Motorcycle Season in the Yukon Has Begun

I’ve been watching the long-range weather forecasts especially closely for weeks now, trying to figure out when I could get on the bike for the first time. The biggest hold-up is always Fireweed Drive, the road that connects us to the Alaska Highway – it has a curve that’s always in shadow, and it takes a very long time to melt the ice off it.

With the temperature just below -20°C (-4°F) yesterday morning, I got some more cleanup done on the trees I dropped a couple of weeks back. I could get it all done in a half-day, but I prefer just fiddling around with it every now and then – there’s no point turning it into real work.

As the temperature climbed, I started thinking that a ride might be possible. I took the car down to the Alaska Highway, and decided that the bit of ice left on Fireweed was manageable, as was the loose gravel at the intersections. It was -3°C (+27°F) when I pulled away from the house on the bike at 1:30. Getting my cold-weather riding gear on had worked off a lot of calories, and had gotten me into more yoga positions than I’d been in for quite a while, so I was raring to go.

The first real challenge was finding a gas station that was accessible – most are still firmly guarded from motorcycles by huge fields of glare ice. That hadn’t occurred to me. The 4th one I went to only had a belt of about 30 feet of ice between the road and the pumps, so with both feet sliding across it to hopefully stabilize me in case of a bit of a slip, I was able to fuel up.

After a few months away from the bike, the open road felt soooo fine!! From my drive to Kluane Lake 3 weeks ago, I was quite sure that the Alaska Highway to the west would be ice-free, and wasn’t disappointed. This is the view west from Km 1453, where the highway drops down to follow the Takhini River.
The view west at Km 1453 of the Alaska Highway

Even at 120 kmh (75 mph), I stayed comfortably warm except for my hands – I’ve got to get better gloves or heated grips. Some day…

With no real destination in mind, I picked the Kusawa Lake Road as the turn-around spot. I noted that that road has now been plowed, so we may go out there in the car over the Easter long weekend.

On the way back, the feral horses that live out that way were crossing the highway, so I stopped to chat with them for a bit. I love seeing them, and wish that the government would quit rounding them up – they seem to have good lives.
Wild horses along the Alaska Highway
By the time I got home, I’d put 172 km (107 miles) on, and had a bit of a chill. I’d probably pushed it a little far with temperatures still below freezing (“how unusual for you to push things a little far”, Cathy says 🙂 ). Luckily, I have the absolute best accessory for Spring motorcycle riding in the Yukon!


Comments

Motorcycle Season in the Yukon Has Begun — 7 Comments

  1. Love it! Coming from Ontario at the end of July to rent a motorcycle for the Klondike Loop. Any suggestion or ideas for the tour and camping would be greatly appreciated.

    • Welcome to ExploreNorth, Sheri 🙂 How long do you have to make the loop? Any side-trips planned (like to Haines or Skagway)? All camping or some hotels? Are you renting a dual-sport? – there’s a lot of gravel on that route.

  2. Your second shot (looking down the road) makes me want to drive that so badly. It looks so beautiful and peaceful.

  3. I echo what Neal just wrote. If my heart could have lept out of my body and into that picture it would have!!! I know someone who lives in Haines Junction and works at Kluane National Park, and from the pictures he has taken, it has to be the most beautiful park in Canada! Happy riding!