The Yukon - Gold Rush Fever

August 26 - August 29

I'm just going to roll these days together.

I gassed up at places like Toad River, Contact Creek Lodge, Teslin, Whitehorse, Carmacks, and Dawson City, all in the Yukon.

I camped near Whitehorse, and at Moose Creek, before getting to Dawson City.

The country up here is big. Its awesomeness with sprinkles, and it just goes, and goes, and goes. Words like Awestruck work in a place like this. So much of the country is basically untouched, unspoiled. There would be times I'd step off the bike, take 10 steps away from the road, and you could imagine there had never been another soul here, ever.

Its kind of a Yin and Yang thing for me. The stress of life just goes away up here. Except that I know the cold weather is coming, and I need to keep pressing on. This is a bad place to be when it snows, for motorcycles! So I have no stress, except I'm late in the season, and I have to hurry. But I don't want to. I turn a corner, and want to stop and take pictures. So I do. Then I put the helmet back on, and fire up the bike, turn another corner, and its frustrating beyond comprehension. More beautiful vistas await. I promised pictures. But at this rate I'll never get... there. Where ever There is.

Pretty Purple Flowers, just begging to be in the picture!

And that's the balance with a trip like this. I could spend a month in a 100 mile zone. On this trip I meet people like that. They drive the motorhome 30 MPH or so, and stop when they want to stop. End of day light, they pull off the road and they camp there. I don't feel like I can safely just camp anywhere on the motorcycle, because I don't really understand which exotic and beautiful predators want to eat me. So I stick close to the camp sites when I can.

Of course, the camp sites all have signs, that say bears are attracted to camp food. Maybe I should cook in the camp site, and camp in the wild?

I have been having issues with electrical stuff lately. The USB charging system I made, to charge the video camera and the GPS on the handlebars has failed. So while in Whitehorse, I found a Canadian Tire store (Canadian department store, kind of like Sears, with more of a auto parts theme.) So while at Canadian Tire, I bought a couple cigaratte lighter sockets, and a usb charger that fits in the socket, and a whole pile of batteries. I hadn't really did an inventory of what I needed, so I bought about $20 worth of AA, and the same of AAA.

Later on, when I did a good digging through all my stashes, I found I already had a couple dozen AAA batteries, and I'm not really using them very fast. The AA, on the other hand, I'm using around 4 a day for the GPS, so now I need to find a place that would barter AAA for AA... that sounds like the Auto Club vs Al-Anon :)

Dawson City looks like a place I'd enjoy spending a few days. Instead I drove through it in about 12 minutes, bought gas, and then headed for the Dempster Highway. Dawson City is rich with the gold rush history, has a lot of old fashion buildings, and just a fun atmosphere. There are people I've talked to that came up to pan for gold, 10 or 20 years ago, and just never left. The one place I did stop, to buy gas, had a big sign that said something like "We support prospectors... prospectors support us". I'd not had a shower in about a week by the time I got there, and I didn't feel out of place at all. People are there to do their thing, not to look good.

Prices in remote areas are high. For example, at the Dawson City Gas & Tire (KM 712 Klondike Highway), when I bought gas, I noticed they were selling some Costco things like trail mix, which usually goes for around $10, they sold it for $19.95. Its good, and I like it, so I bought a bag. Gas at Dawson City is $1.57 a liter. In Edmonton when I left it was around $1.14 a liter. Its just part of life up north.

Its cold out, but very pretty!

I'll do a separate post on the Dempster Highway, so I'll end the Yukon post here. Everyone comes here for something, not everyone goes home with what they were seeking. So far I've gotten a few THOUSAND pictures, so I think I'll stick to photography, and leave the gold panning for the guys with the long beards and the crazy looks in their eyes. By the looks of them, what ever riches they're earning are coming at a pretty heavy price. I wish them all well.

Next up, the Dempster Highway. And I use the term "highway" with a certain regard...

By Carlin Comm posted on 2012-09-5