Unfinished Business - Dempster Highway / Tuktoyaktuk 2018 in pictures.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DYNOBOB, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Instead we start up the Klondike Hwy toward White Pass and re-enter Canada.

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    Although the lighting isn't as good today, the southern Klondike Hwy/White Pass is almost as striking as the Haines Hwy.

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    Some of the water is dark blue and right next to it is turquoise. My theory is turquoise is in a glacial fed stream vs. rain fed puddles?

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    Unfortunately, it starts to become clear the haze in the air is actually smoke. This is an omen of days to come...

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    We reach Carcross at 6:30pm, fuel up and take a snack break as we never ate lunch. We phone ahead to Teslin to reserve a room knowing we'll be a late arrival, and head east on Route 8 to reach the Alcan. Not many pics from here because we're making time.

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    We arrive at the Yukon River Motel about 8pm, grab some dinner before the restaurant closes and call it a night.

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  2. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Late to party but glad I found it! Planning for Tuk & Alaska for 2019. This RR has given me lots of great info and things to think about.

    Was originally planning on leaving SoCal in early June, but now I'm wondering if late in the season would be better?
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  3. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    So many variables (length of trip, areas you want to ride, planned stops, etc) and I'm certainly no authority .. but my gut feeling is that late July/early Aug will tend to have more stable roads and weather conditions. The only real negative to pushing later in the summer is increased fire/smoke risk. You'll see in my next post how this affects our final week of riding.

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  4. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

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    I ordered that Klondike book you recommended and have been reading it along with your report. Great book!
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  5. max384

    max384 Bandaided Supporter

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    FANTASTIC ride report!! Your pictures are absolutely amazing. This ride is definitely on my list of rides to do, and after reading your report and looking at your pictures, I want to even more.

    Looking forward to your next installment.
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  6. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    When I rode into Skagway on the tail end of my trip south in August that whole mountain side across the lake was on fire, for miles. I was hauling azz to catch the ferry to get home. I covered about 900 miles that day and at this point I was praying that the fire didn't jump to the highway side of the lake. The smoke was so thick I had to slow up but I made it to the ferry with 2 hours to spare and got home that evening.:clap
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  7. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Been here awhile

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    Thanks for more great pics and a bit of history I didn't know about - the ship Canada.
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  8. Edoz

    Edoz Adventurer

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    Did you think about northern light viewing at all when you planned your trip? That's one of the things on my "to do" list in life. It seems like a no brainer to check that off during an Alaska ride.
  9. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    Late summer, fall and winter is the time to see the northern lights. Mid-summer when most folks travel up here it's mostly daylight.

    Edit, Check @DYNOBOB 's last trip with his dad, they traveled later in the year and did see them
  10. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    That would for sure be a reason to push the end of the season. On Sept 10, 2016 we got a wonderful light show over the Yukon River in Dawson City. It was right at freezing as I shot these. This trip we never did get up at midnight to look, shame on us...

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  11. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Day 16 - Sunday August 19th - Yukon River Motel/Teslin to Bell II Lodge, BC - 442 miles (711 km)

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    Sadly, we're at the stage of the trip where I'm working MapSource on the laptop to figure out where the logical days are to get back to the truck. We're 1950 miles from Billings which works out to five 400 mile days on the bike, and puts us home on Saturday instead of Sunday. On one hand, finishing an epic trip a day early seems senseless, but a day of rest before going back to work will agree with all of us.

    Unfortunately the fire situation in British Columbia has been bad all of summer 2018 and has gotten even worse the last 2 weeks. Telegraph Creek was a box I really wanted to check off on this trip, but fire closed the road and burned most of the town several days ago. Canadian news is reporting more then 600 active fires in BC, with smoke so thick in Prince George that the streetlights turned on during the day.

    I feel bad for the guys, but we're about to ride through some beautiful country in the constant presence of smoke for the next five days. Ride report pics are going to suffer as well since there was hardly any point to stopping a lot of the time. We debated retracing our route down the Alcan to maybe avoid some of the smoke, but chose to stay with the Cassier so we could stop at Stewart and Hyder at least.

    Anyway, we'll boogie down the Alcan and turn onto the Cassier to get to Bell II Lodge today. The smoke isn't bad in the morning but gets steadily worse throughout the day.

    Only one pic on the Alcan when we stopped for road construction.

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    Fueled up and ate some snacks at the Alcan/Cassier intersection.

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    The northern section of the Cassier Hwy is the best part, feels like a twisty narrow road through wilderness compared to the Alcan.

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    There is a solid 25 mile stretch that looks like this.

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  12. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    And probably 100 miles that look like this.

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    You have to stop at Jade City...

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    Getting smokey...

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    Our home tonight is a hoity-toity heliskiing lodge. I believe it was the most expensive place we stayed on the trip.

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    Tomorrow we'll hit Hyder, AK for some tasty halibut and a visit with a glacier.


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  13. RockyDS

    RockyDS Lost in the wilderness

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    I'm expecting a photo here ...

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  14. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    You know it :-). Nice 250 Rally...

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  15. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Day 17 - Monday August 20th - Bell II to Hyder to Smithers - 350 miles


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    If you're going to see bears anywhere on this trip, odds are it's going to be in the Bell II to Stewart/Hyder area. In 2016 Dad/I saw 7 bears in the last 30 miles into Bell II (right at sunset), and today we would see 1/2 dozen in our first 100 miles to Stewart. Our plan today is to stop in Hyder to hopefully see bears from the viewing platform over Fish Creek. We'll also ride up to Salmon Glacier and have some fresh halibut at the world famous Seafood Express. After that, we'll finish the Cassier and see how far we can get down Route 16. The smoke was a bummer today so I'll add a few shots from '16 to fill in.

    Early morning bear sighting
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    2016
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    A hazy Bear Glacier
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    Much prettier in 2016
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    Stewart, British Columbia is a sleepy little town. It does have fuel, a small grocery, and a couple lodging options. I like Stewart and Hyder because they feel real, not all touristy.

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  16. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Just around the bay from Stewart you cross the border into Hyder, AK. Hyder is a tiny town at the end of the road, one restaurant and a campground, not much else. There is a Post Office in case you want to mail a postcard with your US stamps...

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    We're hoping to get close to some bears here.

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    A couple from '16
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    Alas, our stop here is a repeat of 2016 and we don't see a single bear. My bear luck was going to change in a few minutes though.


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  17. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    20 miles up a dead-end gravel road from Hyder you will re-enter Canada and arrive at it's 5th largest glacier. It's a bumpy, dusty road cut into the side of the mountain and I wasn't expecting to see a bear up here.

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    Just a mile or so up the road (a little before the above pic) I came around the corner to find a large black bear 30-40 feet in front of me in the road. The bear was kind of trapped by the hill on one side and drop-off on the other. Normally I would have turned around immediately to make an escape if needed but I was facing downhill and would have had to roll even closer to the bear to make a three point turn. The bear walks a little farther down the road and then comes back toward me, a little confused on what to do. In hindsight, what I should have done from the time I stopped, was put the kickstand down and get in my tank bag for my bear spray so I could get off the bike and keep it between me and him as I sprayed - but I didn't. I debated revving my motor or honking my horn but thought that might provoke a charge. So we sat there for hours (probably a minute) staring at each other until the bear finally dove into the narrow area of bushes on the uphill side of the road. For better or worse I hammered it down the road past the vibrating brush and made my escape. All's well I guess, but that could have got ugly - don't be like Bob - have your bear spray quickly at hand. The reality of bad bear encounters is they probably happen and are over in 60 seconds.

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    First view

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  18. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Stopped for a couple more on the way back down the mountain

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    When in Hyder you should really make it a point to have a meal at the Seafood Bus. Diane serves halibut that was just caught by her husband and two sons. When she runs out she closes for the day.

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    I think there was a bit of glacier overload in the pics today, but those were the last photos of the day. As we finished the Cassier Hwy and returned to civilization on Rt 16 the smoke was abysmal. I had intended to detour off the Cassier at Rt 113 and visit the lava beds on the way to Terrace but the smoke was so thick there was no point. Lave beds and Telegraph Creek = More unfinished business.

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    It was 2pm when we rolled back through Stewart and we decided to just put the hammer down and see how far we could get tonight. Ended up running 215 more miles to Smithers and stayed at the Aspen Motor Inn, a nice hotel with a lot of motorcycles (mostly Harleys) in the parking lot.


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  19. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    Nice photos, particularly of Salmon Glacier.

    Bear Glacier looked a whole lot different in 1984.

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    And yes, it was that blue. We didn't make it up to Salmon Glacier on that trip. I think the mines were still active up there at that time.

    Thanks again for posting and resurrecting old memories.

    Cheers, Wayne
  20. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Thanks for sharing those - it's a little depressing though... :( Same with the historic shots of the Athabasca Glacier on the Icefields Parkway.

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