I slept above the crypt keeper last night, so I didn’t sleep well. When he wasn’t cackling away, he was trying to cough up a lung. It was loud. I was thinking maybe not so many smoke breaks buddy, but what do I know. The result was I didn’t get a very restful sleep, and it put me in a mood. I left Whitehorse like a cat on fire. I put my head down and cranked out the first hundred. I knew I had a longer ride ahead of me, and I just wanted to get across the border which was a mere 300 miles away. The rest was slower.
I know it doesn’t sounds like it should take much time, but this stretch of the Alaska Highway is the one in the worst state. It’s paved, but wow. It was rough. I had heard about the frost heaves as they describe it up here; I was thinking they were the little 1-3 inch bumps we have in the road in Minnesota. I was wrong. Frost heaves up here are much larger. I think they have more in common with sink holes or even sand whoops – just in asphalt.
They are a rapid series of depressions 6-24 inches deep. Enough to make you catch some serious air, if you don’t slow down as the signs constantly say “SLOW”. This part of the road is the bike breaker if you try to rush. There are also the usual potholes, troughs, and edge traps to content with too.
I was constantly swerving, slowing, and changing my line to try and pick the smoothest track. Sometimes that meant even crossing over to the other side of the road or using the shoulder. In a car it would be awful as you would not be able to avoid some hazards; the bike usually made it. This section of the road would be great for some long travel suspension like my WR or a dirtbike.
The mountains were beautiful today. So large and covered in perfectly white snow. They almost looked fake, but they were so imposing. The wind was at my side for the first hour or so, but then thankfully moved to my back. It made the ride much more doable. I was also dressed for the cold temps from the get-go this morning, so that worked out well too. Not that the road gave me much time to think about being cold or to enjoy the scenery. I had to stop for that.
During my lunch stop at Pickhandle Lake, I was drooling into the lake at the awesome mountain vista.
I turned around to go get more food, and then I saw it.
I froze. Wow. It was big.
It didn’t see my at first. It just stood there eating away without a care in the world. Then it stopped and looked right at me.
I said “Hi Moose, you stay over there, and I’ll stay over here.”
Squint and you can see it just to the right of center.
No? Lemme zoom in for you:
She seemed to agree and went back to eating the tree, so I went back to making my lunch. We both kept eyeing each other while we ate. It was nice, but it was not meant to last. A RV drove in and scared it away. bah. Ruined the peace and quiet with the diesel engine noise too. Fortunately, they left quickly, but my moose buddy didn’t come back.
The border crossing went smoothly. It was a toll-booth style just like the previous Canadian crossing. I handed over my passport card. He looked at my motorcycle license plate, asked where I came from, and how long was I gone. I asked if I should take off my helmet as he compared my photo. He said "no” as he squinted at me. “Welcome back to the United States sir.” Sweet. They let me back in! hehe. I hope the next two are as painless.
Hello Alaska!! I had a chocolate bar to celebrate. Yum. Dark chocolate is the best.
I realized a couple things today. I am in yet another timezone. Alaska has it’s own –3hours from Central. This is the furthest north I have been in North America. Sunset is also silly late up here 22:15 (10:15pm) local time. Wow! Sunrise is at 04:41. Lots of daylight.
Tomorrow, I head to Fairbanks. I hate to admit it, but I badly need a new rear tire. I will never hear the end of it I am sure; TheGeezer told me not to use the Q2s, but I’m glad I did. The cold, wet, and snow I rode through and they were still sticky. I would use them again, but have a tire waiting for me in Fairbanks. After the tire, I’m gonna stake out Richard’s house and wait for him to return from Barrow.
After that? I haven’t finished making that up yet. I have two weeks from tomorrow to get to Seattle, and I want to spend some time in Vancouver visiting.
Adam, here is the pic of the log cabin were I am sleeping you wanted:
Gary and Adam, there are two moose pics above, but here is another just for you:
This cutout had me checking my speed. It looked very real from a distance. I was way under. lol.
Colorful mural in Whitehorse:
Day 13 Full Flickr Album (70 pics!)
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Other Posts in the series: