Canada……you make my heart sing!
The ride from Alaska to Canada was amazing. We left Fairbanks on July 13th and headed southwest towards Tok. In Tok we turned North on the Taylor Hwy towards Chicken and Top of the World Highway. Even if the nature is amazing, we got long stretches of absolutely nothing. Those stretches are tiring and exhausting and makes your mind wander and go to places it shouldn’t be. You should always focus on the road, the next pothole, next patch of deep gravel, or next passing bear but when you get looooong stretches of perfect pavement it makes you unfocused and you forget just how quickly the surface can change. For that reason I like the potholes, the curves, the gravel patches and the occasional rain shower because they make me focus on the driving. A bear sighting, a moose or just a beautiful scenery does the same trick.
The rivers were massive and we can only begin to imagine the water masses during spring time. There is just so much nature in this place.
We are getting into the daily camping routine. Lars is in charge of the tent. I am in charge of the campfire and the cooking. Very traditional roles and not exactly how we do it back home 🙂 We are both completely covered of a layer of dust from the roads and smoke from the campfires and there’s easily 4-5 days between showers. My long hair is sticky from the dust and mosquito spray and I’m starting to look like a true Scandinavian Amazon.
Deluxe Birthday camping dinner – not exactly bear safe camping food, but we took the risk.
We see a lot of moose. Mostly female moose with calves.
We stop at every gas station available. Alaska is so extremely remote and distances are much bigger than we are used to back home, so passing a gas station is a no go.
At the gas stations we seem to attract people. Maybe it is every guy’s boy dream to do overland travels on motorbikes, but most of them end up in the huge RV’s with their satellite TV and their generators and their extra car toed behind them. It’s a pretty comfortable way to travel and we envy them a few times – but mostly not. Anyways a lot of people – mostly guys come over and talk to us. It’s really nice to have these conversations, even if they tend to be a repetition of each other: where are y’all from, where are y’all going, where did y’all start your trip etc.
A gas station on the legendary Alaska Hwy. This RV actually tows a large car behind it! For European standards, that’s a bit over the top!
In Tok we spotted Liz and Brian’s red bicycles and found them inside the visitors center. We all went for a coffee and talk. They were having a laundry break in Tok before they continued their long trip down to Victoria, Vancouver Island.
We were very tempted to buy the local calendar!
After a long ride (July 14th), we arrived in Chicken, a weird little community with just 3 houses, run by a pretty tough woman.
Only 5 people live here year round but they have more stickers, badges, patches, posters, gadgets than Disneyland. Just amazing. And people actually buy it!
The diner is known for it’s amazing pies and burgers and they brag loudly about it. I think they are just famous because they are the only place within a 200 miles radius!
What happens in Chicken stays in Chicken….. well don’t think too much happens in Chicken anyways!!!
It is quite a cool place though. The goldmines are still running, so this is not a museum, but a real mining town.
Meet Mrs. Moose and her two babies in downtown Chicken.
We met John, a former KLR mechanic from Oklahoma and Don from California. They were going the same way as us over the Top of the World Hwy, so we agreed to meet again in Dawson City.
In Chicken we also had our first motorcycle incident. Just before we left Chicken, I was topping off the Suzuki. I was talking to another traveler at the same time, so I didn’t really focus on what I was doing. I reached out for the green nozzle and filled up the tank with about 1 gallon of petrol – at least so I thought! In Denmark green nozzle means unleaded petrol – in Alaska it means diesel! Bummer!
After the first few seconds of panic, Lars got an old bucket from the store and I emptied the fuel tank. As I had only put about 1 gallon of diesel on it and since I never ran the engine, non of it would have gotten into the carburetor. We rinsed the tank with petrol and filled it up again – this time with the good stuff. And I crossed my fingers that it was OK for the Top of the World Hwy.
The the road from Chicken towards the border was absolutely amazing. The nicest gravel road with lots of curves, beautiful rivers, lakes and scenery all around us. – And the Bunny bike ran smoothly btw!
We crossed the border into Canada at a tiny border crossing Little Gold on Top of the World Hwy (July 15th). Up here we had to wear all layers again. It was freezing cold with a strong wind. But absolutely beautiful.
Second border crossing – yay!
In the evening we arrived in Dawson City and just outside a camp ground officer flagged us down and asked if we were Norwegian (: We answered that we are Danish, and that was close enough for him. John and Don had asked him to flag us down and direct us to their campsite. They had gotten the last campsite available in town and they were gladly sharing it with us.
John on his cool KLR with 40 homemade modifications and Don on his big BMW. I was very impressed with Johns Aerostich coverall riding suit and his Chinese army boxes.
Dawson City is an amazing mining/hippie/museum town. There was a big music festival going on, so the town was packed with people over the weekend – hence the full camp grounds.
Dawson City and the massive Yukon river seen from above.
Dawson City was also the place we ran into Charley Boorman (July 17th). For us that was pretty damn awesome as one of his previous adventures “The Long Way Round” was inspiration for our trip.
He was there working on a new TV-series “Extreme Frontiers“. Thank you Charley for inspiring us!
Between Whitehorse and Watson Lake on the Alaska Highway we got to see our first bear – is it a Grizzly or a brown black bear? You tell us!
From this point we saw an amazing umber of bear. Between Watson Lake and Liard Hot springs approx. 100 miles ahead, we stopped almost every 10 minutes for a bear sighting.
Bunny finds it a bit scary to be this close to a real bear!
At first I was quite scared. The bears was so close to us, and I would always keep my motor running and in gear, ready to set off. But after a while I realized that they really couldn’t care less about us. They just cared about munching strawberries all day.
Further down the Alaska Hwy we came across several herds of Bison. They were if possible more scary than the bears. Just sooo big and walking steadily in the middle of the road, forcing you to ride right past them. Urgh!
Enjoy the exiting movie clip of one of our bison encounters 🙂
We also get to see more Moose. Only female cow moose and calves. We haven’t seen any bulls with big antlers yet.
The nature is just beautiful and purple from foxtail and fireweed.
We went down the Alaska Hwy to Liard Hotsprings where we enjoyed the extremely hot water and turned back towards Watson Lake.
Here we spent 2 days so Lars could get a new rear tire on his KLR. The rough gravel roads seems to be eating our tires raw.
Equiped with new rubber, we headed toward Steward and Hyder on the Cassiar Hwy 37 south. Probably one of the most beautiful stretches so far. Lots of smooth curves, large areas of ghost-like burned forest.
And after a nice day of riding comes a nice campfire.