Day 4: Alaska!

Day miles: 516
Trip miles: 2168
Teslin, BC to Tok, AK

A building trend of late mornings continued. I had breakfast at the cafe where I camped and took some time to upload photos to flickr over the unreliable wireless.

Nevertheless I got back on the road. I quickly reached Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territories; a big city! The first since the start of the Alaskan Highway.

I struggled when leaving Seattle over what to wear for boots. I had a pair of military style fake leather boots, and my L.L. Bean boots with Goretex lining and Thinsulate insulation. I was tempted toward the “Bean boots” but a bit of nice weather made me take the lighter ones. This was a mistake, as I was soon waking up and riding in wet weather in 40 degree temperatures.

I had been on the lookout for a good outdoor clothing store, and in Whitehorse I finally found one: Coast Mountain Sports. This was like an L.L. Bean or REI, as opposed to a hunting outfitter like I had been finding so far along the way. I was able to find a pair of Goretex lined hiking boots here. While not perfect for riding because they had no ankle support, they were much warmer. I also picked up another upper layer and some merino wool glove liners to go inside the thicker motorcycle gloves I wear in the rain. This would all prove very useful later on.

When planning my trip, I came up with a handful of ideas as to what to do during the middle of my time off. One idea was to do some backpacking in the National Parks, so I brought along a lot of backpacking gear: a stove, pot, water filter, bear canister, etc. This turned out to be excessive, and I decided to ship home 35 pounds of it from Whitehorse. The weight wasn’t a problem but I was getting tired of moving around the bulk every night. I found a Mail Boxes Etc that claimed they could ship to the states, but once I had everything packed, they discovered they couldn’t ship personal items by ‘courier,’ which included UPS and Fedex. A customs problem perhaps? I don’t know, but my big box went home Canada Post. I don’t know if or when it will arrive.

I wandered around Whitehorse a bit, sipping a soy latte from Starbucks for kicks, laughing at the first annual Whitehorse naked bike ride, and their ensuing problems with the police. It was a nice sunny day, but I had a long way to go and soon got back on the road.

After dinner at another roadside truck stop/cafe, I passed through an area called Destruction Bay. It started sleeting as I arrived and in less than a mile I saw danger signs warning of heavy crosswinds, rocks in the road, and animals in the road. Unabated, I continued through and made it unscathed.

I eventually reached the border, where my Washington “Enhanced Drivers License” was picked up my the RFID scanners and I was let back home to the states pretty easily. The first sign was in the United States was something about the roads. The pavement at the border was fresh, but that wasn’t it. Perhaps the MUTCD specifies line painting in such a way that we become accustom to?

I pushed on late into the night and reached Tok, Alaska. Shortly thereafter I found a small park on Moon Lake and set up camp for the night. I was pleased to find a couple of float planes beached here. I grew up around them, and this trip is as much in memory of my father as it is for me. I made it to Alaska and it was just how we both hoped it would be.

Edit 2011-06-18: Cleanup up the post a bit.

2 thoughts on “Day 4: Alaska!

  1. Eric Bixler

    Thank you for sharing Bryan. Despite a few grammatical errors (or my miss-understanding of reading) I think you are a descriptive writer and if you ever decide to write a book, I’d buy it for support, but read it for myself. Thanks again for keeping us entertained, educated, involved, and informed. Stay safe and good luck on the remainder of the trip. I want more to read, it does bring back my own memories of the great AK northwest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *