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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    Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

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    Day 13 - Thursday August 16th - Tangle Lakes to Beavercreek, Yukon - 308 miles (495km)

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    When possible I try to lay out a trip to stay at interesting places. Tangle River Inn is for me, about as cool a place you will ever stay. Jack Johnson homesteaded here in 1953 and he and his wife Naidine opened the Inn in the early 70's. The place is real, authentic, off-the-grid Alaska, built in the wilderness to serve hunters and fishermen. When you walk into the dimly-lit bar you can imagine the place packed with tired sportsmen telling stories of the day's hunt. Just a fantastic place to stay.


    Unfortunately the forecast for Talkeetna/Denali has not improved this morning. Rain and clouds mean it's unlikely we're going to see much scenery the next couple of days so we discuss options over breakfast. This was the toughest decision of the entire trip. You've come so far - you're riding the legendary Denali Highway - and so close to the highest mountain in North America. What are the odds you're going to get another chance? I feel terrible for the guys, but crappy weather is crappy weather and putting a day in our back pocket could be smarter then staring at clouds. The cumulative miles and cold/wet ride last night has one of the team definitely ready to turn for home, the other was indifferent, so I made the call. Tonight we'll be back in Canada instead of Talkeetna. :(

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    Even on a cloudy day the beauty is remarkable.

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    So we return east to the Richardson and turn south to use the Tok Cutoff to reach the Alcan.

    Alaska's roadhouses are just awesome. Stop and soak-in the history and atmosphere. You're in Alaska!

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    Think this truck could tell some stories?

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  2. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    A little farther up the Tok Cutoff I couldn't drive past this shot without stopping. Jim of course made a new friend and this ended up being the coolest 30 minute stop of the trip as Richard and Judy Dodge gave us the full tour and history of the Red Eagle Lodge.

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    In our experience, some of the folks running these remote establishments can be standoffish and borderline rude, Richard and Judy are the polar opposite. I think we all three want to make another trip to Alaska just to stay with them. He's a retired school teacher and has owned the little Cessna for something like 30 years, flying it from Siberia to the Grand Canyon. They have put a tremendous amount of time, love, and no doubt money into this place.

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    I think they call that 'glamping'.

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  3. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Continuing north on the Tok Cutoff.

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    This is basically the view out Jack's (Alcan Rider) front door.

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    Turning back onto the Alaska Hwy, we stop in Tok for lunch at Fast Eddy's.

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  4. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Heading south east on the Alcan for Canada. We've actually been lucky on the weather today.

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    There's a section of the road as you near the border where the telephone poles have sunk into the permafrost and leaned over.

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    Dark clounds ahead...

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    This stretch of road gives your bike a suspension workout at 70mph.

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    It was a brief visit to Alaska.

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    Just into Canada we stop in Beavercreek and grab a room at Ida's Hotel. Don't know that we'd recommend this place, the guy initially tried to give us a shitty room in the old building out back until we insisted on moving to the newer main building. Plus the heat and hot water didn't work until we got up the next morning.

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    But, on the bright side, it's right across the street from Buckshot Beatty's Restaurant.

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    And my pannier is still on the bike. :-)

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    I'm sad we're not camped in Talkeetna tonight looking at Denali, but it was the right decision to turn for home. I think we all feel more relaxed knowing we can take a little off our pace from here out, and we've left some unfinished business for a future trip. :-)


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  5. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Well I was kinda close on the details... :-)

    Only a serious photographer would be able to put their hands on a pic they took 56 yrs ago! That's awesome. Now I want to go back and see if any of those signs are still there.

    A couple things I notice. Worthington, OH scout troop is only about an hour from me. And it's interesting the the Canadian signs still use miles.

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    I had to look up a pic of a '62 Merc S22 ... those were some skinny tires. And today I worry if I need some fresh BFGoodrich All-Terrains before I drive the truck up there in July :nah


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    2016 when we overnighted at Jack's house. A highlight of the trip for Dad/I and a great evening of conversation.

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  6. NorCal Rider

    NorCal Rider n00b

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    This is a wonderful RR with amazing photographs. Thanks for sharing; I have enjoyed it immensely.
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  7. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Been here awhile

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    Great pics. Great pics again. Love the old Dodge.
    I've been across the Denali Hwy twice and never could see the Alaska Range. Thanks for the clear day pictures.
  8. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Been here awhile

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    "Everybody has heard of "The Klondike" but it had completely escaped me that it was a few square mile area right next to Dawson City (I guess I thought is was a large regional area). Indeed, in the little valley on the south of town is the legendary Eldorado Creek and Bonanza Creek where it all began." I thought the same thing till the last time I was there 2 years ago and was up on the knoll overlooking Dawson City and with a map.
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  9. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Day 14 - Friday August 17th - Beavercreek, Yukon to Haines, Alaska - 330 miles (531km)

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    We weren't able to do Haines and Skagway in 2016, so they were on my 'for sure' list on this trip. To visit them requires either a 40 minute ferry ride or a lot of backtracking. I will say, in this case, the backtracking would not be a bad thing as the roads to reach both towns are among the best I've ever ridden. If you have good weather and a day to spare I'd seriously consider doing this. The ferry however saves you a day and adds a nice nautical experience to the trip.


    We are blessed with great weather today, maybe the best day for pictures the entire trip. Departing Beavercreek we'll have 180 mile of Alcan to reach Haines Junction where we'll turn onto the Haines Highway. 60 miles south on the Haines you leave the Yukon and enter British Columbia, and 50 miles later you will re-enter Alaska. 40 miles later we'll be in Haines.

    Cool bug at our morning fuel-up.

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    This stretch of the Alcan is among the best.

    White River

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    Donjek River

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  10. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    The Kluane Lake region is spectacular. This is an area I could spend a day or two.

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    Make sure you take time to pull off the Alcan and drive down to the lake a few times.

    "Long Way Around" guys stayed here - looks abandoned now.

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    Just past the building you can drive out on "the beach".

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    Burwash Landing was the only place we broke out tools on the trip. Jim's bike used up its rear brake pads, but we all had spares and it was a 15 minute job. Good trip when that was your only mechanical.


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  11. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Destruction Bay area.

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    The idea for a highway to Alaska started in the 1920's, but cost and the Great Depression meant it never got off the ground. The start of World War 2 and need to defend the Alaskan Territory changed things. Two months after Pearl Harbor the road was approved and construction began immediately. To speed construction it was built from both ends and met at Solder's Summit on Kluane Lake in Oct 1943.

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    You can faintly see the path of the 1943 highway cut into the side of the mountain.

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  12. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    A great spot for lunch is the famous Village Bakery in Haines Junction. A little tough to find (its hidden in trees) but worth it.

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    Early in the planning stages of the trip I had downloaded the Haines/Skagway ferry schedule. During lunch I had the feeling I should confirm the sailing times for tomorrow and it was a lucky thing. The schedule I downloaded was completely wrong and there is one sailing tomorrow instead of four. Furthermore, it is already booked up, as is standby. They will sometimes squeeze bikes on if you have your own straps so we purchased some at the local gas station and start for Haines hoping for the best.

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  13. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    Looking back north. Distance in Kilometers.

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  14. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    In Haines we grab a room at the Aspen Suites Hotel and take the advise of the clerk to dine at Fireweed Restaurant. He says it's an easy walk. Yeah, more like 2 miles for some old guys that are already feeling the miles. It turns out to be the loud, hip, hoppin' place in town and after waiting 30 minutes with no sign of being seated we bail out and head a block away to the Pilot Light Restaurant. Walk right in a sit down to a nice quiet meal.

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    Nice view of the harbor from their porch too.

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    Fingers crossed for the ferry tomorrow...


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  15. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Been here awhile

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    More great pictures. Yea! :clap
    I too found the Village Bakery in Haines Junction. Yea to that too. Great breakfast. I love how your pictures bring back memories.
    BTW are you familiar with "Slim and John's Great Adventure," about two guys on their motorcycles blazing through wilderness, nuth'n but brush, trees and rivers, from Alaska to the lower 48 in 1939 in an attempt to convince the gov. to build a road? Great story. I have the old VCR tape put out by a TV station in Alaska. Here's a clip. I highly recommend it.
  16. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    Looks like you spilled the beans about my favorite riding area.... Haines Highway south bound. When you get good weather like you guys had it's stunning! You should stop at 33 mile roadhouse for gas and chow.
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  17. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

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    when were you in Haines as we were there this summer? Also more eagles than you can count and VERY BIG BEARS!!!:eek2

    Oh and +1 on Village Bakery in Haines Junction.
  18. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog

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    That is awesome, thanks for sharing. We are a bunch of wimps... Hell, I didn't want to do this trip w/o cruise control.




    Looking back at the pics I think it might be the best stretch of road I've ever ridden. Cabot Trail, Million Dollar, Going to the Sun, Icefields, Beartooth - not sure I would place any of them higher.


    Surprisingly we didn't see any bears around Haines. We did not ride out past the ferry port though. Saw one eagle.

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  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Great stuff! :clap
  20. MGV8

    MGV8 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Still just an awesome report. The pictures remind me I have to go back. It was raining and getting late in the day when I rode up from Haines. Keep it coming