Doing the Dempster– 408 KM (remember to click on pic for bigger version)


July 8th 2011

Eagle Plains population is 8

So, the DEMPSTER! The Dempster….recently we have heard of 5 medical attentions and one rider needing to be air lifted out. The Dempster has wrecked numerous cars and trailers that we have heard about too. I am sure many reading this might think these incidences are no big deal, but many have totaled their bikes or got really hurt. We will not be one of those statistics. Smile The amount of rain the highway is seeing this year is not usual and proven to be quite the hassle for even the cagers.

According to Wikipedia:

The Dempster Highway, also referred to as Yukon Highway 5 and Northwest Territories Highway 8, is a highway that connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon, Canada to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km (121 mi) to Tuktoyaktuk, on the northern coast of Canada, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road (the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road). The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges.

The highway begins about 40 km (25 mi) east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km (457 mi) to Inuvik.

Much of the highway follows an old dog sled trail. The highway is named after Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector William Dempster, who, as a young constable, frequently ran the dog sled trail from Dawson City to Fort McPhersonNWT.

Many who ride the Dempster usually have one thing to say, “when it gets wet the road turns into slippery SNOT and SLOW down.” We left Dawson City with good weather behind and in front of us. Gassed up at the station at the entrance for the Dempster, loaded up our extra fuel pax as well. Paid dearly for the gas, $1.62/litre. UGH!

Took the typical bike picture at the entrance.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (55)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (54)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (53)

Ok, so I took three pictures. After about 20 KM of pavement the road ended and the ride began. First stop was the Tombstone Interpretative centre.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (51)

Got our Dempster passports stamped here. when you ride the Dempster the travel folks give you a book to get stamped when you stop at key locations. Well, since we are only going to the Arctic Circle, and we hope we get there, raining right now, we will not be getting too many more stamps because we are not going to Inuvik. More on the reason way as we move along in the update.

it is not that long after the pavement ends the wide open spaces are to be seen. Massive, huge and nothing to see but mountains, hills, tundra and for miles and miles.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (50)

Notice the clouds? While it was mainly sunny while we were riding, there were ominous clouds all over ahead of us dumping rain on the Dempster. Remember, rain equates to snotty, ice like riding conditions.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (48)

The views are incredible and breath taking for the most part.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (46)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (45)

Some useful information about the highway

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (43)

this part of the world is a photographers dream. You can literally stand in one location, take a 360 degree view of it all and get 100 pictures that look different. So, once again I will the pictures speak for them self because really I have nothing too important to add.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (41)

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (38)

The sky kept changing from clear blue with white fluffy clouds to that scary dark cloud stuff. Tat was when we both knew to watch out for the wet stuff coming. Don’t get us wrong, we had a great day riding for the most part. Just being honest here about the Dempster. As a rider you have to be completely alert at all times. Keeping an eye looking way ahead for the road to either be light in colour or dark. Dark = wet = slippery snot. While to take in all the views, we had to be mindful that at anytime the conditions would change and all our attention had to be on the riding and not the scenery.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (37)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (36)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (35)

took a little snack break at the edge. There is a ton of brown almost copper like rocks all around this area. Don’t know why and have not asked. If anyone knows what causes this colouration please feel free to comment.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (34)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (33)

They seem to use so many types of material on this road. This stuff looks almost like coal.

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I almost wiped out when getting into this self timer and the rocks were very jagged and sharp.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (31)

In the very far background if you look closely you will see an elephant like figure made out of a natural rock formation. I used my little point and shoot but I still got it even though it was miles away. 1st picture hard to see the formation, second is better. I like the first picture, shows off my photography skills. NOT!

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (28)

We know how everyone does not read what we type so here are more and more pictures.

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Road looks so innocent doesn’t it?

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (18)

Good thing we added the extended side kick stand foot print. This is exactly why bikes like ours need to have a larger foot print. We often park our bikes on unstable ground and this is how one stops a heavy dual sport bike from falling over.

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This was not far from Eagle Plains but we still needed to refuel our bikes in order to make it here.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (16)

Blue skies and then soon after we arrived at Eagle Plains rain.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (11)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (10)

Here we are presently. The lodge at Eagle Plains.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (9)

Bikes are caked in Dempster crud.

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (7)

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (6)

We were also greeted by this…

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Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (2)

When we were waling in to the lodge there was the woman named Kate Skyping with her friend Bogdan in Vancouver, BC. She asked if we would say hi to her friend and can you believe this, the man on the computer knew who we were. He met us at the Western Powersports swap and shop a few months ago. Small world I tell you. Hi Bogdan if you are reading tonight’s post.

Had some good cheeseburgers and beer! felt good to eat even though we only rode a little over 400 KM it felt like a marathon to be honest given the road conditions.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (1)

Quite a group here that run the lodge or have been staying here while working on projects. In this picture is Matt from Nottingham, he was our server, Renie born and raised in Inuvik and works in Eagle Plains, and Kate from Nova Scotia who is working on an artist project about the inter-generation transfer of wisdom. She is talking to grandmothers.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (57)

Last but not least look how well my fork sealers are working. A threesome of riders just came in from bailing in Inuvik because of the bad road construction after the Arctic Circle and just bad weather. One has lost his fork seal on his KTM, the female rider crashed after being blacked out by dust and hit a wash out. She is OK which is good news. The seal protectors we got are working out really well and I think a very important part of anyone’s bike if traveling this way.

Alaska July 8 11 Dempster Hwy (56)

So, another end to a great and interesting day. Our riding skills are really improving and we are learning so much about the Tiger’s after this jaunt up the Dempster. The Tiger’s are just a great bike. Out Heidenau tires are doing really well in this slop. We aired down to 30 in the rear and 32 in the front. More later. Winking smile Let’s hope we make it to the Circle tomorrow. Still nasty looking outside.

15 thoughts on “Doing the Dempster– 408 KM (remember to click on pic for bigger version)

  1. Lovely photos again plus you captured the vastness of that part of Canada. I do enjoy reading your blog entries and your comments on the bikes. Do you think the bikes need a bigger fuel tank?
    Anyway, wishing you both a safe ride and hope the rain holds off.

    • I think in the end this bike just is not going to get great gas mileage and adding a bigger tank just means more weight…carrying extra fuel is not such a bad way to travel. you can always dump the fuel in the tank to lighten your own load.

  2. More good stuff. Thanks.
    Just wondering how you’re getting on with those tyres? I have a set ordered for mine.

    • tires are doing great. Even on the Dempster with airing them down they are handling this slippery stuff as best as they can. I have been a fan of the Heidenau tires since we first put on the first set. This is the 3rd set of tires we are riding on and on street and dirt they work the best for us. Remember though when going off road you have to lower the PSI and then pump them back up when getting back on tar. Makes them work the best and last the longest.

      • Good to know. I ran the ordinary K60s on my Triumph Scrambler but not the Scouts. I used them at 15F/20R on dirt and 20F/25R on tar. They were great.
        Now got the Scouts fitted to my T8XC but not been able to test them yet.
        Keep the excellent posts coming along with the excellent photos. I’m living the dream through your story.

  3. Hallo! I`m keeping a eye on the blog every day! I`m so gelous!!!!! :-))) On the wat home i was so depresed when ive seen the sighn “Welcome to British Columbia“! I wish you well and come back safe in Vancouver! Best regards!!!! Bogdan (on the computer in Eagle Planes) :-))

    • Great to see you have commented Bogdan. That was soooooooooooooo freaking cool that you were on Kate’s laptop when we pulled up to Eagle Plains. Small word eh? We are heading out for Arctic Circle #2 tomorrow. Hope you “come” along!

  4. Pingback: Welcome to the DEMPSTER « CHERYL & LESLIE'S MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES

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