The Klondike

June 12

Just after going to bed a very light rain began to fall and it kept up all night.  It was hardly any rain but a tent makes it seem like much more than it is.  It never gets dark this far north.  At midnight it is just getting to dusk and the sun returns before 5am.  I was up at 4am and decided to get up and get going.  The rain was more like a little spittle and it sort of stopped.  We packed up and were gone at 5:30.  We rode about 50 miles to Jake’s Corner where Peter needed fuel but it was about 6:30 and the fuel station opened at 7am.  Peter was going to Skagway from here so we separated and I proceeded to Whitehorse.

It was about 45 degrees, I had no coffee in me, was hungry, and as a result got very cold.  By the time I got to Whitehorse I cold to the bone very tired.  I found a restaurant and went in for breakfast.  I was pretty wiped ad looked on Expedia for a room.  As I warmed up I studied the situation and thought I should just get to Dawson, the heart of the Yukon gold rush and one of my primary destinations.  I looked at the weather for Carmacks, 100 miles distant; rain.  Well shit, maybe I should stay here.  As the coffee warmed me and the food gave me energy I decided to get to Dawson.

I finished breakfast and fueled up.  At the gas station I met Moe and we agreed to ride together after I got some silicon to seal up my boot.  Are signals got crossed and Moe was nowhere so I hit the road.  I was feeling good, warm, full and the music was playing in my helmet speakers.  The weather was overcast but no rain and the country i beautiful.

At one point The Proclaimers ‘I’m Gonna Be’ came into my helmet and it jolted me into realizing how much I miss Sandy.  The song is about a man determined to get back home.  I am not in the get back home phase of the trip but it made me realize how nice it will be to get home at the end of this journey.  So far it has thrown a good deal of challenge at me and there is a lot more to come.

I caught up with Moe and a roadside stop that he told me about having cinnamon buns as big as your head.  They are that big.  We rode together and as we approached Carmacks the rain started spitting and increased some but was never as bad as i had seen before.  Just past Carmacks the rain went away and we stopped at Five Finger Rapids for photos.  This was a place that many of the gold rushers had there bots smashed on the rocks.  At Whitehorse the Yukon River is at about 2100 feet above sea level.  It flows 2000 miles to the sea which means it drops about one foot per mile.  At Five Finger it drops two feet.  The river is huge and the current is powerful.

From here on the ride was amazing.  The rain ceased and the clouds broke and we were in the sun a lot of the way.  The pink fireweed, purple lupin and yellow flowers framed the endless tree corridor we were riding through; it was beautiful.  I saw my second fox, a black bear and the back end of a huge grizzly going into the forest.  It was up to 68 degrees and I was getting hot after we left Stewart Crossing.  After a while the clouds came back and cooled me off again.

About eight miles from Dawson we started seeing endless piles of tailings from the placer mining.  They are all around and were created when mechanization came to the mining operations.

We are pitched at a campground were many of the riders stay for the Dust to Dawson annual gathering June 15 and 16.

It is 10pm and the sun is still up, it is unreal to me.  I don’t feel tired even thoough I rode 423 miles and was up at 4am.  I am going to force myself to sleep.

I have ridden 3,810 miles so far.  Tomorrow I start to explore the gold country.

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