Wild Ride!

May 30, 2014

We had 2 1/2 days in Whitehorse to rest, be tourists and restock the trailer. Part of the adventure has been grocery shopping in British Columbia and now the Yukon. We figured out how to buy lunchmeat in grams and have enjoyed experimenting (being creative?) with food. We did find a great grocery store in Whitehorse, they even had an almond/cashew butter that is out of this world!

We have noticed the dark green trees and have not been sure about what kind of tree they are. Cliff asked a friend and the answer is, Black Spruce. The contrast between the Black Spruce and the lighter green of the other trees is quite remarkable. The Black Spruce are very tall but not very wide.

Kluane 7

Kluane 2

Kluane 1

Today was a wild ride! The Milepost guide book (the Alaskan Highway bible) indicated we would encounter some rough road and boy, did we. We took it slow, Cliff did a good job negotiating the roller coaster ride and going around the potholes but we still had a mess when we opened up the trailer. The table hit one of the windows and broke the operating handle and knocked out the screen. One of the window valances fell off and many cupboard doors opened up and the contents moved. We have been feeling pretty smug that we had everything squared away for travel but not for roads like these!

 

Notice the red flag on the left indicating a rough place in the road.  You can see how the permafrost has caused the road to heave up and down.

Notice the red flag on the left indicating a rough place in the road. You can see how the permafrost has caused the road to heave up and down.

We are 55 miles from the Alaskan border and will head through customs in the morning, We have several options for where we go next but we wanted to stop and talk to people about the fires and if we can travel to the places we want to go. Staying flexible, part of the adventure!

Cyndy and Cliff

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Day of Rest

May 28, 2014

When I would day dream about driving the Alaskan Highway and spending a summer in Alaska, the pictures in my mind always had high snow-capped mountains, beautiful green valleys and crystal clear lakes and streams. Now that I’m living my day dream, we are taking a few days rest right here in Whitehorse to enjoy the view.

Whitehorse 15

Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon Territory, not a providence because of its low population. It was named after the White Horse Rapids because the rapids resemble the mane of a white horse. Whitehorse, as reported by Guinness World Records, is the city with the least air pollution in the world. However, because of the forest fires in Alaska it is currently quite hazy here.

Whitehorse 14

It is small for being a capital city and one of the first things you notice is the murals painted on the back of the main street buildings. The Yukon River runs through the city, starting in British Columbia and emptying into the Bering Sea. During the early days of the gold rush, paddle wheelers ferried passengers and freight up and down the Yukon River to Dawson City, where gold and copper had been discovered. In the summer that took a day and a half. In the winter, dog sleds carried freight and that took 3-10 days depending on the weather.

Whitehorse 11

SS Klondike

SS Klondike

The folks that I’ve talked to say that they don’t get much snow here but it does get cold. The record high was 93F and low was -61F.

I spent the day washing both trailer and truck, doing some basic maintenance and taking a nap. With 18 hours of sunlight here in May, we are glad that the trailer came with black-out shades. Cyndy spent some time cleaning, but has gotten to enjoy a day of sewing. We will probably spend another day here and leave on Friday.

Cliff

 

Aside

Sidebar – Maintenance

Sidebar – Maintenance

About a year ago a friend told me that you shouldn’t buy a travel trailer until you retire. His rational was that the maintenance and upkeep is a full-time job. He may have been embellishing things just a little, but he did give me one more reason to retire.

Maintenance on our Lifestyle trailer started two months before it was delivered from the factory. That’s right! I watched at least a hundred YouTube videos on the tips and tricks of maintaining your RV specifically a 5th Wheel. I spent hours on the Lifestyle owner’s forum reading what owners had to say about their trailers, both good and challenging and all of this was on top of the experiences realized by owning our previous 5th Wheel. That trailer was problematic and the workmanship was disappointing but lessons learned are paying big dividends today.

Now that we live in our trailer, I have a maintenance schedule that’s several pages long. From checking for propane leaks to making sure that the torque on the wheel lug nuts. Following a scheduled maintenance plan is critical to the performance of a trailer.

Basement 1

Cyndy and I joke that the inside of the trailer is hers and the outside is mine. My domain includes a large “basement” (pictured) and two smaller basements. Well “basement” is RV lingo for what they call the storage compartments under the living area. Note that it’s big enough to double as a guest room or a dog house if I’m in trouble, but it’s also my workshop where I keep my tools and repair parts.

Cliff

Whitehorse

May 27, 2014

The drive from Watson Lake to Whitehorse was again, beautiful. The road followed several rivers and I lost count of how many bridges and lakes we saw. There were a few more RV’s out there on the road and the RV park here is certainly more full than the others we have visited. We have had the best weather with temps ranging from 60-80 during the day and 40-60 at night. Now if we could just turn off the sun at night…

We drove through Moose country today but did not see a single moose – nor bear, bison or sheep. We saw a really big bird and a couple of black crows but that is it. Dull by comparison to yesterdays wildlife sightings.

We are going to stay in Whitehorse a few days, kick back and relax. We are about 8 hours from the Alaskan border and planning to be there this weekend. The fires burning in Alaska are the cause of the haze hanging over Whitehorse.

Hi Country RV Park in Whitehorse, YK

Hi Country RV Park in Whitehorse, YK

We crossed over the Continental Divide today, no fancy marker or anything to mark the spot except that we started going downhill and our guidebook said so!

We explored Whitehorse this afternoon with stops at Walmart and the Visitor Center. They directed us to The Rib and Salmon House where we had a great dinner. We are looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow and maybe a bit more exploring!

Oh, we stopped at the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake last night and took a few pictures. It was impressive!

Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake

Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake

Sign Post Forest

Sign Post Forest

Sign Post Forest

Sign Post Forest

Cyndy and Cliff

 

Wildlife!

May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day! We are thankful to family and friends who have served in the military or are now serving in the military for choosing to stand for our country and serve in the military.

We thought we needed a lay over day of rest but when we got up this morning we were anxious to get on the road and see more wildlife. We have stopped for the day in Watson Lake, Yukon and camped in the only RV Park in town. Cliff is checking out the truck and talking to all of the guys in the park because that big red truck just calls to guys to come on over. I am working on the more practical side of life – making a grocery list, doing the laundry and cleaning the bathroom.

As we move farther north we have shorter nights and it is messing with my sleep! I find it hard to go to bed when it is daylight outside but it does not get completely dark until after midnight. Then I wake up at 3:30am because it is light outside and I am ready to get up and get going.

Another day of amazing scenery. Today we drove by Muncho Lake and it was big and impressive. It is a blue/green color because of the copper in the water.

Muncho Lake

Muncho Lake

Today we saw wildlife everywhere! Bison in groups along the sides of the road, sheep licking the salt from the road, bears munching on the new grass by the road – it was great! Most of the bison looked pretty rough because they are shedding their winter coats but they still looked powerful and the babies were so cute.

whole herd of bison

whole herd of bison

Dad of the group

Dad of the group

What rules of the road?

What rules of the road?

not sure what the road has on it that tastes so good

not sure what the road has on it that tastes so good

We also crossed into the Yukon today, one step closer to Alaska! The town is like many of the others we’ve been through, recovering from hard winters where 15′ of snow will fall in one year. But friendly people and they are curious about where we are going.

Lastly, we would like to thank all of the animals who came to the side of the road so that we could take their picture.

Cyndy and Cliff

 

The Alaskan Highway

May 25, 2014

We have been impressed with this highway! It is stunning with something new to look at around every corner. The road surface has been good, better than we expected. It is asphalt with a chip rock surface and many obvious places of repair. We have learned to watch for the little flags on the side of the road, they really do mean slow down for rough road ahead. We don’t see much traffic because we are ahead of the crowd and that makes it nice in the RV parks as we don’t need to make reservations ahead of time. There seem to be quite a few rest stop areas and we like to make lots of rest stops so it works out perfectly!

A rest stop!

A rest stop!

The landscape is so green and we are enjoying the rivers and bridges.

Heading North on The Alaskan Highway

Heading North on The Alaskan Highway

A detour to see this original bridge on the Old Alaskan Highway

A detour to see this original bridge on the Old Alaskan Highway

Original Bridge

Original Bridge

Look at those wooden boards on the bridge

Look at those wooden boards on the bridge

Today we saw wildlife! Bears right next to the road, hawks, a coyote, a fox and deer. We were a bit stunned but managed to get the camera out in time to snap a few pictures of the bears. We are such tourists!

Nice looking Bear!

Nice looking Bear!

Do you think he wants to shake hands?

Do you think he wants to shake hands?

We are staying at the Toad River RV Park and their claim to fame is that they have a hat collection with over 7000 hats. Cliff did not see the hats in the office so we will check it out tomorrow. We are making our way to Watson Lake in the Yukon but we may take an extra day to look around this area before we start driving again.

Cyndy and Cliff

Mile Zero

May 24, 2014

It’s our first anniversary and it’s pretty amazing to be celebrating it in Dawson Creek, BC. We are enjoying living full time in the trailer and I am starting to run out of organizing ideas so everything must have landed in the right place!

Married 5-24-13 in Erie CO

Married 5-24-13 in Erie CO

We traveled about 5 hours today through some beautiful country.

A lake on a 4,000' pass was still frozen

A lake on a 4,000′ pass was still frozen

We stopped at a rest stop to take some pictures of this river as we continued.

Hart Road

About an hour before reaching Dawson Creek we drove through the town of Chetwynd where they have the Canadian Chainsaw Championships.

Chetwynd 2

Some of the art was "interesting"

Some of the art was “interesting”

We’ve driven 2,300 miles to get to Dawson Creek to start our 1500 mile drive up the Alaskan Highway. The Army Corp of Engineers called this spot “Mile 0” of what was then called the Alcan Highway. The road building was started in 1942 and it took only 8 months to finish, 16 months ahead of schedule. The U.S. feared a Japanese invasion of Alaska and sent 2,000 troops and supplies to get the road done as soon as possible.

Dawson Creek - Mile 0

Dawson Creek – Mile 0

We have toured the town, paid a bunch of money for fuel, had a great steak dinner for our anniversary and are now hanging out at the local Tim Horton’s (the Canadian version of Starbuck’s) to use the internet. We plan to leave in the morning, heading towards Ft. Nelson.

Cliff and Cyndy