G’day Blognerds. I thought you should all cop a few lines from me while I’m waiting for the washing machine and dryer to do their thing.
It was a good run down to Whitehorse today, a distance of about 500 kms. On the way, I made up this new rule: I will only stay in motels if it’s raining. The rest of the time I will do the camping thing.
First though, I have to show you the photos I took during my ride back down the Dempster. When I last left off I was at Eagle Plains and waiting for the rain to subside before I attempted the return trip. Well, subside it did, although for the initial 50-80 kms or so the road was still muddy and slippery. It improved out of sight after that, and I was able to maintain a good speed of about 80 kms/hr, so made good time back to Klondike River Lodge, at the start of the Dempster, where they have the $20 cabins.
Here are a couple of photos I took during the return trip down the Dempster:
The Klondike River Lodge is basically a gas station with a restaurant, motel, RV park, and these cabins which they call “The Overflow”. I told you about them in a previous blog post, but realised I hadn’t shown you what they look like. Well, they look like this:
Pretty basic, but a roof and a warm bed, which is all that matters.
It was good to be back on pavement again – paved all the way to Whitehorse. I realised during today’s ride that it had been almost exclusively gravel roads since just before Chicken, Alaska. From there to Dawson City, then up the Dempster and back, is almost 1000 kms. No wonder I’m sick of gravel!
Anyway, to today’s ride: this was along the Klondike Highway and was, as mentioned, a good run. There was not a lot to see other than trees on either side of the road, and the few photo opps had nowhere safe to stop. There was one section where I saw quite a number of signs as I rode along, warning me to watch out for Elk, because I was passing through an Elk Reserve. It seemed that just around every corner these signs would appear: Watch out for Elk. You are passing through an Elk Reserve. Elk for the next so many kilometres. Elk this. Elk that. Etc. They crapped on so much about Elk that I half expected to turn a corner and see the mongrels having a barbie in the middle of the road. So I watched for the Elk, as commanded, and was excited because I hoped to get some photos. But guess what? No Elk! Not one, not even Elk POO did I see. Very disappointed.
Got close to Whitehorse and, after a day where the weather was quite good, ran into rain, torrents of it, as well as the obligatory hail. This happened about 16 kms out. So, in accordance with my New Rule, I sought a motel. Checked out the Westmark first, because I had stayed there during my previous sojourn in Whitehorse. Although it was sunny then, that was before I’d made up the New Rule. I was soaked, of course, and tired. Well, the place was overrun with retirees, scores of them, all in pairs: husband and wife. And it seems they multiply (not literally and not in public, thankfully), because last time I was here there were only a few. It’s like that horror movie where the young kid captures a few ants in a tin, and the next morning they’ve morphed into trillions of giant killer ants, which freaks the kid out no end.
Looking around later on, I noticed the entire city was teeming with these senior citizens. All in couples, not groups or anything. Very insular kind of arrangement, I thought. Needless to say, there was no room at the Inn. Nor the next inn, or the next. At the last one I tried, the very kind receptionist called around town and found what must have been the last room available in Whitehorse. I was so relieved and thanked her sincerely. I asked if there was a convention or something happening, and she told me a lot of people on the Holland America bus tours had arrived in town that morning – today was their day to be in Whitehorse, apparently. That would explain the hordes of retirees.
So here I am, holed up at the Yukon Inn in Whitehorse, waiting for the washing to dry. On arrival I hurriedly unpacked the bike, threw (well, hurled, really) everything untidily into the room, and made haste to Tim’s. I hadn’t been to Tim’s since I was last in Whitehorse, and the cravings did not subside during my travels through Alaska and through Canada. It was only after shovelling a blueberry bagel and coffee into my head that I finally relaxed. Life, once again, is good 🙂