On Monday we spent the morning visiting native Teslin exhibits and the interpretive center, a most interesting experience. In the afternoon we drove the remaining short distance to Whitehorse, arriving at about 4:00. We decide on the Hi Country RV Park. which is the closest to the city center. It's a nice park, although we were only able to get 20 amp electric service, which has its limitations. Fortunately, there has been no need for air conditioning in this part of the world. In fact, nights are fairly chilly. We drove downtown and bought a pizza to bring back for dinner (Boston Pizza - it was a good one), We decided that we would stay over, do laundry and catch some of the sights. On Tuesday, we drove into Whitehorse and visited some of the sights. The riverboat SS Klondike is on display high and dry on the banks of the Yukon for all to visit. There are several museums, including the Old Church Museum, once visited by Queen Elizabeth, the Yukon Transportation Museum, with planes and many other items, and the MacBride Museum, which capsulizes the history of the region. The MadBride collection includes the original cabin in which Sam McGee lived. Apparently, McGee lived his life out in typical fashion. Robert Service and Sam were business associates, and Service simply took Sam's name for the character in his poem. There's lots more to see in Whitehorse, which is home to almost three-quarters of the Yukon's entire population, but the mission is North to Alaska. We decided that we might stop there again on our return trip. Milepost 4445.
We're up early this morning, with plans to visit a couple of tourist attractions. The first was the Watson Sign Farm, a collection of well over 85,000 signs from home towns all around the world. We also visited the local interpretive center, where they have photos and models of the construction of the Alaska Highway during WWII. We fueled and got underway sometime after 11 am. We made one extended stop at the Rancheria Falls Recreation Area, and an additional stop for Lunch at the Continental Divide Lodge. The highways passes back into British Columbia for a few miles, weaves around some mountains, and returns to Yukon for the final time. We ended the day at Teslin, at the Yukon Motel and RV Park. Our site tonight has a wonderful view of Nisutlin Bay. Milepost 4337.
It's Saturday, and the rain has stopped, at least for now. So we continue on to Watson Lake, on what is actually a second day of traversing the Canadian Rockies. On of the highlights of the day is passing along the shore of Muncho Lake, a large turquoise blue body of water, with the road skirting just above water level. We made it a relatively short day, stopping at the Downtown RV park. This park is basically on open gravel lot with plug-ins for each site. Some are pull through, other back ins, all narrow with your neighbor on top of you. It's convenient, however, with a good grocery store just across the street and several shops within easy walking distance. We'll do some touristy things in the morning. After all, we're now in the Klondike!! Milepost 4135.
We got off to an early start this morning, with the thought that we'd go as far as Fort Nelson. We arrived there well before noon, however, and decided that we'd stay long enough to knock the road grime off the bus at a local coin operated RV wash and fuel up. We also stopped off at the A & W and grabbed some lunch before proceeding west. This portion of the trip crosses a portion of the Rockies and the highway's highest point at Summit Lake. The roadway generally becomes more narrow, and in some places is quite tight with 8 to 9 percent grades and very tight turns. The views are spectacular with lots of pull offs for photos, and broad vistas. The advertised wildlife, however, failed to show up for our passing. We spent the night at Toad River Lodge, which is a very nice campground nestled in a valley with high peaks on all sides. Our campsite overlooked a small lake, where we saw a family of swans. We also actually observed several moose, albeit it at great distance on the opposite bank of the lake. Jennifer took Pete out to dinner at the campsite restaurant. Milepost 3975.
Today is pure rain, and the temp is in the mid 50s, which is obviously a world of difference as compared to what we left behind 19 days ago! We made the short drive from Grand Prairie to Dawson Creek, which is milepost zero of the Alaska Highway. The drive itself was basically over flat terrain through driving rain. We are spending the night at Tubby's RV Park, which is basically a bathtub/mudhole in the rain. Believe it or not, this park has a four-star rating on AllStays, which seems a bit of an exaggeration. While this is not the worst park we've ever visited, the stars are in someone's vivid imagination. Anyway, this afternoon we're assuming that things become a bit more rustic going north from here, so we're doing our final Walmart run and finishing preparations. Milepost 3570, average daily progress for the first 19 days is 188 miles over North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Tomorrow, it's the Alaska Highway!
Laundry is done, holding tanks are dumped, and it's time to head further north. We stopped in Hinton and fueled the bus, and then up Alberta highway 40 to Grande Prairie. The highway is reputed to be the scenic route to Alaska, but the realty is really not so much. It is pretty in the south end, but soon you get into the Alberta oil fields, and it becomes quite congested, In addition, the highway is being upgraded in many areas, so there are delays in the construction zones. There was one bear sighted along the way, but he/she did not stick around for a closeup photo. We spent the night at Camp Tamarack in Grand Prairie. During the night the rain settled in. Milepost 3483.
We left Banff on Sunday morning, and drove up Alberta Route 93 (The Icefields Parkway) to Jasper and then on to Hinton. You'll see a shot of the Columbia Icefield below, but unfortunately it does not live up to what it once was. We came through here from north to south in 2006, the the glacier was considerably larger at that time, almost reaching the highway. The ice is melting, kids, like it or not. So on reaching Hinton, we spent two nights at the KOA, which is very much a vanilla park, but comfortable and nice. We actually stayed here when we came through thirteen years ago and took advantage of the laundry facilities. We did laundry again this time, but the washer and dryer are now in the motorhome. Much nicer. Milepost
We left our campsite on Thursday, negotiated the streets of Calgary to stock up on some needed supplies and headed west. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights were spent at the Banff Village II campground, which is just outside of the village of Banff. It's an absolutely great campground, mostly because of its convenience to the village and its proximity to some of the most beautiful country in North America. Unfortunately, it rained off and on for most of our stay, but we took advantage of the down time to unwind, and to travel around to view the sights. We'll let the photo gallery below speak for us. Sunday, it's off to Jasper! Milepost 3054.
We did a long day today, driving all the way to Calgary to get ourselves into position for an early arrival at Banff tomorrow. Western Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta are mostly prairie, with occasional hilly sections. most of it is green, but there is a portion that is very dry, note picture below. There is also an occasional oil well along the highway. The ducks live in a pond adjacent to a small roadside park. We ended the day at a campground on the east side of Calgary. The truck below is located on the grounds. Is it a model T? Milepost 2932.