Moto AK – Dempster Highway to Inuvik

The Dempster Highway is 450 miles of unpaved road that starts from the Klondike Highway east of Dawson City, and travels through the mountains north and east into the Arctic Circle, then into Canada’s Northwest Territories, and ends (for now) at the town of Inuvik. Inuvik, pronounced i-NOO-vik, is a town of about 3500 or so people, and was our destination after two days of riding up the Dempster.

2014-07-20_demspter route

7/14/2014 – 313 miles, Whitehorse, YK to start of Dempster
After having tires changed at Yukon Honda in the morning, we left our comfortable guest accommodations in Whitehorse and headed north on the Klondike highway towards the turn off to Inuvik. Our research said that there isn’t always fuel at the start of the Dempster, and that we would probably have to go into Dawson. When we arrived, there was an unmanned pump that had a small portable building made from quarter of a container that you entered to pay, take the safety training, and start the pump. We filled both bikes and the extra 3 gallon rotopax on the back of my bike. It would be 230 miles from the start of the Dempster to the first available fuel in Eagle Plains, a distance that is at the very limit of fuel range for our bikes. That night we camped for free behind the gas station right at the start of the Dempster, in what used to be an active campground.


The street tires that got us here would not do for the Dempster, so on went some Continental TKC80s. The bikes look completely bad-ass now, but naturally, compared to the street tires, they handle like complete crap on the road. Better than actual knobbies, but geez, they kinda suck the fun out of road riding. It’s worth it, however, for the long stretches off pavement.

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Moto AK – Cabins by the Lake

7/11/2014 – 7/13/2014

We left Whitehorse in the morning and rode toward to the coast to meet our new “hydro buddy” and catch a boat ride out to his property. The timing couldn’t be better; he was already picking up some other friends that morning, and we were going to stay near Whitehorse one way or another because we couldn’t get the tires changed on the bikes until Monday. Jim would make another trip back into town on Sunday morning to pick up another friend, so our visit didn’t even create an extra trip. After lunch in town, we managed to rendezvous with the entire group and set out across the lake, leaving the bikes on the beach. (My bike was locked inside Jim’s shed, but Kevin’s didn’t fit. Kevin wasn’t concerned, but since the art/music festival was in town, there were an unusually high number of (drunk) people around. It wasn’t a problem). The boat trip involves crossing one lake, then navigating a somewhat exciting river section with 40 feet of differential between lakes, through to the next lake, and traveling across it some ways before you arrive.

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Moto AK – Whitehorse, Yukon

7/8/2014 – 374 mi – Into the Yukon
Crossing into the Yukon feels like a big milestone for riding this far north, and we’re crossing off new states and provinces quickly.



We made the mistake of having lunch at the first real stop after the border, and felt ripped off by our low quality $15 burgers. There was gas, a small motel, and the restaurant at this intersection, and nothing else for miles. Welcome to the Yukon I guess.

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Moto AK – Canadian Rockies and Cassiar Hwy

7/5/2014 – 326 mi – Alberta, CN
Its about 150 mi from our campsite to Banff and the Canadian Rockies, and the end of the plains (finally). We rode through Calgary in the morning, past Olympic park, and could see the mountains in the distance. Calgary Stampede is happening right now, and it would be opportune to stop and check it out. We decide against it. Kevin doesn’t want to go at all. I would like to at some point, but it’s a bit of a hassle on the bikes, and not having reservations to stay somewhere. Once west of Calgary, the land changes quickly from prairie to mountains, without much in the way of foothills. Stopped for a quick lunch in Banff, which was all we needed to know that Banff wasn’t for us. It’s just like Tahoe, an overpriced, overcrowded tourist trap. I don’t get it. Despite the plethora of amazing food, we ate lunch at subway because we didn’t feel like paying $15 for a burger.


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Moto AK – The Plains

7/2/2014 – 335 mi – MN to ND
We stayed in the hotel a bit in the morning to use the wi-fi to take care of a bit of business, and were on the road 9:30 in sunny weather. Here we go across the plains; flat, straight, fast, and windy. I might, just might, see the appeal of a cruiser out here. Found a nice spot for a picnic lunch just off the highway at the park below.


My mosquito murdering program is going to plan.


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Moto AK – The UP and northern midwest

6/30/2014 – 321 mi – The UP
Up with the sun this morning, and an amazing view of Lake Michigan. Packed camp and riding before 8am. SO MANY MOSQUITOS. A bit cool, needed a layer when riding. Stopped at the Seul Choix (pronounced Sis Shwa) light house, which has been restored by local historical society. It wasn’t open at 8:30 am on a Monday, so we couldn’t go up to the top.


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Moto AK – On the road! North to the UP

6/28/2014 – 435 miles – NC to OH

And we’re off on another moto-adventure! The biggest one yet. Somehow we pulled this off, and we’re actually on the road, riding to Alaska.


All day Friday was spent with final preparations and packing the bikes, and we made a decent start by getting on the road at 9:30 Saturday morning. In our excitement to get to Alaska, we’re willing to bypass excellent riding closer to home to save time and make some distance.

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2014 Moto Alaska Adventure – Almost Here!

As it turns out, with a bunch of hard work and a little bit of luck (or rather, lack of bad luck), it is possible for us to create enough time in our schedule to go on a moto trip all the way to Alaska.

Neither of us have ever been to Alaska, and being that it’s us, naturally we want to take our Alaskan vacation on motorcycles. Riding to Alaska is on the bucket list of many an adventure motorcyclist (I use that term loosely), and now its our turn. Carpe Diem. Life is short. If not now, when? After months of uncertainty about our work schedule, I think we’re going to be able to leave in just a few days. It still hasn’t sunk in. I mean, this is what we’ve been trying to do, but the reality hasn’t hit that we might actually get to do it.

Trip prep has been a project the last few months. Lots of research about what to see, and estimating time and distances. We’re getting pretty experienced at this moto touring thing, but we’re also always looking for improvements. I chickened out long ago on taking the Monster to Alaska, but the TR650 needed some mods to be touring ready. Setting up my bike is a project that could use its own post, which maybe I’ll get around to. Suffice it to say, there have been plenty of moto related shenanigans.


I stole that image from somewhere on the internet, because yeah, that.

So I know its been a bit quiet around ye old blog lately, but we’ve been busy working, and trying to make this trip happen. Hopefully, activity will pick up pretty soon. This means I will be blogging this trip as I go along, but don’t expect it to be current. While I like having a trip diary to enjoy later, documenting a trip can also take a lot of time, and interfere with actually enjoying the trip in the moment. Remember, every blog post is the result of curating and maybe editing photos, uploading the photos, and creating text. It takes time. Balance is everything. The more trips I take, the better I am at finding this balance. In practice, what this means is that the blog will get updated as I feel like it and have access to the internet. Also, I’m not sure about format this time. In the past, I’ve done a blog post for every day. Its easy organization that way, but that’s not the only style. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.

This schedule for this trip reflects what we’ve learned from previous trips, which is that we don’t like having a schedule. I’ve made no reservations, and we don’t have to be any place at any time, just the way we like it.  There are a zillion things on the list we’d like to see, and we’ll decide among them as we feel like it. Generally, we’ll bias against spending time getting to and from Alaska, and bias more towards exploring in Alaska. That said, its 4000 mi from NC to Fairbanks, so it will likely take some time just to get there.

Hopefully, at the end of this trip, we’ll have ridden to some amazing places, and found just the right amount of adventure along the way, returning 15000 mi later with cool stories and nothing worse than worn out bikes.

T-minus 2(3?) days and counting until we follow the annual summer wave of overloaded adventure bikes heading to the great white north. 2014 Moto Alaska Adventure starts soon:)


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“Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is–the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.” ― Winston Churchill

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Memorial Day Weekend at the Lake

Kevin captured a few nice pictures from our weekend at the lake, which is the perfect place to enjoy the “official start of summer.”


The dogs certainly enjoyed themselves. Many sticks were fetched from the water.


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