Wednesday, July 14, 2010

June 27 to July 7, 2010 - Whitehorse & Dawson City - Yukon Territory - Canada

June 27, 2010 to July 4, 2010 – Alaska Highway – Teslin to Whitehorse, YT (Canada)
We spent the week in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in Canada.  It is the last town of any size that we will be in until we reach Fairbanks, Alaska in a couple of days so we’ll take advantage of it for some restocking.  We enjoyed visiting several of the town’s historical sites and learning more about the history of its Klondike gold rush days. 

We backtracked a bit to drive a portion of the southern Klondike Highway to view Robinson RoadHouse and Emerald Lake. 
Robinson Roadhouse on the railroad tracks - an old stop while the train was running and mining was good.

Guess this is what happens when the tracks are not maintained.  Tracks at Robinson Roadhouse site.

Easy to see where Emerald Lake gets its name - Gorgeous
We visited the transportation museum with its DC 3 weather vane and the Beringia Center to learn more about the ice age. 
Believe it or not, it actually does turn with the wind...  What a weather vane...

 We visited our first river boat (paddle wheeler) the SS (Steam-Ship) Klondike and were amazed at the size and the amount of heavy cargo that it could carry during the mining days. 
The bow of the SS Klondike

The paddle wheel of the SS Klondike

Here we are on our tour of it - Gorgeously restored (better than the other 2 remaining in Dawson City & Fairbanks)
The wheel house of the SS Klondike

We found the eagles nest right along the river and were rewarded with seeing the two baby eagles in the nest. 
Here Mom or Dad stretches out - We watched as he or she was dive bombed repeatedly by Gulls who were obviously upset over something the eagle took.

Aren't I a cute baby eagle???

Another nest of 3 that Matt found near the marsh just outside of town.

We also visited the Gold Dredge and saw first-hand what mining can do to the area’s landscape.  Can you say raped and pillaged?  We noticed the landscape all around was full of small rocky piles and after visiting the dredge, we figured out why. 
Here Matt stands next to the dredge buckets that would have been lined up on a chain to dig out the land.

Gold Dredge #8

The tailings left everywhere by the dredges.

 We also hiked from Miles Canyon on the Yukon River down to the lake and back. 
The suspension bridge over the Yukon River at Miles Canyon
The McBride Museum was a great stop to see wildlife examples and more gold rush history.  From here we will leave the Alaska highway and continue on to Dawson City Yukon via the Klondike Highway and then into Alaska on the Top of the World Highway. 
July 4, 2010 to July 6, 2010 – Dawson City, Yukon (Canada)
Dawson City was a very interesting town with its dirt streets and interesting building structures to accommodate the permafrost that they built the town on.  We saw firsthand what happens to the buildings if they don’t build them elevated and eventually they start to melt the ground and end up leaning into each other. 
The "Kissing" buildings as the locals call them - What happens when your ground starts to melt out from under your house.

We did a great walking tour of town and visited an old bank, salon and post office that were wonderfully preserved.  We did have to wonder how much Parks Canada had spent trying to re-furbish so many of the old buildings (they did a fantastic job).   We also visited the SS Keno which is a paddle wheel that operated on one of the smaller rivers.
Pictured here are two of the townspeople dressed in period clothing for our tour of the SS Keno.  Much smaller than the SS Klondike.

We walked out to the Riverboat graveyard where they parked several (maybe 4) old paddle-wheelers to let them decay since they are no longer used.  Its amazing how they were just left to rot with boilers, smokestack and paddle wheels still intact. 
You can see the boiler and the smoke stack of this one closest to the rivers edge.

View of same ship from the rear.

Boat name of one other boat.

Its amazing that part of the exterior wall is visible next to the smokestack.

We visited the Dawson City Museum with its great history of the gold rush days again.  Its hard to believe that this town of 1500 was once over 30,000 in 1898.  To leave Dawson City, we have to cross the Yukon River on a small car ferry so I went on the ferry ahead of Matt to capture him and the trailer coming across.  We had originally planned on staying 3 days, but we learned that a big RV caravan was planning on leaving the same day as us so we decided to not get caught up in the ferry line and leave the evening before to start our drive on the Top of the World highway.  We have been warned that the Top of the World Highway is 108 miles of very bumpy dirt road and to expect to travel only at 20 mph along it.
Are we gonna fit?  It looks a little big to be on that thing....

Yep, we fit - Thank goodness it was only us and one other truck for this trip.

Whew...   Dry Land....   made it across without sinking...  and without driving it off the ferry into the water.

July 6, 2010 to July 7, 2010 – Top of the World Highway (Yukon 68 miles and Alaska 40 miles) to Alaska Highway into Fairbanks, Alaska
We crossed into Alaska at the very most northern border crossing at Poker Creek.  It was an easy border crossing and we guessed that it’s a dream job for the border patrol up there (not much traffic).  After crossing into Alaska, we stopped at a BLM campground for the night (after more than 6 hours of bumping along the dirt road).  We had originally planned on stopping at either Tok or Delta Junction along the Taylor Highway, but decided to go ahead and drive the extra 3 hours into Fairbanks (via the Alaska Highway) to settle down for a bit.  We arrived into Fairbanks, got our reservations changed at River’s Edge RV park (a very nice park) and settled into civilization for the week plus.

Alaska at last...  Just across the border on Top of World Highway
 Just as a side note, we are glad that we traveled this road last week as on Monday, portions of it washed out in a heavy rainstorm stranding quite a few RV's and their owners.  As of today, they are still stuck on the road and can't get off until it is rebuilt.  Click HERE for a link to the news-story about the closure.

This is a very smooth section of the road...  It got much worse...  At times, 10mph was too fast...

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