Dempster Hwy: Dawson - Inuvik: June 2002
Just made it up to Inuvik and thought I'd pop this on Horizons.
General: The road is pretty good really. I'm on a KLR650 with a bald rear Trailwing 22 and new front Dunlop D604 - both 80/20 street/dirt tyres and I made it in a day - a long one though - didnt arrive until 1.30am but the sun was still shining. However - there are some bad sections of loose gravel an inch to 2 inchs deep. You need to drive down tracks made by passing cars/trucks. The worst thing is the sections of black mud. This is really slippery and you want to take extreme caution when you come across this stuff. The operator of one of the ferries was telling me how he took a crashed motorcyclist to hospital last year. Even the 4WD have problems with this black mud. I'm planning to avoid travelling the McPherson - Eagle Plains section if it looks like its gonna rain as I have doubts about being able to do it in wet weather.
Dawson - Eagle Plains: Generally very good road. Some loose gravel. Some black mud. At Eagle Plains the guy was gonna let me camp for free as I had a tent and not an RV. Also the Eagle hamburger for Cdn$9.50 will fill anyone!
Eagle Plains - Fort McPherson: This is the section with longest stretches of black slippery stuff. It is also the section with the most spectacular scenery.
Fort McPherson - Inuvik: About as boring as a road can be. Great library with free internet access in Inuvik. Dont camp in the campground in town as its where the young locals do their partying. Good road - hard compacted gravel but graders were laying some new loose stuff as I went past.
Gas: At the corner of ALCAN and Dempster. Next gas stop 230 miles at Eagle Plains. Next one at Fort McPherson 115 miles away. The gas station in Fort McPherson closes at 8pm and there is no chance of getting gas after that time if you're making a long haul of it.
Caution: Passing vehicles kick up a huge dust storm when its dry and you are blinded for a while. My policy is to stop dead when something approaches.
Motorcycle & snowmobile shop: Follow signs to Happy Camp campground in town. When exiting campground turn right and follow road til you see a big Yamaha sign. There arent any other signs. Think the place is called Westwind. They dont have much but might be able to help with some problems.
Hope this might prove useful.
Trip report: Yourman on the road!
[This message has been edited by gmarch (edited 06 June 2002).]
[This message has been edited by gmarch (edited 07 June 2002).]
[This message has been edited by gmarch (edited 10 November 2002).]
Thanks for the info. Here's some other trips in the Yukon if it works out for you.
Best of luck!
We Did the Dempster in its entirety in late July on a KLR650 and a Honda Silverwing 500. For the most part, it was easy gravel, but here's a couple tips:
1. Keep your tire pressure high. This keeps rocks from becoming embedded in your tires.
2. Take your time. The scenery along the Dempster is spectacular, unlike anything else on this great green earth. So much more can be taken in by going slow, as well as reducing the chances of flats and increasing fuel mileage.
3. The stretches for 20 miles before and after Eagle Plains are a mixture of sharp gravel and calcium cholride, which when wet, turns into a VERY STICKY mix that hangs onto your tires and packs up under your fenders. If it's wet at all, consider hanging out or camping to let the road dry out a bit, which it seems to do rather quickly.
Above all, don't let the length of the road and distance between services discourage you. It is truly an awesome experience.
Do you thing that a standard japanese street bike would have trouble making it up the Dempster, and exploring arround Inivuk? I'm contemplating selling my dual-sport bike and touring on my (Paid for) Suzuki GS. My biggest concer would be denting the exaust pipes under the frame. Any super pot holes, or boulders to worry about?
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