We drove through Watson Lake and saw Sign Post City. Quite the place, signs from all over the world. Then we headed on to Whitehorse, Yukon.
We drove on to Whitehorse. We got a site at Pioneer RV Park about 630, just outside of the town. Site #20 with hydro and water for $85 for three nights. A nice site, it was right by the entrance but surprisingly private-ish and quiet. The big rigs were down at the other end and literally packed in like sardines ! They also have another area up back of the main part which are all nice treed private sites (we stay at one of those on our way back home) You were given 1 token per day for showers and 1 GB WiFi per day. We went for a drive to the town about 9 pm to get familiar with the area. We drove into the Walmart parking lot to turn around and there was a fox running away with something in his mouth ! It was still really light outside when we went to bed at 1030.
We drove into the town of Whitehorse the next day and it was sunny and 16 Celsius. Stopped at the Visitor Centre; and after speaking with the lady who works there, we decided to do a day trip to Skagway, Alaska. We actually decided to go right at that minute ! So off we went.
But first we stopped at the Red Onion Saloon for lunch ! All the girls were dressed up in costume and there was a “brothel” upstairs ! We decided to have lunch and I bought a book on this place and the prostitutes from that era; the book was called Goodtime Girls. There were also 4 cruise ships in the Port. It was a nice afternoon and then time to head home. Skagway was great and the drive home was just as spectacular as the drive there. We didn’t make it to Skagway Brewing company, we forgot about it.
We stopped at the little village of Carcross but nothing was open by then; I guess we should have stopped on the way there. Carcorss has a desert, of all things, so we stopped to get photos. We also stopped at Caribou Crossing which is a collection of cute little old-looking buildings but it was also closed.
The next day, Wednesday 26 July, we went to do some errands and had to make an appointment for a truck oil change for the afternoon. Then we went to the McBride Museum, $10 each to get inside. It was very well done and they are expanding it. We got to watch a Sgt Preston movie ! I remember him from the sixties I think? In one section they had individual rooms set up, a bar, store etc. Quite cool.
On with more tourism stuff – off to the SS Klondike Paddle Boat ! It is a museum only. We walked around the boat and then you could go into a tent beside the boat and watch a free 20 minute movie of clips from the 1930’s. This was free this year because it is a National Site and due to Canada’s 150th birthday, all National parks and sites are free this year.
On to the Berengia Museum. Very cool place – describes the land bridge linking Russia and the US and how the Ice Age didn’t affect it. This is where they suppose people were able to come over to North America. Lots of information I did not know and it was all interesting.
However, it made us thirsty so off we went to the Yukon Brewing Co. We made sure to be there before 4 pm so we could do the tour, it was going to be $20 each. She told us we didn’t reserve and we would have to come back. Her tone was not friendly. Plus there were only about 7-8 people in the group and I would have thought for $40 bucks, they would have welcomed us. If I were a small business owner, I would have. So we said we were leaving the next day and we couldn’t come back. She just shrugged her shoulders. We had already tried a couple of beer before this happened but they were all fruity seasonal beer and was not to our taste. I guess their business is doing just fine without us lol.
We drove down the One Mile Canyon Road on our way home. Okay views, not quite what we were expecting but we did see a bald eagle. He was just sitting on the cliff edge looking around.
Thursday 27 July and we are headed to Mayo. We just stopped on the side of the road and ate a lunch we had packed. Not much up here. We saw so many squirrels running back and forth on the road. So weird. We saw a grouse who ran right out into the line of one of our tires and at the last-minute, he took off ! Lucky him. When we arrived at Mayo, we tried to find the Gordon Park campground. Boy, for a small town you’d think it would be screaming at us ! But we could not find it. We did see a black bear with her cub though !
We ended up driving to the other side of Mayo to Bedrock RV Park and Motel. The lady told me they were full, it was not a big place at all. I went out to the truck to tell Clint and he said this man had said we could park in the field for ten bucks. (it was her husband) Done ! Sold ! we were lucky. This cute old dog came over and watched us set up and then he stood with his front feet on the bottom stair of the trailer and stared at me through the door. When we went to sit outside, he just sprawled by our chairs like he owned us ! So cute.
We decided to drive to Keno City. We took a fork to the right instead of the left. Bad move; worst road ever! One lane for the most part and the ruts and rocks and water overflow……..Holy cow. We could only do about 30-35 km an hour. And surrounded by nothing but trees ! we did get to Keno, cute place with an old hotel and museum and cabins. everything closed though but it was pretty rustic and unique. I would have liked to have been there when things were open. We drove another 11 kms up this other rutted, bumpy, rocky road to the signpost. The sign did say there would be Some Rough Spots but how about ALL rough spots ! When we arrived at the top, the views were pretty amazing. Lots of old mine shafts and equipment were left up on the mountain and they still do active mining but this stuff was old. We drove down a short ways and saw the rails that the carts ran on and more old equipment. Such a lot of history here.
On the way back down the mountain, Clint spotted 2 baby foxes. Their den was right on the side of the road ! Very young foxes. We got out to take lots of photos and we could hear the mom calling out the odd time. They were so cute, but eventually they both went down the hole into the den and didn’t come back out. This is my photo and I love it, it’s now one of my favourites of all the photos I have taken. We probably were there photographing them for a good 30 minutes.
We went back to drive around Keno area and saw an old campground. We took the correct road back, which would have been the left hand fork in the road at the beginning. A much better road and we drove through another, what looked like abandoned, little town called Elsa. We did see a ton of rabbits, squirrels and grouses this trip and of course, the two little foxes.
The next day we got up to head out and there was DOG waiting by the steps again. Such a cutey pie, hated to leave him. We spent time with him while we had our coffee and then we had to pack up and head out. We had to go back about 40 kms down the road and back to Stewarts Crossing which is where we turned to get to this campground. We are heading to Dawson City ! And let me just say, the road from Mayo to Dawson City is the worst road we have ever been on (So Far). Seriously. We even had dishes and glasses fly out of the cupboards and break. We have never had that happen before !
Dawson City finally and we arrived at Goldrush Campground which is right in town and so you can walk everywhere just about. Very convenient. We were given site 45 and oh boy, the sites were so close together. Really close, but we backed in okay and got set up. 43$ a night.
We walked downtown to the Visitor Centre and along the streets to Sourdough Joe’s for lunch/dinner. It was a great lunch, Chicken Philly, Soup, Dawson Reuben and more ! We got talking to our server and I asked how the winters were in the Yukon and she said she was a seasonal worker and didn’t stay the winter. I said where are you from? She told us we wouldn’t know the place. lol………..Long story short, she is from our town ! Too funny. She goes to school in Toronto but her parents live in Trenton, where we live. She works in Dawson City for the summer at the restaurant in the daytime and as a dancer in the evening at Diamond Tooth Gerties. Too funny to meet someone from home so far away.
After lunch we went to see Jack Londons house, Robert Service’s house and Pierre Bertons house, (where he grew up). So below is the house of Robert Service and Jack Londons house has the little white fence and the bottom right photo is the house where Pierre Berton lived as a kid.
We walked all around downtown and then to Diamond Tooth Gerties for the 830 show. It was kind of like an old-fashioned can-can dance show with singing. A singer and four dancers, including Jenn. It was a pretty good show and we spoke to her a bit after the show.
There are two more shows tonight but we decided to leave and take a drive up the Dome Rd to Midnight Dome Lookout (2900 ft amsl) which is a very popular spot. They also do parasailing from this spot.
We ended up back at Gerties to see the 10 p.m. show which was much the same as the first show except they added a male singer. Everyone did a great job; the singers and dancers were all very talented. We walked back to the campground and it’s still light out ! They get 22 hours+ of light. How cool is that?
The next day we went and got tickets for the Klondike Spirit Boat Ride, a paddlewheel boat which took us down the Yukon River to Sisters Island and a paddle boat graveyard and then to a First Nations Village. Back up past Dawson City to the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. Yukon river was super muddy from silt and the Klondike’s water was clear. Strange when they meet you would think they would muddy, or clear up, each other !
We stopped again at the visitor Centre to get more info on the Top of the World highway to Chicken Alaska. Went home for lunch and then off to the Dome driving loop. This drive highlighted mining, 1st part of the road was paved and the rest was dirt.
We stopped at Dredge #4 and paid $20 each for an hour and 20 minute tour. Very interesting place. Jordan was our guide and he did a great job. These machines roamed the creeks of the Klondike until the early 1960s. Dredge #4 on Bonanza Creek was the largest wooden hull dredge in the world looking for gold.
Back in the truck but we couldn’t complete the loop because for some strange reason they had it blocked off. We were told later there was flooding near the end part. We drove past this building (below) and it was in the centre of the two lane road. I just thought it was sort of interesting and the sky that day was angry my friend.
We stopped at the Discovery claim, Bonanza Creek, and there were 2 little red chairs by the creek off the trail we walked. This was a claim by Skookum Jim and George Carmack and was the first Big Discovery of gold. Bear Creek Historic site was also closed.
It started to rain a bit so we drove back to our campground and then walked down to the ferry and around town and then into a bar…………It was the bar where they drink the Sourtoe Cocktail. yuck is all I have to say. Where has that toe been? Basically its a drink with a dehydrated toe in it. I guess it’s real, I don’t really care, I’m not doing it. Some guy swallowed one once and another time a guy stole it and then mailed it back because he felt so bad about stealing it ! Talked to some people, Stephanie and Charmaine from Alaska, their friend was doing the drink but they weren’t. We were all pretty much on the same page, the page of disgust haha
We left for the final show at Gerties at 11 and sat and had beer while we waited. Luckily for us, it was Happy Hour! 9$ for 2 beer ! We watched the third and final show at midnight and it was Fantastic. It was like a Legends show and was so entertaining and fun. The costumes were so wonderful. Just a terrific time. I highly recommend Gerties’. They also have slots there so you know I lost $10 and we spoke to Jenn again after the show, it was her birthday that day. And then we headed out.
The next day, Sunday 30 July, was so hot !! We walked around downtown and went into a couple of stores. We stopped on one of the back streets at the Alchemy Cafe and sat outside enjoying a coffee and muffin. Cute little coffee shop.
We toured the Keno sternwheeler and watched a movie on this paddle boat’s last ride. It was 6.50 $ a person. Every once in a while you see people dressed in period costume so there was a lady on the boat dressed up and she was very nice and very knowledgeable. Fred was the Canada parks guy and he also was super nice and helpful.
We had to meet at the Visitors Centre as we had signed up to do a 90 minute walking tour with Emile. Great tour ! It was his first tour and he was terrific. He was only 23 years old but such poise and professionalism, he did an outstanding job. And boy he knows his history too ! He took us around town to the Bank, brothel, bar, morgue, post office and lots of other places. When we first started we stood by the river and he was telling us he lived in West Dawson, which is across the river. He said he had lived here all his life and it was a small town and everyone knows everyone etc etc………..so all of a sudden this dog runs over to him and he says “that’s my dog !” and then a lady came to get the dog and he said “oh hi Mom” so funny. May or may not have been staged but everyone got a great laugh out of it. Later on the tour he was telling us about a building and out of the blue this guy ran over to him and said “you left your carrots in my car” and handed him a bag of carrots which he then had to carry around ! Too funny.
I ended up buying a book called the Chilkoot Pass Trail at one of the stores, such an interesting time. Unbelievable what people did and accomplished back then. It’s almost surreal the way they lived and survived.
Well its a beautiful hot sunny day again, Monday 31 July and we are off to Chicken, (Alaska) !
We have to take a ferry across the Yukon River, which is free by the way. We got there about 8 in the morning and got right on as there was only ourselves, 2 other cars and a motorcycle. The trip is pretty fast which is good because with trailers you can’t put too many vehicles on at once. We saw parts of West Dawson when we got off the ferry and they actually have a nine-hole course on this side. We drove down the gravel road and then to a paved portion and then back to gravel. Got to Customs and went right through. The road was paved for a bit and then all went to heck; worst road ever – except for the road from Mayo to Dawson City ! Tons of potholes and ruts and whatever else ! Finally we made it to Chicken, Alaska! Now on to the Alaska blog …………