Sierra Vista to Alaska, via BC, Alberta, Yukon and Alaska Highway
By Dave & Jere Fredenburgh
We left Sierra Vista on May 19 and returned 10,500 miles later on June 24. We experienced unseasonably cold temperatures including 28 degrees and snow, with the average days 40-45 degrees with drizzle or overcast, and occasional days of sun and 50-60 degrees. When they say bring GOOD rain gear, believe it.
Our route took us through Cranbrook to Jasper, Dawson Creek, then up the Alaska Highway through Muncho Lake BC, Whitehorse, Yukon, Tok, AK, to Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, Valdez, back through Tok to Chicken Alaska, Dawson City Yukon, back to Whitehorse (retraced our steps to Prince George, BC) and then to Williams Lake, BC.
Great expanses of uninhabited territory. The average day was 400 miles with the occasional vehicle and small mom and pop gas stops. Towns ranged from 1000-6000 persons in Canada. Fairbanks and Anchorage are “big cities” but Fairbanks has a great BMW Dealer, Trails End BMW and Anchorage has “The Motorcycle Shop”.
Seward and Homer on the Kenai Peninsula Alaska are small touristy towns, great pleasure/fishing fleets, boat tours and dog sled tours. Scenery is spectacular, mountains right down to the water.
Chicken, Alaska is a must-see, although the road was challenging in the rain. Dawson City, Yukon, sports the Downtown Hotel owned by a fellow GS rider. Dirt streets, great food and drink, and at midnight the sun was still up (one of our few sunny “days”).
Jasper, in Kootenay National Park Alberta through the Icefield Parkway (well named) was covered in snow, mountains down to the road, recent avalanche sites by the road, frozen lakes and for us, cold and snowy. Road from Williams Lake, BC south through Fraser Canyon is twisty and right next to the river.
Food was great on the entire trip. Price of accommodations was more reasonable than we expected, the scenery was spectacular, green, clean, expansive, surrounded by almost black mountains covered in snow, and frozen lakes. Construction provided some exciting moments as the road surface is greased mud and lasts for 40-400 miles. Roads are 2 lane.
Wildlife sightings were multiple and almost daily. Including black bears & cubs, grizzly bears, moose and calf, caribou, dall sheep, big horn sheep, mountain goats, fox, coyote, ptarmigan, bald eagles (called the Alaska pigeon), snow shoe rabbits, bison, humpback whales, Orcas, dall porpoise, sea lions and otters. Some close enough to touch, so we kept moving and I shot pictures from the back of the bike.
Grab your rain gear, go early in the season before the tour buses hit, be prepared for 400 mile days with limited accommodations in between and enjoy the vastness of the trip.