Vancouver to the Yukon Territory
Hello from the Yukon,
Since we left Vancouver BC it seems like we have been driving and driving and well…….driving. Looking back I guess it has been a bit over 1500 miles through British Columbia and into the Yukon. We left Vancouver and took Canada’s HWY 1 to Cache Creek where we picked up the 97 which becomes the Alaskan Highway in Dawson Creek. We encountered some fairly rough road just outside of Prince George and by the time we got to Dawson Creek the #*&@ing motorcycle lift was leaning backwards once again. Only this time it had bent the battery box and radiator reservoir so far backwards it pulled off one of the coolant hoses to the engine and I had antifreeze sprayed all over the engine, the back of the bus and the Jeep in tow. After everything I had already been through with that thing I was about ready to just make someone in Dawson Creek a proud new owner of a lift and a Harley but we decided to try once more to correct the core problem. We found a company that did fabrication work and we spent a day removing, reinforcing and reinstalling the motorcycle lift. I knew the roads in our future were going to be even more rough than the ones we just encountered so after we got everything repaired we decided to rent a storage room in Dawson Creek and just leave the motorcycle behind. We will pick it up on the way back.
With the motorcycle lift reinstalled and the bike in storage we got back on the 97 which becomes the Alaskan Highway (Mile 0) at Dawson Creek and began our journey North. Overall the Alaskan highway is much better than I feared. I had heard such horror stories about the trip from my uncles when I was a small boy that I had envisioned it being a mud wagon trail with people broke down every 10 miles or so. That is not to say it is like a US freeway. It is a two lane road which is under a great deal of construction in the summer months as you can imagine so we encountered many instances where the road was reduced to one lane with alternating traffic which slowed us down quite a bit. More problematic was that there are many areas that are just gravel. Not native gravel but rather a spread layer of about ½ inch rocks. When we stopped at Liard Hot Springs for the night after a day of heavy gravel roads I went back to look at my Jeep which is being towed behind the motorhome and it had rocks in just about every crevice and maybe 3 or 4 pounds of rocks on the hood and roof. That is where I gained an appreciation for why some people had taped cardboard or other covers to their tow vehicle windshield. Needles to say with all those rocks on the jeep a good number had hit the windshield and pretty much trashed it. I counted 12 cracks of at least 5 inches each, two large bullseye cracks and probably more than 30 typical star cracks. So the windshield will definitely need to be replaced I am just trying to determine when I want to do that so I don’t have to do it twice.
Overall however the drive has been spectacularly beautiful. We were just talking about how in the states we drive a long way to see a beautiful mountain lake and how rare they seem to be but here it seems we pass 15 to 20 of them everyday and they are all gorgeous. One major disappointment we had was that from Vancouver to Fort Nelson we hadn't seen any wildlife…NOTHING. We had seen about 100 warning signs making drivers aware of Moose, Elk, Caribou and Deer but we were thinking those were just for the tourist and all the animals had left the area. Then just North of Fort Nelson we saw three Moose, two Black Bears, one deer, a group of wild Horses and some other smaller yet to be identified animals along side the road. Maybe the highlight was a heard of Bison maybe 75 or so next to and crossing the road. We had to stop for them and slowly work our way through the heard so I shot a short video that I think you can find here
Well we are now parked in Whitehorse which is the capital of the Yukon Territory. We are working on our plans for the next few days but there is quite a bit to see and do near here. Skagway and other cities are within driving distance so we may use Whitehorse as a hub and leave the motorhome here while we spend a few days checking out the areas around here.
Let’s get to the pictures of the road trip through beautiful British Columbia.
This picture was taken in Dawson Creek. Besides supporting the oil fields in Alberta the main crop grown in Dawson creek is Canola which results in these beautiful yellow fields.
As I mentioned above Dawson Creek is where the Alaskan Highway starts.
When the US Army Corps of Engineers built this roadway to Alaska back in 1942 they built this rather odd bridge. While it is a typical truss style wooden bridge of the era this one is curved.
Here is Susan on the wooden bridge. Notice the curves. On the Bridge decking I mean.
From Dawson Creek we took a small side trip to an old restored gold mining town called Barkerville. It was very well presented and very representative of gold mining towns from the era. The next three pictures show some of that little town.
We stopped at a small restaurant for lunch at the Toad River Lodge and they boast the worlds largest collection of baseball caps. I guess no one checks up on such claims but they have more than 8000 hanging from just about every wall space in the restaurant. I donated one of the two I had just received from the folks who worked on my motorcycle lift.
This was a funny although somewhat serious sign next to our table.
The next six pictures are just some random photos we took from the moving motorhome as we drove through British Columbia.
This was what my Jeep windshield looked like when we stopped at Liard Hot Springs for the night….SIGH!
This was the board walkway from the park to the Liard hot springs. It was about 700 yards over swamp lands to the actual pools.
Here are the pools where we took a dip. Not very deep but quite hot….and a bit stinky like sulfur.
Here is a sign we noticed after we returned from the Hot Springs.
Here is a picture of a baby Moose we took from the bus window
Here is a picture of a heard of Bison we had to wait for to cross the road. They weren’t intimidated by the size of the motorhome at all.
Here are three more scenery shots taken as we drove North through British Columbia Canada.
We stopped for lunch at Watson Lake and they boast the largest collection of road signs. They have them all on posts called the road sign Forrest and have them from roads all over the world. Amazing what some people collect.
We finally made it through BC and now in the Yukon
This is the very neat little place we are staying in Whitehorse
Well that’s the update so far.
Next we plan to travel around here a bit then head on into Alaska on our way to Denali National Park.
Take care and stay in touch,
Tom & Susan