The problem with being an early riser is I’m often up and ready for action long before it’s useful or practical. This morning, for instance, it’s 5.16AM and I’m in my little one person tent at the campground near Fort McPherson. The ferry across the Peel River doesn’t start until 9AM, so I have the best part of four hours to kill. I might as well spend it writing to you as I have no interest in feeding the hoards of mosquitos which descend on me whenever I poke my head outside the tent. We are a gang of four. I met Rhode Island Sam a couple of days ago before camping together at Pelly Crossing. We have been riding separately, but shared the costs of a room at the Bunkhouse in Dawson City. Florida Gerry sat on my tail for many miles after I left Whitehorse and pulled up beside me to chat when I stopped to take a picture. He’s riding a V-Strom loaded like a Klondike pack-mule. He’s been on the road for ages, unlike Alaska Evan who just hopped across from Fairbanks and only has a few days to nip up to Tuk and back on his BMW GS800. We are all solo travelers, all clearly quite comfortable in our own company, yet without any deliberate plan, we seem to have banded together in a loose association. With time on my hands I wonder about this. Sam suggests that after a few days most people want a little social contact, and what better than with a few like-minded folks. He put himself in that camp, to which I would add Gerry who basically hunted me down to make the contact. I'm not sure how Evan feels. He seems to keep his cards very close to his chest, although he did let on that this trip to Tuk was a shakedown for a much longer trip involving much of South America. It seems a bit tribal to me. We have identified that others share our interest so we loosely associate for confirmation that we're not entirely daft, and perhaps, at some deep unspoken level, so we know that there is at least someone close by to keep an eye out for us. I left Dawson City while everyone else was sleeping and got an early start. I love the mornings anyway, but who can sleep when there isn't any night to speak of. It's a forty km road haul to the start of the Dempster, with nothing much to distinguish it, other than the card-lock 24 hour gas bar, of which I availed myself. It's going to take me a while to gather my thoughts about the Dempster. There is lots to think about: road conditions, dust, f#@$king RVs, dust etc. But in a nutshell, I was gobsmacked. Here's a sample: jeckyll - Fort McPherson. I'll explain in a bit.