Pictures: Day 10

Day 10 / Saturday, June 21, 2008

Checking out some of the views of Downtown Dawson City before heading over to the Top of the World Highway and onwards to Fairbanks and Prudhoe Day.

Most of the towns up here were all old gold rush towns, which are pretty much at a lull these days compared to the heydays of yesterday.

A gravel grader with some colorful buildings.

Waiting for the ferry with a bunch of bikers all heading the same way to Alaska.

Enjoying the short ferry ride.

The riders who we tagged along with for the day. Most were headed home to Anchorage.

Looking back at Dawson City while crossing the mighty Yukon River, which we would cross again the next day on our way to Prudhoe Bay deep in Alaska.

The Top of the World Highway, which runs from Dawson City to the border and then connects up to the Taylor Highway. I was told that the highway is paved on the Canadian side and all gravel on the US side, but as you can see, we came across a lot of gravel on the Canadian side. The highway gets its name I think for being top of the world on a map and also because it rides the ridge for a long ways giving a feeling that you're riding along the top of the world/mountain.

Great vistas. The treeless terrain allows the eye to wander far.

I fell back to take pictures and had the highway all to myself.

The road winding its way across the hills.

Taking a break before the border.

Chris checking out the local ruins.

With very little traffic, it felt like the whole road was ours...

…and we rode like that too. No worries about crossing into the other lane, because our vision wasn't hindered.

Snow banks right by the road. This should give an indication that we're at some pretty high latitudes.

A motorcycle winding along the ridge of this treeless landscape, looking far into the horizon...

Besides the scenery, the curves were fun to ride too.

Ridge riding.

We were told to expect dramatic views.

Coming up to the border.

Probably one of the most remote border crossings into the US.

Time zone change.

Solidarity in enforcing the speed limit across the border.

The US side of the border is called Poker Creek and the Canadian side is called Little Gold Creek. As they say, this is the most northerly land border port in the US. Two border agents are on duty here only for the summer. This road is closed in the winter.

I made back into the US of A with my new visa and might be the first Indian to have crossed at this border... on a bike. It took about a half hour to process me through, as they had to use their satellite link up to verify my visa.

Note the entrance sign is also in German. The agent said they get tones of German tourists in the summer, who rent RVs and cruise the wilderness up here, because they generally have a great love of nature.

Heading to the town of Chicken, Alaska for lunch. Now it was time to starting thinking back in miles.

On this side of the border the road is gravel for the most part, but it's well packed.

We stopped to help this couple from Oklahoma who had a blown out rear tire. They had never changed a tire before and the spare was rusted on the carrier on the back door, which required us to remove the carrier to get the tire off. Took about an hour, but we made sure they were all set before taking off. Just paying it forward. Again, the only traffic on this road was RVs and motorcycles.

Chris reaching under to set the jack.

This was Chris' first real big bike trip and he carried a whole pannier full of tools, which proved handy in helping others. A Harley rider stopped to help out as well.

Remnants of the huge Taylor Complex Wildfire of 2004, near Chicken.

Winding dirt road heading into Chicken.

Welcome to Chicken.

Those few buildings down there and a few more is the community of Chicken.

A gold dredge indicating the history of this area. This is one of the few surviving gold rush towns up here. There were lots of ptarmigans (a chicken-like bird) in the area and the early residents wanted to name the community ‘Ptarmigan’ but couldn’t agree on how to spell it, so they just settled on calling it 'Chicken'.

Trying to make you feel better about paying $5.40 a gallon for gas by comparing to what you pay across the border in Dawson City.

Chicken is known as a nice stop on the Top of the World/Taylor Highway and all the riders heading back from the rally stopped in for lunch.

A three-legged dog hobbling about :(

He looks so sad.

Enjoying a nice burger with some local root beer, being served in a gold pan.

Looking across the porches of the different establishments. You could wile away an afternoon doing nothing.

The paved Taylor Highway heading west from Chicken towards Tok and the Alaska Highway.

I love road signs that have country names on them indicating the remoteness of where you are: "if you head this way, you get to Canada" not mentioning any town names, just the massive country of Canada.

The Harley rider, Ted from North Carolina who helped us with the tire change on the RV. It's great to see Harleys touring about in the wild. And he did all those gravel roads with his standard touring tires, not worrying about air pressures or anything - old school touring.

Ice still breaking up across the Tanana River, near Tok.

Taking a break on a side road after the mind-numbing straight Alaska Highway was putting me to sleep. This part of the Alaska Highway was quite boring and we were just yearning to get into Fairbanks.

At the end of the Alaska Highway at Delta Junction. I had planned to ride to the start of the highway on my way back.

From here you could head south to Anchorage or north to Fairbanks and onwards to Prudhoe Bay.

The mosquitoes up here were "this" big. Posing under a papier-mâché mosquito at the visitors center. Honestly, the mosquitoes were huge up here, because they feast so quickly in the short summer. I was using 100% DEET mosquito repellent. Not good for the skin, but good for the peace of mind.

Info about the highway construction. I saw a documentary of the highway construction and truly appreciated the effort it took to make it.

The Alaska Pipeline (called the Alyeska) from Prudhoe Bay is known to all Alaskans, as they get a yearly check from the pipeline and that's a real cross-section of the pipeline.

Heading into Fairbanks.

Stopping by North Pole, Alaska just outside Fairbanks. This is America and Santa Claus is real, at least for kids and in this community, they're all about the Christmas industry. It's very popular in the winter.

At our campsite in Fairbanks, which had many options for lodging from $6 tenting to Teepees and cabins, which we took to get some good rest before heading to Prudhoe Bay the next day.

Our tent cabins that we stayed in for $25 a bed. Not bad actually. We didn't want to set up our tents, because we thought we could get an early start the next morning.

Next: Day 11, Riding the Dalton Highway

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