09-22-2012, 11:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Sprague River, Oregon
Tok = Toke
Tok = TokeUp until recently Chicken consisted basically of three buildings. Now you have to look for Chicken. The Highway sort of bypasses it. But takes you to a cafe, a Trading post with every bizarre Chicken joke, sayings, post cards, rubber Chickens, etc., an RV park, fueling station and all the modern stuff designed to lighten the tourist's weight - by taking all of his heavy coins - they accept paper and plastic also - it is a full service town. That reminds me - gasoline in Dawson City was $6.17 a gallon. Considering how far it is trucked to get it there - it's a reasonable price.
I had the Cafe's special - a hamburger - menus along my route have varied - some have hamburgers with cheese! This turned out to be the best one of the trip and only $11.00. I inserted $8.40 of gas into the Vstrom which qualified me for a free dry tenting spot. An inspection of the spot revealed a couple of minor problems. It was located between the chain saw artist's workshop and the generator that runs 24/7. It was delicately covered with gravel and had a very healthy slope which would prevent flooding in a Monsoon. The outhouse was a hundred yards away. I carefully considered my options - and chose to wander on down the road.
Back on the bike and into the hills. I saw some cariboo and a moose. The hills leveled out and I found myself riding across a very large plain - with lots of vegetation - and muskeg (swampy looking parts).It doesn't look promising for farming - too short a growing season for cultivated produce. Back in Chicken, posted in the middle of the bulletin board was a notice of a Motorcycle Campground in Tok. I had copied the directions and found it with no trouble. Without knowing the place was there would have it remain invisible. Supposedly you can't put up a big billboard advertising your place. You CAN give the Guv'ment $1,500.00 and they will post a small Blue and White sign for you. For shoestring operations it is a killer. O.K. I locate the entrance and enter a drive with wall to wall thick - I mean THICK vegetation on each side. It prevents people from getting lost - you can't force your way through it without a chainsaw. I come to a small clearing where a big hulking guy says, "The cabin is full. The ambulance (ambulance?) is taken, so you can use the bunkhouse or the wall tent." I squeek out, "How much?" Big hulking guy, "Ten dollerz." It sold me! I was in. The bunk house is about 10 foot by 12 foot, made of rough cut raw lumber, board and batten style construction. Four bunks, two upper and several below - Hey! You do the math! No one else is around. I claim a lower and move in.
After a while, a BMW and another Vstrom arrive. The man and woman have reserved the Ambulance. It has a plywood platform bed in back. I don't know if the lights and siren still work. If the lights work - they are the only ones that do. There is no electricity here. The camp does provide a covered work table with a two burner propane stove top, a deep sink with a barrel of water, a steam sauna - throw water on heated rocks and if they don't explode you can sweat yourself clean. The fire rings are stocked with firewood and stumps provide seating.
I meet the Ambulance crew. He is an E.M.T. (duh) from Anchorage F.D. and she works for the Guv'ment. A new couple on a BMW show up. They sound German. Wrong. Romania. They flew into Montreal, retrieved the bike and came clear across the continent to be with us. Boy, are we flattered! They claim the wall tent and join us at the fire ring. They are heading towards Tierra del Fuego over the next two years.
Two more BMW's pull in. Two guys from Bolivia. They have 10 kilos of fresh caught salmon someone gave them. Big hulking guy shows up - puts some green branches from a Black Spruce under the logs - tosses in a match and the "Green" limbs explode into flames lighting the logs. It is quicker than gasoline and smells way better. The little smoke from the fire and a generous spray of Alaska Cologne (Deet) keeps the skeeters at bay. We swap lies, eat fresh salmon, drink moderately until after the sun goes down which was approaching one A.M., We ended the night with tales of the "Dumbest" things we have done on motorcycles. I of course was at a complete loss.
10:00 A.M. I slither from my plywood bunk, crawl to the door, open the door expecting to be the only one still here. Apparently the moderate drinking wasn't so moderate after all. I am the first one to be m0ving/stumbling around. After a while there is a circle of people staring at the dead fire ring trying to remember what today's goal was. Brushing teeth seemed about the most important on the ToDo lists. By noon we all waved Goodbye to Big hulking guy and were on the road.
Yes. I had to ask. Tok as in token. Toked but didn't inhale.