Thursday, October 15, 2009

On the road from Destruction Bay, Yukon Terr.

10/14/09 km 1725 to about km 1685 Destruction Bay, YT (about 24 miles)

Arrived here mid-afternoon. A rest, shower and laundry in about that order beckoned so checked in to the Talbot Arms Motel.

Getting toughened up from the constant riding but the last two day gave me a real lashing, literally. South wind blowing 15 to 20. Didn't get out of lowest gears all day. From about Burwash Creek on to D Bay grades gentle but into a headwind. Give this aging body rest. But it's hard in a good way. Not unexpected for a long trip of this sort still whipped today. Head down, plow into the wind.

More head down plowing today 10/15, strong wind again from south, why they call it Destruction Bay I was told. Finish this off before leaving my comfy digs.

10/12/09 Mile 1223 to km 1860 just past Beaver Creek

Kindness of strangers struck me today. Just as I was rolling up to the highway from camp a camper truck stops. Man walks toward me with a plastic bag. Is he looking for a bush to get behind, an errant thought. No, he had a bag of goodies for me, a banana, two Matsu apples, candy and cashews, yum yum. It was Eric Hollerback from ANC (Anchorage). Said he biked in Asia and wanted to repay kindness shown him on the road. Magnificent. Ferrying truck south then seven months in Asia, Nepal?

Birds again calling during the night, headed south, passing in AM also. Thought these were white-fronted geese. Later in day got a closer look and they were tundra swans. Bike fell over when I stopped to look. Balance tricky with a load I have discovered.

Setting up camp on hard ground just off north side of road a Mountie passed heading in direction of Beaver Creek but doesn't stop. Sign at pullout says no overnight camping with red slash through camper symbol. Nothing about bicycles I reason. I was again done in at this point needed to stop. A sigh of relief.

Later the same Mountie, presumably, returns with family. Is he going to evict me I'm thinking. I ask. No, he was just checking on me. Wanted to know if I was doing okay, did I need anything? Rest I replied. Welcome to Canada!

Km 1860 to km 1788, past Koidern but short of Pine Valley (about 43 miles)

At km 1812, a date in history to remember, I'm feeling the need to take a rest break when a man in a green tee shirt yells at me from a cabin north side of road. "Want a cup of tea." Sure and into his driveway I went and met Donald, aka Don Lajoie a French Canadian Yukoner. Lives simply by himself, needed to talk more than me, no problem. Three large picture windows one facing road. Saw me passing. One sophisticated cabin, solar powered, satellite TV and phone. Retired from Shakwak Project, AK Highway construction. Gave up car he said because he can borrow from nearby outfitter and friend anytime. Worked at Talbot Motel in D Bay for the summer, made enough, never had to touch retirement money. Live simply to simply live.
Everything has consequences he said, people need to wake up to that. Other more colorful language followed. A joy to make his acquaintance. Loves flying, my background, we hit it off.

A tea and pee break, hot water in bottles thanks to another Don, then "hit the road Jack."

This day did not get much education. Only to first grade. Mind games. Each hill I have to walk begins another school day. A passing grade on the other side. Don't seem to get it right keep repeating grades.
Stars out in awesome array after dark. No light pollution here. Who who, who who from owl.
10/13/09 km 1788 to 1725 Sakiw Creek north of Burwash Landing.

Foggy in AM but clear later in day, temps in 40's.

At km 1777, 5 trumpeter swans in a pond. Also saw first bear tracks on road, a blacky. Not fresh but should be sleepy and hanging around den, not out and about. Worrisome.

More of an education today passed the 5th, a struggle.

Km 1756 stopped to rest on third or fourth grade, not far south of Donjek R. bridge. Love these wide expansive flood plains taken at a very slow speed.

Past a barely noticed scat pile walking then another where I stopped a few feet beyond. Then yapping starts nearby, north of road. I howl, more like a croak from not speaking, more yapping, howl again - silence. Wolves no friend of coyotes. Cars passing, missing natures wonders.

Eight grouse, unidentified fly land up ahead km 1745. So goes my day.

Sawkiw Creek south side pullout looks like camp. Stop in road to crane neck to see sign on north side, bike falls over. Great, just what I needed at end of day. No traffic in sight. Ground hard. Have to use steel spike to make pilot holes. Tent set over less then foot high spruce trees. Nice, didn't have to kill anything to fit in this place. Why don't we do more to accommodate nature than the other way around?

Technology separates us from nature, labels separate us from one another and distractions of all sorts separate us from the moment, the only place where the sacred is found.

10/14/09 Sawkiw Creek km 1725 to 1685 D Bay. More from next stop. Where?


  1. HI Don,

    Great effort! Appreciated your phone message on Sat. and tried to call you back, but your phone message system isn't set up... perhaps you can find someone on your travels to assist with this piece, so we can give you a call.... sending tail winds your way!! Love,CAthy

  2. Fascinating to hear your observations and the people you have had contact with! Hope you are able to read these notes some time! Lois

  3. Hi Don!

    We all gathered tonight at Sharon's and Sean's to celebrate Thanksgiving together and missed your presence. We all expressed our gratitude for the special people we've been blessed with in our lives - and you are one of them! Thank you for all you do.
    May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy and grace!

    With much love,

    Sharon Alden, Sean McGuire, Ed and Joan Davis, Doug Yates, Andy Blossy, John and Susanne Lyle, Larry & Miriam Paquin, Magali Vincent, Richard Feinberg, Susan Todd, Moia O'Mally, Ellen Wood, and a bunch of other people you send their love!