June 3rd, Whitehorse, YT

Time for a bit of catching up. We left Watson Lake on the Morning of May 28th in a mostly wet and cloudy day.
After about 50 miles, we stopped on the bank of the Rancheria River and set up camp. Allen, being a scout leader from way back, got us a fire started using “Boy Scout juice” (also known as gasoline.) It rained nearly all night and things got pretty wet.
Because of the weather, we only cycled 20 miles the next day–stopping at the Rancheria Campground.
Most of the next day (May 30th) was dry.
We met a cyclist from Colombia who started out in Deadhorse, on his way to Miami.
This man confirmed what I have been suspecting for some time: my bike will not cut it on the Haul Road (the road to Deadhorse). The problem is the size of my tires relative to the size of the rocks in the road. Many people have expressed an opinion about the quality of this road. But I value the input of a fellow cycle tourist the most. I have always seen the last 300 miles to Deadhorse as a potential descope, but it is sad to see it formally go away. Fairbanks will have to be the end of this section of the tour.
Most of the ride this day was calm, but near the end of the day, it rained with a vengeance. I had it in my mind that we needed to find someplace to camp near water and failed for about an hour to find a spot that was both clear and level, as well as shielded from the highway. Once we gave up on the need for a water source, we had no trouble finding a place and got the tents set up in the middle of the rain.
The weather was good most of the next day (May 31st).
This ride took us through the town of Teslin. Teslin is at one end of a lake and a massive metal grating bridge.
We stopped briefly in Teslin for lunch, and then continued another 20 miles to the Timber Point campground.
Teslin Lake is enormous–about 50 km long and over a mile wide. I enjoyed cycling along this lake–small rolling hills the whole way. I took this stunning photo shortly after setting up camp:
Timber Point

Timber Point

On June 1st, we encountered miles of gravel road which, apparently, are in a perpetual state of being repaired. You know that movie “The Young Frankenstein?” In a classic scene, Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced Fronk-N-Steen) played by Gene Wilder and Igor (pronounced EYE-GORE), played by Marty Feldman, are digging up a body. Gene says, “This is a FILTY job!” Marty replies, “‘Could be worse. Could be raining,” and of course it starts to pour. So we ended up biking through miles of dirt in a downpour.
One good thing on this day–we met a pair of cycle tourists on a tandem, pulling a trailer. That black cylinder on the front of the bike is a bear-proof food container.
Tandem Tourists

Tandem Tourists

After being thoroughly soaked for two days straight, we decided that this would be a good time to sleep indoors, and set our goal for Jakes Corner, which advertised a hotel on multiple signs and in a guide book. Unfortunately, the rooms proved to be non-existent. The owner–a nice fellow–offered to let us set up camp behind the restaurant, so at least we did not have to look for a place in the rain again. Jake’s gets lots of points for hospitality, but loses a few for accuracy in highway signs.
Jakes Corner

Jakes Corner

On June 2nd, we had a mostly downhill ride to the Caribou RV park, outside of Whitehorse.
On the way to Whitehorse

On the way to Whitehorse

The Caribou RV park was great! Nice folks, free coffee, free Wi-Fi, free showers, everything clean and in good repair. The next day, June 3rd, involved a short jaunt into Whitehorse where I had a radio interview with the Canadian Broadcast Corp. What fun! We are camping at the Robert Service campground. We have been warned by multiple people to steer clear of this place due to petty thefts. I have to say, after a nice experience at the Caribou RV park, my impression of this place is quite negative. If you are ever in the area, keep looking!
Tomorrow, I will give a talk at the local library. I am expecting a package from Watson Lake and will likely stick around until Monday to pick it up.
I need to make a quick comment about the weather. There seems to be a pattern of optimistic weather predictions. There is some speculation that this is done to promote tourism. But, maybe this is a string of bad luck on my part. In any case, there is only 1 day of rain predicted for next week. Right!
Until next time…

7 Responses to “June 3rd, Whitehorse, YT

  • Buy some Panaracer 28mm Ruffytuffys and you’ll be fine in the gravel

  • I stopped by Ozo’s and told Justin of your progress. He said to let him know if you need a shipment of Ozo coffee. 🙂

  • Scott: so cool that you’re in the “Spell of the Yukon”:

    The summer—no sweeter was ever;
    The sunshiny woods all athrill;
    The grayling aleap in the river,
    The bighorn asleep on the hill.
    The strong life that never knows harness;
    The wilds where the caribou call;
    The freshness, the freedom, the farness—
    O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

  • Scott – I’m excited (vicariously) about your arrival in Whitehorse. My daughter and I were there in January 2015 to see the Northern Lights (and we did!!). Our weather was good … 0 deg C rather than the -25C they had the week before. If you’re still there look for the organic deli. -Mark

  • So this is where Cincy lived–or close by anyway. Wow! What a blessing! I’m glad you are seeing such beautiful country, wet or dry!

  • Scott “Yukon Man” Acton-

    Mr. Gallagher and myself were thoroughly enjoying your bicycle blog this morning until we came across a bit of news that we found quite troubling. It seems that after your recent conversations with a south-bound cyclist of the Alaska-Canada (“AlCan”) highway, your current bicycle may not be up to the task of the James W. Dalton Highway (or what you refer to as the “Haul Road” in the speak of those oil ruffians). This is quite disconcerting, quite indeed. To go all that way to only be driven back by limited equipment. Unacceptable sir!

    After some internal discussion and review of the available options, we may have a solution to your “Dalton Highway Dilemma”. Depending on your goals, and assuming that you are not able to simply fit a larger tread tire on your current bicycle, it may be possible to rent a mountain bicycle or cyclo-cross bicycle (with adequate tires) in Fairbanks and ride it to Deadhorse. Given that you will only need supplies for roughly 8 – 9 days, you could transfer only the essentials from your current bicycle to the rental and then ship your bicycle and extra supplies home from Fairbanks. With your newly acquired set of wheels, your journey north could continue nearly as planned.

    An outfitter in Fairbanks that provides weekly mountain bicycle rentals is Canoe Alaska (http://canoealaska.com/fairbanks-bike-rentals/, 907-347-3602) where a gentleman by the name of Josh Davis is the proprietor. They have a number of potential bicycles that could possibly suit your needs. Premium bike rentals are $200 a week.

    Upon reaching Deadhorse, there is a transportation and freight service that provides service between Deadhorse and Fairbanks called the “Dalton Highway Express” (http://www.daltonhighwayexpress.com/, 907-474-3555, ADVENTURE@NORTHERNALASKA.COM). You and your rental bicycle could take this service back to Fairbanks to return the rental bicycle and then hop aboard an airplane out of the Fairbanks airport back to Colorado. The one-way passenger rate for the Dalton highway Express is $250 and the freight charge for the bicycle is $60. The service is operating this summer and goes NORTH on Saturdays and Tuesdays and travels SOUTH on Sundays and Wednesdays. It’s very important to have a reservation because if they don’t have any bookings a week or two prior to the departure, the service may be cancelled for that day. The service needs your name, freight (including bicycle & gear), phone number, address, and method of payment (they take credit cards). Full payment is due at time of reservation and it is fully refundable if cancelled outside of 7 days. If reservation is CHANGED within 7 days of departure, there is a 50% change fee.

    Given the lack of communication access at your remote location in the Yukon, we would be happy to work out the logistics and finer details of such a plan for you, if you would prefer.

    God speed!

    The JWST World Bicycle Tour Ground Support & Logistics Team

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