7/8: Whitehorse- Summer Camp on the Klondike, 65miles
All you can eat breakfast and we leave Whitehorse around noon. We have to cycle the Klondike highway first before reaching Dawson city and the beginning of the Top of the world highway. The Klondike highway is very very dull. We do not have very good legs, the landscapes are boring and there is no paved shoulder so we are overtaken by vehicles very closely. To add to this great menu, the rain joins the party…. we understand the way to Dawson city will be tough and as we say in French, we have the mood in the socks…..
We stop at the end of the day in an empty summer camp: that is brilliant spot and we play looking for an open boothy, welcome back 20 years earlier for imaginative manhunt!!! We are like children, we enjoy a good campfire, eat pasta and hop, we jump in the sleeping bags. Looking forward to cycling tomorrow…
8/8: Summer camp – Tetcha Creek, 65 miles km
Same day than the previous one: it is hilly, it is boring and still no legs… We stop in Carmacks “the dark one” as we call it, we strongly recommend the petrol station for a face to face dinner with the one you love…..
We finally reach the campsite, quick dinner and again, hop we are in our sleeping bags quicker than needed to blink. Ambience, ambience….
9/8: Tetcha Creek – Stewart Crossing, 95 miles
We ride the first 50 miles like rockets before stopping for lunch. We think the rest of the day will be easy and… it is not exactly the case. We start with 2 miles uphill on gravel road in the mud: it is hard, very hard. Then, we have a good headwind and more hills, we fly at 7 miles/hour!!! If we keep cycling like that, we will be at the campsite at 11 pm. Nicolas decided then to take the lead and pulls me to the campsite where we arrive at 8 pm. There is a small restaurant: we are absolutely starving. I order a burger and I have 2 desserts and I am still starving!!! Nicolas who does not know how to put a spandex correctly has the bottom absolutely destroyed. Once again, tommorow is expected. — Jean
10/8: Stewart Crossing – Klondike River Lodge (Dempster Highway junction), 85 miles
As previously, it is boring. Wee excitement when we cross the junction of the Dempster highway which is the only alternative to the Arctic ocean compared to the way we will cycle from Fairbanks. Tomorrow, we will be in Dawson City, at last! — Jean
11/8: Klondike River Lodge – Dawson City, 25miles
Surprise when we wake up, it is minus 2 celsius in the middle of August!!! All the stuffs which stayed outside for the night are frozen. Nicolas fell in a very artistical way when trying to reach the toilets on the top of wooden stairs. We enjoy our first shower in a week (you do not know how we miss them when you can’t walk 5 meters from your bedroom anymore before having hot water!!!!) Before leaving, we see a couple from Vancouver Island we already saw on the cassiar Highway: they are just back from the Dempster highway and they tell us there has been a poalr bear sighting several days ago there, exactly what we needed to hear.
But the authorities gave it a lift by helicopter and dropped it back into the ocean.
The 25 miles to Dawson are done very quickly and this town is a revelation: old houses western style, dust street and a great ambience. The spud (good mood) is back!!! We decide we will enjoy this town a little bit and we will only leave tomorrow afternoon. I enjoy a cariboo stew and Nicolas tries the salmon for the first time of this trip (I swallowed my stew so fast that the waiter embarrassed asks me if I want a second main meal. I only take a dessert, but once again, I am starving!!!!) We clean the bikes and go to bed.
12/8: Dawson City – Clinton Road, 30miles
Slow motion morning and we leave at 3 pm. We cross the Yukon river on a ferry and we start the Top of the World highway: will it justify all the boring days spent on the Klondike highway? From the start, it is tough: 10 miles uphill on the gravel road, but we then reach the ridge and we enjoy an amazing ride with a great view on the valleys around. While I am reaching the top of a pass, I suddenly stop: there is a grizzly bear walking on the side of the road. Nicolas stops with me and we identify ourselves as humans, following the procedure: waving our arms, speaking not too loud and walking backwards. But the bear keeps walking in our direction looking at us persistently. A motorcyclist comes from nowhere and we ask for his help: he decides to scare the grizzly. As soon as he starts his engine on, the bear stands up and looks at us. Then the motorcyclist rides in its direction and beeps: the bear once again stands up and walks into the bushes, but it is actually to walk around the biker and it keeps walking towards us. We therefore ask the motorcyclist to come back what he does. We decide to ride all together next to the bear. When we do it, the bear stands up a last time still looking at us. We will be more careful now: that was our first encounter with a grizzly bear. We decide to keep cycling to avoid the presence of this bear (not too big to be honnest but still scary). We stop 10 miles later and set up the tent.– Jean
13/8: Clinton Road – first campsite after the border, 55 miles
There is a good shower during the night but no bear around. However, when we wake up, there is fog all around us. Wwe can’t see further than 50 meters away. When we finally start cycling, the fog slowly disappears. But the road is steep and as we approach the border, the wind comes and the rain decides to join all this gang! As we are on the ridge, we are not protected from the wind and we struggle to keep our bikes on the road: that is really tough. At last, we reach the border and we discover customs in a small hut in the middle of nowhere: this is the northest US-Canada border on land. We are so wet we ask to the customs to stay in their hut for lunch, what we do. We even have the right to use their toilets. The stamp they put on our passport is absolutely great: it is a cariboo!!! After a stop on a bar (the only house in town actually) in Bounday, we reach the campsite where our grizzly encounter story has soon reached every ear and hop, we are the heroes of the area, telling our story like old sailors. Anyway, we are in Alaska, we did it, we cycled all the way from Vancouver! There is still some way to cycle but we are already very proud of what we achieved so far.