Posts for July, 2018


Canada Day (Whitehorse, YT)

Journal entry for Sunday 1st Jul, 2018 (day 9, miles 1627)

I plan on spending the next two nights in Whitehorse in a hotel. This will give me a days rest from sitting on the bike, an opportunity to do a bit of planning for the next leg to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and get some food and a means of carrying some extra fuel. When Nina and I originally put this rest day in the schedule we did not really notice that today, July 1st, is Canada's national day. Hence when I arrived in Whitehorse this morning a little after 11:00 am the Canada Day Parade was ending.

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Yukon Rivers (Moose Creek, YT)

Journal entry for Tuesday 3rd Jul, 2018 (day 11, miles 1932)

I dithered about in Whitehorse a bit this morning before getting underway. I had to buy one of those red plastic fuel containers and then figure out how to attach it to the bike. I had expected to get a 2 gallon container but of course I should have realized all containers here would be metric so the choice was 5 liters (1.25 gals) or 10 liters (2.5 gals). After way too much deliberation I went with the 10 liter variety. Strapping it to the bike required a set of 4 lime green tie-down straps 3 of which were surplus to requirements; thus my load of unnecessary items is increased.

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Glorious Day (Eagle Plains, YT)

Journal entry for Wednesday 4th Jul, 2018 (day 12, miles 2278)

I could not get out of the campground fast enough this morning, I don't really like mosquitoes. Rather than hit the road I headed back towards Whitehorse about half a mile to Moose Creek Lodge for todays installment on the Traditional Yukon Breakfast; it also was good and too big. Thereafter I hit the road to Dawson City. The weather was glorious. Bright sun with temperatures sometimes in the high 70s. So I was keen to get to Dawson City to gas up and then head up the Dempster Highway with the hope of getting to Eagle Plains; the first fuel stop on the Dempster and about half way to Inuvik.

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Not so Glorious (Eagle Plains, YT)

Journal entry for Thursday 5th Jul, 2018 (day 13, miles 2372)

It was raining gently this morning as I pulled up to the gas pump to fill up for what I hoped would be a long day to Inuvik. I did not know it at the time but the guy that pumped the gas was prophetic as he said "you should not be going north in this weather". Yesterday was my introduction to gravel, today it was an introduction to mud. The first few miles were very tentative but within an hour the rain eased a bit and by the time I got to the rest area and monument for the Arctic Circle (25 miles from Eagle Plains) I was beginning to get hopeful.

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Retreat (Dawson City, YT)

Journal entry for Friday 6th Jul, 2018 (day 14, miles 2621)

Today my retreat from Eagle Plains was mostly uneventful. There was a dense cloud cover with some mist in the valleys but fortunately no rain. The road was mostly dry so my gravel experience of two days ago was helpful. The cloud and consequence poor light rendered the scenery less of a post card and more of a bland grey mush. But as I have learned to do from other adventures I took the time to stop regularly to take a mental picture my surroundings. There is a good chance I will never be back to this place.

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Top of the world (Tok, AK)

Journal entry for Saturday 7th Jul, 2018 (day 15, miles 2807)

I spent a little time in the downtown area of Dawson City this morning, noting the touristification that has taken place since we were last here. Main Street is now looking pretty cute and up market but the "behind" streets are still pretty basic and unpaved.

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Wind (Fairbanks, AK)

Journal entry for Sunday 8th Jul, 2018 (day 16, miles 3040)

I thought today would be an easy 200 mile ride into Fairbanks. It started out warm though a bit windy and initially I spent time stopping to get some photos of The Alaskan Range. But as the day progressed the wind picked up and by late morning a howling wind (mostly a cross wind that demanded careful attention while riding), lots of dust turned the ride into a survival event.

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New tires (Fairbanks, AK)

Journal entry for Monday 9th Jul, 2018 (day 17, miles 3040)

I got talking to one of the owners of the B and B that I am staying at yesterday and discovered that, he is a keen motorcyclist, has bicycled and mountaineered in South America, owns a Unimog and was able to give the name of a local guy that does motorcycle maintenance and provides parts and service. The web site for this local guy is http://www.advcycleworks.com/. Today he (Dan the owner of AdvCycleWorks) fitted two new tires and gave my bike an oil change. I should note that Fairbanks has a BMW Motorrad dealer but they are closed on Mondays.

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The Dalton (Coldfoot, AK)

Journal entry for Tuesday 10th Jul, 2018 (day 18, miles 3290)

To get started on the Dalton Highway one has to drive (or in my case ride) about 80 miles along the Elliot Highway north from Fairbanks. The Elliot is reasonable quality paved country road so that 80 miles is no big deal, just a bit tedious, because one is keen to "get started" on the great adventure to Deadhorse.

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Tesing my limits (Deadhorse, AK)

Journal entry for Wednesday 11th Jul, 2018 (day 19, miles 3525)

I felt very lucky this morning when I looked out on a bright sunny day. Maybe, I thought, I would have good weather all the way to Deadhorse. Yeh, right. But I was not to know the truth for a while. North from Coldfoot the road is paved for about 35 miles and one starts to get views of the Brooks Range even before the pavement ends. So note to future travelers. Go North of Coldfoot a bit as the road is paved for a while and the views are good (provided the weather is OK).

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A relief, or good luck (Coldfoot, AK)

Journal entry for Thursday 12th Jul, 2018 (day 20, miles 3770)

Last night at dinner I met a German guy who had flown in to Deadhorse with a bicycle in an airline box ready to start a bicycle expedition to Panama. I say ready but that is a qualified term as he did not have any food and planned on buying supplies in Deadhorse. The hotel staff did not quite laugh at him but close. I waved him on his way this morning as he was up and ready to start riding much earlier than I was ready to depart. Before getting underway I needed to get fuel and I wanted to have a look around the town. This is another one of those take a note of where you are and what you are seeing as you will probably never be back here again. I noticed a number of motorcycles around the town and took a few photos as reminders, as well as bought some "stickers" for the bike at the General Store. Then it was hit the road time.

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Done the Dalton (Fairbanks, AK)

Journal entry for Friday 13th Jul, 2018 (day 21, miles 4050)

There is not much to say about today. The weather was good, the roads mostly dry and riding easy. The only record of the trials of the struggle to Deadhorse was the mud covering my motorcycle. For the first few hours this morning there were noticeably large numbers of rabbits and prairie dogs on, and beside, the road. I don't know why. But that's why the rabbit photo.

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First wet night and a Tiger (Lakeview CG, AK)

Journal entry for Sunday 15th Jul, 2018 (day 23, miles 4325)

Raining this morning as I set out to retrace my earlier steps to Tok. As a result of the weather I did not take much notice of the scenery nor take any photographs. When the weather improved later in the day and I came to the new Tanana River Bridge (just before Tetlin Junction) I decided to stop and take a few photos as an acknowledgement that todays route has pretty much followed the Tanana all day.

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Back in Canada (Haines Junction, YT)

Journal entry for Monday 16th Jul, 2018 (day 24, miles 4559)

It was still somewhat wet this morning as I set off towards the Canadian Border. I was expecting to have breakfast at a place called Border City that my maps told me was just the US side of the border. I found it, but it turned out to be closed and that looked permanent. The Canadian entry station is at the town of Beaver Creek about 20 km after the actual geographic border and this town though small was definitely not closed. Three gas stations and at least two restaurants. So I chose Buckshot Betty's for one of those breakfasts I will not be allowed to have one I get home.

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Maybe a Grizzly (Teslin, YT)

Journal entry for Tuesday 17th Jul, 2018 (day 25, miles 4769)

It was wet and cold pulling out of Haines Junction this morning and so the miles into Whitehorse were not about photos and sightseeing. In Whitehorse I stopped for the mandatory coffee at Starbucks, bought a few groceries and then was on my way towards Teslin.

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Bears and Bison (Laird Hot Springs, BC)

Journal entry for Wednesday 18th Jul, 2018 (day 26, miles 3770)

It was raining this morning so packing up my gear was a bit of a chore, trying to do everything inside the tent so as not to get all my gear wet. The rain also meant that this mornings ride was about "getting there" rather than taking in my surroundings. However after a couple of hours the rain intervals lessened and I became a little more observant of my surroundings.

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Muncho and Stone Mountain (Fort Nelson, BC)

Journal entry for Thursday 19th Jul, 2018 (day 27, miles 5025)

This morning as I passed Laird Hot Springs I saw that the parking lot was crammed with motorhomes and tents. Apparently a lot of people, like me, discovered the campground and lodge full last evening. However they apparently are more creative than me and simply occupied the parking lot. The crowded nature of the parking lot confirmed my decision to give the hot springs a miss. Later in the day Nina informed me that, according to the Milepost, the Laird Hot Springs is one of the most popular attractions on the ALCAN.

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No services for .. (Fort St John, BC)

Journal entry for Friday 20th Jul, 2018 (day 28, miles 5485)

Before setting out this morning I had a conversation with a bicycle rider who had also overnighted in the campground. Turns out the guy was French and like me was headed towards Fort St John. However he expressed to me that he had a problem. Seems there is no camping ground along that route for well over 100 kilometers and that he did not want to just camp in the forest beside the road, we was nervous of bears. Well once I got under way I was immediately confronted by a sign that encapsulated the Frenchman's concern; it read Check your fuel. No services for 144 kms (thats over 110 miles). And it turned out that the sign was correct, the first fuel stop, indeed maybe even the first occupied building, was a lodge at Buckinghorse River. For me the lodge provided a welcome stop for a traditional breakfast and a place to get fuel for the next leg of the journey.

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The Peace (Prince George, BC)

Journal entry for Saturday 21st Jul, 2018 (day 29, miles 5780)

From St John this morning I back tracked a little to the start of BC Highway 29 that heads south along the Peace River to Hudson's Hope. There is obviously a political dispute surrounding the Peace River as I saw many signs arguing against the idea of a hydro power scheme on the Peace. After Hudson's Hope the route left the Peace and eventually caught up with the Pine River and followed that for miles. Today was another day of no services for ... so my French friend from Fort Nelson would have had (will have?) further camping dilemmas.

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Mt Robson (Lucerne Provincial Park, BC)

Journal entry for Sunday 22nd Jul, 2018 (day 30, miles 6004)

There is no doubt that today is Mount Robson day, though there were many miles between the start of day and that mountain, many miles of good road and forest (did I say forest!). Before getting to the mountain itself one drops into a valley that the locals call and signpost as Robson Valley, but which is geographically a valley of the Fraser River. In this valley I came upon the small (microscopic ?) town of McBride and stopped in at the old railway station that has been converted to a cafe and art/curio shop. Here I had a lunch of soup and toast. The cook promised me that the soup was 17 bean soup, but I could only identify two variety of beans. Never the less the soup and conversation was pleasant.

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Waiting for weather (Jasper, AB)

Journal entry for Monday 23rd Jul, 2018 (day 31, miles 6041)

I followed Nina's advice and decided to stay in Jasper for tonight, thus making today a bit of a rest day. The hope (and forecast) is that tomorrows weather along the Icefield Parkway will be better than today. Spent the day relaxing around Jasper and the campground.

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Icefield Parkway (Radium Hot Springs, BC)

Journal entry for Tuesday 24th Jul, 2018 (day 32, miles 6288)

For a little while this morning the rest day gamble seemed like it might not pay off, as the mountains were all covered in cloud as I started out this morning. But by the time I got to the Columbia Icefield the cloud was broken and sun was showing through. I tried to capture a smattering of the sights along this really picturesque route. I have travelled this road a number of times but never failed to be awed by just how much spectacular mountain and lake scenery is packed into this single road.

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Rogers Pass and other things (Castlegar, BC)

Journal entry for Wednesday 25th Jul, 2018 (day 33, miles 6606)

Today I was very much in the mood of "heading for home" which was remiss of me for there was a lot of great scenery along the way and I did not give it the photographic attention it deserved. From Radium this morning I made an early start and followed the Columbia River (and highway 95) north to the town of Golden a major rail head town and a watering hole on the Trans-Canada Highway (or Highway 1 as it is also called). For me it was also breakfast.

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Back in the USA (Winthrop, WA)

Journal entry for Thursday 26th Jul, 2018 (day 34, miles 6825)

The first town on my route out of Castlegar this morning was Trail, BC. It was clearly an old mining town built in and on the sides of a steep valley with small or narrow houses. Fortunately for the town some mining and or metallurgical facilities still operates; though also clearly tourism is now a substantial income source for the area. I was intrigued by the sign at the exit to the town I did not know Italian was one of the Canadian languages.

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Home James and don't ... (Gig Harbor, WA)

Journal entry for Friday 27th Jul, 2018 (day 35, miles 7084)

Well not quite. I did spare the horses as I am a law abiding motorcycle rider. I was pleased but surprised to see a hot air balloon in the air this morning as I was getting ready to depart. In an effort to avoid I5 and Seattle traffic my route for the day was to follow WA 20 all the way to its end point at the Port Townsend ferry terminal at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island. This strategy worked pretty well as the route through the Cascade Mountains was picturesque, with a good entertaining road, little traffic and pleasant temperature. It was not until Sedro-Woolley that I finally got caught up in the traffic appropriate for a hot summers day in the Pacific Northwest.

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