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.


  1. Nice photos. The colors are great especially the murals. I have avoided going into Whitehorse on the last couple of trips. Just fill up and continue on.

    On my truck I just put in a J-box mounted to the frame for the four outlets I needed. Battery blanket for both batteries, block heater and a silicone pad on the engine oil pan. If I had an auto trans there would be another pad there. The manual trans seems fine without one.

    1. Wow, a block heater and a silicone pad?? what is that?
      I never thought you would need all those heaters.

    2. The block heater is an immersion heater in the water jacket of the engine block. The silicone pad on the oil pan heats up the oil so it is viscous at cold temperatures to help minimize wear immediately after the engine is started. The engine has 12 qts of viscous oil (15W40) with most of it in the pan and 4 1/2 gallons of coolant. It takes a lot of time and watts to warm all that up when it's -40F/C outside. The battery blankets are to keep the two batteries warm enough to turn the engine over with all that drag from the viscous oil.

      Different life up north in the winter....

  2. What a great tour of Whitehorse. I enjoyed the colorful murals and bright building of the Whitehorse Star the best. So vivid against the dreary skies.

    1. Beautiful but I wouldn't want to live there in winter, too cold, I prefer warmer climates :-)

  3. George:

    That cute car is a Nissan S-cargo, imported from Japan. I liked your tour of that Steamer. Even travelers had to be hardy back then. I always imagine what it would be like living back then with less conveniences

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. I do the same, I always imagine life back then, no central heating, no cell phones, TV, radio, NO MOTORCYCLES :-)

  4. Dear George:

    Did I enjoy the tour of the boat... But I have a question for you. Was evaporated milk ever sweet? I recall using it for coffee on hunting trips and it was pretty flat. I do recall that sweetened condensed milk was like drinking melted ice cream. It was thick enough to eat with a spoon.

    Great pictures of Whitehorse.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

    1. Yes, I remember as a kid in Africa drinking condensed milk directly out of the can, it was sooo good. We didn't have the luxury of fresh milk in Africa because of the heat. I used to put a spoon of chocolate powder in my mouth then fill it with condensed milk and mix it in my mouth, super delicious. If you want something even better you can boil a can for an hour or more and then when you open it's pure caramel :-)