Day 23: Upper Liard to Whitehorse



Well I didn’t know it was possible, but it totally is. Bear & I totally outfoxed our hangovers by getting up before they did.

We were lying in the tent when our alarm went off at 7:30 am, and we each could sense the hangover wanting to get out of bed with us… so we quickly got up, stuffed out sleeping bags, rolled our mats, and scooted out of the tent while they were just trying to wake up. We made oatmeal, tore down the tent, made coffee and were eating by the time they were by the picnic table… we loaded up the bike and washed our dishes and were in positive spirits as we hit the road when I said to Bear in the helmet mic, “Bear, I think this is the first time I have ever gotten up before my hangover! I can’t believe that it worked!” And we were so glad that it had, because we were going to put in a long ride that day.

The group was westbound on the Alcan Highway at last. Rumors proved true, in that the roads were wider, with proper lines painted in the center and on the sides, and at times there were even decent shoulders to pull over on if needed. The trees were cleared from the sides of the road maybe 100 yards or so! It was great if you were an RV driving through and didn’t want to hit a moose or something, but it almost felt like a strip mall compared to the scenic ride we had done the day before on the end of the Cassiar.

It’s hard to remember if anything significant happened, because this stretch of road was kindof a snoozefest. The nature all kindof looked the same, but occasionally we would see a bald eagle fly out of the trees and up into the air… there was one sighting of an older black bear on the side of the road, but for Bear & I, stopping to get out a camera and take photos wasn’t on our list of things to do.

We did have to stop once or twice to regroup when the Guzzi’s lights would disappear behind me, and at one of the stops, Bear kept noticing how my chain was stretching. We had just moved the tire back yesterday, and there were only 2 lines left in the measuring bit, and I was getting a little concerned on if/how/when it would break. I’d heard stories of chains breaking before, and I imagined it may be like when a belt breaks in a car engine-where bits fly around and damage other bits. I didn’t want the hard chain to hit my leg or break things in my engine! So we kept heading to Whitehorse to stop by the Honda shop before they closed.

When we were just outside of Teslin, there was an overlook above the bridge into town. We could see that it was one of the longest bridges up here, and we could hear that it sounded like a metal grated one. Bear wanted to film each of us going over it with his long lens, for dramatic effect, so I was the second one to cross. I rode down, then slowed down to about 35 mph, and kept my eyes at the end of the bridge. Like the other metal grated bridges, my tire gently weaved back and forth. But unlike the other metal bridges, there were occasional grabs to the front tire, where it would suddenly lurch and veer hard to the right-directly for the side of the bridge! I had horrible flash images going through my mind of me crashing in the side framework of the bridge, then flying over the edge in a crumply pile of mess, then I would yell to myself, “No! Not today!” Then wrestle my bike back to the center, and keep my eyes at the end.

So many times I have been grateful that I was a gymnast back in the day, because of all the times I had to remind myself to look at the end of the balance beam, not below me. This kind of riding was the same thing-don’t look over the edge of the bridge, or down in front of you, but look at the end of the bridge where you want to go.

Finally, I was over the bridge, and then I pulled off to get gas. As the group came together, we talked about how sketchy that bridge was, and how it affected each one of our rides. I was still shaking a little bit, but so glad to be back on the pavement!

We kept cruising into Whitehorse, and we split off for the Honda shop while the group hung out at the visitor’s information center. I had never bought a new chain before, and I didn’t know the lingo. When the man asked us what size it was, I had no idea! So we went out to the bike, wiped off a link, and found out one magic number: 525. Size 1, figured out. Size 2, what was the length of the chain? I thought it would be a standard thing, but since our bikes are a little bit rare, it wasn’t even in their system. So Bear put the bike on the center stand and counted every link to find out. 118.

There we have it, my chain is a 525, 118 link chain. But the size that the Honda shop had was too short! They called a bunch of places in town, and no one had the size of chain that I needed! Bear & I asked the guy if he thought we could make it to Anchorage, and he said we could, so we decided we would push on to Anchorage then. We originally wanted to get the chain fixed in Whitehorse, so that we could tootle on up to Dawson City with the group, and check out the Dust to Dawson gathering! There were supposed to be a lot of motorcyclists up there, and it was going to be a fun little time…

Bear & I went back to the information center to meet up with the group, and let them know the news. We all decided to camp out tonight, eat dinner out and celebrate our last evening together. We went to a great restaurant just off of a hotel, Bear & I shared an amazing sandwich with a side of borscht. We walked back to our campground, shared an ice cream, and went to bed. The sun was still up and it was already 11:30pm, but we were full, warm, and happy to be home in our tent.

Tomorrow, continue the treck to Anchorage!



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