Campbell Highway Day – 368.6 KM Watson Lake, YT to Ross River, YT

(All pictures on any of the posts can be clicked on for larger sizes)

July 5th 2011

Got a late start today because we have been a little cold at night with the temperatures almost reaching freezing.  Although we have a lot of clothing to try to bulk up and stay warm, we are still finding it hard to actually be warm.  In any case, we finally got ready to leave around 11 after eating at camp and repacking everything.

Bad picture, we are very tired here but who cares, still a picture of the 2 of us!  Smile

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Cheryl trying to stay warm in the freezing morning air.

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Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (57)

Our organized chaos in the morning. Somehow everything does end up back where it should.

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (58)

Before we took off for the Campbell highway that takes us from Watson Lake to Ross River via this “dirt’” road, we needed to pack extra fuel.  We have two 1 gallon rotopax containers on our bikes for the time our bikes can’t make the trip before we reach another gas station.  In this case it was a good thing we had the extra gas because we would have never made it to Ross River with only our 19 litres on board.

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (59)

The Robert Campbell “Highway” is 572 KM if you take it all the way to the Klondike Highway which we did.  But on this day we ended at Ross River which was 374 KM give or take a few KM.  The road is mainly dirt and very well groomed.  Some loose gravel, larger rocks, pot holes, loose dirt and when wet some slippery areas.  Having said this it is an easy road to ride for most bikes with suspension and a rider who does not worry about being alone.  We saw only a handful of trucks and NO motorcycles on this road the entire time.

Very quiet and no traffic or people.  Some really nice scenic views and lot’s of treed straights that shelters you from the wind.  We got up to speeds up to 90 – 100 KM/hr on some sections.  Averaged about 75.  Our gas mileage got really good on this trip road.  The Tigers seem to like speeds less than 110KM/hr in order for them to get decent mileage.

Some views and highlights from the Robert Campbell.

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (60)

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (61)

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (62)

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (63)

In the beginning of the ride the road was very dry and dusty.  Cheryl rode behind me the entire way saying “way should both of us get trashed by the dust”.  I felt badly she could hardly see for about the first 200 KM.  After while it began to rain on us.  Seems to be doing this everyday in and around mid day. Rain for a bit and then clears up.

Once the rains came Cheryl could see and I could see her behind me.  Made the road even that much more enjoyable to ride. Here the bikes still look little clean.

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (64)

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (65)

getting dirtier.  This stuff they put on this road, not sure if it is Calcium Chloride on this section but whatever it is sure loves to stick like cement to the bikes. Cheryl saying LOOK at me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am very dusty!

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Then me, not so bad. What a I doing in this picture?  Modeling?

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Some info as to what these roads do for the areas

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Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (69)

Bikes by now are just getting caked with this crap….

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Some sections of the road is sort of paved.  We both can not figure out why pave a few KM of road and not the rest?  At times you are on and off pavement on the Campbell quite a bit and see signs like this all the time.

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We both agree this was an enjoyable way to get to Ross River and really stay away from all the RV’s and tourists.

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More pictures showing Cheryl’s dusty KLIM suit

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we took snack and pee breaks along the way.  The one time Cheryl goes to pee a truck actually passes by. Like the first one in hours. That is her face in the above picture as well as showing how dusty she is.

We had to use our extra fuel.  We dumped both gallons in the tanks.  Actually not a full 2 gallons had to leave some room for expansion in the containers but it gave us another 170 KM each to ride when we needed about 80 KM.

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (39)

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (40)

There are many spots to capture and take in the views throughout the highway.

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there is a bridge in the above picture…the Yukon love these bridges with metal grates.

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Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (37)

Notice the beautiful blue sky?  This is what we headed into as we got nearer to Ross River.

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The next picture was taken at the same just in the other direction

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we arrived in Ross River to really not find a town at all.  Went to the only grocery store where a bunch of kids were running it and seemed to not like the “intruders”.  We just wanted to know where to camp and if we could buy beer.  Well, no one knew where to camp and there was no beer in the store.  Maybe Ross River is a dry town?  We did not ask.  Some guy while we were getting gas pointed us into the direction of the camp ground.

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It’s raining on us here.

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Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (46)

Kind of a sad little town to be honest but I bet those who live there are happy?

Once we got to the campground right outside of town, the rain stopped and the skies cleared up.  Just in time for a camp fire and dinner.  Funny thing is once we got the fire going, actually Cheryl, I decided I wanted to move sites because there was a nicer one across the way so we could hear the river.  Cheryl literally carried over embers from the fire she worked so hard on to start another fire in the pit at the other site.  I had to carry the tent I all ready set up.

here is our first site.

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then the second and better site! Winking smile

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When we get better WIFI I will post the short video of Cheryl explaining why we are moving camp sites.  Plus, the bathrooms were closer.

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This was the end of day 6 and a good day it was.  We are not really minding the rain because our gear is really working out great.  We just hate setting up when it is raining or breaking down camp.  I will try and get Day 7 up tomorrow.

This trip is turning out to be something else to be honest.  The riding has been awesome, the weather up and down, the views and experience priceless.

Alaska July 5 11 Watson to Ross (52)

Author: advgrrl

Avid ADV rider! This Blog is all about the adventure in adventure riding. Researching new bikes, routes, accessories, learning about other riders and hopefully a great place for others to comment and explore with me. PLUS, up and down's, wildlife, my dogs, my life!

17 thoughts on “Campbell Highway Day – 368.6 KM Watson Lake, YT to Ross River, YT”

  1. Sounds like your having the same weather pattern we have here in the UK at the moment! 🙂
    Again, great photos and I enjoy all your comments. Let us know your thoughts on the new Tigers. Sounds like they need a larger fuel tank??

  2. Great blog. I just covered 5500 miles from Ushuaia to La Paz. Unfortunately broke my foot in the process and now in plaster in Houston planning our next trip. Do you guys have any quantitative fuel consumption data as I am thinking of a Tiger myself, appreciate anything you can offer.

    have a great trip and stay safe


    1. Consumption is a lot…poor gas mileage to be honest if you ride the bike hard and fun. I am comparing it to our Beemers…but I hope triumph can improve on this..we know they can somehow…the Tiger though is still a way more comfortable street bike and we still love it and miss it at times.

  3. It is always the journey that is the experience, never the destination. Keep up the great reports. Never heard what the brake issue was with the bikes (unless i missed it) but obviously you have it fixed.

    1. still trying to figure out the source. Is it the chain being too tight? Not sure yet. Going to check things out today but it does not seem to effect the bike handling at all.

  4. Great post! I love your pictures (and like the Tiger more than I figured I would since I am stuck staring at BMWs 😉 ).

    I am considering getting one of those Mutha Hubbas for my family (parents/baby). How do you like it? Would you be willing to throw down a mini review in a blog post? Thanks!!

    1. The tent is great and roomy but as we are finding out with all the mesh not too warm. Just up to you and when you would plan on using this tent. I might go with one with less mesh after this trip but this one we will keep for a long time. Easy to set up and packs small enough.

      1. Well we ended up buying a tent with less mesh after all. just sold the Muth Hubba and went with a Big Agnes Gore 3. We upgraded our sleeping bags too and got Big Agnes Roxyann bags made for women. After this trip we learned it’s better to be too warm then too cold.

  5. so it kinda looks like that road would be no good with street tires… I demo’d a Tiger and liked it a lot, but the off-road was too tall for me. It looks like the street version with knobby tires would work.
    yes? no?

    1. try the XC with either the seat on low or the low seat in general on low. We both fit the bikes and we are only 5’51/2 ” and 5’41/2″ …. and no street tires for this type of riding to be safe

  6. Nice stuff…Just bought my tiger xc and for all the gas people out there, with aggressive driving, breaking it in (rode it like I stole it up and down through the gears) I was able to do 250 kms before the reserve light came on. Reving it out all the time around town, the computer is saying I’m getting 7.4 l/100 kms. It is dropping as I normal out the throttle now. Tank should be good for about 300 kms in any conditions.

    1. tanks does not go 300KM in any conditions as you might know by now…it drops quite a bit riding the bike over 6000 RPM’s. But it is a trade off for such a nice comfortable bike.

  7. This is a nice one to repost as so many are so intent on getting to Alaska or Dawson that they pass up nice routes like this. I’ve taken the Campbell a couple of times the first being around thirty years ago and it is still about the same. A little more asphalt is about it. The last time, there were a lot of logging trucks and you really need to pull over and stop when you see them coming as they are not going to slow down and the dust cloud will linger. Without the trucks, it is a wonderful way to escape the RV trains. On my last trip, I saw one R80 G/S and he was on his 30th trip across Canada. I guess he enjoys the trip…

    1. many told us NOT to take this road and we actually really liked it as we saw maybe 2 trucks….it’s a nice detour to Ross River then to Dawson City for sure

  8. Hey there. Just stumbled across this blog and love it. I ride a cruiser but try and put on as many miles as I can. One of my ‘ride bucket list entries is wanting to ride to Watson lake”. The plan is to go next year.

    Hoping to see many more posts from you in the days ahead!

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