Trip Start Jun 01, 2009
30Trip End Sep 22, 2009
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First things first: Yesterday was my grandson's eleventh birthday so here’s a special "Happy Birthday, Brandon" from Whitehorse, in the Yukon. We love you and can’t wait to stop and visit on our way home.
The trip into Whitehorse was fine….rather uneventful other than we kept playing leapfrog with the folks from Kentucky we had met at Cottonwood. We’d stop at a point of interest and they would pass us; then they would stop and we passed them. Unfortunately, we weren’t staying in the same RV park but the couple from California were there. No more great “happy hours” but we did visit between rain showers
In Whitehorse, we decided to split up so Nitchie wouldn’t have to take drugs. Wendell wanted to visit the Transportation Museum and I did not, and I wanted to go to the Beringia Interpretive Centre and he did not. So on our first full day, he did his thing while I had some “personal” time. The following day I went to the Centre. Although it is fairly small, there were several good displays and two short films. What is Beringia? Between two continents on the edge of the Arctic lay the ancient place called Beringia. It was a land of ice, giant mammals and the First People of North America. During each Ice Age, glaciers formed in the Northern Hemisphere, locking up much of the world's water as ice. Global sea levels dropped as much as 100 - 150 meters as a result, revealing the floor of the Bering Sea and creating a land connection between Alaska and Siberia. This land bridge was part of a larger unglaciated area called Beringia. Much excavation in the Yukon and Alaska has yielded excellent specimens of many of the animals including the Wooly Mammoth, the Musk Ox, the Short-face Bear and several varieties of sheep, including Dahl. The last, the Dahl, has changed very little from those of centuries ago and has been one of the few species to adapt to the changed in the environment. As the climate warmed, the grasslands which fed many animals started to change, resulting in forests and vegetation that made it difficult for many of the larger animals to navigate
August 13, 2009 (Thursday) – Watson Lake, Yukon (272 miles)
How wonderful to drive on normal roads! We made the trip in five hours with a stop for lunch, a couple of points of interest, and one or two “relief” breaks. We checked out another RV park as we came through town but decided to return to Campground Services. This is the famous place where Wendell sliced his finger in 2007 and had to be stitched by a Russian doctor in the Canadian Healthcare system. That little visit cost us $500, and our wonderful military insurance only reimbursed $180. I guess we should just be thankful we were near a medical facility because you can drive for hours and see nothing but an occasional fuel stop…and sometimes those are closed down
After we arrived yesterday, I baked bread again. The weather was a bit cool and rainy, so it was a perfect day to stay inside and cook. I also mixed together some bran muffins to refrigerate and then I made chicken spaghetti for our dinner. My sister had given me a bottle of onion & tomato dressing that I just couldn’t see fit to put on salad. It was a little on the sweet side, so I added some beef bouillon, a little red wine and garlic (of course), and simmered it with some leftover grilled chicken. Served over spaghetti, it made a delicious meal. All the time I was doing this, Wendell worked on the computer or read…then had the nerve to tell me he was “cold”. I suggested he get up and wash dishes, but that comment only drew a frown.
Today, we drove to the Sign Forest once again. This time, we actually took a sign! While at Elmendorf, Wendell went to the base hobby shop and had a sign cut and engraved. I painted the lettering and he sprayed a coat of polyurethane to protect it from the elements. Our sign now faces the Alaska Highway at the eastern edge of the Sign Forest. I’m sure when you travel this way, you’ll have no problem finding it among the 65,164 other signs (official count as of September, 2008). One of the most famous of the landmarks along the Alaska Highway, the Sign Forest, was started by a homesick GI in 1942, and is now one of the main attractions in Watson Lake, at Mile 613. In 1942, a simple signpost pointing out the distances to various points along the tote road being built was damaged by a bulldozer
We returned to the trailer just in time to miss a rain shower. After a quick bite of lunch (leftover chicken spaghetti), Wendell took our clothes to the laundry while I visited the Northern Lights Center. Yes, I’ve already been there but I am so fascinated by the aurora borealis that I couldn’t stop myself
Tomorrow, we have a short drive to Laird Hot Springs. We’ll try to get into the Provincial Park but if not, there’s a commercial RV park across the street. Wendell thinks his back might like a dip in the hot, smelly waters of the springs. I’ll pass; my blood pressure doesn’t like water that hot. When we stopped in 2007, I thought I was going to cook, but it’s a very popular place for both the locals and visitors.