Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014 - Whitehorse, YT to Watson Lake, YT

Been this way before!  We are backtracking only because there is no other road.  We woke up this morning in Whitehorse to a fairly clear day, some clouds but no rain.  Yippee!  Seems like we get a rain day then a day of no rain.  Our ride was simply across the Alaska Highway to Watson Lake.  Nothing particularly eventful happened.  Oh, wait, it did!

We slept in a bit at Whitehorse and left about 9:30 am to fuel up and move on.  Only, no fuel.  What?  No fuel?  Nope, the power was off.  Not just at our hotel and the gas station, but everywhere.  As a matter of fact the power was out for about 100 miles.

I had less than a full tank and nothing in the aux tank.  Hmmm...we decided to press on since we had no idea how long it would take to restore power.  We stopped about 30 miles out of town...still no power.  We stopped again about 70 miles out of town...still no power.  Rut roh....I thought I could make it to Teslin (the town of the $56 hamburgers) and just barely made it.  I was 16 miles into reserve and for joy, power was on.  I later learned the power was actually off but the two places in town for gas had generators going.  Good!  I fueled up both the main and the aux tank.

We were hungry so stopped again at the price gouging restaurant (the only choice in town).  But, this time we were savvy and split a French Dip with Onion Rings and a slice of cherry pie.  Only the onion rings were good.  The rest was just something to fill you up.  Our meal still cost over $25.  Hahahah, we should have paid attention the first time.  Oh well.  Full of food and fuel, we motored on.

Yup, my favorite bridge again.  Thank goodness is was dry.  It was still a total butt pucker for me

 Yup, a bridge that seemed to last 10 miles of slippery metal grates that jostled me everywhere but where I wanted to go.  I was so glad to see the end of that bridge!

From there, it was sit there, twist that.  We made a quick stop at the Continental Divide and took a few pictures.

About 30 miles outside of Watson Lake we hit road construction.  When we went through here earlier in our trip, the road construction was only a few miles of scary, deep, slippery gravel.  Well, I guess the road workers have been busy because we rode over 23 kilometers of nasty road construction.  Loose, squirrely gravel and dusty.  Eventually, it became packed harder and became easier to navigate.  But, come on, 23 kilometers????

I got my gravel practice in for the day and actually got up to about 57 mph at times.   But at other times I was lucky to hit 30 mph.  Fortunately, no mishaps and we made it to Watson Lake and our motel, same as before, A Nice Motel.  And, it is nice.  I'm sure we're in for a good night sleep.

Tomorrow we'll move along the Alcan to Fort Nelson, BC.

Till then my friends,

June 29, 2014 - Haines Junction, YT to Haines, AK to Skagway, AK to Whitehorse, YT

June 29, 2014 – Haines Junction, YT to Haines, AK to Skagway, AK to Whitehorse, YT

We awoke to rain.  Well, when we first got up, which was EARLY because we need to be sure to be on time for the ferry in Haines, AK, it was grey skies.  Unfortunately, before we left, those grey skies turned to a pretty good downpour.  We geared up, loaded up and headed out into the wet, wet, wet.  Good thing we have the proper gear for wet.  We both inserted our pinlock visors on the helmets and put on waterproof gloves.  I stayed dry and warm but it was just a pouring down!

We came up to the Alaska/Canada border and decided we should really take a picture or two of us at a Welcome to Alaska sign :-) 

Again, riding in the rain we made our way to Haines, AK.  We eventually found the ferry terminal, got our tickets and then went back into town for some food as we have a few hours to burn.  After all that getting up early and leaving Haines Junction and the fantastic Parkside Inn and all it’s luxury, we had like three hours to burn.  Man, I could have slept in and snuggled deeper into that wonderful king size bed with the great linens.  Oh well, could have, should have but didn’t.

So, there we were in Haines, AK looking for a brekkie place on a Sunday morning.  We found the Bamboo Lounge and CafĂ©.  Hahahaha.  It was actually really good.  Our waiter was a young boy of maybe 12 or 13 (family owned business) and he was good.  I mean really good.  We gave him a nice tip.  Funny, at the table behind us, two gentlemen were placing their order.  One was prompt but the other asked what meats were available for his choice of breakfast.  He was told bacon or corned beef hash, where upon he audibly pondered his choices to the point of which the young waiter remarked, “It’s just breakfast, it’s not a life decision” which caused everyone to have a good laugh.  What a great young man.  We learned that he was saving his tip money to buy a Tempurpedic bed!  And that he had another job at the local fort, giving tours.  Wow, someone is raising him right.

After our meal, we got back on the bikes and headed to the ferry terminal.  Oh, I should mention that our time in Haines, AK was rain free.  It actually stopped raining for a few hours.  We arrived at the ferry terminal and took our place in line.  Lane 1, front.

That really didn’t mean a thing!  While waiting in the line we met several people and had some nice conversation.  Finally, it was times to load.  We were almost the last to get on the ferry. I admit, I was a bit nervous.  The ramp was metal grate and it was wet.  The ferry was a side loader.  So we had to ride down a wet metal ramp and then turn left onto a wet metal deck floor and make our way around the ship to our designated parking area.  Whew!!! I did fine.
Parked on the ferry.

We got parked and made our way to an upper deck of the ferry where we took a few pictures and the rain started again.  Oh well…..  

Our ferry trip was one hour and we docked at Skagway, AK.  Our exit from the ferry was even more stressful (for me, not for Eric).  We had to ride around the inside of the ferry to the exit on wet metal floors and avoid big tie down humps or domes.  Fun (not).  Then on the actual exit, we had another metal grated ramp that was wet followed by a wooden platform that was wet.  The platform looked like railroad ties.  When we got off the platform it was a four to 6 inch drop.  Yup, no smooth ramp, just drop off and move on.  Hahaha.  Okay, I dropped off, turned left and had to ride up another dang wet metal grate ramp to the street.  Whew!! Made it without incident.

By now, I’m hot and sweating and its raining.  We rode into town, found a place to park and got off the bikes for a look around.  Since it was Sunday, it was pretty quiet.  There was a Regent cruise ship docked at the port but not really much activity.  Anyhow, we walked around town and took some pictures of the more interesting buildings.  We picked up a few token souvenirs and walked around a bit more.  It rained the entire time!

Even in the rain, we had some time for good silliness!

We got back on the bikes and headed out of Skagway.  Our route out of town went directly up, up, up a very steep mountainside.  I’m sure it was fantastic and beautiful and lovely but I couldn’t see a thing for the rain.  And, it got much worse.  The further up we went, the denser the clouds became until it was a fog whiteout!  YIKES!!!  I would have had a tinge of vertigo but I couldn’t see the edges to see how far down it was.  I could only watch the double yellow center line and chug along.  At some point, I lost Eric, I couldn’t see him in the fog. I put on my flashers because frankly, I had to slow down.  I couldn’t see, even with my visor open. The fog was that dense.  Ooohhhhh, scary. 

I don’t know how many miles we rode like this but it seemed like a long time.  But probably wasn’t really.  Just that tense, I can’t see kind of ride makes it seem like forever.  We finally got to an area that wasn’t quite so thick in the clouds.  Oh, the landscape was fantastic.  Like something out of Lord of the Rings.  If I ever go back to Alaska, I want to do this road again and see it on a nice day.  Wowsa, it was glorious!  Unfortunately, our photos don't even begin to do it justice.  Guess you'll have to Google Highway 2 from Skagway to Whitehorse.  I deliberately choose this route for the scenic views and oh, too bad, not today :-(

Again, we had a border crossing from AK to Canada.  No issues, but the guard did mention how treacherous the road was in the fog and rain.  Yeah, we know!

We made it to Whitehorse, YT our destination for the day.  We had a room at the Stratford Motel.  Don't let this picture fool you.  It wasn't near that nice, but would do for the night :-)

We met several other riders here and had some good parking lot chats.  We went to Chinese for dinner and that wasn't so good either, hahahaha.  My cocktails were good though

 Tomorrow is down the Alaska Highway to Watson Lake, again!  Oh boy :-)


June 28, 2014 - Gakona, AK to Haines Junction, YT

We left our luxurious cabin at Gakona fairly early and headed north on the Tok cutoff.  We headed to Tok of all places, lol.  It was a beautiful highway.  Every curve presented a new postcard picture.  Lakes, rivers, ponds, forests, lovely.  Especially lovely because it was dry!

Today was basically a travel day.  A day to enjoy the ride with our only destination our motel at Haines Junction, YT.  We only made a few stops so not so many pictures today.

We made it to Tok (been here before), fueled up and headed to the Alaska/Canada border.
We stopped at a roadhouse just before the border crossing for brekkie.  It took a while but the wait was worth it.  Yummy good food.  Not much else here.  I did notice that the gas pumps were busy the entire time we were there, about 1 1/2 hours (yeah, it took that long to get our food and eat it).  Oh well, we weren't in any particular hurry.  And, we were enjoying the ride in the nice weather.

Shortly after our meal we came to the border crossing.  No issues but as soon as we passed the border control point the road deteriorated.  We were now on the Alaska Highway.  The road went from pavement with good center and side lines to a total mess of construction at Beaver Creek, YT.  I mean total mess!

Gravel with potholes, potholes with gravel, two yards of pavement with potholes and more gravel and potholes.  One hundred miles of bone jarring gravel, potholes, spots of pavement followed by more potholes and gravel.  One hundred miles!!!!  Oh and the frost heaves.  Oh my gosh!!!! The frost heaves.  You had to keep your eyes open and stay alert because those frost heaves would heave you off your bike!  Good thing we both have good brakes and Eric put on new brake pads, front and back on my bike before we left.

I'd just get used to the gravel and get some speed going when the road would start to look like a roller coaster with the frost heaves.  I had to slow down!!!  Man, that was a tough 100 miles.  They say the Alaska Highway is now paved the entire way.  Baloney.  It might have been paved for 10 minutes before they decided to tear it up again :-)

Oh well, we motored on, stopping for a few pictures.

We had a surprise on this day.  We saw TWO grizzly bears!!  One was on the side of the road munching in the bushes.  A light brown with gold highlights.  His hump was distinct and no mistaking it was a grizzly bear.  A motor home was stopped and we just went around because the bear was close to the road, we didn't want to stop and be a snack!

Then, further down the road, another grizzly.  This was was a bit further off the road, sitting in the mud on the edge of a pond.  So sad we didn't get a photo.  It really was comical to see this HUGE bear sitting in the mud and just looking around.  This one was blond and BIG.  I mean, really, really BIG.  Wow, awesome stuff.  I think that was it for the wildlife today but a fantastic show.  Grizzly bears!!!!!!

We finally arrived at our destination motel in Haines Junction, YT.  Sorry, no pictures, we were tired and intended to take pics in the morning.  It is called the Parkside Inn and it was paradise!  I mean, paradise!  A king size bed, hardwood floors, kitchenette with tile floor and backsplash, soft close drawers and cabinet doors, a FULL bathroom with a TUB, fluffy towels.  And more and more and more.  Oh my, I was in heaven after some of the places we stayed in.  I really needed a 5 star night and this was it.  Again, sorry no pics.  I was just too busy enjoying the luxury, getting a good shower and shampoo and having some food that I fixed in the room.  Oh yes, this is a wonderful place to stay!!!

So that's it for our day from Gakona to Haines Junction.