Geo: 63.3357, -142.984
After the rain stopped last night, we went to Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall and watched the dance hall review. It was a very entertaining show, with can-can girls that fit right in with this Yukon Klondike gold rush town of Dawson City, and Gertie's great sing-alongs. We took advantage of the late evening sun to take more pictures of this quaint town,
This morning was another cloudy, overcast sky when headed down to the Dawson Ferry to cross the Yukon River about 7:30. Fortunately it didn't rain much overnight, and the mucky streets had a chance to firm up. The brown layer of mud on the road after a rain has the consistency of topping compound drywall mud. Temperatures were a balmy 55 to 60.
We headed up Highway 9, the Top of the World Highway, which would bring us back onto the Alaska Highway 2. After about two miles, the pavement ended and we are greeted with a combination of compacted sandy dirt, loose gravel, and never-ending wash boarding.
On a clear day, the views would be spectacular. We could make out numerous mountains in the distance, shrouded in heavy clouds. We were riding one ridge
Diamond Tooth Gertie
after another, truly along the "top of the world" between the Yukon and Alaska. At one point the cloud coverage was so thick we could not see the road in front of the bike at all, and had to rely on watching the shoulder. The mist and the bumpy roads continued for about 40 miles until we reached the Alaska border. After clearing US Border controls, the fun really began. When the border agent asked us 'if we did our homework' and told us to watch for road construction, we had no idea what we were getting into.
After about a mile the road got worse. We soon found ourselves in a section of road that had just been scraped down to a layer of solid mud by an earth mover. We were one of the first vehicles to venture into the quagmire, and after 100 yards, we were in the slop over the tires. Janet got off the bike, and I proceeded to duck walk the bike through the mud, until we hit a hole that had been covered by pieces of rock scraped by the plow. The bike sank up to the front axle. We worked on trying
to rock the bike out of the hole while trying to maintain our balance in the muck. I had visions of having to have the bike lifted out of the mud by helicopter. After about 10 minutes, two guys in a mining company truck came by. One of them got out and helped push the bike back out of the hole. I was finally able to coax the bike through the mud over the next 200 yards until we reached some solid ground undisturbed by the plow. I'm still amazed that the bike never went down, although we had several close calls.
With Janet back on board, we continued the next 50 miles to the "community" of Chicken, dodging potholes, and trying our best to keep from losing control in the intermittent sections of muck. The 110 mile portion of the ride thus far had taken over four hours. I actually started looking forward to the signs that read “Loose Gravel Ahead.” We took a long break there to catch our breath and enjoy some hot chicken soup and coffee.
A few miles out of town we were on pavement again, with occasional patches of gravel. Along the way, the
magnificent vistas and valleys were marred by the residual effects of the 2004 fire that had wiped out over 260,000 acres, stretching for nearly 50 miles along both sides of the road.
We arrived at our motel in Tok, tired but thankful that we had survived the Top of the World Highway. Our only regret was that the weather infringed on our views along the way.
Tot: 1.029s; Tpl: 0.062s; cc: 13; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0188s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb