I could not get out of the campground fast enough this morning, I don't really like mosquitoes. Rather than hit the road I headed back towards Whitehorse about half a mile to Moose Creek Lodge for todays installment on the Traditional Yukon Breakfast; it also was good and too big. Thereafter I hit the road to Dawson City. The weather was glorious. Bright sun with temperatures sometimes in the high 70s. So I was keen to get to Dawson City to gas up and then head up the Dempster Highway with the hope of getting to Eagle Plains; the first fuel stop on the Dempster and about half way to Inuvik.
The Dempster is paved for the first 400 yards as it crosses the Klondike River but thereafter turned into gravel and assorted other stuff.
As some readers will know I have only been riding a motorcycle for 4 years and in that time I have accumulated about 10,000 miles of experience almost all on paved surfaces. So my initial reaction to the gravel covered surface of the Dempster was something like whoo. Eventually I got accustomed to the bike skittering over the gravel and got quite adept at picking and avoiding the deeper patches of gravel.
The trip to Eagle Plains is broadly speaking in three stages. The first stage travels through a series of wide valleys where one gets marvelously expansive views of the surrounding hills and mountains. Stage two follows much narrower valleys between a series of grey talus (scree or loose rock) topped mountains, until finally the road takes to the hills and ridges to avoid the swampy low lands.
A glorious day.
Eagle Plains has a lodge, gas station, mechanical repair facilities and generally is the only oasis in this wilderness of green. I checked in about 6:30 hoping they would have a room available. They did, C$160 and the "restaurant closes at 8:00". The lodge has both a restaurant and bar, and the bar is really something. It has a stuffed full sized caribou standing in one corner with a variety of stuffed animal heads and other memorabilia.