What is the attraction to Alaska? What would motivate someone to hop on a motorcycle, spend 8-12 hours a day on it for 12 days to get to a place, just to turn around and go back? Is it the adventure, the scenery, the wildlife, the people (although it is only 1.264 folks per sq mile up there), the mosquitos? What is it?
Well, I think it is a bit of all of the above; but surely, the people and the history of the place with all of its color, create a siren that is hard to resist. As an example, while verifying a few reservations for the upcoming trip, I stumbled across an interesting tradition at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon Territory. For those of you having trouble keeping up with my schedule and blathering
about the trip, Dawson is where the famous Summer Solstice Dust to Dawson gathering takes place – and yours truly plans to be there this year. It looks like 150-200 riders will be converging on the “city” for a little fun and camaraderie before heading off on their respective adventures. Of course, there is much history associated with the Hotel and its current proprietor , but one of the more interesting traditions is the “Sourtoe Cocktail Club.”
The tradition involves having a “cocktail” at the Downtown Hotel, but with a bit of a twist… The cocktail contains a severed appendage from some poor sucker, the sourtoe. One must drink the cocktail, allowing the severed toe to touch your lips. What does accomplishing this feat get you? Absolutely nothing, except for bragging rights that you had been there, done that. From the Sourtoe website:
“Established in 1973, the Sourtoe Cocktail has become a Dawson City tradition. The original rules were that the toe must be placed in a beer glass full of champagne, and that the toe must touch the drinker’s lips during the consumption of the alcohol before he or she can claim to be a true Sourtoer. The rules have changed in the past twenty-seven years. The Sourtoe can be had with any drink now (even ones that aren’t alcoholic), but one rule remains the same. The drinker’s lips must touch the toe. ” You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow– But the lips have gotta touch the toe.”
The Sourtoes are actual human toes that have been dehydrated and preserved in salt. Swallowing one is not suggested.”
Check out the details of the Sourtoe Tradition at the Downtown Hotel site. I am sure to write a detailed post about the experience after I get there and receive my indoctrination to the club. Should be about June 21-22 or there about. Hope I don’t swallow the damn thing…