Monday, June 23, 2008

Alaskan Idyll Day 5 - Gas Pains in Whitehorse, YT

Well folks, today was another first. When we arrived at the campground in Whitehorse, YT and filled our gas tank, and the bill was over $200.00! This is the first time we have put that much in our gas tank. As a matter of policy, we try to drive on the top half of the tank on remote highways such as the Alcan. It is not at all uncommon for business such as gas stations to be closed, so we fill up at every opportunity. On today's drive, we were sure we could buy gas in Whitehorse, so we let the tank go down below half, creating an expensive fill-up at $1.44/liter (about 5.50/US gallon).

Our stay in Watson Lake was short and wet, but pleasant nonetheless. The campground, named Baby Nugget, is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, and has been in business since the mid nineties. The campsites are all pull-throughs with electric and water, and are very spacious by commercial park standards, especially on the Alcan. The complex includes a meeting hall (named the “ore house”), a restaurant, a filling station, and, of course, a gift shop. Being about 10 miles west of Watson Lake, the owners have managed to have the business site incorporated as Yukon Town named Nugget. A tasty spaghetti dinner was included in our stay. After dinner the owner told us a little bit about their development of the park, the difficulties of operating a business in such a remote location, and some of her personal history as the only female truck driver on the Cassier Highway in the 1980’s, and her prowess as a backwoods huntress. One of their employees is a woodcarver, and has created an elaborately carved front door for the gift shop. Because of the rain, we did not take out the camera, so we have no pictures of this door.

We left Watson Lake during a drizzly rain and proceeded onward toward Whitehorse. All of the wild animals must have taken the day off, as we saw not one.
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Windshield

The road between Watson Lake and Whitehorse crosses the Cassier Mountains, a relatively low range which forms the continental divide. Rain which falls on the east side of this divide eventually makes it’s way to the Atlantic Ocean; rain on the west side flows to the Pacific. We had pleanty of rain on both sides of the divide this trip. Keith wanted to deposit some filtered coffee on the Divide, but Kathy restrained him.
A Rainy Day in the Cassier Mountains
Continental Divide
Teslin Lake
Nisutlin Bay Bridge, Longest on the Alcan

Past the Divide we stopped for an early lunch at Dawson’s Peak. We remembered stopping here during our last trip to Alaska. Their specialty is rhubarb pie as well as other home-cooked dishes. We both had beef stew and bumble berry pie, topped with ice cream. (3.5 COWS). Bumble berry pie is a very tasty combination of rhubarb, apple, strawberry and berries. Just your basic 43 dollar lunch.

After lunch the rain stopped and we had glimpses of the sun for the rest of our ride. We arrived in Whitehorse about 3pm .We are staying at the Pioneer RV Park, which is the same park that we stayed at in 2005. Unlike the Baby Nugget, the sites at Pioneer are not spacious or scenic. We are warehoused in with less than 10 feet between coaches. However, we do have full services, including electric, water, sewer, and cable TV. Our satellite TV stopped working in Dawson Creek, and Keith had it suspended for two months, until we are back in the states, so the cable is appreciated. We also have no cell phone service in Whitehorse, which we find somewhat surprising. Our Canadian tail gunners have working service from Canadian Bell. We are surprised that Verizon does not connect through this network. We should have service Skagway, our next stop, which is in the USA.
Stacked Like Cord Wood in Whitehorse

Kathy is especially looking forward to Whitehorse because the last time we were here she had a tooth extracted and missed all of the touring. This evening we were treated to a roast beef dinner at the campground. (2 COWS). The meat was tasty but tough and many of us had a difficult time chewing and digesting it.

Tomorrow we begin to explore Whitehorse; stay tuned.

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