Thursday, August 6, 2009 (Day 11)
Today, we were supposed to ride 9 Km from the motel to the ferry terminal. We were supposed to check out of the motel at 11 am, and be at the ferry terminal at 12:30 pm for the 3:30 pm sailing. The continental breakfast at the motel was terrible. Yet, we were not losing weight, because the diet during this trip were high fat and high carb. We had since found out that the ferry was going to be 3 hours late. I did the whole town by foot in less than 1 hour. I guess it was a good time for forced slowing down and relaxation.
Some of us were going to the habitat to see the bald eagles. Over the years, I have seen enough of them at Point Grey and Ladner so I wasn’t interested.
I would be bored stiff if I have to live here. According to Bruce, who was born and raised in Euclelet, said that the town life was so limited that everybody knew everybody in great detail. There were constantly Payton Place type of happenings. He moved out at age 17.
That is why I was amazed at my friend, Dr. Ron Pearson, happily living in Whitehorse. It turned out that he was from Victoria. He chose the lifestyle of Yukon, and set up his life in Whitehorse as soon as he graduated from UBC. He loves all the outdoor activities, hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, ……etc. He took me to his cottage which was a tiny old log cabin. The history was that during the Klondike days, that was a RCMP observation post at the lake front. He loves spending time at the cabin, really roughing it. But when his daughter turned 13, she demanded a “washroom” and no more outhouse. He started building a separate building for her bathroom. There was no building design or code. He started and then added a huge garage for all his dirt bikes, ATVs, skidoos, kayaks, old car that he was going to restore, cross country skis, fishing gears, camping gears, hunting gears etc. You can imagine how big it is. Then there is one bathroom and one bedroom. But he still prefers to live in the log cabin and going to the outhouse.
His first wife raised huskies (30 of them). He did a dog sleigh mail delivery in the winter for 120 Km one year.
One of his daughters has a horse ranch and leading tourists to 2 – 3 days horsing expeditions. One daughter breeds horses and has 120 acres near Whitehorse. One son, graduated in business, is running all the business aspects of Ron’s dental practice, so Ron just works and plays. He has another daughter that does business administration also. He has divorced, and is with this lady in common law.
He told me that last weekend he went to his log cabin. He took the gear and peddled his kayak out to the lake about 7 Km to a “point” of land. He then set up a tent and camped there. In the middle of the night, (with lots of sunlight), he heard some noise outside of the tent. He poked his head out and knew it was a moose near by. He got out of the tent and faced a big 12 ft tall moose with horns. He probably set up his tent in the path of the moose’s travel. He stared down the moose, and the moose then made a detour.
He then made bacon and egg for breakfast. As he finished, he heard this sound approaching, and it was a black bear attracted by the smell of the bacon. Ron yelled, “Bad bear, go away.” The bear was surprised and started to go away, but re-approached again because of the temptation of the bacon smell. Ron banged his coffee pot and frying pan together repeatedly to make lots of noise, and the bear left. He then kayaked back to the cabin. And that was what he did in one of his weekends!
We had killed a lot of time waiting for the Alaska Marine Highway ferry at Haines today. We didn’t get onboard until about 6 pm, and then we spent some time tethering and tying and wedging our bikes so that they wouldn’t get thrown and crashed during the voyage. We had the inside cabins. The facility was very similar to BC Ferries, except with cabins. Lots of travellers didn’t have cabins, and they stayed at the observation deck and lounge full time. The main reason was the cost. For myself, one motorcycle, and a single in a double occupancy inside cabin, for 2 nights and 1 day, came to about US$500. The scenery is spectacular. For those on the Rhapsody’08 cruise, this is the segment called the Inside Passage. It is calm with glacier mountains on both sides. We would be docking at Skagway, Juneau, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan before arriving at Prince Rupert. Yes, Stephen Liver Sausage, we would be looking at the Governor’s mansion in Juneau.
This ship is named Matasuska, built in 1963, refitted in 1978. It is now 10 pm and it is sunlit. I have not decided whether to go onshore on those stops. This is like a miniature cruise in the middle of the motorcycling expedition. We are all enjoying it. One thing definitely different than the Princess cruise, you guessed it, the food is terrible. So far, we only had one good meal in an Italian restaurant in Whitehorse. Remember we saw those smaller ships last year, mostly white with blue trimmings. The flag is blue colour, with 7 yellow stars in the formation of the Big Dipper, and another yellow star as the North Star. That’s the ship I am on right now.
The lady rider was fortunate that there was someone in Haines, Alaska, that could repair her nail penetrated rear tire. She is happy to be on the road again.
This is the easier segment of our journey now. After docking in Prince Rupert, we only have 1,900 Km to go in 3 days before reaching home. So far, it has been very good.
I think I am going to spend my one hour puttering around in my cabin before going to bed.