Squirrel, Smokies, Sleeping bag, Sprocket, Scary faces, Soup, Snow, Sidecar, Slippery.
We made our way over to the Bed and Breakfast, where Eva had kindly offered us a free place to stay. It was in a beautiful setting, overlooking a forest with a big viewing deck to view the northern lights; when they decided to grace everyone with their presence. We were staying in the workers cabin, which for us was perfect. It had a nice double bed and a wood stove to keep us warm. Simple living, just the way we like it.
We’d offered our services to pay our way, and had agreed to a few hours of weeding in return for a room. It was too late to start when we got there, so we agreed to crack on with it in the morning. We went back in to the main house and chatted to Eva over a cup of tea, before heading back to the cabin, where Ed started a fire and we got our Blackadder fix before bed.
We woke in the morning to snow. It was cold and the ground was partially covered, so Eva said that weeding wasn’t possible. Eager to do something, we ended up chopping up a load of logs with the chainsaw.
It took us a few hours and we got a good system going, cutting and stacking until they were all done. It was strangely therapeutic, and I was rather pleased with myself successfully learning how to use a chainsaw; I’d never trusted myself with power tools before!
Once we’d finished up we headed in to town, where we needed a few bits from the shop. While I was getting things on the list, Ed walked round the corner looking like a kid at Christmas; he’d found a giant spider and a skeleton head to dress up for Halloween. Happiness is.
The next morning Eva had kindly said we could have breakfast with her guests, so at 8am we made our way over. They were a couple from Thailand following the fall colours, which I thought was a particularly nice idea. I ended up doing most of the talking, as Ed was there in body but certainly not in mind; it takes him a while to boot up in the mornings. We enjoyed hot tea and coffee, yoghurt and fruit, followed by poached eggs on toast, it was lovely. Soon it was time to head back to the cabin and pack everything up, at which point we discovered a squirrel had been happily destroying my sheepskin seat cover; what is it with my seat and the wildlife?! And there was no denying that the furry little fucker was the culprit; not only did we watch it do it, but it had an incriminating lump of black fluff hanging from its mouth…
Ed found this particularly amusing, until he discovered that it’d had a go at his too. Cory had given us some smokies (sausages) before we’d left, so we cooked those up for lunch before going to say goodbye and thank you to Eva.
Our next stop was about 25 miles in the wrong direction. A guy called Ben had been in touch with Ed on facebook, offering us a place to stay. Not in a rush to get anywhere, and with the lure of stew, good company and Yukon brewed beer, we happily made our way over: but not before fitting my new ‘headlight’ that Ed had bought me. It had a constant option and a flashy option, and Ed chose the flashy one. I instantly said without thinking ‘No, I don’t want to draw too much attention to myself’. Ed started to laugh and said ‘It’s a light, drawing attention to yourself is the whole point!’ ‘Oh yeah! What a tit’. Haha. And yes I know it’s a poor excuse for a headlight, but it’s a token gesture nonetheless!
It wasn’t that far but it seemed to take forever. At one point I thought to myself that the road could be a strong contender for world’s straightest, it was ridiculous. But we eventually found the correct turn off, which I was no help in locating as it was now dark and I couldn’t see, and we knew we were in the right place, as Ben came down in his car looking for us. Had we been that long?! He led us back to his house where we met his partner Jenna and her daughters Aurora and Bree, and we had a great evening eating stew, drinking beer, and chatting about everything under the sun.
We enjoyed their company so much that two nights soon turned in to five, and we enjoyed a brilliant week of food, conversation and general fun. What was particularly cool was the whole family rode dirt bikes, and Aurora had quite possibly the coolest girls bedroom in the world; dirt bike competition trophies on the shelves and posters of riders covering the walls. Not once did we feel like we’d outstayed out welcome, and when we went to leave we were encouraged to stay; they were amazing. And in between the food, conversation and fun, was a lot of blog writing, the arrival of my new winter sleeping bag, and a little bit of bike maintenance.
Remember that noise that was coming from my bike back in Seward over a month ago? The one that Ed diagnosed as the sprocket carrier bearing and we rushed to get the part? Well we never fitted it, as the noise went away and we forgot. It was only because I found the part in my backpack that I remembered there was a problem. So on the Thursday, the day we planned to leave, we took it apart and discovered that the noise had stopped as all the parts that were making the noise had worn down. Oops! Not only had they worn down, but some of the ball bearings were now half spheres, and the rubber seal was now the weight bearing component. How it lasted that long we’ve no idea… the power of the 90!
Luckily we had the part to replace it, didn’t we? Upon trying to fit the part we discovered that we had the wrong one. Ed had ordered code 6302, instead of 6203.
It was an easy mistake to make and not a problem on this occasion, we could get the correct one from Whitehorse. It was quite amusing though that we’d been carrying a part for over a month that was completely useless to us. That’ll teach us to be so slack! And not only was the bearing buggered, the chain was on its way out too…
It was already after noon and Ed still had to go and get the correct part, so after chatting to Ben we agreed to stay another night and leave in the morning, he wouldn’t have it any other way! And I’m pleased we stayed, as we got to do pumpkin carving with the girls, Ed got to paint his skeleton mask and fit his spider, and Ben showed me some tricks with my camera.
We had a brilliant last night, and were genuinely sad to leave. We’d had a great time; they were awesome hosts and awesome people.
We woke early in the morning to see every one off, and say our final goodbye… again. We really were leaving this time though! Honest!
We left at noon and went in to town, and after our usual faffing about decided that we weren’t actually going to get anywhere. Enter Cory to the rescue! After a quick call and a rearranging of plans, he kindly took us in for another night, and we finally got to meet his lovely wife Doreen.
My alarm went off at 7.30am and I instantly snoozed it. I don’t know why I bother putting an alarm on, I guess it shows willing. I couldn’t hear Doreen or Cory up so I thought we’d enjoy a lie-in, especially as we were in a nice double bed; it’d be rude not to. We got up at 8.30am and had a cup of tea and chat, before packing our stuff back on the bikes and finding a space for a load more smokies that Cory kindly gave us. They’re so good! I wrote a list of things we needed to do to help us be more productive, then we said goodbye and headed in to town. First stop was sending stuff home; hard drives, excess clothing, winter socks(?!) I don’t know why I sent winter socks home in winter. Not sure what the thought process was there. Next stop was a bit of grooming; Ed had a shave and I got a haircut. Looking a little more presentable we were by that time rather hungry, and went off to superstore to get some food. We got a hot chicken, two baguettes, salad, olives and cheese, and proceeded to have a very tasty car park picnic. As you do. Needless to say we got some rather funny looks, but it pays to have no shame and the looks usually turned in to smiles and a conversation.
After that we went and got some LED strips for the bikes and some new gloves for Ed, I was fed up of not being seen and Ed was fed up with his fingers being cold. It was 5pm before we finally left town; better late than never. We rode for about 10 km’s when the road suddenly changed; it was covered in a light dusting of snow and was noticeably icy. Ed put his feet down to test it and they glided effortlessly; I don’t know if it was better or worse knowing that it was icy, ignorance is bliss and all that. We got about 22 km’s out of town when we decided it was too dangerous to continue. Visibility was poor and the light was dropping fast, it really wasn’t worth the risk. I’d spotted a camp-site sign a few km’s back, so we rode back there and set up camp for the night. We found a nice little spot under a big wooden shelter that had a wood stove and a ‘No overnight camping’ sign. Perfect.
The camp-site was empty apart from one car that belonged to a runner, so I rode round the fire pits loading all the spare wood on to the back of my ninety, and delivered it to Ed. Once the wood stove got properly going it really kicked out some heat, and I cooked up some smokies which we ate in front of the fire, staring at the flames. There’s something seriously hypnotic and therapeutic about fire, it’s one of my favourite things. We tried closing the door to see what is was like but it just wasn’t the same, our natural TV had been turned off and we missed it. We got in to the tent around 10pm and I wrote my journal and read my book, before snuggling down and thinking to myself, ‘I LOVE MY NEW SLEEPING BAG!’
The good thing about a nice warm sleeping bag is that you sleep well; the bad thing about a nice warm sleeping bag is that you don’t wake up and don’t want to get out of it. This became apparent at 10.45am when I finally woke up. I don’t know what Ed’s excuse was, he still had his summer bag; my guess is laziness. I eventually got up and made some hot drinks and breakfast, while Ed got the fire going again.
I don’t know what was wrong with me but I was feeling decidedly lazy and unmotivated, so I sat down by the fire and read my book. I eventually summoned up some motivation and made some hot smokie and cheese rolls for Ed and a chicken one for me, before starting to pack up the tent. I think we’d been stopped for so long that we’d become lazy, we just needed to get back in to the swing of things. While I was busy packing up our stuff, Ed was busy fitting my new LED’s; they’re awesome! I was now much happier in the knowledge that I could be seen, especially as winter was closing in fast.
By the time we’d got packed up and ready to go it’d just gone 3pm. ‘Oh well, at least we’ve left Whitehorse!’ I said with a grin. ‘Progress’.
The roads were now ice free, so we made pretty good ground that afternoon, stopping only to fuel up and take a leak.
The roads were pretty standard, lined with trees and fairly flat, with the odd big lake here and there. We eventually made it to Jake’s corner, which comprised of lots of closed buildings and a little fuel hut. The guy serving us was nice enough, but started questioning us about travelling with the chances of snow. ‘Well you can’t ride in two foot of snow’, he said, ‘Well if a car or truck has been through then we can get through’ Ed happily pointed out. ‘Hmmm’ the man replied. We continued on our way and the cold started to set in. My body was ok, just chilled, but my feet were like blocks of ice. Normal leather motorcycle boots aren’t designed for freezing temperatures, and I was very aware of that at that particular moment, as my left foot began to hurt. Luckily for me though this happened just as we reached Johnson’s Crossing, which to my relief was open.
We hastily went inside; to warm up, drink tea, and eat cake. At that point in time three of my favourite things. By the time we’d warmed up it was getting dark, so we decided to camp there for the night. It was $10 a night but at least there was somewhere warm to go in the morning, and that justified it for me. We went and put the tent up around 7pm, and I made some hot chicken rolls out of the leftovers. It was at that point that the owner drove past, and stopped to see how we were doing. I said we were just making some dinner, and he said ‘We’ve got dinner in there, it would have saved you cooking!’ We agreed but pointed out that we couldn’t afford it, to which he replied, ‘We could have sorted something cut price for you. Come in in the morning and we’ll sort you out some discounted breakfast’. Brilliant! He drove off, parked out the front and went inside, before reappearing a few minutes later with two hot bowls of chicken noodle soup and some rolls and butter on a tray. Amazing! It was so kind and thoughtful of him, and it really hit the spot. It was delicious.
After licking the bowl and getting every last dreg, we packed everything up and got in the tent, warming our sleeping bags up nicely with chicken noodle powered heat. I wondered what tomorrow would have in store for us, and fell asleep around 11pm as snow started to fall and land on the tent; Ed commented that it sounded like loads of little ants running over crisp (chip) packets. I particularly liked that.
The alarm went off at 7.30am and we amazingly managed to get up at 8am; See, miracles do happen! We were only able to achieve that however by the fact that we had somewhere warm to go with food and hot drinks. I didn’t sleep too badly but I woke in the middle of the night convinced I could hear paws of some sort walking around the tent. Ed also woke up because he thought he could hear something getting in to the top box, but on further inspection he discovered it was snow sliding off the roof of a building. There was snow everywhere, and the pumpkin had his hat on…
We went inside and had some tea and coffee, happy in the warm. I told the server that I’d heard something outside walking round the tent, and he said it was probably rabbits; they have loads of them round there. Hmmm, fluffy rabbits. Not exactly the vicious, savage beasts I’d imagined. It’s amazing what your imagination can do sometimes. We hung out on the sofa and used the internet, and had breakfast around 10.30am, consisting of delicious French toast, eggs and bacon. It was so good, especially as he gave us a discount. Cheap or free food always tastes better for some reason. We dried our sleeping bags inside; mine always gets soaked where I press myself up against the tent, and went outside to pack everything up. ‘It’s a shame the sun’s gone in’ I said, to which Ed replied ‘And the wind’s picked up, and the temperatures dropped’…’I think we better go!’
We left about 1.45pm, an improvement on yesterday, and said goodbye to Frank as we left; the lovely man who brought us soup.
The road was just slush to begin with, but that soon turned to ice. I’d just stopped on the side of the road to take a photo, when in the distance I spotted something coming over the brow of the hill. As it got closer we discovered that it was a sidecar outfit! Its rider turned out to be a really lovely guy called Jorg, pronounced Yark. He said he thought he was the crazy one until he saw us.
He’d been riding down to California but had problems with the bike, so decided to turn round and ride back home to Tagish. He also had a travelling companion called Rachel, however his was of the canine variety. I commented that his Rachel was probably far more well trained and behaved than Ed’s one. I think Ed agreed.
We chatted for a while and took photos of each other’s steeds, before finally riding our separate ways. Jorg was brilliant, I liked him a lot.
As we continued on, Ed decided he wanted me to film him riding towards me, which entertained me greatly as he proceeded to fall off, much to my amusement.
The ice continued so I ended up riding in the snow on the hard shoulder, it was just the right depth to get traction, however concealed chunks of ice which would catch you out and send your back tyre sideways. Letting off the throttle usually did the trick, but it was still a bum clencher every time. We continued on when we saw a car in the ditch, with a lady stood by it. We went back to see if she was ok, and discovered that she’d been driving along when the car started sliding to one side, and before she knew it she was in the ditch, with all four tyres popped off!
It happened in such slow motion that the kids in the back had said ‘Mum, are we crashing?’ to which she replied ‘ I can’t believe you’re having a proper conversation right now!’ Luckily they were all ok and had enough blankets and supplies, and a truck driver had called the police on his radio as there was no cell service in the area. Once we were satisfied that she was ok and help was on its way, we went on our way. The road was so slidey that turning around was interesting, and I very nearly lost it myself! But the road eventually cleared and we soon found ourselves in Teslin, where we stopped for fuel and a warm up. Just as we were walking in a lady said, ‘I hope you’re not going far on those!’ I said ‘What, today or generally?’ She said ‘Generally’, I said ‘We’re going to Argentina’. The look on her face was priceless.