Canada 2013

Day 06

June 20

  After my little discussion with the girl last night, I decide I'll just mosey on down the road for breakfast. When I go in to drop the key off, I see the engineer I talked to last night drinking his starter fluid. I wish him a good day and then the lights go out. I take that as an affirmation to get out of Dodge and do so promptly.  

When I see this sign right out of the parking lot, I wonder just how long I'll have to sit here. Fortunately I don't have to wonder for long as the pilot truck pulls up shortly. An older man gets out and tells me -

"There's some pretty nasty gravel ahead and lots of dust. You just go on without me."

I thank him very much as I appreciate his good common sense.

  Once I'm in the thick of it, I really appreciate his kindness. This is some pretty nasty stuff to negotiate on a street bike. With a cloud of dust in your face, it would be even more difficult. Fortunately it ain't my first rodeo so I just ease along until I get through it.  
  It's a pretty long stretch, even by local standards and I am one happy camper when I finally see this lovely sight.  
  One thing I love about getting up early and getting out is the enjoyable pleasure of having the road pretty much to myself. For many sections of this trip, it feels like I am the only one on the planet - an interesting thought to contemplate.  
  Today my destination is Haines Junction which will take me out of British Columbia and into the Yukon. As I move swiftly along the ALCAN, I see another fuel stop gone out of business.  
  It's a pleasant day for riding and the scenery just gets better and better.  
  When I encounter this small herd, I hope they cannot smell their uncle's remains on my breathe from last night's supper.  
  As I get closer to them, I really think that they can. Bubba here evidently wants to take a DNA sample but I'm a little too quick on the throttle for him.  
  The river keeps me good company as I head ever northward.  
  It's views like this that make me glad I came this way.  
  And sadly, I pass yet another place with weeds in the parking lot. That's one of the reasons I always try to fill up the night before. I forgot to do that once when I was in the Alps and I got to pay $78 for a tank of motorcycle gas.  
  Soon I come upon two creatures of the furry sort. They seem to be grazing in the grass which is kind of interesting. I didn't know that bears cared much for green stuff but I guess they are trying to lower their cholesterol after consuming too many fat American tourists.  

And once again I hear the refrain that I heard earlier from one of their brethren -

"Just where did I put that soy sauce?"

  Needless to say, I don't waste of lot of time in helping him to look for it. I make a hasty get away leaving him still looking and me still enjoying the scenery from the outside.  
  The rivers must be filling up with the snow melt as this is really roaring along side the road.  
  In some sections of the ALCAN, they do 'spot patches'. They can catch you by surprise if you are not paying attention. Hitting a big patch of gravel at a good rate of speed can do funny things to your motorcycle and your stomach. So you have to beware when you see 'the cloud'.  
  I've got about a hundred miles in when I reach Watson Lake. I pass by a little restaurant and decide to turn back and check it out.  
  And am I ever glad that I did. The folks at Kathy's Kitchen treat you like you're a long lost friend.  

And the food is absolutely the best I've had so far. Nothing like good grub done right. What a pleasant change it is from what I experienced last night. You can tell these folks enjoy each other's company and love what they are doing. And that is a tough combination to beat. When I check out, the guy behind the register asks me where I'm from and where I'm headed. We chat for a little while and he tells me -

"Be careful as there is pretty nasty gravel up ahead. I had some idiot pass me in the construction zone and the RCMP nailed him. I don't know what he was thinking."

"Probably wasn't. You know there's just no vaccine for stupid" I say with a grin.

He gets a big kick out that and says he's gonna use that one!


Just across the road is one of the most unusual 'forests' I have ever seen. It's called the 'Sign Post Forest' , started by a homesick GI in 1942 during the building of the ALCAN. It now holds well over a 100,000 different signs and gets added to frequently.

  I'm making great time as I move along the almost deserted road.  
  But it seems all good things come to end as I hit another construction zone where I wait for a pilot vehicle.  
  Soon I'm at the familiar junction of the ALCAN and the Cassiar highways. I've got one more gas stop after this and I'll have my fuel logistics for the day taken care of.  
  As soon as I get rolling again I hit another construction zone with gravel as far as my eye can see. What is so strange to me is the rhyme and reason as to when there is a pilot vehicle and when there is not. This a really long section of construction but no pilot vehicle at all. I've been through shorter ones where you must be 'escorted'. I'm sure there is some sort of logic behind it but it escapes my feeble brain.  
  Up here, a camera just does not do justice to the beauty that surrounds you. From the snow kissed mountain tops to ...  
  the beautiful lakes that stretch on and on.  
  As I move down the hill toward Teslin, my mind shifts from the beautiful scenery around me to ...  
  the scenery in front of me. I remember this long grated bridge from last year. So I get ready for a long set of 'wiggles' when I cross it.  
  Just across the bridge is a well stocked general store where we stopped last year. I also check out the Yukon Resort across the road where I will be spending the night in a couple of days.  
  With Frost gassed up and me hydrated up, we get back to the scenic ride before us.  
  This is the beginning of the prettiest areas on the ALCAN.  
  There is no want of gorgeous scenery any where you care to direct your gaze.  
  That is unless you don't like snow covered mountains, luscious green forests, glass like lakes and rushing rivers.  
  Out here you just wonder what visual treat will be served up just over the next rise.  
  The lakes are so clear that they make perfect reflecting pools.  
  I take a brief break at the crossing of the Yukon River where Alain and I stopped last year.  
  As you climb up from the river level, you get a better idea of the serpentine course of the river.  
  I soon head down the to the valley and the town of Whitehorse. Little do I know that the future will dictate an unanticipated run back through here tomorrow.  
  The sky does not look promising but I figure I'll chance it a bit longer before I suit it up.  
  Fortunately I have guessed correctly and I continue to ride on in the dry. In the distance I see the mountains that surround Haines Junction, my stop for the evening.  
  Coming into Haines Junction is always a pretty ride as it is surrounded by rugged snowcapped mountains.  
  I know where a gas station is from last year but when I see the sign I have to laugh. This place was going to open last year and still hasn't made it!  
  But the pumps are still working so I take advantage of it and give the thirsty Frost a good drink for the evening.  
  I see the motel I picked, the Cozy Corner, just across the street.  

But there is a 'For Sale' sign to go along with this sign. I have to say to myself -

"Am I in trouble on this one?"

  I pick up the phone and ring but nobody answers. Then I see some movement in one of the rooms so I figure they must be open. It's the lady that does the cleaning so she comes out and gets me set up. Of all of the places that I stay on this trip, this is one of the nicest and least expensive. The room is very well appointed and you can tell they keep the place in good shape. I've certainly paid a lot more and got a lot less as far as motel rooms go.  
  I unload Frost and get her set up for the video I plan to take tomorrow. It takes a little bit to get six days of bugs off the windshield, but I finally finish. I bed her down down for the evening so I can get my walking in before bedtime.  
  It's a lovely place for a walk and fortunately the mosquitoes evidently don't like my southern blood as they seem to be leaving me alone. It might also help that I've put on some 100% deet before I came out.  
  Down the road to Haines, I see this memorial to Walter.  
  I don't know the full story, but obviously Walter was well loved in the community and did what he could do to make the lives of people better.  
  I decide I'll walk down toward the river to get a better look. At the rate it is moving, I don't think I'll be taking a swim!  
  I notice the unusual sculpture at the cross roads and recollect that I've seen pretty much the live version of every animal on it in the last few days.  
  The nice lady at the motel recommended the dairy dip up the street, so I make my way there as I've finished up my walk for the evening.  
  It's pretty pricey but then I've found most stuff up here is that way.  
  I get a burger, fries, and water and it is all actually very good which helps to take the sting out of the prices.  

Some more riders show up from Michigan and I highly recommend the motel. They've been camping and one of the ladies says -

"As long as they have hot showers, I'm fine!"

  I want to get up early and get out, so I hit the sack. Tomorrow I will ride one of my favorite roads in this area and try to get some video of it. So it doesn't take me long to reach the land of snooze, not knowing what a strange twist of events that I will encounter tomorrow.