Friday, June 15, 2007

Whitehorse, Yukon

When we awoke we found five other rigs parked in our area. It was a very nice spot to overnight and we were not the only ones who thought so. On the way out we noticed that the name of the river we were parked beside was the Swift River.

We expected to be in Whitehorse by about noon but our first real experience with Alaska Highway repairs slowed that by about 45 minutes. As we approached a bridge at Johnson Crossing we became the 5th in line to wait to cross. The bridge surface is being completely replaced and we had to wait for a group from the other side to be escorted across, then for a concrete truck back to the center from our side so he could empty his load, then another group to be escorted from the other side before we could be escorted across. I normally start out in 3rd gear but the pilot car drove so slowly that we idled across the bridge in 2nd gear. My truck has 10 gears. It would have been faster to walk across than ride with us.

We drove on into Whitehorse and stopped at the first RV park on the south side of town. Good thing we did. One of the three major parks in town has closed for the year and the other is already full. The place we are staying, Pioneer RV Park, is a real dump. I have never seen spaces packed so tightly together. The important thing is that we have full hookups so I dumped for the first time since leaving Grande Prairie and Nana began the first of umpteen loads of laundry. Funny how having two more people results in four times as many dirty clothes.

The other important thing available at this park is free wireless internet access. Unfortunately, it is very sporadic service. I suspect it uses either satellite or some other kind of radio communication because when it rains the service is very slow or fails completely. For those of you following our journey on our blog, we need to explain that this is very remote country. There are only service stations every 100 miles or so, and not much else. We have passed many stations, café’s and lodges that are out of business this year. Except for Whitehorse, any power is from small community or individual generators and there is no cell phone service anywhere. We will try to post as often as we can but it may be infrequent. My DirecWay satellite service only works to about the US border. There is a satellite that covers the area here, but they will not change me over to it. They base your satellite on your mailing address and won’t make exceptions. Dumb.

We got settled and then went shopping. There is a Wal-Mart here and we found most of our food supplies there. We also made a stop at a grocery store for a couple things as well. Hopefully we will not have to stock up again until Fairbanks. Whitehorse is a good sized small city with every store and service you could need. You know you are in civilization when you have McDonalds, KFC’s Pizza Hut’s and all the others in addition to the Wal-Mart.

While at Wal-Mart the clouds closed in again and it poured. We have had rain almost every day, but we have also had beautiful sunshine. It seems I am always talking about the rain, but it really has not been bad. And, if not for all the rain, it would not be nearly as beautiful here.

Nana did 7 loads of laundry by the time we went to bed.


  1. I suppose a year or two from now, travelers on the Highway will be very glad of that construction that held you up for 45 minutes. Road improvements are always nice when they're finished. Reminds me of the holdup I had in Zion National Park, when I sat for 30 minutes waiting for the one-way escorted traffic through the tunnel. It did afford me an opportunity to take some beautiful photos.

  2. At least, you aren't sitting in 110º sunshine while you wait for road repairs. There is a cooling trend approaching us in the next two days--temperature will drop to 107º or 108º.

    It sounds as though there is not much more civilization than there was 30 years ago.

    I wonder if groceries in Fairbanks will be more expensive than in Anchorage. I liked Fairbanks; it was more of a Western cow town. Anchorage is just another city--cooler than the lower 48, but still a city.