Day 5 7/11/12 3354 miles on the odometer. I think i see Alaska on the horizon.
This day did not start good. I woke up around 6:30, and my left foot was so cold it was numb. The outside air temperature must have been about 40 F and my 0 degree sleeping bag wasnt even close to warm enough. I tried to warm up and go back to sleep, but it wasnt going to happen. 4 hours of sleep just doesnt cut it after a 19 hour day. Begrudgingly, i arose and got pretty much all my winter clothes on and packed up my tent. It took quite a while to warm back up, had to go for a walk through the trees. Hot springs sounded good, but i still had seen anything in town pertaining to them. The weigh station was open. They had warm coffee, which i desperately needed. I talked to the lady running the scale for a few minutes. I asked her where the hot springs were and she informed me that the closest ones were the Liard Hot Springs! Whoops! Should have stopped there after all. More than one person told me they were by Watson Lake, and they werent even close. Maybe next time though.
Stopped at one of the gas staion on the way out of town and bought gas and a couple snacks. This was the coldest part of the trip by far. Although the sun was out, it just didnt warm up for what seemed like forever. Finally i saw a cafe right off the highway a few hours later. Breakfast could be had! I ordered the biggest platter they had and along with 3 cups of coffee, felt like i could continue on. There was a young couple that were bicycling down the Alcan. They were just wearing the biker shorts and long sleeve shirts, and here i was in carhartt bibs, long johns, ski mask, all bundled up for the tundra. But i guess riding a bike 20mph up and down hills is a little different than sitting still on a motorcycle going 70mph. I actually passed a fari amount of bicyclists. A few had NY or bust stickers on their packs.
Next i stopped for fuel in Teslin. Saw a few other bikers there. Two gentlemen were there from Ohio on a GS800 and an 05 klr. The klr guy was lamenting how the GS would always take 10-20% less fuel when they stopped. He was only getting 40 or so mpg. It was mostly stock though. I told him to rejet it, throw a k&n filtet, and high flow exhaust on. Definitely helped my 05 out. It gets 45-54 mpg usually. Im sure the beamer was getting over 50. They were heading to Fairbanks for sure, maybe even Prudhoe Bay. They hadnt decided yet. There was a cafe inside, so i ate some lunch while i was there.
Next stop: Whitehorse. Huge city of 17,000 in Yukon. The actual town is off the highway down the hill, and there are plenty of trees in between making it possible to drive by and not even see downtown. They had a walmart though. And a large grocery store where i loaded up and food. Decided to change my oil while i was there too. The kawi shop had some suzuki 10w-40 for only $7.99/ ltr and a filter for $15. The exact same kawi oem filter is only like $8 at the dealers in the lower 48. They were too busy to change it, and wouldnt let me borrow a pan, but suggested the Harley shop as an alternative. The guy at Harley said they would change it, but it would be an hours labor charge, which was $108. So for only $147 i could have had my oil changed. I think they were just really busy and didnt want to do it, UNLESS of course they could make a killing on it. I have never paid anyone to change my oil and i dont think i ever will. I told him no thanks, and asked if he would take 2 quarts of used oil. He said sure, but wouldnt let me borrow a pan, so i cut up an old water jug and drained it in there and gave it back to one of the guys working there. Talked to him for a few minutes. When i told him i was from montana, he told me thats where all their store shirts ended up(fedex oopsy).
After that i parked the bike and walked through downtown. There was a little park along the Yukon river. I sat on the rocks for a while and turned my phone on for the first time in like 3 days. Made a few phone calls to see how things were back home(later found out verizon charges internation fees per minute). Tested the water out a little bit with my feet. Cold, but not too chilly. Stopped at Wendys for a burger and left town around 6pm. Stopped at Haines Junction next for gas and pics. Rode on until i got to some big flats where there was a large bridge and got off walked for half a mile or so and got a few pics taken. I stopped for fuel at Destruction Bay. They took american cash, and gave american change back. Thought that was a little odd for a little gas station out in the middle of Yukon. Some of the gas staions took american money at the same rate as canadian, so i would try and pay with a $100 bill and get as much canadian money back as i could. A few of them would charge 10% more, which i suspected was because they didnt want to deal with exchanging it. There was a couple probably in their 40s from southern British Columbia on an 1200RT there. I doubt they appreciated the bumps in the roads as much as i did.
Driving on from there, the road started getting more and more uneven. The frost heaves pushed the road in all sorts of directions. One spot looked like the highway had sunk 3 feet down into the ground for about 100 feet or so. Just a big dip in the road. No problem for the klr. Some other areas of the highway further up were more uneven back and forth with a few sharp bumps. If i had been in a car, 30 mph would have been tops. If i had been in a car. Thankfully, i was not in a car. 50 mph and i was flirting with staying on the ground on the klr. Gotta love them dual sports. I saw another black bears right off the road as well. I passed a couple on a set of harleys going the opposite direction that looked vaguely familiar. Before i left home my next door neighbor had told me he might be riding up to Alaska 6/30-7/15 with his brother and sisterinlaw from good ol' North Dakota. He ended up not going, but they did. I did see a couple of pics of their bikes before i left, and the ones i passed looked awfully similiar. When i got back home after all this, my neighbor told me thats about the time they came back, so im pretty sure thats who it was. What are the odds of that? Too bad i didnt see them at a gas station, once i saw ND plates i could have gone up and said, 'hi, mr K. hows the ride from Glen Ullin so far?' But fate wasnt that cooperative.
Around 9pm i stopped at a small lake on the west side of the highway. The water was just crystal clear. You could see as far as the light would penetrate the watar. A few muskrats were swimming around. A gentleman from whitehorse was there in a cargo van with a kayak on top and a dog running around. He had been driving around fishing various lakes. Must have had a long day because he didnt talk long, and went and laid down in his van for a nap shortly after i got there. Rode on to Alaska, arriving about 10pm Alaska time. I stopped for a few pics at the sign, then rode another mile to the Canadian border stop, which was over a mile into Yukon, and the American border crossing another mile after that. There wasnt much traffic there, maybe a car. The border agent asked me the standard questions, plus inquired if i had a gun. Most of the time they havent asked me that, but thats when i came out of Ontario, not Yukon. Pulled out of there and continued on for another hour before i had to stop and get a few pictures. The mountains to the south were just gorgeous, especially in such a crepuscular setting. I was getting real tired to, so i whipped out my machete and 'trimmed' some trees growing right off the side of the road. Never know when a moose might pop out. The highway department must not cut them very often, 5-10 foot tall trees were growing almost up to the shoulder, which wssnt very wide to begin with. Now i know why the speed limit was only 55mph.
I finally got to Tok around 11:30pm. And after 4 nights of camping and 3000 miles of riding i was ready for a bed. Pulled into one looked like might be one of the cheaper motels and got a room for $85. The clerk informed me that the local restaurants would be most likely closed, so i had to buy beer and chips in the convenience store instead. Yum.
The closed rv park in Watson lake where i camped in the trees. The Alcan is in background to the south.
Swan Lake pics-
A statue at the park at whitehorse
The Mighty Yukon river.
A animal monument at Haines Junction.
The mountains southwest of Haines Junction.
Some flats north of Haines Junction.
The lake i stopped at.
A man caught between two countries.
Finally, the 49th state!
Mountains looking to the south, a few miles into Alaska.
Pit stop no.1 in Alaska.
Did someone cut a bunch of trees with a machete here?
674 miles today.