We woke up in a free camp overlooking tombstone in the far distance on the other side of the Yukon river after Dawson city. It was basically a rough 4x4 road leading to an abandoned gravel pit. We left and went over onto the top of the world highway. We stopped right before the USA border to check out this stealthy sneaky dirt road which went on forever. There were little rock sculptures everywhere and the sun was hitting the tundra just perfectly. There had been a storm a few days prior so the road was full of deep puddles reflecting the clouds- just right for some offroad adventures. I got out and took photos of jordan driving bagheera through puddles along the road and we let nuggs run next to car. We wanted to get a better idea of how far the road actually went so we walked about 20 or so min down looking at the windy path going through the mountains. Next time we’ll follow it but for now the rain was coming in quick so we drove back and headed to the Alaska Canada border. The customs guy was like a monotone Lurch from the Addams family. Super weird and totally by the rule book. He made me show him nugget’s papers and made us dispose of our 6 pieces of firewood that we had in the trash-a-roo because trees are different in Canada. I had 2 Canadian flag tattoos on my face, (one on each cheek) whilst talking to border patrol. Needless to say we got through and the rain came shortly after. Alaska roads were mixed dirt and pavement with awesome views all around. After an hour or so we finally got to Chicken. Chicken Alaska is this tiny old mining town where people still find gold to this day. The population is 23 in the summer and 3 in the winter. The miners back in the day originally wanted to call it ptarmigan but they couldn’t figure out how to spell it so they went with chicken. We stopped at all 3 stops in the town because its chicken and that’s what you have to do. Our 1st stop was the Gold Panner where we got homemade chocolate fudge which was gone after about 5 minutes. Our 2nd stop was down the street at ‘downtown chicken’ which was a store a saloon and a cafe. This spot would be revisited later. The 3rd stop was across the street at the chicken RV Park and store. We checked out the stage for ‘chicken stock’, a music fest we had missed a few weeks back and had a delicious IPA from Hoodoo Brewery with no food in our tummies so that set us up for future success. We were out of coffee beans so the lady at the RV Park store gave us 5$ worth in a ziplock bag and I used their bathroom to get the Canadian flag tattoos off my face scrapping a small portion of skin clean off which felt just super.
We went back across the street to the saloon and everything just escalated from there. First it was just us in the bar with Chris the bartender originally from St. Petersburg Florida who got a job in Chicken from applying online. They didn’t think he’d show up but he did and now he’ll be here all summer. The chicken saloon is approximately 11x3 paces large and seats about 16, 8 sitting at the bar. There’s a pool table squeezed in the back and the ceilings are about 8 feet off the ground covered in shattered pieces of underwear. A giant black iron cylinder sits on the bar; it’s about 1 foot tall and a 1/2 foot wide. It is the tool used to blow up customers’ panties for wall showcasing (if you’re lucky). This middle-aged couple came in, the guy was like 7ft tall and they were from Iowa. We got to talking and laughing about Iowa and our travels, they ended up buying us permafrost shots from Yukon Jack (which is apparently made in Connecticut), it tasted like minty windshield wiper fluid. This 7 foot tall Iowa fellow attempted the panty cannon challenge which basically means he has to lift the 75 pound cannon off of the floor with one hand and place it onto the bar. If he accomplishes this he gets a free beverage of his choice. He is 7 feet tall, so he defeated the cannon challenge with ease in lieu of his recent prostate issues that he was quite vocal about. Some others came to join the fun, two young dudes named Mike and Matt also traveling the pan American highway who are photographers and videographers; @alifeauthentik. Then our Dempster Delica mates Tom and Colene showed up, it was a party in chicken Alaska with the Pan American class of 2018. We should start taking photos for the yearbook. So back to the panty cannon; we were curious about how exactly the panties get shredded. Turns out, you fill the panty cannon with gun powder, pack it with tissue, throw in the panties at the end and make some kind of wick to light everything on fire. I was intrigued and immediately wanted to test this out so I grabbed a shitty (well you know what I mean) old pair of New Zealand Mac Pac undies from the van, wrote my name on them in sharpie along with ‘go bills’ and presented them to the bar to be panty cannoned. Chris the bartender was like, “well if you wait around for 5 min Tony can do it.” Tony works there and 2 days ago he acquired a baby squirrel as a pet. It’s name was skeeter because the miner who found it found it in a gold panning bucket full of mosquitoes. Tony had this thing living in his hood of his sweatshirt, occasionally it would run down his sleeve. So Tony agrees and grabs all the gun powder and supplies from the back room. The locals and campers come out of the cracks to watch the spectacle. There was a Kiwi woman in the crowd and we are joking about the durability of Mac Pac underwear. Tony gets it all set up, the locals yell at him that he’s doing it wrong because it’s his first time. He pounds everything into the cannon and looks for a wick. Apparently the wicks didn’t come in the mail yet so he needs to construct one out of something. He ends up making a line of gunpowder, cartoon style, going into the cannon from the top, no more sketchy that the rest of all this. He lights the panty cannon and BOOM! They are shredded into 2 pieces!! Meanwhile across the street the bang scared a momma moose and her baby out of the bushes so now everyone is taking photos of that craziness walking around. I gave Tony a big hug as he had just popped his panty cannon cherry with my undies and got the staple gun from Chris to put my panties on the wall. I put them right next to the bills hat that you first see (well that I first see) on the right when you enter the bar. Chicken Alaska: 4 beers, 1 burger, 1 pot pie, 2 shots of permafrost and a souvenir panty scrap that smelled of fine gunpowder.