Alaska - A motorcycle trip of a lifetime in the rain and sunshine enjoying massive glaciers in BC and friendly people who go out of their way to help. No Star Trek but definitely a "last frontier" on planet Earth. Sit back and enjoy a spectacular visual journey and travel north to Alaska from Vancouver, BC. on a 7260 kilometre motorcycle road trip to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway
The Journey North to Alaska
- Starting at the beginning of the #1 Highway in Vancouver, BC through the Fraser Valley to Cache Creek and Prince George on the Trans Canada Highway
- Highway 97 north to Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway
- From Ft. Nelson Liard River and Hot Springs BC to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory
- Continue from Watson Lake to Whitehorse, capital city of the Yukon Territory to Beaver Creek the most westerly town in Canada. Beaver Creek is 20 K from the USA border
- Highway #2 / Alaska Highway continues to Fairbanks, Alaska via Tok, Delta Junction and the official end of the Alaska / Canada Highway
The Return Trip South
- From Fairbanks, Alaska returned to Whitehorse, Yukon via Watson Lake. This was the longest riding day in the two-week trip
- Proceeded via the Cassiar Highway to Watson Lake, BC through Dease Lake, Tatogga Lake , Meziadin Junction with a side trip to Stewart, BC to visit Bear Glacier and Kitwanga arriving at Smithers, BC and Prince George
- Alternate southern route from Dawson City to Whitehorse, Yukon via The Top of the World Highway was an option but not on this trip due to the gravel road and heavy rain
Weather & Conditions for the Ride
- In any month of the year in Alaska it is best to prepare for all types of weather. In late June it was cold (+ 5 degrees celsius) and rained most days, sometimes harder than others requiring good rain gear, a heated vest and boots. Often the clouds were snuggled down to the highway creating visibility difficulties especially when riding through rain and mist.
- Some roads were very rough and bumpy and best to take it easy and be safe
- A Rustic cabin in the woods with a fireplace - a warm overnight stay to dry out and get a good nights sleep - most welcome at the end of a long days ride!
Casualties En Route
The only concern was a rear tire on the bike which did not fare well on the chip seal roads of the Alaska Highway. As a safety precaution the tire had to be replaced and by chance there was one available in Prince George on the return trip.
- 2016 Suzuki V Strom 650 Adventure Model V Twin liquid cooled, chain rear drive
- Standard with 3 x SW Motech luggage bags, crash bars, windshield
- Added Accessories: Steel radiator guard, Skid plate (underneath)
- Heated Oxford handlebar grips
- Factory lower seat. Purchased Alaska sheepskin seat cover (well worth it)
- Recommended Blackjack 12 V heated vest (versus battery)
- The Rest of the Gear: That would be another article!
- Wear a high visibility vest as there are many large trucks on the highways
- Some of the valleys had strong cross winds - be prepared
- Whitehorse north to Fairbanks, Alaska may be challenging for some riders
- Tour north from Fairbanks, Alaska to Prudhoe Bay if you wish to see tundra
- Fasten your gear securely. An honest and caring truck driver found some lost gear and returned it (after checking the roadside for a damaged bike and rider at the same place)
A wide range of birds and animals were seen throughout the trip. They included:
Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Moose, Wood Buffalo, Big Horn Sheep and Arctic Fox. Always remember that wildlife are just that - "wild" and should not be approached or fed under any circumstances. If you see injured or dead animals by the roadside contact B.C. government
The trip highlight ... was The Trip! Northern British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska are massive and impressive. The photos do not do justice to the majestic mountains, green marshes, blue lakes, glistening glaciers and diverse variety of wild animals seen during the journey. The people were super helpful, very friendly and the trip flawless. A great way to experience Northern hospitality and the "true north strong and free". Visit northern British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska and you may find it to be your "trip of a lifetime".
Links & References:
- Story Credit: Special thanks to my husband for his trip of a lifetime
- History of the Bison in Alaska
- Brown 0r Grizzly bear in Alaska
- 75th anniversary of Alaska Highway - B.C, Yukon & Alaska
- The Klondike Region of the Yukon
- The Klondike Gold Rush of 1896
- Robert W. Service wrote about the Yukon including Ballads of a Cheechako (1909) and The Cremation of Sam McGee (1907)
- Denali - an unforgettable experience
- July 2017 Update: (1) This trip was a 2nd attempt at Alaska by motorbike. In June 2016 the trip was cancelled en route due to heavy rains, Spring flooding and road closures in Northern BC
- July 17, 2017 Update: (2) Due to BC wildfires and highway closures it would not be recommended to plan and take this trip today. Always check ahead.