I had about 200 miles to get to Whitehorse from my campsite, where I should have able to pick up some spare parts. My bike was holding up alright so I prepped everything for the 5 mile gravel ride back to the highway. As I was loading up some kind of official truck drove by to the gravel pit down the road. He turned around and came by again about ten minutes later, but this time he slammed on his brakes after pulling level with my camp. I was behind a wall of trees but from the right angle you could catch a quick glimpse of the setup if you knew where to look. He slowly backed up to get a better view and I ducked behind a tree. After a moment, he floored it out of there and I packed up in a hurry. I didn't know if he was just curious or not stoked on me being there, but I couldn't afford to guess wrong. I plowed back to the road and charged the gravel with some urgency. At one point I eased off the throttle and looked down and I was still over 110k/ph. I hoped they hadn't locked the gate on me and was relieved to find it open, so I booked it onto the highway and continued West. It might have been all for nothing. The guy might not have cared, or maybe he even thought it was great. But a similar experience in my youth involved a sheriff returning to give me a nice fine, and I can't afford to be blowing cash on worthless fines.
You can just barely see my camp center of the photo. I thought I was hidden, but apparently not good enough. Tire tracks maybe?
The ride into Whitehorse was pretty smooth and I celebrated by grabbing some coffee and finding a place to stay that wasn't on the ground. I was still naive enough to think things might not be crazy expensive in the Yukon until I saw the hotel prices. Nothing below $80, even on Kayak.com, so I found the two hostels in town and checked them out. The first one I rode by had a few cars out front with busted up windows, so I went one more block and tried out the second. The Lead Dog was in better shape, so I grabbed a bed and hung out with a bunch of nice German and French kids getting ready to head up to Dawson City for the summer season. I'm a little jealous of how easy it is for them to get extended work visas in the EU/Commonwealth, but I'm not jealous of some other things they have to deal with.
This guy was pretty stoked on the bike. He had some wild stories about riding greyhound across the states. One of his stories was about seeing the devil in a Nevada sand storm...
I got my first lesson in parts planning when it became obvious that none of the three moto shops in town had a sprocket for the BMW. I picked up a chain and ordered the sprocket from the Beemer shop outside Vancouver, which was supposed to arrive a few days later. After hanging out in town for another day, I found out the shipping got bungled and it wouldn't arrive until Monday, the same day I had to be in Faribanks to start my class (or throw away $400 in tuition fees). Instead I called Anchorage and had them ship one to the post office in Fairbanks and decided to give it a go on the bike as is. Jon at the downtown Honda shop reckoned my bike might have a good shot at making the 600 miles before the sprocket gave up the ghost. It's hard to discount the opinion of a KLR rider when it comes to squeezing the life out of old parts
I left town after paying Greyhound $46 shipping for a sprocket I wouldn't even pick up until the end of the season.
I tensioned the chain one more time, lubed the crap out of it and rode West into the afternoon clouds. Rain was inbound in the distance and some of the clouds looked exciting, especially after the few days of 65+ sun in Whitehorse. Things went from sunny to rainy to cold the further I rode towards the Alaska border.