There are still hundreds of free hot spring pools in BC and Alberta --so there's no shortage of places to soak.
There are still hundreds of free hot spring pools in BC and Alberta --so there's no shortage of places to soak.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-23-2009 at 04:36 PM.
Amazing report Lifey and some more great pics !
I like it ! A modern twist of an old saying, and Oh so true.As I saw on a T-shirt: a jpg. is worth a thousand txts.
The Silver Trail
At Stewart Crossing I turned off the Klondike Highway, to Mayo, where I spent the night at the Bedrock Motel and RV Park. There was only one other motorhome in the RV Park which was all grassed. A pleasant change from the gravel parks along the Alcan. Electric hookup and the basic facilities nearby, complete with wifi for a mere $15. Contrary to what I believed, the more remote it was the cheaper these facilities were. I was to experience more of that later, as well.
Next morning I left before seven, and headed for Keno - the end of the road. The road was paved as far as Mayo. It was full of potholes which were impossible to miss, even at 40mph. On the other hand, the gravel road to Keno was an excellent road
with only a small patch of slight washboarding. I really enjoyed this early morning journey.
Not far from Mayo I saw something on the road, which I have since been told was a porcupine. There was a adult, and a young. Before I got close enough to take a meaningful photo
a vehicle coming in the opposite direction sent them scurrying into the shrub. Then, a bit further on - in the distance - was a large black blob beside the road. I attempted to approach as quietly as I possibly could, but it disappeared before I could get a photo. It was a large black bear, with her cub scurrying into the bush after her.
The only other wildlife I saw on this road was an Arctic Fox. It just stood there beside my car, looking up at me. As soon as it saw the camera it turned and left.
There seems to be a wide variety of opinions as to what it decided to have for breakfast.
There was no movement in this little settlement when I arrived soon after 7am.
Neither did there seem to be any locks on any doors. The visitor centre was wide open
and the library was not locked.
Doors to other buildings were also open, though I did not investigate as to what these were.
There were signs of days gone by.
A lovely little place which it appears, time has almost forgotten...
just not quite.
Thanks again Lifey, I am loving the look of these secluded roads and small towns, what an adventure !
Oh boy, you got me wanting to be there !
The Klondike Hwy from Whitehorse to Dawson City is nice and scenic... not unlike many roads on which I have travelled throughout Northern Canada. I did not see any further wildlife along this road. The fireweed
along the side of the road was brilliant, mixed in many places with blue, purple and white flowers. A most colourful display.
(I wish the flowers had shown up brighter)
At Fox Lake there was a rest area which had a board
telling of the devastating fires of 1998, caused by campers, and how it burned for 9 months and changed the landscape forever.
There was also the story of the firefighters who were caught in the fires and had to jump into Fox Lake to avoid being burned alive. It directed you to a short walk to the lake. When I read to allow two hours for the 200 yd walk, I decided to give it a miss.
There was a lovely large rest area at Five Fingers Rapids
with a staircase and boardwalk to the river..... a long ways off. While here, I like many others, decided it would be a good spot for lunch. Then one of the tour buses arrived, and our peace whas shattered. Not only the noise from the loudmouths off that bus, but many decided they had to sit in the large bushes of flowers, to have their photo taken. They then proceeded to pick bunches of flowers, before boarding the bus again. Words failed me!
The turn off to Keno, was also the only place where fuel was available.... and not much more! I stood for sometime on the bridge over the Stewart River
amazed at the volume of water running below me and wishing we had something like that at home to relieve our drastic water shortage.
The only other feature of note before arriving in Dawson City is the junction with the Dempster Highway to Inuvik. Having read what Craig had to say about this road I heeded his advice and determined not to drive it. A decision I would later come to regret... and still do.
At the NWT Visitor Centre in Dawson City - which I am convinced is there purely to promote the Dempster - I was to read the many testimonials from those who had only in the last week driven it, driven it in ordinary everyday vehicles. The majority emphasised that if you were prepared to travel slowly then it was a very nice highway, and a great journey. Most seemed to have taken two days up, and two days back.
I did not get to visit any of the must see places... it was just too wet for my liking to go anywhere. I did however, have rides on the ferry across the Yukon.
Oh! how I hate being first on a ferry...
that sinking feeling of going too far.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-25-2009 at 04:36 PM. Reason: I adjusted the color balance on the roadside flower photo
Last night and today I have spent more than ten hours composing the foregoing post and photos. It is taking me well over half an hour to upload two photos. At first I was blaming it on the weak wifi connections, but right now I have excellent connection at the Homer Library, and I have now given up on photos. It just keeps coming up with cannot display page, and I have to start all over again. I do not know where the problem is, but I will from now on post plain text - even though I have some spectacular photos. I do not know if there is a way to insert the photos after I get home, but right now I just want to do a little more than sit looking at this computer.
I adjusted the color balance on the one photo to show the flowers a bit more. You can add the photos later -- Or I can.
Dawson City cont.
The road to the Top of the World Golfcourse affords one great views of the city from across the Yukon, just as the Dome does from the other side. I was even able to pick out the RV park where I was staying. (Funny, in Dawson city all three parks are owned by the one organization... all different names, and they give the impression of being in competition.)
From up high you can see how clear the water is that comes into the Yukon, and just how muddy and dirty the Yukon is here. That may be because of the constant movement of the ferry.
It was when I saw the dark sky coming our way that I headed back to the RV Park.
One of the large motor homes had an Australian flag right across the front windows. I did have to go and check that out, didn't I!! This couple's son has moved to Australia and now lives in Canberra, and they carry the flag wherever they travel. The husband drives trucks up north in the summer and they spend their winters down in the southern states of the US.
It was on my return to the park that I was told I had just missed all the excitement... a mother moose had lost her baby and was frantically searching amongst all the RVs before finally finding it behind the restaurant.
And then there was that lovely surprise of the oven-fresh bread, mentioned in a previous post.
Top of the World Highway
Many had told me what a great journey that is and I had read quite a bit about it. So it was with great expectation that I set out on the morning of my birthday to drive this great road... which is not only named because of it's latitude, but also it's altitude. In places the road runs along a ridge. Magnificent!!
The rain had stopped when I awoke that morning. The streets and roads were still wet and muddy from the overnight rain. The queue at the ferry was not bad, I only had a 20 min wait. And then it was winding my way up the road... and into the fog. This road, which is marked on most maps, and in my atlas as a paved road, is actually less than 40% paved. It was not all that long after we hit the fog, that we got to the first section of gravel.
Driving went well, in the pea-souper, after all, I could see the double lines in the middle of the road, so I at least knew I was actually on the road, as well as on the correct side of the road. But there ain't no lines on a gravel road!! I was crawling. My eyes were peering for any sign of my position on the road. Strangely, my GPS comes in handy at the most unexpected times. Here I used it to see which direction the road ahead was taking. The road kept changing from paved to gravel, gravel to paved, until it was just gravel all the way to the border. I swear I could hear my heart beating and I prayed that there would not be a vehicle coming from the other direction. That prayer was in vain. Thankfully, it too was crawling.
Probably two thirds of the way to the border the fog lifted somewhat, and we could at least see across the valley to the fog shrouded hills on the other side.
And then it was rain. Some fog, some rain, and altogether, a misserable drive.
This was not exactly how I had planned to spend my birthday. I can neither confirm nor contradict all that is said and written about this road.
Things moved smoothly and quickly at the border. Most cars opened their window, as did I, not much more than an inch or so, enough to hear the officer on duty and hand over the passport. Even then, I got pretty wet.
The Boundary Highway
I was now back in the USA and confronted with a road which, I hear, under the best of circumstances will give you a bumpy welcome to the States. On this Saturday it had been raining for a long time before I crossed the border, and when I did, I came slithering and sliding into Alaska.
This muddy road full of potholes, which were all filled with water, were impossible to avoid. At all cost will I try and avoid driving through a water filled pothole.... you never know what is in the bottom, or how deep it is. But here, such discretion was not possible. It was even worse when there was traffic coming the other way - and one of those was a motorhome!
This lasted for a full six miles. The rest was a gravel road into Chicken which appeared to have been graded, and was good... at least good compared with what I had just experienced.
I think I missed it. Saw it from the top of the hill on my approach, but when I actually got there.... well, all I could find was an RV Park and campground, and then I realised I was already on the way to Tok. Did not bother going back to look for what I appear to have missed. :-)
I had a vivid recollection of Tok from my 2004 trip. That year there were fires all over Alaska, which had deposited more than an eigth of an inch of ash on my tent and car overnight. This time I slept in my car in a comfortable and well appointed park... with wifi available in the adjoining restaurant.
Here I met two other couples - one retired the other young folk - who had basically the same set up as myself. They too were spending most of their nights at truck stops. The young couple comes from a place about 60 kms from where I live. We had a great time that evening. Next morning I left early, not wanting to arrive in Fairbanks too late. Once again we were back in the land of roadworks and pilot cars.
All went smooth until that fateful moment, just south of Delta Junction.
[For those who have not yet read it, refer to my thread in the Memorable Breakdowns topics.]
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-03-2009 at 09:33 AM.
I first saw one on the Icefields Parkway. And then another, and another.
At Athabasca Falls I got a close look at some which were parked there.
It was then that I learned that the Bentley owners do a long road trip every year, and this year some 36 were touring Canada and Alaska. They came from several European countries, Australia, Britain, etc. All of them were pre 1940, some as old as the 20s. All lovingly restored.
Lovingly restored that is, in the visual, but all had been modified to accommodate modern day fuel and keep up with modern day traffic. Even when travelling at 100kph I had some overtake me.
They all negotiated some of the atrocious roads which I encountered, including the Top of the World Hwy on that wet and foggy day. Many convertibles never put the top up.... I was told it is uncool! Hail rain and shine they drove with the open car. And my word, it did rain, almost every day.
The Bentleys were in every place where I stopped to overnight, until Tok, from where they headed straight for Anchorage.
I see in the photo above, that the Bentley is driving with it's driving lamps covered -- I thought that the use of headlights was required on most stretches of the highway and certainly wise?
(nice to see the photos back in the mix again)