Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 15 - Last day in Whitehorse

The last day in Whitehorse finally arrived, the group will be having a barbecue in the afternoon and tomorrow we all depart in different directions.   Some of us will continue north, other will start their journey home.  Just before I arrived at the meeting place I happened to look at the odometer and soon pulled over to get a photo of a milestone, 12000 miles on my bike.


The group had decided to meet at the Yamaha tent early in the morning and then pick a destination for the day, soon some of us had a destination planned.  We would take a ride to Annie Lake south of Whitehorse.  We were told by locals the road was unpaved and consisting mostly of gravel and sand, perfect road for the few adventurers in the group.  I was picked to lead the last ride, soon 8 of us were on the road to Annie Lake.



The road was in bad shape with lots of soft sand and gravel, large type of gravel in some areas.  About an hour into the ride, we stop for a break and everyone decides they have had enough and are ready to turn around.  After passing a few bridges and really enjoying the ride I'm not ready to turn around.


The rest of the group turns around and I continue by myself.  I didn't come this far to then turn around on such a beautiful road.  I continue down the road a little slower since I'm all alone, I hadn't seen a single car or house since we had left the Klondike Highway.  A little later I come across a wooden bridge and stop for a few pictures, I park on the opposite side and decide to investigate the area.




Because the sun was out I had to use an ND filter to cut down the light and achieve a longer exposure for these pictures.  I think I was successful in slowing it enough to give a nice effect to the rapidly flowing water.





This area is bear country, I got a little worried when I saw how far the bike was but decided to continue investigating the area while continuously listening for any noise that could be coming from an approaching bear.



To the left of the bridge about 100 yards into the forest I had seen a dilapidated cabin.  It was a little out of my comfort zone but I figured I would hear any approaching bears and head towards it.



Leave a comment if you know what this is
On the way back to the bike I look at the sign at the entrance to the bridge and for a moment consider if it's safe to continue but then throw caution to the wind and continue on my way.

"Unmaintained Bridge" Continue at your own risk
I continue down the road knowing that eventually I would have to turn around.  I felt good being by myself riding this beautiful road, I don't have roads like these in New Jersey.



The end of the road for me came when I saw this gate, no way I was going to continue.  Even tough the gate was open I wasn't going to enter an Active Mine Road.


I turn around and head back, a long way back by now.  A little later I stop by the river and take these two pictures to give you an idea how bad the road was in some areas.  Look how far my bike is to the left of the road on the second picture.



I had passed Annie Lake earlier in the day and on the way back stop to admire the surrounding beauty.




My beautiful and well used Super Tenere.


After returning back to the Klondike Highway I head towards Carcross, the last time I had been there it was late in the day and everything was closed.  I had to stop by Emerald Lake, the water has such a beautiful color.



Carcross has a little beach, it was a little windy, the water murky and probably very cold.


I head towards the train station, I had seen a place to buy coffee and I was badly in need of caffeine.



A little later I hear a train whistle and here comes the White Pass train, this is the historic train that travels from Skagway through Carcross and then on to Whitehorse.




A few passengers get out and then a little later I watch as the train continues on its journey while I enjoy my warm coffee.



This area of the Yukon is in bad shape, these cabins are falling apart and abandoned.  I think I was the only customer left for the coffee shop.  They did have some very delicious chocolate cookies, I had a few.



I go inside the train station and brush up on the history of Carcross and the Tagish First Nation.  They had cool coats, I'm sure they needed for the winters must be really cold this far north.



With so many rivers and lakes people had to use boats to move around and at the time they used sternwheelers.



Near the train station is the S.S. Tutshi Memorial.  Unfortunately there was a fire and only the front part of the sternwheeler survived.  The town had put together a memorial and there are a few pieces from the steam boiler.  Lots of reading material, I spend some time reading about the history of these magnificent boats.
Wiki: Steamboats of the Yukon River




These two brothers have been walking across Canada on the Klondike route.  I had a long conversation with them, they have been traveling for months in period clothing and equipment and were going to continue to Dawson City.  They have no modern equipment, sleep outside in sleeping bags and had authorization from the government to cut down 5 trees to build a logboat in Whitehorse and then continue down the river to Dawson City.  An amazing trip, much harder than mine.  They are from Quebec and spoke in broken English.


I say goodbye to Carcross for the last time and wonder if I will ever come back this way.  I promised my wife I would come back with her, I'm going to try my best to keep my promise.


I arrive at the Yukon Yamaha dealer and the barbecue is already under way.  I grab a beer and a burger and join the rest of the gang.  Nice grill.



The owner of the dealership had some nice parting gifts for all of us and soon there were "thank you" speeches going on.  Everyone was enjoying the final day.



These two guys arrive while the party is going on, they are on the way to Alaska and had heard about the event.  One is riding a Yamaha Tenere, the other a BMW GSA.  I think they are carrying a little too much and are probably overloading the bikes but what do I know, I am a neat packer.



If I was going back to Alaska and had lots of time I would probably take a KLR, a much lighter bike and just as comfortable as my Tenere.  The engine is half the size but I would be able to go places I won't take or risk my Tenere.  This KLR belonged to one of the guys from the dealership.


The first Super Tenere gathering is now over, tomorrow I head north to Dawson City.  The event was a total success, I had the opportunity to ride lots of gravel and dirt roads and enjoy the beautiful Yukon scenery.

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