North to Yukon

July 3rd our anniversary and journey to Dawson City

image image image image imageAfter a great breakfast of waffles, fresh strawberries whipped cream and eggs ?, we decided to put on every stitch of clothing we owned.  We were rewarded with drizzling, cold rain the entire 8 hour trip.  The road wasn’t in good shape either and especially as we neared Dawson City, a cold crosswind  blew.  There were a lot of sections under construction and whenever they were grading, the road became a sandy quagmire.  I got caught once driving on the wrong, but more solid lane only to be chased into a fresh furrow up to the axles.   It was t what we called a fun driving day but we survived.  Dawson isn’t what I expected.  For one thing, there are no paved roads except the main highway.  Many of the streets have wooden sidewalks and much of the town appears dedicated to the tourist trade.  We’ve gotten used to the high prices and it’s surprising how sitting on a bike seat worrying about the next wet turn gives you quite an appetite.  We’ve inquired whether we can get a tour part way up the Dempster tomorrow and the tour operator said he would let us know if he can get a driver.  If not, I’ll take our dirty bike up the Dempster.  Either way, I’ll wash the caked mud off our clothes and bike tomorrow.  Our one stop today was at Braeburn for what the advertise as internationally acclaimed best cinnamon buns.   For wildlife, not much time but we did photograph an eagle at Fishpond drive in Whitehorse and I spotted a black bear cub scampering into the woods.   Alas no Dall sheep, no elk, no moose except on the road signs.

July 2nd on the way to whitehorse

Klondike paddlewheelerYukon riveryukon capital here we come.  Woke up at 4:30 and Shari climbed out shortly after.  The hotel was weird – like right out of the 60’s but the large room let us spread our stuff around and the laundry facilities helped get us cleaned up.  Waking up to rain showers made us to rethink our choice of clothes and still we were gassed up and on the road by 6:00.  It turned out the fuelling stop was a wise choice because 7 km out of Teslin, we were flagged down by Hans (Burlington) and Del (Paris) who had run out of gas.  Running into town, borrowing a large jerry can and crossing a dangerous (wobbly) bridge 3 times was repaid by the 2 of them with a free breakfast.  We met up later outside Whitehorse to do some sightseeing.  This evening, we went to the neatest restaurant where we arrived at 4:00 pm, just minutes before people began to queue around the block.  The fish (halibut and Arctic char) was delicious.  Our b&b for tonight is wonderful – bright, cheery and quiet.  Tomorrow is a big day as we try to some sightseeing and make the 6 hour trip to Dawson city.  Only wildlife today were 2 Bison sauntering along the road.  We didn’t pause in time to get a photo and didn’t think it prudent to tur around a scare them from behind.

Canada Day to Watson Lake

Sign post foresttoday we made it to the Yukon.  Don’t know why it was so special but something I’ve always dreamed of doing.   Maybe it was Pierre Berton or Farley Mowatt or perhaps even Robert Service but I had long thought of going this far north.  We left early and travelled about 2 hours before breakfast in Dease Lake.  We had the road ‘almost’ to ourselves but had to share it with 1 fox, 1 moose and at least 25 rabbits.  After breakfast the road meandered and rose to an altitude of 1245 meters and we were looking at some might torrents of river streams whenever the land sloped downward.   Alas there were no more wildlife sightings but the Cassiar is quite beautiful.  When we arrived at Watson Lake, we were told the Canada day festivities were down the road apiece   We decided to do laundry and update the blog instead.  Watson isn’t very exciting but the Forest of Signs was really neat.   It’s really quite extensive.  Met bikers today from West Virginia, Ontario and California – all heading south so we were able to get a few encouraging words, especially if we had wanted to go to Prud’hoe Bay.

June 30th – Biking to Iskut

Mountain shadow cabinLeaving the Immature Eagles from afarferry around 7:00 am was a bit of a blessing.  We hadn’t planned to visit much of Prince Rupert anyway and this got us onto the road at a good hour.  We drove to Terrace where we had breakfast, about 1 1/2 hours down the road.  Denny’s never tasted so good.  It wasn’t long before we were on the famous Casiar highway heading north through oodles of wild game and dense forests and mountains.  Well, the latter part was accurate and I suppose seeing 3 bears, one with Cubs might qualify as oodles.  The mountains were magnificent.  We got as high as 900 metres before arriving at Iskut.  We bought a few expensive groceries and checked in to our cabin at Mountain Shadow Rv park.  A neat cabin but not without its quirks – there was no water pressure after flushing the toilet.  so wash first then flush became the mottqo.  We hiked after dinner,such as it was, and met a family who pointed out where to see 2 mature eagles and 2 immature Eagles, albeit at quite a distance.  Sitting and watching them only increased the likelihood of more mosquito bites and so photographic images were abysmal.  After the hike we slept like bears in a den.

June 29th Ferry to Prince Rupert

The day started very early.  The very nice owner of the hostel we stayed in told us we didn’t need to leave until 5:30am to catch the ferry.  However, I was awake at 4:00 and so we went down to get the bike before 5.  They stored the bike in a locked vacant store area overnight but the owner was up and even made a fresh pot of coffee.  We were off to a great start.  Unfortunately, the ferry had blown a cylinder head and needed parts flown in from Vcr.    So we ended up leaving 6 hours late.   Arriving at 6:45am the next day made our b&b reservation useless so we cancelled it.  Surprisingly it wasn’t too bad sleeping on the rug.  Our seats were dead centre of the bow so we had a ringside seat if there had been aimageny wildlife.  Alas, one distant whale surfaced and dove immediately.  Skies were dark and ominous.  Shari and I just read and talked to a New Zealand couple.  BC Ferries made coffee/tea free for the day but that was the only consolation.  There were 4 other bikers on the ferry – 1 had just picked up a new KTM from Alberta on his way back to work (for which he was late)

June 28th To Port Hardy

imageRising early is no problem for me but I’m sure Dave and Shellie we’re glad to see us go.  We were thankful they gave up there room for us and the multiple fans as well.   We left Courtenay around 8:00 am and headed on the coastal route to Campbell River – a great town which just happened to be celebrating a wood carving competition.  We lingered over breakfast and then set our sights on Telegraph Cove, a quaint touristy – whale, porpoise-watching, fishing village surrounded by lumber mills – both modern and antique.  The smell of the sea and the sawn wood lingered in the air.  Arriving at Port Hardy, the weather was still a pleasant 25 degrees as we walked the hill to get groceries for the morning ferry ride to Prince Rupert.


June 27th Courtenay BC

Dave and dave
Dave and dave


woke early and David agreed to show us the neighbourhood.  Saw the airforce beach, the well designed airforce war museum, had coffee at the Comox golf course and ate cinnamon buns while waiting for Shellie who went to the clinic for a very sore instep.  Shellie ended up the day buying a Samsung dishwasher which Dave and I installed amid a lot of sweat and more than a few groans.  BBq’d some fantastic steaks from Costco, drank island Pinot and crashed early

June 26th trip to Vancouver island

you would think with all the planning John did that the trip would go ultra smoothly.  But the gps didn’t kick in until I was already heading the wrong direction.  But despite the top heavy weight from poor packing made it the 15 image imageminutes to the ferry dock.  One mirror was swinging loose and during the ferry ride I and a very helpful trucker (also a Harley rider) managed to secure the mirror.  Made the trip to Duncan by 10:30 and enjoyed coffee with Garry.  Had our photo op together and travelled back to Nanaimo to see ‘little David’ , Shellie and Andrew.  At the house Andrew and Tia regaled us with stories of sporting exploits.  I crashed early ….the unexpected heat really getting to me.

June 25th David’s birthday Delta BC

John Becky and Jim
John Becky and Jim

by 7:00 am we were in Becky’s truck.  John had agreed to be tour guide for the day.  We were accompanied by  Grumpy (big Jim Niedermeier) who had driven up from Portland Washington.  We toured Horseshoe Bay,  Lion’s Gate bridge, had lunch at a River-side cafe off Government road in Squamish, visited Native art galleries, went 1/2 way up Cypress man, and returned home by 4:30 in time for final bike packing.  John had cleaned the bike and polished it including unreachable spots behind the windshield.  Then he set the gps so that I wouldn’t pass over construction on the way to the ferry next morning.  Ate too much of bbq’d shrimp and chicken and drank too much wine….again.

Horseshoe bay ferry
Horseshoe bay ferry