Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 21st & 22nd - The Dust to Dawson Gathering

Monster Cinnamon Buns
Monster Cinnamon Buns - large enough for 4!
Benny from the Yukon Motorcycle Centre and I headed out from Whitehorse at about 3 pm - our destination - Dawson City and the ADVrider.com Dust to Dawson Gathering.

We rode north on the North Klondike Highway under glorious sunshine, after a fuel stop at Carmacks, we decided that our next stop would be the Braeburn Lodge to experience one of their world famous MONSTER cinnamon buns.

Steve was happy to serve us one - this thing is enormous - literally it can feed 4 people - while we were enjoying the cinnamon bun, Steve served a gent from the US a burger and my word what a burger it was!  I asked to take a photo of it - you wouldn't believe the size of this thing - it makes anything that Fat Boys, Burger Heaven or 5 Guys puts out look like a pathetic offering!

From Wikapedia: Braeburn Lodge is a roadhouse on the Klondike Highway in the Yukon Territory of Canada. It is located east of Braeburn Lake and north of Braeburn Mountain, on the path of the former Dawson Overland Trail, which was built in 1902 between Whitehorse and Dawson City. The lodge itself is a tourist destination and is famous for its large cinnamon buns.

Nearby Cinnamon Bun Airport is named for the lodge's cinnamon buns. 
Every February, Braeburn Lodge hosts a checkpoint of the long-distance Yukon Quest sled dog race.

The burgers at the Braeburn Lodge
The burgers at the Braeburn Lodge are ENORMOUS -
 large enough to feed 4
After a bear hug from Steve, we headed off towards Dawson City. I had wanted to stop in Mayo to meet the gang at the Bedrock Motel, one of our Rider Friendly Business partners, but it was getting late and we needed to get into Dawson City for the Gathering and so we turned left at the Stewart Junction instead of taking the Silver Trail to Mayo.

We got in about 9 pm.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived in Dawson City, and I was mesmerized by the hard packed dirt streets, the board sidewalks and the old, restored buildings and the new ones that have "old" facades.

We fuelled up and I headed over to the 5th Avenue B & B where I was to be staying.  After getting checked in I convinced Benny that we had to go to Diamond Tooth Gertie's to take in the 10 pm show.  We ordered some food, got a couple of pop and settled into our chairs close to the stage.  The food was delicious and much needed by this time of the night!

We were treated to an old fashioned musical unlike anything I have ever experienced before!
Diamod Tooth Gertie
Diamod Tooth Gertie

The people who perform in it are entertainers beyond belief! 
Their talent is huge - not exactly something I expected in place that is this remote!

The gal who plays Diamond Tooth Gertie belted out tune after tune with a voice that Liza Minnelli would have envied!

The Can Can girls were phenomenal. At one point the the girls came down into the crowd to grab some of the men in the audience - their mission? The men could take off the ladies garters in anyway they wanted!

One gal tried to get young Benny to go up - but he was far too shy to take her up on the offer.
CanCan Girls
CanCan Girls
From the Klondike Visitors Information Centre web site: 
Replete with cancan dancers and a singing master of ceremonies named Gertie, Canada’s oldest gambling hall gives you a chance to re-live the heady days of Dawson’s Gold Rush era. With three nightly summer shows by Gertie and her Girls, Diamond Tooth Gerties is today a fixture of fun-filled entertainment where patrons can enjoy a beverage while playing blackjack, roulette, Texas Hold'em poker and an array of glittering slot machines.

Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall is operated by the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA), a not-for-profit organization. All proceeds are reinvested in the community.
The entire show was utterly amazing!
These people are SOOOO talented!
Diamod Tooth Gertie Amazing Singer
Amazing singers....
After the show, Benny went to find a camping spot and I headed over to the Downtown Hotel to take in the Summer Solstice activities. About 250 bikes lined the streets and there were riders everywhere.

It was quite the site to behold. There were dual sport bikes of every size, shape and configuration possible. Mine was the only Harley there! I took some very good natured ribbing over that fact!

I watched with delight as these crazies partook in some biker rodeo games and marvelled at the commeradarie  - a biker is a biker is a biker no matter what machine they love to ride!.

Unlike a cruiser/touring rally, there are no vendors, drinking is reserved until the bikes are parked, the event is so uncommercialized and the only place it's truly promoted is on advrider.com
The Downtown Hotel
Just a few of the bikes encircling the Downtown Hotel
There were riders from around the world here, on gal was from Holland, there were riders from
Australia, Great Britain, Germany, the US and Canada.

At midnight, you need to be standing by your bike on the streets by the Downtown Hotel and the organizers come around handing you stickers that say Dust to Dawson and the year.  Many riders had stickers that dated back to 2000... I proudly put the stickers I was given on the front fendr of my bike - one on either side.

After chatting and visiting, I finally headed back to the B & B at about 2 am.

When I woke up. I headed upstairs to the breakfast room where the owner, Tracy was serving up one's choice of ham and eggs, an omelet or french toast. All were served with home made bread. There was cereal, home made muffins, fruit, juice, tea and coffee to round things out.
The whole group of  Riders
At midnight - a group photo - some 250 adventure riders!

The food was tantalizing and the company was brilliant - I shared a table with a couple from Ohio and we chatted about riding and what we were all doing here in Dawson City.

Tracey and her husband Steve have a three year old who was rather ramuncious as one of the other guests had a little girl about her age. These two little ones were fast friends.

After a filling breakfast, I headed back to the Downtown Hotel to do some interviews with the riders and event organizers.  Rita was a hit as rider after rider hugged and petted her - heck, she even got some kisses!

I had lunch at the Downtown Hotel with Max, Josephine and Pat (AKA Huskey), all from Anchorage and I listened intently as they shared with me their love of the north and adventure riding.
Dick of ADVRider.com - the event organizer
Dick of ADVRider.com - the event organizer

After a hearty lunch, I finished up my interviews and I got some laundry done - I was shocked that it cost $3.50 to wash a load and $2.50 for the dryer and a further $2.00 for soap!  I was glad I only had one load to wash!
I met up with Terry Lee who is the modern day Captain Dick - the man who serves up the legendary Sour Toe Cocktail.  He is one of three "Captain Dick's".  He and I made a date for 9pm for me to be inducted into the Order of the Sour Toe.  
5th Avenue B & B
I headed back to the B & B in an attempt to get some writing and editing of photos done.  The room I was in was tiny, with two beds and a sink and a night table.  I was glad there was no one with me as there was really no place to put anything unless you used the spare bed.  I also had to share the bathroom with the guests from one of the other rooms which made arranging showers a challenge. 

The parking was not to my liking as it was comprised of large course gravel and so I opted to park on the street. A kickstand puck is a must here because when it rains, the streets become a mud hole and a bike would easily sink in the mud and fall over - wonderful for preserving the turn of the century appeal of the town, but not so wonderful for parking a bike with a side stand.  

Thank goodness I always carry one, as the owners did not provide any boards or pucks for parking!

Since there was no desk in my room, I was given the use of the lobby computer desk, I moved the keyboard out of the way and settled in to charge cameras and clear chips. I had an editorial to write and get off to Stephanie for layout plus a ton of video to get tagged and prepared.
There were so many people in the common area watching TV and talking that I found it hard to concentrate, and that was made even worse by the fact that as guests were coming to check in they all thought I worked there and so I was constantly being interrupted.
At 8:30 pm I had had enough of being frustrated and headed for my appointment with "Captain Dick".

I got in line for the Sour Toe induction - I chose dark rum to drink - the alcohol has to be a minimum of 40 proof for sanitation purposes. 
The common room/lobby
Soon it was my turn to have the Sour Toe Cocktail.  

As Terry read the right of passage and put the petrified toe that is kept on course salt during the ceremony, into my drink, I tipped the glass, tapping the bottom as I drank so that the toe would not stick to the glass. 

As the saying goes, You can drink it fast or you can drink it slow but your lips MUST touch the toe...and touch my lips it did!
The common room's computer station
The common room's computer station

I was given my certificate and a card for my wallet and became a full fledged member of the Order of the Sourtoe!

It was a little creepy but I am glad I did it!

I headed back to the 5th Avenue B & B at 10pm, finally the common room/lobby was clear of guests and I settled down to work. At 2 am I finally headed off to bed and got a couple of hours of shut eye.

I started back to work at 5:30 am and began the process of uploading the photos and my article to the server and at 7:30 am went up for another delightful breakfast and great company.

breakfast area
The upstairs breakfast area
I expressed to Tracy that I had not had much sleep and was wondering if I could have an extra hour in the room to lay down while I waited for the uploading to complete. I was told that was not possible so I packed up my bike and laid down on the couch in the common room/lobby. There were so many people in and out that it wasn't very restful, but at least I had rested for a bit before getting ready to challenge to the Top of the World Highway.

With the upload finally complete at 12:30 pm, I jumped on the bike and headed to the Dawson City visitors centre. I checked on the conditions of the Top of the World Highway and decided to go ahead with what would be a challenging 4 hours on the gravel mecca that dual sport riders the world over love to take.  I got in line for the ferry and low and behold Max, Pete and Josephine 
were there. 
My Tiny Room
My very tiny room
Max asked me if I would like to ride with them and I told them I would be grateful for their company.

Max led and Huskey (Pat) was the sweep and on the ferry we went....

5th Avenue Bed & Breakfast
Box 722
Dawson City, Yukon
Y0B 1G0
Toll Free: 1-866-631-5237
Phone\Fax: (867) 993-5941
Email: 5thave@5thavebandb.com
Web site:http://www.5thavebandb.com
Diamond Tooth Gertie's
1001 4th Ave, Dawson City
Phone: (867) 
Website: www.dawsoncity.ca/kl

For information on the Dust to Dawson Gathering visit: http://advrider.com

June 20th - Riding Like a Local with the gang from Yukon Motorcycle Centre & A fabulous B & B

Dean Philpott & Wayne Henderson
Dean Philpott & Wayne Henderson
Yukon Motorcycle Centre is the OLD Harley shop once owned by Dick Watt and the Wilds out of Calgary.

Dick is an optometrist and close to retiring, and Jim and Diane Wild divorced a while back, putting the shop in Whitehorse in a precarious position. Greg Irvine and his partner Dean Philpott bought the dealership and turned it into an all makes all models shop. 

 They can service and repair just about anything and they sell Cleveland Cycle Werks bikes and are looking seriously at becoming a Johnny Pag dealer. They have a decent selection of gear, clothing and tee shirts not to mention that you can rent one of their used bikes, so flying in and riding is also an option.
Greg Irvine
Greg Irvine
The gang at this shop is super friendly and very eager and willing to do whatever they can to make a riders stop a pleasant one.

I got in around 2pm and was taken up to the Bed & Breakfast I was going to be staying at to drop off my gear.

I have to admit that when I first got to the Bluejay Suites B & B I was a bit taken aback as I was greeted by a diminutive Japanese lady in a Kimono.  The home is a lovely Victorian with a wrap around deck and a huge entry.
Dean took me back to the dealership where preparations were under way for a group ride & BBQ.

Miles Canyon
Miles Canyon
Lots of riders stopped in on their way to or way home from work – they bought hotdogs by donation and many donated to the cause. In all we raised $200 for our causes and had 6 riders join me. The reason for low attendance was two fold – a lot of riders had already headed to Dawson City for the Dust to Dawson Gathering and it was raining.

Never the less, we had a great ride up to Miles Canyon. It is a fascinating place with a ton of history connected to the paddle wheelers that used to navigate this rugged passageway. The color of the water is a rich emerald green and it carves the most amazing route through the dense forest.  After riding up to the lookout, we then rode down to the suspension bridge where we got an up close view of how fast flowing and how full of deep eddy’s the water is.

I can't thank these generous spirited people enough for taking me to Miles Canyon, spending time with me and helping us to raise funds for our 3 causes - VETS, Military Police Relay Ride for Blind Children and The Long Walk to Sanity - 50 dogs in 50 days for 50 veterans.

After a good gab we headed back to the shop where everyone said their goodbyes and I headed up to Porter Creek and my room for the night.  

Yukon Motorcycle Centre – 
Rider Friendly Business Association Member
49 Waterfront Pl, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 6V1

Miles Canyon
Miles Canyon
Miles Canyon

A Ranger
A Ranger 
Got a  Gift
The Ranger hat I was gifted!

The gang that stayed to ride with me.
The gang that stayed to ride with me.

Reiko Tanaka, the owner of the Bluejay B & B took me to my room after showing me where the TV room and fridge were, and she explained what time breakfast was available from.

When the door opened to the bedroom I was speechless – easily big enough to through a party for about 40 people, the room was equipped with a king sized bed, a fireplace, sitting room, generous closets and a bathroom that was to die for.

huge soaker tubThe huge soaker tub was the first thing I checked out after unpacking my gear. I had a good long soak and headed for a deep slumber in the over sized and exceedingly comfortable bed.

I woke up on Friday morning and jumped into the multi headed shower and let the jets pound on my body and then I got dressed, packed and headed downstairs for breakfast.

I had given Reiko free hand to make whatever she wanted for breakfast and was treated to a home made Belgian waffle piled high with fruit, whipped cream and real maple syrup were provided to round that out.
Coffee and juice were also provided along with yogurt.

Then Reiko came out with a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, prosciutto ham and cheese.  I expressed to Reiko that there was no way I could eat the entire feast she set out in front of me although I did give it my best effort.

I asked Reiko if I could please use the message chair and she graciously showed me how it operated and made sure I was set up well.  This chair was utterly fabulous and I enjoyed having it beat some of the tension out of my low back and legs.
Afterwards I was treated to the use of a foot machine that massaged my broken feet and made me feel like I was walking on clouds.  Reiko and I spoke about how it was a Japanese lady came to live in the Yukon. She explained that she had moved to Edmonton where she met her partner who is German. They decided to move to the Yukon and she has never looked back. She loves this place.  I hear that all of the time from the imports that call this place home and I truly see why. The summers in the Yukon care lovely and the scenery is stunning.

I headed back to the Yukon Motorcycle Centre to grab my bike - which they were fixing some loose wires on only to be greeted by a spotless bike that was ready for the road.

I used the office for a few hours to tag photos and organize my videos.  At 3pm young Benny - a 21 year old tech from the shop and I headed out for the next leg of my Yukon adventure - the Dust to Dawson Gathering.

Bluejay Suites Bed & Breakfast – 
Yukon Tourism Recommended Accommodations
56 Almond Place
Whitehorse, YT, Y1A 5K5
Email: info@bluejay-suites.com

Phone: 867.333.9456