We’re now resting and refuelling in Whitehorse in preparation for tomorrow morning’s departure (Thursday). The vast tracts of tundra and black spruce now seem a world away as we sip espresso in a local bakery and look forward to sleeping in a bed for the third (!) night in a row. Since our arrival we’ve been gorging ourselves on fresh vegetables and other luxuries hard to come by in this part of the world. Our fantastic host Jeanette welcomed us with a gigantic fresh-baked carrot cake and roasted turnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. We nearly wept at the sight. I fear we’ve gotten soft waking in the warmth in her cozy home, which lies just outside of the Yukon capital’s downtown centre.
Cycling the Territory from Beaver Creek to Haines Junction drove home for me that the North is truly another world. The Alaska-Canadian (or Alcan) highway wasn’t completed until the early 1940’s, and I couldn’t escape the feeling that the road itself is something foreign, an unwelcome intruder in an ancient place. The silence reverberated, broken only by our voices and the occasional passing vehicle. For several days we had the road almost to ourselves.
We’ve gotten a lot of honks and waves of encouragement in this sparsely-populated region. One guy threw us a chocolate bar from the window of his pickup as he passed us coming the other way. We swooped down and ate it right on the spot like a couple of ravenous seagulls. Keeping up with our hunger has been a major challenge. Our 110 pound rigs require major power to get them over the mountains, and we’re developing a new vocabulary around the 6 or 7 meals we need to eat every day so as not to lose weight (“What do you want for second breakfast?”)
After two days in Whitehorse, we’re now part of the cycling scene. We participated in a group ride last night (yes, Whitehorse has Critical Mass rides!) in celebration of World Carfree Day, during which Lucie was inadvertently run over by a giant pedi-cab bike when its operator lost control turning a corner. Lucie was unhurt, but her Surly needed a bit of tweaking. The ride was redirected to Philppe’s Bike Repair. The tune-up evolved into an impromptu evening of moose steaks and beer in Phil’s loft apartment above his shop, where bike traveller Spencer, Phil, Lucie and I swapped stories and savoured the exploits of our host’s hunting prowess. We actually managed to stay up past sunset! which more than anything underlines what fine company we were lucky enough to be keeping.
We’ve not been idle in the Horse, and have stirred up a veritable media frenzy to raise support for our cause. We were on CBC North’s Noon Café show yesterday, are featured in today’s Whitehorse Daily Star and will appear in the next edition of l’Aurore Boréale, the Yukon’s francophone bi-weekly. Check out our Media page for details.
Our next leg will take us 450 km east near Watson lake and then over 700 km south down the Stewart Cassiar highway toward Prince Rupert. Services will be few and far between, with spread out communities closing down for the winter. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to post much over the next 10 to 12 days, but we’ll do our best. Our food stores are topped up, and our water pump will surely see a lot of use over the next week and a half as we turn from taps to creeks for our water. We’re looking forward to the challenge.
Thanks for reading and check back soon!