When we finally did get off the Dempster, we headed into Dawson for the night - covered in mud. The next morning, we woke up early and headed to Whitehorse.
We were once again warned to watch out for the wildlife, because a motorcyclist had been killed by hitting a buffalo just a few days earlier.
On the way, however, we started hearing a horrible, grinding noise coming from the front wheel. Seeing as the bike was still partially covered in mud (even though I had sprayed it off a bit), I just figured that a bit of dirt had become lodged in between the brake pads. When we got to Whitehorse, I was greeted with a horrible realization.
(to clarify, this picture was taken a couple days later after sitting on the floor of the sidecar in the rain)
So, I phoned up Heindl Engineering, who has turned out to be my most trusted source for parts on this trip. He had some new pads shipped quickly and after a couple of days we were back on the road again. I do need to point out that Whitehorse is home to one of the shadiest institutions I've seen in awhile. This hotel was down the street from where we were staying and I was offered some "services" while Kristen and I walked past one evening. I mean, my wife was right there!
Stay away from this place:
We then drove through Watson Lake, Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek again with some pretty nasty weather along the way. Cold!
On the way from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson (which is the best stretch of that highway IMO) we did almost have an accident. We have a communications system (autocom - no longer in business apparently) and were listening to a podcast called Stuff You Should Know (which is really great for road trips, if you're interested) when all of a sudden the loudest, most shrill, hellish sound came screaming through our headphones. I literally saw white spots and almost wrecked the bike while trying to get off the road to unplug myself. I don't know what happened, but we both ripped the comm stuff out of our helmets right then and there.
On the way to Dawson Creek, we met an extraordinary guy named Ed Gold. It has been a long time since we've been enraptured by any person. Ed is a Bristish documentary photographer who encapsulates the description "adventurer". Check out his stuff at http://www.edgold.co.uk
Anyway, after Dawson Creek, we made the decision to go back through Jasper and Banff as it seemed like the most direct (and scenic) route to get back to Montana as we wanted to see my aunt and uncle again.
So, we headed into the mountains...