Tag Archives: alaska highway

Tuk 2018 – Day 3 – Whitehorse Ho

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Tuk 2018 – Day 3 – Whitehorse Ho

Day 3 we managed to sleep in a wee bit. In the middle of the night the flies went somewhere to sleep, alas they were back in the morning and brought some friends with them. It really did require some effort to make myself believe that they were on the outside of the tent (which they were) when I could see them so plainly through the screened tent peak.

Today we shared the duties of striking camp, had a cold brekkie and headed out for Whitehorse. There is a herd of bison that live in the area around the hot springs and we hoped to see some along the way. As we were traveling down the highway, there was a car stopped on the side of the road. By the time we could see what they were stopped for it was too late to hit the breaks for a photo op. There was a bison rolling in a sand/dust pit on the side of the road. It is unusual to see just one bison and as we continued down the road we were hoping that this wasn’t the only one of the herd that had come to the roadside.

bison (2 of 3)We weren’t to be disappointed. 10 minutes down the road traffic was stopped as a large herd made its way across the highway. Although bison can move pretty quickly when they have a reason to, they usually saunter along which is exactly how they were crossing the road. Since they were taking their time, we were able to take quite a lot of pics.

The Alaska Highway does a bit of dipsy-doodling between BC and Yukon. The first foray into Yukon at mile 565 barely has any signage. I suppose that is because you only stay there for a few minutes then your back in BC. The official sign comes a bit later, shortly before you get to Watson Lake. Just before Watson Lake is what used to be Contact Creek Lodge. It is no longer a lodge, but they do have fuel with better prices than Watson Lake. They also have soft serve ice cream, which was the worst ice cream that Linda had ever had.yukon sign (1 of 1)

Watson Lake was our next stop at its famous sign-post forest. The “forest” was started in 1942 by a US soldier who was working on the Alaska highway put up a sign with the name of his home town and the distance to it. Since then it has grown to over 78,000 signs and visitors are welcome to add their own signs to it. We even saw a Manx sign, which made me smile (and snap a pic)

While we were stopped at the forest, Linda spoke to a couple of guys on adventure bikes, one of whom had flown his bike over from Bahrain. They had originally planned to ride to Tuk, but stories of serious accidents involving adventure bikes on the final section of the road had them change their plans and instead they will go to Prudhoe Bay Alaska. So, perhaps the Universe was telling us something when so many obstacles seemed to block us from the original plan of doing this trip on bikes. Since the point of this trip was to get to Tuk, a bucket list item for me, having to turn back because of bad road would have been devastating. Better to do it in a car and actually get there.

We stopped for lunch at a rest area at Rancharia Falls. Really, it is awful that I have likely driven past this 20 times or more and have never stopped. The walking path to the falls is made to be accessible, and at the end there is boardwalk so that you can get a nice view of both sides of these falls. No, they are no Niagra, but they are very pretty none the less.

In Whitehorse we were able to very briefly connect with friends Moosh and Richard as they headed out of town with their family and left us with the use of their house. Tomorrow we will get a couple quick visits with friends. It’s great to be back.

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Tuk 2018 – Day 1 – Great time in the car

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Tuk 2018 – Day 1 – Great time in the car

Despite day 1 of the trip actually being on day 2 and being in a car and not on bikes, we had a great time. We actually found that we stopped more for touristy things and photo ops (like the trestle) than we would have on the bikes. And we very much enjoyed being able to easily talk to each other about things we saw, and to plan out other stops along the way.

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I had driven by a sign on the highway in Whitecourt saying “Canada’s Best Bathroom” a few times and figured this was the trip to find out what made this bathroom the best. It was at an Esso rest centre that can been seen from the highway on the south end of town. Besides the bathroom, you can order a pizza, get a Panini/soup combo, or an assortment of not too bad convenience store hot food. The bathroom was truly the nicest gas station bathroom I have ever seen, beats the bathroom at most restaurants I’ve been to. Let us know what you think?

The next bathroom stop, not so much. We stopped in Fox Creek at a gas station, and Linda used the men’s room (not like we think there should be a difference) as the women’s had poo everywhere.

Next up was Dawson Creek, mile zero of the Alaska Highway. We stopped for a photo op at the mile 0 sign, something neither of us had done before, then headed out as we wanted to get past Fort St John. We did make it past and ended up at a gem of a campground. Inga Lake regional park is a primitive, mostly unmaintained park with around 18 sites. There is a short 2km road to get to it from the highway. Unfortunately, the road is also used by heavy oil patch vehicles and was in rough repair, with some of the ruts in the gravel/dirt road being 6-8 inches deep. We were told that repairs had been done this week and that earlier the ruts were about a foot deep.

We got there early enough to get a site with a view of the lake. As an added bonus, there is no fee to camp there. But, there is also no potable water, so we were pretty rationed having only 2l with us. But dinner was fire roasted hot dogs, followed by roasted marshmallows (yum), so no dishes involved. Enough water was saved for coffee and wash up in the am.img_1430

There were some very nice folks there who were kind enough to loan us an ax to split the campground provided poplar logs, since we had only brought the hatchet we would have taken on the bikes. The guy that loaned us the ax also brought us some dried fire-wood he had and some charcoal to get the fire going. Another fellow brought us some spruce logs that were a bit easier to split than the poplar.img_1432

It had been an early start to the day, and neither of us had slept well, so it was an early night for us. We packed it in shortly after 9. It was a good sleep, but we found the air mattress was a bit cold over night so night 2 we will have a blanket on top of it. All in all a good day.

Not a motorbike trip to Tuk

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Not a motorbike trip to Tuk

We have been planning an epic adventure, a one-month trip from Calgary, up the Alaska Hiway to Whitehorse, north to Dawson City, then up the Dempster highway to Tuktoyaktuk by motorbike. We have done all the things we should to prepare, including having the Ural serviced before the trip, as it needed a seal. Alas, when the mechanics opened the engine to replace the seal, they found the clutch was foobarred. Ok, they can order in parts, it will be a few days but they would be here this week on Tues, bike would be ready Wednesday. The order comes in, one part is missing. Frig. But they will air express the part, bike will be ready Thursday. Thursday comes, they call, the right box arrived with the wrong part. Double Frig. They were air expressing the part again, and hoped to do the work today. The part didn’t arrive until late afternoon, so trip delayed at least one day.

In the meantime, the floor of the living room is covered with gear waiting for a home. I had meeting out of town this afternoon and had planned to leave from there and meet Linda in Jasper. I was trying to be optimistic, and still believed we would be in Jasper tonight, even though a little voice in the back of my head though keeps saying Jasper is a bust, and we will likely head out tomorrow. We can’t cancel our reservation in Jasper tonight, but it was for a campground, so we won’t be out much. And, it will only put us a half day behind, maybe not even if there is a tail wind to help the Ural along.

By late afternoon we decided that we don’t want to wait and see if the Ural is ready to go tomorrow. We are going to change our plans and make it a car trip instead. So the Beemer is unloaded and the car is loaded up. Not the trip we had planned, and a bit disappointing particularly since we bought the Ural specifically for this trip. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to heading out tomorrow morning, with no agenda except to be in Dawson City for Dust to Dawson on June 21, head up to Tuk, then back down to Whitehorse with time to visit. It is still going to be an adventure, a chance to drive to Tuk, and an opportunity to visit friends we haven’t seen in 5 years.