Canada – Into the Great Wide Open
Heading north in our RV and the next Canadian territory we hit was Yukon. Yukon is full of enormous wide open spaces with forests that seem to go on forever.
We saw our first bears of the trip. As we were driving north, there were lots and lots of black bear on the side of the road eating the berries and roots that grew near the highway.
There were also herds of wood bison meandering along the highway eating grasses.
We passed through the town of Watson Lake, where they had one of the most unique and fascinating sites we saw on our trip thus far. The Sign Post Forest is filled with signs from visiting travelers from all around the world. You can walk for and hours or more just gazing upon all of the interesting signs people have posted. Melissa and I were so bummed that we didn’t bring our, The Adventure Travelers sign we left in our storage unit. The place was amazing, even if we didn’t leave our mark.
The further we got north, the more expensive gas became. It was $1.39 per liter, which equals to about $5.26 US a gallon. That adds up to a lot of money when you’re driving an RV that doesn’t get great gas mileage.
Powering through a few days of driving long hours, we ended up at Whitehorse, Yukon. The Walmart at Whitehorse is a common place for RVers to stay for a day or two before making the trip north or south. We counted over 50 RV rigs in the parking lot. Melissa and I spent a couple of days here and checked out a lot of the sites using our Prius.
We visited the SS Klondike National Historic Site, which is a vintage sternwheeler. The paddlewheel boat is drydocked and is set up as it was in the late 1800s. The guides were great and knowledgeable and it felt like it we stepped back in time for a little while.
Driving around town, we also stopped by the Whitehorse Rapids Fishladder. This is supposedly the longest wooden fish ladder in the world. The fish ladder helps the salmon go up river where a dam blocks their natural spawning path. The site was very informative and a relaxing.
Most of the Yukon roads are dirt and if they are paved, they are very rugged. If you decide to travel up here, ensure you have a spare tire, a patch kit, an air compressor and or a satellite phone or emergency beacon. There is virtually no cellular phone capability in most areas and some of the roads are driven infrequently.
We never had a problem, but we did see some people off to the side of the road fixing their rigs. Of course, we always stopped and asked if they needed assistance.
We made it to the furthest spot we could in the Yukon, Dawson City, deciding to stay a couple days and check out all of the sites. Dawson City was having a music festival and it was probably one of the more touristy times.
We were getting gold fever, so we went to another museum where we got to tour a gold digging dredge.
It was really informative. We had seen these dredges on television quite a bit, but once you get onboard and walk around and see how it works in real life, you have a whole new respect for the people who worked on the dredge and those who built them.
Working on the dredge was so hard and noisy, that most people only could work at a maximum of 10 years. They’re nervous systems and hearing we’re maxed out and most of them drank themselves to death because of the pain or they became deaf. Not worth the money in my opinion.
We were so close to Alaska but we had one last hurdle. The Klondike highway in Dawson city stops at the river. The only way to get to Alaska is to take the ferry across the river. This is a free service, since it is an extension of the Klondike Highway. The ferry is run by the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works. The ferry was easily large enough for our 30′ RV and towed Prius. We were able to get about 10 other cars on as well. It is an easy drive on-drive off vessel.
The trip across the river only took about five minutes and it was a piece of cake. Once on the other side, we still had to drive on hard dirt roads for a while before finally reached the Alaskan border.
Yes, we made it. Alaska!!!
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