, credit cards, drivers license, registration, insurance; Pen; Plastic bags; Radio, battery; Foot powder; Army surplus rubber rain suit; Dopp kit; Snack bar; Spare glasses; Spare keys; Sweater; Swiss army knife; Tensor bandage; Toilet paper; T-shirts; Underwear, socks, underpants, T-shirts; Watch; Water; Windbreaker; Wool pants; Wool shirt

Camping items: 12V camping light (plugs into bike); Binoculars; Brillo pad; Buck Folding Hunter knife; Coffee pot, coffee powder; Cups, plates; Fill-up Funnel for stove; Fishing rod, license; Folding water bottle; Halazone for water purification; Harvest Crunch, Kel-lite flashlight; Knife/fork/spoons; Matches, firestarter; Mosquito repellent; Optimus gasoline stove; Paper towels; Rags; Rain poncho for camping; Winchester 1200 shotgun, SSG cartridges, rifled slugs; Eddie Bauer down sleeping bag; Soap for puncture repair and dishes; Steak knife; Stew pot; Stove windscreen, folding; Sunblock; Sears Hillary Tent, fly, pegs; Thermarest air mattress; Towel; Tupperware.

Motorcycle items: Air filter; Aluminum foil (also for making oil change funnels); Bailing wire; Air pump, patch kit, rag, and toolkit; BMWMOA Anonymous book; Can opener (also for oil cans); Continuity and timing tester; Control cable pin; Crescent wrench, vise-grip pliers; Duct tape; Electrical tape; Engine oil, 1 can; Flexstone for cleaning ignition points; Front tube (can use rear in emergency); Fuel line and siphon in frame under tank; Fuses; 90W Gear oil (half bottle); Head gasket, valve cover gasket in backrest; Hose clamps; Ignition points, condenser; Misc metric nuts, bolts; Oil filter; Poly rope for laundry, camping, tow rope; Rear inner tube; Silicone glue; Spare bulb set; Spare clutch, throttle, brake cables, in Reynolds backrest; Spare control lever (clutch but can use for brake); Spark plugs, pre-gapped; Tire patch kit; Tire pressure gauge; Wheel balancer and balancing weights; Wire hook for oil filter; Zap straps.

My 1974 BMW R75/6 do-it-yourself G/S:

The bike was six years young with 55,000 miles / 90,000 km on it. By then it had already taken me to all the lower 48 states and all the provinces. I loved that bike, but it was hit by a deer eight years later (at 100,010 miles) and wrecked.

I installed trials tires front and rear. I replaced the heavy Windjammer fairing with a lightweight windshield. I taped a plastic headlight protector over the BMW headlight with duct tape; this caused me to lose the headlight near the end of the trip. Strapping a tankbag on a 1974 (or older) BMW created an annoying problem: U-turns were impossible; turning hard left pressed the horn button and, even worse, turning hard right pressed the starter button. How to look like a fool in a parking lot ....

The knobby tires were wonderful on the gravel, awful on pavement, and horrible on grated steel bridge decks, especially when wet. With these dirt-grippers on the large wheels and the 8 inches of front and 5 inches of rear suspension that was standard on the /5 and /6 models, it was like riding a G/S today. 80 mph all day on dirt? No problem! The range of the standard tank was 200 miles / 300 km before reserve. The antenna was connected to a 23-channel CB radio (remember them?) in the tank bag; I thought if I became disabled I could use it to call for help but I never heard anyone outside of the towns. "Convoy" came out in 1975: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd5ZLJWQmss.

Day 1: Vancouver, Fraser Canyon, Cariboo, Quesnel

The weather the first day set the mood for the entire trip: cloudy with showers and occasional sunny periods. Just look at those telephone poles:


Saddle Rock Tunnel in 1980:

And in 2013:

The only change is the bike route sign.




Just the sky and the drizzle and me.

Day 2: Peace River Country, Fort St John.







The Mile Zero marker in Dawson Creek looked like this in 1980, just a sign next to the highway:

I tried to find exactly this spot in Streetview but discovered that the grain elevator had burned down ... on Friday the 13th(!) in July 2007:

So the Mile Zero marker was moved a few hundred feet and looks like this today, complete with coach parking lot and visitor center:


Day 3: Summit Lake, Toad River

The adventure began just north of Fort St John. Now I could test those knobby tires:


Whoopee!



These horses and a few dogs were the only animals I saw the entire trip:

That is, except for a rabbit that ran across the gravel road in front of me and was chopped in half by the front tire, spraying guts onto the engine which then burned off with an acrid smell. There were no deer, moose, bear, no wild animals to be seen the entire trip.

Rest break at Bucking Horse River:

Note the fuel pump and the recycled toilet flower planter. No, that's not me in the photo. According to the new owner (by email), the Quonset huts in my photo were left by the US Army in the 1940s while building the highway. By 2013 the business had moved to the other side of the street and hugely expanded:

Business has been good to them. Apparently the army Quonset huts in my 1980 photo no longer exist.

A nicely sealcoated part of the Alcan. About half of the Canadian part was paved like this when I rode over it, just narrow enough to want to pull over for safety whenever an oncoming vehicle approached.


Rest break:


I was disappointed to find so much litter in Alaska and the Yukon. I found old cans and bottles pretty much everywhere I stopped.

And back on the funway:





Camping in secluded silence down a side road off the main highway. Bliss.




Day 4: Watson Lake, Teslin.



There were a few thousand (mostly stolen) signs along the side of the Alaska highway in Watson Lake in 1980, so I undertook to photograph them all to enjoy at leisure (11 photos):











That's all the signs there were in 1980, all on one row.

Today, there are 80,000 (mostly stolen) signs. The Signposts have become a "Signpost Forest" with a parking lot. The Google Streetview camera has been there:

TripAdvisor rates Watson Lake Signposts as number one of the two (count them, two!) attractions in Watson Lake today.

More variable weather:


The Nitsutlin Bay bridge coming in to Teslin is the longest bridge on the Alaska Highway.

In 2013 the bridge looks the same but the highway has been paved perfectly:

Teslin Lake Motors, at the other end of this bridge in 1980:

And the same gas station in 2013 on Google Streetview, now closed. The bridge is visible in the background of both photos (which is how I was able to figure out where I took the photo).

Although the Chevron has closed there is a Shell station and a new hotel on the other side of the now-paved highway. Look at the twin land yachts in Streetview:


Day 5: Whitehorse, Kluane National Park




Whitehorse Main Street in 1980:

And Main Street in 2013 in Streetview:

Pickups and Econolines before, Starbucks and sushi today.

The bike parked next to the SS Klondike:


Whenever a truck came the other way I would pull over, slow to a crawl or stop, and duck behind the windshield. Even so, the flying rocks from the trucks sometimes hit me so hard through the cotton riding suit that they hurt.

Nobody would take a trip like this in a Belstaff Trialmaster riding suit today, and this was the last long ride I made in it. But the two-piece waxed cotton outfit was considered great adventure riding gear at the time. Steve McQueen (Google "King of Cool") and his buddies liked them:

McQueen died at fifty of lung cancer on November 7, 1980, two months after this ride.

Kluane National Park - Kathleen Lake



Calcium chloride road spray:


Day 6: Haines Junction, Alaska Border, Delta Junction, Fairbanks

There were frequent construction delays because the road building season is short:

But they were opportunities to ride up to the front and leave the traffic behind, to save passing it later in a cloud of dust and flying stones.

The Haines Junction General Store, the Esso station, and a small motel in-between:

And the General Store in 2013 from an Internet photo. It seems the General Store moved a few blocks away, expanded hugely, and went out of business:

According to the Haines Junction town map, the Fish and Wildlife Office is where the General Store used to be. The Imperial Esso is now a FasGas.

The road junction in 1980:

And as it is now:

The risk of missing that turn and driving a long way the wrong way has been eliminated.

Delta Junction, officially the end of the Alaska Highway:




I could not figure out where the above photo was taken, in order to do a Streetview comparison. Does anyone know?

Fairbanks, Cushman and 5th in 1980:

And today:

The Men's Clothing store is still there - they must be doing something right.

Second Avenue at night:

And today by day:

Neat and tidy, a new development on the left.

Day 7: Mt McKinley (Denali), Talkeetna, Willow




A typical roadhouse and gas station above; I could not locate it on the map today. Does anyone have a recent picture, or know what happened to it?




Another mystery gas station above. Many of the gas stations operating then seem to have closed, perhaps to avoid the cost of upgrading to meet current environmental standards.



The Talkeetna Roadhouse in 1980:

... and the same spot in 2013:

The exterior is very similar, but look at the changes inside! Inside the Talkeetna Roadhouse kitchen in 1980:

I am sitting at the dining table in front of the cook; the place was that cozy. Note the woodstove. Now look at the same spot in 2013 - industrial scale:

And there is now a large parking lot for Princess Cruise coaches not far away.

The Talkeetna Grocery where I bought some supplies in 1980 does not seem to exist now:

There is now another, much larger, grocery in a different location, according to the web.



Day 8: Anchorage, Cook Inlet (Turnagain Arm), Kenai, Cooper Landing

It was always cold in the morning!

But at least there were no mosquitoes in September.




The fishing license was expensive, but when I tried fishing near Kenai with this motorcycle-sized Daiwa Minicast fishing rod that I bought in Anchorage I discovered why - every time I cast a spinner, I caught a salmon! It was no challenge at all.

My dinner that night:
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:07 AM   #2
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Day 9: Seward, Anchorage, Matanuska Glacier, Glennallen




Seward in 1980:

... and the same spot today:

The New Seward Hotel, renamed the Hotel Seward (I suppose it isn't new anymore), has expanded hugely.

Tilting telephone poles on the way to the mountains.

Perhaps the freezing and thawing shifts the soil.

Matanuska Glacier:





The bird liked Harvest Crunch too. Note the Optimus 8R campstove from Sweden.

As suggested by Philip Funnell, who sold me the bike, I ran it on leaded gasoline from the motorcycle so there was no need to carry stove fuel: Just pop the float bowl off one of the carburators (no tool required) and use three bowlfuls to fill the campstove tank using a small funnel. We called this funnel the "Fill-Up Funnel." The stove is covered in soot because of the Buddhist Monk Technique used to start it. Here it is demonstrated by my assistants in 1975 and in 2012 (same stove, still working):


Day 10: Wrangell Mountains, Klondike Highway, Top-of-the-World Highway, Yukon River Ferry, Dawson City

The Wrangell Mountains from the Gakona Airport in Glennallen:

Note the blue 1953 Cessna 170, registration N4563C. Here is the same plane flying today, polished to perfection:

While researching this Ride Report I looked up the current owner in Anchorage, who emailed me the beautiful photo above in exchange for the old one and welcomed me for a flight.




A nice spot to camp, and therefore litter was all around it.

The Little Gold Creek Border Crossing on the Top of the World Highway in 1980:

In another week it would have closed for the season. It seemed so utterly remote at the time (see statistics later), but the Google Streetview camera has even been here! Now I can go back without leaving my chair:


Top of the World Highway. Fantastic, as many ADV Riders know:

It is hard to capture the 360 degree view on film; you really do feel you are riding on the top of the world, especially since the traffic up here is even lighter than on the other Yukon highways.


George Black Ferry over the Yukon River:



The natives on the ferry shared pieces of smoked salmon jerky with the pickup truck driver and me. It was unlike anything I'd tasted before. Delicious, salty, and very, very smoky.

And in 2013:

It looks much the same, but the road coming down the Top of the World highway is paved and wider.

Dawson City:


I parked in front of the Gold City Motor Inn to check the room rate ... and when they told me, I instantly decided to camp! This time I camped in the fenced city campground as advised by the hotel staff where I would be secure against the bears which I was told wandered the town at night in search of garbage. They said camping anywhere near any Yukon town was unsafe because of bears, although farther out was safe.

Third Avenue:

... and today in Google Streetview:

Almost nothing has changed in a generation.



The suburbs:



Day 11: Dempster Highway Junction, Moose River Lodge, Whitehorse

The Dempster Highway turns north here from the Klondike Highway:

There was nothing else at this corner in 1980, just this sign. I turned and rode a few miles up the Dempster, which had officially opened twelve months before, just to see what it was like. I did not have the time or the fuel range to ride to Inuvik. The Dempster gravel was new and deep and loose; it was horrible to ride on, like riding on marbles. I turned around on the narrow road, blaring the airhorn across the tundra as the left handlebar switch pressed into the tankbag. Here is the same junction today, looking south from the Dempster back towards the Klondike Highway, now paved.

There is a service plaza at the junction now. The shadow of the Streetview camera looms in the foreground; it's been all the way to Inuvik and Prudhoe Bay.

Buying fuel at Moose Creek Lodge from the slowest pump in town:


I think that women could have beaten me in an arm-wrestle.

And what it looks like today, from their website:

The Slowest Pump in Town has been retired.





Day 12: Teslin, Watson Lake, Stewart-Cassiar Highway, Good Hope Lake

Beautiful British Columbia:





I found this lovely campsite down a logging road about a mile from the main highway near Good Hope Lake and went fishing, catching nothing (as usual).


Look closely at the bike:

The headlight is missing! After two weeks of pounding over bad roads it had bounced out of the headlight bucket somewhere in the last couple of hundred miles. The /6 headlight was held in by a spring clip tightened by a screw, but not locked down by that screw. The weight of the plastic bubble and the duct tape must have been too much for the clip. It was an expensive lesson; replacement of the chrome ring, glass, reflector, H4 socket, parking lamp socket, wire clips, bucket clamp, H4 bulb, parking light, and rubber sealing ring cost hundreds of dollars, a lot of money in those days. Fortunately there were no headlights-on laws in those days.

I fried beefsteak and heated canned vegetables before it got dark, far from the tent for bear safety, and had a tasty twilight meal:

But the beef must have been tainted. I woke up in the middle of the night nauseous and shaking with severe diarrhea, the worst I can recall outside of Mexico and India. Having to get out of the warm sleeping bag and release emergency high volume defecations into the frosty darkness violently and repeatedly was not fun, although the stars and the sound of the river made it stoically, masochistally romantic. Back in the sleeping bag shivering in the tent between bouts I wondered if fresh human feces attracts bears. I was awake the whole night. And the toilet paper ran out.

Day 13: Dease Lake

At dawn I decided it would not be wise to spend a day lying in a tent in the middle of nowhere under thickening clouds - not to mention without toilet paper - but I barely had the strength to break camp and ride to the nearest town. I slowly packed up and rode carefully to Dease Lake and spent 24 hours recuperating in the Grayling Inn, the best place in town:

The hotel manager was kind enough to make me some soup that evening and bring me extra toilet paper. I could not find the Grayling Inn on the Internet today. The Northway Motor Inn seems to have replaced it:


Day 14: Meziadin Lake Junction, Kitwanga, Telkwa

The Stewart-Cassiar Highway was the worst road of the trip, and I was still weak after nearly two days without a retained meal.



The mud got deeper and deeper.

The bike got harder and harder to steer, and I finally figured out why. The front wheel wasn't turning!

So much mud had packed under the front fender that the tire was jammed. At that moment I learned why the G/S front fender is clamped so high! There was no way to park the bike and try to clear the fender because the ground was too soft for either the sidestand or the centerstand. All I could do was put my feet down and ride the bike like a three-skid snowmobile, or a scooter with training wheels. Eventually I came to some pavement in a construction site. Once the front wheel hit the pavement, it started turning again.

I could stop and dig the mud out of the cooling fins with my pocketknife so the engine could cool.


The only photo of me taken on the trip, covered in mud from head to toe:


Today the Stewart-Cassiar highway is sealcoated and you can ride it from your easy chair through the Google Streetview camera. Check this out, but mute your speakers first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cul8kTf_WYM.

Days 15, 16: Cache Creek, Vancouver

Entering Spences Bridge in 1980:

After the natural splendor of the last two weeks, the electronic sign made me want to turn around! Zoom in to a close-up:

On the left there are a motel, Pacific 66 and Texaco gas stations, and what appears to be a restaurant. On the right there are Gulf and Shell gas stations and the Sportsman Motel and Restaurant. Here is the same spot today:

The highway services are all gone. The nearest gas is at Lytton, 16 miles / 26 km distant. The Sportsman Motel and Restaurant in 2013:

The frontage road is a ghost town today; the completion of the Coquihalla Highway bypass in 1987 (it was still gravel in 1980) had much to do with this: between 1980 to 1987, summer traffic through the Fraser Canyon dropped from 9200 cars per day to 4600 cars per day (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca). Although there are no longer any gas stations in Spences Bridge, two lodgings and a pub operate today farther away from the highway.

Looking Back

The trip wore out the knobby tires and required two oil and filter changes, not to mention a new headlight assembly. I saw no wild animals, no mosquitoes, no aurora borealis - only rocks, dirt, trees, water, glaciers, many salmon, and a few birds. The riding and camping were rough, dirty, solitary, introspective, and chilly. I didn't speak to anyone for two weeks except to buy what I needed. Introvert paradise. I didn't see another motorcycle on the trip outside of the towns. There were only semi-trailers, more semi-trailers, trucks, campers, vans, cars, and a few RVs on the road. The semi-trailer drivers often waved at me, and I waved back. A motorcycle was a rarity.

In 1980 the British scrambler makers had all closed and Harley nearly closed too; AMF sold it in 1981 after Harleys had all but vanished from the highways. BMWs and Moto Guzzis were uncommon, and the latter were heavy. Japanese bikes which were fast and reliable had been on the market for a decade but the tourers were top-heavy with stiff suspension and the enduro models were underpowered for the highway, especially when loaded with camping gear. In those days mildly masochistic mechanics toured on remote dirt highways on motorcycles, but most of them preferred to go to Mexico and points south (where I went in 1981: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=939345).

1980 marked a turning point: BMW introduced the R80G/S and began factory participation in the Paris-Dakar Rally. I didn't like the original G/S because I wanted two full-size panniers and a bigger tank. The market disagreed with me and the G/S became BMW's most popular bike, adventure touring off-the-shelf. 500,000 of them have been sold since 1980. Growing numbers of those bikes, and others like them, have gone up the Alaska highway and beyond.

Meanwhile, most of these roads have been paved and you can ride them on any modern street bike. As near as I can estimate, if I retraced that route today and added rides to and from both Inuvik and Prudhoe Bay, from Dawson and Fairbanks respectively, the total trip would be about 1900 miles / 3000 km longer but would not cover any more gravel. The Dempster (736 km, all gravel) opened to the public in 1979 and the Dalton (800 km, of which 460 km gravel) fully opened to the public in 1994; in Google Streetview today they look like the unpaved parts of the Cassiar and Yukon highways used to look.

I requested historical motorcycle traffic statistics from the Yukon Highways Dept, the Klondike Visitors Association, the George Black Ferry, and Statistics Canada. Only Statistics Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/) had them, but only back to 1990. Here are the daily average eastbound border crossing statistics for cars (red) and bikes (blue) on the two major overland Yukon routes during June, July, and August from 1990 to 2013.

For the Alaska Highway:

Summer motorcycle traffic (blue line and right scale) at Beaver Creek Crossing doubled in the last twenty years (except for a strange blip in 1992) and keeps increasing. Meanwhile automobile traffic (red line and left scale) halved and keeps decreasing, perhaps because flying has been getting cheaper relative to driving long distances. Relative to cars, summer bikes are three times as common in the last six years of the chart as they were in the first six years, from 100:1 (cars vs. bikes) to 35:1.

Meanwhile the traffic changes on the Top of the World Highway, the recreational route, are striking (solid is summer, dotted is June only):

Summer motorcycle traffic at Little Gold Creek Crossing multiplied TEN TIMES from less than one bike per day to about five per day. Meanwhile automobile traffic halved after 9-11 and never recovered. For the first six years of the chart motorcycle traffic averaged one bike to 220 cars in summer and only one bike to 350 cars in June, virtually non-existent. For the last six years; however, it averaged one bike to every 15 cars in summer and one bike to EIGHT cars in June, an amazing difference - relative to cars, motorcycles (including bicycles) are thirteen times as common as they used to be in summer, and FORTY (!) times as common in June. I see on the web that there are guided motorcycle tours operating now, motorcycle rentals, and rallies. There has been a "Dust-to-Dawson" June motorcycle ride ("not a rally" - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=918710) since 1992, with 177 bikes congregating in Dawson City in 2010 and 297 in 2012. No doubt this event has driven the June traffic volume.

In September, from 1990 to 1992, only one oddball motorcycle (or bicycle) per MONTH rode east over the Top-of the World Highway - no wonder I didn't see any bikes on my trip a decade before this.

For perspective I looked back a generation before 1980: to 1947, my father's generation. That year the Alaska Highway opened to the public. In 1947 there was no road to Dawson Creek from Prince George. To get to mile zero from Vancouver, the route was via Calgary and Edmonton, mostly on gravel.

The Fraser Canyon road was paved in the 1930s but in 1947 was still barely wide enough for two cars to pass, with one-lane tunnels:

The pavement from Vancouver ended at Spences Bridge and the gravel road ended at Prince George. The Stewart-Cassiar and Top-of-the-World highways did not exist.

Here's the 1947 map:

Trace the 1947 highway south from Fairbanks, and you end up east of the Rockies as in the gold rush days. On a 1947 motorcycle, an Indian perhaps.

In 1947 a rider's challenge began in the Fraser Canyon; by 1980 his challenge had been pushed north of Fort St John; and today his (and nowadays her) challenge starts north of Fairbanks or Dawson City. This fantastic roadbuilding progress doesn't even take into account developments in motorcycles, communication, and navigation (although I admit it is hard to get lost where there is just one road). I wonder how far riders in 2046 will have to go to leave the asphalt, Ulu knives, and Google Streetview behind.

A biker drags a slab of asphalt into the saloon.
"What'll it be?" asks the bartender.
"A beer for me ... and one for the road."
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:43 AM   #3
Old_Sheila
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What a fantastic and interesting post! Thanks for all the work you put into it
Those 1980 roads...how things have changed in the last 30 or so years. I went up there in 2010 but don't think I could have handled it in 1980.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:12 AM   #4
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+1 fantastic post... I am from Europe and very much enjoyed it, so for folks who know the area it must be priceless. Thanks for taking the time to put it together and posting it.

Cheers
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:34 AM   #5
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Awesome report. I really like the "then and now" pictures.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:12 AM   #6
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Excellent adventure dude
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:03 AM   #7
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Great RR!
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=897249

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Old 01-20-2014, 05:20 AM   #8
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Great Ride Report, Thanks for posting it.
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:43 AM   #9
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Thanks for another excellent retrospective ride report!
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:37 AM   #10
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That was just fantastic. Thanks for the look back.
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2009 HD Road King from Ohio to Alaska and back..
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=933871
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:28 AM   #11
mtnman
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What a great retrospective. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:59 AM   #12
Hermy
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Nicely done

I enjoyed both ride reports-thanks.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:11 AM   #13
Ol Man
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Wonderful report. Thanks for taking the time to do the work of "then" and "now". I always enjoy the Alaska ride reports, since we did a motor home trip up there two years ago. It is fun to see the places we were on that trip and now to see your old pictures it is even more fun.
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:01 AM   #14
jfman
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You bring the awesome to my day. Fingers crosssed that you got more of these gems in the vault
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:26 AM   #15
selkins
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What a gift to share with us! Great fun to hear your recollections and see your great photography.

One thing I'm intrigued by: I see a similarity between the young woman in your photo from Moose Creek Lodge, and the woman on the left in the current photo you drew from the web. Do you see the resemblance? Any thought of whether it's the same person?
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