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Discussion Starter #1
I say attempted because halfway there we received a call advising of a family emergency, so we had to turn around at Williams Lake, BC. But that's the way it goes, and we had fun as far as it went. And I hope I'm not violating anything by posting this here.

Things learned along the way:
1.) Fuel is not as plentiful on the Alaska Hwy as it used to be. The economic downturn and increasing cost of fuel has resulted in fewer riding/driving the Alcan, and as a result, a number of places, even those that have been around for years, have closed their doors. Don't pass up an opportunity to gas up, even though you may still have the better part of a tankful. Fuel prices ranged from $1.369 a liter in central BC to as high as $1.799 in Beaver Creek, Yukon, with the average being around $1.509 a liter.

2.) The Alaska Hwy is generally in good shape, save for the road north of Destruction Bay in the Yukon. Temperature extremes and frost heaving have seriously damaged the road. Most of the junk can be dodge on two wheels, though, and they are currently in the process of repairing a lot of the damage. When we went through, northbound, from Beaver Creek, they were getting ready to re-chip seal the road.

3.) The Cassiar Hwy is a must-do ride. It's paved the entire distance, but there are some short graveled sections as they repair road damage. The longest was about a mile long. Most were very short. Watch out on the Stikine Mountain grade. There is a tight up/downhill switchback that is all very coarse, loose gravel and is way off-camber. Going up wasn't a problem, but coming back down, the off camber slope made the bikes want to walk toward the outside of the curve, resulting in a brief "Oh s**t!!" moment before the tires caught.

4.) There are only three places to get gas on the Cassiar: Dease Lake, a store about 50 miles south of Dease Lake, (I don't recall the name of it) and at Bell 2 Lodge.

5.) Be sure to stop at the Cassiar Mountain Jade Store. Very interesting.

6.) It was recommended to us not to stay at the big hotel in Watson Lake as they have trouble with cleanliness in the place. Nugget City is a great place, the folks friendly, and the food is great. They have cabins, rooms, an RV park and places to camp.

7.) If you have the time, be sure to stop and take photos along the way. It may be your only opportunity to do so.

To keep this generally VStrom-related, we saw only a few VStroms along the way. Mostly there were BMW's and Harleys. So we special.

All in all, we had a great experience. I recommend the Cassiar Hwy as it is a fun road for motorcycling. Lots of curves and few long straight stretches.
And yes, the rough road surfaces, being all chip seal, will eat your tires up.
 

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C$1.369/litre = US$5.18/gallon
C$1.799/l = US$6.81/g
(Assuming C$1 = US$1)
 

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I was watching a series of seven videos on youtube about a gent traveling from NC to Deadhorse in Alaska. Up North on Dalton Hwy. He came accorss some nasty roads that were just mud and gravel. I cannot help to think how does one manage to go on roads like that on a Harley. Some of those machines are over 600 punds and I don't think they are very easy to control on crap roads.
 

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I can't speak for a Harley, but I can for my fully loaded Vee: Lower tire pressures and slow and steady. That's how its done when the road turns to slime. And it will!
 

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Sorry to hear about the family crisis.....These thing happen, I know. I would like to do an Alaskan trip within the next 1-3 years. Anyone who posts a trip to Alaska I'm always reading, re-reading and reading a third time. Sounds like you still enjoyed your trip and hope your able to ride the full ride next time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When was this trip........and what were the temps?? Did you do any camping??
Thanks for the Report!! :thumbup:
Sorry, I left that part out. We left Wasilla Aug. 5 and got back the following Monday, Aug. 12.

The weather was fantastic, other than a brief but intense rain shower right after we crossed the border into Canada. Temps were quite chilly in the mornings, but by late afternoon it would get pretty warm. It was right at 90 degrees in Williams Lake, BC, when we got in. Next day it was about the same, maybe a few degrees cooler in New Hazelton when we got in there. Our longest day was right at 700 miles, riding from Watson Lake to Tok, where the temperature was in the 80's and the air filled with smoke from forest fires.
 

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Just a couple of observations:
1) The gas station at the general store in Dease Lake closes early on Sunday. I can't recall the exact time, but I a couple of years ago got there too late and it didn't seem to have been very late in the day. You should also gas up at the station right where the Cassiar leaves the AK Hwy, because the next gas from there IS Dease Lake. On a prior trip I was able to get gas at one of the several fishing camps along the road south of Dease Lake, but that's a hit-and-miss thing.
2) Try the Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake, a former US Air Force officer's billet. It's a little out of town but spotlessly clean. Also when in Watson Lake go out to the airport to see the historical WWII exhibits inside.
3) Take the Cassiar to be sure -- but don't break down, don't get a flat tire and don't run out of gas...there are a lot of bears along the road.
4) And BY ALL MEANS take the side trip to Stewart/Hyder, a great scenic route in itself and the gateway to the mining road to Salmon Glacier. This may well be the highlight of any trip to AK -- it was for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We would have, and wanted to do the Stewart/Hyder side trip, but time constraints prevented that, unfortunately.

Dease Lake is 150 miles south of the Alaska Hwy, so should be easy to reach on a full tank of gas. The next place down is about 50 miles south. IIRC, Bell 2 is another 100 miles south. On our way back up the Cassiar, we gassed up in New Hazelton, Bell 2, and Dease Lake, and had gas to spare.

Mike B, thanx for the tip on the museum and facilities near Watson Lake. I totally spaced that out, forgetting about the Air Force installation that was there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I guess I should have posted a couple pix of our trip. I didn't get to take many, but here are a couple.

Somewhere along the Cassiar Hwy


South end of Kluane Lake. This is a really beautiful lake. Unfortunately, the best views didn't have a suitable place to pull off and take a photo.


The Cassiar Mountain Jade Shop, 80 miles south of the Alaska Hwy. Very interesting place to stop. They have FREE coffee there, too.


I caught myself motoring along in the morning, south of Beaver Creek, Yukon


Somewhere along the Cassiar Hwy


This guy spent the night in Beaver Creek. Not my choice for an Alaska Hwy ride. Wonder how his back made out after that one.


I stopped alongside a pretty lake area west of Tok on the way back, early in the morning. Pretty nice there.


Same location, different angle.


And finally....Lots of bugs. Took me awhile to get the bike clean. Or mostly clean, anyway.
 

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Dease Lake is 150 miles south of the Alaska Hwy, so should be easy to reach on a full tank of gas. The next place down is about 50 miles south. IIRC, Bell 2 is another 100 miles south. On our way back up the Cassiar, we gassed up in New Hazelton, Bell 2, and Dease Lake, and had gas to spare.
Yep, your calculations are correct. From the gas station at the Alcan/Cassiar intersection to Bell II going south it's exactly 304 miles. How do I know? As I mentioned the Dease Lake gas station was closed and I had to continue all the way to the Bell II station. It was pretty disconcerting watching the blinking gas icon and thinking about all the hungry bears watching me pass by -- a movable feast, as it were. Thank goodness for the Strom's fantastic range.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That could have been interesting. We saw 4 bears on the Cassiar--a sow and two cubs that ran off the road at Meziadin junction, and a dead bear on the side of the road that someone hit. There was also a dead hub cap on the other side of the road. :mrgreen:
 

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It may be the time of year. I believe I counted 10 in a single (April? May?) day, both blacks and griz. Black bears get off the road when you go by, especially if you sound the horn...but grizzlies give ground only reluctantly, moving aside but not running away. You get the feeling they are kind of grumpy. On an earlier trip on the Cassiar maybe 10 years ago I got caught behind two young male moose, who were basically taking up the whole road and not letting my by in spite of my efforts to scare them. They moseyed along for quite a while -- actually moving from side to side to block my path -- until finally drifting off into the bush.
 
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