Driving The Dempster Highway: A Canadian Travel Guide For RVers

Driving The Dempster Highway: A Canadian Travel Guide For RVers

Driving The Dempster Highway is a road that cuts through the Northwest Territories of Canada and opens up this incredible part of the world for us to experience. This highway is one of the world’s most spectacular road trips and yet, many people have never heard of it.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the NWT borders may be closed to all non-essential travel. For more information, see border information from the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Driving the Dempster: A Journey of a Lifetime

Start of the journey on the Dempster Hwy
Start of the journey on the Dempster Hwy. (D.Saparow)

The Dempster Highway is a remote highway in the Northwest Territories of Canada that was originally built to service mining and oil exploration. As years went by, it continued to serve as an important transportation route for locals and tourists alike who enjoyed exploring its scenery from their motorhomes or RVs. It’s no wonder then why so many RVers have made this journey over the years.

The highway was completed in 1957 and named for Hudson’s Bay Company trader and explorer Donald A. “Dan” Dempster. The highway crosses several mountain ranges, including the Richardson Mountains and Ogilvie Mountains, and many rivers, including the Peel River and the Mackenzie River. The Dempster Highway connects Dawson City in Yukon with Inuvik in the Northwest Territories and passes through a variety of landscapes. It might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect vacation, but for those who are brave enough to take it on, the Dempster Highway is an unforgettable experience.

The highway is the only road that links the rest of Canada with this northernmost point of North America. It’s a beautiful drive, past the Arctic Circle and all sorts of magnificent scenery, and finally linking up with the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk-Highway, which takes you all the way to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean.

History of the Dempster Highway

Setting up camp in the Tombstone campground
Setting up camp in the Tombstone Campground (D. Saparow)

The Dempster Highway has a fascinating history. However, its history is quite short, only dating back to the late 1950s when it was first built.

The Dempster Highway is a highway in Canada that connects the Southern Yukon with Inuvik, the Mackenzie Delta and communities in the Northwest Territories. The highway crosses land and territories with no sign of human presence; no side roads, houses or power lines. It is considered one of Canada’s most remote highways, connecting two major provinces and two big territories: Alberta and British Columbia to the north, and Yukon Territory to the south. In total, the highway spans 742 km/461 miles.

The Dempster Highway was constructed between 1969 and 1975 and has been nicknamed “the world’s longest dirt road”. The surface of the highway is gravel, which helps to prevent the permafrost from melting. Furthermore, the highway crosses through three different Canadian territories before reaching Inuvik.

Geography of the Dempster Highway

The highway begins its journey in Dawson City, Yukon, and winds through the mountains before descending on a plain and heading for the Blackstone and Ogilvie Mountains. This road is unique due to its geography, with sections of the drive winding through the mountains, following creeks and rivers, and crossing long flat plains.

Driving The Dempster Highway

Traveling the Dempster Hwy
Traveling the Dempster Hwy. (D. Saparow)

Before embarking on the journey, make sure you are fully aware of what you are getting yourself into. The Dempster Highway is an amazing road that winds through some of the most beautiful mountain and tundra scenery in Canada. The highway crosses several mountain ranges, including the Richardson Mountains and Ogilvie Mountains, and numerous rivers, including the Peel River and the Mackenzie River. It’s not a good fit for inexperienced city drivers who may not be used to handling such challenging terrain. Make sure to do your research and plan accordingly.

There are three layers of different types of soil that make up the highway: clay, shale, and sandstone. The first layer is made of clay, which is very dense and sticky when wet. The second layer is made of shale, which is less dense than the first layer but more porous than the third layer. The third layer is made of sandstone, which is only found in the lowest parts of valleys.

The highway is not without its challenges, though. The route is bumpy and narrow-the only set of lights you’ll see at night are located at a few country houses. But for all its challenges, it’s still a beautiful road If you’re looking for an adventure, this is the place to go.

The service stations are at Eagle Plains, Fort McPherson, and Inuvik, respectively (distance from Dempster Junction). For the majority of its length, the Dempster Highway crosses land and territories with no sign of human presence.

When Is the Best Time to Drive the Dempster Highway?

We reach the Artic Circle
We’re at the Arctic Circle (D.Saparow)

The best time to drive it is from June to September, when the weather is mild and there are still plenty of daylight hours. Fall colors make it a particularly popular time to visit this remote highway, but if you’re interested in seeing them at their peak, then you will need to plan your trip for late August or early September.

The Dempster Highway is an all-weather road that stretches from Dawson City, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The highway typically closes for approximately 6 to 8 weeks in the fall when the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers freeze and again in the spring when they thaw. Driving the highway in the winter can be dangerous and is not recommended.

The highway can take anywhere from 5 to 8 days to drive, depending on the weather conditions and how many stops you make. However, there are tourist information centers located along the route as well as various accommodation options (such as campsites) available should you need them. So make sure you’re prepared before you hit the road and enjoy the amazing scenery while you’re at it.

Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into Before Driving the Highway

Along the North Klondike River
Along the North Klondike River

The Dempster Highway is a grueling journey from Inuvik to Norman Wells. It’s one of the most remote roads in North America and is the only road that connects Northern Canada to Alaska.

Make sure you have extra fluids, spare belts, basic tools, tow-rope, axe, knife and matches. Additionally, ensure that all of your tires are in good condition with lots of treads before embarking on the journey . This will help minimize damage to your vehicle while driving on rough terrain.

The Dempster Highway is notorious for its poor driving conditions, which can be difficult to predict due to the 24-hour daylight in the summer months. The highway is narrow and filled with potholes, making it treacherous to drive on at any time of year.

Dora’s Dempster Highway Quick Tips:

  • Make sure your vehicle and tires are in good condition.
  • Start your trip with a full tank of gas so you don’t run out of fuel and always carry some extra gas with you, just in case. Gas stations are available at Klondike River Lodge, Eagle Plains, Fort McPherson and Inuvik.
  • You’ll want to make sure you have a full size (or two) spare and that you know how to change it yourself.
  • The highway has a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h (55 mph) and has several river crossings that are closed by ice from October to May. Choose the speed according to road conditions.
  • When driving the Dempster Highway, it is important to obey all posted signs. This will ensure your safety while traveling on this route. There are many sharp curves and steep drop-offs, so please drive with caution.
  • The Dempster Highway is a two-lane paved road that has no shoulder and poses its own unique risks to drivers.
  • When meeting vehicles, especially large trucks, be sure to slow down and pull over in order to help avoid any damage to your windshield.
  • Driving the highway in the winter can be dangerous and is not recommended.
  • Check weather and road closures before you go.
  • Bring a first-aid kit.
  • Pack plenty of food and water.

The Northwest Territories and Inuvik

Dempster Hwy The Axeman Creek
Dempster Hwy. The Axeman Creek (D. Saparow)

Inuvik is located in the Northwest Territories and is home to a growing population of over 3,000 people. The new highway starts at Inuvik and crosses the Peel River, Mackenzie River using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges. This new route provides travelers with an additional 147km (91 miles) on NWT Highway 10 to Tuktoyaktuk from Dempster’s original terminus in Inuvik—meaning that visitors can now drive all the way to Tuktoyaktuk on one road. The journey from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk is approximately 2 hours.

Inuvik is also the gateway to the Arctic and has become a popular tourist destination. The Inuvik Region is located in the Northwest Territories and is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and dog sledding in this unique part of the world.

Bring Food and Water

There is no food or water available until Eagle Plains on the Dempster Highway. This means that if you are traveling in an RV, you will need to stock up on groceries and water before you leave Dawson City. (We recommend the AQUATANK-2.)

When traveling in Canada, it is important to be aware of the drinking water advisories. Many areas have non-commercial water sources that should be boiled or treated before drinking. It is also important to check with local authorities before consuming any water, as advisories can change quickly.

Make Sure You Have Adequate Supplies when Driving on The Dempster Highway

Be sure to pack appropriately for the Dempster Highway. Driving on it can be awesome, but don’t forget to prepare for the drastic temperature changes from morning to night.

Make sure you have adequate supplies, including mosquito head nets and bug repellent spray. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this one on those windless days in early summer when the mosquitoes are out in full force.

A Portable Tire Air Compressor can be a lifesaver if you find that your spare tire is slightly deflated, and a Tire Repair Kit can be helpful for small punctures while driving.

The Milepost Travel Planner is an excellent resource for outlining what you’ll need, with a mile-by-mile account of the highway and every other major highway in Alaska and Yukon.

When driving in bear country, the safety of yourself and the bears needs to be at the forefront of your mind. Bear spray is a great way to keep yourself safe in the event that you encounter a bear. But, it is important not to rely too heavily on it and to practise proper Bear Avoidance Techniques.

Final Thoughts

There is no one answer to the question of what is the best way to see Canada. It really depends on what you want to see and do. If you’re looking for an adventure, explore our vast wilderness by canoe, kayak, or raft. Or go camping, fishing or hiking in some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. If you’re more interested in history and culture, visit one of our many museums or cultural centers, or meet some locals and learn about their way of life. So take your time and enjoy the journey—you won’t regret it!

Burning Man RV: How to Get the Most Out of Your RV at Burning Man

Burning Man RV: How to Get the Most Out of Your RV at Burning Man

FEATURED PHOTO: Billie Grace Ward (CC)

Going to Burning Man is a lot of work and requires lots of effort. However, when you’re with old friends or meeting new ones, or playing with your kids on the playa and watching them create their own unique worlds, it’s amazing to see how special this experience can be… Here are some tips for getting the most out of your RV at Burning Man and ensuring you have a great time.

What is Burning Man?

Burning Man

Burning Man is an annual event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada that celebrates creativity and community. The event is described as an experiment in community and art, and attracts people from all over the world who come to take part in the week-long celebration. The festival lasts for a week and features art installations, music performances, and other activities.

Burning Man does not have a “spiritual” focus—transformations are not the focus of Burning Man. The 10 Principles are sent out with each ticket and encourage attendees to attend the event to experience that principle firsthand. For example, “Radical Inclusion” means that everyone is welcome at Burning Man, no matter their race, religion, or sexual or gender orientation.

Many people think Burning Man is all about the crazy costumes and wild transformations, but that’s not really the focus of the event. The purpose of Burning Man is to provide a space for creativity and self-expression, where people can come together and share their ideas.

The festival is one of the largest in North America and attracts participants from all over the world. In addition to art installations and music performances, Burning Man also features a survival guide and a F.A.Q so participants can prepare for their trip to the desert. The festival has listings of theme camps and RV’s available for rent on its website which are essential to preparing before the festival begins.

Burning Man Is an Annual Event

Burning Man is an annual event that takes place in the Nevada desert. The event was started by Larry Harvey and Jerry James in 1986. It is an eight-day event that attracts over 70,000+ people every year.

  • The event features a large city and community built out of tents and RVs, as well as many unusual structures.
  • Burning Man is enjoyed by people from all over the world, and offers many benefits not found in other camping situations.
  • Participants are encouraged to bring only what they need to survive and to leave no trace when they depart.
  • The weeklong event culminates in the burning of a large wooden effigy, hence the name. Burning Man is described as an experiment in temporary community and radical self-reliance.

Burning Man Is a Week-Long Camping Event

Man Built of Drones 2021
Man Built of Drones 2021

Burning Man is a weeklong event that takes place in the Nevada desert and features an annual city built of tents and RVs.

The event begins on the last Monday of August and ends on the first Monday of September. Burning Man is described as an experiment in community and art, where attendees are encouraged to explore radical self-expression.

The weeklong event culminates in the burning of a large wooden effigy, hence the name. Burning Man is described as an experiment in temporary community and radical self-reliance.

Participants are encouraged to bring only what they need to survive and to leave no trace when they depart.

Burning Man Is a Celebration of Self-Expression and Creativity

There is no central theme to Burning Man; instead, it is up to participants to create their own theme camp or village. Burners (the name given to attendees) come from all over the world, and range in age from 18 to 80+.

The event features art installations, music performances, and workshops. Participants are encouraged to express themselves through costumes, body paint, and other creative means.

The desert setting provides a blank canvas for artists to create incredible works of art. The eclectic mix of music and performers ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy. And the sense of community encourages participants to let their inhibitions go and express themselves freely.

Burning Man Is a Great Opportunity to Explore Your Creative Side

The event features art installations of all shapes and sizes, as well as performances by musicians and DJs from all genres. There’s also a thriving community at Burning Man, where attendees can meet new friends and connect with old ones. If you’re looking for an opportunity to let your creative juices flow, Burning Man is the place for you!

What Are the Benefits of Bringing Your RV to Burning Man?

Burning Man is a wild and crazy festival, but it can be managed if you bring your own RV. Camping anywhere is possible with the vehicle, driving to different spots every day becomes a breeze with the truck and showers and cooking will never be an issue with access to water in your trailer. In addition, that R.V gives one a sense of freedom that cannot be matched.

Campervan and RV rentals are the most popular way to attend the event because of the desert dust that gets into everything.

Practice Boondocking or Dry Camping Before You Go

FI blog post 1
D. Saparow

Burning Man is a unique experience and one that should be approached with caution. If you’re not familiar with boondocking or dry camping, it’s important to practice this before going to the festival. Find an area near home where you can camp for a night or two without hookups. This will give you a chance to learn about your rig’s capabilities and how much power and water you use. It will also help you get comfortable with living in close quarters with your family and friends. This will give you a chance to learn about the gear you need and how to best use it. You’ll also get comfortable dealing with some of the challenges that come with camping off the grid.

This will help you get used to living without all the amenities of home. And it will give you a chance to test your supplies and see what else you might need to pack along.

See: “RV Boondocking Tips: What You Need to Know When RV Camping Off-Grid” and/or “25 RV Tips to Remember When Planning Your Next Boondocking Adventurefor more info.

How Do You Pack Your RV for Burning Man?

There is no one right way to pack your RV for Burning Man. You will need to pack food, water, clothes, and camping gear, but you will also need to pack art supplies, costumes, and anything else you might need for the week-long festival.

Just like when you’re packing for a vacation, make sure to pack enough clothes and supplies to last the entire trip. Be sure to include things like sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, insect repellent, and towels. You may also want to bring along games or books to help pass the time on long trips. And don’t forget your burning man essentials like goggles and dust masks!

Another thing to keep in mind is the climate in the Black Rock Desert. It can be very hot during the day and very cold at night, so you will want to pack accordingly. Make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as well as warm clothes for the evening.

Finally, make sure you have a plan for getting your RV back home. If you’re renting an RV, be sure to ask about restrictions on Burning Man attendance. Some rental companies have a no Burning Man policy and will not rent their RVs to participants in the event.

See: “Tips for First Time RV Rental: What to Know Before You Rent a RV” for more info.

How Do You Prepare Your RV for Burning Man?

Burning Man is all about planning! The earlier you start preparations, the better off you’ll be.

Some tips on how to prepare your RV for Burning Man include:

  • Clean the inside and outside of the RV.
  • Make sure the tires are properly inflated.
  • Check the fluid levels and brakes.
  • Pack a first-aid kit.
  • Bring plenty of food and water.
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent.

It’s important to take some steps to protect your RV from the dust and heat. You’ll want to close all your vents, tape over all switches and seams where possible, and double-vent external vents with cheap AC filters to keep as much dust from entering the RV as possible.

Prepare for Extreme Weather Conditions

The desert landscape is an intriguing mix of extreme temperatures. The daytime can be sweltering with temperatures reaching upwards of 115 degrees F, while the nighttime temperature can drop to below freezing. It is important to be prepared for these conditions, especially if one plans on spending a lot of time outside.

The best way to prepare for the extreme temperatures is to pack light clothing that can be layered. As the day progresses, one can remove layers as necessary and put them back on when it becomes cooler at night.

Prepare for Dust Storms

345px Dust storm in Black Rocks Desert nn
Burnng Man Dust Storm

Dust storms are a common occurrence at Burning Man. The playa is a dry lakebed, and during the summer months, it is not uncommon for dust storms to develop. These storms can be quite intense and are capable of reducing visibility to near zero.

The best way to prepare for dust storms is to bring goggles and a bandana that can be tied over the face. Goggles should be worn over the eyes and nose, with the bandana covering everything else on your face. A bandana helps to filter the air by catching particulates before they enter your breathing space.

In order to protect your eyes and lungs from the toxic dust, you will need a sturdy pair of goggles. The goggles will not be able to seal completely, but they should get the majority of the dust out of your eyes. This will allow you to see what you are doing and keep your eyes from watering. If the goggles fog up, you can wipe them with a clean cloth to remove dust that has settled on the lenses.

The goggles, bandana, or dust masks are all common items that can be found at a hardware store.

Treat Your RV Before Camping in Dusty Areas

While it’s impossible to completely avoid getting dust on everything, there are a few things you can do to minimize the amount of damage it causes.

  • Dust and dirt will accumulate in your RV during Burning Man.
  • Wear comfortable shoes or sandals when attending Burning Man, to prevent accumulation of dust on your feet.
  • RV preparation for Burning Man begins months in advance.
  • There are a few things you need to do before heading to Black Rock City.
  • Make sure your RV is in good condition and ready for the desert environment.
  • Bring along supplies, including food, water, and shade
  • Be prepared for the extreme temperatures and dust storms that can occur at Burning Man
Burning Man aerial view 2010
Burning Man aerial view 2010

The fine dust that is endemic to these areas can really take its toll on your vehicle if you don’t give it a good clean and polish first. Make sure to wash all of the exterior surfaces, including the windows, and pay special attention to the seams and crevices where dirt can easily accumulate. Give the interior a good scrub down as well, paying particular attention to any fabric surfaces that may have become stained or soiled. And don’t forget to vacuum out all of those nooks and crannies! A clean RV will make for a much more pleasant camping experience.

This will help keep the dust out and make it easier to clean up when you get home. You should also cover any furniture or electronics with cloths or tarps—again, to keep as much of the dust away as possible. Finally, make sure to vacuum and wipe down your RV regularly throughout the event- especially before you leave. By taking these simple steps, you can help ensure that your Burning Man experience is both fun and worry-free!

Don’t Get Overwhelmed by the Amount of Dust

640px Burning Man 2013 BRC Dust tents and trailers 9660373186
Burning Man 2013-Dust tents and trailers

Dust is everywhere at Burning Man and it will get on you, your clothes, your hair, and everything else. You will be covered in dust before, during, and after the festival. It’s important to take precautions so that you don’t breathe in all of the dust. At least 1 bandana should be worn to mask your mouth and nose at all times while attending Burning Man.

It is also recommended that everything inside of the vehicle are washed off with a hose before returning to the rig for even a quick trip inside (even if it’s just going into the bathroom). The sooner you embrace the dust, the sooner you’ll start to enjoy your burn more fully. There are things you can do to reduce the amount of dust that gets into the RV, and there are also things you can do in order to help keep it insulated and cooler.

Despite best efforts to keep it at bay, dust accumulates on furniture, window ledges and all surfaces within a few days of cleaning. The problem with dust is that it can cause allergies and asthma attacks, as well as aggravate eczema and other skin conditions.

One way is to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which will remove 99 percent of the allergens from the air. You can also buy a humidifier to put in your RV, which will help keep the dust down. And finally, make sure you dust your RV frequently.

Here Are the Best Ways to Proactively Deal with The Dust

The dust will get into your food, your clothes, and even your hair. Here are a few ways to deal with the dust:

  • Wear a mask while outside to avoid breathing in the dust.
  • Wipe down all of your surfaces inside and outside of your home regularly.
  • Vacuum every day, and sweep as often as possible.
  • Keep all of your windows and doors closed as much as possible.
  • If possible, try to move somewhere that is less dusty.
  • Stay safe: Wear a mask and goggles when cleaning up dust, and make sure to stay hydrated.
  • Cover up: Use tarps or plastic sheeting to cover furniture and other sensitive items.
  • Clean up: Sweep and mop as often as possible to keep the dust from building up.

What Are Some Tips for Living in Your RV at Burning Man?

Burning Man Neonman
The neon-tubed Man

Living in your RV at Burning Man can be a unique and fun experience, but it’s important to be prepared for the challenges that come with it. Here are some tips to help make the most of your time on the Playa:

  1. Make sure you always lock your RV when leaving, even if you’re just stepping away for a few minutes. This will help keep your belongings safe while you’re not on site.
  2. Use a separate tent to store your belongings in while you’re at Burning Man. This will keep them from getting dusty or sandy, and it will also make it easier to access them when you need them.
  3. Buy a couple of bags of ice before you get to Burning Man so that you don’t have to wait in line as long once you’re there. You’ll definitely appreciate having cold drinks and food!
  4. Try to use water sparingly while living in your RV at Burning Man—it is very limited, especially compared to regular homes. One way to conserve water is by using paper plates and disposable cutlery instead of doing dishes every day.
  5. Have designated places for important items like a dust mask and coat, food, backpack, etc., so that you can easily find them when you need them. This will help minimize the amount of time you spend looking for things.
  6. Baby wipes will be your new best friend! You won’t have access to showering for days on end, so make sure to pack plenty of them.

Bring Plenty of Water and Food

You’ll need enough for yourself and your pets, as well as for emergencies. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case you run out of supplies. That might mean having extra water and food stored away, or knowing where the nearest store or restaurant is located.

Conserve Water

The Black Rock Desert can be a harsh environment, and it’s important to stay hydrated during your time there. You can also conserve water by cutting showers out of your life during a Burning Man stay; consider using wet wipes and dry shampoo to keep yourself clean, instead of dumping it into your gray tank. If every participant conserves water in this way, it will make a big difference for everyone!

What Are the Rules for Driving Your RV at Burning Man?

There are no specific rules for driving your RV at Burning Man, but it is important to be aware of the guidelines for driving in Black Rock City. In general, drivers should be aware of the size and weight of their vehicles, and should drive slowly and carefully to avoid damaging property or injuring people.

Here are some tips for driving your RV safely and responsibly:

  1. Drivers should stay in their vehicles at all times leading to and from Black Rock City.
  2. On opening day, tune into the local radio station that broadcasts traffic updates in order to stay informed of what’s going on in Black Rock City.
  3. The Burning Man traffic report is available on social media outlets.
  4. Speed limit is 5 mph throughout Black Rock City – drive slowly and carefully, especially in the late evening/early morning hours when there are pedestrians and cyclists about.
  5. You must have a valid driver’s license and vehicle registration from your home state.
  6. Never drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, even if you’re taking prescription medication for medical conditions.
  7. Always obey traffic laws and dress appropriately for the weather conditions—wear sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and clothing that will keep you cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather.
  8. Drive slowly and carefully on playa; don’t race other RVs or drivers on the roadways. Remember to turn off your headlights when approaching camp at night so others can see you coming!

Burning Man Is an Event that Should Be Experienced at Least Once in A Lifetime!

It’s like no other place on Earth. There are so many things to do at Burning Man, it’s hard to describe. There is a whole city built out of nothing but art and creativity. You can go to workshops on anything you want, including building your own art car or fire spinning. You can go to lectures on anything you want, including how to survive the harsh desert weather. There are so many theme camps and art projects that it’s hard to describe. The entire city is run on a gift economy, meaning that everything you need at Burning Man can be given to you for free. You just have to give back when it’s your turn! There are so many things to do at Burning Man, it’s hard to describe.

Alaska Salmon: The Ultimate Guide To Alaska’s Wild Salmon

Alaska Salmon: The Ultimate Guide To Alaska’s Wild Salmon

Did you know that Alaska salmon go through an incredible journey before they end up on your dinner plate? These fish are born in fresh water, travel downstream towards the ocean, and make their way back to the place of their birth. It’s an amazing process that takes them from one extreme to the other!

The Life of an Alaska Salmon

Salmon are interesting creatures and their life cycle is nothing short of amazing. Adult salmon swim in the ocean for several years before starting their long journey back upriver to spawn. Upon reaching their spawning grounds, they re-adapt to fresh water and swim upstream to reach their young. After spawning, the salmon die within a week or two, but it’s all worth it because their offspring will carry on their legacy.

It’s truly fascinating how salmon can navigate up narrow rivers with miles of rapids and waterfalls—something that young salmon are able to do easily. Their determination is admirable and makes for an incredible life cycle!

Introduction to Alaska Salmon

Commercial processing Salmon 1
Photo by Dora Saparow

Commercial fishermen catch millions of pounds of salmon each year. The fish are sold fresh, frozen or canned. Salmon also support a large sport fishing industry.

Salmon are generally sexually mature at about three years old, and sometimes they will swim upstream to lay their eggs in order for the new baby fish, known as fry, to have a better chance of survival. After spawning, the salmon die and create nutrient-rich water for the fry. Within a week after spawning, they will have already hatched and be on their way.

Once they reach their home rivers and streams, the salmon revert to fresh water and stop feeding as they make their way upstream to the place where they were born. They live on their fat reserves during this time of migrating up river.They have a challenging upstream journey, and need to battle their way through rapids, over waterfalls and through fish ladders. They also need to avoid fisherman nets and hooks as well as hungry bears.

When they finally reach the streams where they were born, they’ve matured enough to be able to lay eggs. The female adult creates a gravel nest in the streambed by using her tail to sweep her side back and forth. This is referred to as a redd. She will lay her eggs in this redd, and the male salmon will fertilize and protect them until they both die within a couple of weeks. The eggs are then left to fend for themselves.

Types of Alaska Salmon

There are five species of Pacific salmon that can be found in the freshwaters of Alaska: King, Chum, Sockeye, Silver and Pink. While they may all look similar to the untrained eye, there are some physical characteristics that can help you positively identify them.

Adult males have one large anal fin and females have two smaller anal fins which meet at the base of its tail near the ventral surface along with a small dorsal fin located just behind its head on its caudal peduncle (a gill cover). Adult salmon with spots on their back or tail do not lose them when they return to freshwater; in fact, their spotting becomes more distinct. Two species of Pacific salmon do not have spots on their back or tail at all—the chum and the sockeye.

Salmon that have small spots on their back or tail are in very rare cases and in extremely isolated locations; they are probably just anomalies similar to the spotted sockeye. So if you’re ever unsure about what kind of salmon you’ve caught, release it back into the water unharmed and give it another go! You’ll be able to correctly identify it before too long.

Chum Salmon

The chum salmon is one of the five species of Pacific salmon that are native to the freshwaters of Alaska. They are easily identified by their white tip on the anal fin, deeply forked tail and large pupil. Chum salmon are great fighters, so they can be fun to catch in sport fishing. Spawning chums develop calico bands along their sides which make them easy to identify from other species of Pacific salmon that spawn at different times of the year.

Chum salmon are the brightest colored species of Pacific salmon in Alaska! Chum salmon reach a maximum size of about 30 pounds. They are harvested during the summer months of July and August.

Chum salmon have prominent vertical stripes, red & black down their sides, and hooked snouts with sharp teeth when they enter freshwater rivers in Alaska. Chum salmon are best eaten dried or in soups and chowders.

In the past, chum salmon were not commercially important. The development of a market has made chum salmon more commercially valuable. Chum salmon have been important to native people and their dogs for centuries.

Sockeye Salmon

Commercial processing Salmon3
Photo by Dora Saparow

The Sockeye Salmon is a type of Pacific salmon that lives in freshwaters of Alaska. It is the most valuable fish in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Spawning and ocean-phase Sockeye Salmon have a white mouth with a white gum line. The male sockeye develops pronounced shoulders and a large kype. Spawning Sockeye Salmon develop an intense red coloration on their body, while their head turns greenish as they age into the ocean phase of their life cycle. The sockeye salmon is a popular fish for fly fishermen. Adults return to spawn between July and October. Sockeye Salmon is good both fresh and smoked, and it can make into lox.

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon are an important part of the Alaskan economy. They make up 75% of the catch in the U.S., and they are a popular sport fish in Alaska.

Coho salmon have orange-red flesh and fillets that are small enough for restaurant owners to use as menu items without additional prep work. Coho’s inside of the mouth is black, with the exception of a white gum-line which makes it easy to identify them from other species of salmon. The average size of coho salmon is between 8 and 12 pounds, with a peak month for fishing in July through November.

Chinook Salmon (King)

The Chinook salmon is one of the five species of Pacific salmon native to freshwaters in Alaska. It is also known as the King Salmon, and can weigh more than 40 pounds. The Chinook salmon has a black mouth with black gum-line, black spots on the back and both lobes of the tail, and a black spot on its tail only at one point; it’s not present on the lower lobe like Coho salmon are. Alaskan Kings have been spawning successfully in freshwaters for two centuries! There are no distinguishing marks on an adult Chinook salmon other than the black lining on their mouth and spots on their tail fin. King Salmon is caught year-round in Alaska, but it’s best caught during the months of May, June, and July.

Pink Salmon

The average Pink Salmon adult weighs about 5 lbs. However, large individuals can reach 15 lbs. and up to 30 in. in length.

Pink Salmon are also called humpies because they develop a strongly hooked snout and sharp teeth and an enormous hump behind the head. They are typically found in Ketchikan streams between late June and mid-October when spawning takes place.

The humpy is by far the most abundant of all types of salmon in Alaska with annual commercial catches exceeding 140 million fish. The vast majority of commercially caught pink salmon is canned.

While most folks believe that Pink Salmon are not good for eating, an ocean caught pink or humpy is excellent when eaten promptly after being caught or, more commonly, smoked.

Pink Salmon migrate to freshwaters in Alaska every year and spawn. Adult males develop a hooked snout and sharp teeth, while females become olive green or light blue with a white belly. Adolescents living in the saltwater don’t have the hump feature and have steel blue backs, silver sides, and white bellies with distinctive oval spots on their back, adipose fin, both lobes of their tail, and the base of their caudal fin.

They have a shorter lifespan than other species and only live for about three years, but they spawn in freshwater multiple times before returning to saltwater to spawn for the last time.

PANO Valdez Bay fishing boats
Valdez Bay fishing boats (Photo by Dora Saparow)

The Salmon Life-Cycle

The eggs of a salmon are tiny, about the size of a pencil eraser. They are translucent, and you can see the eye and other organs developing through the egg’s shell during the 2-3 month period it takes for salmon to hatch.

Salmon eggs are born in gravel nests at the bottom of stream and river beds. These eggs are translucent and can be seen developing through the shell during the 2 to 3 month period it takes to hatch. The eggs are usually red to pink in color, although this may vary depending on the species of salmon.

Alevin

Baby salmon, also known as alevin, are fascinating creatures. After hatching from their eggs, they will feed from the yolk sac until it is completely absorbed. The baby salmon escapes the egg’s soft shell retaining the yellowish-orange yolk as a nutrient-rich sac that hangs below its body. This helps keep them buoyant in the water and allows them to remain near the surface where they can breathe easily. When the salmon eggs are ready to hatch, they shed their shells and break free of them.

Fry

Fry are the first stage of a salmon’s life. They are born in fresh water and immediately start their journey downstream. Fry hide under rocks, among vegetation, and must find food to survive. They grow quickly and become juvenile salmon within a year.

Parr

When fry are ready, they are called Parr and are about six inches in length. At this point, they will start to feed on insects and other small organisms. Fry will continue to feed for 1 to 3 years before they venture out into the ocean. During this time, they will grow and develop vertical markings on the flanks of their bodies.

Smolt

The juvenile salmon, or smolt, is a fascinating creature. Once it reaches the appropriate size, usually about 6 months old, it loses its vertical markings and turns silver in color. At this point, it will also adjust its body to saltwater for the journey out into the ocean – a process that takes about two weeks. Upon reaching the ocean, the salmon will become adults, growing into salmon with a silvery-green coloration.

Adult

Adult salmon spend 1 to 4 years in the ocean before returning to their original spawning grounds after a long and hazardous journey of over 2000 miles throughout the northern Pacific Ocean. There are five species of Alaska Salmon, each with unique markings and characteristics. After reaching their birth river and stream, adult salmon no longer eat and live off of what they stored in their body. As they swim upstream against challenging rapids, the salmon has to avoid fishermen nets and hooks while staying clear of hungry bears. The challenge is a difficult one as the fish must also traverse fish ladders, leap over rocky waterfalls, and avoid fisherman hooks while swimming upstream against rugged rapids. Alaska salmon only exist in two places, and they’re both in the State of Alaska. They spend their lives migrating to a natal stream where they mature sexually before spawning.

Spawning Adult

When an adult salmon reaches its natal stream, it has reached sexual maturity. This fish will start fighting its way upstream against the rugged rapids and jump over waterfalls to get to its spawning grounds. The female salmon will make a gravel nest in the streambed, which is called a redd. She lays her eggs and male salmon fertilizes and protects them until both die off within two weeks of returning to their birth stream. It’s quite obvious that Alaska salmon have interesting lives because they return after years at sea to their birth streams. The salmon management practices in Alaska ensure that populations are well protected. The environment helps protect salmon spawning grounds while fishing regulations allow for a large amount of salmon to make it to their natal streams. Salmon stocks are managed by the Department of Fish and Game, which currently has 15,000 rivers and streams with these fish.

Sustainability

Sustainability is a huge topic these days, and for good reason! We need to be mindful of our actions and the impact they have on the planet. There are many different ways to be sustainable, and one of them is through seafood.

Commercial Salmon fishing
Photo by Dora Saparow

Seafood is a great choice for sustainability because it’s a renewable resource. That means we can catch as much seafood as we want without harming the environment, as long as we do so responsibly. And that’s where Alaska comes in.

Alaska has some of the best-managed fisheries in the world, thanks to its strong conservation policies. The economy of Bristol Bay, in particular, is based largely on salmon production. In fact, salmon production has created 14,000 jobs in the region and generates $1.5 billion annually for the local economy.

So next time you’re looking for something sustainable to eat, try Alaska salmon. You’ll be doing your part to protect our planet while enjoying some of the best seafood around.

Fisherman with large salmon
Fisherman with large salmon

Fishing for Salmon

Alaska salmon fishing is a popular sport, and there are many ways to catch these fish. Some of the most popular methods include using a rod and reel, fly fishing, or using a net.

When it comes to fishing for Alaska salmon, there are a few things you need to know. The first is that these fish can be found near water sources- such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Secondly, they are considered a hard-fighting fish, so you’ll need to have some patience when trying to reel them in. Finally, make sure you have the proper gear and supplies before heading out on your next fishing trip.

In terms of tackle and gear, most fishermen recommend using sharp hooks that penetrate easily into the fish’s mouth. Additionally, using artificial lures that resemble eggs is often a successful tactic when fishing for salmon.

One of the most common ways to fish for salmon is by using bait. Roe (eggs) is a popular choice because it is easy to find and relatively cheap. Another option is to use spinners such as the Mepps Aglia on bright sunny days when the fish are less active.

Drift fishing is the most common method employed by anglers targeting these fish, and dawn and dusk are typically the best times to try your luck. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that a permit or stamp may be required in order to keep any salmon caught in the United States. For more information on permits and regulations, be sure to check with your state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

If you are fishing in an area that has its own record for the species of salmon you are trying to catch, then you may be able to break that record with the right technique and luck! All-tackle world records are tracked by the International Game and Fish Association, so make sure to check their website before your next fishing trip.

Now that you have some basic knowledge under your belt, go out and put it into practice. And remember-always stay safe while fishing by using the proper gear and following all local regulations.

How to Cook Alaska Salmon

salmon on a grill
Cooking salmon on a grill

The most popular methods for cooking salmon are grilling, baking, or pan frying.

Grilling: First, you need to preheat your grill to medium-high heat. While the grill is heating up, season your salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Once the grill is hot, place the salmon fillets on it and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they are cooked through. You can tell they’re done when they start to flake apart easily with a fork.

Baking: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the salmon filets on the baking sheet, and then bake for about 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.

Pan Fry: You can pan fry Alaska Salmon by heating up some oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are cooked through.

Final Thoughts

Salmon is one of the most popular game fish in North America. Anglers pursue salmon with gusto because they are strong fighters, and they taste good on the table!

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
Sandhill Crane Migration

Sandhill Crane Migration

Sandhill cranes have been around since the Eocene period, making them one of the oldest living bird species in the world. They are also one of the most widespread, with a range that extends from Alaska to Central America. The Sandhill Crane of North America has not changed in ten million years, indicating their importance and resilience as a species.

All About Sand Cranes in Nebraska

An estimated 200,000 Sandhill Cranes visit Nebraska every year during their migration period. They are most commonly seen in the Platte River Valley and surrounding areas of Nebraska. The Platte River in Nebraska is one of the best places in the world to view Sandhill Cranes during their annual migration. The peak viewing times are usually around dawn and sunset when the cranes are most active. However, it is important to note that there is a very short time frame—usually only a few weeks—during which you can see this amazing spectacle.

Sandhill Cranes are a beautiful and majestic sight to behold. They can be found all over the world, but there is something truly special about witnessing their migration in Nebraska. This article will tell you everything you need to know about Sandhill Cranes, including where to find them and when to see them. You’ll also learn a bit about their history and how they have evolved over time.

Sandhill Cranes Behavior

The Sandhill Crane is a long-legged bird that is known for its large size and for the red crown on its head. They are herbivorous birds that feed mainly on seeds, fruits, and other plant material. They often feed with their bills down to the ground as they root around for seeds and other foods. During migration, they feed on Sorghum.

In addition, sand cranes have a variety of vocalizations that vary depending on the situation. For example, when they are alarmed, sand cranes emit a loud squawk. Additionally, mating pairs will perform an elaborate dance to strengthen their bond and signal to other males that they are taken. In the summer breeding grounds, sand cranes will build nests together and share incubation duties.

Sandhill cranes4
Sandhill Crane

Where to Go

If you want to see some Sandhill Cranes in the Spring, head to Nebraska! There are a number of great locations in Nebraska to view Sandhill Cranes during their migration. Some popular viewing spots include the Plautz Viewing Platform and Fort Kearny Bridge. Visitors can also enjoy good views from pull-offs along the highways. For the best experience, try to visit around sunrise or sunset when the cranes are most active.

To get the latest information on viewing the cranes, be sure to stop at the Kearney Visitors Bureau before heading out into the field.

1007 2nd Ave, Kearney, NE 68847

(308) 237-3178 | visitkearney.org |

Download the Kearney Visitors Bureau brochure.

2022 03 20T15%3A09%3A11.045394 Sandhill cranes3
Photo by Dora Saparow

Why Do Sandhill Cranes Stop in Nebraska?

Sandhill cranes migrate south to warmer climates in the winter, but they often stop in Nebraska on their way. There are a few reasons why these big birds might choose to stay in Nebraska for a while.

First, the weather here is milder than other states they might fly over on their way to Mexico or Florida. The cranes can rest and refuel without having to worry about extreme temperatures or bad weather.

Second, there is plenty of food available for them in Nebraska. There is a lot of corn grown in this state, and it is one of the crane’s favorite foods. They also need to drink water, and there are many rivers and lakes in Nebraska where they can find what they need.

The third reason why Sandhill Cranes stop in Nebraska is because it is a good place to rest. These birds travel long distances, and sometimes they need a break from their journey. Plus, the weather is usually mild, so it is a comfortable place for them to stay for a while.

Sandhill Cranes stop in Nebraska because there are other birds here that they like to associate with. Herons, egrets, and bitterns are all common sights in the state, and the sound of the Great Blue Heron’s call is unmistakable. When Sandhill Cranes hear this noise, they know that it’s safe to stay here for a while.

Finally, the people of Nebraska are very welcoming to Sandhill Cranes. There are lots of places where you can see these beautiful birds up close, and many people enjoy watching them migrate. So if you’re ever driving through Nebraska in the wintertime, keep your eyes peeled for Sandhill Cranes! You might be lucky enough to see hundreds of them gathered together near a river or lake.

Sandhill cranes2
Sandhill cranes

Viewing Etiquette

When viewing Sandhill Cranes, it is important to remember that safety is a top priority. This means being aware of your surroundings and the impact your behavior may have on both other viewers and the birds themselves. Remember to always keep a safe distance from the animals and never attempt to touch or feed them.

To avoid disturbing other wildlife enthusiasts and the birds themselves, you should observe the following:

1. Use binoculars or a spotting scope to get a closer look at Sandhill Cranes.

2. Be aware of your surroundings, and never walk directly towards cranes.

3. Please do not use flash photography or make loud noises that may startle the birds and cause them to flush (take flight).

4. If you are in a car, do not stop directly in front of the birds. Instead, pull off to the side of the road and turn off your engine.

5. Please stay on marked trails so that you don’t trample the vegetation.

6. Please remain in your car during all crane viewing, or use a spotting scope to get closer views of cranes. (This is for your safety and for the safety of the birds.)

7. Please do not feed the cranes or any other wildlife. This can harm them, and it will also cause them to lose their natural fear of humans.

8. Please do not chase the cranes or otherwise disturb them.

The Future of Sandhill Cranes

The Sandhill Crane is the most numerous of the world’s crane species. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, marshes, prairies, and agricultural fields. Their populations have been increasing at an annual rate of five percent per year since mid-1960’s. This makes them one of the great wildlife conservation success stories.

While the Sandhill Crane migration is a wonder to behold, there are concerns about the future of the subpopulations. The populations in Mississippi, Florida and Cuba have not fared as well and could be in danger due to habitat loss, disease or other threats.

Yes, Sandhill Cranes are an important part of the ecosystem. However, with the cranes heavily using agricultural areas, there could be increasing conflicts with farmers. In order to help mitigate any such conflicts, the International Crane Foundation (ICF) has started a project that demonstrates the value of cranes and their importance in local communities. This will hopefully show how crucial they are to the ecosystem and help keep these beautiful creatures around for many years to come.

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
Juke Joints: An In-depth History, From the Past to the Present

Juke Joints: An In-depth History, From the Past to the Present

Blues music is a traditional American music genre that originated in the Deep South. The blues evolved from spirituals, work songs, and folk music. It is typically characterized by its soulful sound and lyrics that often tell stories of heartache and pain.

I’d like to say that I was a born and raised a juke joint fan. But if your name is not Willie Dixon, you might have more trouble believing this than anything else I could tell you about myself. In my opinion, one of the best things about jukes is their ability to create an atmosphere where it feels simultaneously like time stands still and yet constantly passing by at warp speed around us all—a paradoxical feeling borne from the tensional sounds produced during these most unlikely of places.


Note: Sadly, many of the Blues juke joints, the REAL juke joints, have closed down. I’ve done my best to verify whether or not a juke joint is closed or open. However, if you plan to visit any of the jukes listed on this page, please, do your research first! And if you do find an error, please let me know so I can update this post. -Dora

What Is a Juke Joint?

The origins of juke joints may be traced back to the community room that was occasionally built on plantations. These rooms were used for a variety of purposes, such as holding church services or dances, and they eventually became known as juke joints. Juke joints gained in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, and they continued to thrive into the present day.

Juke joints are typically characterized by their unrefined atmosphere and the fact that they are off the beaten path. They often have live music and serve alcohol. A juke joint is typically a small hole-in-the-wall building that often has a porch.

Juke joint, also called a jook joint, it is an African-American term for a type of bar where live music is performed. It was originally used to describe a place where musicians would gather to play and practice, but the term is now applied more broadly to any establishment that hosts live music. The word juke can be traced back to the West African word jukari, which means “to dance.”

If you’ve never been to a juke joint, then I hope this guide will be able to help you have your first experience doing so, if only vicariously, through these unique sounds.

Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale, Mississippi

(STATUS: Ongoing)

The Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival is a three-day music festival that celebrates the music of the Great Depression era. The festival takes place in Clarksdale, Mississippi and features different stages with performances throughout the day. There is also a variety of food and drink vendors available, as well as arts and crafts booths.

The event takes place in different venues around town with free music during the day and an entrance wristband required for night performances. Vendors open at 8am on Saturday morning, and the festival concludes on Sunday with a series of related events around town.

Tickets are $25 but pre-event tickets are discounted to $20. In order to attend any of the nighttime music venues, you must have a wristband.

Bradfordville Blues Club

(STATUS: Open)

The Bradfordville Blues Club is a unique experience for music fans. It is a one room cinder block juke-joint that has hosted important Blues acts over the years. A hidden place in Tallahassee, the Club is open on Friday and Saturday nights for those who are looking for a good time. Ice-cold bottled beers and wine are for sale, and the music is hot! Follow the torches to find The Club under the stars. The intimate setting and passionate fans create an unforgettable experience for those who visit.

Upon entering Bradford Blues Club, you might feel as if you have stepped back in time to an era of speakeasies, juke joints and honky-tonks. It is one of the last remaining authentic juke joints from the Great Depression era. It has been in operation since 1933, and it is still going strong today. The club has a rich history, and it is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

The Bradfordville Blues Club is notable for being one of the last remaining venues from the “chitlin’ circuit,” an informal network of black-owned nightclubs that were popular during the Great Depression. The club has hosted performances by legends like B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Etta James, Pinetop Perkins, Honey Boy Edwards, Big-Eye Willy Smith, Bob Margolis, Charlie Musselwhite, Guitar Shorty, Little Milton and many more. There’s no doubt that the Bradford Blues Club is a must-visit for anyone who loves Blues music.

Red’s Lounge, Clarksdale, Mississippi

(STATUS: Open)

Reds is an authentic juke joint in Clarksdale, Mississippi. It’s been around for decades and is one of the best-known clubs in Clarksdale. It is a small, funky and intimate venue that features live music most every night of the week. What ties everyone together at Reds Lounge is a love for real blues. It is one of the few places left in the area that showcases live music from some of the best musicians in the region. The cover charge is small and there is no food (but you can bring your own) as they only serve beer.

398 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, Mississippi, +1-662-627-3166

Website: Reds Lounge

Teddy’s Juke Joint, Zachary, Louisiana

(STATUS: Open)

As soon as you walk through the door of Teddy’s Juke Joint, you feel like you’ve been transported to a different world. This little shotgun house has been transformed into an authentic Louisiana Juke Joint, complete with old photographs, bar signs, license plates, and relics from the past on the walls.

Teddy and his wife Nancy have been running this joint for over 40 years and it’s a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. The music is one of the main attractions here – it’s a great place to listen to blues. The club books world famous Blues acts 2-4 nights per week and classic spins the rest of the time. One visit to Teddy’s will feel warmth and hospitality by the staff.

Gip’s Place – Bessemer, Alabama

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Gip’s Place is a night spot in Bessemer that brings people together to play music. It was started by Henry “Gip” Gipson in 1952 as a way for musicians to get together and play music. Today, it is still going strong and offers a place for people of all ages to come and listen to music. It is a place for people to come and remember the good times, as well as enjoy some great music. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.

Henry “Gip” Gipson passed away at the age of 99. He was a legend in the juke joint, having been there for decades. He was a kind and loving soul, compassionate but also stern when he needed to be.

Junior’s Place, Chulahoma, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Junior’s Place, a juke joint bought by Kimbrough around 1992 and operated after his death by his sons until it burned down on April 6, 2000. The Black Keys have covered Kimbrough in their 2002 debut album, with “Do the Rump”, and with “Everywhere I Go” on their second record, Thickfreakness. In 2005, they contributed a “My Mind is Ramblin'” cover to the Sunday Nights: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough tribute album.

Wild Bill’s Memphis, Tennessee

(STATUS: Open)

Wild Bill’s Memphis is a museum and juke joint is in the historic Vollintine Evergreen district of Memphis, Tennessee. The venue has been open for over 25 years and has been a breeding ground for Blues artists. It is considered a bucket list destination for tourists who are looking for an authentic blues experience in a dive bar atmosphere. The Juke Joint All Stars Band is a Las Vegas style blues show that features some of the best authentic blues musicians in the Mid-South.

Roque’s Blues Hall, Natchitoches, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Roque’s Blues Hall, Natchitoches, Louisiana Blues Hall has been a staple in the community for almost 60 years. It is known for its music and culture. However, the juke joint is now closed.

  • 235 Carver Avenue, Natchitoches, Louisiana +1 318-238-5565 235
  • Facebook

Bubba’s Juke Joint, Melrose, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Bubba’s was a popular juke joint in Louisiana that played an important role in the development of blues music. Bubba’s was located in Melrose, Louisiana. It was one of the few places that black and white people could gather to enjoy blues music.

Bubba was born in Louisiana on April 20, 1926. He grew up in a small town called Melrose, where he learned to love music at an early age. In the early 1940s, he opened his own juke joint called Bubba’s in Melrose, Louisiana. It featured music by Fats Domino, Little Richard and other famous artists.

bubbas juke joint 3410 louisiana state highway 484 natchez natchitoches parish 2
Bubbas Juke Joint

Besides music, Bubba’s served as a site for informal business dealings. For instance, workers would go to Bubba’s to collect their paychecks after hours. This was likely because the regular workplace was not always a safe or comfortable space for African Americans during the Jim Crow era.

Unfortunately, Bubba’s Juke Joint was recently destroyed without notice after being forced to sell at a Sheriff’s auction. The legacy of Bubba’s is unfortunately lost, as the new owner has no connection to the Metoyer family who ran the juke joint.

The Blue Front Cafe

(Open – Check Blues shows schedule)

The Blue Front Café is a historic old juke joint made of cinder block in Bentonia, Mississippi. It was built in the 1930s and became a popular spot for music lovers. The café is also mentioned on the Mississippi Blues Trail as an important place for blues music.

The Holmes family opened the Blue Front during the Jim Crow period. They sold house-stilled corn liquor (to blacks and whites) during Prohibition and welcomed all the Delta blues artists of the day: Sonny Boy, Percy Smith and Jack Owens among them. Blue Front is an iconic venue on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Stop by the cinder-block juke joint to look around, sign the guest book and see what’s doing.

The Blue Front Cafe was a popular spot for live music in the early days of Arkansas. The cafe was often called a “juke joint” because of the spontaneous and unannounced nature of the music performances. It was not unusual for local musicians to stop by and play, and some of the most famous names in blues and jazz have performed at the Blue Front. Musicians like Bud Spires, Son Johnson, Bobby Batton, Alonzo (Lonzy) Wilkerson, and Cleo Pullman all played at the Blue Front Cafe.

The Blues are played here only once in a while now, but you can check their Facebook page for updates on upcoming shows.

  • 107 E Railroad Ave, Bentonia, MS 39040 (662) 528-1900
  • Website:: Blue Front Cafe

ZZ’s, Ferriday, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

The Meeting Place, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

The Disco 86 (Annie Mae’s Cafe), Waterproof, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Do Drop Inn in Shelby, Mississippi

(STATUS: ????)

Po’ Monkey’s, Merigold, Mississippi

(STATUS; Permanently Closed)

Po’ Monkey’s was a rural juke joint that offered an escape from everyday troubles. While many of these blues jukes once dotted the Delta countryside, only few have survived into the 21st century. Po’ Monkey’s was opened in 1963 by Willie Seaberry. Willie Seaberry died in 2016.

The Flowing Fountain, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

G.G. Lounge, Winterville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Studio 51, Durant, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

W.D.’s Lounge, St. Joseph, Louisiana

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Gully’s Alley Inn, Moorhead, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

B & B Quick Mart, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Boss Hall’s, Leland, Mississippi (STATUS: Permanently Closed)

The Walnut Street Bait Shop, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Robert “Bilbo” Walker’s Wonderlight City

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

  • MORE INFO: Robert “Bilbo” Walker Jr. (February 19, 1937—November 29, 2017)

Little Blue’s Caffa, Greenville, Mississippi

(STATUS: Permanently Closed)

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
Beale Street Blues: A Guide to Memphis’ Legendary Beale Street

Beale Street Blues: A Guide to Memphis’ Legendary Beale Street

Beale Street is known as the birthplace of blues music and the home of the Memphis blues scene. It’s also famous for its restaurants and nightlife, particularly its jam sessions that can last well into the night.

Historic Beale Street in Memphis, TN.

Beale Street in Memphis is known as the music capital of the world. Blues and R&B emerged on Beale Street and the scene is still going strong today. These late night sessions have become an institution, with people coming from all across the globe to experience the magic of a live performance. With their vast array of genres and performers, these jam sessions are an eclectic mix of musical talent.

Beale Street is home to the most famous blues clubs in the world, such as B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill, Silky O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, Hard Rock Cafe, B.B. King’s Blues Club, and the Rum Boogie Cafe’s Blues Hall among others.

It is home to many bars, restaurants, and music venues that are popular among locals and tourists alike. Beale Street has a rich history and is a must-see for anyone visiting Memphis.

Eef and the Blues Express at Alfreds on Beal Street
Eef and the Blues Express at Alfreds on Beal Street

International Blues Competition

Every year, Memphis hosts the International Blues Competition. This event is a week-long celebration of blues music that features competitions among blues musicians from all over the world, as well as a variety of other activities to entertain attendees. The competition is judged by a panel of experts in the blues music industry, and the winner is awarded a cash prize and other accolades.

The IBC was founded in 1984 by the Memphis Chapter of the Blues Foundation and was originally called the Blues Amateur Talent Contest. The first Blues Amateur Talent Contest was held at the New Daisy Theater. This was created by Blues Foundation founder Joe Savarin. It attracted about sixty contestants, and was won by a band called “Reliance,” from Memphis. The following year, the competition moved to a larger venue on Beale Street at the Orpheum Theatre. The winner is determined by a panel of celebrity judges drawn from the ranks of blues performers and fans. The competition has resulted in the discovery of several new blues artists, including Susan Tedeschi, Albert Cummings, Tommy Castro, and Jason Ricci.

NOTE: Normally the International Blues Competition is in January. However, due Covid concerns, the event was canceled and rescheduled starting May 6, 2022. (See below for details.)

IBC Important Dates for 2022

 Friday, May 6: Quarterfinals Night 1 

Saturday, May 7: Quarterfinals Night 2 

Sunday, May 8: KBA Ceremony, Youth Showcases, & Semifinals 

Monday, May 9: IBC Finals at The Orpheum

All previously purchased passes will be honored for the new dates, without any action on your part. Passes will now be mailed out in mid-April. 

The Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater is one of the most popular attractions on Beale Street and has a list of shows that are open to everyone. It is home to many events such as plays, musicals, concerts and much more.

The Orpheum Theatre opened on October 10th, 1887. The Orpheum Theatre is a famous and prestigious theater in Memphis, Tennessee. It is the home of Broadway shows, ballet performances, international jazz artists and more. The theater is rich with history and beautiful architecture that will leave you feeling like you’re in one of the classics. The Orpheum Theatre bills itself as “the oldest continuously operating theater in the United States.”

And in the interest of full disclosure, the theater has been said to be haunted by a little girl called Betty, who has been watching over the artists and patrons since 1920.

Beale Street Music Festival

The first weekend in May, the Beale Street Music Festival brings major headliners to Tom Lee Park, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The festival features performances by artists from a variety of genres, including blues, rock, country, and soul.

NOTE: Due to construction at Tom Lee Park, the 2022 Beale Street Music Festival will be located at The Fairgrounds in Liberty Park in Midtown.

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is an interactive museum that tells the story of music in Memphis. The museum features photos, memorabilia, and artifacts from the music scene in Memphis, spanning from the 1950s to the present day.

National Civil Rights Museum—Lorraine Motel

The National Civil Rights Museum is a must see for anyone who visits Memphis. It tells the story of the struggle for civil rights and is located in the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is one of great significance. He was a man who fought for justice and human rights, and his work has had a lasting impact on the world. Dr. King’s decisions, actions, and speeches were all important in the advancement of civil rights in America. He was an effective leader and preached nonviolence as the most effective way to bring about change. Don’t rush your visit–-take time to explore all four floors of this incredible museum.

Sun Studio

Sun Studio is a recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee that was opened in 1950. The studio was originally called Memphis Recording Service, and it was located on Union Avenue. The studio is most famous for being the birthplace of rock’n’roll music. Some of the most famous musicians to record at Sun Studio include Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison. The studio has been restored and now contains priceless memorabilia from these legendary musicians. Visitors can also hear voices of some of the musicians who recorded at Sun Studio as they listen to outtakes from recording sessions. The studio offers tours for visitors who want to learn more about the history of the studio and the music that was created there.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a museum in Memphis, Tennessee that celebrates the history of soul music. The museum features exhibits on some of the greatest soul artists, including Isaac Hayes, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding. One of the most popular exhibits is Isaac Hayes’s 1972 Cadillac.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a museum dedicated to the history and preservation of soul music. It contains over 2,000 artifacts and interactive exhibits, including a recording studio, concert stage, and retail shop.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame

The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is the place to go if you want to learn about the history of Memphis music. It is a museum that celebrates the achievements of many different Memphis-born or Memphis-living musicians. It offers photos and interviews, video performances and interactive exhibits where one can really sink their teeth into the musical heritage. Some of the famous Memphis musicians include Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Justin Timberlake. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts 2,000+ artists from all over the world each year, but Memphis has a rich musical history that is worth celebrating in its own right.

Blues Hall of Fame

The Blues Hall of Fame was started in 1980 as a way to recognize performers and individuals whose lifetime of work has had a major impact upon the blues genre. The Blues Foundation inducts new members into the hall of fame every year. It has inducted over 400 members into five key categories: Performer, Individual, Album, Single, and Literature. The Blues Hall of Fame is an important program that helps to fulfill the mission of The Blues Foundation, which is to preserve blues music and its history.

B.B. King’s Blues Club

B.B. King’s Blues Club is one of the most popular clubs on Beale Street in Memphis. It has been voted the best blues club in Memphis numerous times and has some of the best live music around. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the food is some of the best BBQ you’ll find anywhere. The vibe is electric and it’s a great place to see some of the best blues bands around.

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis is located on legendary Beale Street in the heart of our nation’s music capital. This iconic restaurant pays homage to the city’s musical roots with memorabilia from some of the biggest names in blues and rock ‘n’ roll. From its location to its menu, Hard Rock Cafe Memphis is a must-visit for any music lover visiting Memphis.

Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe & Honky Tonk

Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe & Honky Tonk is a legendary spot on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. It’s famous for its live music and friendly atmosphere. It’s been a favorite of Memphis locals and visitors for years and is the perfect place to spend an evening. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, and the music is top-notch.

A. Schwab

A. Schwab is a Beale Street-based store that has been running for over 100 years. The store has always been dedicated to preserving the rich history of Beale Street and providing glimpses into its past for customers. It is a cornucopia of items, from music memorabilia to clothing to general oddities. Their nostalgic soda fountain will take you back in time with its classic decor and menu items. Share a homemade soda or creamy milkshake with a friend and enjoy the atmosphere of this Memphis institution. They are dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the store and telling the story through historic artifacts and relevant merchandise.

Gus’s Fried Chicken

When we’re in Memphis we always go to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. This restaurant in Memphis is a popular fried chicken restaurant chain that was founded in the tiny town of Mason, Tennessee. Gus’s Fried Chicken is a Memphis staple. However, the recipe remains a mystery to many. Unfortunately, you will not be able to get your hands on that recipe as the family has kept it tightly under wraps.

Blues City Cafe

The Blues City Cafe is a Memphis institution. Though many things have changed on Memphis’ Beale Street, one thing that has remained consistent is the Blues City Cafe. Opened in the early 1990s, the restaurant has been a staple of the street and features many of the same faces today.The cafe is famous for its ribs, steaks, catfish, tamales and mouth watering desserts. But it’s the music that keeps people coming back. You can always find some of the best blues musicians playing here.

Rum Boogie Cafe

Rum Boogie is a world-renowned blues club that was established in Memphis, Tennessee in 1985. It quickly became a cornerstone of the city’s entertainment district and has been drawing crowds ever since with its down-home Delta cuisine and live blues seven nights a week. Some of the biggest names in music have played at Rum Boogie, including Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Joe Walsh, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Joel, and Rufus Thomas. If you’re looking for some authentic Southern BBQ ribs or pork shoulder, this is the place to go.

Cotton Exchange Building

The Cotton Exchange Building was one of the most iconic buildings in Memphis and helped put the city on the map. The building was used for cotton trading and is now open to the public so they can learn about this once highly valuable commodity. Stepping back in time, visitors can see what life was like in Memphis during its heyday.

The Cotton Exchange Building was constructed in 1891 as the headquarters for the Memphis Cotton Exchange. The cotton merchants needed a trade organization to regulate cotton marketing and once established, the cotton exchange produced rules, regulations, and standards for trading and pricing cotton in Memphis and the mid-South region. This allowed Memphis to become the largest cotton market in the world. In 1984, the building was renovated into The Cotton Museum, which now educates the public about cotton and its importance in Memphis.

Graceland

Elvis Presley purchased Graceland in 1957 when he was just 22 years old. The sumptuous property welcomed friends and family members over 20 years of Elvis’s life. Many people visit from all over the world to pay homage to ‘The King’. Graceland is a National Historic Landmark.

The original owner named the property after his daughter, Grace, who inherited the land in 1894. The mansion got its name from her and was later sold to Elvis Presley in 1957. Graceland has 23 total rooms, many of which have their own unique themes, such as the Jungle Room and the TV room. If you want to see Elvis’ personal planes and vast collection of memorabilia, go across the street to the two museums.

The Meditation Garden is a place where Elvis, Gladys, Vernon, and Minnie Mae Presley are buried.

NOTE: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Graceland, which is about 10 miles from Beale Street. You can catch a tour bus at Sun Records to Graceland, or you can drive yourself.

Final Thoughts

Memphis is known for its music, and that reputation is well-deserved. The city has a rich history of legendary live music, thanks to its many nightclubs and restaurants. From blues to jazz to rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis has it all. If you’re looking for a good time and some great music, Beale Street is the place to be.

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1

Pin It on Pinterest