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Old 08-07-2012, 06:49 PM   #34
AnjinSan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Bucharest
Oddometer: 232
The New World I.15 Dawson City and the road to Alaska

Yeee so it was a moose. Thanks for clearing things up :)

From Whitehorse there are 2 majore ways into Alaska. One is to continue on Alaska Highway towards West. The other way is a little bit longer and tedious and is going North towards Dawson City first and then turn Westwards.
We took of course the later route. Not just because we wanted to take the longer way but because a lot of people told us that Dawson City is a place to visit. So we change the road but not the particularities. Same woodsy views, same nice curvy road to enjoy. But wait, there is something else. It is getting COLD! And we are in August so mid summer. But it must be below 15 degrees Celsius. When sunny. So we stop to put on us as much as we can.
We pass through little settlements like this one:
And these people were eating ice cream and staying out only in T-shirts. No wonder they were so few. And we must have been a sight for them, all dressed up lie we were going to North Pole. But for us was really cold. And to think that back in Romania there are 40 degrees Celsius right now…
During my last post I was telling you about all the animals we’ve met on the road. Well, I missed one. And is one of the most common in these parts: the mosquito! It could very well be a local mascot. We were told that if it is a good year for mosquitos and they are at their highest it is so bad that people think twice if they really need to leave the house (even with all the repellant). Well a picture with the mosquito we do not have but hey, here’s one with a “statue”. If you cannot get rid of them you might as well build them statues, right?
We reach the Dempster Junction, which as probably everybody knows is a 670 kilometers gravel road to Inuvik, up North. And then it is dead end. You have to turn back the same 670 kilometers of gravel. Even back in Romania we were thinking if we should include this road in our trip or not.
It was a decision which could be postponed yet another day as now it was getting late and rain was coming fast on our tracks. So we moved on to Dawson City for the night.
And for the first time in our trip, we caved in and went to a Hotel. At least it was a nice hotel (and not too expensive)
Yeap, the entrance had even the small swinging doors that you can see in western movies. We are parking Gunnar on the side street, right near other “steeds”.
A VStrom 650 and three BMW GS 1200. Gunnar is not in a bad company at all. Two out of those 3 GS went around the world and so Gunnar would have a thing or 2 to discuss with them.
And I was going to do the same with the owners which I met inside. Two guys from Vancouver (one of them a long overland traveler al around the World) and the third one from South Africa, just on hi last leg of a huge trip.
Dawson City is a quite isolated city. There are only 2 main routes that go in and out the city. One is route number 2, the one we took to come up from Whitehorse. And then there is route 9 that heads towards Alaska, the Top of the World Highway.
We knew from our friends that the city is nice so the next day we took out the camera for a walk in the city.
You almost start to believe that the cars are out of place here. Where are the horses?
Horses we are not able to find but we do see other motorcycles. Close enough…
And as we were just wondering on the streets, we meet Rodney who was just riding his Tenere from South America to Alaska. You can check his webpage here. He is from Australia and on the road for a year now. Wow, he’s coming from down south so of course we have a lot of questions. We start talking right in the middle of the street and we get a long well. He was just returning from Dempster Highway and he confirms me that on a wet surface it is not fun at all. I think about my options. Should we go on Dempster? If it will remain sunny we should be fine. But still there are 670 kilometers there and 670 back on the same road. Argh… I am not really digging that. And also on the weather forecast they were saying that from tomorrow the weather might change for the worst with clouds and even some showers.
You know what? I think I want to skip Dempster Highway. I am sure that Inuvik is very nice. But I don’t feel that my first adventure on gravel ever in my life should be 1340 kilometers long. Andreea fully supports the decision. And also Rodney becomes very interested when he hears about the weather forecast. You know Top of the World Highway is also gravel… Not 670 kilometers but still a good 200 and something. If the weather is going to get worse, we should take advantage now and go.
We look around and we decide to go. Rodney is kind enough to travel with us. He says I shouldn’t be alone on my first adventure on gravel roads! And he is right! I am very glad that we will ride together.
I tell him that I am a beginner and also, on gravel probably will be even slow. he motions me to ride ahead and he will follow.
We are also reminded that there will be a Customs to clear and we should mind our time.
And we venture out on Top of the World Highway. Before getting there I was really doubtful about the name. But man they are so right naming it Top of the World. Everything around is beneath us. Clear views for miles and miles. And the white clouds are SO close! Extraordinary. I would just like to say that our pictures really do not do justice to those places… Still, here we go…
The dry parts of the road are very good. I mean it is almost like tarmac. But when we get to some wet parts, well let’s just say that the bike starts to dance in all directions. Not funny at all.
For the first time in my life, I think I am slower than the “Follow me” car, on that mud.
After what seemed like a long time (but only 150 kilometers really), we reach the US Customs and some tarmac as a reward.
It was the easiest border crossing into the US ever. The Customs building was just a wooden lodge with only two guards. One asks me “Where is home?” “Home is Romania” I reply. I see he is trying to locate that in his mind and I just hand him the passports, specifying that we have visas. A big smile, a short check of documents and that was it. No endless questions about family, job back home, income, how much money we have and so on and so forth. Just “Welcome to the United States of America”. The atmosphere is so relaxed that we are even allowed to take some pictures
And we are in Alaska. IN ALASKA! Wow, just 1 year ago and we could only dream about reaching this far away place. And now it is happening. And we’ve entered after riding such an amazing road. And we were not alone. Meeting Rodney was such a nice surprise and we were happy to ride together.
Until the camping site we still had some few gravel miles to go but that is for the next post. Stay tuned!
Distance traveled since last posting: 642 km
Writen with my hands still smelling of engine oil. Gunnar just had his oil and filter changed and he is good to go for another 6000 kilometers
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