Friday, May 27, 2011

Watson Lake's Sign Post Forest

The highlight of today was entering the Yukon.  Gene seems to be somewhat indifferent, but I really like the Yukon.  It has the feel of true wilderness.  My kind of place.

The Yukon Territory is larger than all the New England states put together.  For all that space (186,000 square miles) there are only 30,000 people living here and half of those live in Whitehorse.  No wonder I feel like I’m in the wilderness.

We had a “to do” list for Watson Lake.  We figured Watson Lake would be our best bet for cell service until Whitehorse.  We have a family member who had surgery this week that we wanted to check on.  I wanted to get a couple blog stories posted.  We needed a loaf of bread.  And we wanted to spend some quality time with the folks at the Visitor Center.  Quite a long list for our lunch break.

We got almost everything done.  We were very disappointed to find the phone call wouldn’t connect.  We’ll have to investigate that further.  Hope that’s not going to be a problem.  For internet, we went to the Tags RV Park and paid $5 for the password.  I was able to get connected inside our rig in the parking lot, but my battery was so low I had to rush.  No time for FB or anyone’s blog.

While parked at the Visitor Center we walked over to the grocery.  I really need to do a major shopping, but am holding out until Whitehorse.  We just picked up a loaf of bread.

The Visitor Center was a gold mine of information.  The lady we spoke with was very knowledgeable about the whole territory.  She answered most of our questions about the Dempster Highway,  Dawson City, Top of the World Highway, and Chicken, Alaska.  She knew which ferries were running and what the weather was in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.  She loaded us up with brochures, maps, and a quick reference for every dump station in the Yukon.

Also at the Visitor Center is a small display and movie on the construction of the Alaska Highway.  Neither were as good as what we saw in Dawson Creek.

The main attraction in Watson Lake is the Sign Post Forest.  Way back in 1942 one of the servicemen working on the highway was feeling pretty homesick.  He nailed up a sign with the name of his hometown.  Since then over 71,000 signs have been nailed up by travelers of hometowns all over the world.  It’s quite a sight to see.

With our “to do” list almost all checked off, we continued on down the road for another 50 miles or so before pulling off at a rest area for the night.  When Gene went out to disconnect the brake buddy, he was surprised to find the car wouldn’t start.  I guess it’s had too much time being towed and not enough time with the engine running.  Gene dug out the jumper cables and in the morning we’ll wiggle the motor home around to give the car a jump start.

GAS REPORT:  We bought gas twice today.  We knew gas would be cheaper in the Yukon than British Columbia, but we had a few more miles to go than Gene was comfortable going without adding a little gas to the tank.  He got 10 gallons at Liard River and paid a whooping $6.93.  In Watson Lake it was only $5.25.  Diesel at Watson Lake was $5.34.  The station at Liard River was sold out of diesel.  We have seen so many places out of business that once sold fuel on the Alaska Highway.  That coupled with the places that are sold out of fuel make us a little nervous.  We try to keep the tank over half full.

CRITTER COUNT:  2 deer, 7 buffalo, 4 bears, 1 moose, and 8 horses.  At first I thought the horses were wild, but then realized they were just “free-range”.  I guess I shouldn’t include them in the wildlife count.

That’s all for today.  Thanks for tagging along.

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