Bill's Barge

Bill Kearley

Got stuck waiting for parts for the Cobra so took on another project. This is what I picked up in Salmon Arm B.C.
I've had the idea for a few years now about drifting the Yukon river from Whitehorse to Dawson City in the Yukon. At 70 years of age I should give my head a shake but last month I bought an old aluminum home made 24 foot pontoon boat with trailer and an old 130 horse Johnson outboard.
So far I have stripped it down to nothing and starting the rebuild. New vinyl deck, all new wiring, solar power, new 50 horse Honda, on demand hot water, kitchen, shower, sleeping area.
Every credit ,sounds like a road trip to me ,always waned to visit that part of the world and dig or pan for some gold ,may be one day
Wow, that's one twisty-turny river! :cool: Looks like a super amazing trip! I know nothing about the Yukon, so have some dumb questions: How long do you expect the trip to take? Do you already know it's deep enough the entire way? Where will you buy fuel along the way? Carmacks maybe? (I haven't done any calcs at all; maybe you can bring enough to make it the entire way?)

I zoomed in to the river on Google Earth and see exactly one boat along the entire stretch in the aerial pics, so it kinda looks like you'll be on your own! :cool: Plan and prep accordingly! Hey, maybe watch Deliverance one more time before ya go :D;)

Amazing! ... please post a report!

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
I be thinkin' I'd do the twin-engine thing...just in case! Perhaps just a 'kicker-size' second engine...but a second engine none the less. ;-)
A satellite cell phone might be a handy accessory as well!
An ounce of prevention and all that...

Ya...I know I'm a pansy...
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Brian Kissel

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Maybe the movie Anaconda would be a good one also. It does look like a good time for sure.

Regards Brian

Chris Kouba

Super stoked to see you put this up here Bill. Will be following with interest. Have you thought about just mounting a travel trailer to it? I've seen that done (on the internet). It'd get you up and running pretty quickly.

Bill Kearley

The trip could take about two weeks, the river runs about 4/5 MPH. Yes there is a chance of grounding so one would have to read the water, I'm not sure how much water the paddle wheelers needed, I hope to require less than two feet and will have a depth sounder. A second motor, yes, a 25 horse Merc, enough to steer and stay somewhat centered on the river. A 50 horse will be enough when needed. Carmacks for fuel and food is about half way and after talking to a guide that lives in Whitehorse I should make it on a half liter per kilometer, mostly idle for steering but I will go with a good margin. Yes I have seen that Chris but a quick thot to using a camper or trailer!! No, I must keep it light as possible/less draft and all. The heavier things will be fuel and water, water not to bad because I can pump it from just about any side creek along the way. I will probably buy a Garmin In Reach for an emergency, push a button and then a second time to confirm and a helicopter is on its way.
I know nothing about boats, but if you have enough solar panels and batteries, could one of your outboard motors be electric? That could save on fuel.
Hi Bill - I'm so intrigued by your Yukon River adventure that I made a precise KMZ file of the river route between Whitehorse and Dawson City - See below. I zoomed way in and made it follow the center of the river, to where you should even be able to navigate by it if you wanted; caveat: I avoided islands which are obvious, and shot for what looked to be the deepest water in every place where I could make such a determination ... but sometimes sand bars are hard to make out, so once out on the water, you might find I was wrong! (here and there, anyway :)) This is the kind of route plan I make for one of the services we do at work, so I know it works well, on roads, and along the Suwannee River here in Florida. If you think the file could be useful, I'll send it to you. I can also export to many different file types. The way we use it is, I export it as a GPX file, and then load it into an app called OsmAnd which is really good because before departing you can download the map background data for the area you'll be in, and then cell service isn't needed; it uses GPS satellites only when that's all there is, and it works great. Anyway, I show the river route as 437 mi (703 km). So if you could average 10 mph and motored 8 hours per day, that's about 5.5 days. Seems doable! Seems like a good trip!

Whitehorse Dawson City via Yukon River v211202a.png