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Old 03-05-2010, 07:32 PM   #11
bisbonian OP
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
Oddometer: 1,031
I wake up to the sound of Houston telling DD that he's going to start kicking my tent to get me up, this is at 6am. I finally drag myself into daylight at 7 and proceed to heat up a cup of cocoa. It's fairly cold this morning and a little something to warm me up will be good. As usual I don't get all packed up until 9 or so.

Today we're heading up to the Liard River hotsprings, a place I've heard great things about and am looking forward to mightily. We have about 420 miles to go today and while I'm hoping we can get there a bit early in the day I don't want that to include me getting up and moving real early, I'm on vacation after all.

I wake up to the sound of Houston telling DD that he's going to start kicking my tent to get me up, this is at 6am. I finally drag myself into daylight at 7 and proceed to heat up a cup of cocoa. It's fairly cold this morning and a little something to warm me up will be good. As usual I don't get all packed up until 9 or so.

Right before we get on the road Houston voices his concerns regarding the route from Dawson City to Fairbanks. I blow it off and we get moving. One of these days I'll learn to put on my sweatshirt before we leave; we'll see how that works out for me tomorrow. Right now I'm just cold.

For some reason Houston passes up the first gas stop opportunity. As we ride through miles of wilderness I start doing the math for the next town I know will have gas. Just as I figure that I'll be pushing my bike for 10 miles with Houston having to push an extra 20 our salvation strikes in the form of the Pink Mountain.

The further north we get the more chainsaw sculptures we see. This one is pretty representative.

We gas up at the Pink Mountain and the proprietor gives me a chart of where we can get gas and the mileage between stops.

Somehow on every vacation we go on Karen and I find a cat that seems to channel one of ours. I don't know this guys name but he's a dead ringer for Oliver so I took a picture.

We get our warm clothes back on and hit the road.

The RV traffic hasn't been as bad as I'd been told to expect. Even so once you get behind one it's hard to pass. In places the AlCan is pretty twisty and there's just not a lot of passing zones. Of course there are places where it's straight for as far as you can see.

We make good time and at our next stop in Fort Nelson I'm thinking we'll be in Liard plenty early.

Houston has decided that he's beginning to get the hose by paying with American cash everywhere we stop. He's at the point that he's getting even money for his greenbacks so he stops at the bank and exchanges some U.S. cash for Canadian.

While Houston's in the bank I cruise the strip and see the Legendary Fort Nelson Hotel. I've never heard of it either.

Getting to Liard early starts to slip away as we spend 45 minutes at the gas station. For my trip mascot I brought the “Poo Bear”. If you don't know the significance and really want to hear it let me know and I'll send you the story. There's a bit of humor involved.

Once we finally get rolling it's through some seriously pretty country. We're getting back into mountainous country, it's green and the sky's clear.

Well the sky's clear for a little while anyway.

We start getting into river country again and you know what that means; bridges! Almost all the bridges we crossed has that metal grating as the road surface. I don't like it in a car, I hate it on the motorcycle and I really hate it on a motorcycle with a knobby tire on the front.

At one point coming around a corner we run into a flock of some sort of mountain sheep.

Later we run into road construction and have five miles of loose gravel road; and it starts to rain.

As we get through the construction area we run into a small herd of big-horn sheep. Actually we almost run into the RV as he comes to a screeching stop in the middle of the highway and starts throwing food out to these guys.

As I take this picture my camera battery dies, of course I don't take the time to put in my spare battery. Just as we come up to the campground we run across a herd of buffalo – stupid camera.

We get to the campground to find that they have no record of my reservation. Luckily I had the printout showing my reservation but they didn't have a whole lot of sites left and we couldn't get one with any grass. At this point I was just glad to have a site. We did our best to make our site comfortable, just as we got set up it started to rain again.

After the short rain we headed out for the hotsprings. I was a little perturbed as we followed the trail through what looked like muddy swampland.

Soon enough the trail took a turn for the better and we were walking through lush greenness. Of course it was still a little swampy off the boardwalk but at least it was green.

There are two hotsprings areas along the trail. The first one you come to is the cooler of the two and attracts lots of families with kids. It was sort of a resort setting, well as much of a resort setting as any I'd seen on this trip so far. We decided to take a pass, in addition to being loud there was the distinct odor of sulfur in the area. I smelled bad enough at this point and didn't need any help.

A little further up the trail was the “adult” hotspring. This one was much quieter with no kids. I found out why it was quieter as I entered the water and the heat took my breath away. Everyone but the crazy guy across the pool hung around the base of the different stairs leading down into the water. The trick was to not touch the bottom of the pool as it was natural and a bit muddy. In addition there was some sort of moss on the bottom and it was easy to dislodge if you stepped on it; the moss tended to float to the surface and wasn't very attractive. I couldn't stay in very long due to the heat and got light-headed as I got out of the water.

The sky was still threatening as we walked back to the campground but I took the rainbow to be a good sign.

After returning to camp I went on a search for water, finally finding a spigot halfway across the campground. I came back and cooked up some Chili-Mac. As I headed up to the registration shack a few minutes later I discovered this water tap. It wasn't any closer than the other but it did benefit from the extra feature of the warning sign. I asked the gatekeeper what the boil order was all about and was it only this spigot? No, all the water in the park was under the boil order as their cistern hadn't passed inspection by the state this year. Now I'd heated up my water for my Chili Mac but there was no way I'd boiled it for 5 minutes, my stomach gave a lurch as I thought of the possibilities.

I came back to the campsite to find the last bit of wildlife for the night before turning in. I swear I wasn't the one feeding the little guy peanut M&M's.

At this point I learn that Houston and DD are talking about not coming up to Dawson City. They haven't made a decision yet but better do it soon as we're only two days out. Once you get up to Dawson City the only way to Fairbanks is over the Top of the World Highway or back down the Klondike to the AlCan and up.
My 2009 Alaska Adventure

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