Atlanta, GA to Alaska and back 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by evmurdock, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House

    The actual travel time between Redstreak campground and Two Jack Main campground is 2 hours, but I made a long day of it. The BC93 road takes you up a nice canyon with some nice mountain views.
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    My travel plans for this part of the trip had me spending a few extra days so that I will have blue skies for the Bow River and Icefields Parkway ride. I took a run up 1A to Lake Louise. It is nice to have a bike as the parking lots and traffic were horrific.

    Lake Louise is stunning - and well visited. I made it through the crowd for my obligatory photo shoot.
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    I walked to the far end of the lake, then kept walking, and walking, and walking. I ended up at the Plain of Six Glaciers and enjoyed lunch, water, lemonade, and tea at the tea house.
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    I had also hiked to the paint pots and other short hikes. Taking highway 1 back to Banff, I arrived at Two Jack Main campground happy that I had a tent already pitched. There was a campstove with propane that made preparing my evening meal easy.
    #41
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  2. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    Starting from Banff, I took 1a for the Bow Valley Parkway. At Castle Junction, I jumped over to 1 as I had ridden 1A north yesterday. The northern section of 1A has much less traffic, but the trees are close to the road for much of this section.

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    The weather was perfect for today's ride - although temperatures ranged from 11c (51f) to 31c ( 87.8). There are simply too many viewpoints along this road to mention.

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    At the Columbia Icefields Center, I stopped hopeful to do a tour. While I arrived relatively early, the tours were sold out until 3:30;PM. I have walked to the toe of the glacier during my last trip. I don't think I would enjoy walking this with the high-season, Saturday tourist crowd. I enjoyed the views and moved on.
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    Jasper, and the surrounding campgrounds were slammed. While the last two nights camping have been fine, the campgrounds are designed for the large number of tourists they support. I enjoyed a quick stroll in Jasper and moved on.

    Just outside of Jasper on Yellowtail Highway, the Athabasca River opens up across the valley. At this time of year, the river is perfect for sunbathing and playing. It is just knee deep, perfect temperature, with a nice sandy bottom. This was so cool, with cars parked everywhere, and people in beach chairs enjoying the weather and water.

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    I started up scenic 40 and camped at a small campground along a fishing river. There were very few campsites occupied. I put up my hammock right next to the river and relaxed for hours.
    #42
  3. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    I really enjoyed this campground. Some additional campers arrived in the evening; a couple in a truck heading to Fairbanks from Montana, a family with a camp trailer from Calgary headed on a 2 week vacation in the provincial parks.
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    I continued the ride today on Scenic 40 to Grande Prarie. Some areas were scenic, but it is hard to compare with the previous day's rides. Some of the road follows the crest of the mountain providing good views of tree covered mountain sides.

    I had been told the construction on 40 caused a lot of delays. Maybe because I was traveling on a Sunday morning, I didn't find it too painful. They are widening the road and replacing a bridge. There are a number of potholes and frost heaves in sections so had to stay alert.

    Grande Prarie is a larger city and seems pretty industrial. A lot of industrial sites tucked in the trees beginning an hour before Grand Prairie.
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    I continued on to Dawson Creek and Mile 0 of Alaska Highway. The visitor center is small, but helpful.

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    #43
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  4. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    I was treated to a brilliant thunder and lightning storm last night. I was glad to be hunkered down in the comfort of Motel 8 in Dawson City.

    The day started with lots of sunshine but then turned into overcast skies and occasional rain

    There is a small side road just past Dawson City that takes you to Kiskatinaw Provincial Park and the historic bridge on the original Alaska Highway. The current Alaska highway has been very good, well-maintained. roads.
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    Lunch in Fort Nelson was at the neighborhood pub. An interesting spot with good food and service.

    The road after Fort Nelson was very scenic as I ascended into the mountains and clouds. The curves on this road are fun for motorcycling - the fog and clouds making it surreal at times.

    I stopped by Tetsla River for their famous cinnamon rolls. I had a very interesting evening around a campfire with a few road workers. The cinnamon rolls are available anytime. Riding around on a Royal Enfield with Ural sidecar... well that was a bonus.

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    #44
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  5. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    It's a rest day. I took a shorter ride over to Toad River Lodge for breakfast.
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    A beautiful ride by Stone Mountain Park and Muncho Lake. There was a lot of wildlife including Caribou. Bison, and Deer.

    Arriving late morning at Liard Hotsprings Lodge, I enjoyed a relaxing day. A "problem" bear is in the area, so the upper hanging garden area was closed.
    #45
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  6. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    #ATLUTD sign is added to Watson Lake Signpost forest. #UniteAndConquer
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    5,310 km to The Benz
    #46
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  7. VDZride

    VDZride Adventurer

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    SW Motech makes an exhaust valve guard, I have one on my Vee2. I believe I got it from Revzilla.
    #47
  8. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    Thanks - will look into it for the next trip.
    #48
  9. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    Enjoyed a busy day. I had anticipated staying a while in Watson Lake. There are some forest fires filling the area with smoke. Changing my plans, which I am prone to do, I want to celebrate my 55th birthday in Dawson.

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    I quite enjoyed the signpost forest. My bike enjoyed the 91 octane gas. Making the journey between Fort Nelson required a partial tank of regular. Gas mileage was lower but the bike ran just fine. There were a number of gas locations along the way - each offering two choices; regular or diesel.
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    I stopped by Rancheria Falls for lunch, a slice of homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, and a view of the falls.
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    I found a campsite with no 30A hookups, no shower or plumbed restrooms, and no cell service. A nice place by Lake Teslin gave me time to leisurely clean the bike.
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    #49
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  10. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
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    A day of scenic mountains, rivers and lakes took me off the Alaska Highway to the Klondike highway - heading to Dawson.
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    I've had beautiful bike riding weather the past few days. By the afternoon, I am riding through rain and will be camping tonight through a Yukon rainstorm.
    #50
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  11. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    It's my birthday! Enjoying the next few days in Dawson. I had a beard trim, laundry done, and a soak in a clawfoot tub. I am staying in a restored 1896 cabin- very nice. I met Mary and Grant from Calgary while doing laundry (amazing and nice people).
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    Had farm fresh eggs scrambled for breakfast at Alchemy... yummy.

    Dinner planned for Kondike Kate's and enjoying Diamond Tooth Gerties for the evening.
    #51
  12. AjiRides

    AjiRides n00b

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    Happy Birthday
    #52
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  13. mhrutter

    mhrutter Adventurer

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    Raleigh, NC
    Are you planning on riding back down on the Cassier Hwy? I found it to be somewhat more enjoyable than the Alcan when I rode to Alaska two years ago for my 65th birthday.
    #53
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  14. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    I am hoping to hit Cassier on my return path. I'll take the Alaska Marine highway to Prince Rupert, then head North on Cassiar. I'm not sure if I will loop around by Watson Lake, or just to head to Hyder and/or Dease Lake and head back to Kitwanga.

    I am a bit concerned about how quickly the tread on my tires is disappearing. The weather has also turned rainy which may impact whether to do the Dempster and the timing across Top of the World highway.

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    #54
  15. TOTim

    TOTim Been here awhile

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    Happy birthday. Thanks for the report
    #55
  16. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    The bad weather continued... rainy with a severe weather alert for winds in the highlands north of Chicken. Fairbanks, Tok, Chicken, Dawson all forecast rain through next weekend.

    I expect I could find periods where it isn't raining and make my way across Top of the World- but it wouldn't be the ride I want. So, rode South toward Whitehorse. I can switch the direction of my travel, hitting Anchorage/Denali before Fairbanks/Circle.

    I am not giving up on Top of the World... I'll pass by Tok/Tetlin a few more times. I can certainly take it the opposite direction on a day with better weather
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    Not far out of Dawson, I see blue skies ahead. In a filling station, I hear a guy shouting "Hey Atlanta, Atlanta.." It's a bud from the bar in Dawson driving his RV south for home. He reminded me of one of the highlights of their trip, so my desired destination is now Lake Aishihik. 42K of unmaintained road make this a fun bike ride; washboard gravel, spots of loose sand/dirt, steep ascents and descents, rabbits, deer, and squirrels darting into the road...

    Otter Falls is on the way.. it might look familiar to some... it is on the back of Canadian $5.00 bill.
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    I enjoyed the evening and will navigate further to minimize rain over the next few days. Rain will be hard to avoid. But the remoteness and tranquility here is hard to beat.
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    #56
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  17. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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    Be sure to check the fires on Hwy 37
    #57
  18. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    Headed to Tok today - knowing I will hit the rain again.

    I started early from camp. Even this far south, I see dark clouds gathering, I don't want to ride this "unmaintaned - travel at your own risk" road in the rain.
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    I liked this road so well, that I rode some of it several times this morning. OK, well really had to go back to find my tent poles as I didn't secure them well. The road is fun and scenic anyway.
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    Back on the Alaska Highway. The ride up past Haines Junction and Destruction Bay is scenic and enjoyable. From Destruction Bay to Tok, I rode through the rain. Today is the first day that I used my heated jacket. While I have risen through a lot colder weather. I think the steady cold and rain made it feel a bit more chilly.

    It felt good to finally pass the Alaska Border. I know much of the scenery of today's ride is hidden. I saw forested valleys and the base of mountains disappearing into the clouds.

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    #58
  19. fastpast

    fastpast Been here awhile

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    I've heard lost tent poles are a common problem on V-stroms. Enjoying the report.
    #59
  20. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I enjoyed meeting a few other riders last night at Thompson's Eagle Claw Motorcycle Park. After a night of rain, I looked at the weather radar and slept in late. The storm has moved south and Fairbanks / Circle are clearing up.

    I headed to Fairbanks passing through a rainy spell. Partial blue skies allowed me to enjoy the sun next to a river.

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    Attached Files:

    #60
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