8-2-04 Whitehorse, Yukon to Muncho Lake, British Columbia
I woke up to rain. The
front had caught up. It was a steady rain, cool
to cold. I took my time getting the bike
ready and loaded.
I asked the maid for
two large garbage bags for my feet.
They were grudgingly given: “We’re not supposed to.” I tried the ATM again and again, without luck. The problem seemed to be with the debit function.
A short time into the morning, I crossed the Continental Divide.
to Teslin was about as far as I could go on my hands. I felt every incursion of air around my neck, and my right (throttle)
hand was exposed above the hand guard. My feet
also felt cold. At Teslin, I stopped for coffee and
soup. At next table were a couple belonging
to a black BMW, riding 2-up. I had parked next
to them. All of us were heading south. He asked about the Cassiar. I told him there was nothing difficult, with gravel
surfaces interspersed with paved. I didn't know how the road would be wet, but the road offered spectacular
scenery and was a great drive.
He had ridden
the Dalton alone, concerned about the safety of his wife.
His bike weighed close to 1000 lbs. loaded.
He had no problems, but he remarked on the difficulty of the first 5 miles. There was a sharp, graveled turn near the end of the stretch, and as he was
going through the turn, he came across an overturned 4-wheel drive.
Prudhoe Bay, rooms were refused to 3 Polish BMW riders, no reasons given. They had to turn around and re-drive the 250 miles back down the road.
The Dalton run is the reverse of the Dempster. The last segment to Prudhoe Bay is the longest, requiring fuel management.
before them. I drove for about an hour,
then pulled off to warm up. They passed
Watson Lake was again one of those long stretches without any
indication via signs
as to how far away the town was. Watson Lake finally
showed up. I wandered around Watson Lake's famous "Signpost
Village" for a few minutes, then gassed up and headed for Laird
BMW driver had recommended the
Laird River Hotel, which was across from hot springs (Laird Hot
Springs). He said, "One good soak takes off three days of hard
continued cold, overcast, and rainy. Just
outside of Laird were the Cranberry River Rapids. I stopped to get off the bike and to take pictures, but couldn't find much to shoot. The water of the river, the landscape, and the skies were grayed out by the rain. To Laird, where the hotel was booked up. There were only 8 rooms. I asked for directions to the next hotel south and was told to head for
Muncho Lake, about 45 – 60 minutes away. I noticed that every service was again spaced about an hour’s drive apart.
There was a stretch of rough construction out of Laird. As I descended through the construction area in a series of curves, I came up
on two goats, a mother and kid. I slowed,
and the goats ambled into the road in front of me. I slowed
some more, until they moved to the side of the road. We stared at each other as I rolled by at 5 mph.
finally eased, and I was back on the throttle to 70 – 80 mph. The
skies started to clear, and as I approached Muncho Lake, the sun
broke through. I pulled off at the head of
lake to take pictures. Immediately, mosquitoes
swarmed my head. That was the first time on
the trip that I was bothered by the north's most famous residents. I
hurriedly took pictures and got
my helmet back on. The North Rockies Lodge was
a few miles up the road.
The lodge had reasonable rates, but
the resort's original motel complex next door was cheaper. I always go for cheaper.
The room, however, turned out to be barely large enough to hold
There was no TV or phone. I spread my clothes
out on the floor and in any space available to dry.
The lodge itself was a magnificent log cabin with a 2 story vaulted ceiling in dining
room, and on one wall was a map of the region carved out of wooden squares and
assembled as a whole. The food was pricey but decent. I had a glass of California cabernet
with dinner to remind me where I was from.
The lodge also served as a seaplane base for fly-in fishing.
There was a Beaver parked on the adjacent lake, along with a Cessna.
Again, I couldn't get a current weather report. The clouds seemed to
be moving in from the west. I worried that the
front from Inuvik that had caught me at Whitehorse was overrunning me again.
The bike was due
for scheduled maintenance… maybe in Prince George?
I bought a
souvenir, a glass insulator from the first telephone service pulled into the area.
Returning to my room, I pulled a beer out of the Wolfman Alpha pack. There was no need to chill it –
it was still cold from the ride.
buzzed in my ear. It flew away and I got
the bastard with a midair grab. No great loss: there were plenty more waiting to take its place. At
dinner, I overheard a man tell his son, “stop scratching – it’ll get infected.”