Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle: Chapter 2, Part 11

From Canada to Alaska, exploring the Great White North!

motorcycles in Alaska
On to explore the great north!Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Well, Canada certainly lives up to the hype. I don't even understand how it's still possible to have my mind blown by scenery at this point, but I feel like the game just got stepped waaaay up. After all the talk of how gnarly the ride to Alaska is, I wasn't sure what to expect or how well the FZ-07 would handle it, so this has been pretty enlightening. So, we got to the border about a week ago, and after being grilled for a good couple minutes about whether we had guns in addition to my bear spray for protection (To the point that I almost thought the woman wanted us to go get some guns and come back before she'd let us through), we officially crossed into another country! I swapped my dashboard over to kilometers and now everything sounds super far away and the numbers on my speedometer make it look like I'm going super fast, haha. As our first order of business, we headed up to Vancouver and met up with Eric and Fred, the riders we had met down in Oregon near Painted Hills . We caught up on our adventures since we last ran into each other, and ended up camping out on Fred's roof few kilometers from downtown Vancouver. I seriously cannot emphasize enough how awesome some of the people you'll meet on the road can be, especially other adventurers.

Vancouver sunset
The sunset over Vancouver. Honestly, being born and raised in one of the biggest cities in the entire world has kind of turned me off the more developed parts of the country on this trip, but this still felt pretty special. Not a bad introduction to Canada!Photo by Tiffani Burkett

But after a great night of great company, I was eager to get out of the city and see what the Canadian countryside had to offer. We rode up through Whistler, Pemberton, and Lillooet, through traffic and construction, to some of the most epic scenery I’ve seen so far. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the states I’ve come across back in America are certainly no slouches, but there was just a different quality to these lakes and mountains that offered a different kind of beauty. We camped for the night by Kelly Lake outside Clinton, where we went for a swim the next day (a bit colder up here than Painted Hills!) and just bask in the magic that was British Colombia. We continued up the road through 150 Mile House, 100 Mile House, etc. (The towns were apparently named for their distance from Lillooet, a mining town that served as a bit of a base during the Cariboo Gold Rush), before ultimately stopping at a campground at 10 Mile to huddle under some trees to hide from a sudden rain storm.

Babine Lake, British Colombia
I’ve never even seen a lake this still. British Colombia feels like a whole other world.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Hollywood dug a trench around the tent to try to prevent flooding (I wish I had thought of that way back in Boise National Forest), but our luck held out pretty well, as the rain storm eased up for the night. We hopped onto the 16, known oh-so-pleasantly as the Trail of Tears for the many women who were abducted and murdered along the road (There were lots of signs telling women not to hitch-hike along the highway with memorial pictures of past victims. Lovely….) Then we veered off to Topley’s Landing, where we grabbed a Recreation Site off Babine Lake. Recreation sites in Canada are similar to dispersed camping in the USA in the sense that they’re free and a bit off the beaten path. But unlike dispersed camping, these free campgrounds often have tables, fire pits, and outhouses. Such luxury! Babine Lake is apparently the largest natural lake in BC at a massive 110 miles long, and the water was still as glass. We showed up just in time for the start of the salmon runs, so fisherman were everywhere. We met a couple of riders in the neighboring campsite who offered to take us on their boat to go fishing the next day, and stuck around to learn a bit about trolling and fishing. This’ll come in handy if I ever go full “Into the Wild.”

motorcycles in fog
We met some BMW riders from Missouri at the top of the glacier who all seemed a bit surprised to see a couple of Yamaha sportbikes hanging out at the top of the trail. Any bike can do anything if you force it to hard enough, right?Photo by Tiffani Burkett

It took some effort to move on from Babine, but we still wanted to hit Alaska, so we headed toward the 37A, and veered off toward Hyder, Alaska, the southmost point to enter back into the states. Hyder is a small ghost town with not much of anything to speak of (I mean, we ended up crossing back across the border and had to go through customs again just to get dinner). Hollywood had run into a couple on trikes who were from Colorado and by pure chance, happened to have a mutual friend. They let us camp with them for the night, before we headed up to Salmon Glacier the next day. The trail up to the top of the glacier was a wide and well maintained dirt road, so the 20 miles in and 20 miles out wasn’t terribly daunting. But the fog was thick, and despite all of our hopes, it never quite burned off, so there wasn’t much of a view. As we went back down the mountain, some of the clouds slowly started to dissipate, offering just a glimpse of the ice falls below, giving us a vague idea of what we were missing. I wish we could have seen it on a clear day, but I’d say it was still a beautiful ride and worth the trip.

motorcycles in Alaska
Hyder, Alaska. NOW it’s an adventure.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

We headed back across the border again (without getting to stopped to get “Hyderized”- something to do with drinking a lot of rum and seeing if you could still stand - as the pub was closed since all their employees were sick. Small town problems), and camped at a nearby recreation site on a lake. We ran into a couple other people who had also quit their jobs to travel in their vans, so it was interesting to see how other people get along with similar goals. There seem to be a lot of travelers and adventurers up here.

Now, while we technically have, officially, tagged Alaska, I’m not one to do things half-assed, and this trip certainly couldn’t end without getting to see what the ride up is really supposed to be like, so we backtracked to the main Cassiar Highway and started our way up. I’m told fuel is sparse and the road construction is constant, so I guess we’re gonna see what the FZ and it’s 3.7 gallon tank can really do. Onward to the Yukon!