and Gentlemen, welcome to the Burwash Lodge, Yukon Territory,
Canada. It’s Friday, 18th of August, we’re about to have fresh
trout out of the Lake in front of us, the beer is cold, so’s
the weather, the mosquitoes are almost as large as the table
I am writing on, and generally speaking, everything is good.
Luxembourg was a strenuous affair since the process of saying
Good Bye started on Saturday 4th of August, the actual departure
being on Thursday 10th. After the formal Goodbye party which
lasted from Saturday till Sunday evening, there were several
more festivities, our family and friends obviously having
decided that they wouldn’t make it easy on us. This is a good
place to say once more to everyone, Thank You for everything,
the support, the friendship and the Pinot noir.
final days were very busy assembling final paperwork and equipment
and studying with manic mechanic Charel from LUXMASCHINN to
learn the difference between the rear end and the front end
of the bike. (Thanks, Charel, so far we only had to check
the fluids, change the brake pads and tighten the chain).
RTL Luxembourg did a TV report on the trip that finally made
us the celebrities we clearly deserve to be - thanks to Christine.
left Luxembourg on a direct cargo flight to Fairbanks with
the bikes on the same plane. A final thanks goes to CARGOLUX
for making our lives so much easier by providing that service.
After sleeping through most of the flight, we arrived in Fairbanks
an hour earlier than we had left Luxembourg, got the bikes
out of customs in under an hour, and we were on our way.
to jetlag we were up amazingly early (5 am!) on Friday, so
we headed straight for the Arctic Circle, about 320 kilometers
north from Fairbanks. Huhu, it was cold and rainy and the
dirt road leading to the Arctic Circle felt very slippery
for pavement-perverted riders like us. We got used to it pretty
quick though, and ended our first day of riding with a total
distance of 420 kilometers, 350 of which were dirt roads.
After that, we stayed a couple of days in Fairbanks, then
headed south to Mt. McKinley National Park which we visited
shortly before taking another dirt road east. That road, the
Denali Highway, was absolutely spectacular, especially because
the weather had finally become decent. We have a lot of pictures
to prove this claim. It was cold during the night, - 6C, quite
a refreshing temperature for camping.
following days found us in Glennallen, then Tok where we were
extremely well-received, an experience that has been consistent
throughout this first week. The Alaskans have been extremely
pleasant and helpful, with a very special sense of humour.
We stopped for a snack at a typical roadside café/gas station/
motel or “rat camp” as the locals say and chatted with the
owner who told us that her first husband had gone down with
a plane while they were living in the bush. But since she
had another one (a plane, that is) all she had to do was place
an ad “ Widow with airplane looking for man with pilot licence”.
It worked. Tough people and very much at ease with their environment.
camps, by the way, are essentially construction site containers
set on gravel lots along the highway. The containers are divided
into bedrooms with bathrooms down the hall, priced an easy
100 USD a night.
roadside café owner sang cowboy songs and yodled for us as
we ate his chili.
From Tok, we drove into the Yukon Territory, riding the Alaska
Highway which we will travel down for the next few days. Depending
on the weather, we might take dirt roads (the Cassiar Highway)
part of the way, since we have developed a bit of a taste
for slipping and sliding around on gravel roads. So far we
have done almost 2000 kilometers, most of them in rather rainy
weather and there’s no improvement in sight. Well, at least
the rain keeps the mosquitoes down and the riding nice and
slippery. Quite a few more kilometers still to go, so stay
Ellen and Manou.