Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 12 - An idle day in Whitehorse, Yukon

July 2nd turned out to be an idle day on account of the weather, cold and rain for most of the day.   The group decided to cancel the planned ride and everybody went their own way.  I went downtown and parked myself at the Starbucks where I knew I would get free Wi-Fi and Internet access as well as strong coffee.

The rain came down on and off throughout the day, it was a rather miserable day but it gave me a chance to walk around and see the small town of Whitehorse.  I love the architecture of the buildings, they remind me of western movies I watched as a kid, it felt like I had been transported to early last century.

"98" Hotel looked a little shady, a few of the characters I saw walking out looked like they were up to no good.  I didn't even want to point the camera at anyone walking out, I was afraid one of them would chase after me.

The Whitehorse Star is one of two newspapers in Whitehorse, Yukon. The Whitehorse Star was founded in 1900.  The building does look like it was built in 1900.

I walked over to the train station next.  I believe trains still run tours from Whitehorse to Skagway, Alaska.  They have one of the train cars on display, there was no one around while I was there so I decided to sit in the car and take a break to reflect on my trip so far, it was quite, not many tourist around.

The Trappers Cache had beautiful things made by various local artists and artisans but very expensive.  I looked around for something for my daughter but couldn't find anything within a decent price and size to fit in my bike.  They had a cute little car parked outside.

One thing you will notice as soon as you enter Whitehorse are all the murals, they are colorful, huge and cover the sides of buildings.  They mostly depict Klondike Gold Rush and nature scenes.

You know the area gets lots of snow and cold weather when you see wires and plugs hanging out the front of cars. Most cars had at least two plugs but I found one with three wires coming out the front.

My next stop was a few blocks away at the Klondike paddle steamer.  Steamers like the Klondike carried would-be gold prospectors between 1897 and 1899 to the area during the Klondike gold rush.   An estimated 100.000 people traveled to the Yukon area in search of gold.
Klondike Gold Rush wiki

I watched a short movie outside and then went inside the bowls of the ship.  The steamer is well preserved, I really enjoyed going through all the rooms and examining in detail how life must have been then.

The dining rooms were beautifully setup with everything from the time including the can of evaporated milk.  As a kid I used to drink evaporated milk directly from the can, I have always had a very sweet tooth.

I imagined myself sitting on one of the beautiful wicker chairs looking out the windows as the steamer went up the river with the click-clack sound of the typewriter being used nearby to log the trip.

Quaker Corn Flakes, Puffed Wheat "Sparkies" and Libby's Tomato Juice.

A well equipped kitchen

I took one last walk upstairs and then headed back to the bike parked outside.

This had been a day to relax and enjoy a break from riding.  I was more than caffeinated by the time I returned to the motel, all I had eaten all day was sweet pastries at Starbucks and lots of coffee.  I was able to Skype with my wife, take care of e-mails and be by myself all day, it felt good.
This post is also the only one so far without a single picture of my Super Tenere.

Tomorrow will be a different story, lots of dirt, gravel, mud and even some water fun.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 11 video

A video of my day trip to Atlin, British Columbia from Whitehorse, Yukon, during my trip to Alaska.
High speed riding on dirt and gravel roads, lots of smiles, endless memories.

Having lots of fun

More to come.....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 11 - Atlin, BC - First ride with the group

The first day of the Super Tenere owners get together is finally here.  The group has a ride planned to Atlin, British Columbia to celebrate Canada Day, a little over 100 miles with about half paved and the rest gravel and dirt.  We had been promised an adventure on gravel to a nice little town, needless to say we were all excited.
I get up early, after a quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee prepared in our room kitchen, I head next door to Yukon Yamaha.  They had setup a tent for the event and for the group to meet.  I get there and find quite a few people had already arrived.  After the introductions we chat for a while about our trip and locations we had all come from for this great event.

Before we head out to Atlin we stop for a group photo in front of the Yukon Yamaha dealer.  We struggle to squeeze so many bikes together for a group photo but with my little tripod I was able to take the picture and be in it, I'm right in front of the door looking straight at the camera.

We leave the place after a few more riders arrive and head south on the Alaska Highway with a few riders stopping for gas just down the road.  We make a stop about 50 miles south at the turn off to Tagish road which we must take before getting on Atlin road.  The day started a little cold and cloudy, low 60's but it warmed up a little as the day progressed becoming a perfect day for riding.

The beginning of Atlin road follows the contours of Little Atlin Lake and is paved, we are able to keep a good pace and still enjoy the beautiful scenery all around us.

Soon we hit the gravel and the ride gets much more interesting.  The road is a mixture of packed dirt and loose gravel, a fine gravel consisting of little pebbles that like to show up as soon as you start leaning the bike for a turn.  We encounter lots of construction as well where the road is even worse with coarse gravel and deep sand making us keep our eyes on the road.

Our leader pulls us off the road onto a side road where we make a stop to take in the breathtaking view of the lake and the snow covered mountains in the background.

We continue south keeping a fast pace and at times having to ride standing up when the road gets a little sandier. The sinuous road follows the Little Atlin Lake and later Atlin Lake.  Miles and miles of beautiful and natural land devoid of any civilization signs.

Atlin is a little town of less than 500 people in the northwest part of British Columbia and located on the eastern shore of Lake Atlin.
Atlin was founded as a result of a demand for gold mining in the area. The Atlin Gold Rush came to Atlin Lake country in 1898 and was one of the richest offshoots of the Klondike Gold Rush. Wiki

After a few pictures we head into town looking for a place to eat and find the Pine Tree restaurant, a cozy little place.  Since it's the 1st of July and Canadians are celebrating Canada Day, the place is packed.  We quickly put a few tables together outside and sit down to enjoy lunch.

Even this cute dog was carrying the Canadian flag in celebration.

This is the view from the restaurant over the nearby trees.

With lunch over, it was time to go riding and we were all looking for dirt roads to exercise our stallions.  We first head to the edge of the water to take in the view, a beautiful backdrop of snow capped mountains all around us.

We leave Atlin and continue south along the lake.  I was following the leader of the ride but at one point I passed him and left the group in the dust.  I will post a video later of this day.  A few miles down the road I stop and wait for the group to catch up to get a picture of everyone in the group.  I always get pictures of other riders but I have not had the luck of someone offering to do the same for me.

We probably did another 20 or 30 miles south of Atlin and eventually our leader takes us down a rugged path to a clearing overlooking the lake and the mountains.

On the way down we had passed a little airport that was hosting a small plane get together.  Apparently, people with more money than us motorcycle riders, fly in with their Cessnas to various small airfields and spend a few days together camping and doing what we bikers do with our bikes.

It wouldn't be a proper adventure ride if no one dropped a bike, luckily the drop happened while maneuvering the bike at the airport, no one was hurt other than the poor guys ego.

On the way back to Whitehorse we take a different route, we head back north on Atlin road and then take Tagish road and head west towards Carcross.
Carcross, originally known as Caribou Crossing, is an unincorporated community in the Territory of Yukon, Canada on Bennett Lake and Nares Lake. It had a population of 431 in June of 2008 and is home to the Carcross/Tagish First Nation.
The road takes us through amazing views of the various lakes and mountains, the clouds giving it a surreal feeling.  With the drone of the engine in the background, I immerse myself in thoughts about my trip and how far away I am from my family.  I feel really happy about the trip so far and a little sad that I don't have my family here with me to see this beautiful part of the world.

59 degrees Fahrenheit and 86mph, shouldn't these numbers be the other way around?

Just two miles north of Carcross we see huge sand dunes.  The dunes are almost beach sand like or desert sand, a weird thing to see in the middle of the mountains and far away from any water.  We stop for a break and to see if there was anyone brave enough to take a Super Tenere on the sand but we were all tired and no one was willing to push a bike out of the sand.  Google maps link here.

As you can see on this map, there are lots of lakes in this region.

With this view in the background, we leave the sand dunes and head towards Whitehorse.

We make one last stop at the beautiful Emerald Lake.  The pictures do not make it justice, the color is a deep green hue and our stop is at the top of the hill overlooking the lake.

You can see the road we came from in the background
Interactive map:

I will end this post with these two beautiful pictures.  We had a wonderful day with some of the most beautiful scenery I have seen so far on this trip.

We did about 300 miles today covering beautiful terrain in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.  It has only been 11 days since I left home, I am still very far from my final destination but I could spend a lot of time here just exploring the country side.