Tar pits, bears, and broken down on the Alcan

The day started out pretty slow. We got a late start from the Kluane B&B (rustic) on account that the owner doesn’t serve breakfast until 8AM. The weather was marginal this morning, so we opted to skip flying over the Kluane Glacier. The AM temperature was a little nippy, and I had to stop and add an extra layer. The road conditions gradually declined until they became downright dicey, even frightening.

We passed a couple up from Colorado who were both on BMWs – 1200s. This surprised me because it is rare to see a woman on a 1200. She was a little frightened about the road. It was dicey in Canada, but when you crossed the US border it got right into “Oh My God” moments several times. There were large areas that came up quickly where the asphalt was pulverized. It was like someone had laid down a sandbox of loose gravel asphalt but never rolled or pressed it down. Because it was the same color as the rest of the road, you didn’t see it until you were right on top of it. The day was tiring because you had to pay extra attention for these tar pits.

Image of Judy working on her motorcycle after damage from the tar pits

We also passed a series of “hoverers.” Hoverers are outhouses along the road that you have to use (or the mosquitoes bite your ass), but they are in such poor condition that you don’t want to actually sit on them – so you hover.  Wow! Talk about some nasty potties. I opted to actual tangle with the bugs in one case. I gave it the “Nastiest Bathroom on this Trip” award. Just outside of Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Outhouse with several rolls of unraveled toilet paper and excrement everywhere

Nasty bathroom of this trip

We saw bears today. Although we have seen moose, squirrels, rabbits, marmots, and beavers, we have only seen lots of bear poop (I renamed the Haines Highway the Chillskat Road). I have been riding with my Go Pro (movie camera) on for about 4 hours a day. I plan to play with the film when I get back home. I happened to catch the bears on the side of the road today. They were black bears; a mom and her cub. I passed by so fast that hey will probably be specks on the video.

Barbie is sporting a new “do.” She has also been nailed a few times on her breasts and arms with bugs, but overall she seems to be enjoying the ride.

A dirty and wind-blown Barbie

Barbie, after 1800 miles, tied to my motorcycle!

I broke down on the side of the road somewhere in Canada. We stopped at the Nastiest Bathroom, and we noted that the Canadians have covered many of their road and regulation signs with black garbage signs. We pondered when a sign no longer says anything important. It sort of falls into the same place of how much does the road have to be falling apart before you call it a gravel road versus… a paved road with bad spots? I mean when is bad bad enough? When does a road sign not have meaning? At any rate, Jaz wanted a picture of the non-signs, so we stopped. I shut my bike off and it wouldn’t start again. At first, I thought I hit the kill switch, but no. Then, I thought I blew a fuse, so I checked it, and it was fine. But, when I seated the fuse back I had power, so I thought it must have come loose. This made sense because the road was bumpy and filled with tar pits remember. Then, it wouldn’t start again – no power. So, I figured it was the battery. It took me one minute to tighten the loose cable, but 29 minutes to unpack the saddle bags, take them off, take off both side guards, and the seat to get to the cable. Then I had to put it all back together again. Several men stopped to ask if I needed help. They were all surprised when I waved them on. But, my favorite moment was when two fellow dual sport riders with Northwestern Territory license plates stopped to see what the problem was and if they could help. I explained that I figured it out, repaired it, and was putting the bike back together again. One of the riders smiled and said, “Alaskan women are jewels,” and waved us off and headed down the road. Grinning sheepishly, I thought, “I’m a jewel.”


Spread out
Is that water safe to drink?
About Maya

My name is Maya, and I wander.


  1. Awesome Canadian dude. An emerald, I think.

  2. Thanks for the post. But I could have done without the photo. That is revolting!!

  3. potty potty potty

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