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Thread: Chicago to Juneau Road Conditions ???

  1. #1

    Question Chicago to Juneau Road Conditions ???

    Has anyone been across Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and the lower part of the Yukon this summer (2003)? Got a road report on conditions and current road reconstruction? Any comments would be appreciated by There are two of us leaving on August 15th and want to do the trip in 12 - 14 days. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    I rode from Houston, TX to Anchorage in early July of this year. My route included Calgary, Edmonton, Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek, the Alaska Hwy from Dawson Creek to Tok, AK, then on to Anchorage.

    The roads were excellent as far as Ft. Nelson, with a few short construction zones and small gravel patches in the higher elevations between Ft. Nelson and Watson Lake. From Watson Lake to Haines Junction was again excellent, with the exception of a ~5 mile construction (gravel) stretch just east of Haines Junction.

    However, from Haines Junction to Anchorage was hell (at least on an 850+ lb. K1200LT). About 15 miles of gravel beginning at Destruction Bay followed by severe, bike-damaging pot holes between Burwash Landing and Beaver Creek, followed by another 30 miles of gravel/construction from Beaver Creek to the U.S. border.

    From the U.S. border to Tok was nominally paved, but with 100-200 ft. gravel patches every mile or two. (Just as you get up to speed, it is back on the brakes before hitting the gravel.)

    From Tok to Glennallen was good, except for a treacherous 29 mile stretch of continuous, fairly deep, gravel where the road was severely damaged by a major earthquake this past winter. The highway dept. had removed the damaged pavement, but had not began repaving. Finally, there was a 9 mile, rocky, muddy construction/blasting zone near the Matanuska glacier as I approached Anchorage.

    If I had turned south at Whitehorse or Haines Junction, toward Skagway, it would have been a much more enjoyable ride.

    If you want more info, e-mail me at

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply - has anyone done this trip by keeping on the US side of the border and then hanging a sharp right past Idaho? I know this is longer by about 900 miles - but the better road conditions may offer greater speed. Any thoughts?

  4. #4
    Rally Rat Jim Shaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Hinckley, OH and Ann Arbor, MI USA

    Beware of September

    From the sound of it, you are riding to AK near the end of the riding season. I remember being warned to get out by 1 September, or risk leaving the bike until next Spring.

    It turned out to be true in '96. As I was riding out about the 28th, the weatherman was reporting the first snows to 'stick,' up north near Fairbanks.

    Still, AK was one of the most beautiful places I ever rode. Another old adage that seems true is that any AK road information more than 48 hours old is useless. I'd put that number at 24 hours. Road crews work fast when they have just four months to repair all the damage from the previous year. Ten miles of asphalt road on Wednesday can become 10 miles of boulder field by Thursday at noon.

    Be sure to check out the 'flagmen' at road construction areas. I don't know where they find some of the gorgeous women they put out there, but rumor has it they are hand picked by the road crew foremen in hopes of having a roomate. Your tax dollars at work.

    Jim Shaw

  5. #5
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    The roads across Sakachewan are a little rough, but not terribly so. Alberta has pretty good roads for the most part, plus the speed limits a generally higher than most places (Canada's answer to Montana). Right now in British Columbia and parts of western Alberta there are several major forrest fires out of control. There are frequent and unexpected road closures due to this. If you want to head north through BC you may have some difficulties. You can go North through Alberta on highway 2 to Edmonton, then further north through Grand Prarie and on to Dawson Creek. Its not as much fun as the mountain highways in BC, but you may have less trouble with roadblocks.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

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