I rolled up the tent, packed the duffel and made my way towards Dease Lake and the Yukon border. Now that I was definitely in bear territory, I was glad none had tried to claw their way into my Happy Trails boxes for a meal. Bear proofing your food is great, but it's no guarantee they won't go to town on a motorcycle seat cover when they're trying to break in. Dease Lake had a gas station and a nice cafe to hang out in and charge up the devices. I bought a sandwich so they wouldn't think I was a bum just mooching coffee to plug in and get some wifi. Outside I saw a decked out Surly touring bike and knew I had to find the owner and hear some stories. Jake actually found me and introduced himself before telling me some crazy tales about the last month he had spent pedaling down from Anchorage. I can't imagine what it would be like being stuck behind a moose or encountering a brown bear on the road with no throttle to punch if you needed to. He was going to be on the road for another few months heading to Yosemite for work this summer season. I have a few friends on the wildlife team there and it was great finding out I have mutual friends with someone I met in Middle-of-Nowhere BC. Some of my buddies in CA want to get a group together at some future date and spend a couple months doing this same route on bikes. Hopefully I'll bust the Surly out of the garage and join them, probably crying and thinking about my Beemer the whole time.
I filled up and bounced through the increasingly remote section of highway as the road narrowed and the center line disappeared. The highway was built for motorbikes with tight corners, concrete whoops sections and random stretches of washboard gravel. The temps were near 60 but that didn't change the fact that every body of water I was riding past now was completely frozen over. I made sure to fill up my dromedary at the gas station as finding fresh water that I didn't have to carve out with a knife was becoming more difficult.
I stopped off in Jade City at the store after seeing a sign for free coffee. I don't care where I am or what time it is, I'm not going to just bypass a sign for free coffee. I flipped a U and pet the dogs while the nice ladies at the Jade store poured me a cup for the road. I knew I was nearing the boundary for Yukon territory but wasn't sure how close I was getting. I saw things getting a little more wild when I encountered my first "washout" a few miles from the border. Mountains were turning into vast forests that seemed to stretch on forever in any direction I looked. The Yukon was approaching. Finally, I saw the sign and got the idea to try and plow up the dirt to get a photo of it with the bike. I almost made it
A few more miles and I was at the junction for the Alaska Highway. I had thought about pressing on to Whitehorse, but it was still at least four hours away and it was getting late. I made for the town of Teslin, thinking it might be worth it to pay for a room and figure out the parts situation for my bike. I got back into crouch and pin mode as the first section of the AK highway was painfully straight and fast. I took a rest at the Continental Divide to look around a bit and check out the topography. Soon after I crossed the long bridge over the ice into Teslin. The one motel with rooms available said they wanted $105 for the night. That's a pretty hard price for me to justify in any situation (especially with clear weather) so I rode on.
East and West on the Continental Divide.
On the Teslin Bridge
A few misses and I found what I thought would be a good site along a gravel track housing road filler for the local transit authority. I wanted to be careful, especially since I had seen a lot of unmarked, well used roads dead ending at some weird housing setups. I had been warned by some natives in town to choose carefully, so at least I felt safer on some company's property than having an angry encounter with a local. I rode into the trees to setup camp and got my first dose of real mosquitos. A few of them ended up in mac and cheese bowl and there was no getting them out. Luckily, I figured out how to speed load my tent and dive in without any of them following me. I fell asleep trying to ignore the weird sound I'd been hearing in the trees ever since I had started camping North of Vancouver. It sounds like a far away four stroke motor slowly firing up- Duh. Duh. Duh. Duh. Duh. Duh-Du-Dududududuuzzzzzzzzzzzzuh. Silence. I think it might involve wind and tree branches, but I haven't even come close to figuring it out.