Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 10, The run to Teslin

I headed south out of Tok in the rain concerned about how things would shake out today.  The concerns faded away for awhile as I entered the twisties near the US/Canadian border.  Once again, the Wing and I carved through the turns, it was nice and peaceful.  The rain had stopped, but the roads were still wet.

I got to the Canadian border and there was no one there.  There was a note on the window that said "Please stay in your vehicle, we know you are there".  I waited about 15 minutes and no one showed.  I was starting to wonder what was going on.  About the time I was going to get off the bike and knock on the door (this probably would not have worked out well for me), a lady came to the window.  She asked me where I was headed, how long I would be in Canada, and if I had any weapons.  I answered her questions and showed her my passport.  She looked at it and waived me trough.  She had no information about the road between Teslin and Watson Lake.

I once again skied the moguls north of Destruction Bay.  The southbound lanes seemed more rough than the north bound lanes.  I still had fun though.  As I neared Destruction Bay, my thoughts turned once again towards getting home, would it be the ferry or the road?

While filling up with gas in Destruction Bay, a couple on a Goldwing 1800 pulled up.  They were going to try to catch the ferry, but had heard that there were only a few motorcycle spots left.  We asked the clerk if there was any additional word on the road.  He advised it was still closed and there was no additional news.

I parted company with the folks on the Goldwing 1800 and continued south.  I would make my decision at Haines Junction since that is the intersection where if you go south you wind up in Haines for the ferry, or go east for the highway to Whitehorse.

The mountains near Destruction Bay

This series of photos are the Mountains Between Destruction Bay and Haines Junction.

WOW, the subn even came out.

Once I reached Haines Junction, I stopped for gas once more.  I asked the clerk if there was any news about the road.  He said the news just said the road would be opened later this afternoon.  Armed with this information, my decision was to take the road over the ferry.

The following photos are headed out of Haines Junctions towards Whitehorse.


I know it is kind or weird that I keep taking pictures through my windshield, but I want you to see things the way I am seeing them.

Construction zones are common here.  They consist of loose or packed gravel.  At times, they can be quite dusty.
 I stopped in Whitehorse for gas again and asked for an update from the clerk about the road.  He said the news indicated the road would be opened at 1pm local time.  Great, that was in 15 minutes.  Seeing as I was 1 hour and 45 minutes away, that would be great.  I could press on and make it to Watson Lake for the night.

Unfortunately, the plan was not that clean.  I arrived in Teslin at about 3 pm local time to find a line of semis about 5 miles long.  They were pulled to the side of the road, so I continued on into town.  There were people everywhere and no vacancies at any of the hotels/motels.  I stopped to get gas, they were out of regular gas, so I had to get premium.  I was concerned about getting gas as there were a ton of people there.  Shortly after I filled up, they ran out.

The store was almost out of food, so I grabbed a cup of creme of potato soup, a sausage, and a piece of carrot cake and ate dinner.  I started thinking about what I was going to do for the night.  Most people that were parked had motor homes or trailers.  I spoke with the lady who owned the gas station and asked if I could pitch my tent in the parking spot next to the gas station, she said that would be fine.  I was very thankful that I now had a place to stay for the night.  She even gave me the internet code, but with so many people trying to access the internet it was next to impossible to get on.

Unfortunately, it started to rain again when I was setting up my tent.  I crawled in and tried to go to bed, but could not so I got up.  I walked toward the river to check it out and take some photographs.  When I go there, there was a group of Tinglit people at the river bank.  They were beating drums, bouncing, and chanting.  It was really cool to see and experience this.  I hung out there for about an hour.  The highway department came with a truck and was offering folks food and drink.  They even opened the community center up for folks who had no shelter for the night.  All in all, it was a great experience to see folks come together.

About 7pm local time, it was announced that they had started to move traffic from Watson Lake north.  It was only semis for now.  They were going to move the semis from Watson Lake north, then move the ones from Teslin south.  Once the semis had cleared, they would start allowing other vehicles.  This was going to be a slow process as there were multiple washouts and there was only one lane open.  No one knew how long the one lane section was for sure, but rumor had it that it was miles.  I decided to go to bed and deal with the zoo that would be there in the morning.  My understanding was that there were 3000 folks stranded in Teslin going south and 5000 stranded in Watson Lake going north.  I figured I would get up about 4 am and head out.

This is the gas station/motel/general store that I stayed next to.

Semis were lined up as far as the eye could see.

My home for the night.  It got quite cold, but my sleeping bag kept me very warm.

This is the bridge over the river you have to cross get out of Teslin on the way to Watson Lake.  I kept wondering what the road would hold for me beyond the bridge.

Semis stared roaring through town at about 2am local time.  I heard them, but went back to sleep.

Wildlife count:

Rabbit:  1
Moose:  2
Mouse:  1

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