Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alaska Ride, Day 18

Mike sent me a text to say that he and Paul would still be another full day away from joining me in Whitehorse, which for me meant figuring out what else to do here. Whitehorse is a cool town don't get me wrong, but I'm already anxious to get going.

Actually, I could get going, and a few days ago that was my thought, to get going on my own. But hearing Mike say his plans still definitely include Icefields Parkway and Banff National Park, it made sense to wait for them.

Today being Canada Day, most places here in Whitehorse are closed, making it more difficult for me to find something to do. There are not all that many roads here to ride. Well, there are actually roads. But nothing here that is fun to ride. All the roads here are mostly straight, and the curves here are so wide they're not worth identifying as curves.

I remember a couple days ago talking to some locals at the Harley dealer in Whitehorse, who said they enjoy doing the ride into Skagway in about 45 minutes, which means riding it at 100mph or more, which actually seems plausible considering how straight the road is. Except, that last 30 miles of tighter road down into Skagway would definitely slow them down.

But anyways, Canada Day is similar to Independence Day in the USA. Before July 1, 1867, there were three provinces here, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada. But on that day, Great Britain decided to merge them together formed a unified "Canada". Yet still Canada was not independent; it was still a dominion of UK.

However over the years, the UK slowly released bits and pieces of control until finally on April 17, 1982, Canada was fully independent.

So here in Canada, the people think of "Canada Day" as the day when Canada was born, as opposed to an "independence day". But in the United States, we think of our day as "Independence Day", the day we declared ourselves free of British rule. Canada won their independence through peaceful means, while America won it through a long bloody battle.

But apparently, there's some discussion here in the Great North that Canada Day should be renamed to something more meaningful such as "Independence Day". Although technically Canada didn't become independent on July 1. It was simply the day they were formed. But if you ask me, I think "Canada Day" is more politically correct. "Independence Day" would suggest something of a more violent past.

Unfortunately, most places in Canada don't use fireworks to celebrate Canada Day. It seems up here, it doesn't get dark enough for it. But what they do have in Whitehorse is the rubber duck race. I didn't participate however, because they wanted $15.00 for the right to toss in a rubber duck.

As for the ride today, it wasn't very long. I traveled only 30 miles. I rode north to Takhini Hot Springs, and pitched a tent for the night.

Only a 1/4 mile away is Bean North Coffee, a little coffee roasting business nestled inside the woods. I stopped in for a drink. Bean North has been around for about 14 years, a part of the Cooperative Coffees, a cooperative of 24 coffee roasters dedicated to fairly traded coffee beans. Bean North buys up coffee beans in tiny impoverished villages in South America, roast at this location near Takhini Hot Springs, then distribute it to stores around North America.

But only about 6 years ago they opened up this little cafe due to customer demand.

Coffee and cranberry muffin at Bean North Coffee

Also close by is he Yukon Wildlife Preserve. It's over 700 acres of land filled with animals indigenous to this area. For $15.00 you can walk a three mile trail through the preserve and see the animals.

So that's what I did.

As it turns out, they're not really wildlife. The animals are rather tame, and in fact, they don't even eat wild grasses and plants. They are fed pellets and hay by the employees. And as it turns out, each species of animal here is enclosed in its own enclosure, albeit the enclosures are large fields and expanses of rocky cliffs.

Yukon Wildlife Preserve, just north of Whitehorse, YT

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is in fact, just a zoo. But it's perhaps only one-step up from a zoo in that the animals have more land to roam.

But if you like to hike, it's good for that. At least you get to see a lot of animals for your exercise.

And with that, I rode back to the hot springs and took a dip.

The folks at Takhini Hot Springs don't make any of the bullshit health claims that Chena Hot Springs makes, but for me that only makes it better. I know it's just a heated pool, even though the water comes from inside the Earth's crust. It's just really nice to relax in a hot pool after a day of hiking or motorcycle riding, and I appreciate it more when people market it that way.

Well, I'm now back at Bean North Coffee, and this place is far more crowded than earlier in the day. They have free Internet access here too. But the places closes at 5:00pm, and I only have minutes to get this posted.

Bean North Coffee buys up coffee beans from South American villages,
then they roast it here at Takhini Hot Springs and distribute it elsewhere.

Bean North Coffee, Takhini Hot Springs, YT

Wood Bison grazing at Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Takhini Hot Springs

Rock Sheep, Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Takhini Hot Springs, YT

Arctic Fox, at Yukon Wildlife Preserve.
These guys walk up to you like happy little dogs.

Mountain Goats, Yukon Wildlife Preserve


  1. Awesome pics and posts. I am so looking forward to taking that trip.

  2. I'll be looking forward to reading your daily reports Motoroz!


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)