Tuesday, 25 June 2013

189 Chicken, Tok and Fairbanks.

Sunday 23rd June 2013 Miles Today 175  Total   9942  

We had been advised by the hotel staff to go and visit the Midnight Sun Dome. This was a hill behind Dawson where in 1901 hundreds of people went up the hill, on the solstice, to see the midnight sun. However as they were too far south by about 4 degrees, the sun set at 11:30pm. The hill still got its name despite the lack of sun. The views from here were however, magnificent. 

Looking down on Dawson City

A view of the Klondike river and all the mining devastation.

Grumpy and Wallace

We drove back down the hill and intending to buy a bigger tent we drove along the river front an we found, parked outside a cafe, three more Super Tenere's, just like Wallace. I insisted we stopped for some breakfast and coffee. We got talking to the riders and later discovered that two of them were pilots.

What is the collective name for a group of Tenere's.

A proper wild west town

After brekkie, we went into a nearby shop and bought a larger tent. It weighed a fair bit more than the old one but we could at least stand up in it and hide from the mosquitoes. We asked the girl who sold it to us if we could dispose of the old (albeit hardly used) tent and she asked if she could have it for herself. Naturally the answer was yes as we could not carry two and aside from fruitlessly looking for a buyer, it was going in the bin. She was a happy little girl.
We the set off, armed with out new tent, for the ferry to take us across the Yukon (again). It is a small government owned free one. 

The ferry was a bit rocky so Karen held Wallace while I took piccys.

As we rode off the ramp of the ferry onto the dirt we were now on ‘The top of the World Highway’. It was magnificent. We then had just over 100 miles of dirt road ahead of us before we hit the customs post of Alaskan, America. This time we here on the top of the hills instead of being in the valleys below and beside rivers. The views were brilliant.

100 miles of this....Yeehaa
Looking down on one of the creeks.

We entered Alaska through the remote border post and on chatting to the Immigration/customs officer, he too was looking forward to retirement next year. He actually lived in the Government house adjacent to the post. He is the only person for miles around. To compensate, he gets a good wage and $100 a day subsistence. 

A proper photo of the Alaskan border.

We also lost another hour at this border and are now 9 hours behind the UK.
We then came upon a road junction and the sign just made us laugh....  choices  choices 

Eagle, Chicken. Chicken, Eagle.. Hmmmm

We opted for Chicken, actually Eagle was a dead end so we knew where we were going really. So on to Chicken. This is a mad little village that was one of the boom and bust places of the gold rush era and the story goes that it got its name from the Ptarmigan bird that frequents the area (like the one in Scotland) but they could not agree how to spell it so came up with Chicken instead. 

The Village of Chicken

This local guy was taking no chances...

Check out the AR15 assault rifle on this guys back. And his dog just getting on too.

One of the huge mining machines.

After leaving Chicken the road changed back to tarmac. More fun for Karen, less fun for me.
We see for hundreds of miles, and probably millions of acres, that the trees were dying. We had been told previously that this was due to the ‘Pine Beetle’. Sadly the effect was devastating and the only way to cure it was to burn the whole forest, a daunting prospect the on occasion, mother nature has a hand in (lightning strikes).

Dead pine trees everywhere. The deciduous trees are now taking over.

A closer look.

Karen spotted this beast that crossed the road in front of us. Moose are huge and this photo does not do justice to the scale of it. it was about 7 foot to the shoulder.

A huge Moose crossing our path.

Another Hundred miles and we arrived in the next village of Tok. Tok is an odd place and everyone that does not fly into Alaska has no option but to drive to drive through it. Hence it is a sort of hub where you can get virtually anything you want in only a few sprawling shops. The good thing is that the camp site is a good one with wood shavings placed on the tent sites to make them more comfortable. The other good thing is that we met up with the other boys on the Wallace look alike bikes and we had a great night talking rubbish and giving a few beers. Sadly it did not get dark so we mentally thought it was about 8pm from 8pm to 1am and sort of, forgot to go to bed. 

The moon taken at around midnight.

Monday 24th June 2913 Miles Today 210  Total  10152

We were now back on the Alaska Highway and it is a 200 mile hop to Fairbanks, the weather was starting to get unusually hot for this area, 28 deg C. This was Alaska, it is supposed to be cold. The heat inside our jackets was searing and we had to keep moving to cool down. We crossed the river Tanana and decided to stop for some lunch and a few piccys. It was beautiful.

Beside the Tanana River.

The Denali mountain range in the background.

It was then back on the road and the village before Fairbanks was called ‘North Pole’. Guess what that meant. Father Christmas, what else.

Santa Claus house. Doh !

And of course, Santa himself. How he gets down the chimney is a mystery to me.

We rolled into Fairbanks and went in search of the only campsite in town. It was crap with the only facilities being a table, a toilet and a tap. Karen was not amused.
We went out for some provisions and a bite to eat and then retired to an early night,  going to bed at the real 8pm.


  1. Chicken and the Top of the World Highway, I loved that part of the trip.
    Here's my entries on my blog:

  2. We loved that part of the trip too. And I just read the posts you put on above and noticed that you have or had a Harley. Please ignore my previous comments about not liking Harleys, I think they are great....not ;-0

    1. Never owned a Harley, you saw the pictures, I have a black Super Tenere. I rented a Harley once in Las Vegas.

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