August 20, 2003 GMT
Two Up Cruising

She finally arrived all be it late at Anchorage Auirport. I was no longer anchored down in Anchorage but free to leave. First destination was to go see some calving sea glaciers and some whales. Rode south in anticipation of blue skies and stunning scenery. All we got was good old english glag and drizzle

She finally arrived all be it late at Anchorage Auirport. I was no longer anchored down in Anchorage but free to leave. First destination was to go see some calving sea glaciers and some whales. Rode south in anticipation of blue skies and stunning scenery. All we got was good old english glag and drizzle. Spent the night in Seward drowing our sorrows with new pals, Ted , Mike and Katia. Next mission was for Jess to haul herself a salmon from the Kenai River. Not one but two did she manage to snag and land. These were no ordinary fish, at least a foot and a half long and Jess did struggle to haul them out as i stood on laughing. Having had our fill of sticking hooks in defensless creatures we decided to go back to our luxurious aircraft hanger for the night and prepare to head north. Talkeetna was the destination and a flightseeing trip over Denali was the plan. Guess what happened in Talkeetna, yup it pissed down. Jess's birthday was spent drying out in the pub dreading having to leave and set up the tent in a downpour. Problem solved when the bouncer felt sorry for us and gave us a walled tent in his holiday complex.
MY TURN NOW.........
That was pretty much the theme of things for the next week.....rain, rain and more rain. Why did I bother leaving home? The worse thing of all was knowing there was stunning scenery everywhere and all I could see was the clag! Probably the low point of the whole trip was rolling into Denali at 5.00 in the evening having riden through 3 hours of torrential rain and falling temperatures and loosing the feeling in both my hands and arse ....... the latter of which has not recovered since and I fear I may have done permanent damage to it!! If it wasnt for our biker mate Mike from Minniessota the scene would have been alot more grim. He took pity on us and saved us from another night in a wet tent.. offering us the comfort and warmth of of his motel room. I'm eternally grateful mike!! Anyway things pretty much looked up from there on with the weather and finally we did get the big tick...... Mt Mckinely at 2.00am...completely cloudless and an added bonus point, planet Mars was out for us too. Amazing!!!! didnt know it at the time, just a bit puzzled by this orange glow low down in the sky, but were told by fellow campers the next morning. This had definately made our 11 hour bus ride into Denali National Park worth it and made up for the distinct lack of wildlife we came across....2 micro grizzlis (half a mile away) , 1 moose and a stash of caribou, which loose their appeal after awhile when your hyped for a bear encounter. Tried our hand at a bit of backcountry walking, armed with our bear proof container and strict guidelines on what to do if approached by a bear. Lasted two hours before we realised we could get this experience any weekend we like back at home. Walking in the miserable bloddy rain and mist, getting piss wet through. What we didn't anticipate was just how hard the walking is. There are no trails, you just bash through brush and willow, we thought we'd gone miles, 6 at least. When we consulted the map later we realised it was more like 2 miles at the most!
Next few days were spent on the road heading east towards the Yukon, travelled mainly on dirt roads. More big views and spectacular scenery. The Denali Highway in particular gives endless views of snow peaked mountains, forest , lakes and grasslands and not a soul to be seen only the occassional RV or truck that passes you. Top of The World Highway took us over the Canadian border and offered more in the way of jaw dropping scenery and the first views of the Yukon river winding its way through the remote forested valleys.
The Yukon rocks...!!!!!! we like it and were going to stay... or maybe well' just come back and live here. Dawson City is the coolest little place......if your looking for a city you'll be sorely disappointed but if you want to chill out in the true wild west style this is the place. Salloon bars, dancing girls, casinos. Totally querky and even though geared to the tourists it comes without the cheese! But we were going to have to wait to enjoy the high life of dawson, we had another arse numbing mission in mind.
Jealous of oz's arctic experience, I convinced him that he needed to do it again. We travelled on 500 miles of dirt road up the Dempster Highway to Inuivk ( the furthest north you can get to by road in the North West Territories). The road was in great condition and we got up to Inuvik without a hitch. I couldn't help thinking it would have been a very different story if we'd hit some bad weather. We were told the roads turn into mud within hours and the skill then is just staying on the road. The scenery again just blows you away. Unbroken views that stretch for 180km in every direction and not a single person in it. A truck or RV passes you maybe every half hour but other than that its just you the bike and the wilderness.
Even wilder still then, was bumping into Scottish couple on the Highway, 150km into the arctic who we discovered were friends of one of Oz's mates back at home. Very wierd but cool place to begin our new friendship. We hung out with Claire and Lorne for much of the next week, sampling the delights of downtown Dawson, in partciular the traditional 'sourtoe cocktail'. definately need a few pints in you before you can neck a shot with an amputated toe in it! nice..Oz went a step futher and sucked the end of his!!!!! Say no more...anyway thats all ive got time to write about. My time here is up and unfortunately its back to the UK for me where I can nurse my sore back and piles!!

Having a rest day!

Posted by Peter Slarke at 12:54 AM GMT

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