Saturday, July 31, 2010
We woke to lots of clouds and ate a quick breakfast of misc items left in our bags. We are running out of food -- but Whitehorse is just down the road. We met 19 bikers heading from Vancouver, BC north to Inuvik, Northwest Territory. They had a support vehicle so weren't carrying anything but water and small packs on their bikes. The oldest lady in the group was celebrating her 75th birthday today. I hope we can still ride at that age. We intended to ride to Takhini Hot Springs for the night (only 36 miles), but by the time we got to the turnoff, it was still not even lunch time, so we decided to ride on into Whitehorse. We got here just as it started raining, so we made the right decision. We have rented a car for tomorrow and the next couple days, so we will be doing some touring around the area the easy way, minus trikes.
We decided on another short ride today -- only 37 miles from Twin Lakes to Fox Lake. Cal got up in the middle of the night and covered the trikes, because it looked like rain, but it stayed dry. It is finally getting dark enough to see stars in the night. Pretty soon we will have to dig out the flashlight for nighttime potty calls. We had first breakfast at camp at Twin Lakes and then road a quick 17 miles for second breakfast at Braeburn Roadhouse. They served huge portions so we didn't have room for the gigantic cinnamon bun that they are famous for. We took one for the road and shared it later at our camp at Fox Lake. We haven't mentioned wind much this year -- because we haven't had any to speak of. We are just now starting to encounter some headwinds, but not too bad so far. Fox Lake was really crowded -- we didn't realize it was a 3 day weekend for Canadians, but we managed to find a shady spot to pitch the tent near the lake.
We had a "quickie" breakfast at our campground before riding into downtown Carmacks for a stop at the General Store for supplies, including OJ and muffins and the most expensive bananas I've ever purchased ($3.00 per pound). We decided to take it easy and only ride 30 miles to our next camp at Twin Lakes. On the way we encountered some road construction where they got a little carried away with the water truck (to keep the dust down) and we road through 2 1/2 miles of mud. We arrived at the campground early afternoon and spent some time reading and napping -- nice and relaxing in the shade of the picnic shelter out of the heat.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
It rained overnight, so we packed up our wet weedy camp and headed out into the fog. It soon warmed up and we were battling the hills and heat. We stopped at Five Finger Rapids and did the tourist overlook of the Yukon. We pulled into the Coal Mine Campground and Cantina at Carmacks and found a beautiful campsite on the banks of the Yukon. We have already had 2 burgers, onion rings and ice cream. Cal did the laundry and we both took nice, long, hot showers. Now we are just about finished updating the blog and ready for more ice cream before crawling into the sleeping bags.
Heavy dew over night so we packed up a wet tent even though it didn't rain. We headed out dirty and cold (40 degrees) this morning. We had been told by the little store manager that there was nothing in Pelly Crossing, so we felt destined to stay dirty for another couple days. UGH!!! We pulled into Pelly Crossing after 45 miles and, surprise, we found a $1.00 shower at the little gas station and just down the road we found a cafe where we spent a couple hours in the shade. Yes, after 6 weeks of cold and rain, it has warmed up and we are suffering from the heat. After it cooled a little, we decided to put a few more miles behind us and make tomorrow's ride to Carmacks (65 miles) a little shorter. After 10 miles, we ended up in a 5 mile chip and seal project. We couldn't stop in that mess, so we kept going about 25 miles until we found a nice weed field to pitch the tent in -- just before the next rain storm hit.
Got up early and left our camp at Gravel Lake so we could get to Stewart Crossing (57 miles) early enough to take needed showers and post our blog and check our email at the well advertised RV park. We stopped at Moose Crossing for second breakfast and refilled our water bottles and took a shade break. This was our first HOT, DRY riding day (83 degrees) and after several rests in the shade along the road, we finally made it to Stewart Crossing only to discover the RV park was closed and the only thing there is a TINY gas station selling only sodas and candy and some juices. We stocked up on 6 bottles of OJ and 4 Frescas and headed down the little road to another wild camp by the river and NO SHOWERS!!!!! The highlight of the day was when Cal sat on a bee and got stung you know where.
Well, we finally made it out of Dawson. However, it was one of those rain gear on and then off and repeat days. Overall it was a good 57 miles to our wild camp at Gravel Lake. We enjoyed watching the beavers and swans on the lake, as well as lots of birds and ducks. We stopped at the turn off to the Dempster Highway and found out it is also closed because of mud and rock slides -- way too much rain up here this year.
We got up ready to ride this morning, but it rained all night and began raining again right after our big pre-ride breakfast. Riding didn't seem like a good idea so we decided to see what else we could find to do in Dawson for one more day. We hiked up to the loocal cemeteries and then took part in a silent auction fundraiser downtown. I managed to be the high bidder on a nice pair on indian earings made by a local girl. We had our usual big ice cream cones for lunch and then joined our neighbors from the RV park for pizza for dinner. The sun came out for exactly 15 minutes this afternoon, so let's hope that is a good sign for riding tomorrow.
Friday, July 23, 2010
It rained all night and let up some this morning. Another day of no riding. We spent the morning at the museum and then read most of the afternoon while it continued to rain. Cal bought a can of Camp Dry to spray on our saturated rain fly, but it hasn't gotten dry enough to spray it yet. We just heard that the road between Chicken and the Canadian border is completely washed out again from all these rains. I'm glad we are on this side of that road. Hopefully, we will be on our way south towards Whitehorse tomorrow. The forecast is for only 40% chance of rain tomorrow so wish us luck.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
We spent the day trying to shop for gifts for the people back home, but ended up running from shop to shop in the rain. We also toured the paddleboat, Keno. Then it was time to do laundry again and start packing so we can leave this nice but wet place tomorrow. However, there could be a sudden change of plans if it is raining again tomorrow. We may just read in the tent all day and wait to ride when it is warm and dry.
We had a nice day of rest and relaxation. No riding today but we walked and hiked all day. We had more rain off and on, including a downpour to remember. At least we weren't riding through it and were able to duck into stores and restaurants during the showers. We have decided to stay an extra day and see all there is to see here because we may never be back this way.
Thank goodness today's ride was mostly downhill!!!! We were exhausted from yesterday. We got a good start and the rain held off for a few miles. Then it came down in buckets and we hid in a small shelter at a rest area. We were wet and cold so Cal got out the stove and made hot chocolate and we warmed up for a couple hours. The rain finally slowed a bit and we took off for the ride down the final hill into Dawson City. After hot showers and dry clothes we set off for some sightseeing around town. Of course, it poured rain again. Will it ever stop?
Thanks to Stretch Blackard, we had a smooth ride across the portion of the Top of the World road still under construction. We would never have made it on our own. He left us at the Canadian border and we repacked our bags on the trikes and headed East over the top. The views were awesome, but the road was terrible. It started as chip and seal for a couple miles and we thought we had it made. Then the entire rest of the day we were on rotomilled chip and seal that had just been covered with gravel. We spun out on hills and the last time I can remember having sooooooo much fun, I think I was vomiting. In other words, I was not a happy triker. After struggling 29 miles up and down those gravel, potholed hills, I gave up and pulled into a little turnoff and we made camp. Of course, to add to the day's misery, it rained off and on all day.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Left camp at 6:45 for the remaining 37 mile ride to Chicken, AK. Lots of hills on the way to the summit and then gradually down hill to town. We thought we would have to ride back over the same road to Tok, but soon after we arrived, we discovered the road to Dawson (Top of the World) had reopened today. We were soooooo relieved because we didn't want to back track over those hills again. We learned that the road is still under reconstruction and a pilot car was required for about 10 miles of it. Most of the road is now new loose gravel and just as many hills as we had just covered between Tok and here. We immediately set out looking for a portage across the new construction area. Thanks to our son, Travis, we discovered that one of his high school friends is now living in Chicken. We sought him out and, wow, we are in luck. He has agreed to take us to the Canadian border tomorrow. He also gave us a private tour of the old town site and Tisha's school (for those of you who have read the book). We also had a wonderful dinner at his cafe. His wife is a great cook!!! More rain, so off to the tent early.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
We got up early and had a big breakfast at Fast Eddy's and then said our goodbys to Marion. She is heading East and we are turning North. We left Tok early with hopes of getting to a campground near Chicken. The hills were a killer and we gave up after only 42 miles and called it a day.