It's more than a state of sight and sound, it is a state of mind; this is the Whitehorse Zone. What a day this will be.
I pop out to Starbucks this morning. Beautiful partly cloudy day. Same weatherman works here as back home. Being from Seattle, we are required to drink Starbucks on a regular basis; we have been shirking our civic duty. We fix that.
We divide the clothes from the pile accordingly and I pack as Chris melts into a TV comatose. He'll pack his own stuff and he can check us out. I am loaded up and will head over to the Honda shop where we have planned to get the rear TKC's swapped out. 2500 miles, they have about 1500 left in them. He can meet me there.
It is now around 10, and this is where today's twilight zone begins. Their tire guy is not working today. Crap I really don't feel like doing this myself today. They call Yamaha, no go. There is a HD dealer but they only work on HD's. They send me to Yukon Tire. I ask that when my son comes by they send him there too. No problem.
Yukon Tire is closed. I go back, to get the HD location, heck I'll try, I use to own one! Oh, and please send my son to HD if/when he shows up.
Get to HD, and they have a tire guy But their machine is down.
They say try Canadian tire. As I am burning through a set of tires just trying to find a place to change them, I ask if they can call instead of my driving all over town. They are nice enough to call. No go at CDN Tire. They try Kawasaki, no go. Kawi guys tells her that they get there tires done at the place at the bottom of 2 mile hill. She shares this with me, and she must have noticed the blank look in my face as I had no idea if the 2 mile hill was in the YT or Alberta. It didn't help that neither her or the Kawi guy actually new the name of the place either. Finally after asking around the other customers we deduced the place is Integra Tires. She calls and they can hook us up.
As I left I asked her to send my son, who would be coming here because he was being sent here by the Honda place to go to Integra, and to give him the same instructions she was giving me. And if he said, "wait, what?" that was ok, just say it again, slower.
I get to Integra tires, who are right beside the closed Yukon Tire btw, and these guys are AWESOME. Ready, willing, able and AWESOME! But first I use their cell phone to call Honda and see if Chris has shown up there yet. They say no, so I ask that they send him here instead of HD. He arrives shortly.
Tires and a brake change and we are out of there faster than it took to find someone to do it.
Bottom line is, these guys deserve YOUR business. Tire swap two bikes, great guys, eager to help $55 out the door. Integra Tires in Whitehorse (ding ding, official plug)
We need supplies so off to the superstore, we also grab sandwiches from the deli as it is now well afternoon. We sit and eat in their camping display and make ourselves at home. Everyone that came by got a kick out of that.
Hmmmm, no sign of the Milepost. Back to the hotel to see if the maids found it. Luckily yes. Off to get some more Mountain House boil-bag food. Now some gas and we should be good. We will get out of here yet. It is nearly 3. At the gas station a big tanker was filling their tanks. The line from the truck to the tanks was leaking, so the trucker wraps a rag around the line, and puts a bucket under the rag; it drips in nicely, but I don't think it is OSHA approved. The place reeks of fuel.
Checking, I need some oil too. No worries, except back home the guys at the dealer pulled a Hulk Hogan on my TT 7mm secret squirrel oil cap. When I tried to get it off the special tool brakes, leaving the device, well, not operable. I may be able to get it with my vice grips, but they are too small. The station does not have any tools other than the toilet paper dispenser. I go to the guy in the fuel truck, knock on his door; he has tools. He pops out, smoking a cigarette. No real worries, until he realizes that that may not be such a good thing so he throws it on the ground, and before he steps on it, it blows and bounces towards the bucket now half full of gas surrounded by a soaking rag. It all would have been quite funny if we weren't about to be blown the rest of the way to the Arctic Circle. I glance over and Chris's eyes are the size of pie plates. His wrench works after partial tear down of my bike to get them to fit. Hot and sweaty, as it is now nearly 70 degrees. Ok we are good to go. Look down. 4 pm, 6 freaking hours after we began. OMG in most places that would be the end of the day, but not up here, this is the good side of endless daylight, time is irrelevant. We head out.
Never ending beautiful landscape. I like it a lot as we turn off the Alcan and head due north towards Dawson. Every turn of the wheel continues this very cool adventure. We stop at Carmacks. We are really starting to settle in to what is an amazing journey. Chris befriends yet two more dogs; He should be a vet, animals are just attracted to him.
I sit down out front and talk with a guy who turns out to be the owner. We talk for quite a while about everything from the weather to economic diversity to the sounds that Ravens make. Turns out that the chairs we are sitting on came off the White Pass train that brought the gold rushers out of Skagway. We both agree, he can't ever throw them out.
I wish we had taken a picture of that moment. These are the moments that make up a true journey; not the tall mountains, not the glass smooth lakes or the sunsets. Very interesting guy. It was great to just sit back and enjoy 45 minutes of just 'being'.
We stop at Pelli crossing campground for the night. Pelli crosses the Yukon River I believe. It looks like an abandoned campground, but I think in retrospect that is maybe how they look up here. We poach a place down by the river.
After setting up camp, we walk across the street to a Gramma kitchen. Damn fine food.
It is owened and operated by a native family. We enjoy talking with the daughter of Gramma about life up there and how it is they fish the river with nets. They have had some rains the past few days, and that is the sign that it is ok for the fish to come now. They are excited. We also talked about their 'rights' for fish and game etc. When she found out we had never had moose before, she promised, and delivered, two huge frozen moose steaks to our camp later that night. What a great family they have.
Yup the mighty Yukon is cold.
Very very nice place to lay our heads. Chris scavenges for wood, builds a ring and a fire. And yes, in case you were wondering, we have smores.
Some tracks around in the sand. Some big, some small and we are not sure what they all are. We hang the food and hit the bags and bring this strange but wonderful day to a close.