Monday, June 6, 2011

The Klondike Highway

We stayed an extra day in Whitehorse.  I wasn’t feeling well and spent most of the day in bed.  Gene was as content as he could be surfing the internet.  We’re glad we stayed even though we were anxious to get moving again.

The 323-mile drive up the Klondike Highway was a little stressful at times.  The road conditions were much worse than what we have been experiencing, so we had to be diligent about keeping a close eye on any variations in the road surface.  Any wavy lines could turn out to be frost heaves.  These ripples in the road can cause serious damage to an RV.  We were also on the lookout for any dark spots on the road.  Most often they were patches where potholes had developed, but sometimes they were the potholes.

We didn’t have the high mountains and the breathtaking views, but the scenery along the highway was still beautiful.  I almost made the title of this post “rivers and lakes” because there were so many.  We were seldom without a view of one or the other.  We crossed several rivers, including the Yukon.  With overcast skies for most of the drive, both yesterday and today, the photos of the lakes and rivers seem dull without that sparkle of the sun on the surface.

Part of the beauty of the drive was the flowers growing along the side of the road.  Spring is in full force here now.  Lupine is everywhere.  We saw mostly the pink variety, but there was also plenty of the blue.  Mixed in with that were some yellow, daisy-like flowers and bluebells.

I was impressed with the vastness of the area.  What doesn’t have water on it, is covered in forest--mostly pine and aspen.  As we would crest a hill, we could see for miles and miles and it was nothing but trees.

The trees have been cut down to create a large path of openness on both sides of the road.  I’m not sure why, but the effect is nice.  You don’t seem to be traveling through a green tunnel, but rather have a sense of open space.  I suspect they may have done this to give the motorists and the wildlife a chance to see each other before coming face to face on the road.  Whatever the reason, I liked it.

Yesterday, we stopped at Braeburn Lodge for one of their “world famous cinnamon buns”.  It gets an “A” for size--the largest cinnamon bun we’ve ever seen.  The advertisement says it will feed four and that’s probably true.  Gene and I shared it with coffee at the Lodge, had a little more for dessert last night, and I ate a bite this morning before throwing the rest of it in the garbage.  As for taste, we were not impressed.  It was not nearly as good as the previous two buns we had.

This morning we stopped at Moose Creek Lodge.  That was a fun stop.  Gene got a cup of coffee while I made pictures of the yard art.  They are all about moose and had used tree trunks and branches to create a fine gallery of moose stuff.  My favorite wasn’t the moose, however; it was the giant mosquito.

The mosquitoes must’ve hatched yesterday.  I have never seen so many and they come in swarms.  I know we must be bitten all over.  I killed nine in the shower this morning.  They probably laid mosquito eggs in the drain.  We’ve probably got ourselves a little RV mosquito nursery.

We are parked for tonight at Gold Rush Campground in Dawson City.  We are a little disappointed.  We were never able to get our rig level in our site, shower costs 2.25 for 6 minutes, the spaces are so close together we can almost hold hands with our neighbors, and the internet (which is free) is only available from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM and so far this afternoon it has only worked intermittently.  Maybe we expected too much for $39.50.  There are only a couple full-service campgrounds in town.  We’ll try another one when we come back from Inuvik.

CRITTER COUNT:  After leaving Whitehorse, we got back in the swing of seeing wildlife again.  We saw two moose (one yesterday and one today), a porcupine (at least that’s what we think.  He crossed the road in front of us, but by the time we got to him he had scurried into the weeds), and one brown black bear.  His coat was brown, but he didn’t have the distinctive hump of a grizzly.  Today, we may have seen a grizzly.  He saw us about the time we saw him and he dashed into the woods.  I wasn’t able to get a picture, but he was much lighter in color than the brown we saw yesterday.

GAS REPORT:  As you would expect, gas is higher here.  We paid $5.22 in Whitehorse, $5.78 in Carmacks, and today we paid $6.13 in Dawson City.  Diesel was just a couple cents higher.

We are getting ready for our trip up the Dempster Highway.  The ferries are both running now, so we’ll start tomorrow.  It’s 480 miles of gravel road; it’s gonna take a while.  We are hoping to be back in Dawson City in six days.  I’m taking my computer just in case we come across an internet connection.

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

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