8-2-04  Whitehorse, Yukon to Muncho LakeBritish 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.  

The Continental Divide

           Whitehorse 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.

            Also, at 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.

            I left before them.  I drove for about an hour, then pulled off to warm up.  They passed me.

Rainy road

            Tevlin to 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 River.  The 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 driving."

Signpost forest

            The weather 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.

            Construction 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.

Muncho Lake

           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 the bed.  There was no TV or phone.  I spread my clothes out on the floor and in any space available to dry. 

Resort cabin

          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.

            A mosquito 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.”