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Old 28 Jul 2005
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Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada
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Cassiar Highway: British Columbia

This is a heads up for anyone travelling to the Yukon and Alaska via the Cassiar Highway (Route 37) in northern British Columbia (or intending to return that way). Three of us made the northward journey around July 9th, intending to return south via the same highway. However, road conditions on much of the Cassiar caused us to change our return route to the Alaska Hwy.

Though about 15% of the Cassiar is usually gravel, a bad winter of frost heaves damaged portions of the paved sections. The result was that a considerable percentage of the road (north of the turn off to Stewart and Hyder) was apparently under reconstruction and back to gravel. Considerable rain had soaked the surface into a slimy consistency in places and the two street bikes in our group (a 1983 Honda CX650e and a 2003 Kawasaki ZR7-S) were down to less than 40 km. per hour under those conditions (and not too happily at that).

Ironically, the third bike, a 2003 BMW 650GS, had the worst time of it for lack of a second low front fender (now apparently standard). The stock high fender was quite useless in fending off the silty road material and the rider, including his face shield, was sprayed with wet dirt, rendering visibility a serious problem.

During the return trip on the Alaska Highway we had a further reminder of the perils of gravel. Portions of this route were also under reconstruction and reduced to gravel and dirt, abeit dry this time. We encountered a Gold Wing rider near Liard Hot Springs who had crashed when the trailer he was towing fishtailed in this stuff, flipping and pulling the bike down.

Worth checking road conditions in advance. Worth being mindful of the fender issue on the 650GS. Worth wondering about trailers.

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Old 29 Jul 2005
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came up the road yesterday, you are right the slimy top coating of crude makes the bike a real mess.

apart from that the road was easily doable, even in the rain. Although during our breakfast the waitress had to leave quick to fulfill her Paramedic duties in a serious road accident....but we did manage to get our coffees refilled first!

great route by the way, very scenic with the odd bear or two hanging around
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Old 11 Oct 2005
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Hopefully this condition will be cleaned up for my ride up there next summer. From what I've heard this is definately the route to go.
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Old 23 Jul 2006
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Dan,don't count on nortern roads being good, instead be surprized when you find some of the good patches.What passes up there would have lots of people in the ditch in other places.
ride,smile,repeat as nessasary
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Old 23 Jul 2006
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Some people put a fancy ceramic coating on their header pipes.
Others prefer the Cassiar Coating..
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Old 23 Jul 2006
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I cleaned my wheels and pipes with "Meguiars Hot Rims Chrome Wheel Cleaner".
My BMW R100R is 14 years old and has been washed but not cleaned.
The wheels are aluminim and came out clean but dull, I polished them up later.
But the pipes with all the BC, Yukon mud that would not come off turned out great. Just spray it on and brush it a little and rince it off.
It did take a long time and the hardest places to get clean were at the cross-over welds.
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Old 24 Jul 2006
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Road spray - off set.

A suggestion -

If the road spray is reducing your visibility - then move your bum on your seat ... sit off the bikes centre and then the road spray may go over a shoulder rather than into your face.

Learn't this from clumps of mud coming off the front tyre...
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 6 Oct 2006
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we loved cassiar!

we made the whole cassiar from the south to the north with our two enduros (MuZ Baghira660 and Honda XL600LM) somewhen in July 2006 and loved it!
packed with a lot of stuff because of we are on a round the world trip it was well riding even if there was some gravel or potholes. won't make it with a street bike but for these there is the well paved alaska hw.

if you like enduro trips and lovely scenery you'll like cassiar!
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Old 8 Oct 2006
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Thumbs up

The Cassiar is great, but I don't know about this late in the season.
Prevously known as JSherm
My blog: http://www.motorcycleramblings.com/
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/sherman/ I will up date this soon, really Grant, I will....
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Old 20 Jan 2007
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Originally Posted by kbikey
Dan,don't count on nortern roads being good, instead be surprized when you find some of the good patches.What passes up there would have lots of people in the ditch in other places.
Unless you cut your teeth on dirt tracks. The gravel isn't all that bad. Just remember your basic riding lessons on riding in gravel. You did take them, didn't your? Anyhow, the winter frost heaves happen like clock-work, then, naturally, the road repair follows, and can only be done in the summer, so, if you want to ride North, Or even far enough South, I'm sure you will run into all kinds of roadwork, so be prepared for gravel. And where you have gravel, you will have clay, or some other type of binding material. By nature, they are slippery, so again I say, be prepared. And if there is roadwork, there will be rain, according to Murphy's Law. And some people will drop their scoots. It's a given.
So, remember..........Safety First! Get out there and practice riding in that stuff, then when it arrives, you won't have to moan and groan about it, but just ride right through it. Practice...practice.....pratice.

Now, I remember getting stuck in a construction zone where re-paving of the Interstate was going on. It was about 100*F, the traffic was at a stand-still, the road surface was about burning the soles of my feet through my boots, my bike was getting HOT, the cars/trcuks, etc, were bunched nose to ass for about 20 miles. I had never done any lane-splitting, but I did it that day, slowly, mind you at about 15MPH. and managed to get through in just under an hour. This was in Michigan. The worst road I have ever beenn on was in Idaho. There were more tar snakes and wheel gobbling cracks than I have ever seen, even in Alaska. The lap-joints on the pavement would rattle your teeth, and my back got jarred more than once, even on a soft tail.

So, my point here is to say that all roads will be rebuilt, so patience and skill are required to navigate around the globe.
And have fun doing it. Ride Safe
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