Monday, October 30, 2017

Our Trip to Dawson YT 2016

We finally took the time to go to Dawson Yukon Territory

I first heard about the Dust to Dawson ride when I bought my BMW1200 GS. In fact, the dealer handed me a flyer to take with, and when they delivered the bike they had put one in my pannier.

Delivery of my bike

I've attached a little history to explain about the Dust to Dawson Ride. It's neat that this year was the twenty fifth anniversary of this ride.

I've always had a great curiosity of the Klondike and the Yukon Territories. When I was a little guy in Chicago, I would religiously listen to stories on the radio about Sergeant Preston and his faithful dog King. Quaker Oats was the sponsor of the radio show and they came up with the idea of adding a deed for one square inch of land in the Yukon. Well I cajoled my folks to start buying Quaker Oats, puffed rice and puffed oats and in each box there was a very important looking document that was a deed for a square inch of land in the Yukon Territories. Now when I think about the land it wasn't even adjacent to anything. But I had two square inches of land and I was happy. My folks though wouldn't buy any more Quaker Oats because I wouldn't eat the cereal. Because I prefered frosted flakes because it was sweetened.  Typical Kid  

Yukon Klondike the big inch

But to continue with my story, On August 1, 2016  my wife and I decided to make our way up to Dawson YT. The trip from our house to Dawson is 470 miles and we decided to spend one overnight  in Tok at the Young's Motel. Then decided to make a second reservation for our return trip. We booked a couple of nights at the Westmark Hotel  in Dawson. Typically we have camped for a trip like this but the forecast gave all indications of it being a damp week. 

Luckily we were able to have our friend Kierstyn watch our puppies. We're very lucky to have her  because she is able to stay with the dogs and keep them company

Our Pups saying goodby

Sharon in the Raven

Eureka Roadhouse, stopped for coffee and pie

On the way to Glennallen I noticed that the fireweed was starting to change along the side of the road.

Our Route To Dawson YT.
Just before losing cell phone signal Sharon got a call from her boss trying to confirm her her next season contract. 

The weather really started moving in

Chicken Alaska 

A personal sidenote on Chicken.

Sharon and I were fortunate enough to become friends with a woman named Marie Clark, who was an  adopted daughter of Anne Hobbs who was called Tisha. In the town of Chicken

The beloved real-life story of a woman in the Alaskan wilderness, the children she taught, and the man she loved.

“From the time I’d been a girl, I’d been thrilled with the idea of living on a frontier. So when I was offered the job of teaching school in a gold-mining settlement called Chicken, I accepted right away.”

Anne Hobbs was only nineteen in 1927, when she came to harsh and beautiful Alaska. Running a ramshackle schoolhouse would expose her to more than just the elements. After she allowed Native American children into her class and fell in love with a half-Inuit man, she would learn the meanings of prejudice and perseverance, irrational hatred and unconditional love. “People get as mean as the weather,” she discovered, but they were also capable of great good.

"As told to reporter Robert Specht, her true story has captivated generations of readers. Now this repackaged edition is available to inspire many more." "Tisha" the book

This book has become required reading in some of the village schools.

The Raven landed at the cafe

Chicken Alaska Information (link)

"This says it all"

Yard Art

The following pictures were taken at the Chicken RV Park

We liked it all and felt, as though it was are backyard after 30+ years, we have a pretty good group of collectables at our place

Weather cleared and it was time to get moving

One thing that really amazed me was the good condition of the road, but I realize that everything can change in a heartbeat. I've been on quite a few roads that looked great but fell apart when the rain came.

And this dark cloud decided to follow us all the way to Dawson

Paved road, must be getting near the border american side

Going thru customs at Canadian border (link)

It was really a pretty neat exchange going thru the Canadian Border. The fellow in the movie had just made the trip from Montana to the North Slope of Alaska, on a road bike, and was on his way back to Montana. The fellow asked where he could get his Camel Back water bladder filled. The Customs agent took it from him and gave it back to him filled and cold. Now it was our turn to move forward.

We're in the home stretch for Dawson now 

Years ago the Yukon River took out the bridge and the people of the Yukon decided not to rebuild it.

The following two pictures a from a friend of mine NuttyNu taken with his Drone

They have walking tours during the summer

Riders getting a quick fill up with great coffee

This fellow was on a pilgrimage for his son who passed.  Visiting all the places they had been together. A pretty neat guy, lot of stories

This rig is setup to travel

Quite a few walking tours are available

A lot of bikes are always on hand

Interesting Information on the final voyage of the Keno (Link)

Different generations of  building siding

When you visit Dawson you have to visit  Diamond Tooth Gerties for Dance Hall Girls and Gambling. They also have some real good food

The dancing girls are stunning

Sharon playing the slots- but she didn't win


The Alchemy Cafe, a quirky espresso and tea shop

The owner and me

Copper Tubing used for shelf brackets

Copper tubing for speaker brackets

More copper tubing

Great place to hang out and is totally dog friendly

The neighborhood

We reserved a room at the Westmark for 2 nights and found them to be the least expensive in town, I'm not sure if it was because it was the end of the season or not. They do a lot of business with Holland America Tours

They bring folks in by the busload and are real good at keeping everyone together and having them have a good time

Westmark has quite the compound up here in Dawson

This is one large building with just different facades and paint jobs

Our first time in a king sized bed and we ended up getting lost in it
( We have a full sized bed 54") 


Breakfast Panini 

Westmark does a good job at giving it's guests a great environment to relax in .

Garden Gnome

Overhead view of the Westmark in Dawson YT

When we first pulled up to the Westmark we weren't really sure where the office was located, since most of their guests are brought in by bus they are dropped off in the above alleyway.  Because of all the storefronts we weren't really sure where the front desk was, so we parked by the angled stairs and went exploring, and it was actually in that building. Our room was in the blue/green building all the way at the other end. Luckily being on a motorcycle our gear, we travel with is pretty limited, unlike the cruise folks where each person has two or three pieces of luggage

So we're about 50 mi out of Dawson and we meet our old friend who was just taking some pictures of the countryside

We spent another 10-15 min revisiting And then it was time to go our separate ways

 I mentioned that I had always been a fan of the Yukon  and the miners that gave up so much to search for the golden mineral and I've always had an adventurous streak in me, that I share with my wife Sharon, who when I asked about quitting our jobs in Chicago and head out for parts unknown. And she readily agreed. 

But no one had a more adventurous streak then Max Hirschberg, when the gold started playing out in Dawson YT. He had heard that gold was found on the beaches of Nome Ak.

I had heard about this story from a village elder while I was working remotely in Galena Alaska and everyone was placing bets on when the Yukon river would quit flowing. He told me of a story of a guy riding a bicycle down the river in the middle of winter. I politely listened attentively, but really thought it hard to believe, I've seen the temperature on that river drop to -60 deg during the winter

That Squiggly line you see between Dawson and Nome is the 
Yukon River 

Coming into the border (Link)

Last stop at Chicken Bar before heading home And we're on our way back home

Somewhere between Tok Alaska and Home (link)

And it's still .25 Cents

But the fries aren't to shabby either 

The owners love to decorate 

Time to keep moving

The pups were patiently waiting for us

Until the next time

1 comment:

  1. Good writeup of what seems to have been a great trip! I missed the town of Chicken when I was I know what I missed!