RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Solo Beyond the Northern Hinterlands: Return to the Richardson, I am Not a Pussy, The Jaws of Death and A Canadian Para glider Champion

The following email account describes this part of the trip best (complete with spelling and grammatical errors).

Return to the Richardson, I am Not a Pussy, The Jaws of Death and A Canadian Para glider Champion
From: Grizz Lee <>
Date: Sun, Jul 19, 2015 at 10:49 PM
Subject: Return to the Richardson, I am Not a Pussy, The Jaws of Death and A Canadian Para glider Champion

I left Fairbanks with a new rear tire. The ride out to Delta Junction was very pleasant and warm. I even captured video footage of a very young moose. I am almost thinking that its mom, must have been killed. It was hanging near the AlCan Hwy grazing, and wouldn’t venture far from it.  It seemed to be a bit confused.
Near Delta Jct

Back on the Richardson

Much better views the second time around
In any event, I was planning on returning to Tok by days end. The weather was so nice that decided to travel the Richardson Hwy and see if I could experience it without the rain. It was a 300 mile detour, but I figured that I am already here … why the heck not. Unfortunately it did rain past Summit Lake, but the road prior to that was wonderful. I caught glimpses of the Alaska Range on some of the bigger mountains sporting huge glaciers. Beyond Summit Lake to GlennAllen was miserable. Lots of rain and the road was hard to ride because of the huge frost heaves. This was not a road to be speeding on while riding a bike. It would be easy to get airborne and lose control.
This is the views I missed before

Lunch stop

Look closely, is it me, or does this glaciated peak look like it is smiling?

Taking a much needed break
Late in the day, I arrived in Tok, Ak and stopped in at Fast Eddies again for the all-you-can-eat salad bar. Fresh veggies up north are a real treat. While I was there, the two German gentlemen I met earlier showed up. We caught up and re-canted our travels and experiences. At evenings end we retreated to the Eagle Claw Motorcycle Campground. Eagle Claw is awesome. They cater specifically to motorcycle riders. In addition to the regular tent sites, it features a Teepee, Canvas Tent, Ambulance, Old School Bus and Small Cabins set up to accommodate overnight travelers to stay in. In addition, they have a steam bath… It was nice to take a steam with water poured over hot fired rocks. Very therapeutic and relaxing.  The owner of the place is a woman who is a long time Harley Rider. So she understands the quirks and need sof riders. She gave all guests a sticker for their bikes that stated “I am no a Pussy, I stayed at the Eagle Claw Motorcycle Camp in Tok”. I proudly display it on my helmet.
Alcan hwy, I pull off and check the route I did years before.

Freshly painted sign. Looks nice

Riding along Kluane Lake

That is glacial dust

Getting closer to Slims river

The silt was really mixing it up with the blue lake water

Windy as heck

I rode through this silty dust storm

Paint's Mountain
From there I rode towards Haines Junction. Incidentally, I met up with the Germans again at a AlCan Hwy Construction stop. We were in stop and go conditions following a pilot car for about an hour. I guess Claus’s bike couldn’t take it anymore and his bike, a KTM 950, overheated. I offered to stay and help, but there was nothing to do but wait and let the engine cool off.  Fill, the radiator and then move on. Later on in the evening, near Slims River in Kluane, they passed me, giving me the thumbs up … all was good. As I approached Slims River in Kluane park the wind became very violent and was blowing glacial silt out across the hwy and into Kluane lake. It was a sight to see, and even more interesting to ride through. I muscled through the wind and saw that it was raining towards the south. No way would I enjoy Haines. Bummer. I made camp at Pine Lake just outside of Haines Junction.
Pine Lake

Side trip to Grey Mountain outside of Whitehorse

Stupendous views

The true summit is about a 30 minute hike from where the road ends

Looking down onto Whitehorse
The next day I rode to Whitehorse and took a side trip up to the Grey mountain mountain lookout. Grey mountain offers tremendous 360 degree views of the area around Whitehorse. The road can be a little rough getting to the top. I would dare say that a non-dual sport bike would have a very hard time getting up there as it is steep and at times, nearly a 4x4 track (lots of rocks). Not a road I would go on if it was wet.
The Yukon River

Marsh lake as seen from Grey Mtn outside of Whitehorse

What the?? This work of art can be found in Whitehorse on someones front lawn
Afterwards, I met up with my good friend Shawn. Shawn was an incredible host, makes great food and offered to take me down the Takhini River on a white water Canoe trip. The next day we drove out to Kusawa Lake and put a canoe in at the start of the river. The trip was pretty mellow with stop for lunch, made a fire and enjoyed the incredible scenery.  However, Shawn kept talking about a set of rapids called the “Jaws of Death”. The more he talked about it, the more he got me concerned. He even stated that the river was high and therefore, the rapids would be more vicious. He did say that many experienced paddlers called the rapids “The Gums of Worry”. After a couple more hours of paddling we passed the rock garden and approached the “Jaws”. We beached and looked at the route. It was pretty hairy. But we picked a path and said that we’d stick to it. Nervously, I got back into the canoe and we headed straight into the Jaws, hoping not to flip in the cold glacier water … brrrrr!!!  After 30 seconds of hard paddling and adrenaline, I was happy to say that we survived. We kept the boat straight and on the desired line through the rapids. I am glad to say that I survived the Jaws of Death.  Cold beers at the local grill were gladly consumed afterwards.
Shawn's method of travel after a long para glide flight

Fun with animals in Teslin
To top off my stay in Whitehorse, Shawn was heading out towards a place called “Jakes Corner” to paraglide. Asked if I would ferry his car for him. Absolutely, I said. A little bit of background about Shawn here. Is a an avid paraglider. A real pro, the best I will probably ever meet. His flying resume is impressive. He currently holds the Yukon and the Canadian Para Gliding Distance records. After a 50 minute drive we were at the destination… an old mining road. It is a pretty rough road, a 4x4 track that he takes his Subaru right up. I am impressed. We arrive and Shawn prepares for his flight. But first, he shows me the sign he made. It is a sign that he uses often to find rides back to his car after the flights are complete. For him, this is a normal occurrence. He often hitches several kilometers back to his car… or, as was the case of his record flight over 245 kms back to his car and his house in Whitehorse.

Today, I find myself at the Air Force Lodge in Watson Lake. I rode through 2 very heavy showers and was looking south on the Cassiar Hwy where I noticed dark, ominous clouds. Not quit dry, I whimped out for a motel room.

Tomorrow I begin my trip back down the Cassiar Hwy.  One of my favorite hwys in the north.

Until next time....

1 comment:

  1. Vanessa is the gal from Tok! I gotta get me one of those stickers.

    And, yeah....Fast Eddie's has one heckuva salad bar.

    Nice write-up.