Sorry for the delay in posting - access to the internet in the Yukon is very difficult for travellers. 3G service does not exist for phones and many of the places providing internet service are very restricted in use. Pictures will be posted as soon as possible but in the meanwhile....just my thougts
It had gotten cold over night. Dew was heavy and the air crisp and, a light fog permeated the campground as I poked my head out of my tent. There were a couple of bikers camped across the lane from me who were packing to go so I wandered over to meet them. I discovered they lived a couple of towns west of me and were heading in the same general direction, I thought we’d probably see each other in the days to come.
The campground has a much more dilapidated appearance in broad daylight after a good sleep than it did through last night’s road weary eyes. A quadrangle of Britco Camp shacks includes one designated for washroom and laundry facilities and I wander over to clean up for the day. A boardwalk runs inside the quadrangle and the Britcos have obviously been rented out for short term, economical accommodation in the distant past. The washroom is clean but rudimentary and begging for a lot of repair work. After a nice hot shower I head back to my tent and on the way encounter the driver of the truck that gassed up at Dease Lake the same time as I was there last night.
He and his friend are from Ontario and touring up to Alaska in the camper. He is curious about road 2blue and upon learning what I am doing, he tells me his story.
Years ago, he was a successful salesman who insidiously and unexpectedly slipped into depression. Every day he would “paste his energy” on to go to work and get the job done but when he came home, he would be completely exhausted and spent. His wife would want to do things but he had no energy and no will. She knew he was “in a funk” and just needed to get out and do things – he would be alright. He remembers sitting at the kitchen table and just staring. His wife asked if he wanted some tea but he could not respond. He didn’t care, he wanted the tea to be there but didn’t want to ask, didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to move. He realized he was in trouble but had no idea what to do or where to go. Eventually he check himself in as an outpatient at the local hospital. After a few false starts, found a therapist that he clicked with and began therapy that went on for years. He learned slowly how to manage his thoughts and feelings and eventually got to the point where he was strong enough work through his challenges without the help of a therapist and has remained healthy ever since. Great to hear success stories.
After visiting with other travellers and packing up, I finally got on the road and headed toward Whitehorse. A nearby restaurant/gasbar provided a wifi connection while I was waiting for breakfast. I was trying to update a few things online and a fellow traveller from Britain dropped in so we chatted over breakfast – I didn’t give full attention to my conversation with him and felt bad about it later – technology interfering with human relations! He had shipped his bike over to LA and was riding up to Prudhoe Bay. I think he was looking for a riding partner but I was too busy futzing about with this technology.
Finally on the road about 11 AM and bound for Whitehorse. It was a bit of “slab ride” but I did stop at a roadside turnout noting the crossing of the Continental Divide. While I considered this a notable moment I also had a close look at the information panels placed at this rest stop and noted I would be crossing the Continental Divide about four times between here and Inuvik. Hopefully I would stop at each point along the way and take a picture – it would make an interesting comparison.
The highway seemed almost endless into Teslin until I was about 25 km out. Cresting a hill I saw a vehicle pulled off to the side of the road and a lady flagging me to slow down. I had just passed a couple of vehicles and had to scrub off the speed fairly quickly but managed to pull up just in front of her Ford Explorer. She was pulling an overloaded trailer and had two kids with her. She was trying to talk to me but I had my helmet on and earplugs in. I tried to get her to flag down the vehicles I just passed because they could likely do more to help her than I could but I think she was so focussed on the fact that someone stopped, she had help. She was moving lock stock and barrel from Oregon to Skagway where her fiancé found a job. Her transmission had broken down inVancouver and cost $2,000 to fix, she had spent $500 on gas and had now run out of gas (25 km outside of Teslin) and had no money…could I help? Fortunately I had about 3 or 4 litres of gas in a container that might get her to Teslin, but that was it. She was pretty relieved to at least be able to get close to civilization!.
The hill into Teslin provides a scenic view of Teslin Lake and the bridge crossing the narrows. The seven section steel deck bridge is a beautiful sight from the pullout at the top of the hill. When I was young, my dad referred to these steel grate bridges as “singing bridges” due to the wonderful sound the tires make at highway speed as you cross over the grates. On a motorcycle, these are more like “screaming bridges” because the grating causes the bike to weave back and forth quite unnervingly.
I crossed the bridge safely and arrived bought gas at the first station across the bridge. The British guy I had had breakfast with was here with a bunch of new found friends. They had been in the restaurant for a while and were now about to resume travels. While I was paying for my fuel, the “moving lady” was making arrangements on the phone for someone to provide a credit card number to the gas station so that she could take on some fuel.
I had enough gas from there to take me to Whitehorse. As I approached the town and was thinking about accommodation, I noticed a small sign directed toward “Miles Canyon” on the right. I braked hard remembering Miles Canyon as being a particularly difficult stretch of water for the miners from the ’98 gold rush. Today, Miles Canyon has been tamed by a dam downstream which has backed up the water and created a lake with a narrows through the Canyon. Before the dam was built, the rush of water through the narrow canyon (perhaps 100 feet wide) was so great that the water level was approximately 2 meters or 6 feet higher in the middle than on the sides. As the miners rafted through the canyon, if they weren’t exactly in the middle, their raft would slide down to the outside edge and smash into the wall of the canyon. Today I saw a pleasure boat cruise through effortlessly and a couple of teenagers were preparing to jump off the cliffs into the water for a swim.
My night was to be spent in a campground on the bank of the Yukon River just within city limits of Whitehorse.