Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Where you say, look at a map I say. Yeah, I don't know much about or ever remember learning about the Yukon Territory. Got a quick lesson though as soon I got here. Made the stupid decision to ask if my Mountain Dew which cost $2.50 was in American or Canadian. The clerk quickly replied, "Where are you, A?" Duh, of course it's Canadian. My next question was, what is the exchange rate? Another quit reply, "I don't know!" Welcome to Yukon, Yanky!

Left Haines on Sunday right after the state fair. Made friends with the Kirby Vacuum cleaner salesman that was driving back to Anchorage after the fair. He told me he would give me a ride to Tok, which is 200 miles from Fairbanks. Which was my original plan. I ended up getting a ride over the border and 140 miles to Haines Junction. It was a beautiful road, but I'm definitely glad I took the ride. There were no services for that whole distance pretty much.

A few mentionables. The fact we were sucking fumes the whole ride. Second was the border crossing. We get there and are waiting in line. I feel so bad for Jim whom I'm driving with. My feet smell worse than the hippie girl that was dancing next to me at the state fair. This hip hop band came on and kept saying put your hands in the air. Every time she put her hands in the air I would almost puke or pass out. She STANK! It smelt like beef jerky gone rotten. There was a whole tribe of pungent spinning dancers but she took the cake. Back to my feet. At the crossing which was only 40 miles from Haines I decided to take off the sandals, my keen riding shoes and put on my new kicks. Had to buy sneakers in Juneau because my feet were killing me. Not only my Achilles which is still healing but the lack of support that those keens don't provide after wearing them everyday for over 2 months. Can't say enough about good shoes, it's like having a good bed.

Ok, took care of the fungusamongus. Still waiting to cross the border I'm waiting to see how this is going to go down. The last time I crossed into Canada I didn't need a passport and had no problems. Great we pull up to the crossing and it's a female Canadian border agent. She asked where we are from. Jim tells her Anchorage or Eagle Creek wherever he lives. I tell her NYC. She asked what we have in the Van. Also if we have more than 10K in cash. I was concerned that I was going to get my bear spray confiscated. Not allowed to bring weapons across the border. She did ask if we have any weapons as well. Jim told her he just had some vacuums. She took our passports and asked how we knew each other. He told her we met at the fair and he was just giving me a ride to Haines Junction. She took the passports and went into her little station.

At this point there are quite a few cars lining up behind us. Jeesh, border crossings! Jim and I shooting the shit and she's taking her time. She finally comes back out and starts asking me questions from the drivers side window. Starts asking about my plans up in Canada. How much money do I have on me. She said, "do you have money for food.?" "Do you have credit cards with you?" Literally the questions she asked me. I asked if she was concerned for my well being and she just said she was doing her job. Then let us on our merry way. Interesting experience none the less.

Then a few miles after that I peer over to the gas gauge. Notice that we have less than a quarter tank and a 100 miles to go. Oops, we're in the Yukon, 130 Kilometers. Jim, let's out a big, "A shit!" He totally spaced on it. We asked somebody that was on the side of the road if there was a gas station in the distance, he had no clue. We didn't want to have to turn all the way around and cross the border again. So we gambled. He was a bit antsy and still had quite a bit of driving to do after my departure. Of course we don't want to talk and dwell on the fact that we're going to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. He sees a camper ahead and speeds up. What he thought was a gas can on the back was a spare tire. I really didn't care either way, I was in it for the long haul. If I had to bike and get gas so be it. I'm sure we see something or somebody would come by with gas if we ran out. Nothing, still no sign of civilization. A forestry compound with nobody around because it was Sunday. Just signs telling us we were getting closer and closer to Haines Junction. Mind you, I usually have an idea of what my vehicle is capable of. When I asked Jim how many gallons was his tank. How many miles do you usually get on a tank, he didn't know. He just said he usually puts about $70 in and it's still isn't full.

Coasting down the hills whilst not putting his foot on the gas, we made it. Pulled into Haines Junction literally sucking on fumes. He filled up as I took my bike out. We are in the middle of no where. Said our good byes and I was on my own in the middle of the Yukon. That's when I ran into that nice lady who sold me the mountain dew. Thought about getting a hotel since it had been so long since I've stayed at one. A bunch of shitholes that cost too much money if you ask me. So had a burger and asked the girl who worked there about camping. She told me 5k down the road was Pine Lake Campground. That's what I did. Ate the burger and headed out.

Great campground right in the heart of the Yukon. Still don't know what the conversion rate is. The cost for camping was $12. How much is that in American? So I took an envelope and toured the campground which is what you do. Find a camping site, leave your stuff then come back and pay. Go back and set up camp. As I was biking around there was a large group of folks and one of them muddled, "Long Haul Ryan." JK....he said Long Haul Trucker. I kept biking around the campground and then went back to their site. He walked over and we started talking. His name is Anthony and he works for AMG, Alaska Mountain Guides out of Haines. He had bought a LHT thinking he was going to do a tour and then sold it. He had just come off a 24 day river trip with this group of folks. Started talking about how cool Haines is and how the fair was. They were all upset they missed it. I told them it wasn't very good, which was an outright lie to make them feel better. Then we had a quick chuckle. Yeah, so what I chuckle!

Ended up camping on the periperhy of their site on their dime. Sort of stealth camping or stealing, you decide. It was their last night as a group together and they wanted some alone time. It was an attractive group of people that was evenly mixed of guys and girls. Looks like it would be fun to do one of those adventures, either with them or NOLS. Who I've also seen here in the YUKON. If you don't know what NOLS is, look them up or don't. I heard them leaving in the morning but didn't want to get out the tent yet. They were really nice and left two power bars on my rear rack.

Yuck, I've been off the bike for about 2 weeks and have a 100 mile day ahead of me. Wha, I want to cry at this point. The road to Whitehorse was Boring. There were signs all over for, watch out for moose and elk. Didn't see a dam thing. Actually turned around to see what was coming behind me a few times. It was either big rigs, RV's, pick ups or small cars. Two times when I saw pick ups I put my thumb out. This is the first time I've ever done this. It felt so foreign. Both times they blew right by. 15 miles, 25 miles, 30 miles my GPS goes dead. Shoot, now I can't even keep track of how far I've gone or have to go. Oh well, just keep peddling. For me if it's a 100 mile day I feel good after 50 miles. Ya know, knock the first 50 out and then it's 50 to go. Sure if there's stuff to see and it's nice road of course. Oh boy, did I pick a day and a road to restart my trip. Just about half way through I found a rest area. Ended up taking a nap in the blaring sun. It felt good, hadn't been in the sun like that for weeks. A few RV's pulled in. Luckily too, because I was just about out of water. Yeah, off the bike trip mode for 2 weeks and I forgot to fill my bottles 30 miles back when I had the chance. Fortunately I was able to fill two bottles from this nice family in the RV.

These two other couples pulled up and start giving me the 3rd degree. Where you biking too? Where did you start? When do you finish? ARGH....leave me alone already! But they have vehicles. Maybe this can be my 50 mile support vehicle to Whitehorse. Just had a civil conversation and I biked off into the sun. I can do this on my own. So there I was, half way through the day with some new sun on my face and two bottles of water to get me through. 70KM to Whitehorse, 40KM to Whitehorse and then welcome Whitehorse. Just keep going, your not there yet. It was the farthest from town welcome sign that I've come across. That sign is about 10 miles out of town. Finally a gas station. Mountain Dew please. The guy was real nice and gave me a map of town and told me about some camping. I was planning on staying at a youth hostel called Beez Neez! Don't know why I insist on calling a "Youth" hostel instead of just hostel.

Wow, I have reception again. Yeah no reception once I got a few miles out of Haines. There were a few text and one from a girl I met at the fair. She's a nurse here in Whitehorse and was there with a bunch of other nurses and her friend from Nova Scotia who was visiting. They left abruptly do to some medical stuff Saturday morning and she wanted to apologize for not getting the chance to say good bye! Texted her right back and told her I was in Whitehorse. My plan was to head to the hostel when she invited me to stay with her. Sure, what's your address. She's really cool, her name is Aubyn. Her and her roommate are about to embark on their own one year adventure. They both just took a year off of work. It's fun talking to her about her plans. Always nice to be kicking it with a local too.

The night I arrived she had to go right to work from 8pm til 8am. So I was on my own. Ended up just hanging around town and going to the movies to see Inception. Then the next night her friend invited us over for dinner. We had to pick up some salsa and wraps for the bear we were going to eat. Yup, I ate black bear meat. When in the Yukon! So all and all a good time in the Yukon after my long boring ride that I didn't want to do. I'm glad no one picked me up when I put my thumb out. My figuring is, still have plenty of biking to do. Alaska and The Yukon were going to be my chill out spots. Have a 110 mile day ahead of me tomorrow to get to Skagway. At least I'll be back in the US of A. No offense to the Yukon or Canada, but you's nice to be on home turf.

If you made this far, thanks for reading. Guess I really want to write today. Once I start pedaling again I should be updating more frequently. I've been a bit discouraged though. Feel like no one is reading these and it's a waste of time. There's a handful of you out there that are, this is for you. Just would be nice to get more comments and hear from people. Feel like I'm completely out of touch with everyone. That's my pity party, thanks for coming. Til next time, see you down the road.


  1. I am reading! Glad to get an update. Say safe and hope to see you in CA!

  2. Ryan,This is a inspiring journey homey!

  3. I enjoy hearing about your adventures always interesting

  4. geez your so dramatic , finally a blogg , good to see you writing again and glad your well...... and i always read your blogg nice to hear what's going on in your travels .. be safe be well xoxo kat

  5. Ryan,

    I love your blogs. I was anxiously awaiting another. So glad to hear you are enjoying this wonderful adventure you are on.
    Take care. Stay safe. Have fun.

  6. How'd the bear taste?! Maybe that could be a new ball at The Meatball Shop! MMM.... BEAR BALLS!!

  7. BEAR MEAT!?! "When in the Yukon" - classic line.

    Don't get discouraged Ryan, your blog posts are really inspirational to a lot of us. So please keep it up!

    BTW where is my postcard?

  8. Ryan, Wow!! I didn't know you were a writer. You have my attention and I chuckled at a few of your adventures. You are quite a character and still a bit of a mystery to me. :) Keep writing my long lost friend. You're great at it.

  9. LOL!!! See everyone is reading along silly. I just got back from a crazy 2 week trip myself & that's why I haven't commented. South of France for a week for work, Colorado right after for a completely unconventional family wedding then Puerto Rico the following weekend for yet another wedding. It was bananas, I had a blast thou but I'm beat. Back to this gross New York weather, yuck!!!! When do you come home, Labor day?