We had been hanging out around town for two or three days, getting caught up on E-mail, cleaning our bikes, and taking in the sights of the area.
But I was getting stir crazy, and wanted to get out of town and see some of the history in the area.
Mostly, I wanted to see the huge dredges that ripped the tundra apart and extracted the gold.
We woke up to a beautiful day at Camp Snuggly.
But first we had to do a valve adjustment on MAG's bike.
The night before we had met a nice guy who was a Suzuki mechanic, and he offered to help with the adjustment.
It only took about an hour.
Then, once the bike was running properly again, we saddled up and headed out of town to go see the dredge.
Dredge #4 is located about 15 miles outside of town up Bonanza Creek.
For more information on these huge floating factories check out this link:
So we rode out of town.
Then as we turned across the valley we sat the massive structure.
To give you some idea of the size of this thing, it's about five stories tall.
Dredge No. 4 is a 2000 ton bucket line dredge. The bucket chain consists of 72 buckets each bucket holds 18 cubic feet. The dumping rate is 22 buckets per minute. It dug over fifteen thousand cubic yards of earth each day.
Basically it's a huge floating factory, that would dig up earth on the front end with the bucket line, and dump the debris into a large rotating cylinder, that would wash the fine flecks of gold into collection pans. The Debris would then get dumped out the back of the dredge.
So the bucket line is on the right, and the tailing would come out the back of the machine on the far left side.
Here's a panorama shot. The Dredge is just too big to capture in just one picture.
We had a great tour of the Dredge, and got to go inside to see all the mechanical parts.
These are some of the huge pulley wheels that ran the winches.
To give you a scale of the size of these wheels, here's another picture from up above.
And from the end of the assembly.
More giant wheels and cable winches.
The big electric motors.
Going up to the upper level we get to the high pressure water pumps.
This was the third one made.
Here's the huge rotating cylinder that all the debris was put into and washed with high pressure to get he gold to fall out.
and a view of the inside.
The noise must have been deafening.
Here's a view out the back where the tailings would get dumped.
We then went upstairs to the control room.
The operator of the dredge would pull these levers to activate the various winches, that would pull cables that would move the dredge from side to side, as well as raise and lower the bucket line.
A picture of the machine in use some 60 years ago.
And a picture of me, pretending to know what I'm doing.
After out tour of the dredge, we went back to Dawson to get ready for the big "Dust to Dawson" gathering.
But along the way we stopped here, at the cabin that Jack London stayed at as he wrote his famous books.
I remember reading his stories as a young kid. "White Fang" and "To Build a Fire" were my favorites.
It was amazing to be here in the Yukon and see it.
And here is where Mr. London sat all winter and wrote his stories.
When we got back to the RV park we saw this huge bus / RV.
It's part tour bus and part hotel.
and they even had a kitchen.
So we parked the bikes at our campsite and walked into town to check out the festivities.
The streets were getting full.
Then we went to the Banquet Hall and joined the other riders.
It was classy.
The dinner was good too.
After diner we walked down main street. It was lined with hundreds of Adventure Bikes.
Here's the view from the steps of the bar.
It's about 11:30pm and the games had begun.
Such as the riding while blindfolded.
The water balloon toss.
And MAG doing the drive by Hot Dog eating contest.
The goal is to bite off as much Hot Dog as you can as you ride by.
But MAG managed to almost get the entire Hot Dog and nearly choked.
The crowd went wild!
For some bikes, this trip to Dawson is a long standing tradition.
I met this interesting lady at the bar.
Then, at midnight the crowd got on their bikes and filled Main Street for the annual photograph.
There were several hundred bikes, and we had the picture taken.
But then police came, and told us to disperse sine we were creating a fire hazard.
And that was fine with me, because by then it was about 1:00am and I needed to get some sleep. It had been a great day. I'd seen cool stuff, eaten good food, drank lots of beer, and met many new friends. What could be better?