Alaska Ride – Three Noob Adventure Riders go Far-Far Away to the Dempster

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rickj, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 8 – Stewart, BC to Boya Lake Provincial Park, BC

    Our stay in Stewart had been fantastic, and our down day during which we visited the Salmon Glacier was a great addition to the trip. Count me in if this is what adventure touring is all about! I was also very pleased with how the big Beemer handled the road up to the Salmon Glacier. I’m sure it would be considered an easy road by most standards, but this was my first foray off the tarmac with the GSA. I had read countless comparison of the R1200GS versus the KTM990, so I didn’t expect the Beemer to perform as well as it did. So much for those comparisons.

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    We were anxious to get back on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, but had to decide on the day’s route during breakfast. Telegraph Creek or continue north toward the Yukon Territory? The rain forecast called for a 60% probability of rain for the next two days, so we decided that going to Telegraph Creek under those conditions may be too ambitious for these adventure noobs.

    Black Bears, a Red Fox, and… Chicken?
    We had been very disappointed that we weren’t seeing nearly as much wildlife as we expected to. Each morning as we’d hit the road I’d get on the radio and make my official estimate how many animals we’d see that day. Two black bear, a moose and some chickens was my estimate for this day. Chickens? The guys would laugh about my comments about seeing chickens, but would soon learn that we would in fact see some ptarmigans (chicken-liken fowl) near Chicken, Alaska. Up until this point we had been disappointed that we hadn’t seen much in the way of wildlife. Things would finally change on this stretch of the Cassiar though.

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    We were vigilantly looking up ahead for animals as we rode this very remote stretch of the Stewart-Cassiar highway. We did in fact see two black bear and a moose along this stretch of the road, but there were no opportunities to take pictures as the animals scampered away as we pulled over to get out our cameras.

    At one point I announced that there was an animal in the middle of the road ahead and, as we got closer, I recognized that it was a red fox that appeared to be checking out something that was on the road. Surprisingly, the fox didn’t run away until we were almost right upon it, and then remained close to the side of the road for a while before going in to the woods. Was it curious about us, or was there something keeping it there?

    As we turned our attention to what we assumed was road kill, we quickly realized that it was actually a baby fox that had just been killed. Not much larger than a domestic cat, this was a precious and gorgeous little animal. It was now clear why its mother had been reluctant to run away from us, and we assumed that she was still nearby waiting for us to leave.

    There was no more banter about animal sightings for the remainder of the day, and our mood was very somber having witnessed such a tragedy.

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    The northern stretch of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway wasn’t updated or as well maintained as the more traveled southern section from Kitwanga to the Meziadin junction, but it was satisfyingly remote and secluded. While most of the roads up to this point had been in exceptional condition with wide cleared shoulders, this road was seemingly still unchanged from its original construction in the 1960 / 70s except for pot hole and some deep frost heave repairs. Narrower and not built up as high to insulate it from the permafrost, frost heaves and pot holes were taking their toll on this stretch of the highway. We slowed the pace a bit and were actually enjoying the up / down waves of the frost heaves.

    The scenery was spectacular with lakes and rivers seemingly everywhere. It’s the kind of road that gives the rider such a visceral experience that, while you’re mesmerized by the natural wonder that is all around you, you can’t help but wonder what awaits you around the next bend or over the next hill. I cannot imagine a more beautiful place to ride.

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    We didn’t have a destination for the day, so we turned our attention to finding some place to settle in for the night. North of Dease Lake towns were non-existent so we thought we might have to travel as far as “Junction 37”, the junction of the Cassiar Highway and the Alaska Highway just inside the Yukon Territory, to find some place to eat and bed down for the night.

    About an hour’s ride from Junction 37, we spotted a sign for the Boya Lake Provincial Park off the highway. Don, who was leading at the time, asked if we wanted to go check it out. I mentioned that I had tentatively flagged that as a back-up location in case we didn’t go to Telegraph Creek, and I was aware that it was a beautiful setting. I wasn’t quite ready for the beauty that would unfold through.

    As we rode our bikes through the campground toward the lake’s edge we came across this beautiful scene, except that there were three young women in bikinis that were sitting on the edge of the little dock. Seeing us coming down the road toward them, one hurried to put her bikini top back on.

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    We stopped to look around and take in the scenery. This setting was something you would envision seeing in a movie or on the cover of a travel magazine. Places like this really do exist! The water was crystal clear and had an aqua-marine color to it. It was so calm that you could see a perfect upside down reflection of the sky and clouds. I don’t think you could take a bad picture here.

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    A few hundred feet or so down the shore we came across a vacant campsite on a knoll directly on the water with impeccable views. We had traveled about 340 miles for the day so far, and it was about another 55 miles to Junction 37, where we assumed that we could find a place to eat and camp. However, what would it be like? Could it be anything like this incredible place?

    We inventoried our food and found that we had a few canned items and a freeze-dried meal. It only took a few moments for us to decide to stay here for the night. We had found the perfect campsite.

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    We dropped our $20 CAN (about $16 US) at the collection booth at the entrance to the park and set up camp. The camp hostess came by in a golf cart to welcome us and mentioned that this was the best campsite at Boya Lake which had just been vacated. Perfect timing on our part.

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    For those that have never moto-camped before, this is likely the perfect commercial for it! Try to envision the amazing experience of sitting on this lake and taking on the views and sounds of nature. Staying in a motel is certainly easier, but the experience of being in such a setting is something that you never forget.

    Don figured this was the ideal time to break out the aged scotch that he had brought to share, which made this experience even better.

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    Before turning in for the night, I took one more picture. While it’s a great picture that seems to capture the essence of this land, it falls short. The best picture, and the one that I will always treasure, is ingrained in my memory.

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    Tomorrow, we’ll finish up our travels on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, and be in the Yukon Territory! Riding up through British Columbia has been an amazing experience, but many adventures await us in the Yukon.
    #41
  2. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy Supporter

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    This really is a most enjoyable ride report! Well done, and thanks for taking us along!
    #42
  3. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks, Al. Most of the feedback the ride report has generating has been that a ride like this is on many riders' bucket lists. It was certainly a bucket list item for me, but I'm not convinced that I won't be going up that way again. I've been reliving the ride again as I write this report, which has been a lot of fun.

    I hope all that have an inkling to head up to Alaska are able to do it. The memories are definitely worth it!
    #43
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  4. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy Supporter

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    My wife and I have done some great trips throughout the Western US, and the topic of heading to Alaska has come up many times. That will be our next big one, but it's going to have to wait until at least 2017, as our youngest daughter is getting married next Summer. Kinda cuts into the old trip budget, but I think it'll be worth it. :D
    #44
  5. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 9 – Boya Lake Provincial Park, BC to Quiet Lake, South Canol Road, YT

    Our plans for the next three days in the Yukon Territory were somewhat flexible, as our next reservation wasn’t until June 30th in Dawson City. From there we planned to go north to Eagle Plains and the Arctic Circle.

    I had read about the South Canol Road that runs from Johnson’s Crossing to Ross River, which was a road put in by the US military in 1943 to run oil from the Northwest Territories at Norman Wells down to Whitehorse. We had all agreed that riding the South Canol Road would be one of the trip’s highlights, so our plan for today was to ride the 235 miles as far as Johnson City. From there, we’d be in a position to ride the South Canol Road the next day and likely go as far as Carmacks, then to Dawson City the following day.

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    We had been really pleased with our ride through British Columbia, and were now looking forward to crossing in to the Yukon Territory to the northernmost part of our route, including Dawson City, the Arctic Circle along the Dempster Highway, and the Top-of-the-World Highway. I was also interested in getting on to the Alaska Highway, which I had ridden back in 1996, to see what it was like. Given the current popularity of the Klondike Gold rush area and Alaska, I had visions of a steady stream of large motor homes lumbering north along on the improved Alaska Highway.

    Boya Lake had been a great find, but we were soon enjoying the final 55-mile stretch of the Cassiar Highway as we headed toward Junction 37 where we’d meet up with the Alaska Highway. Hopefully, we’d find gas and be able to get some breakfast there.

    A few miles before we reached Junction 37, we stopped at the border in to the Yukon and were taking some pictures of this iconic sign and milestone in our trip. A motor suddenly home pulled over in a cloud of dust, and a very nice couple walked over and asked if we needed help getting a picture of the three of us in front of the sign. Amazing.

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    We gassed up at Junction 37, and then rode down the Alcan a few miles to Nugget city where we had a pricey, but mediocre breakfast at the Northern Beaver Post. This is one of the many family owned businesses that spring up along the Alcan, and which often stay open during the summer months only.

    I can’t speak to other parts of the Alaska Highway leading up to this point, but the condition of the highway between Junction 37 and Johnson’s Crossing was superb. It was built up and well insulated from the permafrost layer, with perfect pavement and wide shoulders. There weren’t quite as many motor homes on the road as I had expected, but they were certainly not a rare site.

    As is the case in British Columbia, there are lakes everywhere! Teslin Lake runs parallel to the Alcan for 40 or more miles until the highway crosses the lake at Johnson’s Crossing. We crossed the bridge and pulled in to the town, actually more like a small outpost, filled up with gas and bought some supplies. Since it was still early afternoon, we decided to push on and start our ride up South Canol Road figuring that we’d find some place to camp along the way.

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    Fully stocked with food, gas, and water we were anxious to get a jump on our 135-mile ride on this historic road that would take us deep in to the Yukon backcountry. We knew that there were some lakes with campgrounds along the route, so we’d just ride in until we found a great place to camp. Turning off the Alcan we came across the Canol Road rest area where a number of the original construction trucks and equipment had been put on display.

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    We stopped just beyond the rest area to air down tires before starting on the road. It was refreshing to be off the pavement and we were all excited about what we might find in the wilderness.

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    We would encounter a number of these single-lane Bailey bridges that spanned small rivers, which were ideal places to take a short break, walk around a bit and take in the scenery.

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    The weather was cooperating and the road conditions were generally pretty decent. There were sections where the road had been repaired and / or sand had been laid down, but they were usually (not always) marked with small red flags right by the rough section. Great news for these adventure noobs!

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    About 47 miles in we came to Quiet Lake nestled in the Pelly Mountain range. We followed signs to the government maintained campground which had about 20 campsites with tables, a few restrooms, bear-proof trash bins, and a boat launch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a campsite right on the lake, but we did find a nice site up in the forest with easy access in and out, and which was located near a restroom and trash bins.

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    There’s something great about having spaghetti in the woods, but I was sure that we had caught the attention of bears within a 50-mile radius! Fearing we’d get visited that night, and possibly get our bikes torn apart, we tried to figure out what we’d do with anything that had a smell to it. Ultimately, we put all our stuff in a large trash compactor bag and put it in the bear-proof trash bin!

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    We didn’t get visited by any bears during the night - at least none that woke us up - but we did get visited by another smaller animal the following morning.

    But that’s for the next post…
    #45
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  6. VFR

    VFR Been here awhile

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    Hey Maldos!!! Keith said you were headed to Alaska this summer. Forgot all about it until I stumbled onto this report. Rick, I met you at Death Valley a couple of years or so back.

    Very nice report. Not on my list at all but I like to read about those that have done it. Thanks for doing the report and I'll stay till the end.
    #46
  7. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi Larry,

    I do remember meeting you in Death Valley, and also a time or two with the ST-owners group. Glad you're along for the ride!

    Rick
    #47
  8. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

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    Great ride report! I'm doing my planning now for a ride up there next summer and you're giving me some superb information. Thank you!

    Mike
    #48
  9. CanadianRocky

    CanadianRocky No Bucket List... a Bucket full of Lists

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    My dad owned a gas station/grocery store, where my brother worked as a mechanic, in Dease Lake back in the late '70's. My sister was also up there for several years at the same time working for Highways. I went up to visit them for a month in 1979 (riding my motorcycle to Terrace and a truck from there) and even though most of the road was decent, some of it was still almost a Jeep Track.

    This RR is bringing back some strong old memories.
    #49
  10. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi Mike,

    I'm glad the ride report is giving you some ideas for your own trip next summer. I read countless ride reports as I was doing the route planning for our trip, which was very helpful. There are some big decisions that we had to make on the route:
    - One way or ship bikes back?
    - Ferry the bikes from Vancouver Island to Port Hardy, or ride up BC?
    - Ride to the Arctic Circle or not? If so, Dalton or Dempster?
    - Ride the Kenai Peninsula?
    - Ride to Fairbanks and Denali to Anchorage or ride the Tok Cutoff and Richardson?
    - Ride to the Kenai Peninsula or take the ferry from Valdez?

    One of the biggest decisions was deciding to ride up the Stewart-Cassiar highway rather than the Alaska Highway, and I'm really glad we rode the Stewart-Cassiar. It was an amazing road, especially the northern half.

    Enjoy your trip planning!

    Rick
    #50
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  11. maldos

    maldos Adventurer

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    Larry, good to hear from you. We had a fantastic trip, an adventure, no epic adventure of my life. I still can't believe I'm back. My office thinks I'm some sort of macho Grizzly man type, who am I to argue. 5,400 miles without any serious incidents. Hope to see you on the hill soon.

    Don
    #51
  12. maldos

    maldos Adventurer

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    There's a Discovery Channel showing on the Kennecott Mine and McCarthy Alaska. We talked about the ride but had a ferry to catch. If you can make it, do it.
    #52
  13. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

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    Thank you! I'll check that out. This is good stuff, Don!

    Mike
    #53
  14. VFR

    VFR Been here awhile

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    Good year for me too. I did a 7100 mile ride through 10 states. None of them were Canada or Alaska though.... Might catch you up at HK...
    #54
  15. joeybeats

    joeybeats Adventurer

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    Great Report. Thanks!

    So may I impose? Would you take a moment at your convenience, and let us know what gear worked really well. And what didn't. Did you need something you didn't have? Could have done without what? Thanks again. Joey
    #55
  16. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi Joey,

    I had planned on putting together a review of the gear I used at the end of the RR. However, I'm happy to start talking about it at any time. I'll start with some highlights and talk mainly about the gear I used. The other guys can chime in with comments on their specific gear.

    MOTORCYCLE GEAR
    Helmet: I like modular helmets and had previously owned HJC Symax and Symax II helmets. The Symax II in particular was a horrible helmet that I can say nothing good about other than its price. The Symax XX helmets don't have Pinlock face shields available, so they're no good for rainy places.

    I initially bought a Shoei Neotec (Size Large) helmet for the trip, but I seemed to be between sizes, so I sent it back for a Medium. The helmet took quite a bit of time to break in, and I can say that I am now very satisfied with it. It's comfortable, fairly quiet, vents extremely well, and has a drop-down sun visor that works well.

    Jacket: I've been using a Motoport Challenger jacket for years. This is their low-end jacket which I planned to replace when I got back. It's a great jacket for the price with great protective padding, but is too hot for anything above 80 degrees even with the liner out. I'm going to hint to my wife that I'd like a Olympia Ranger jacket from Santa this year.

    Pants: I have the Aerostitch Darien pants, which are very comfortable and breathe well. They have great protection for the knees, but nothing on the hips (but there may be an option for that). While they are waterproof with Gore-Tex , I found that they get very cold on your skin when they're wet as the outer shell material will eventually get soaked. A thin liner underneath doesn't really make them comfortable if it's wet and cold, so I found the solution is to have a waterproof layer over them.

    Rain Gear: Anticipating that we'd be riding in rain quite a bit, I bought the Olympia Horizon rain overcoat and over pants. While these were very inexpensive, they proved to be invaluable on the trip. They pack down very small and are very well designed to keep the rider dry.

    Boots: Living in SoCal I don't ride in the rain very often and my Sidi non-waterproof boots were not going to work. I bought a pair of Sidi Canyon Gore-Tex boots for the trip, which are very comfortable and did a great job of keeping my feet dry. However, the soles are far too flexible, so standing on the pegs was very uncomfortable, as my feet would arch over the pegs and get tired quickly. I found myself constantly trying to shift my feet on the pegs when I had to stand for extended periods of time. (Sidenote: I used the Cycle Gear Moto 3 socks during the 1st half of the trip, but threw them out. They don't breathe and eventually just get soaked!)

    Gloves: I have some Sedici (Cycle Gear) gloves that I use locally and are great for dry, warm riding. However, I needed some wet weather gloves that weren't too warm, as I hate it when my hands are hot. Based on reviews I bought a pair of Icon Patrol gloves, as they were fairly inexpensive, but functional. They worked out well and kept my hands dry except for a time during a major downpour when I was standing on the pegs and didn't have my jacket sleeves over the gloves! My mistake!

    CAMPING GEAR
    Tent: I bought a new tent (Alps Mountaineering Taurus AL-2) for this trip that would be easier to set up, a bit smaller, and could also be set up in the rain. While it's a pretty inexpensive tent, it worked out really well. I bought it figuring that it would be disposable, but it will likely be my tent of choice for most moto-camping trips. Bob bought the Alps Mountaineering Taurus Outfitter 3-Man tent, which is a heavier duty tent, and he liked it a lot. However, the Outfitter series don't have the windows built-in to the rainfly and are quite a bit heavier / bulkier.

    Cooking:
    Another great product I bought for this trip was the Jetboil Mini-Mo. Great for warming up canned good, making hot water for coffee, and you don't need a separate mess kit. A permanent part of my camping supplies now.

    Chair: I have a Helinox camping chair that is incredibly easy to set up, and takes up very little space on the bike. It sits a little too low though, and can be a bit hard to get out of at times. Don bought a newer one that sits taller. It's obviously a bit larger when it's packed down, but a good compromise. I'll be getting one of them at some point.

    Sleeping:
    I've been using an Exped Synmat 9 LW air mattress, which is very compact, comfortable, and is insulated with a synthetic fiber fill material. While it has a built-in pump, it's pretty tedious to use, so I use another great camping product - the Schnozzel pump bag that works like a bellows and really makes the task simple. For my sleeping bag I use a Big Agnes Deer Park sleeping bag, which is down-filled and rated at 30 degrees, and has a pocket on the bottom (rather than down material) to accommodate an air mattress. It's a wide bag and, when combined with the Exped air mattress, it makes a comfortable and roomy setup.

    Pillow: I've been using a Thermarest pillow for some time with mixed results. It's made up of left over spongy material, is very comfortable and even packs down pretty well. However, I sleep mainly on my side so it just wasn't tall enough. I'd generally have a sore next when camping. The solution for me was to also get a Cocoon inflatable travel pillow and put the Thermarest pillow on top of it. I'd put both in a pillow case when I was using them. They both pack down pretty small and this is way better than carting my favorite home pillow on the bike!

    ELECTRONICS
    Communications: It's vital to be able to communicate during a ride, and we have been using the Sena SMH10 Bluetooth units for a long time. I'm a big fan of Sena and like the sound quality and simplicity of these units. The SMH10 has one major issue though, in that it is very hard to get three units to pair up in conference mode. Each time someone had to change to a fresh unit, we'd spend a great deal of time trying to get all three units radios paired. I understand that they have that issue resolved now with the newer SMH20, but the audio quality is still poor in the SMH20 as Don has a pair of them and chose to bring the older SMH10s as we're constantly telling him we can't make out his voice.

    Go-Pro Cameras: Don and Bob both had new Go-Pro models (Hero 3?), and Don gave me an older Go-Pro he had. We set up mounts on our helmets and on the bikes hoping to get some great video. The reality is that they didn't really work out well. My camera had some software issues and would randomly power up as a camera instead of video even though we had the settings correct. Since I didn't have a remote to power it on and cold not see the display it was basically useless to me.

    Bob had a remote on his and was trying to use it to capture pictures along our ride, but there's a significant delay between the time you push on the remote and the camera actually operates, as the connection is through Wi-Fi and there's a bunch of hand-shaking that goes on before you actually have a connection. Battery life was also dismal on my old unit and the newer ones. I guess the final blow to me and my camera was BUGS! One of my favorite roads was the north half of the Cassiar Highway and the road that goes in to Stewart from Meziadin Junction. I did manage to get quite a bit of footage there, only to find out that a bug had performed a suicide mission directly in the center of the cover over the lens!

    Don will create a video, or series of videos, at some point and I will post them to this thread.

    USB Charger: I tend to charge USB devices while I'm riding, but it's also nice to be able to charge things up while you're at your campsite of motel room. I bought an Anker Astro Pro2, which had way more charging power than I could use. I chose this unit though, as you can charge several of your USB devices as you have the unit plugged in to the wall and it's getting itself charged.


    Hopefully, this helps out a bit. There's obviously lots more gear that I didn't discuss, so let me know if you have any questions.

    (Gotta get working on the next post and explain what's up with that rabbit!)

    Rick
    #56
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  17. joeybeats

    joeybeats Adventurer

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    Thanks, Rick. Exactly what I was looking for.
    Really enjoying the recap and the effort you're putting in is obvious.
    Joey
    #57
  18. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 10 – Quiet Lake, South Canol Road, YT to Dawson City, YT

    Our original plan for this day was to continue up the remaining 87 miles of the South Canol Road to the Robert Campbell Highway (4), and then head west to Carmacks on the Klondike Highway (2). From there we’d continue north to Dawson City the next day. (You can see the original planned route highlighted in yellow in the map below.)

    After breakfast it started to rain a bit, and the forecast for the day in this area was a 60% chance of heavy rain and thunder showers. Since the South Canol Road was a graded dirt road with loose dirt and not a maintained dirt road compacted with chip seal, we were concerned about what the road conditions might be as we headed north. Do we ride back 47 miles to Johnson’s Crossing and then head north to Carmacks where we had planned on for our next stop, or throw caution to the wind and head north? Our inexperience as off-road riders likely came in to play in our decision, and I can say that we didn’t have consensus here. However, the vote was 2 to 1 in favor of taking the road 47 miles back to Johnson’s Crossing and then heading north to Carmacks on the tarmac. As it turned out, we would end up getting a day ahead of schedule and ride 466 miles to Dawson City.

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    As we were making breakfast, a baby rabbit wandered in to our camp and was just hanging out around our feet. It was cold and shivering and, when Don finally knelt down and put his hand out, the rabbit walked right in to his hand and then snuggled himself on his arm! We assumed that its mother had been killed and this little orphan was seeking food and warmth. It would not survive long, so we found a family that was camping nearby that agreed to care for the rabbit and then drop if off at the ranger station on their way home. I hope the little guy survived.

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    The ride back out toward Johnson City was uneventful and we actually only hit light rain along the way, so we wondered if he had made the right decision. Stopping at the Canol Road Rest Area again we took a few shots before getting back on the Alaska Highway and the Klondike Highway heading north.

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    On the Klondike Highway just south of Carmacks we came across the Montague Roadhouse Historic Site. This and other staging posts were built every 20 to 30 miles along the Overland Trail and were a welcome refuge from the cold for weary travelers. This particular roadhouse was used from 1915 until the 1950s.

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    Our original destination for the day had been Carmacks, YT along the Klondike Highway. However, when we arrived here in the afternoon we decided to push on as we were enjoying the ride and wanted to get closer to Dawson City. I had visited Dawson City briefly during my 1996 trip and was anxious to spend some time there again.

    The mighty Yukon River, which was the principal method of transportation during the Klondike Gold Rush, parallels the Klondike Highway for 50 miles or so north of Carmacks before it splits off and heads northwest toward Dawson City. Visions of paddle-wheel river boats loaded with men and equipment heading to Dawson City to seek their fortune motivated us to continue on to Dawson City. Ultimately, We decided to continue to Dawson even though our reservation at the Downtown Hotel wasn’t until the next day.

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    We were reminded that we were pretty far north as there were numerous construction zones along the Klondike Highway as we approached Dawson city. At one point Bob proclaimed that he had just seen a “horse” along the side of the road, but quickly realized it was a moose. Riding behind Bob, I had seen the moose standing in a clearing on the side of the road, and then bolt away toward the brush as we approached. I was amazed how quick it was!

    When we started seeing tailings from gold mine dredging on both side of the highway, we knew that we were getting close to Dawson. The Klondike Highway soon turned in to Dawson City’s Front Street with the familiar view of the Moosehide Landslide above the town. I had long assumed that the landslide was a result of mining operations, but later learned that it is in fact a prehistoric and natural landslide. Many legends and myths from the First Nation people of this land perpetuate on as great folklore for tourists visiting the town.

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    Even though our reservation at the Downtown Hotel wasn’t until the next day, we went in to see if they had any rooms available. Predictably, they didn’t have any availability, but the nice lady at the counter volunteered to check with the nearby Triple J Hotel.

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    The Triple J Hotel has small cabins on their property in addition to hotel rooms, which are ideal for and very popular with motorcyclists. They had a cabin with three beds available with ample parking in the front. Yeah, this will do just fine!

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    We were pretty beat after the long ride and wanted to get something to eat before we turned in; however, the hotel restaurant had already closed as it was close to midnight at that point. We were told that the only place where we could find something to eat that late was at Diamond Tooth Gerties, which is a popular gambling hall that has Can-Can Klondike themed songs and dance shows.

    Arriving so late and just looking for something to eat, the friendly folks at the entrance to the gambling hall dropped their usual cover charge and let us come in for some drinks and food. Sitting at the bar with the can-can dancers performing nearby, we relished in the fact that we had finally reached Dawson, a significant milestone in our trip.

    Tomorrow, we’d spend the day checking out the town. We’d also prepare for our trip up the Dempster Highway to Eagle Plains and the Arctic Circle the following day.
    #58
    CavReconSGT, RevyRider and black 8 like this.
  19. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    375
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Day 11 – Spending a day in Dawson City, YT

    I was very excited to be back in Dawson City again, as I had fond memories of the town from my previous ride to the Yukon during which I became fascinated with it. Today we would be able to spend the entire day being tourists and checking out the sights and sounds of this town that is the heart of the world-famous Klondike gold rush of the late 1800s.

    Walking toward Front Street which is right along the Yukon River to find a place for breakfast we discovered a poem by Robert Service on a building right across from the Downtown Hotel. Robert Service was a famous English-Canadian poet who lived in a small cabin in Dawson right after the gold rush, and had written several well-known poems about the gold rush days. His poetry and verses were humorous and vividly described life in the Yukon. His best known poems are likely The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee.

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    After enjoying some breakfast we walked around a bit and took in the familiar landmarks of the Yukon River area.

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    The steamboat SS Keno, which was the last commercial steamboat to operate on the Yukon River, is now a national Historic Site and sits in a berth right next to the river on Front Street.

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    Front Street ends at the George Black ferry crossing, which delivers vehicles to the west bank of the Yukon River. This is actually the start of the Top-of-the-World-Highway, which we would ride in a few days on our way to Alaska after we return from our ride up the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle.

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    I wondered about the family that must have lived in this beautiful abandoned old house.

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    Built in 1897, the Northern Commercial Co Warehouse is one of Dawson’s first commercial buildings and has withstood more than a century of weather extremes.

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    Dating back to 1901, these structures show what happened to heated buildings that were built on permafrost.

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    Many small hotels flourished during the Klondike gold rush days like the Flora Dora Hotel. Look carefully and you’ll see a woman of ill repute beckoning guests from an upstairs window!

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    Dawson’s raised wood sidewalks and wide dirt roads add to the charm of this town. Fortunately, it was dry this day so the dirt streets of Dawson City weren’t muddy.

    Unfortunately, the forecast for the next day was not good, and we were sure to see considerable rain on tomorrow's ride up the treacherous Dempster Highway to Eagle Plains near the Arctic Circle.
    #59
  20. TeacherDan

    TeacherDan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Deer Park, TX
    This is a great RR and is helping me plan my trip! Love the pictures!
    #60