DAY 8 WHITEHORSE TO...........WELL WHITEHORSE. 0 km
Well this was a rest day and a well deserved one at that after 7 days on the go. We shouted ourselves a niceish hotel and had a 2 night stay. Whitehorse is an old gold miming town and was the end of the railway from Skagway. In addition it was the end of the navigable section of the famous Yukon river.
We took the opportunity to check the bikes over and tightened all and everything that looked as if it needed tightening and tightened things that did not even need tightening. Actually the bikes are going remarkably well and the only problem so far has been a blown headlight. Oh and the automatic self righting mechanism does not work particularly well when they fall over!
As I was saying about the price of fish Dick...............
So after some good sleeps and some good feeds it is time to pack the swags and get on the way.
DAY 9. WHITEHORSE TO BEAVER CREEK. 420 km
Today involved heading up to Haines junction and then heading north to Beaver Creek which is virtually on the Canadian/Alaskan border. As we headed north we started to encounter "frost heave" where the road sinks as a result of the melting permafrost underneath. The road got progressively worse but the undulations certainly kept the pillion passenger awake. One could become airborne quite easily if you went over some sections to fast.
We are also now experiencing the temperatures of the Arctic summer. Quite often the temperature drops to under 10 degrees C so it is a case of getting well rugged up.
Beaver Creek seems to be devoid of beavers ! We stayed at Buckshot Bettys in a rustic cabin that was oozing with character and got well looked after by Betty. All the info indicated that accommodation in Beaver Creek would be hard to find including camping grounds being full. In actual fact the town was almost like a ghost town with the locals out in the middle of the road imploring you to stay
The cabin in the woods!
Actually I have been amazed at the lack of traffic on the roads. Where is everybody? I thought the Alcan highway would be a throbbing arterial route with traffic pounding away all day and night. In fact there are times when it is a novelty to see a vehicle coming the other way
DAY 10. BEAVER CREEK TO FAIRBANKS. 503 km
And so we crossed the border from the Yukon into the state of Alaska. This was our first border crossing by road so was not sure what the expect. In fact it all wen smoothly and there was absolute zero interest by the customs officer in the bikes. We could have been walking through barefooted for all he was concerned .
The Canadian customs and the American customs are separated by a no mans land of about 20 Kms. It struck me that if you lost your passport in the middle of this section you could be be condemned for eternity to live in this no mans land begging for food off the passing cars !
And in the no mans land is the actual border which you straddle with a foot in each country
We stopped for the second breakfast 100 km. - whoops 60 miles - north of the border. I shouted myself some Eggs Benedict. My goodnesss me. What I got was a big plate of egg and sausage flavored cholesterol ! The fatty sensation in my mouth lasted all day.
The stop at a town called - wait for it. - North Pole
We arrived at the University of Fairbanks student hostels where we are staying. " hello Mr Hubbard " came the cheery call from a woman sitting on the steps. It was Jo of Brian and Jo Bosch who are dairy farmers from Featherstone. They are traveling right around the US and Canada by motorcycle over a 6 month period and like us they are also going up the Dalton highway to Prudoe Bay.
And here is a coincidence for you. Ken new panniers racks for his motorbike that he bought in Wellington off the dealer actually came off Brian's bike as Brian did not want them when he purchased his new bike from the same dealer. . It is indeed a smaaaaaaall world!
DAY 11. A REST DAY IN FAIRBANKS 0 km
We are students now although I must admit I had forgotten about the romance of single beds and hard mattresses !
I have been puzzling on the name "Fairbanks ". I thought there was not such a thing as ""Fair banks" and certainly when I used the ATM I have to say I got no super favourable exchange rate concessions! This I think is an oxymoron !
Fairbanks is well .... a town. The Lonely Planet guide is somewhat unflattering and suggests the best part of a visit to the town is leaving it .
That is too harsh. The museum at the University is superb and we enjoyed the visit. And you have to admire the grit of the locals who have 2 hours of daylight in winter and up to ( or is it down to!) temperatures of minus 40 degrees C in winter.
Conversely everything grows " like stink" here in summer with a passion and an intensity. I was woken several times last night with the sound of the grass growing outside our dorm window! Did you know that Fairbanks is the big vegetable capital of the world as they grow monstrous vegetables here in summer with the long daylight hours .
And I received here the ultimate compliment. They asked my birthdate when I went to purchase some alcohol. However it seems unfortunately they were not checking to see if I was underage. Rather they wanted to check that my drivers license had no restricted alcohol endorsements. Once I got over the rejection of my youth status being checked I thought this was all rather a good idea .
Tomorrow we start the infamous Dalton Highway or Haul Road as we head north to Prudoe Bay. No Internet connections for the next 4 days so the next posting will be once we are back down to Fairbanks.
I should be seen by the trucks on the Dalton highway.........