2 Jul 2014

There's a bear in Camp!

This rather large black bear wandered through our camp site and sat munching something on the river bank about 15 meters behind our tent. It watched (a group of) us watching and eventually got up and started too move towards us until someone clapped and it  turned, crossed the river and was off.

We can now add to our list of new animals, Chipmunk (I forgot that one before), 2 Beavers fishing and a Porcupine (crossing The Top of the World Highway, the latter should have been caught on the Go Pro but I haven't checked yet.

We eventually stopped for 2 days in Dawson City (the gold rush town) for 2 whole days without driving!. The first to wash the vehicle (which was seriously filthy), during which we heard hissing, our second puncture, but this one I fixed myself with a plug. Plus changed the front brake pads which were down to the rivets. Then took off the bikes and after thoroughly cleaning mine (it was hardly recognizable as a bike never mind what colour it was) we went into town and liked it so much we stayed another day (both days well over 30 degrees until at least 8 pm). It has a real wild west feel to it, with dirt roads, board walks and false fronted buildings, some original and others rebuilt as original (at least as original as they were when they were re-built after a fire that destroyed all except the undertakers shop in the early 1900's.

There are quite a few bars and restaurants, all with a piano, many being played, some banging out the old honky tonk, but others playing some really good classical pieces, it was not difficult to imagine Sarah sat behind one of them, with her pint on the top! In fact there is quite a large College of Arts there, so a lot of young people, both at College and working. They have a big music festival each year in July and the guy that led us on a walking tour on the eve of our second day came for the festival in 2003 and never went home!

That first night Chris was tired and went to bed, but I went to the Tavern bar to watch a superb local band. I would certainly recommend the music festival to anyone who could make it, but it is a long trek!

If anyone remembers our plan (or even knew what it  in the first place) we have changed it! We decided yesterday to head South down to Anchorage and Homer, before heading up to Fairbanks and the Dalton Highway (if the forecast is better than it was yesterday). There are a number of places we want to stay for a few days, so makes sense to have a break before we take on another 1000 miles of  bad roads.

After an excellent 2 days in Dawson, we had a cloudy day crossing into Alaska yesterday but the cloud was high enough to see the incredible view from the Top of the World Highway. Once into Alaska the road was really rough for miles. when we do get onto a nice smooth bit of tarmac we get a blow out! Not a slow puncture this time but a full scale blow, ripping the tyre wall and popping the valve. I have already changed 3 from the Mongolia set, I think it is time to change the rest.

After a wet night last night and drizzle as we packed this morning the rain has got heavier all day and we are now staying in a little log cabin, marginally bigger than the roof tent about 200 miles from Anchorage. I believe the forecast is good tomorrow so we wanted to stop before we hit the really good scenery about 25 miles down the road.

Hopefully the updates will be a bit more frequent now as I suspect we will have plenty to update over the next few weeks, internet permitting of course.

And as we left Dawson we went to see the dredger which has been restored in the position it was abandoned after it had worked for 48 years dredging up a fortune in gold.

And a few more from the Arctic, the first taken at our camp 50 miles inside the Arctic Circle at 15 minutes before midnight!

And Good night from our little log cabin (at 23.15!)

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