Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Uraling to Alaska - Day 12: Houston to Hyder, AK

Well, I made it to Alaska!  Hyder, Alaska that is....its the state's most southernmost city but it still counts!

 Leaving Houston, home of the world's largest fishing pole or something

 Fog and clouds shrouded the mountains along the road to Kitwanga
where the turnoff for Hwy 37 is, marking the southern end of the Cassiar Highway

 Looking back at the mountains from just north of the southern end of the Cassiar Highway
I saw a small bear off the side of the road shortly after this picture, he ran away.

 At the Indian town of  Gitanyow, home of the World Famous Totem Poles

As I had avoided the PetroCanada fuel station at the junction of Hwy 37 and Hwy 16 due to both Bobskoot and SonjaM having said the gas had too much sulfur, I ran out of gas again on the way to the junction of Hwy 37A, the road to Hyder and Stewart!  I of course had my spare cans of gas so no issues there even after I discovered the gas pumps at Meziadin Junction were not working in terms of accepting credit cards.

I made it to Hyder around 2:00PM I think.  I went to check the rates at the Sealaska Motel but it was still closed for the season.  The lady in charge told me I was a bit early and most everything, to include the local campgrounds were closed.

She then said for me to just pitch a tent out back behind the motel buildings as I was just staying the night.  How cool is that?

Two fellows who were there were doing a bit of UDF so I asked them if they knew someone who'd let me borrow some dry floorspace to change Valencia's fluids (yep, it's been 2500 km already).  They pointed out the house of a guy who used to be a mechanic but when I checked, the bay was not available.  :(

However, as I was checking, this gentleman by the name of Tom was outside taking pictures of Valencia and of me as we talked.  He mentioned he was the maintenance man for a local building just a few blocks away and that I was welcome to use the parking lot to do the fluid changes.

It was only sprinkling very very lightly and with temperatures in the low 40s
it was not a bad experience at all!

I took him up on the offer and he left me to my own devices, I used the rubber ground cloth (ex-army poncho) and about an hour later had changed out the engine, transmission and final drive oils.  The FD oil looked like it had water contamination though so I flushed it out with some new oil and will probably drain it again tomorrow night.

Maintenance done, I wandered back and forth between the towns of Stewart (Canada) and Hyder (AK), going through Canadian Customs twice but not once through US customs as there isn't a station before the town of Hyder!  The locals told me there hasn't been a US customs presence here since the 70s!

 Looking back towards the Canadian border and the customs building

 That's the Sealaska Inn where I am "staying" in back off....
hope it doesn't get too cold tonight!

 Interior shots of the Glacier Inn
Home of the Hyderization Process
I didn't partake, it's basically "white lightning" in large quantities

 The walls of the bar were coverd in bills, with writings/names of folks
who've visited the bar and presumably got "hyderized"

 The outside of the Glacier Inn

 Shots of the dock area of Hyder, it's at the end of a long road
and its quite scenic I imagine when the weather is clearer.

 The town of Hyder is straight ahead in the distance.

Hopefully, the weather will be clearer tomorrow so I can take pictures of the dimly glimpsed mountains that surround Stewart and Hyder!

Previously: Uraling to Alaska - Day 11: Clinton to Houston BC


SonjaM said...

Now this looks much more like an adventure. Although the weather doesn't look its best it gives the place an eerie atmosphere, being ghost town and all I find that quite fitting.

I hope you stay warm at your canvas hotel, and the powers that be will give you some sunshine along the route.

Anonymous said...

Nice update Dom.

I visited Hyder/Stewart in '95 on my way back from AK. The Cassiar Hwy was a smooth gravel ride back then. Is it paved now?

Glad things are going smoothly.


Dan K.

Unknown said...


I'm getting COLD just thinking of you behind the hotel. Nice shots as usual. Valencia is so photogenic.

Glad you had time to see the totem poles.

Wonder how the water got into your FD. Lucky you changed your oil and noticed it. You made good time

Riding the Wet Coast

Gary France said...

Wow Dom, you are in Alaska already! Great pictures and it sounds like Alaska has welcoming folk too. I am loving reading about your trip.

RichardM said...

Beautiful area. One of these days I'll get down there. It always seems like too much of a detour or I need to be somewhere by a certain date. Hopefully you'll get some clear weather.

Unknown said...

Good stuff Dom. Looks hot there, no snow on the ground. Oh well.
Be a blast to ride in January with my 2 WD.
Good to see you're camping, I told you you'd meet friendly people when camping and not staying in the lap of luxury. People want to help the more you rough it. Especially up there, it's a special part of the world.

You brewing morning coffee?.


BeemerGirl said...

Quite majestic! I think Valencia's orange will contrast perfectly with the green and white (and black) mountains. Now if the blue in the sky would come out a little. :)

Hope you are enjoying your most excellent adventure!

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, the fog and clouds did give the ghost town a spooky feel....however the "wet feel" overwhelmed everything else after a bit. :)

DanK, it's all paved now, except for one stretch less than 900 meters long under repair...lots of frost heaves though in the middle portion. More on that in next posting.

Bobskoot, yeah, the water contamination is slightly troubling but am betting its from all the snow riding....I'll be draining it again in the morning. It wasn't too cold by the way, slept nice and warm.

redlegsrides said...

Gary, yeah, its apparently the destination of the Hyder Seek Rally...more on that in next post. was cloudy the next day (today) as well....apparently the place is gorgeous with towering mountains but it wasn't meant for me this time.

Murph....yep, camping does make it more of an adventure....packing up all your wet possessions under a light rain...not so much. ;) It's all good.