Yukon Territory

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Starting on August 28, 2002, 10:12:30 AM

I finally saw a bald eagle!!

Shortly after I left British Columbia and got into the Yukon I had a little mishap....

After staying the night at the rest area I packed up all my things and secured them as much as possible for the long ride in the rain. After a few miles I was totally drenched. 

You know, sometimes its the little things in life that we sometimes take for granted. Such as that wonderful feeling when you are on a bike, freezing, cold and wet, and your shoes are totally full of water. Moving and repositioning my feet just a bit caused the water to move from one part of the shoe to another. This moving of water transferred some of the warm water, (heated by the foot itself) to another part of the foot causing an amazingly relaxing sensation. "Ahhh!" Its these little things that make all the difference. Kind of like that feeling you get when you scratching an annoying itch. The relief that you get afterwards is so wonderful.

So I guess I probably shouldn't have been moving my feet around so much. 

On down the road I felt my right foot drop slightly, with the foot peg. Something was wrong. This is a feeling that I should not be experiencing. I looked down at my foot just in time to see the bolt fall out of the frame and disappear off onto the highway under the bike. The whole bracket supporting the foot peg and the rear brake pad was loose and hanging there. 

    I stopped and turned the bike around to go back to find the missing bolt. I drove along the edge of the road on what appeared to be the pavement. After a little ways I found out that it was not actually the pavement but merely dirt under the scattered gravel. the front of the bike fell down into the soft dirt under the gravel and down the side of the road which left me sprawled out on what WAS actually the pavement.

Amazed at what had just happened, and feeling very stupid, I quickly grabbed the bike and had to take all my gear off as it was slung onto one side. It had broke a few straps but nothing major. I got the bike back up and onto the road, found the bolt and put everything back together. 

With only a few scrapes and bruises later I was back on my way.

So now, I will have to apologize that there was not much to see in Yukon due to bad weather. After my incident and the weather I put my camera back inside my gear where it stayed through most of the Yukon trip. Maybe I will get more images on the return. 

I got to spend the afternoon in Whitehorse. A nice small city that seems to have just about everything they need. Some of the people I talked to were all excited about the new Wal Mart in town. I took the liberties to go and get a few necessities there and, while I was shopping and about to head to the register the lights all went out. A voice across the loudspeakers prompted everybody to proceed to the front of the store and check out. Without any power they were having to ring everything up manually and the whole front of the store was a mess. I stashed my items, in hopes of returning later when the power was restored. I had some other errands to do so I left. I stopped at a gas station that was right across the street from the power station where a fire had just knocked out most of the power for the town. Firemen and police were all over the building putting the fire out. Much of the town was out of power but some parts were okay and I was able to find a restaurant to have lunch. I resumed my shopping in Wal Mart after the power was restored, packed all my things back in my gear and wrapped the tarp around everything in preparation for my ride in the rain. 

It seems that everybody up in that area goes to Whitehorse when they want to go shopping or just want to go to a big city. At my stop in Haines Junction, just further down the highway I met a few women that were on their way to Whitehorse from Haines. They seemed quite excited about it. For a while, having been through Whitehorse myself, I couldn't understand why they were so excited about it until I realized that there's not that many towns or cities up there. Don't get me wrong, Whitehorse is a nice town and has just about everything you'd need to survive. There's also a wide variety of restaurants and interesting places to see and things to do. Not having spent enough time in the city myself I'm sure that I missed some really interesting things. But I'm not out here to focus on all the small things along the way so I need to keep moving on.

Riding on through the Yukon was nice. Other than the very destructive highway the scenery was just breathtaking. I had stopped at a small gas station to top off the tank as I was doing on a regular basis. Not knowing how far I would be going from station to station I figured it was a good idea to keep a full tank as much as possible. I was a little disappointed with the fact that there was not any "pay-at-the-pump" stations around and the fact that most of the fuel was very low octane. I could tell the difference in the performance of the bike as I was using only "87" octane instead of the preferred "93".  Many bikes' manuals recommend no less than "91". But what can you do? While at the gas station I kept hearing some strange bird sounds in the distance. They were way off behind the station, up a hill and beyond the tree line so I couldn't see where it was coming from. It was a screeching but different than most of the hawk sounds I had heard before. I thought it may have been some eagles and was hoping to see some. Getting to see, and taking a picture of a bald eagle, was one of my goals on this trip. "The Great American Adventure" just wouldn't be complete without a bald eagle. That's why I stuck Wilson on the front of the bike. I couldn't see where the noise was coming from so I rode on.

Then I saw one, and then another.

Later on down the road I had a very pleasant moment as I came around a corner and looked up into the sky. I saw a large bird. Wondering if it was just another crow I got to noticing that it didn't fly quite the same way as a crow or even a buzzard. From the angle at first I couldn't make out the color as it was silhouetted against the clouds. As I came in close enough I could see it clearly. Yes, it was a bald eagle. I had finally got to see one. One of my personal goals had been accomplished. I turned around as it landed high up in a tree beside the road. Suddenly another one came and was landing as well. I pulled up and began to take out my camera as they quickly flew off and away. I was excited and disappointed all at the same time. I only hoped for more sightings of this American icon.

It rained on me the rest of the way to Haines Junction. I rode on into the night until I had reached the small town and everything was closed. I was in need of fuel and wouldn't make it too much further without it.

Here is a few shots of Haines Junction where I stayed the night, waiting for a gas station to open.

 

It rained on through the night and into the next morning. I had no choice but to keep riding through the cold rain.

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