All posts by ternst

Tent City

Following the eviction of my roommate Russell and I, we each went our seperate (but not equal) ways. Russell moved into his posh duplex in the valley and I moved into the migrant work camp outside of town.

I’ve really spruced up the place since this photo. Last night I added a pillow and a camp chair. Day before yesterday I bought a coleman lamp with all the nice accesories like a friction lighter and carrying case. I had to look high and low for one that ran on whitegas instead of batteries or propane and I finally found one at Western Auto, the best store in town.

Although it’s hard to see here, there a number of people with really cool setups that have lived here for months. This one has a hammock, stick railings, and really nice tarps. Some of the camps are more like cabins made from tarps, they even have wooden doors and frames. Others have platforms that stick out from the hillside, I’ll try to get better pictures.

My only complaint has been the paranoia with bears. My first night I awoke gun fire and occasional yelling. I hoped that it was a bear in camp, but layed as flat as I could for the rest of the night just in case it was a real gun fight. The following morning I made the mistake of rustling my tarp. The neighbor (the one I thought was doing the shooting) started yelling at me thinking I was a bear, what a way to get shot. I later found out that it was the camp host that was doing the late night shooting, as a bear was looking into the window of his trailer.
Last night I hung out with my neighbor who has plans to build, in his words “a really, really nice shack”. He’s got a 12volt deep cycle battery and a solar cell….some how he gets broadband access on the laptop he keeps in his tent. He’s got me thinking. Maybe someday I can have a really sweet shack of my own, for now I’m sticking with the tent.

The Yukon in a Weekend

Looking into more information on the Canol, I found this account of an alien abduction –alien abduction… damn, I must have gotten lucky.

Original Post –

Explore the Yukon in a weekend? Believe it or not, this was one of my better ideas.
Here’s the plan: (1) catch the ferry on Friday, (2) jump ship in Skagway, (3) explore the Canol pipeline road, and (4) get back to Juneau in time for work on Monday. No problem…sort of!

I left Juneau in a rush on Friday night and I thought I’d grab food in Canada. I got to Carcross at 8 am and find that all they have that doesn’t require cooking is Pilot Bread, sardines, vienna sausage, and canned ham. No problem, I’ll just get better food in the next town.

Allright, so no food in Tagish…maybe I’ll get some at Jakes Corner.

No decent food at Jakes Corners, so I got some gas and headed up the Canol.

No services, bullet holes, warning!!! This is my type of place! 226 km should be no problem with my nice 5 gal tank. Just hope there is actually an OPEN gas station at the end of that 226 km.

This road was really nice. Just like Nome Creek if the road kept going up the valley. I left my fly rod back in Juneau since I wasn’t going to get a Canadian license. There were so many beautiful rivers and lakes on this road, I was really beating myself up for not at least bringing line and hook, Canadian Mounted Police be damned.

This was a cool little cabin right above the river. The name of the cabin was “Toad Hall”, a reference to Wind in the Willows. I had to get a picture of this since mom used to read that one to my brother and me growing up.

This is the view from the cabin. This place looks like Montana, I can’t believe that I’m just a couple hundred miles from the South East. I’m just happy it’s warm and DRY.

The 226 km took me almost 5 hours, even though I averaged around 40 mph. That’s how much I stopped. I had to stop at every lake and creek and take it in, the weather being as close to perfect as it gets. I was happy to make it to Ross River, mostly because I needed gas. Plus, judging by the sign and the old military truck, this place had potential.

Here it is, the gas station. Guess what, it was closed. No “pay at the pump” here. I figured that I’d just setup camp here and get gas tomorrow.

But wait, tomorrow is Sunday. If this guy isn’t open Saturday afternoon, what’s the chance he’ll be open Sunday morning? Ross River started looking more like a ghost town the more I thought about. The color just kind of ran out of the place.
l pulled out my map to check out my options…looks like another town 70 km up the road…great! So I drive to the town of Faro, which happens to be 10 km off the road. This was my last chance for gas, since I didn’t think I had to enough to get back to Ross River. So I roll into the gas station and guess what? It was closed Saturday evening and all Sunday. Great, so I ask this guy what the deal was and he said that the guy who owns the store won’t open it just for me to fill my tank. Fine, “how far is it to the next town with gas?” I ask. “121 miles” he says….hard to make that kind of mileage on reserve.

So while I was crusing neighborhoods and boat docks for gas to steal, I found this sign. I nearly went over the handle bars! Who on earth would name their farm “Mount My Sheep”(sic)? Pure Canada. Maybe they’re just a bunch of innocents…or maybe not. At anyrate, I didn’t want to stick around to find out what was really going on, god forbid they had a “petting zoo”.

I didn’t find any unguarded fuel, so here’s a trick to get you a couple more miles down the road. Drain the gas to the side that drains to the carburetor.

I found a decent camping spot eventhough it was right on the road and slept for 11 hours. Got up early enough to be back in Ross River by 8 am.

Who would have thought, the gas station was still closed, but luckily they opened at 9 am. I played with some dogs and met some nice people. REAL nice people. In fact it’s the first town that I was offered sex while waiting at the gas station. Gee, these Canadains sure are nice folk.

Thad – If you ever had a chance, Ross River is it.

Mmmmm….more Pilot bread and canned mystery meat. If you haven’t experienced Pilot bread, I think it’s made by taking 13,000 saltine crackers and applying lots of pressure. Once all the saltines have taken on the form of one gigantic saltine, it is baked to make sure no moisture is left. Actually, they taste pretty good and I found them ideal for my lifestyle. I fell asleep while eating one for dinner and woke up with it still in one piece – not sure how many times I rolled over it. Needless to say, breakfast didn’t take much preparation that morning.

I checked out a couple cool towns on the way back, Carmacks and Whitehorse. Carmacks had homemade signs all over warning drug dealers that they don’t tolerate crack, should have gotten some pictures. Whitehorse looks really fun, but didn’t spend much time there. I’d like to go back with a mountain bike one of these days. On the way back to catch the ferry, I came across many nice lakes. Emerald lake was one. The calcium carbonate makes it look Caribbean-like.


Then I took another nap in the “worlds smallest desert”. I walked around for a while, but had to ride the dunes. I know, I know, but it was asking for it. It was all warm, and dry, and there was a trail that lead right into the thick of it. The trick to riding in sand is to keep accelerating and put your weight back. Of course thats fine and dandy, until your going 40 mph and still got a ways to go until you’re at the bottom of the hill. Fun!!

I had five or six hours to blow before the ferry left, so I went over to Dyea. I met some nice New Zealanders who were trying to fish for salmon with dry fly (parachute gnat). That was pretty funny and I picked out a better fly for them to use. They were in this cool van that ran on both propane and gasoline.

So Monday morning I got back into Juneau and headed to work a little late. So I’m still convinced that a motorcycle is the best way to explore the countryside. Great gas mileage (over 50 mpg), great view, and exposure should make motorcycling the very first thing you do when you get to a new area. That way you can scope out the best spots and check them out further by foot. Just my two cents.