Overnight we realized that we had totally misjudged the hostel situation. We slept like logs, woke up happy and refreshed, and Dieter brought us breakfast in bed. And my wallet was on the tray!
Nope. Lies. It just sucked. I have a friend. We’ll call him “Matt” for anonymity’s sake. He travels the world for his job. Mumbai? That was Tuesday. Borneo? Next Saturday. You get the idea. I’m sure he would have loved Dieter’s Sex-And-Murder Hole. I’m not Matt. I like…electricity. Toilet paper. Living through the night. You know, all the modern amenities.
So we woke up a bit non-plussed, shall we say. Typically it was a tossup as to who was first to shower, etc. Nope. Neither of us set foot in the “washroom”. Teeth were not brushed. Bowels were not moved. We just Got. Out. Packed up our crap and boogied before Dieter got his knives resharpened.
We took our bikes across the river and grabbed a really humanizing cup of coffee and a pastry on Front St. Things were looking up. We walked around the town a bit, and it’s clearly primarily a tourist trap, but it’s fun. Dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, and a functional economy. Truly an interesting place. I slipped down to the local RCMP office and made a report for my lost wallet. In the unlikely event that it’s found, they’ll call me. In the more likely event that I’m pulled over for speeding, I’ll have a report number to corroborate my claim that I lost my license with my wallet.
This morning is when we realized that Paul’s bike it the true attraction in this place. BMWs like mine are a dime a dozen at this end of the world, but the latest model Goldwing doesn’t make it up the Klondike Highway much. It wasn’t long before there was a small crowd around the ‘wing and Paul was holding court over a small coterie of rapt, hard-looking bike aficionados. One asked if we were going up the Dempster, which is the dirt “highway” that leads up past the Arctic Circle to the Arctic Ocean. Paul assured him that, no, were were just going over the Top of the World Highway to Fairbanks. “Oh good,” he said, “if you were going up the Dempster I’d have to wrestle you to the ground.” I understood what he meant, really, but I couldn’t help but hear it with odd sexual overtones. An unsettling vision of some random biker guy humping Paul’s leg lingering in my mind’s eye, we moved away down the street.
After wandering a bit, we both independently realized that we really just wanted to go for a ride. So we hopped on the bikes and rode about a half hour south to the start of the Dempster, just to check it out. Unsurprisingly, it was just another dirt road heading off into the distance, and we turned around and cruised back into town. We both felt a bit liberated just driving for fun, rather than trying to get to a destination. It would’ve been a relaxing ride for me if I hadn’t been totally unable to stop myself from scanning the side of the road for my damn wallet. No luck. On the other hand, I did spot more mooses! This time it was a Mama Moose and a Baby Moose. And apparently Deadbeat Dad Moose was busy elsewhere. I had Paul circle back around so he could see the moosies, but he didn’t understand what was going on and began to scan the horizon for possible locations from his parent’s painting. The meese took the opportunity and slid back into the forest. Paul was, again, unsuccessful, but I scored yet another picture of the Eloosive Moose.
We got back just in time to check in to the Downtown Hotel for the night, and we checked in with enthusiasm! Shower. Tooth brush. Some down time in a quiet warm room. We felt almost human again.
After a bit of recuperation, we wandered out for dinner. But first, beer! Back to the home of the Sourtoe, where it was quieter because it wasn’t yet “Toe Time”. This time, though, the quiet was an unfortunate thing. You see, the Klondike’s Worst Singer had taken up residence and, sadly, we could hear him over the din of the crowd. It was…so bad. Soooo bad. I kind of wish I had a recording of him, but I love you all too much to subject you to that. Here’s a picture.
After suffering through good beer and bad singing, we wandered down the road to the local (ahem) “alternative” bar. Fair to say that not an eyebrow was raised when we walked in together. The beer was good and the drinks looked…interesting(?), but the major benefit was the conversation we had with Tim, a local from North Pole that was in Dawson on vacation. He warned that Fairbanks sucks (correct!), he recommended the Totem Inn outside of Denali (great call!) and insisted that we go to Homer before we leave (now in the itinerary). His passion convinced us on all points, frankly. So far so good.
After drinks, dinner at the local greek place. They do pizza, for some reason, which was great. We also had a very good greek salad. Still a bit tired from the night in the Hostel At The End Of The World, we went back to our civilized room and sacked out.
Odometer Start: 36,537
Odometer End: 36,592
Daily Total: 55
Running Total: 4,039