Alaska 2018 - I only celebrate my birthday every 60 years

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ozarks Rider, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    Thank you for following along and the helpful information. I really hope that this can provide the same inspiration and information that I took from so many other people's blogs and You Tube posts. Thanks again and I hope you can make your trip happen as well. Let me know if I can help in any way!
  2. RedUly

    RedUly Esse Quam Videri Supporter

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  3. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    Thanks for reading! I agree with you. If you have never been, RR's give you a great insight as to what to see or in some way be ready for what awaits. If you have been, there aren't any two ride reports that are exactly the same in Alaska even though there are fairly traditional routes to take. The weather conditions change constantly, different animal sightings, routes taken, etc. And no matter how much time you have, you won't see everything you want, or get to everywhere that you wanted travel to.
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  4. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    DAY 41—————Fairbanks, AK__________ 0 Miles / 0 km

    Rained overnight a little but I was okay with that as I was warm and dry inside the tent anyway. Always makes for a mess when you have to get in and out or especially when you pack up. I hadn’t decided what I was going to do today but staying put and taking a day off was sounding better by the minute-which is what I ended up doing. Hey for $18 a night you almost have to stay a second day to take advantage of the price!

    DSCF1204_Tent at Sven's.JPG

    I was up uncharacteristically early because I had gone to bed by 9pm or so. The campground was peaceful but for the traffic on the street and an occasional plane taking off. I made my way to the community kitchen to see if the few items I had left behind with my name on them had survived my absence. I was pleased to see they were still there so I commenced with a granola breakfast with an orange or two and some coffee.

    I also took advantage of the solitude and internet connection to look at my next few days on the road and where I was going because at this point all predetermined destinations had run their course. I had no agenda or specific time line but I had more things I wanted to see as I worked my way south in the general direction of home.

    DSCF1275_Kitchen at Sven's.JPG

    Had some errands that I could run, and needed to do this in order to jettison some items that I didn’t want to have to pack with me. Trying to do this and still try to get down the road wasn’t worth the hassle to hurry. I decided to delay my errands for a little bit when a mid-day shower gave the area a good drenching. Look at all the forecasts you want, but it is either going to rain or it isn’t-that you can be guaranteed.

    DSCF1277_Bike parked.JPG

    One of the stops on my list was to go back to Northern Power Sports and return the inner tube I had purchased a few days before. I had intended to ask the Texans if they might need it but forgot. I didn’t want a refund, I just figured they would put it to better use, maybe help out a biker on a tight budget, and I had no use for it as I was going to be on pavement the remainder of the trip. When I said that I wanted to return it, and before I could say anything else, the guy was more than willing to take it back and give me a refund. I told him I didn’t think it was right to get my money back, but if he had a box in the back that was suitable for me to pack my other items to mail home, we’d have a deal. He brought me in the back and gave me the run of the place to see if I could find something that I could use. Discovered the perfect box.

    Went to the post office to send off the remainder of possessions no longer needed. I forgot that I had put the cleaner and spray bottle that I never used in the box, so when he perfunctorily asked me if I had any hazardous, perishables, liquid, live animals, etc. etc. in the shipment, I routinely answered no I didn’t. He didn’t seem to believe me, and then I remembered I had the cleaner in there, but my answer sounded more like I had been caught in a lie. I didn’t believe myself there for a minute! So I tried to convince him that not only was the liquid safe to ship, I had ordered it on Amazon, then shipped it to Anchorage, and it says it’s safe to do so right on the packaging. He relented, but I think he might have sent it to Arkansas via a lab in Uganda because it took weeks for that box to hit home well after I returned.

    Not much else to do today but rest up and pick my next destination. Tok, AK was about 200 miles / 321 km, but that didn’t seem far enough and I had already been through that area a few times so nothing new to discover. But Snag Junction, YT was 325 miles / 523 km and accommodations are more spartan after that so I decided that would be my next stopping point tomorrow. That would make Haines 315 miles / 506 km and comfortably split up the next two days.
  5. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    DAY 42—————Fairbanks, AK to Snag Junction, YT__________ 325 Miles / 523 km

    August 9 - Day 42.jpg

    Chilly night and morning that I awoke too. Funny that I was hearing how hot it was a week before I got to Fairbanks, in the 80’s I think they said, but no evidence of that during my stay. Had my standard breakfast of granola and grapefruit (the latter paying homage to Hunter S Thompson…anyone?) and would cause me some consternation a few days later.

    Packed up everything and hit the road. A much easier start to the day than it would have been the previous day with all of the errands that I needed to run. First stop was going to be the North Pole, for the sake of the gimmick and my Dad having some fascination with it. It snuck up on me as I wasn’t expecting it so quickly. I took the offramp and came back up the service road so that I could take pictures for the Old Man and then was on my way. Unless you are being dropped there on a bus tour and have a desperate need for a restroom, I wouldn’t plan my day around the city of North Pole.



    Back on Hwy 2 heading for Snag Junction. Next stop was Delta Junction because I had neglected to get a picture of the north terminus of the Alcan when I came through with Dan a few weeks prior. The marker is in a tourist information pulloff and has several artifacts from the construction of the highway including vehicles and tools. I wanted to get a picture of me with the bike, so I asked a woman who was exiting the information office if she would be so kind to help me with this. She wasn’t too enthusiastic but agreed. Her husband (I assume) came out as she was lining up the shot…and pointing the lense of the camera at herself while wondering why she couldn’t see anything. It’s a point and shoot minolta-really? But then I got the drift that she and her husband weren’t exactly on the friendliest of terms at the moment so I’m trying to get a memorable picture while in the middle of an ongoing domestic dispute. This might have explained her demeanor. And she had me standing with the sign directly behind me, so that didn’t really come out as I had imagined. The husband mentioned something in regards to this as she was lining up the shot (behind her?) and she shot him a look that suggested he might want to consider asbestos pj’s that night in the RV. He came back a few minutes later with his camera and asked me to get a picture of him, rather than asking his wife or putting both of them in it. Happy trails!



    The road to Tok, AK from Delta Junction, AK is mostly tree lined and just a good solid highway without many distractions-or curves. I could not stop yawning all the way to fuel stop there and my hands wouldn’t warm up either despite the heated grips. Some coffee, M&M’s, and granola later, it snapped me back into reality and I was fine for the duration. I decided to throw on my heated gloves for the first time and that did the trick. Great invention.

    In this video, you can see why the last part of the road leading up to where the US port of entry is has so many upheavals. Look at the telephone poles on the left and you will see what the frost heave does to this section, both on the highway and alongside it.



    As I was headed to the Canadian port of entry at Beaver Creek, I was trying to keep a couple of cars ahead of me so I wouldn’t hold them up while I was removing helmet, gloves, getting to me passport. But these people seemed determined to slow to the point that I had no choice but to pass them. Not sure what that was all about. I shut off my Sena because of the camera and rolled to the booth. They asked for my passport so quickly that I didn’t have time to remove my helmet. Asked if I had any fruits or vegetables, I replied that I had some grapefruit and figured that was the last I would see of them. Not a problem. Hmm. I had seen videos of people returning to the states through Vancouver with food and getting cleaned out, but apparently grapefruit isn’t on the list going into Canada. I did stop to take advantage of one more sticker location at the pullout between countries.

    Arriving at Yukon Discovery RV Park I was a little wet from running though rain which waited until the end of the day. They like to take you out and show you your options if you are staying in a cottage. Some have kitchenettes and others don’t. Tenting was out because a sow and two cubs had been roaming the camp looking for berries that were just starting to bloom on the bushes. I never saw them but I always seemed to be just a couple of minutes behind when they came through a few times.

    I placed my order for dinner in an hour and went in to take a much anticipated shower. Why is it when you have been running in rain for a few hours, the first thing you want to do is take a shower? Freshened up, I walked to the main office where they serve the meals, all the time anticipating being ready for bears and looking for someone in the area who might run slower than I do just in case! No sightings. Dinner isn’t cheap but it is very good. Wine comes by the bottle I discovered so I had as much as I could before sharing with an Australian couple who arrived as I was finishing up. We talked for awhile and finished off the bottle together.



    After being pretty frugal in Fairbanks, I dropped some money here as a splurge because the owner Amanda works her tail off and has a really nice place. If you’re coming up the Alcan, and especially a group, this is a great place to stay. You can even arrange ahead of time to have food shipped up here and she will work with you in any number of ways. I highly recommend it.
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  6. pjgoeman

    pjgoeman Adventurer

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    Just wanted to say thanks for all of the time and effort that you're putting into this trip report. The results are very much appreciated.
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  7. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    Thanks very much for the feedback! No away that I could have ever done this while I was riding. My hat's off to anyone who can, and there are advantages to doing so by being able to connect with people as you travel, but there is a lot of editing that is required and it's time consuming. Your appreciation is sincerely appreciated!
  8. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    DAY 43—————Snag Junction, YT to Haines, AK__________ 315 Miles / 506 km

    August 10 & 11 - Day 43 & 44.jpg

    Sleeping in a comfortable bed and cozy environment after a few days of the rain in the tent were a welcome change. And as usual, did nothing to encourage an early start to the day. Granola, grapefruit and coffee while relaxing a bit sounded better. With just six hours or so of riding and plenty of daylight, there i no reason to be up at the break of dawn unless there is something that you need to do at the other end.

    DSCF1288_Dave at table in room.JPG

    Beautiful day after what looked to be an early morning rain. I’m not about to enter any of my pictures into a photography exhibit, but even with all the cameras and fortified lenses out there, you simply can’t photographically capture the essence of what it feels like to head down the Alaskan Highway on your bike to start your day. At this point I didn’t have any plans or reservations for the remainder of the trip. I honestly didn’t know just how I was going to wind south or when I would be home. I did have to get back at some point, but Paula graciously was allowing me to figure it out as I went. Considering that she was managing our personal affairs and our business in my absence, that was immeasurable generosity on her part.



    This was my third and unfortunately final time through this stretch to Haines Junction, YT. Twice north, once with Keith and again with Dan, and now south all by myself. I was hoping to see the Dall Sheep this time near Kluane Lake region but no luck, strike three, and I was outta here.

    I stopped at a card lock near Kluane Lake to top off as I hadn’t fueled since Tok, AK. Got talking to a young guy on a sports bike who had ridden up from San Francisco, CA through Mt. Hood in Oregon and Mt. Rainer in Washington and I was interested to hear his accounts. That was a direction I was considering heading for home because I had never been there. He was asking about going to Deadhorse and I said he wasn’t riding the bike that would be my preference, but I showed him my back tire which wasn’t that much more aggressive than his and said that’s what I rode on. However there are obviously other considerations and the best thing he had going for him was youth!

    Arrived in Haines Junction, YT and had a quick lunch at the Chinese restaurant. I never got around to trying the bakery in Haines Junction but I hear it is terrific…now. Then down the road to Haines. I stopped at a little rest area to adjust some clothing and saw what I originally mistook as someone’s pet stretching its legs around the parking lot. Turns out it was a fox out looking for something to eat I would suppose. There weren’t many people around, however if there were, I’m sure someone would have been going after a loaf of bread (about the worst thing you can feed wild creatures…and sometimes human creatures) and trying to take a selfie. He/she was pretty skittish and there wasn’t any reason to do more than just watch it and appreciate the encounter. Came across it again a little bit down the road but it eventually went back off into the woods.



    Nice peaceful ride down the Haines Hwy. Very little traffic in either direction. As you get closer to the US border the drop in elevation is noticeable by warmer temperatures as you are heading towards sea level. Crossing back into the US I was once again fretting my last few grapefruit, but as before there wasn’t any issue with them. They were American grapefruit after all. After customs the highway winds along beside the Chilkat River which looks like it would be a blast to kayak.



    There is a lot of construction on the road and I have better footage of how they break off the rock alongside the road then pound them into smaller rocks used for the road bed.



    I had looked online for places to camp in Haines and decided to go to the local visitor’s center to see what they had to offer. What began as an exchange of pleasantries with the woman inside developed into my feeling like a prosecuting attorney trying to pry a murder confession out of her on the witness stand. “Well, I’m not sure”. “Couldn’t really say”. “That’s news to me”. I left without a bit of incriminating evidence on her…but that wasn’t what I stopped in for!

    I had looked into a place called Salmon Run Campground before I got here and that seemed like a decent place. It was down Lutak Road which was also the way to the ferry and the Chilkoot Lake Recreation Park where there is a very well known bear viewing area due to all of the salmon that migrate to and from the Chilkoot Lake. I stopped by the ferry office to see about crossings to Skagway and whether I would need a reservation. They had a ferry the following day, I would be third on the waiting list I was told, but not to worry too much because they generally get bikes on regardless. I was debating on spending an extra day in Haines however, and when I was told that the weather was supposed to be nice tomorrow, I decided to book passage the next day and use a day to relax and look around Haines.

    I went down to the end of the road where the park and bear viewing area was but there wasn’t much going on. I decided that was enough for one day so I backtracked to the campground and got a campsite for a few days. The campsite was great, with a view of the mountains and the inlet and a babbling brook behind me. The woman who owns the place was interesting to speak with. She mentioned that she doesn’t offer Wi-fi, which causes children to go into catatonic shock followed by fits of uncontrollable anger at the inexplicable cruelty in the world. She also said that the tide was going to be low the next day and the Pink Salmon that spawn around the inlet would likely bring out the bears in the morning. She said there was a bear that had been hanging around the area but that they primarily feed on fish so that the bear was likely just lost and could be scared away easily. I put my food in my bear bags away from the tent and didn’t really worry too much about it.

    I heated up a ramen noodle pack with some week-old bread, washed down with some wine. All of which provided zero nutritional value but filled me up and I was ready for bed.

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  9. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    DAY 44—————Haines, AK__________ Miles / km

    My first sensation this morning was recalling how dark it was last night. After you finally get used to it staying light so late, you don’t want to give it up. I had to look around and see where my flashlights were after being relegated to the bottom of my bags due to being relegated as non-essential items for several weeks. The combination of heading south and the days getting shorter meant this was going to be the new normal.

    I wanted to get around earlier than usual so that I might get a view of the bears coming down to take advantage of low tide. With the benefit of staying an extra day I didn’t have to pack up my site and could get out much easier. I headed north on the Lutak Road along the Chilkoot River heading for the recreation site where they have a section of the road heading not the camping area that is designated no parking because apparently that’s the main crossing point for bears heading to the river.

    No sign of bears anywhere, so I decided to watch the park ranger who was sitting out in the middle of a gate system that is used to track and occasionally capture a salmon attempting to make it back upstream. But the longer I watched and ran video, it was apparent that this was not going to be one of those occasions. I rode around the area for a little bit longer, including all the way to the end of the road as well as the campground, and then headed back towards my campsite to fix some sort of breakfast. I didn’t many empty spaces in the campground, and those that were empty might have been spoken for, so it was good that I didn’t have my heart set on staying there and Salmon Run was more comfortable anyway with showers.



    Got into a conversation back at camp with a couple from Alberta who were spending a week without the kids that they had shipped to the grandparent’s farm. There was a picnic table that was conveniently located where you could see the river and enjoy coffee. After we talked for a bit I decided to head into town to explore. One of the main attractions in Haines is Fort William Seward national historic landmark. There is a very interesting history and some remnants of the base, but there is a lot that isn’t there anymore and it would probably be just as interesting reading about it in my opinion. Most of the large officer quarters homes have been gentrified and there are a few other larger buildings that are being used. There was a hierarchy of importance based on how high up on the hill you were, so naturally the officer’s homes are at the top and the smaller buildings closer to the water. The large grass area below the officer’s homes was an area where they would perform drills.



    The remainder of Haines is pretty one note, just a basic little town. Although I was fascinated that someone decided to open a “Hammer Museum” in this town of all places. They were closed, but I couldn’t bring myself to spring for the entrance fee…apparently I was not that fascinated… Besides, when they lock up for the night I think they nail the door shut. That's old school! I relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine, caught up on a call to Paula and my Dad, then picked up a few grocery items to have for dinner.

    DSCF1324_Hammer Museum.JPG

    DSCF1323_Haines hovercraft.JPG

    DSCF1316_Haines cruise ship dock.JPG


    On the way back to camp I wanted to stop at the ferry terminal and get some video of a ferry pulling away so I hung out there for a little bit until they were ready to go. After the ferry pulled out I made my way out to the main road and for whatever reason decided to gas on it, which was about 45mph / 70km in a 30mph / 50km zone. Right about the time that there was a Haines local cop watching traffic my direction, and sure enough he was coming to speak to me. As he walked up to me, I said “Let me guess, I was going a little too fast”. He agreed, but followed that with they didn’t have a habit of writing speeding tickets to tourists-of which I was clearly one. From there the conversation developed into a discussion about my bike, how he had thought about getting one, and after about 30 minutes of comparing notes, mutual Q&A, and the obligatory picture, we parted with a “Slow down”. What’s funny is that I had been through there a few times already and was content to take my time and look at the views. Not sure what came over me.



    DSCF1329_Officer Patterson Haines PD.JPG
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  10. squiffynimrod

    squiffynimrod maximum shrinkage Supporter

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    I don't think your new buddy was a fox.
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  11. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    I labored over this, not being the smartest person in the world...or even in this room I'm in, and I figured someone would straighten me out if I had it wrong. So, what do we have here? Didn't seem big enough to me to be a wolf or coyote.
  12. lqgsrider

    lqgsrider Been here awhile

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    Good RR
    Thanks for posting
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  13. squiffynimrod

    squiffynimrod maximum shrinkage Supporter

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    Coyote. Young'un, maybe a couple of years old.

    You may not be able to identify wildlife, but you write one hell of a RR. :clap
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  14. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    Thank you!
  15. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    Well I would have to wholeheartedly agree with the first, and thank you for the second! I appreciate you jumping in and helping with that.
  16. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

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    DAY 45—————Haines, AK to Atlin, YT__________ 174 Miles / 280 km

    August 12 - Day 45.jpg

    **FAIR WARNING-THIS GOES ON FOREVER**

    Up early and ready for the next adventure! Visited with the camp owner for a little bit and wished her well. She runs a very nice place and I would definitely recommend it. Packed up and headed for the ferry…at a moderate rate of speed.

    Went inside the ferry office and they directed me where to park. It was the same very nice woman that I had spoken to a couple of days ago. I rolled into the motorcycle lane and was the first one there. Shortly after that, another rider named Wolfgang from Germany pulled up on a GS. We struck up a conversation and were comparing notes on our respective trips when the nice lady (I am going to call her Denise) from the ferry office came out and asked for my license I assume to verify my ticket. No problem…just let me get that for…I’ve got it right here… Where the hell is my license?! Then I have a flashback. I must not have gotten it back from the officer yesterday evening! Crap!

    Denise springs into action, has me follow her heading back to the office so she can call the police station and see if they have it. I told her that I remembered the officer’s name because we spoke for awhile. As I am walking behind her she is trying to be certain who I am talking about, she says to me “Was he good looking”? In the heat of the moment I responded “Well, I say this as a perfectly straight heterosexual male who is happily married, I suppose I would have to admit he was”. As we get inside, Denise dials up the police station. As she does that, I am incredulous that I somehow managed to misplace my license because I am usually pretty careful about keeping track of it. Just as Denise gets the station on the phone, I find it in another location in my wallet rather than where I usually have it. I wave it at Denise just as she is about to ask if they have it, and she says “I just wanted to call and wish you guys a good morning”. Lovely, AND quick on her feet!

    Back in line, two more motorcyclists from Belgium pulled up. Younger than Wolfgang and I, and certainly living the dream on a much smaller budget. They said they found a good free place to camp last night, and if you didn’t mind the rat feces, it served the purpose. Honestly, I probably would have minded. But hey, they were relative youngsters and looked like it was working for them. We all had something to offer to the conversation comparing notes, and we were joined by a guy with an old VW camper who some in the group had run into previously.

    Time to load up the ship. Because this was going to be a side load and exit, motorcycles were left for last which was fine because it meant we would be the first off as we exited through the same ramp. Took a little doing as one guy with a trailer was having some issues with the angle of the ramp relative to the ship. Something that you don’t think of, but if you’re loading an articulated configuration (there’s one for my European friends) or a large motorhome, low tide makes it much more tricky as it increases the angle of the ramp due to the ship being lower.

    Eventually we all got on and were directed to some straps available to tie our bikes down. The lane dividers have these raised cylindrical markers almost like the “topes” in Mexico, except these have holes in them to put the strap hooks through. Ideally you want to park in between them so that you can grab the bike on each side and pulling in opposing directions. We didn’t have to do a herculean job of tying the bikes down as the trip was only 45 minutes and the water was very smooth.

    Wolfgang and I headed upstairs and hung out on the back as we departed. We were talking to a guy on deck who had a friend that had worked on a ferry. His friend’s job was to watch for things in the water like floating debris, and he said they position one person on either side of the ship as lookouts. Just as he say this, the ship jerked a bit and a full length tree went by on the port side! I would imagine that would have hurt us if we hit it.

    We went inside to grab something to eat as I hadn’t had much of anything yet that morning. While in line I ran across the couple from Australia that I shared wine with in Snag Junction a few days ago. Wolfgang and I compared notes as he had been up to Tuk which I had passed on. He had a little mishap and had ended going off the road and needed some people to help him drag the bike back onto the roadway. Some scrapes to the bike and a few busted items but all things considered he came out of it ok. We decided as there was only one way to go out of Skagway we would ride together until our paths went in different directions.

    The sail across from Haines to Skagway goes quickly. I had barely finished my sandwich before it was time to release the herd and allow everyone back downstairs to the vehicle deck. Everyone had to wait for us to get to the bikes, remove the straps, and hang them up-the latter because that’s what courteous motorcyclists do. Out of the hold and into the new day following the road which leads to main street Skagway. Our primary focus initially was just to get off the ship. Once in town, we parked alongside the sidewalk and figured we would plot our course.



    Skagway the first place that I had been that was a full blown cruise ship town. A lot of jewelry stores and nick-knacks. None of which has any appeal to me. We were going to look for a place to get something small to eat because we were still a little hungry, but before we could go, we were descended upon by a collection of tourists off the ships wanting to ask about our bikes and such. It was interesting to be these mini-celebrities for a bit. As we were each talking to different people, someone would line up behind those people to wait their turn to speak with us. We certainly weren’t A-Listers, but maybe something much farther down the alphabet like P or Q? Several, if not most, noticed Wolfgang’s German plate and mine from Arkansas, and wanted to know how and when we met. When we said we had just met on the ship, they were dumbfounded like this just couldn’t happen! Outrageous! I suppose this illustrates just how different the average non-motorcycling car driver looks at the world. We didn’t think anything of it.

    After a saunter down the street to get a bite, we headed back to the bikes and then north to return to Canada on Hwy 2. This is also called the Klondike Highway and runs all the way north to Dawson City, YT. As we climbed out of Skagway towards the border crossing, we went up into the fog/clouds that choked back visibility quite a bit. Not certain the altitude in this pass but there is a mountain range to the west that is over 7000 ft / 2100 m. The border crossing was no big deal, and we proceeded towards Jakes Corner where we would once again be on the Alcan.



    Shortly after crossing the border, we noticed a fire burning on the hillside across the way. That was our first encounter with a fire, but it was just the beginning of literally hundreds of fires that would be starting up across British Columbia in August. A brief stop for fuel in Carcross, YT and we briefly reacquainted ourselves with the Belgians who were headed for Whitehorse. Wolfgang had a book with all sorts of towns and places and he suggested that the town of Atlin, BC would be an interesting destination. I didn’t have any destination in mind so it was fine with me. After a brief stop at Jakes Corner, we headed south on the Alcan to Hwy 7.



    IMG_2979_Wolfgang Jakes Corner.jpg

    Atlin is a sleepy little town that is kind of interesting. First off, the Llewellyn Glacier that makes up Atlin Lake, is also the headwater of the Yukon River. {Some scholarly information trying to salvage my pride from a few days ago when I identified a coyote as a fox!} We spoke with an adventurous couple who had taken a boat quite a ways down the river which sounded like a very challenging trip. Popped into the little grocery store in town to see about a few items for dinner. The road to Atlin is paved and then a bit south of that as well, but we were going to try to camp at Warm Spring which was pretty basic and without any services at the end of a dirt road. The woman working there was amazed that Wolfgang and I had just met earlier that day and were riding together. We wondered if we should start being amazed ourselves as we appeared to be the only people who weren’t! There wasn’t much that interested us in the store and unfortunately their bakery was long closed for the day. We bought a couple of cinnamon rolls and I bought a loaf of wheat bread which Wolfgang was thoroughly unimpressed with.

    DSCF1343_Atlin general store.JPG

    On down to Warm Spring, which we were cautioned was not to be confused with a “hot” spring. It was warm, just tepid and nothing more. Don’t expect it to be hot. Okay. The camping was free but limited and the last campsite only had five spaces which were all occupied. As we looked around and considered our options, taking in the overturned bear-proof trash receptacle (more on that in a minute) I was holding back waiting for a gentleman to cross in front of me on foot. He stopped and asked if we needed a place to camp for the night and offered us some of his space to put up our tents which had plenty of room in part because he was sleeping in his pickup. We thanked him, problem solved.

    Wolfgang and I both had boil in a bag meals so we set to making what passed for dinner while talking to Brian our host who was from Ontario, Canada. He mentioned that there was a note taped to the trash can that a bear had tipped it over, supposedly a smaller grizzly, and to be careful. The latter goes without saying. Brian had a shotgun and Wolfgang had bear spray, so as long as I didn’t get between them tonight I should be okay. Brian had gone up to the warm spring to soak for a bit, and we considered it, but it wasn’t really getting sold as something that sounded like an experience of a lifetime so we decided to walk up to see it without getting in.



    It was a mile or so up the road, farther than we had expected, but we were committed and eventually made it to the location. Wolfgang spotted an eagle along the way. The warm spring is hard to describe, but it was basically just a shallow pond for the most part…with warm water… We hadn’t been there for more than 10 minutes or so, and then I can honestly say we experienced something on a par with an episode of The Twilight Zone.

    Eagle.JPG

    A car pulled into the area and seemed to struggle with getting turned around like someone in driver training figuring out how to drive a stick. A 68 year old gentleman and a younger man and woman in their early twenties emerged. I assumed the couple were brother and sister (still not positive they weren’t). The guy looked sort of like an average duffus, but the woman was a bit of a fright. Stringy hair, yellow teeth-those that were remaining, and a posture that I still can’t adequately define. We were all standing around together talking, Wolfgang and I mostly listening (sort of) and the older man started going into how he was involved in a big annual music festival and live theater for years in Atlin. Okay. Then, the conspiracy theories started. He had noticed that things in the sky weren’t right, but no one would take him seriously. If Cassiopeia was lined up with the Southern Cross, we gained two hours of extra daylight every other Wednesday, and there were runners on second and third… I might have made up that last part, but honestly Wolfgang and I kept shooting each other glances furtively wondering just what in the world was going on. Wolfgang tried the ‘ol English as a second language dodge but it barely caused the guy to come up for oxygen. He had unwilling victims in a state of paralysis and he wasn’t going to grant our freedom without a much larger distraction throwing him off what seemed to be a well rehearsed diatribe.

    Warm Spring.JPG

    Meanwhile, the young couple (who might or might not have been brother and sister) had meandered off by a tree in the distance, and were engaging in a prolonged liplock that was enormously distracting. So immediately in front of us we have a guy who is admonishing us of the threat of meteors the size of Volkswagens full of unicorns plummeting to earth-and all he’s really missing is a foil hat; and two people performing a PDA that is about to make me lose my lunch all the way back to yesterday. Finally we extract ourselves and make haste for the main road heading back to camp. Safely out of range, Wolfgang and I bust out laughing realizing that was 15 minutes of our respective lives we will never get back.

    Back at camp we tried to explain to Brian what had just transpired as we were still processing it. As Wolfgang and I set up our tents for the night, we all agreed that we were ready for whatever might come at us in the night. Brian would shoot, Wolfgang would spray, and I would duck.
    WoK, Smidty and eddyturn like this.
  17. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    554
    Location:
    Juneau Alaska
    I was riding into Skagway about a week ahead of you and that fire was raging. The smoke was very thick on the road and you could see lots of flames. I was worried that the fire would jump the lake and close the road. After returning home to Juneau later that night we had several days of rain thru the area that nearly put the fire out.
    In my years of coming and going I have been stopped by fires on the Alcan twice, once on the Cassiar and once on the Yellowhead highway, it kinda screws with a persons itinerary......
    Oh, Jakes corner is a good breakfast stop :clap
    Ozarks Rider likes this.
  18. WoK

    WoK Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    13
    Dave, enjoyed your writing very much! :clap
    Far more entertaining than my blog entry for our first day of riding, which one might read here.
    You definitely did understand this weird guy at the warm water pond much better than me! :lol3:lol3:lol3
    Ozarks Rider likes this.
  19. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    158
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    NW Arkansas
    Bigbob1 likes this.
  20. Ozarks Rider

    Ozarks Rider I'd never join club that would have me as a member Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    NW Arkansas