Sept 30, 2005 - Friday
Tok, AK to Whitehorse, YT

Suspension Workout
MPG, 8.4 MB, 1 min 8 sec

Today was a straight shot day - Down the road from Tok Alaska to Whitehorse.  But which way - Alaska Hwy or via Klondike Hwy to the north?  When checking out of the room I asked the front desk attendant about the road conditions on the Klondike route (this road has a section that has some gravel, dirt, as well as some that closes in the winter (though most is asphalt).  She commented that it would not be a good choice - mud and snow exist.  Alaska Hwy it is (this is the route I came up so it would be familiar territory).

Since this looked to be a cold morning I added one additional layer - a sweatshirt between the the heated jacket and the riding jacket.  I kept warm all day and did not need to keep the jacket on "bake" all of the time.

Shortly after leaving Tok I stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard's Loran station.  Visible from the road is an antenna setup that is quite noticeable.  Four tall towers set to form a square.  From the top of each tower is a cable that connects to the top of the other tower (square box - no diagonal).  These four "side" wires droop considerably such that the middle of each (at the bottom of the droop) an additional wire is connected.  This additional wire looks to go to the earth near the center of the "box".

Not far down the road the skies turned cloudy as I ran into a decent fog bank.  Before long the fog started to ice up on the mirrors and face mask.  The road was dry so there was no worry of slipping off.  I was warm to boot.  At the border station into Canada I stopped for breakfast - water and a granola bar.

Sitting in a van nearby were Dan and Michelle.  They are from Ottowa.  Dan walked over to chat when he saw me taking a break.  They are on a trip where they dropped into the U.S. at Sault St. Marie, scooted across the northern states (UP of MI, WI, MN, ND, WY, ID, WA?) before heading up the Cassiar Hwy and into Alaska.  It seems a 20 dollar bet was a tipping point to get the trip moving - a bet between two others that they wouldn't make Alaska.  They did - but now on the way back the van was at the side of the road for a reason - bad transmission.  A tow was on the way from Whitehorse (275 miles away).  We chatted for a while as the frost melted from the trees.  Once on my way I spotted their tow truck - an empty flatbed about an hour out from them.  They'll be spending some time in Whitehorse.

The mountains had a bit more snow on them - a bit lower too.  Dan also commented that the "northern route" through Dawson that I was considering might already be closed. The Alaska Hwy is decent - much more straight than the road in Alaska but also less even - sags and wrinkles exist.  They were so prevelant that I positioned the video camera to get images of the front suspension at work.  The license plate was also "modified" even more by the rear tire.

Before long Whitehorse came into view. I'll check into one of the hostels (I would like to stay at the 202 Motel again but the cost difference is big - 20 for a hostel vs 76 for the hotel). I will stop by the 202 in the morning to pick up the water pump.  The existing pump held out - right about 3500 extra miles! I'll just keep the replacement with me until at least Seattle (perhaps 1800 miles).

Follow the yellow line, starting in the top left at Tok, AK

Fog bank ahead

Tanana River

(click for a larger size)

Cool, freezing mist.  Warm inside...

"Night Ice"

The folks I met at the Canadian customs station.

A touch of snow falling nearby

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