Day’s distance: 319 miles
Total trip distance: 1,895 miles
Mid 50s to high 60s with sunshine and fluffy clouds. Nice day, really, for anyone on a motorcycle wearing as much gear as I do.
The Gourmet Girl coffee shop was the perfect place for me to start my riding day. Thanks for the suggestion, Carson!
Fresh baked cherry turnover to die for and an excellent latte, the owner here has been in business for going on two years.
I am seeing more bikers each day, and the scenery is getting really beautiful now that I’m back in the mountains.
The road description that I had posted as part of my trip planning was spot on about today’s twistier roads. But I now realize it was likely written by someone in a car. The highway was not particularly challenging for an experienced rider. That’s not to say the twisties weren’t welcome or beautiful – both apply.
Signage along the road is generally spot on regarding gravel, rough spots and trucking activity. So, just pay attention to the signs, except maybe the speed limits in the curves, which are universally too conservative for a biker in dry and sunny conditions.
The road surfaces are in good shape, though there is some ‘washboard’ areas where I set my suspension to its softest setting to avoid the shakes. Also, in avalanche areas, watch for rocks in the roadway. I only saw a few but they were big enough to damage a rim. 🙁
Here are a few vista shots.
Toad River was my expected fuel stop about halfway along today’s ride. This was the first station that I’ve used that only had regular gas. Since I have been filling with 91 octane (premium), and I had half a tank, I did not add octane booster this time.
I stopped at a small place in Muncho Lake for a sandwich. This place looks like its mostly a hunting and fishing spot. The breads were homemade and the servings were huge. They had fuel available, as well, but I had a full tank.
The roadway followed the edge of the lake. This photo was looking south, at where I had just been.
I stopped at Liard River Hot Springs for a planned soak. The entry fee was $5 CAD and well worth it.
I was able to keep my tank bag, the only thing I can’t lock up, with the staff at the gate. They have towels and suits to wear, if needed, as well as water and soda.
You park and then take a short 5 minute walk to the springs along a boardwalk.
They have changing rooms and open lockers for your stuff. It is easy to keep an eye on things as it wasn’t crowded today.
I met another biker in the parking lot. Harald was in the process of moving from Fort St. John (if I remember correctly) to Vancouver Island. We talked about travel, the work we’ve done, etc. Very enjoyable and time passed quickly.
I was able to capture some of the wildlife as it found its way to the highway. Mountain sheep …
and black bears, among other smaller critters. This was the best of the black bear photos so far.
I entered Yukon for the first time a little after 4pm. I say the first time because the Alcan travels above and below the BC / Yukon border as it follows the mountains (see the map above).
The Sign Post Forest is a favorite point of interest for bikers. The original signpost was started by a homesick soldier in the 40s during the construction of the highway.
It now covers about one square block of area.
I found premium fuel at Tag’s and topped off for my ride tomorrow. By the time I checked in to the motel, it was 6:30pm and I had to hurry off to dinner.
I had a steak sandwich at Kathy’s Kitchen. It was fine but I will try another of Watson Lakes restaurants on my way through going south. There are three or four choices, total.
I’m staying at the Big Horn Motel, but on my return trip, I’ll be trying the Air Force Lodge.
Tomorrow is more Alcan and more Yukon. Remember I’m on this highway for five days! Perhaps in my next life I’ll be an Iron Butt rider capable of traveling over 1,000 miles a day, but I’m not that person now. LOL
Amazing photos Keith! I have to ask, as I am normally very reluctant to ride on gravel… what tires are you using on your RT for this adventure?
In thinking about tires for the trip, I considered how little time I’d be spending on gravel compared to paved roads and decided to stick with my Pilot Road 4s, the best wet weather tire available for the RT. If I’m on gravel for an extended period, I’ll probably be traveling at reduced speeds. However, if I’m on pavement and it is raining, I will be traveling at speed and will want all the stopping power I can get.
I was reluctant to ride on gravel when the bike was new to me, but over the many trips I’ve taken, I have become more comfortable in those conditions. Practice could help you overcome some of the reluctance, at least enough to ride through 5 or 10 km stretches commonly found here during construction season (spring – summer).
I ended up not getting one, but you might consider an extension for the front fender to keep rocks from bashing up your crossover pipe.
Hope that helps.
Beautiful vistas! Love that signpost forest. You looked happy.
Wow! I am certainly enjoying your trip, Keith! Some of those vistas are breathtaking. Thanks.