North By Northwest: A Solo Motorcycle Adventure from Georgia to Alaska (Day 14)

August 16, 2019

Day 14  7/11/19

After a few challenging days of dealing with roadwork and loose gravel, I was looking forward to a relatively short day. Getting to Whitehorse wouldn’t take too long, and I reminded myself that I needed to stop and enjoy the scenery more than I had been. On the Alaska Highway, that’s easier said than done sometimes, because there aren’t as many good places to pull off the road as one might like. And when you do find a rest area or pull-off, it’s usually dirt, gravel, mud, or all three and not necessarily bike-friendly with the flat terrain preferred for parking.

It didn’t take long for me to encounter some more loose gravel and fast big-rigs creating massive dust clouds and kicking up projectiles.

Remember when I said that I was done with British Columbia? Well, British Columbia wasn’t done with me, and the Alaska Highway took me back through there on a 45-minute incursion. The scenery was nice.

Approaching the town of Teslin, I crossed the Teslin River for the first of two times today.

About 30 minutes down the road, I saw a rest area at the start of the famous Canol Road and pulled in to take a look. Some intrepid adventure riders do set their sights on traversing the Canol Road, and maybe I’ll tackle it one day with a lighter bike and a fellow rider; I don’t think I’d want to try it alone. At the rest area, they have an odd collection of abandoned and rusting trucks, along with some interpretive signs. I was pleased to see one about the African American Soldiers’ role in the Canol Project and Alaska Highway.

Around the bend on the Alaska Highway after the rest area, I crossed Teslin River Bridge No. 416, which I’d just read about.

I stopped a few more times for some photos, including the blue bridge across the blue Yukon River.

As I got closer to Whitehorse, I could definitely see smoke clinging to the mountains.

I rolled into Whitehorse and stopped at Tim Hortons for a late lunch. Looking at the route for tomorrow, I didn’t notice any Tim Hortons between Whitehorse and Alaska, so I grabbed a sandwich to pack in the cooler. Their grilled cheese sandwiches had powered me through Canada and would now get me to Alaska.

It was only about 2pm at this point, but I called the hotel to ask about an early check-in, and they said that would be fine. I topped off my gas and was at the hotel in a few minutes.

On the way into Whitehorse, I saw a large steamship that had been turned into a museum, and it looked like an interesting way to spend part of the afternoon. I unloaded the bike, changed out of my gear, and walked down the street to the S.S. Klondike.

My weather app confirmed what my eyes, nose, and throat were feeling.

Even the short walk to and from the S.S. Klondike was unpleasant, so I opted for a treadmill run after I returned to the hotel.

Daily portrait challenge: “Alaska? That way.”

Tomorrow would take me into Alaska and accomplish my “50 before 50” goal. Recent rain seemed to have helped contain the wildfires threatening passage through Beaver Creek and the border with Alaska, and more was in the forecast. Although I wasn’t looking forward to riding in the rain, it was better than dealing with a road closure or an alternate route well to the North.

Total mileage: 274.1

Lodging: Coast High Country Inn, Whitehorse, Yukon