North To Alaska 2018: Day 1 on the road
291 miles from Portland, Oregon to Leavenworth, Washington
We left the MotoQuest Shop in Portland this morning and headed East through the Columbia River Gorge. We stopped at Multnomah Falls (620ft) for a little break then continued up river. A stop in White Salmon, which is perched high on the North side of the Gorge, afforded our first view of Mt. Hood (11,249ft) to our South. After that our route turned North carving through the Klickitat River Canyon and up onto a hot/dry plateau above the Gorge, to the East of Mt Adams (12,280ft). Our route carried us through the beautiful Yakima Canyon and then through the Wanatchee National Forest, thick with old growth forests. Leavenworth, WA is our home for tonight, a city with a population of about 2500. Its local culture is uniquely modeled after a Bavarian Village, and can been seen everywhere through town in it’s architecture, food and spirits.
North To Alaska: Day 2 on the road
290 miles from Leavenworth, WA to Kelowna, BC
Our second day started out a little wet and raining, but then got beautiful. This region has been experiencing a lot of rain in the past few weeks. That combined with snow melt from an abundance of snow over the winter is producing very high water in all the rivers that drain the region. They are experiencing the highest river levels they’ve seen in 45 years, and its flood stages! We then crossed the border into British Columbia! The Okanagan Valley extends from the North-Central region of Washington up into British Columbia. It’s known for its dry, sunny climate, and dry landscapes. It is abundant with outdoor activities like boating, skiing, biking and hiking. Agriculture is richly focused on fruit orchards and vineyards that produce some great wine. We found some amazing landscapes and some great twisting roads before arriving at our luxury hotel for the night along the shores of the Okanagan Lake. We had a great dinner out on the patio of the hotel along the water.
North To Alaska: Day 3 on the road
369 miles from Kelowna, BC to Quesnel, BC
We left Kelowna this morning and followed a road to the West up and over a 5,669ft pass. It was a little chilly amongst the snow all around. After that we carved our way through a couple of good canyon roads and continued to see more evidence of flooding (like yesterday) along rivers. We followed the Thompson River North for a little while and then moved over a small divide to follow the Fraser River. These two rivers are huge and running at very high water right now. It’s really impressive to watch. We’re staying in Quesnel for the night, which is nestled along the banks of the Fraser. We just walked down to the river after a great dinner, to witness the speed of the river up close. Wow!
North To Alaska: Day 4 on the road
349 miles from Quesnel, BC to Dawson Creek, BC
We left Quesnel and headed North toward Prince George (the cross-roads of British Columbia). From there our route traveled North and East through large expanses of wilderness over the continental divide. We saw grey foxes, black bear and moose. There is still plenty of evidence of snow around the divide. Dawson Creek lies near the Eastern boundary of British Columbia and is where the Alaska-Canada Highway begins. Mile “0” will be included in some photos tomorrow. The daylight hours are getting noticeably longer every day now as we continue North.
North To Alaska: Day 5 on the road
298 miles from Dawson Creek, BC to Fort Nelson, BC
Dawson Creek is where the “Alaska Highway” officially starts. It was from this point in 1942 that the US Army Corps of Engineers began constructing the 1,523 mile long road to Fairbanks, Alaska. It began as a gravel (mud) road but nowadays it’s all paved and is fantastic to ride on. We began today’s ride at Mile 0. Residential areas like towns or cities are very few and far between. Occasionally rest areas or service stations interrupt the long stretches of wilderness just in time for a needed break. The sides of the road are cleared far to each side to give motorists as much opportunity to spot wildlife as possible (for safety).
North To Alaska: Day 6 on the road
206 miles from Fort Nelson, BC to Liard Hot Springs in the Yukon
Amazing Day!! We continued North and West today from Fort Nelson. Destination Liard Hot Springs at Mile 496 of the Alaska Highway. This ride today was amazing. We had perfect weather and perfect temperatures all day. It was a twisty road through total wilderness, over mountain passes, by pristine lakes and was full of wildlife. After 6 days of riding since we left Portland, a soak in the Liard Hot Springs this evening was just what the doctor ordered.
North To Alaska: Day 7 on the road
422 miles from Liard Hot Springs to Whitehorse, YT
As great as the Liard Hots Springs are, we needed to continue down the road. We moved from British Columbia into the Yukon. The vastness of the wilderness up here is hard to comprehend, but riding 422 miles through it without seeing it come to and end helps put it in perspective. More Bison, Black Bear, and Moose today. We also saw Caribou and Porcupines. We rode over the continental divide and saw the headwaters of the Yukon River. We followed it much of the afternoon. Remnants of ice still floating in many of the local lakes reveals just how short the summer is up here. Our home for the night tonight (and tomorrow night) is Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon with a population of about 25,000. Tomorrow we have a “free” day, which we will likely all use to ride down to Skagway, Alaska and back.
North To Alaska: Day 8 on the road
242 miles from Whitehorse, YT to Skagway, AK and back
Skagway is in Alaska and about 120 miles South of Whitehorse, over 2,864 ft White Pass. The pass had lots of snow around still and frozen lakes. Skagway was a stepping stone for gold seekers back in the 1800’s. Now tourism (like cruise ships) fuels its economy. We had lunch in Skagway and returned back to Whitehorse. Very beautiful ride!
North To Alaska: Day 9 on the Road
407 miles from Whitehorse, YT to Tok, AK
Good weather again today provided good vantages of distant mountains. We continued on the Alaska Highway West and a little North. Wildlife continued in the form of Moose, Black Bear and Elk. We made it to Alaska at last! Now in Tok for the night.
North To Alaska: Day 10- Final Day on the Road
368 miles from Tok, AK to Anchorage, AK
We left Tok and headed West on the Tok Cut Off, skirting North of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. We made a quick stop at the visitor center and continued West on the Glen Highway to Anchorage. We stopped off at the Matanuska Glacier to step foot on some glacial ice and then continued on to our final destination. After 10 days on the road and 3,277 miles, a well deserved break and “Farewell Dinner” was in store.