DAY 16 FAIRBANKS TO DENALI 210km
Last night we had the must have Salmon Bake which is the "must do" in Fairbanks..Sitting at a table under the trees drinking local beer and eatinf local crabs and salmon was all rather nice as we congratulated ourselves for having not only survivrd but enjoyed the famous Dalton highway.
It was also time to remove many many layers of nud from the bikes and it was all rather a relief to acfind bikes under the mud. Mind you the number plater was totally obsured to any following local constabulary or "state troopers" as they are called here. Note to self - the state troopers metamorphise to "sheriffs" when back in Canada. Either way they are always addressed as "Sir".
The trip down to Denali was nice and we were lucky to find a lovely National Park campsite under the trees next to the National Park Entrance . You are not allowed to drive into the National Park - you have to take a special park bus. That we did. It was an 8 hour trtip up and back We did see some small herds of Caribou and a big Grizzly Bear but the famous Mt Mckinley was shrouded in cloud as it often is. That was a great piy as apparently it is a truly magnificant sight particularly to ex mountaineers as myself.
DAY 17 DENALI TO ANCHORAGE 320km
We got to Anchorage only to find Captain Cook had got there before us. Not only did he call it by the somewhat unusually unimaginative name of Anchorage but the local inlet the twn is on is Cooks inlet. I am glad he did not name Auckland with the same amount of imagination!
Anchorage represents the furtherst west we will go. We duly stopped on a street corner, proclaimed it as our most westerly step and turned to the southeast. Actually here is a geography lesson. The Americas are not straight up and down ( I am sure most Americans would agree with that !) Geographically speaking as opposed to metaphorically speaking the Americas span the globe on quite an angle and Ushuaia in Pategonia is actually 85 degrees of langitude or a quarter of the way round the globe from Anchorage.
Anchorage is a lovely town. Like Christchurch it was decimated by a large earthquake although their big one was in 1964.
DAY 18 ANCHORAGE TO TOK 530 km
This was along the Glenn highway. What a scenic road.. The scenery was jaw droppingly beautiful with lakes, snowy mountains and the hugh big Manathuska glacies coming almost to the road. And the road makes had been unusually thoughtful in building in panoramic vista even thoough this is the mai arterial road south.
Tok is just a small junction strip town However we had tyhe good fortune to stay in a special motorcycle campground run by the lovely - but lonely - Vanessa. We stayed in a Teepee and Ken and Shirley stayed ain an ambulance converted to a small cabin. We dined out under the stars next to a roaring campfire and then finished off the night in a special home made steam sauner It was indeed soothing for the soul ( and also the bikers backside! )
DAY 19 TOK TO DAWSON CITY 315km
Today it was the Taylor highway then the famous Top of the World Highway ( summer road only) to Dawson City which is back into the Canadian Yukon..
Everone has to stop at Chicken ( pop 50 in summer and 30 in winter ! ) Tyhe town weas originally called Ptarmigon ( the state bird of Alaska ) but the locals had trouble with the spelling and changed it to the more user friendly name of Chicken This was Yukon gold mining country and there are gold mines and old gold mining relics everywhere.Being an old relic myself I felt at home The little local pub in Chicken was a real beauty and I did wonder if I could fake an illness such as a sore ingrown toenail so we could stay in Chicken for the night and hole up in the local bar for the afternoon to recuperate. . But on reflection would that not be a little.....chicken?
Crossing the border into Canada was so so easy. " Do you have any vegetables or hugh amounts of money on you Sir?" " Well lets check your face agaist your passprt photo and you are then on your way" Just like that and quite an anticlimax really. Again no mention of our means of transport and we could have been naked on horseback for all they care.
DAY 20 RESTING NICELY IN DAWSON CITY THANKS
I forgot my Stetsons!
Wedding Dawson style
A building with a lien on it Dawson style!
The honky Tonk!
Not only is the Yukon river wide and broad!
After 6 days riding it is time for a rest. Dawson City is Arrowtown on Steroids although Arrowtown does not have to worry about permafrost like Dawson City does This is the real McCoy old gold mining twon with gravel streets, board walks and saloons or pubs on every corner. Although touristy with tourists being the new gold the history is fascinating. All the buildings are geniunely old with no" fake old" allowed and some of the 100 year old buildings still have sides of flattened biscuit tins. I like the town. They even have a Coromandel girl serving in one of the shops!
And this is the town with the hotel with the pickled miners toe in a jar of alcohol which you drink from! It is a badge of honour to drink from the glass with the miners toe in it. On second thoughts I will stick to a beer thanks although will I weaken and be game to try it tonight? You are going to have to wait to the next blog post to find out.........