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Leaving Whitehorse for Skagway with Rob Ungless

Randy, Nancy, and Rob in front of Klondike Sternwheeler in Whitehorse
Our friend Rob Ungless flew in from Vancouver to join us for the Skagway-Juneau-Haines Alaska loop. We met Rob two years ago in the San Juan Islands (on a cycling trip) and we've kept in touch - he took us up on our offer to all of you to join us for any part of the trip. You're all welcome! You can ask Rob whether it's safe or not.

Here we are in front of a Whitehorse landmark, the Klondike steamer. It's much larger than the one we saw in Dawson, and it ran the river from here to Dawson.

Sternwheel Steamer Graveyard

Oliver at boat graveyard
In Dawson, just downstream of the campground, there's an overgrown path to the old graveyard for the many, many steamboats that died on this river.

This picture is taken near midnight, just for perspective - maybe after midnight. This is our friend Oliver in the cabin of one of the old steamers.

Klondike Country - the Keno Paddlewheeler

Keno paddle boat
From Dawson to Whitehorse to Skagway we've been in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush country, hearing and breathing the story of the great stampede of 1898.

What's amazing to me is that sternwheeler steamboats plied the Yukon until 1956! That's after I was born. It was really the only way to get to Dawson until the highway was built in 1953. Dawson is an isolated place.

And the next step of amazing is that the steamboats served the entire Yukon: 2000 miles from Whitehorse to the Bering Sea. Every time we pass the Yukon or a tributary (like the Eagle, which we crossed on the Dempster) I want to get in a canoe and float to the sea. It would take a long time!

Rosie around the World

Rosie running
We have met many people that make our little trip look pretty insignificant - Meet Rosie! She has run (self-supported) two thirds of the way around the world so far, starting in Europe, crossing all of Russia, and across Alaska in the dead of winter. We sat down and had a cup of coffee with her on her bearskin rug on the side of the road. What a delightful person! (Note that Rosie sailed around the world with her infant son and her husband 35 years ago - she's not new to this sort of thing!)

Using a bear-proof trash can as a bear cache/bear cannister

Nancy demonstating food loading into trash container
Throughout the Dempster and the Yukon every campground and pullout and rest stop has had the same type of bear-proof garbage container. As a touring cyclist, you should know that you can open the back of these up and just put your food in them for a night - it's much easier than hanging it from a tree. This picture shows Nancy opening the back of the container. Note that the garbage is nicely separated from your foot by the trash bags.

In Juneau - and links to Klondike + Juneau PIctures

We've had three great days in Juneau after riding down to Skagway from Whitehorse and taking the ferry to Juneau. The first day was stunningly sunny and blue, but now we're getting the real Juneau - cloudy and drizzly.
And here are some new pictures from the most recent two legs of the trip:

Delightful trip to Whitehorse

We made it to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon. We had a great trip - some new friends, some rain, some sun. A bit slower than we had expected.

When we rode into Whitehorse we saw the first traffic light of the trip. We've been almost 800 miles without seeing a traffic light! Where can you do that?

Today our friend Rob Ungless is flying in from Vancouver and we're going to ride down to the sea and visit southeast Alaska. I don't expect to be able to post anything more for a few days, but hopefully we can get you some pictures of the wonderful Klondike and Yukon area.

Bike Touring The Dempster Highway - Our Report

Since we did the Dempster from Inuvik to Dawson City this summer (2006) I thought I'd write some notes about the trip for other cyclists. If you have additional notes, please add your comments to this page.
  • Resources
    • The Milepost is essential. Copy or rip out the section about the Dempster and you'll know where every pullout and campground is.
    • Alys and Pete's book Alaska Bicycle Touring Guide is getting mighty old, but it's the only place you can find out where water is available. That's something that matters to a cyclist and not to most other travelers.
    • Journals from other riders who did the Dempster: Jeff Kruys (2006), Murray Snyder (2006), Mike Vermuelen (1996)
  • Things you'll need
    • Mosquito headnet (or full body suit) and repellent. Mostly we liked the headnet instead of repellent.
    • Bear Cache/Cannister (or see our note on using garbage cans as a cache)
    • Eye protection - lots of dust and things flying.
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