Bigfoot is now proudly represented in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory (YT)’s Sign Post Forest. The landmark is located at Kilometer 980 of the Alaska Highway and has collected over 77,000 signs form around the world. The Sign Post Forest originated in 1942, when recovering U.S. soldier Carl K. Lindley was repairing the directional signs on the highway and decided to add one pointing to his hometown of Danville, Illinois. Since then, visitors from all over the world have brought signs that are significant to them to add to the forest, including our own Ralf Notheis.
When he’s not running Bigfoot’s Crane and Hoist Academy, Ralf is a motorcycle enthusiast. He’s done several solo long-distance trips, and last summer took his longest trip to date yet Tuktoyaktuk, YT, clocking in at about 10,000km. He brought one of Bigfoot’s signs with him to hang in the Sign Post Forest, so we sat down with him to hear more about his trip and what taking a Bigfoot sign means to him.
- How long was the entire trip?
I was gone for 13 days. The first few days I was riding pretty hard because I just wanted to get up to the Yukon, and then really take my time from there.
- What were the unique challenges of this trip? What made it interesting?
The weather and the clay roads were definitely a challenge. From Dawson City to Tuktoyaktuk is 1,000km of loose gravel and clay; it’s like riding on grease and many people on 2 wheels end up getting flown out from bad crashes. The Robert Campbell Highway from Watson Lake was also really challenging, and a lot of people told me not to do it. There’s only one place to fuel up on that road, but I had just enough gas to get to that station, fuel up, and keep going.I left equipped with a sensible plan and great gear that includes my BMW motorcycle. I was happy to finally drink the Sourtoe Cocktail in Dawson City, along with riding the Dempster Hwy to the Arctic Ocean, it’s been on my to-do list for a long time. If you don’t know what the Sourtoe Cocktail is, click here to learn about this true Candian tradition.
- Biking is a big passion of yours. How many trips like this have you taken by yourself?
Tuktoyaktuk was for sure the longest one but I’ve been all over BC, Alberta and through the Western United States. I plan to be in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2023 for my 50th Birthday and ride home from there.
- How did you find out about the Sign Post Forest?
I was researching the places I had planned on camping and stumbled across the story about it. Watson Lake, YT is not famous for too many things but the history of this landmark is pretty amazing.
- What made you want to put a sign up there?
I think it’s great advertising since thousands of people visit this site annually from all over the world and I didn’t see even one other sign from a competitor.
- Tell me about the sign you put up there. How big was it?
It had about an 18 inch diameter and I was able to wrap it and tuck it between my luggage. We’ve had this sign laying in the operations office since I started in 2015 so it was finally put to good use. I got there at night and camped nearby so I just walked over with the sign. It took me almost an hour to find a good spot for it but I’m really happy with where it is, I think it looks really cool.
- Why did you decide to take one of Bigfoot’s signs up there and not one from your hometown or an old motorcycle plate?
The Bigfoot logo is way cooler and more personal to me than any other sign I can think of. Sure, I could have taken any other random sign up with me, but the Bigfoot branding just looks so cool! My only concern is that it’s so nice that someone will steal it!
The tenacity and dedication that Ralf needed to complete this trip to the Arctic Circle are the same values that drive Bigfoot’s Crane and Hoist Academy and have earned it awards across North America. Click here to discover how combining industry-leading practices with lived-out values make our academy the premier choice for crane and hoist operation training.