I tried to leave Tok early this morning, but only partially succeeded. The bed was so comfy I slept longer than expected. I am on vacation, so no alarm clocks allowed! I just wake up when I do.
After a tasty breakfast of Marion jelly and bagels and a friendly chat with the inn keeper, I headed toward the Canadian border. The sun was shining bright with a cool breeze. It was great riding weather. During the 90 miles to the border, my mind kept drifting to the excited thoughts I had when I was riding this stretch the other way the week before. Alaska was better than I thought it would be, and I thought it was going to be awesome. I exceeded all of my expectations.
The border crossing was quick and easy. I was surprised the guy actually wanted me to remove my helmet. When I asked the other two, they said no. This guy told me to remove it after saying “Hello/Bonjour”. He asked a couple questions, muttered a quick “welcome to Canada", and slammed the window shut. There was no one behind me, so I took my time putting my helmet and gloves back on.
The Canadian side of the Alaskan highway is a shock from the US side. It is in much poorer condition with frost heaves and potholes everywhere. They mark them with cones, red triangles on sticks, and just red ribbons on sticks. The first chunk to destruction bay is the worst, but today it felt easier than last time. I think part of it is that I ignored my speedo/gps/tach and just focused on the road. I quickly found my own rhythm. The miles melted away. I was in destruction bay before I knew it, 140 miles from the border.
I was rained on off an on for a little bit. It wasn’t enough to get wet; it was just enough to be annoying. I eventually found a lunch spot. When I passed the one I used on the way up, Pickhandle Lake, it was raining, so I kept going. This spot on the Kluane River worked out great. You can see the dark clouds in the background.
And a small snow storm across the river:
This little guy and his buddies were stalking me at lunch. I think they wanted some. They were almost as silly as the Lake Louis birds. I enjoyed watching them.
When I got to Destruction Bay, I got gas just like on the way up. I chatted with the clerk for a while. He thought I was riding a Ducati and got excited when I pulled up. He was slightly disappointed when he saw Suzuki instead. So many people on this trip have had that reaction. It is kinda funny. They see the silver trellis frame and think Ducati. Only SV’s from 99-01 use the tubular one, the newer ones are all angular and not as sharp looking to me. He told me about his previous boss who just sold his house. The guy and his wife were going to bicycle from Prudhoe bay to the tip of South America. Wow. He sold me a gas can for the Cassiar too.
On the way out, I was chatted up with a guy from Florida driving a Mercedes car. He had just spent a month in Alaska including driving to Prudhoe Bay and was on his way back to Florida. A long drive! He also thought I was on a Ducati. lol. He has some good intel for the Cassiar for me. I am excited to ride it, and I am slightly nervous. It is very desolate. Even more than the Alaska Highway. It will be an adventure.
The rest of the ride to Whitehorse was mostly uneventful; it was just a long day riding with nearly 400 miles. I stopped at Kluane Lake to get some photos and video since it wasn’t snowing this time! haha. Apparently it did snow just two days ago. They had 2 inches in Destruction bay and over TEN inches a few miles on either side. I was lucky when I came up and went back, that I missed that much snow both times.
Tomorrow, is more Alaska Highway and likely the last day on it before I start down the Cassiar. Today, was also the first day of the next three that I will be generally riding south. wow.
If you didn’t get enough gratuitous mountain photos, check out the full album below. There are a bunch more. A Video is being uploaded to youtube now, so check for that later.
Day 20 Full Flickr Album with 44 photos.
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