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Wednesday July 22, 2009

Top of the world Highway and Chicken Alaska

The Top of the World Highway is one of the top ten drives in some motoring magazines. The highway climbs above the tree line out of Dawson and crosses into Alaska at Boundary. The road reminded us of the Trans Labrador Highway in 1993, gravel and potholes but it was well worth taking. We are not through with it yet, we take it to Tok Alaska tomorrow.

Before the highway, we crossed the Yukon river on the ferry:

We stopped and took a couple of pictures en route:

Chicken is and old gold mining town (present population is 21), it has a couple of RV parks and some displays of gold mining equipment:

There is even an old dredge here:

There is still some mining done here:

The RV park we are staying at is quiet, next door there is a caravan:

Suzette took this picture on the way out of Chicken, we couldn't resist putting it up on the blog!

The is a small airfield in Chicken, you land and drive the plane down the road to where you want to go. This, I believe, is a Piper Super Cub:

Tomorrow it's off to Tok!

Sunday July 19, 2009

Dawson City Yukon

We arrived at the Bonanza Gold RV park about 2:30 pm after a bit of a long drive from Carmacks. We are settled and relaxing, tomorrow it's some touring and RV repairs (details later!).

Monday July 20, 2009

The tourist routine!

After taking off a wheel from the trailer (we picked up a nail somewhere on the road and have a slow leak) and dropping it off to be patched, we spent the morning having a look around Dawson.

One of the first places we went to was to the Midnight Dome, we missed this place back in 1992. The road takes you up to above 2,000 ft. altitude for a great view of Dawson and the area.

This is a view of Dawson:

The Yukon river downstream:

You can see that there is still some placer mining going on (they took over $40 million in gold out of here last year):

A view of our RV park from the dome:

A couple of the old buildings facing the Yukon river:

Parks Canada has restored an old riverboat here as well:

An old building starting to be restored near the waterfront:

This is a modern paddle wheeler that takes folks on river cruises:

This is the ferry that takes us across the Yukon river and on to Alaska later in the week:

Tuesday July 21, 2009

We went to Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino in town last evening to do a little bit of slot playing and to watch the show. I'm happy to report that we left with $11 more in our pockets from the slots but we spent a bit more than that on snacks and wine.

Today we went down the Bonanza creek where the gold that set off the gold rush here was discovered at the turn of the twentieth century. Before we left town we filled up with some other liquid gold (diesel fuel), at $1.27 per liter and over $150 for the fill it's the priciest fuel we've hit on the trip.

The picture below is dredge #4, it operated on the creek until 1959 when a dam broke, covering it with silt and gravel. When we were up here in 1992 it had just been unearthed by the Army Corp of Engineers and a restoration was started by Parks Canada which is continuing to this day:

Parks Canada had a nice tour that describes how the dredge works conducted by a lady whose family was in the mining business.

Lots of interesting machinery inside the dredge:

Further down the creek there is a plaque marking the spot where gold was discovered and reenacting the operation:

There is lots of old mining equipment and vehicles around the area, this is a old McLaughlin-Buick:

And a Fargo truck:

I believe about $40 million in gold was found here last year by "mom and pop" operations, you can see the shovel and barely see the sluice box in the picture:

We will try our luck again tonight at Gerties after grabbing some supper locally. Tomorrow it's off to the top of the world highway and Chicken Alaska!

Edit on Wednesday Morning! We made $61 at the slots last evening!!!

Saturday July 18, 2009

Carmacks Yukon

We were off the internet yesterday as we were in the trees at Twin Lakes Territorial Park, about 50 km. down the road from here.

We took a few pictures of the park:

A nice back-in site:

One of the nice things about the Yukon territorial parks is that they have free firewood, we had a nice fire (after a short interruption by the rain):

On the way over to Carmacks we stopped at the remains of an old roadhouse, apparently these were spaced every 20 miles or so along the trail between Whitehorse and Dawson, 20 miles is all that could be done in a day during the winter:

These were two story structures with cheesecloth lining the walls to keep the chinking that fell from the walls from dropping on people:

You can just see the floor beam for the second story:

We arrived in Carmacks early, about 9:45 am and we set up, we are in the rear of the Carmacks hotel, a gravel RV park with full services. We spent the past two days on batteries (wit a little generator help) and we used tank water and our internal waste tanks. Virtually none of the territorial parks have dump stations or pressure water (just well water from a pump that needs to be boiled), so it was good to stop here and dump and refill. I'm having a problem with the black water valve, it doesn't close completely and the liquid has to be drained  from the pipe before I hook up the waste hose (yuk!), this problem was supposed to be fixed by Morry's before we left.

A couple of initial pictures:

The park doesn't look great but it has a good view of the Yukon river.

The bridge is the Klondyke highway crossing the river just north of the village:

This is the view from the camper:

More pictures later!

Thursday July 16, 2009

Fox Lake Territorial Park, Yukon

This park is located on the Klondyke Highway about 70 Km. or so outside Whitehorse.

We got here late this morning after a short drive from town, we have a site right on the lake. There is no power or water here, so we get to try out boondocking for a change.

Some pictures:

This is the boat launch area adjacent to our campsite:

We have a "pull-through" close to the lake:

You can see the RV's on the Klondyke highway above the lake:

A couple of nice lake shots:

Wednesday July 15, 2009

Lots of Touring!!

We decided to stay here in Whitehorse for another night. A couple of reasons for this: First there is a music festival being held in Dawson this weekend and reports are that there are no campsite vacancies over the weekend. We also like Whitehorse, yesterday we shopped and got other stuff done like haircuts and banking.

We also met two fine neighbours, Doug and Brenda, we enjoyed their company last evening, so that left today for sightseeing!

Today started overcast in the morning so we took Kasey for a long walk (by our standards!) on the walking trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail system) through Whitehorse.

The trail goes past the Klondyke, a river boat that plied the Yukon river and went out of service in 1950, it has been restored by Parks Canada and is a national historic site. You can just see Suzette and Kasey in the foreground, it gives an indication of the boat's size:

This is the business end!

They have a narrow gauge antique rail car that runs along the water front. I'm note sure if this is one of the original White Pass cars or not:

After the walk in the morning we took Kasey back to the trailer and since it was starting to rain we visited a couple of museums.

The Yukon transportation museum displays a wide variety of vehicles and other artifacts from days gone by:

A rail car from the White Pass and Yukon railway (now used as a screening room).

A model "T" flatbed truck:

A 1942 Chev Dump Truck used for the Alaska Highway construction (picture below):

Now you know where Chrysler got the idea for the PT cruiser from!

I like this model much more.

An earlier mode of transport:

Airplanes played a critical role in the development of the area as well:

This is the first year model of the Ski-Doo

There is a museum called the Beringia Interpretive Center next door to the transportation museum. I didn't realize that the Yukon is a treasure trove of ice age bones and remnants such as the Woolly Mammoth. There is even bones of the Yukon Horse displayed. We took pictures but they didn't come out well because of the glass cases. The displays were great!

Tomorrow it's off to a territorial park for some real camping again!

Monday July 13, 2009

Hi Country RV Park, Whitehorse Yukon

We got into Whitehorse just before 2:00 pm today and we are settled into this surprisingly nice RV park. We will head into town tomorrow and do some "touristy" things.

Sunday July 12, 2009

No Joy!

We spent a couple of hours both yesterday and today looking for the sign we placed in the signpost forest back in 1992 without success.

For the folks that don't know the tradition, the signpost forest was started during the second world war here in Watson Lake by a lonely American soldier who was part of the contingent building the Alaska Highway. We recall that for the 50th anniversary of the highway in 1992 the soldier (whose name escapes me) came back here for the celebrations, he has subsequently passed away. I guess the folks who produced MASH copied the signpost concept from here.

There are more than 10,000 signs here now, so finding ours proved difficult, I guess with more time and patience we could have been successful. We asked Chantal and Nicole for details of the placement but there have bee many posts erected since we placed our sign and the terrain has also changed. We will pass the torch on to our families to try to find the sign if they come by this way in future.

We took a few pictures:

We shopped and gassed up (diesel is $1.049 per liter) here, tomorrow we make the trek to Whitehorse!

Saturday July 11, 2009

Watson Lake

We arrived here around 1:30 pm this afternoon. We spent some time at the signpost forest but didn't find our 1992 sign. We will try again tomorrow.

Suzette took a few pictures back at the Poplars and on our way here, we saw a lot of Bison on the highway, we don't remember these before.

These are the horses at the Poplars this morning:

The scenery on the road was great:

Here are a couple of shots of the bison including some newborn!

Rain, Rain Go Away!

At the Poplars in Mucho Lake BC

For the past three mornings we got soaked breaking camp, and we haven't had a "complete" campfire without getting rained on, we hope the weather clears sometime soon!

We are in The Poplars near Muncho Lake Provincial Park, we got here mid day yesterday.

We've stayed at this campground before, Suzette says in 1992, I say in 2006, we will have to check the archives and see who is correct.

According to the Milepost, this place was closed in 2008, this year it's open for camping only with the cabins and cafe closed. Even though we are in a pull-through site, we only have sewage (the other services are there but not operational). But at $10 per night it's OK. Besides, we note that a fellow Datastorm user just up the road paid $62 for a site, so we are lucky!

Besides, we have a great view, and some folks with horses came in, we have a temporary paddock just behind us in the meadow.

A couple of pictures:

This mountain is to the west of the campsite:

This hill is at the back of the campsite, the horses hadn't yet arrived when the picture was taken"

We have the place virtually to ourselves:

Yes, the truck and trailer got dirty because of the road construction just south of here:

On the way over there was lots of wildlife on the road, I think this guy is a caribou:

Driving through the mountains was fun!

We are now on the Alaska internet satellite, 127W. The reception yesterday was spotty but this morning it's much better. The weather yesterday was probably causing the poor reception.

Today we will try to hit Watson Lake and we are determined to find the signpost we erected there in 1992!

Thursday July 9, 2009

Fort Nelson BC

We arrived here early this afternoon after a run from Fort St John.

Last night we stayed in Beatton Provincial Park on Charlie Lake just north of Fort St John. We wanted to spend a day in a real provincial park and enjoy the surroundings. Beatton filled the bill, it had great campsites, a beautiful lake and fantastic camp hosts.

This is a picture of our campsite:

All the campsites were paved back-in sites:

Charlie Lake is great for boating, swimming and for fishing:

Since the park had no services we had the opportunity to run self contained and test the new trailer batteries. Everything worked well and we ran the TV and DVD player on inverter power for a few hours without discharging the batteries. We also test ran the generator, and it worked well.

On the road this morning to Fort Nelson we ran into some long 8% grades that had brake check stops before each grade. We played it safe and slowly followed a couple of tractor- trailers down the hills.

No pictures of the current campsite, it's just a parking lot (with full services) behind a hotel. We needed to dump the tanks and take on water, tomorrow it's back to real campsites!

Tuesday July 7, 2009

Mile "0" campground, Dawson Creek British Columbia

We arrived here yesterday afternoon after spending a night in the Whitecourt Lions campground:

The Lions do a good job on the campsites, this one had full services (30 and 50 amp) in the woods, Suzette reports that the washer and drier was excellent!

They even did pull through sites in the trees!

Here in Dawson Creek there has been heavy rain in the area over the past two days, we erected the dish and then went into town this morning to do the "tourist" routine.

It is required!! that a picture be taken of the mile "0" plaque in the center of town:

We dropped into a museum in town and took a couple of pictures of a Jeep on display and we purchased a DVD of the highway construction:

We plan to stay here today and head north on the Alaska Highway tomorrow (Wednesday)
. There is a provincial park about a 100 km. north, we want to get away from organized campgrounds for a day or so.

Saturday July 4, 2009

Sandy Beach Regional Park, Lloydminster Saskatchewan

We got into this park yesterday afternoon. We've been here before and while it's not a great park it's close to shopping and other conveniences. We shopped yesterday and this morning in Lloydminster and we relaxed. Lloydminster remains a bit of a frontier town, not unlike some of the towns we've seen in Mexico, a little rough around the edges.

The decline in the economy has affected the town, there are a few empty stores in the mall and in town, and we don't see the oil workers that we saw here in the park the last time we were through. Still, it appears more prosperous than the US or southern Ontario.

A couple of pictures of the campsite:

Tomorow we bypass Edmonton and plan to stop at Whitecourt, there is a Lions Club park there, so far these parks have been pretty good. The provincial park near Whitecourt is normally too busy for a good stay.

Thursday July 2, 2009

Lanigan Lions Club RV Park, Lanigan Saskatchewan

We dropped into this town park around 1:00 pm central standard time (we gained another hour). It's the same time as Alberta. As I'm writing this,it's 9:40 pm and the sun is down and it's getting dark, a change from last night where it was light till well after 10 pm.

The Loins club parks are a pleasant surprise, well kept and inexpensive at $20.00 for 30 amp hydro and water.

A couple of pictures:

Lots of well kept grass:

Our RV is hidden behind the trees:

Tomorrow it's off to Lloydminster on The Sask/Alberta border.

Wednesday July 1, 2009

Asessippi Provincial Park near Russell Manitoba

Today we stayed at our first "real" provincial park in Manitoba, we took the opportunity to take a hike on a trail and we had a campfire. We've been at this park before but in the distant past with our kids, we remember the dam and the sightseeing area.

A couple of pictures:

The campsite was tight but we got into it OK

The face of the dam:

Th trail was very green:

Lots of locals were on the lake fishing and boating:

Tomorrow it's off to central Saskatchewan!

Tuesday June 30, 2009

Neepawa Lions Club Park, Neepawa Manitoba

We spent the last couple of days in Traveler's RV resort in Winnipeg, we took the opportunity to do some shopping and relax. We also had the opportunity to watch a caravan from Quebec coming and going, almost as much fun as watching the same action in Mexico!

Just before we arrived in Winnipeg they had over four inches of rain, a number of the campsites were flooded. We also saw this rain when we stayed in Vermilion Bay in Ontario.

We checked the Parks Canada website for vacancies in Riding Mountain National Park, unfortunately the web site doesn't give general vacancies, you have to check each site to see if it's available, I got tired of checking individual sites only to find them taken (after all it's Canada day tomorrow!). Instead we had a couple of campgrounds on the Yellowhead highway in mind and we found this Loins Club campground on the highway just east of Neepawa.
For a one nighter, is just fine, full services and all for $28.00.

Some pictures:

There is a nice river flowing through the park:

This is the partially serviced area:

Our trailer is in the background on the other side of the bank:

Our plans are to indulge in some sort of fast food for supper and relax, tomorrow we head to the Saskatchewan border.

Saturday June 27, 2009

Crystal Lake Park near Vermilion Bay Ontario

We Spent a few days with our daughter Chantal and her husband Cam on Red lake, we had a great time! It was an opportunity to see our grand daughter Rachelle who we haven't seen since last fall. What a change, she has grown and is moving and grooving! It's amazing how children develop and learn sights and sounds.

A few pictures:

Grandmother and Rachelle

Grandpa and our treasure

Rachelle in the grass

She can move around very quickly!

I like Mommy best!

Rachelle and daddy

We plan to hit Winnipeg Manitoba tomorrow (Saturday), by then the rain should have blown over and we will be back to great prairie weather. 

Friday June 19, 2009

We are on the road in northern Ontario heading for Alaska. We left home on Tuesday and today (Friday) we are in Thunder Bay. Except for today, the weather has been warm and sunny, it looks like the weather here in the north has been better than back home.

We took a couple of pictures:

We stayed at Rabbit Blanket Lake on our second night out, after stopping in Chutes provincial park as our first day, Rabbit Blanket was sunny but buggy!

The lake looked inviting, Kasey enjoyed a quick dip in the water.

We stopped at Neys on Thursday, it was a little foggy near the lake, but it still was a nice stop.

Our plans are to stay here in Thunder Bay for a couple of days, then head north again.