21st July at Whitehorse.
This is our second day in Whitehorse. We arrived yesterday after cycling down the Alaska Highway from Tok (pronounced Toke). Due to circumstances beyond our control we had to change our plans to go to Dawson City. Our intended ride to Whitehorse via Dawson City started well in nice sunny weather. At Tok we stocked up with 2 days supplies for the 180-mile trip to Dawson as we were informed that at Chicken we could get further supplies.
The first 20 miles were OK until we hit rain, road works, mud and gravel, for the next 40 miles. The road was so slippery that we had to go slowly down the hills. Even the occasional motorcyclist was riding with both feet down. Although our intended first stop was Chicken, a campsite 20 miles before was our oasis (wet).
At the site we were informed that a grizzly bear had been the previous night and eaten a loaf of bread and a packet of butter that a careless person had left in the back of a pick up. That night we settled down in the rain, but dry in our tent. At 2a.m. David was woken up by shouts of "there's a bear in the camp, stay in your tent". This was a nearby RV'er (a RV is a recreational vehicle or huge mobile home) who was trying to be helpful. David did not get any more sleep that night as the bear padded around the tent and catching the guy lines. Joan awoke the next morning, fresh and oblivious to all this.
Still raining, road worse, onto Chicken and short 20 mile ride. Chicken is a old gold rush town which looks like a town in a Clint Eastwood film - only more basic. It has a gift shop, a bar, cafe and one house. Still raining, but worse - there is no store or supplies in Chicken and the road further on has been washed away. We stayed that day and slept the night on the cafe floor hoping that the weather would improve the next day. It did not. Change of plan. Hitched a ride on a tour bus back to the Alaska Highway and rode south, in sunshine, towards Whitehorse. Behind us we could see black clouds still over the mountains. Found supplies at last and rode to the border. Had tea with an English couple in their RV. A small world, we met two cyclists coming the other way, one with "Willesden C.C" on his hat. They were Tracy and Diane Horsman who now live at March and had cycled from Florida.
At the border they closely inspected our Bear spray (a sort of tear-gas pepper spray for defense) and then let us through.
Copy of a notice warning about bears.
Bears are dangerous wild animals. When walking in bear country always wear a small Bear bell, to warn of your presence and carry a pepper spray for your protection. Be alert and watch for signs of bear activity. Be especially careful if you come across fresh bear droppings. These are small and round and can easily be recognized because they will contain small bear bells and smell strongly of pepper spray.
Before the border we spent all our US dollars and at Beaver Creek in Canada we found a cash machine. It took everything except VISA! Which was all we had. We were informed that the next machine to take VISA was at Whitehorse - 150 miles away. They gave us cash at the counter in a cafe when we paid with VISA.
The sun is still shining at 11p.m.
The scenery is very spectacular, lakes, mountains and TREES. Saw our first grizzly. Luckily it did not see us. We rode on and did not stop to take its photo. Found a dead Lynx by the road. Would be nice to have it stuffed but decided to leave it there.
Coming into Whitehorse was our longest stretch without a cafe or habitation of any sort - 70miles. We have heard about the marvelous ferry trip from Skagway to Prince Rupert. There are whales, killer whales, and walrus. Another change of plan. We intend to divert to Skagway.
Miles so far 1046.