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Alaska and Yukon Adventure (AYT170A)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 | Manuel Marabese | North and South America

A scenic ride across the big north!

This long adventure with our very kind group of Taiwan with Manuel (Italy) and Mark (USA) in the lead has just finished! I have collected a few of the hundreds of memories.. follow us in this big trip!

Many greetings to our fantastic riding group: Robin, Julin, Tala, Trina, Captain, Adam, Tomy, May... thank you for travelling with us and we hope to see you soon!

Day 1: Welcome to Alaska!

The airport has already quite some charm, with a small plane (the most - and often only - way to reach remote areas in the bush) hanging form the ceiling!

Downtown Anchorage is pretty lively, with outdoor events, roof top bar, little gardens... the summer is short so everyone is out to enjoy the long days!

Day 2: Anchorage - Valdez

Our first riding day will bring us along the Portage glacier highway to Whittier, where we will embark on a 6 hours ferry ride across the Prinz William Sound, reaching Valdez in the evening. So many glaciers along the way!

On the way to Portage we have visited Alaska Wild conservation center: bears, moose, bisons, reindeer, and various other animals in danger have found here a shelter in a vast and well kept area.
Entering the narrow Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel: very long for North American standard but just a tiny hole in the mountain for Norwegians
Whititer has surely an eerie feeling, being constructed as a secret military outpost during WWII.
Bye bye Whittier.... let's cruise a bit now towards Valdez.
The small harbour of Valdez in the late sunset light, blissful.
Dessert time!! Dig in!

Day 3: Valdez - Tok

Today we cross Thomson Pass along a nice gorge with steep dark montains, reaching the little junction town Tok in the late afternoon.

Time to fill up on.... water!
Apparently the little 13m long camper is not enough, let's tow also a 6m car!
Delicious Thai food kiosk for lunch in Glenallen.
A small detour through a private road inside the reserve of very friendly natives that let us ride through their forest and lake.

Day 4: Tok - Haines Junction

Today endless forests and some pretty long straight roads: not the best fun to ride but we need to cover long distances in this enormous country! Plenty of nature surrounding us... and today we are gonna cross the border and enter the Yukon territory in Alaska!

Day 5: Haines Junction - Skagway

It was meant to be an easy and short day, arriving in Skagway around mid afternoon but a truck had an accident just before Whitehorse, spilling lots of fuel on the road causing a total block of 5 hours. And no, no alternative ways of any sort, not even through the forest.

This is definitely the best setup a motorcycle can have to enjoy a five hours road block! The rider is an 82 years old boy eating thousands of miles a year...
Despite the long road closure the group is always happy!!
Manuel tried to find some other ways to go around the road block... but no luck
Finally we can reach Whitehorse and have a late lunch!
Emerald lake... no need to explain why it got that name.
And after so many forests and lakes... a sand desert! Isn't that incredible?
The old buildings from gold Rush time in Skagway.
Yes, they do have snow in winter and need some strong machines.

Day 6: Skagway - Whitehorse

We backtrack again the wonderful White Pass, leaving Alaska and returning to Canada. After a nice lunch stop in Carcross (which stands for Caribou crossing, watch out!) we arrive in Whitehose, one of the old stop along the route towards Dawson and the search for gold.

The landscape along White Pass is simply stunning!
A walk on the suspended bridge is a great way to get a rest from the ride.
The bistro in Carcross, probably one of the most picturesque restaurant and village of the whole tour.

Day 7: Whitehorse - Dawson

The old Gold Rush town of Dawson is really fascinating: here the pioneer ambience is surely still intact! Today we have a very long ride to get there and we pass through immense forests and a few lakes. Not so many options for lunch and gas, you better fill up gas when you can, and eat when you find the only restaurant open!

Vintage gas station, let's hope the gas is not vintage as well!
Moose Creek Lodge: the best (and only!) restaurant along our route today!
Welcome to Dawson!

Day 8: Loop day in Dawson

Finally a break from the long rides, only about 65 miles today. First a panoramic overview of Dawson and the Yukon river, then visiting Claim33 and a big dredge. Full Gold Rush mood today, ah some fun gravel roads like the Upper Bonanza River.

Robin with his Pentax, taking another fantastic photo...
Captain enjoying some rest on the rocking chair.
Let's play with water and gravel... we might find gold nuggets! For real!
When the road gets tougher, we play harder!

Day 9: Dawson - Tok

We have such a great road ahead of us: after a short ferry ride (fre of charge, how nice!) across the river we ride the 60 miles of the Top of World highway, mostly hardpack and gravel with grand views on both sides of the road.

Just a 5 min ferry ride, no check in and no tickets needed! Sweet!
Top of the world highway: no traffic here!
Town of Chicken (actually they wanted to name it Ptarmigan because of the abundance of this volatile but since they weren't sure about the spelling, to avoid embarrassing situations they simply named it Chicken): there is the Chicken Saloon...
The Chicken Café...
The Chicken Poop...
And, of course, bbq chicken for lunch!
After a long day, it's time for our boot beer!

Day 10: Tok - Fairbanks

Going west and reaching North Pole! Yes, you did read right, North Pole, the home of Santa. Not really the magnetic pole, not even the geographical pole, but a town named accordingly... Destination for tonight is Fairbanks, our northernmost point during the tour.

Delta Junction memorial, where Alaska highway ends and merges into Richardson highway towards Fairbanks.
They are flying some big birds from the nearby airforce base.
The 800 miles long Alaska pipeline bringing the oil from the arctic sea down to Valdez, here crossing the river Tanana.
Welcome to Santa's house!
Yummy seafood dinner on the terrace restaurant river side.

Day 11: Fairbanks - Denali

Riding south today and we reach Denali National Park for lunch time, allowing us a relaxing afternoon learning new things at the visitor centre and then following the ranger for a guided natural walk.

The peak of Denali (or Mount McKinley) in the distance, over 20.000 ft high. We were so lucky: for over 260 days a year it's impossible to see him!
Our lovely hotel chalets, much better than a big bus-hotel!
Some fresh Alaskan salmon and a dip with crab and artichokes.

Day 12: Denali - Anchorage

The last day has arrived: after more than 2200 miles we are riding back towards where we started! So many sights, so much nature behind us.. Alaska and Yukon are truly a nature-lover delight!

After so many miles on the bike everyone seems very curious to check out this camper van...
Lunch stop in Talkeetna, some fairly old wooden buildings create a good flair.
Tour end! Good bye everyone ad thank you for sharing your time with us!
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Dara Chu
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at 10:40

All of us enjoyed the trip,thanks for your guidance and taking care of us.
Manuel Marabese
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at 10:51

It was a pleasure meeting you and guiding during this tour!! Yo are a very kind group!


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