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Archive for July 25th, 2009

Day 229 – 25th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 25, 2009

Saturday – Ross River, Yukon, Canada

I am off the map today, that’s the Yukon for yah!

I survived another bear free night, but it had rained quite hard during the night, even with ear plugs in I could hear it! The tent did not leak, so that was a welcome bonus, but it did mean packing a wet fly and ground sheet, as the sun would not be on my place for hours. After a noodle breakfast I packed up and headed north as today was going to be a long one I think. 🙂 Just up the road was a herd of female and young bison, I stopped for a photo at the same time as a rider coming the other way. My first goal for the day was to get to Watson Lake where I could find out about road conditions.

I had been advised yesterday by the chap at Prophet River to fill up whenever you can as a lot of the servos are closed, so I took his advice and stopped at the first spot about 100km down the road. This was very expensive fuel, $1.54/l, but best do it now than to run out and I needed to get into the habit.

I saw quite a few lone male bison rambling alongside the road, not a place I needed to stop though as the traffic was light and they look awesome up close 🙂

I rode on and it started to get a bit cold, so I wanted a spot to pull over and add another layer, I saw a sign to a scenic area but once I headed down the track I was committed and could do nothing but go forward, this was a tad scary! In the end I managed to turn it around before getting onto the beach where the sand looked very deep! It was touch and go though, but after a 300 point turn, I managed to get back to the road. The fact of the soft sand meant I actually was closer to the ground and could paddle through the sand a lot easier, still no fun though and I only nearly dropped it twice!

Up the road a bit was a small place called Fireside, I had been told they are not motorcycle friendly so pass on by, well there was no choice because it had been shut down!

I broke my flag stick, bummer!

Then I entered the Yukon, another milestone achieved.

This was a bit early though as I would curve back down into BC, before going back north again. The Iron Creek place mentioned on the sign was another closed down fuel stop!

After two hours riding from Liard River I arrived in Watson Lake where I could sort some fuel and food out.

The Visitor Centre is a hard place to miss, it has signposts all around it!

The place was covered in them, you can actually add your town name to the list, but I decided to do that on the way back, I still had a long way to go. I had bought some lunch and ate it out of town in a layby sort of place, just some fried chook, but it was tasty 🙂

The lady at the VC had said there was major construction after a short while on the road north that I intended to go on and it was all gravel for most of the way. I decided I would do it anyway as it was a challenge, so off I go and just before the dirt started I met Sean coming the other way so I stopped him and we chatted for a while. He advised the road was tuff but doable, no actual thick sand or gravel, but lots of loose surface and ruts etc. There was also a fire that may close the road after Ross River and some bad ice heaves in the road somewhere after there also. Sean is from Vancouver and had just done the Dempster Highway north to Inuvik, I had heard about this road being very tough on tyres, but he said it was an easy road and more scenic than the Dalton to Prudhoe Bay. He advised me to keep the speed down on this road, but in some spots I could get up to 70mph, others I would be flat out doing 30mph. So, after a chat I headed off, he said I was in for 5-6 hours riding to get to Ross River, which was the next fuel stop and they close at 6pm. It was about 12.30pm so I better get moving! This first map is the actual google map page, the road is not even shown, then the next one is my actual tracks from my GPS. The yellow road on the google map page is the highway to Whitehorse.

It was not long until I found the road works, this bit of road was horrible, what a start, very loose deep dirt with big trucks creating dust!

The road started mixed, paved then hard pack dirt then hard pack with loose gravel on the top, not hard to find a line though.

Now, I soon learnt to pay attention to these little orange flags on the side of the road, I had no idea what they meant, but after launching myself through this dust hole, I figured they meant slow down!!!!

The other main hazard were the trucks, because they raised a massive cloud of dust, so pull over and stop until it cleared!

The little orange flags were everywhere and I was not destined for a sore bum by sitting down, but I may get sore elsewhere from standing on the pegs for an extended period.

There were plenty of creeks and lakes along the road, but as soon as you stop, the mossies attack!

If you are wondering what is on my bags, it is my towel and shorts which were on the bike last night and are now getting dry and dusty after being soaked in last nights rain. Another truck goes by and I wait for a while!

Some of the dirt was yuck, this stuff here made extensive use of my steering stabiliser, I am glad I had it installed and wound up tight, tank slap stuff this is!

Once past the mining area though, it got back to normal, so I could speed up again.

I stopped at the lake view point for a decko, but there were a few too many trees to see it clearly, interesting reading though.

More dirt and I was getting quite used to it now, but time was pressing as I needed to get fuel before 6pm. I was probably pushing it a bit, but it was fun, I was getting better at this, lucky there was no animals though as I would have no chance of stopping. I finally saw a sign advising of my destination. Well, it was my new destination as I had thought about going to Dawson City tonight, but that was still 650km away, no chance.

As I got close to Ross River, the road turned to crap, I mean worse than before, very badly rutted and corrugated, this really set my teeth rattling. I also was a bit sore in the back area from standing, the handlebars are not setup correctly for this, I need risers, but with the steering damper, I cannot use risers! 😦 I prefer the damper to the risers though.

I eventually got into Ross River at 5.40pm, it is a 10km side trip from the main highway dirtway and you have no choice really. It was 360km from Watson Lake and on the border of my tanks ability, I had no spare fuel can.

Ahh bugger, it is Saturday and they all close at 5.30, but the fuel station had run out anyway!!! Now what, well, lucky for me, the chap who owns the general store was just walking home, he was the one I asked about fuel, so he turned around and reopened the store, just for me to buy fuel. Thanks very much m8, I really appreciate it! 🙂 I now had a choice, there was a camp ground back on the main road, there is nothing in this town, or I could continue on west until I reach Carmacks, it is a few hour’s drive away. Well, I chose to stay at this camp ground, and I was the only one there! With the mossies now defeated(I had bought some Deet bug repellent at Liard River) I made short work of the campsite.

Now for the worst problem, there is no water here, I had about 1 litre left which meant I had not drunk enough today but what about tomorrow? Well, there is a big river just there, so I could drink that I suppose. 🙂

Ahh, but there was as sign saying boil the water for at least 10 minutes. Lucky for me another small group of people turned up and when I asked about drinking the river water, they offered me some of their home tap water. Great stuff, thanks heaps, so I took 2 litres, which would be enough for dinner, breakfast and should get me to Carmacks tomorrow.

I spent the evening just reading and relaxing. I was a bit tired, there was no water which meant no shower and the river was just above freezing, no way Jose. I built a fire though and watched a bit of bushies TV. I had checked my map, still a long way to go to Dawson City, it only just gets a mention on the map, but that was hopefully tomorrows destination, there I would make a decision about which way to go, north or west.

Day 384 miles and 618 km
Trip – 27,249 miles and 43,853 km


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