July 04, 2010 GMT
Yukon (Northbound)

001 Yukon Sign.jpg
Yukon Border

I arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon on the Alaska Highway following a marathon 784 mile ride from a wild camp north of Smithers, British Columbia. I hadn’t been able to phone ahead to make sure there was a bed at the hostel but fortunately I got the last one. My USA mobile phone was out of credit and I couldn’t top it up in Canada. For this reason I had bought a Canadian mobile phone which worked ok around Vancouver but wouldn’t work further north. I learned later that Yukon doesn’t use GSM phones and has a different system.

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Teslin River, Yukon

After the 1898 Klondike gold rush the major transportation route from Whitehorse to Dawson City was along the Yukon River. In the summer, paddle wheelers plied the route and through the winter dog and horse teams pulled sleds carrying mail and lighter supplies. The flow of people and freight was held up during the spring thaw and autumn “freeze up”.

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S.S. Klondike Stern Wheeler

I think I said this last summer whilst crossing Canada westward from Nova Scotia to the Canadian Rockies, Canada is huge.

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S.S. Klondike Stern Wheeler

Following in the footsteps of the Klondike gold rush miners was a long haul by BMW F650GS. I wouldn’t want to tackle the journey by mule and canoe for all the gold in the Klondike.

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Yukon River, Whitehorse

I had good warm weather and was riding at a leisurely pace again after a couple of days of high mileage riding to cover the vast distance to Alaska.

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Whitehorse Newspaper Building

I passed a tiny bike that reminded me of the old Honda 90 loaded with tyres and gear three times on the ride through Yukon. The rider must have been putting in the hours. The bike had an Alabama plate so it had come quite a way. I hoped to talk with the rider but never met him / her.

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I Overtook This Bike Three Times In Three Days

I was planning on wild camping so pulled off the road at 7pm and made and ate a meal then moved on to the next suitable camping area for the night. Having seen three grizzly bears the previous day I opted to follow good bear practise and eat and sleep in separate locations. I worried for a while that someone might stop to camp at my meal stop or that someone had prepared a meal prior to my arrival at my camping spot but if you think like that you would never leave the house!

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Meal Stop On Disused Road.... Leave All The Bear Attracting Smells Here

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Hopefully A Bear Free Campsite

It didn’t appear to get dark at all this far north in late June. I had late nights of going to bed after midnight and early starts when I woke at 4am and it was still daylight. In the interests of science and at great personal sacrifice I set an alarm for 2am to see if it was dark then. It wasn’t quite full daylight but easily light enough to read by.

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Kluane Lake, Yukon

The road is predominantly tarmac now with the occasional few mile stretch of dirt where road repairs are taking place. The stretches awaiting repair have deep dips caused by the permafrost melting which results in the surface subsiding. This can get the RVs tilting over at an interesting angle but isn’t much of a problem on a bike ridden at reasonable speeds.

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Kluane Lake, Yukon

Beaver Creek is the last stopping place before the Alaskan border. A place to spend your Canadian coins and dig out the passport in preparation for re-entering the USA.

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Beaver Creek Almost In Alaska

There was a long wait at the border to enter Alaska. The traffic to Alaska is nearly all RVs (recreational vehicles or mobile homes and caravans in English) and motorbikes. It’s mainly tourists that drive the route, Alaskans have more sense and fly!

Posted by ianmoor@tiscali.co.uk at July 04, 2010 01:02 AM GMT

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