To Alaska and the Dempster Hwy 2016 — Part V

Wow, this is a lot of typing, but I guess it’s to be expected since the trip was 39 days long.  This next part is the first leg of the trip back home, continuing on from where I left off until Jaime and I part ways in Prince George.  We didn’t intend to ride the whole trip together, we rode a great deal more of it as a pair than I imagined we would.  I believe that she would have taken off right after the Dempster Hwy if she hadn’t lost her phone.  She had other places she wanted to go and I had some other roads I really wanted to check out that were more on a direct route toward home.  So this is where we really began to wing it with the route.  I’d spent some time over the winter coming up with a route heading up that would let us hit all some really pretty parts of Alaska and Canada on the way up, but since we had so much rain and we both just really wanted to get to Anchorage. We bypassed a great deal of it. So for the trip back we figured we would just ride the Cassier again, and hit some of the things we had bypassed

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First up was Skagway, once we got to Whitehorse I check the Alaska ferry schedule.  Which is an absolute mess to figure out if there is or isn’t a ferry leaving on the day you want or not.  From what I could tell it didn’t look like there was any for the day we would be there that were heading to Haines.  So we just planned on running down there staying the night and riding back up toward Whitehorse then heading toward Watson Lake.  We started out of Whitehorse down toward Skagway, it’s such great road with all kinds of things to see.

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Once in Skagway there are some really cute things to see in the town, it’s one of the main stops for the cruise ships, so they’ve built up the shops down by the docks.IMG_20160624_132337616_HDR

We cruise up and down the streets looking for a small campground we could stay at, we found one close to the narrow gauge train but didn’t really like the feel of the place.  As Jaime put it, the place had that back woods, deliverance feel to it.  So we looked up other campgrounds in the area, to find that only other one was about 10 miles from town.  In a different direction than we’d come into town, what the heck how bad could it be?    As it turned out, it was an awesome park on the other side of the mountains from where we were in Dyea, which was a former gold rush town like was Skagway, Dyea is located at the head of the Chilkoot trail. Not to mention there was about 7  miles super scenic dirt road on the way to the campgrounds.

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We found a trail to this beach through some trees, can you imagine having this as a place where you could go when ever you wanted to have a fire?  Wow!

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I wondered around in the tidal pools for awhile looking at all the shells and seaweed, it reminded me of when I was a kid about 8 or 9 yo and my dad and I would go fishing in Homer or Seward and he’d sit at camper while I played in the flats at low tide. IMG_20160624_121007798 IMG_20160624_121410210 IMG_20160624_121611936 P1000667

The pull outs above Skagway gave great views of the cruise ships and the town. IMG_20160624_123605607_HDR

Once we got into town we decided to swing by the store to pick up some lunch for later, while Jaime was in the store I spotted a few other bikes.  I went over to talk with them to find out where they were from and find out where they were heading.  I’m really happy I did that too.  Turns out they were just killing time waiting for their ferry ride to Haines and as luck would have it one of the guys had a spare ticket that he gave me.  He and I headed over to the Ferry office, he transferred the ticket to my name.  I bought Jaime a standby ticket since the Ferry was sold out.  We waited on the docks with them and a group of Germans.    My bike was #13 so Jaime’s made it an even 14.  As the deckhand said, in 19 years, she’d never left a bike behind on the docks.  So we were on our way to Haines. What luck!

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We hit Haines at about 8 pm, and we rode until we hit Whitehorse just before midnight. There wasn’t much picture taking at this point.  We were just trying to beat it so we could make some time up after spending most of two days around Skagway.  We needed to head to Prince George to pick up Jaime’s replacement phone.   The ADV inmate we had stayed with there was kind enough to allow the replacement phone to be shipped to him there, since there wasn’t anywhere else that we could find in Canada that would accept shipment or that Verizon would ship to.

There was still one more side trip that we really wanted to to do before we hit Prince George.   We really wanted to take the run down the road to Telegraph Creek, after hearing about it from another ADV inmate.  Not to mention I figured that Jaime really needed to see the Sign post Forrest in Watson Lake while we were in the area.  IMG_20160625_154544322_HDR IMG_20160625_154551891 IMG_20160625_161310800

Once we had finished wandering around the “Forrest” we stopped for yet another bacon cheeseburger.  I know that I haven’t mentioned it but bacon cheeseburgers were pretty much our go to meal on this trip if we weren’t cooking it ourselves.  There wasn’t much salad eating on this trip, and shockingly we both lost weight.   After we finished eating we booked it down the Cassier toward Dease Lake which is where the turn off to Telegraph Creek is.  We found a really cute lil campground overlooking the lake for the night right next to a restored classic truck that Jaime just about lost it over… I of course can’t remember what  it was, beside it being an old restored truck that looked really cool. IMG_20160626_091458227_HDR

The road to Telegraph Creek delivered!  It was amazing, easy to ride, yet it was a challenge too.  I don’t ever recall seeing road signs before this that said 20% grades.  Not to mention the switchbacks with loose gravel, but they weren’t that bad even with the fully loaded big bikes.  Now you’ll notice there aren’t pictures of this… that’s because I had to give it my full attention on the way up and down.  I’m hoping that Jaime still has the video of us riding up it.  Damn, it was fun!  The river was stunning, it was also the first time since I was like 7 I’d gotten to see salmon jumping out of the water.  Talk about cool.

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The church that we came across right after having lunch which was….

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you guessed it… yet another bacon cheeseburger.

 

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Now I did learn one thing on the way down this road… Karma is a fickle lil witch.  We’d stopped to take some of these pictures.  The road wasn’t exactly level, and it was slanted down away from us, so getting the bikes off the side stands was a lil tricky at times.  Jaime was having trouble one of the times and I was laughing at her.. Yeah, I know, my bad.  But, I went to get off the bike to help her out.  I didn’t quite get the side stand back down on mine, the bike rolled off and the bike and I both went over.  I was still laughing when I stopped rolling right under Jaime’s bike.  Ya know I still think it’s funny!  Even if I broke my clutch lever.

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Now after all this fun, we had to beat feet again to make up the whole day we spent here, when we thought it would be just a half day.  So we booked down the Cassier again until about Midnight when we hit the Meziadin Lake Park.  We pulled in and found a nice secluded spot for the night, it only took about 3 minutes for the camp host to come find us and ask us to pay.  I was starting to get the feeling that they thought we might not pay, if they didn’t come ask us to pay at these parks, since this wasn’t the first time.  It’s odd.

The next day we rode on over to Prince George and got there at a decent time…. OMG! We finally stopped riding before 7pm!!!!  Color me surprised.  Jaime had mentioned that maybe we could run over to Prince Rupert and then over to Prince George.  I didn’t think it was a great idea since we were crashing in on someone else.  We knew that he left for work at like 7am.  I thought it would just be too rude to show up after 8pm.  I was also starting to get a little bit concerned that I might not have time for a couple the side trips I wanted to make on the way home.  I mean after all I was down to 8 or 9  days to get from PG to Santa Fe.