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Archive for July 29th, 2009

Day 233 – 29th July 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on July 29, 2009

Wednesday – Chicken, Alaska

On the road again, that’d be a good name for a song, eh!

Well, I finally broke camp at Dawson City around 9am, this place is like a crab pot, once in, it is hard to get out! But, I managed to get away from the campground and have a hearty breakfast at Klondike Kate’s, ham and eggs, brilliant!

Then I headed out of town the wrong way, for a reason though as there is a place where the only surviving gold dredge is located. On the way I stopped at an info board on the area, I like these things as I then don’t have to do anything, just take the photo and you can read it for yourself, or not, as you prefer 🙂

Then I spotted this sign, dammit, it is Wednesday so I am too early and I really wanted to see this thing, never mind, head back to town, and the visitors centre for a look.

Well, what a stuff up, when I got there, they told me the tours are from 10-11 and the last one starts at 11am, in ½ an hour, when I showed them the times in the above photo, they were as confused as I was!! Now I had to haul arse as it was about a half hour ride to get there, down some real dusty and twisty roads as well, hard to keep the speed up actually.

But, I got there with time to spare and bought my ticket. This thing is huge! The lady told us a lot about the system and the people, mostly kids working their way through college. The noise was bad, a lot of people got seasick because of the shuddering action. The only reason the dredge was shut down when the temperature reached -40, was because that was when steel shattered and was expensive to repair. Here are some photos and some info boards of this huge monster!

The bucket chain was taken off prior to repairs but mining shut down and it never moved again from the swamp.

In the last photo above, the screen in the middle of the room is the only heater on board, it is solely for the use of keeping the grease soft, not for the people!

After the hour tour it was on my bike. I did not have a major long day as I was just planning on crossing the border into the USA state of Alaska, but via the Top of the World Highway, a road to be ridden 🙂

It was back down the gravel to the end of town where the ferry was, there is no bridge for this part of the road, but the ferry runs 24/7 and is free, in no time I was on board and heading west! As you can see from my TomTom, it is only a short run of 168km to Chicken where I would be staying, I had been told many times to stop at this place for a beer, who am I to argue with the multitudes?

The gravel was a bit loose on the surface, but I was getting used to the squirming of the bike and ignored it for the most part. The road as promised went across the ridges of the mountain, rather than the valleys, but the views were a bit less than normal due to all the smoke.

There were paved bits, but they were worse than the dirt as the pavement was broken and potholed badly! I preferred the dirt, I could relax a bit and sit down.

It was not long, say about an hour, that I reached the border area and here was some info on the highway at last, I thought I had missed it 🙂

Then after this I headed to the border, the usual questions, any guns, any mace, any bear spray etc, then hand back the passport and have a nice day, easy as 🙂

Now I had not far to run, but I had been told and now I believed it, the road turned to crap on this side of the border, big rocks sticking through the surface! But, I managed to add another state to my list and learned some more information on Caribous. 🙂

A few miles of crap road, bumpy and nasty I arrived at Border, aptly named I guess, I did not stop, except for this photo of a trappers cabin.

A bit more crap road, corrugated and dusty before arriving in Chicken, a bit further away than I thought. But, of course I am now back in the USA, everything is in miles again, not kms like I had been used to in Canada!

I pulled up at the campground, where if you fill your tank it is a free camp site, so I did that.

I spent a bit of time at the front of the cafe as there was internet which meant I could post a day, the connection kept dropping out though, mind you so did the power, the genset was constantly tripping power off, but I managed it eventually by about 7.30pm, now time for a beer. This meant a bit of a hike up the hill to the town of Chicken itself. I had stuffed up, I should have ridden here, then grabbed a free tent site next to the pub, oh well, never mind a bit of a walk is good for me.

This pub, well basically all these building are owned by one lady who put the town back on the map. People started to leave hats and stuff from the ceiling and walls, this then turned a bit different and if you could entice a lady out of her knickers, they would be stuffed down a canon barrel and shot into the air, the remnants would then be hung from the wall, whatever 🙂 That’d be all the tatty bits you can see 🙂

The times of business sign on the front door was a laugh and this is where I ended up posting my calling card, I could not find a space inside 🙂

One of the locals called Wade was the scrub cutter operator I had passed coming into town, we had a chat and a few beers.

He told me why the road was so bad on this side of the border. Money! Yep, there has not been any money spent on the road to improve it since it was scratched out a long time ago. The Canadians had modified the actual road path, plus added a lot of material to the surface and maintain it, while in the US, the road has nothing left to cover it and when they grade it, the blade ends up hitting bedrock which is poking through, this cause sharp rocks to be scattered around, just to cut your tyres up!! Well, there ya go, that is why. This is the bartender and his rules!

The knicker canon which I never saw used as it was a female free evening 😦

A couple of other travellers from the east, Michigan and Quebec from memory, although I forgot to write down their names.

Then it was 10pm and kick out time, so I grabbed a few photos on the way back, as well as a take away beer 🙂


Then it was time to hit the sack, tomorrow would be a longer day, but I had not checked, so was not real sure, who cares eh!

Day 144 miles and 232 km
Trip – 27,764 miles and 44,682 km


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Posted in Around The World, USA Leg | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

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