8-1-04  Tok, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon

          Next morning, the skies were gray and there was a steady drizzle.  After mopping off the bike, I loaded up, slowly, and headed out.  After about a half hour of driving, I ran ahead of the rain.  I was on a paved  highway, so I used the highway pegs in my relaxed mode of travel.  My speed steadied between 60 –65 mph.

Wet bike


            I reached the Canadian border and passed through with minimal questioning.

            My first chance to get money and food was at Beaver Creek.  There was a small restaurant serving homemade beef stew with homemade bread, the perfect antidote for cold, rainy weather. 

            A couple at one table had questions.  They asked me where I was from.  It turned out that their daughter worked as an RN at the UCSD hospital.  They were from Anchorage, and the father at one time owned nine bikes.  He used to crate one bike on the plane for travel, including to San Diego.

            The couple at the next table were from Texas.  He used to race bikes in the 50s.  He had been laid off from Hewlett Packard and, like me, decided to travel before resuming work.  He had raced Nortons, along with some brands I did not recognize, and was the Texas State Champion.

            I pulled 100 Canadian from the restaurant using my VISA card.  I checked the mileage to Haines Junction and figured on a straight shot.  The road was straight and paved, and followed the Kluane River to Kluane Lake.  At that point, it met and paralleled the lake.  It also began to curve, for a little fun.

          Clouds were building over the mountains.  Rain showers were all around me, but the road stayed low and dry.

Kluane River

          I stopped at an abandoned lodge, took some pictures, and walked alongside the lake.

Kluane Lake

Kluane Lake

Kluane Lake

          Back to the road, I figured I would hit Haines Junction at 180 miles.  There were no signs for Haines; no sign of Haines.  I started to wonder if my math was off.  I noticed that there was nothing around.  A couple of opportunities had passed by earlier, but I'd trusted my range.  I rolled back the throttle and hunched down to minimize the wind.  Finally, at approximately 190 miles, I saw a building off the road.  The sign said, "gas", but when I pulled up to the pumps, another sign read “No Gas”.  A hand-written sign was tacked to the pumps and pointed to the south, with the legend, “Haines, 6 miles”.

            I started back up and put it back to 65 mph.  Haines showed up on schedule.

            I gassed up and turned southeast towards Whitehorse, approximately 100 miles away.

            Almost immediately, there was construction.  In the construction zone, the pavement was interspersed with stretches of gravel, including sharp-angled short detours off the road.  It almost looked like they were building a 4-lane expressway.  The lanes being constructed were parallel was to the side of the road.  Construction ended and I rolled back up to 70 mph.

            About 40 klicks out of Whitehorse, there was rain to the left, right, and front.  I stopped to put on the garbage bags over my boots.  The rain ended just outside of Whitehorse.

            I stayed at a hotel back by the airport.  It was adjacent to the hotel I had stayed at earlier.  I would have booked the same hotel both times, and had another dinner of wienerschnitzel, but for some reason I confused the hotel with the dive I had stayed at in Smithers.

            The airplane (DC-3) had gimbaled around 180 degrees since my last visit.  It truly was an enormous windsock!