Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 16 - The Klondike Highway

With the First Yamaha Super Tenere Gathering over it's time to leave Whitehorse and head north.  Paul, my roommate was also heading to Alaska.  We had decided to continue together and while discussing  the trip during the barbecue the day before we had two other older guys join us for the trek north.  At first I wasn't too happy but reluctantly I accepted that the four of us would travel together.  It would turn out to be a mistake but I will leave that for later.
I was glad to be on the move again and heading towards Alaska and Prudhoe Bay, my goal for this trip.
The four of us had our bikes packed and ready to leave early in the morning and with the sun rising on the horizon we hit the road.  Just outside Whitehorse city limits we make a right leaving the Alaska Highway and take the famous Klondike Highway north.  The road is in good shape, no traffic at all, we make good time and were soon riding next to Fox Lake.

I led the group most of the time.  I love seeing the empty road in front of me and with the sound of the engine buzzing in my ears, I immerse myself in thoughts about life.  With the road going left, right, blue sky, green trees, empty road and soon I'm in a trance, it's the best feeling in the world.
We come upon the first of many bridges on the Klondike Highway and the first over the Yukon River.

Google Street View

Map 1

A little later we stop at the Five Finger Rapid area to rest and enjoy the scenery.  This area is really beautiful and gives us a nice view of the Yukon River.  A quote from the sign.
The swift water and narrow channels through Five Finger Rapid posed a formidable danger to the overloaded boats and rafts of the 1898 Klondike Stampeders.

Soon we were riding on long straights, then beautiful winding curves and along the river or lakes. We continue at a brisk pace always minding for animals but we didn't see any, no bears on this road.

Before we get to the next bridge we run into these two guys on bicycles.  On a motorcycle it takes a long time to get to the next location, I can't even imagine doing this road on a bicycle.

The next bridge is at the Pelly Crossing, a community in Yukon, Canada. It lies where the Klondike Highway crosses the Pelly River. Population in 2008 was 291.  It is the home of the Selkirk First Nation, and home to the Northern Tutchone culture.  Wiki:
Apparently they have painted the bridge since Google captured the Street view.

Google Street View


After crossing the Pelly River the road climbs for a while and then there's a lookout at the top where you can see the bridge and the surrounding area for miles.  We stop for a few pictures.

After the bridge we hit a long stretch of gravel but the road is dry and we continue at a fast pace.  Of course we are doing a fast pace, I'm leading the group.

At the next bridge we make a left after crossing the bridge and continue on the Klondike Highway.  The road to the right, Silver Trail goes northeast towards Mayo and then ends in the middle of nowhere.
Look around on the interactive map below.

Google Street View

Map 3

A few miles up the road we run into another two bicycle riders coming in the opposite direction, two woman but I was only able to take a picture of the last one, we came up so fast on them I hardly had time to pull the camera out.

We cross another bridge and then it's more gravel for a while.  Eventually turns back to paved and we continue at the same fast pace.

Google Street View

Map 4

Again we run into more bicycles, this time there's three guys from England on the way to Dawson City.  We pass them on the road but they catch up to us when we make our next stop at the Gravel Lake.
They are carrying a lot of stuff and tell us they do an average of 100 miles a day, they appear to be in good shape. <sarcastic smile>

We run into an impromptu traffic light in the middle of nowhere.  They are working on a bridge and we have to wait our turn.  We wait about 60 seconds before the light changes to green but no vehicles come by.

We continue along the water's edge for a while, beautiful scenery with blue sky above us, what else can one ask for.

Coming up next, the beginning of the Dempster Highway and the arrival in Dawson City.


  1. I would put bicycle touring in the "fun" category though the group pictured seems to be carrying way too much stuff. And at 100 miles per day they travel as far as some motorcyclists in a day ;-)

    Thank you for pictures, and there are some great stories of loaded boats navigating the five finger rapids.

    1. Richard, these guys are camping in places where there's nothing around. You know the Yukon roads, you can do 100 miles and see nothing. Have you been on the Klondike highway? beautiful road.

    2. Yep, been there, done that. 30+ years ago I rode my bicycle from MT to AK, up the Cassiar, through Dawson and the Top of the World Hwy then on to Fairbanks.

  2. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy seeing all the pictures from your trip?

    I really do enjoy them but it makes me want to head north even more.

    Somehow I can't see that being very fun on a pedal bike, but man they must have stamina and be in good shape.

  3. Wonderful trip and pictures. Looks like a great rode to travel....On our bucket list !!! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thanks for reading Diane. You should go up there, you will love the remoteness. Beautiful scenery.

  4. Oh God....Cyclists! SO wouldnt do it on a push bike. It is about time you started getting some blogs up....I just about starved to death waiting for the last one.

    1. Hey Roger, I will speed it up :-)
      I'm going to post more often and break the days so I can post lots of pictures. My post always have lots of pictures.
      I have to complete before you start your trip ;-)

  5. George:

    You sure like to keep us in suspense. Looks like you had good weather for a change

    It's been so long that I can't remember. Did you repair your leaking shock ?

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Bob, what can I say, busy with life stuff :-(
      No, didn't have to fix it. After cleaning the seals with a special tool it stopped leaking. I recently saw a oil film around the shock, the bike has been stopped for a while, and after talking to the tech guy at Yamaha he told me not to bother, it's fine. It's over $300 to replace the seals. I just hit 24K miles, going for it's first valve check next week, that's going to cost about $500. This is an expensive hobby.

  6. How do you guys like the Google Street Views? do you find it interesting?
    It's kind of difficult to find the same spots where I took the pictures.