Monday, August 17, 2009

Sun, Aug 16: On the ALCAN to Whitehorse, Yukon Territiory, Canada

Well, we are up and rolling early, having survived the bears and no electricity. This park didn’t allow a generator after 10PM. I think from now on we will only stay where we at least have electricity or can use the generator. Though we will still have to watch where we park. We had trouble running the generator even when we could. The sites are so closed in and the air so heavy and still, we kept getting carbon monoxide sucked into the rig and had to turn the generator off for a while. The climate is very oppressive due to the hot springs and the vegetation is similar to the tropics. The sun is up early and so are we. Believe it or not we are on the road a little after 8AM.

After crossing the Laird River yesterday, the road improved greatly. This morning we follow the Laird for a long way.
We are out of the Rockies and the land is rolling and heavily wooded.Signs warn of buffalo every few miles. We see the first ones as we pull out of the Park.There was a huge fire along here in June and there are signs every where telling motorist not to stop. In fact, we see smoke off the road so parts of the fire must still be smoldering and we see more buffalo too.There are beautiful views around every bend and over every hill. At least it seems that way! We get to Watson Lake around 10:30 and gas up. The tourist trade must really be off this summer. So far three of the lodge/gas stations that were listed as open for this season are shut up tight. Dick is watching the gauge closely as we have no desire to run out of gas! Watson Lake is famous for its sign post foreststarted many years ago by a soldier working on the road.We stop for the required picture and see a couple of signs from Texas.We cross between British Columbia and the Yukon Territory five or six times today, We lose count because only a few of the crossing are marked. The scenery begins to change also. It is very hilly with many beaver made lakesand snow capped mountains in the distance.At about mile mark 700, we cross the Continental Divide.The watershed on the east drains into the Arctic Ocean 4000+KM away and the watershed to the west drains to the Pacific Ocean 3200+KM away. We are really enjoying the beauty! The road has been very good today, we don’t feel beaten to death and none of the cabinet doors have flown open so far! We stop at the overlook for Teslin and fix lunch.One of the longest bridges on the ALCAN crosses Teslin Lake here. The lake is large and we follow the shore for 86 miles. In fact, for the rest of the afternoon we drive along one lake after another ringed by mountains.This is also First Nation country, the native Americans of the area.

We get to Whitehorse about 4:30PM. It has been a long day, but the time went by fast with all the beautiful scenery. We find a nice wooded site at Hi Mountain Campgrounds and settle in for at least two nights. Turns out, the couple next to us is from Switzerland. They took a cruise up to Alaska from Vancouver and are now driving a rented motorhome back. They are very excited about the beauty...that is quite a compliment on the scenery given the beauty of the Swiss country side.

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