Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Karen and Al caught up to us in Whitehorse, after getting their 5th wheel repaired. They had no issues, despite all the bumps, potholes and frost heaves. Whitehorse is the last big city before arriving in Alaska, and there are plenty of things to see and do in the town. If coming through this area, you should definitely plan on spending a few days here.

While driving around downtown, there was a tall statute outside a hotel that caught my eye, so Dan was instructed to turn around and pull into the parking lot.

And then I found a fuzzier version of the RCMP the next day.

We did a quick exterior tour of the SS Klondike Riverboat, which was built in Whitehorse. It was used to carry silver-lead ore through the narrow, winding rivers. It is currently undergoing renovations. Hopefully it will reopen later this year, and maybe we will consider stopping at it when we come back through in August.

The riverboat paddle wheel was covered up by a tarp for repairs.

Lumel Glass Blowing Studios was another stop on our tour of Whitehorse. A young man was busy making a glass for a local real estate agent. She gives them out as gifts to clients. It took about 15 minutes to make the glass, and then it “cools” in a 500 degree oven for 9 – 12 hours. He did a nice job explaining the process as he was making it. He has been doing this for 15 years. They keep the doors open as much as possible, as it gets close to 100 degrees inside the building.

Heating up the glass
Blowing the glass

He was using various tools to shape/form the glass. Notice the woman behind him, heating up some glass in another oven.

The woman is adding what will become the base of the glass to the other piece.

I was surprised by how involved this process is. They have a lot of beautiful glass work on display, and they do many custom orders.

I did post a video of him making the glass on Instagram. For those not on IG, you can watch it here. If there’s no sound, you can “unmute” it on the bottom right corner of the video.

We also toured two museums, and I will do a separate post on those.

Quote of the Day: “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” – John W. Gardner

Watson Lake, Yukon Territory

We have entered our third province, or rather territory, in Canada: Yukon. It’s our last section before we enter into Alaska. The Alaska Highway goes in and out of Yukon and British Columbia seven times.

The big touristy thing to do in Watson Lake is a stop at the Sign Post Forest. During the construction of the highway, the United States Army had put up a directional sign for Watson Lake. Private Carl Lindley was injured during the construction of the road, and was recuperating in Watson Lake. He was ordered to repair and paint the directional posts and he decided to make a sign for his hometown of Danville, Illinois and added it to the post. Eventually other soldiers added their hometowns to the post, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In September of 1992, Carl and his wife Elinor returned to Watson Lake to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. I took a photograph of that photo at the museum. Unfortunately no one knows what happened to the original sign post. This place is now on the registry of Yukon Historical Sites. So it will be forever preserved.

Thirty years after Carl and Elinor, we have arrived!

June 6, 2022

They estimate there are now over 100,000 signs posted here in the Sign Post Forest. The place is amazing! When we first started walking towards it, I told Dan that it seemed smaller than I thought it would be. After a few minutes of wandering around, he asked if I still thought it was small – no it is not! I think a lot of cities/towns and villages are missing some street signs – they can be found here! All 50 states and many countries are represented.

Quote of the Day: “When we are lost in the woods, the sight of a signpost is a great matter.” – C. S. Lewis

The Alaska Highway – Dawson Creek Mile 0

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, setting in motion the creation of the Alaska Highway, formerly known as the Alcan (Alaska-Canada) Highway. On February 11, 1942 President Roosevelt authorized construction of the highway, for the military to get supplies up to Alaska, so North America could defend itself against the Japanese.

Construction officially began on March 8, 1942 near Dawson Creek, British Columbia and was completed just eight months later on October 25, 1942. It was a remarkable feat of design and engineering. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the highway.

QUICK FACTS

*The original highway was 1,523 miles. Over time, road improvements shortened the highway by 35 miles.

*11,000 US troops worked with 16,000 American and Canadian civilians to build the road with 7,000 pieces of equipment.

*Over 133 bridges were constructed along with 8,000 culverts.

*The total cost to complete the highway was $140 million dollars.

*The road opened to public use in 1948.

Here’s a help wanted ad regarding the highway (sounds enticing!)

MILE 0 DAWSON CREEK

Dawson Creek, British Columbia is the beginning of the Alaska Highway, and is a popular stop for travelers on the way to Alaska. The visitor center has a big sign with the flags of Canada, US and the province of British Columbia. If there’s a sign, we will be stopping!

The “official” mile marker is two blocks away from the visitors center, and most people seemed to miss it. But then again, it’s right smack dab in the middle of an intersection so you have to watch for traffic in all four directions….which we did!

May 30, 2022

The visitors center has a nice museum, a long movie about the building of the highway, and some displays of wildlife that we hope to see on our journey. The red arrow on the bottom right is pointing to that elusive porcupine. I’ve been looking…still no luck!

The people running the visitors center obviously have a good sense of humor, as some of the mannequins have masks in their hands! All the locals have been patiently waiting for the tourists (and our money) to return!

We went out to breakfast with Karen and Al at Stuie’s Diner in Dawson Creek. The 1950’s themed diner is in an old railroad car, and has a lot of Elvis memorabilia. Definitely worth a stop – the food was good and reasonably priced!

Stuie’s Diner

I’m going to use this sign on the wall at the diner for my Quote of the Day:

June 1st – 15th Instagram updates

If interested, here are the Instagram posts from June 1 to June 15, 2022. I will continue to use Instagram for quick status updates, and the blog for more detailed posts. Karen and Al arrived yesterday afternoon, happy to be back on schedule.

We hope everyone is doing well. We have spent the last six summers in the Grand Tetons/Yellowstone National Park area, and the photos that we have seen from the flooding are devastating.

Quote of the Day: “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the trip.” – Babs Hoffman

Current Status Updates

Today is Monday, June 13, 2022, and I’m going to give a current update on our travels. We are driving today from Teslin, Yukon to Whitehorse, Yukon where we will be for 4 nights, before making our final 387 mile stretch into Alaska. If all goes according to plan, we will cross the border for our summer stay in Alaska on Saturday, June 18th.

BUT NOT EVERYTHING GOES ACCORDING TO PLANS…

On Wednesday, June 1, Dan and I, along with our friends Karen and Al, arrived at Pink Mountain, British Columbia, for a quick one night stay. Unfortunately, Al and Karen noticed a serious issue with their Grand Design Solitude 5th wheel. There was a crack along the bottom on the front of their 5th wheel. And when they were hitched up, the crack expanded, indicating they may have broken a weld somewhere on the frame. This crack was not there the day before, so it happened while driving between Dawson Creek and Pink Mountain.

To make a long story short, Al made dozens of calls to try and find someone that could look at and repair their RV. He contacted many places in Fort Nelson, which was our next stop, but had no success. He was able to find a place in Fort St John, about 100 miles East of our location that would look at it, but getting it there safely was another issue. They have Good Sam Roadside Assistance (we use Coach-Net) and had a very positive experience with Good Sam in locating a towing company that could safely do the job of moving their RV. This is why having an RV specific roadside assistance program is an absolute must if you own an RV.

This is a sight you don’t want to see when RV’ing. Al had to drive the truck/5th wheel on to the flat bed. It’s the only way to get the 5th wheel on to the flatbed. Their dog Cody was not allowed to ride in the tow truck, and had to stay in their truck for the 100 mile drive.

Karen and Al wanted us to continue on our journey, so we said our goodbyes, and we have been traveling on our own since June 2nd when we departed Pink Mountain. I’m posting this now, because I’m happy to report that Karen and Al found a place that was not only willing to do the repair, but made it a priority and worked all day, every day on it for 5 days straight.

Here are some photos, from Karen and Al, of the damage. The weld broke on both sides, and the repair shop had to remove the damaged beam and replace it with a new one. The repair shop had to remove the skin and doors off the front panel of the RV. The circled area is where one of the two cracks occurred.

Here is a close-up of the damaged beam.

They had to remove the old beam, and put in a new beam.

It was a very extensive repair, but they are back on the road, and putting on a lot of miles to catch back up with us. Hopefully by Tuesday they will arrive in Whitehorse and we will be back traveling together.

Once we knew things would be repaired, we decided to stay in Teslin for a few days, to give them time to catch up. The campground here is nice, right on the water. And it has good wi-fi, so I have been able to get caught up on writing some blog posts. I have several ready to go in the next few days.

We have a nice view of the water from our spot. This campground fills up every night, and empties every morning. We have enjoyed watching the RV’s arrive and depart. There has been one issue that has come up during our stay.

You can see the lake off in the distance. Since we have arrived, it has rained and rained. The lake has risen, and has started to flood this campground. We are fine, but are happy to be leaving. Our lake view site is becoming a lake front site.

All of the white posts along the bushes in the photo below are the electrical posts for the waterfront sites.

They moved the picnic tables from those sites, but if the rain continues, they may need to move them again.

According to the weather forecast, the rain should stop by Wednesday. Hopefully the water will quickly recede and not cause any further issues for this campground.

Quote of the Day: “Every problem is a gift. Without them we wouldn’t grow” – Tony Robbins

May 2022 Cost Updates and Instagram posts

GAS PRICES IN CANADA

While we were waiting to cross the border into Canada on May 17, 2022 , we recorded the mileage on our motorhome at 10,925 miles. We have driven 902 miles from May 17 to the 31st, and have purchased 433.47 liters of gasoline, which equals 114.50 gallons. Total cost for fuel on the motorhome since crossing the border May 17th was $585.60. This works out to an average of $5.11/gallon. And this was all in the Province of Alberta. Where gas is cheap! Alberta prices ranged from 1.69/liter to 1.769/liter. Per our friend Don, gas is well regulated here, so you don’t get the wild price swings like in the US. One gallon of gas equals 3.78 liters (it’s all about the math!). We are now in British Columbia, and gas is over $2/liter.

May campground and entertainment costs

We had 15 nights of camping in Canada in May, at a total cost of $510.98 American, which works out to $34.07 per night. We have had full hookups (water/sewer/electric) and places with just electric (and the electric is 30 amps). There are many options to choose from, so your campground costs will vary. Don’t plan on having much for wi-fi! Even the campgrounds that advertise internet – it’s not always usable. (I’m currently writing this at 4:30 am – that’s when I can get on the campgrounds free wi-fi. It’s been light outside for about 45 minutes, so if feels more like 6 am.) We don’t have a satellite dish, and have always relied on over the air for television. We have not been able to pick up anything over the air, so if that is something that is important to you, pack a lot of DVD’s!

We have visited many museums and toured the local towns. Entertainment costs will vary based on your own personal interests. We have spent a total of $97.00 since May 17th on museums and sightseeing adventures. These are in American dollars. Right now, $1 Canadian equals 78 cents American, so we use our credit card as much as possible to get the more favorable exchange rate.

Prices in the grocery stores are comparable to costs in the United States for most products. Dairy and Canadian meat and chicken are a bit higher. Butter is sold by the pound (454 grams) but it is not divided into quarters like in the United States. I would have an issue with this for baking!

May Instagram posts

As promised, for those folks that are not on Instagram and/or don’t want to be on more social media sites, (thinking of you Ole!) I will have links to the posts that I made. So if you are interested in what else I have posted, just click on the links below. You can go through the photos on the posts by swiping to the left on the pictures. Given the limited internet, I will continue to use Instagram for quick updates on where we are. Instagram will always be the most current way to keep up. For more detailed posts on some of the places we have visited, I will continue to do blogs (although I need to stop taking so many photos!). I still have several more blogs to post on some more museums from May, so stay tuned.

If for some reason the links are not working, or you have any issues, please let me know at liv2rv@gmail.com

Quote of the day: “Often, bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.” – Dave Martinez