The Alaska Highway is long and we’re only half way there. At Whitehorse we left the Alaska Highway to head north along the Klondike Highway. First stop is Dawson City and beyond to Alaska. But before we do that I’ll tell you about our travels up the first part of the Alaska Hwy from Dawson Creek to here.
From where we last left off in Fort St John BC we got back on the road and hauled northward. Our goal for the next few days was to get to Whitehorse as quickly as possible. For the most part the Alaska Highway is smooth sailing. There is of course the occasionally construction zone or in this case more than occasionally. I guess the season for road construction is fairly short in the north so they have to get everything done in the few short summer months. Before we left we had read somewhere to watch out for flying rocks on gravel roads. Sure enough we managed to get a rock in the windshield and a nice little star shaped crack. It only cost $35 to have it fixed in Whitehorse which wasn’t bad.
So we continued up the Alaska Highway stopping north of Fort Nelson BC at a rest stop near Summit Pass. There we met a nice gentleman from Florida named Paul and his wife who were on their way to Alaska. We found that the best way to find free camping is to look for other RVs pulled off the highway for the night. Some of the best views are at spots like these too.
From Summit Pass we drove through Muncho Lake Provincial Park which some say is the most beautiful lake in the Rockies. I would say it’s a tie between Peyto Lake in Banff and Muncho Lake. We stopped along the shore for some lunch and decided to go for a short hike to stretch our road trip legs. We hiked up a dry river bed with strange colourful mountain slopes on both sides until we made it to a stream that eventually disappeared into a crevice in the ground.
After lunch we headed northward again and eventually crossed into the Yukon near Watson Lake. At Watson Lake we saw the Sign Post Forest which was started by a homesick US soldier working on the construction of the Alaska Highway. He posted a sign pointing to his home town in Illinois. Today there are over 68000 signs posted from all over the world. We’re going to post our sign on the way back through Watson Lake next month.
From Watson Lake the road turns west and follows the Yukon – BC border before heading north to Whitehorse. We rolled in to Whitehorse on the evening of August 10 and found a place to park the bus for the night. We spent a total of three days exploring Whitehorse and mountain biking on Grey Mountain. On our first ride on Grey Mountain we met a local named Ian out for a ride with his dog and decided to ride the rest of the trail together. After the ride we pedaled back to Ian’s place for a beer. At Ians we met his girlfriend Andrea and decided to meet for another ride the next night.
One of the things we discovered after leaving home was that we way over packed and we needed to loose some stuff. We decided to mail some of our unnecessary stuff home so we picked up a large apple box from a local grocery store and packed it full of random things we didn’t think we would need on the trip. Another bunch of stuff went to the local Salvation Army. With the bus decluttered we spent the day touring around Whitehorse. That evening we headed over to Ian and Andrea’s for the ride. There we met Philippe, a local bike shop owner and artist. This ride was going to be a shuttle which meant no uphill pedaling. Sue wasn't riding that evening so she volunteered to drive us the top of the mountain. The ride from the top down took a couple hours to complete. That night Ian and Andrea generously offered their spare bedroom for us to crash in. It was nice sleeping in a real bed after being in the bus for so long. Thanks guys for the wonderful hospitality and the great sandwiches and tea and coffee!
The next morning we headed over to the Whitehorse fish ladder which was built to allow the salmon heading up river to climb passed the hydro electric dam. The salmon start their journey in the Bearing Sea on the northwestern Alaska coast before traveling over 3000 km upstream to lay their eggs. They have a visitor’s center set up there where you can see the fish through a glass window under the water. It was pretty wild to see. After the fish ladder we headed over to Philippe’s bike shop to check it out and say hello before leaving Whitehorse. His shop is something you have to check out if you’re in Whitehorse – even if you don’t ride bikes.
After leaving Whitehorse we headed north along the Klondike Highway towards Dawson City. We made it as far as Stewart Crossing and found a pull off where four large trailers parked for the night, all from Texas. You meet so many people from all over the world when you road trip. We talked to them for a bit and they mentioned that they had traveled up the Dempster Highway towards Inuvik, NWT. We were originally going to drive north to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska but so many people had told us to take the Dempster instead. We had a decision to make.