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  #1  
Old 16 Aug 2006
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Best Route from Watson Lake to Banff?

I'm only likely to be making this journey once this lifetime, next month.

So for the best riding and most spectacular scenery, do I go via. Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek, or down the Cassiar and via. Prince George?

Also a smaller deviation - At the Alaska/Yukon border, I see there's a possible detour across the "Top Of The World Highway" to Dawson City and down the Klondike Highway, before rejoining the Alaska Highway at Whitehorse. Sounds tempting - if this road is open in September, is it worth the detour?
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  #2  
Old 16 Aug 2006
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Route south

Do the top of the world highway and see dawson city. Then come down to carmacks and take the cambell highway to watson lake. From there go down the cassiar and stop in stewart/hyder and get hyderized. Then go back another year and see some other routes. How late in sept. are you going? You do know about snow and sub freezing temps don't you? Sounds litke a great fall ride.
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  #3  
Old 16 Aug 2006
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The Cassiar is prettier and much more remote than the Alaska Hwy.
You want to ride the Icefields Parkway.
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  #4  
Old 16 Aug 2006
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Hmmm...

Seems like Cassiar it is then.

I am proposing to fly into Anchorage during the first week of September, and was intending to head up to Prudhoe Bay, and then back down as you're suggesting to Banff and then be in Vancouver 10-14 days later (or I might go south from there through Montana depending on whether my cousin is in Vancouver at the time).

Other advice I've had here on the HUBB has been that the first half of Sep is the latest I should be thinking about Prudhoe Bay, which is what I've been working around. From here in the UK, I am not really aware of conditions up that way, although I've no doubt they get a lot of snow and very low temperatures at times. I've looked up a few places on weather.com, but it's sometimes a little difficult to visualise. I have been slightly further north than Prudhoe in late (20th) August (Nordkapp, Norway), and the weather was fine if a little chilly, but I guess a 2-3 weeks can make a big difference.

SO, tell me straight - Is this too late in the year to be riding (and enjoying it!) in these parts? I don't want to get stuck up there till spring, or freeze myself for 4000 miles!

I've got a big trip planned, going on through South America, so I could very easily start somewhere warmer. Or, if it doesn't look too good when I arrive in Anchorage, I could at least go NE from Anchorage towards Dawson City, and miss Prudhoe and even Fairbanks, cutting out 1200 miles. But in some ways that's defeating the object.

Last edited by IanC; 16 Aug 2006 at 16:50.
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  #5  
Old 16 Aug 2006
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Alaska

Take the cassiar highway and the top of the world as well. I did the cassiar in Sept as I flew into Anchorage on Sept 7 and drove pretty much straight back to Minn. I rode 7 days straight and averaged 639 miles a day on bike. I had frost on the bike every morning on way back. I did not take the top of the world highway on this trip but took it last year. I also did Purdhoe bay and I got there on July 4th 2005 and I got snowed on 3 times that day. It was colder than #@$%#@$% in Antigun pass and the snow was piling up just a bit on the road. The ice on the lake at Deadhorse was still frozen over on July 4 so that will let you know what you will be in for. I do not know if Sept is possible for Purdhoe bay. It will be iffy for sure. The cassiar will be busy down on the southern end with Mushroom pickers everywhere. There will be small tent cities of hundreds of people picking at that time of year in the old fire areas. The cassiar is much better in my opinion as I have taken both the oil can and the cassiar. The cassiar is between and in the mountain so it is steep and pretty. The oil can highway is a lot flater and just trees as it is kind of on the east slop of the laurentian shield of rock. It was the easiest route north to protect Alaska so fastest way to carve a road out. The gravel is good on the Top of the world highway as well but you do get some pretty high ground and it will be cold that time of year. Dawson city is worth seeing and crossing the Yukon river by ferry there. If you live though taking the Dalton highway to Prudhoe bay you might as well go sucidal and take the Dempster as well to Inuvik so you can say you did the only two roads across the arctic circle. Have a good one and take someone with you to push you through the bigger snowbanks. I would recommend a tall blond female as they seem to be able to push my bike better.
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  #6  
Old 20 Aug 2006
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Thanks ssa2.

I'm going to get myself kitted out with Gerbings, fly to Anchorage and go as far north as I can - which may be Anchorage! Good to know that big miles are possible on these remote roads (or I have I misunderstood, and you only managed small miles here and big ones nearer Minn?).

Are you serious about snowbanks, or is it just cold I have to contend with? Maybe I ought to take a pusher as you describe to be on the safe side!

One other question - OK it's not going to be hot, but is the weather likely to be bright/clear/blue or dull/grey/poor visibility? I can tolerate some cold as long as it's worth it, i.e. the weather's not miserable.

Last edited by IanC; 20 Aug 2006 at 21:04.
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  #7  
Old 20 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanC
............
One other question - OK it's not going to be hot, but is the weather likely to be bright/clear/blue or dull/grey/poor visibility? I can tolerate some cold as long as it's worth it, i.e. the weather's not miserable.
Your gear (and maybe you, too) will get wet.
It will get cold.
You may see some snow.

Wet is OK.
Cold is OK.
Wet and Cold becomes dangerous.

Check out the monthly temp and rainfall averages at weather.com. Alaska is fantasic - just prepare properly.
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  #8  
Old 21 Aug 2006
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Weather changes

The weather can change a lot from day to day. Already we have had below freezing temps in montana and then very warm. More so on the fluctuations up north. As far as big miles on the road, yes you can cover some big miles if you like to ride. Thats why I like going north in june, it really doesn't get dark so the riding day can really be long. I just talked to a couple of Canadiens and they told me about the 50% over the speed limit being a arrest citation. So do be a little careful although I have never had a problem up north just down south closer to the border.
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  #9  
Old 1 Sep 2006
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winters early this year

just hauled into watson lake from the cassiar and the dalton....

its snowing over the brooks range all the way to deadhorse, and was raining all the way down the cassiar... terrential by the time we hit stewart. all the locals are saying its been sh1t weather this year and winter has come early....

we were severely hypothermic by the time we hit deadhorse and decided to miss out teh top of the world highway entirely. I have good waterproof kit, but with rain EVERY day even that gave up....

think carefully this year, and pack some very good waterproofs and a nice woolie jumper.....


(currently gorgeous in watson lake though....)
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  #10  
Old 2 Sep 2006
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I'm already comitted! Bike's flying to Anchorage today. Weather's sh1t in SW England this morning as well - although perhaps a little warmer!
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  #11  
Old 11 Sep 2006
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Smile Well!

Somebody up there likes me...

Picked my bike up from Anchorage last Wednesday, and rode to Fairbanks in the afternoon, from Fairbanks to Prudhoe the following day (arr. 6.30pm), and then a half-day's ride from Prudhoe to Wiseman the following day after doing an oil-field tour in the fog. Yesterday rode from Wiseman to Tok, and I am tonight in Dawson City.

I have to say the weather could not have been better - crisp, clear, blue skies (apart from 20 miles from Prudhoe on the morning I left) all the way, in fact despite kitting myself out with full Gerbings, today on the Top Of The World I didn't even have a sweater on under my jacket!!

I'm just about to check the forecast, and decide weather to do the Dempster as well - the road out of Fairbanks felt so boring after the Dalton. Although if the weather's holding for a few days I may have a non-riding day in Dawson tomorrow - it's a pretty cool place (esp. after Tok!). Although my attitude at present is "make hay while the sun shines", so I may hit the road early tomorrow.

Also I have to say the Dalton was far easier than I'd thought, I was expecting tricky conditions, but found I was able to ride 50-60 most of the way up and 70-80 most of the way down, although I did need to be alert to gravel patches (and pot-holes when blacktop). Guess it would be different when wet!

Last edited by IanC; 11 Sep 2006 at 03:57.
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  #12  
Old 13 Sep 2006
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Smile In Inuvik now!

Rode the full length of the Dempster from Dawson to Inuvik yesterday.

Weather wasn't so good, and if the Dalton was in good condition, well the Dempster was a big pile of sh1t! If I'd known it was going to be so bad, I would not have bothered. Although I only had intermittent rain, it had been raining for a long period previously, and a good deal of it's length was very bad mud - if you wandered at all from previous wheel-tracks, you got into some sloppy stuff which pulled you all over the place.

Just going to check the forecast, and decide whether to go back tomorrow, or maybe half-way (Eagle Plains) this afternoon. Bright sunshine this morning though!
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  #13  
Old 7 Oct 2006
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Talking If anyone's interested...

I've yesterday uploaded a load of stuff on my trip so far to the web, here:

http://www.aslc43.dsl.pipex.com/Amer...nsamericas.htm

because of this:

http://www.aslc43.dsl.pipex.com/Americas/02/02.htm

I must have used up all my weather-related luck up north!
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