Monday, August 30, 2010

Deese Lake to South Hazelton

This was one of my favorite days. Today we went to Hyder, Alaska. For about the past week we've been in Canada. Hyder, AK is on a little spit of land that is Alaska but it is only accessible from Canada. From Hyder you can't get to another US town, you can only get to Canada. That's pretty weird to me. I would think that the currency would be a pain.

This was a random horse standing in the road. There were signs about free range horses. You don't every day see a horse standing in the middle of the road.

This takend when we stopped at a little rest stop.

As you get close to Hyder, you can see glaciers along the roadside.

Once we got to Hyder (and crossed the border, yes there were guards and the whole works) we were starving. The only place open was The Bus. They cook inside a converted school bus. They had the best food!!! I had a shrimp sandwich. That was a neat place.

We really were low on gas but we didn't get gas before we got into Hyder. Gas was back across the border in Canada. We didn't want to go to the hassle of going back across the border so we decided to brave it. While eating we talked to a fella that vacations there every year and he said we needed to drive along this dirt road and climb up into the mountains to see the Toe of the Salmon Glacier. It was about a 20 mile ride. We figured we could make it.

We hadn't got very far from our lunch stop and right on the road, just around a corner, was a bear walking right toward us!!! Mike stopped the bike and we didn't know what to do. The bear growled at us, turned around, and finally walked off the road into the woods. Thank goodness because bikes don't go in reverse!!

This is the only picture I got of it. But I think it's kind of cool because you can see the pad on the bottom of it's foot.

So, we drove on up this road. It was a gravel road that went up a mountain. It was a slow go but it was worth it. It was so beautiful!!

We finally made it to our destination and it was a spectacular view. We were told that we could go farther along the road and get a look at the glacier from the back side. We would have, but we had no gas.

We made it back down the mountain. Mike turned the bike off and coasted as much as possible. I'm still not sure if he did that because he thought he needed to or if he just thought it was fun.

Hyder is known for it's bear watching. When the fish start to swim upstream, the bears flock to the stream. They've built an overlook just along the stream. Apparently, at the right time of the year, you're guaranteed to see a bear fishing. We were a few weeks early.

This is the sign leading into Hyder. I took this picture as we were leaving.

This is a picture of one of the glaciers on the road leading into Hyder. I took this as we left. WE just picked a town and found a hotel and stayed for the night. We've learned to not make reservations on these trips because you just never know how the trip will go. Our friends we'd met the day before saw us at the hotel and stopped too. Apparently we'd gotten the last room. That was the last we saw of them as they were headed back to Idaho. I hope they made it home safe.

This was a really good day!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whitehorse to Deese Lake

Our next stop was supposed to be Watson Lake but we knew we could make it farther than that. So the night before we just found a random place, Deese Lake, a little farther down the road and made reservations. As we were leaving from Whitehorse, we talked to some other bikers that said they were told not to stay at Deese Lake. Oh well, I guess we'll see what we're in for.

Today the road was much more scenic than the previous day and we finally saw some wildlife. First we saw one bear. Then, just a little ways down the road, we saw a mama bear and her two cubs.

That was very exciting. They were just so cute and were your typical babies. They were playing around and just having fun. Then they'd realize that mama had gotten a little bit from them and they'd hurry to catch up. We watched them for a bit.

That's one big mama!!

This is the Signpost Forest at Watson Lake. It's a little redneck stop along the way. It actually is a must see. It goes on forever. We actually found a sign from Kings Mountain and a street sign that looked to be from Charlotte. It was Statesville Ave!! How about that...we're from Statesville!!
We made it to Watson Lake by lunctime. It was a good decision to go a little further down the road today.

This was a sign at the start of the Cassiar Hwy. We were headed to Hyder, AK. It was across the street from where we eat lunch. While at lunch, another couple drove up two-up on the same kind of bike we had. They were about our age. It turned out we were headed in the same direction. We didn't ride together but we saw them for a few days in a row. It was kind of nice to have some riding buddies.

This is where we stayed in Deese Lake. There was nothing to worry about. It was actually the best place we'd stayed so far (other than Wiseman) and it was the cheapest. We had a very nice room for $86. The main house had only 5 rooms (I think). There was another building that had about 4 more rooms. If you stayed in the house, you got a continental breakfast. There was a restaurant across the street. We decided to just walk up the road to a little grocery store for dinner and just bring it back to the room. The hotel had a common kitchen area that we could use. While looking around at the grocery store I noticed a good example of just how expensive food is up here. A half-gallon of Breyer's Ice Cream was $12!!!!

Today was fun and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. The Cassiar Hwy looks really promising!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dawson City to Whitehorse

This day was not the most exciting of days. I really can't remember much about the drive. So, that being said, here are the pictures...

This was taken at a little pull off we stopped at to take a break.

This cute little structure was a visitor information center.

We stopped at a little store to take a break and saw these little fellas. We'd seen them for a few days but this was the first opportunity to get pictures. We hadn't seen too much wildlife so far, so we were easily excited.

Also at this stop was this adorable horse. Notice the little sign. I wanted to pet him so bad and he seemed to want to be petted but I had to obey the sign. Sad!!

We stayed in Whitehorse. This is the biggest town in the Yukon. We stayed at a Westpark, which is a chain of motels in the Yukon and BC. The hotel had a Vaudeville show. Mike suggested we get tickets, I think because he could tell that I hadn't had the most exciting day. It was actually very entertaining.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fairbanks to Dawson City

The 'adventurous' part of the trip is over, more or less. The majority of the rest of the trip is on paved roads.
This morning when we left out it was raining. That was a bummer because I'd wanted to visit North Pole, Alaska, which is right outside of Fairbanks. For obvious reasons, this town has a Christmas theme. But since it was raining, we didn't stop. We did see a bit of the town from the main road and all the light poles were painted red and white to look like candy canes. I'm sure it would have been a neat little tourist trap.

We saw these mountains from a distance. We made it up the Dalton and back with no real fear of running out of gas. Our first day off the Dalton and we had some gas worries. We were cruising along and then I realized that Mike had slowed down considerably and I knew what that meant. He was trying to conserve gas. I always have a fear of running out of gas so I tried to stay calm. Just when we thought all hope was lost, we see a gas oasis ahead. Our problem wasn't the miles between gas stations, it was the headwind we were riding against that day. That really hurt the gas mileage. Anyway, we got gas and a mental breakdown was avoided!

There were many sandy hills with lots of little rocks and stones along the road. People had taken the rocks and written messages on the hills. There were tons and tons along the roads.
The road did turn to dirt for the rest of the day. On the way to Dawson City, we went through Chicken, Alaska. This town was originally a mining town. There are maybe 4 year round residents. They have no running water and the mail is delivered via plane twice a week. Chicken is a bit of a must see if you're in that area. They have made the most of their unique name and had a restaurant, salon and tourist shop. It is also an RV Camp and had many campers. It was a neat place and we were looking forward to seeing it.

Downtown Chicken

One guess what this is...

After we left Chicken we eventually made it to the Canada border. This was a very remote crossing. Even though it was remote, the Border Guard was very serious. Anyway, we crossed the border while on the Top of the World road. Even though it was a bit overcast, it was still very scenic. This road did seem to go along the top of the mountain range forever and ever.

We knew we had to take a ferry to get to Dawson City and were getting worried because the road never seemed to go down the mountain. It did finally descend just before you got to the river. The ferry is the only way to get to the town from this side. I guess you just don't get there from this side during the winter. The ferry ride was only like seven minutes.

Dawson City is also an old mining town. The city is an historic site and all the buildings are still pretty much original. It looks like an old town you'd see in a western movie. We didn't have any reservations but found a like hotel. It rained a bit that night too so we didn't get to look around the town too much that night. We got up the next morning and walked around and found a bakery to get some breakfast.