Kelly's 2011 Alaska Journey

Day 7 - Friday, 5/27

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Today was an uneventful day. Compared to yesterday, almost anything would have to be. It was a ride solely along the Alaska Highway (as the Canadians call it), or the Al-Can Highway (as the U.S. Americans call it). I heard that the U.S. military needed a way to drive to Alaska, and they asked Canada if a road could be built. The response was
"Will the U.S. pay for it?" Apparently we would, and did. I would imagine the upkeep now falls to British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. I suspect this, as the road in B.C. seems to be better maintained than it is in YT. Certainly B.C. has a much larger population and thus tax base from which to draw highway funds.

black bear
Today's milestone prize: I've now ridden in TWO Canadian Northern Territories. I'm in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory.

It was a pleasant, unhurried ride of 400 mi / 644 km. Less scenic than yesterday, and the "critter count" is reduced: Today I saw 10 bison, a pack of 8 wild horses, and one small black bear cub (which is the small dot right next to the trees in the photo).

No wildlife at all in the Yukon. While there were dozens of signs warning for caribou and other animals, they must've been shy
Wild Horses
Bison and
bug on lens
as they made no public appearances. Of course the question is, how many animals saw me despite my not seeing them?

Live and
dead trees
Today's botany comment (not really a lesson): I find it quite interesting that the pines on one side of the road can be almost completely obliterated, while the pines on the other side look quite healthy. Odd.

Watching the
river flow
Living in
the flood plain
Speaking of trees and such, one thing that's really nice is that there's a large mowed area between the road and the trees. Because of this, it's easy to see the animals from a long way off, giving one time to slow to a safer speed.
of signs
I saw how they do this- They have mowers. BIG mowers that can even take out small trees. I see that the Yukon portion of the highway hasn't been mowed in some time, and the forest is encroaching on the road again, attempting to reclaim that space as its own. Once that happens (IF that happens), driving along the road will be a lot more dangerous. I imagine it all comes down to budget, as it always seems to.

Rock graffiti
Along the way there were little things like graffiti made from rocks instead of paint, and a long bridge of metal grating (which is no fun for a motorcycle). At least it was dry!
Grate bridge
More than
1/2 mi grating!

Tonight I had a relaxing dinner (of a bison steak), chatting with both locals and travelers, doing the blog, and wandering around Whitehorse a bit. I've got to say, this town is unexpectedly charming! It's seemed that the further north I went, the less personality the towns had. But Whitehorse has the energy and funkiness of Portland Oregon, or Seattle, Washington. Odd though, that by 8:30 pm the sidewalks had all but rolled up- The throngs of people were gone, and virtually all the businesses (save for a few bars and stores) were closed.
When asked why that was, a local said that since the weather was nice, everyone had gone out to enjoy the lack of snow! I could easily spend more time here. But sadly, not this trip.

I've met two fellow riders (strangers, but they seem to be good guys) while doing laundry at the hotel. They'd planned to go to Skagway tomorrow, as I had. It's likely that we may ride together. One of them has already been there, and knows what's worth seeing.

Total riding distance today: 400 mi / 644 km   Running total: 2875 mi / 4627 km

Stay tuned...


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