A solo motorcycle vacation from Mississauga to Alaska in July - August 2017

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Trip distance: 16,987 km.
That is equivalent to riding from the northern tip of Norway to the southern tip of Africa, with a 1000km side trip.

The bike just needed basic maintenance:
- Lube the chain most days. One minor chain adjustment.
- Change the engine oil.
- Change the tyres.
- Glue a separated sole onto my boot.

At the end I just had minor pains:
- Sore left elbow.
- Sore left shoulder.
- Numbness in my right hand while riding. This was caused by slowly recovering ligament damage caused by shovelling snow. My doctor told me not to do the ride, but I defied her.

I lost 12 lbs during the trip, not on purpose.

I had no police encounters.
- After leaving central Michigan, I saw no police cars at the side of the highway. They must have more important concerns up North.
- The police re-appeared when I reached Alberta on the way home. As always, they ignored me, despite my speeding indiscretions.
- Of course, in Ontario they were all over the Trans-Canada Highway, but only to ticket motorists.
- On one occasion west of Thunder Bay, I overtook a speeding car then stopped to check my directions, and the car passed me. I then passed the car which had been stopped by the police.
- Still no speeding tickets after 43 years.

I used a TomTom Rider 450 GPS (their latest model), purchased from the Netherlands at a greatly reduced price, which sent audio instructions to my new Avantree HM100P headset. This made the ride so much easier.

Route Map. Zoom in to see more details.


A few musings about the bike's progress.

Some of my friends thought that my solo ride would be lonely. This gave me the idea of recording the photos and stories of the people that I would meet. This folder shows that I was definitely not lonely. When travelling alone, I meet more people than if I am travelling with friends or family.

Animals had a habit of appearing on or near the road when I had no opportunity to photograph them. At other times, I had to consider my safety, so I stayed on the bike, ready to accelerate away if there was a threat.

On or near the road (i.e. within 50 yards), I saw (approximately):
- 20 black bears and 3 grizzly bears. Three of these attempted to collide with me.
- 6 moose, including a cow and calf
- 3 deer
- A herd of 80 restless buffalos (some of these were 3 yards away)
- 1 red fox
- 3 arctic foxes
- 3 coyotes
- Countless small rodents whose favourite game is Frogger
- 100 crows, pecking at the road surface, probably cleaning up the rodents who had low Frogger scores
Other Bikes

Other motorbikes that I encountered, some on the road, some on display.

Museums and a scenic historic train journey.
Day 1 Michigan - Mackinaw

This was new territory for me. There are some photos of Lake Huron.
Day 4 North Dakota

I wanted to cover the distance quickly for a few days, and didn't stop to take photographs.
Day 5 Regina

Photos of the prairies.
Day 6 Saskatoon

More prairies.
Day 7 Calgary

Even more prairies, plus The Badlands.
Day 8 Icefields Parkway

Finally I reached the Rockies. I was unfortunate to go through 3.5 hours of heavy rain, which limited the photo opportunities.
Day 9-10 Jasper to Prince George

At last I was in new territory. This is where the fun really started.
Day 11 Smithers

Waterfalls and a very good B&B.
Day 12 Stewart

Mountains, waterfalls, lakes, glaciers. It was getting better.
Day 13 Hyder

Probably the best glacier that I will ever see.
Day 14 Cassiar Highway

Not a lot here, but the route to the Yukon!
Day 15 Watson Lake

The famous Sign Post Forest, and a fascinating First Nations museum.
Day 16-20 Whitehorse

Lots of history in this vibrant city.
Day 21 Atlin BC

A short side trip back into B.C. to a place that has a natural world record. In retrospect, I should have travelled a bit further to see the area properly.
Day 22 Skagway

A return coach / train trip from Whitehorse to Skagway.
- The first segment shows the coach trip from Whitehorse to Fraser.
- The second segment is in Skagway, after taking the WP&YR train from Fraser.
- The third segment is the coach trip from Skagway to Whitehorse.
Day 23-24 Klondike Highway

The road from Whitehorse to Dawson City, with an overnight stop at Carmacks.
Day 25 Dempster Highway

I had intended to ride as far as the Arctic Circle, but since thunderstorms were forecast for the rest of the week, I went part way up the highway and returned on the same day. This road is dangerous for motorbikes when it turns to mud.
Day 26 Dawson City

I spent a day investigating Dawson City and its surroundings.
Day 27 Top of the World Highway

The weather was overcast, but the rain held off. The Canadian section of the highway was packed gravel which was fairly easy. After crossing into Alaska, the road was perfect asphalt for 26 km, but then turned into a brutal mix of loose sharp gravel and exposed bedrock.
Day 28-29 Fairbanks

This included the ride from Delta Junction to Fairbanks, followed by a rest day.
I was not allowed to photograph Eielson Air Force Base on the way, and did not attempt to do so.
I had intended to ride up the Dalton Highway as far as the Arctic Circle, but since rain was forecast for the next few days, I decided not to risk it.
Day 30 Denali National Park

Low cloud cover spoiled this section. I had hoped to fly over Mount Denali, but this would have been pointless.
Day 31 Palmer

Remaining accommodation in Anchorage was expensive, so I decided to stay in Palmer, to the east.
Day 32-33 Anchorage

Again, weather was not too good, but I got to see the vintage motorcycles at The Motorcycle Shop.
Day 34 Anchorage to Yukon

Some scenic mountains on this stretch, which ended at Beaver Creek.
Day 35 Haines Junction

More good scenery on this stretch.
Day 37-38 North BC Rockies

I put in a long day, ending at Toad River in B.C. I had trouble finding the motel because their address refers to a historic Alaska Highway mile marker (although they did not say that this was historic); this is completely different from the actual kilometer marker posts. I arrived as darkness fell.
Day 39 Dawson Creek

The day's journey ended at the start of the Alaska Highway, although for me it was the end.
Day 40-47 Journey Home

The final week was a fast ride home, just stopping to see a few interesting sights.