Watson Lake

Arctic Adventure Day #18

We slept in a bit longer than we wanted… Rolled out of bed around 8:00 or so. Kim took a shower and then we hit the road.

Today we went down the Cassiar Highway. On my last trip up here, we saw tons of black bears on this stretch of road. Today we saw none. However, we saw a large car go across the road. At first we thought it was a small cougar. But as we passed it, it turned out to be a giant lynx.

We did take one small detour today. We took a turn that was marked as a rest area, and it led down a narrow dirt road. It kept going and going, to the point that we thought we made a mistake. Eventually the road was blocked off at a river and there was a small rest area. So I took a picture of the Jeep.

Last night we were looking at the weather forecast for tonight’s camping spot. It looked like it was going to be pretty neat, so we decided to book a room at the Bell 2 lodge. The room is probably the nicest we’ve stayed at this trip, but it is very disconnected… No TV or cell coverage. Internet is $10/hr (they give you a free hour) and only available in the lobby.

We’ve already had one good thunderstorm roll through before dinner, so we made a good choice.

Going to head down to dinner pretty soon. Afterwards, we’ll head back to the room and play some cribbage in front of a fire.

Going to have two fairly long days in a row after this… Tomorrow is on to Prince George, and then home on Saturday!

Arctic Adventure Days #16 & 17

We are on our way home now. We’ve had our first of dirt roads and bears, so we won’t be stopping by the Stewart/Hyder area.

On these two days, we are backtracking on roads that we’ve already been on, and the weather is kind of crappy. That means not a lot of stops with new and exciting pictures.

We did stop for fuel at the intersection with the Dempster Highway and it seems we made it back just in time.

We didn’t see any big wildlife between Dawson City and Whitehorse. We did have some awesome ribs, salmon, and sticky balls for dinner.

When we were getting ready for bed, Kim found this in the bottom of her bag.

The missing key! Well it turns out after Whitehorse, we went back to Watson Lake and stayed at the same hotel. So, we gave them their key back.

The weather forecast looks like rain almost all of the way home, so we booked a room at the Bell lodge on the Cassier Highway for tomorrow. The next night should be in Prince George, and then on to home on Saturday.

Arctic Adventure Day #10

We spent the first part of the morning searching for the room key. Clearly we had it some point because we were in our room, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. After tearing apart or bags twice and digging through the garbage, we gave up. Fortunately there was no list key charge. If we find it along the way, we’ll drop it in a mailbox.

We altered our route today and went to Whitehorse. This gave us a shorter day and allowed us to take our time and visit things like the signpost forest.

We didn’t see too many critters today. A black bear ran across the road right outside Watson Lake and a fox did the same thing later on in the day.

We did cross the Continental Divide again.

Stopped in Teslin for fuel and lunch.

Also checked out the wildlife gallery in Teslin.

Muskox

A friend for Tundra.

Moose

Hedwig

There is a giant mountie at our hotel

And a big room

And a big bathroom.

Not very much night left!

Starting a new adventure!

This time up is an epic Arctic adventure. We’ve put a tent on up of our Jeep, and the goal is to take the new road up to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and camp on the shore of the Arctic ocean…. Maybe even take a quick swim :).

This post is going to be a quick description of our route. We will be using an inReach to track our location – you can follow along at https://tinyurl.com/ybtpeqmk. I’ve preloaded our route on spotwalla (the link) and you can go there to drill into the route in detail. I’ve included some screenshots so you don’t have to jump back and forth.

Section 1: Reservations

This first section I am calling Reservations because it is happening during the first week of July and we made lots of reservations due to Canada Day and 4th of July… We figure it might be tough to get campsites or hotel rooms.

We’ll start off at our house and take the two Columbia River ferries to a campground in Eastern Washington. From there we’ll head over to Flathead Lake to hang out with relatives for the 4th. Then it will be north to Banff and Jasper.

Section 2: Head North!

At this point all of our reservations will be done… So, we’ll see how long we stick to our plan. From Jasper, we’ll head up to Dawson Creek (milepost 0 of the Alaska highway) and jump on the Alaska highway. We’ll follow until Watson Lake and turn onto the Campbell highway. At the end of the Campbell highway, we’ll head north on the Klondike loop toward the Dempster where we’ll head to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic ocean (maybe the swimming should be skinny dipping).

Section 3: Time to go see the bears.

Once we’ve camped on the Arctic ocean, we’ll head back down the Dempster to Dawson City. From there, jump on the ferry across the Yukon River and on the Top of the World Highway to Alaska. Eventually that will intersect with the Alaska highway where we’ll head back to Watson Lake. At Watson Lake it will be time to head south on the Cassier highway down to Stewart/Hyder where we hope to see a couple of cool glaciers and watch the bears.

Section 4: Heading Home

We will do some fairly long days heading home from Stewart. We’ll drive through Prince George and then South through the Frasier River valley and on to home.

Full Route

I really only expect this plan to stay in tact through our reservations, after that we’ll play it by ear. The Dempster can get pretty nasty when it gets wet, so we may have to wait for a break in the weather, which will add time to our trip our make up shorten up the end of the drive.

Hopefully I’ll be writing from a campsite tomorrow!

Alaska Ride – June 1st – Day #7

It was another cold one last night (28F)!  I had an extra layer of long underwear and my hat on, so it didn’t bother me – It surprised me that the temperature was so cold. This is getting down to the lower limit of my sleeping bag. I’m starting to wonder if I should have brought my expedition bag instead (rated to –20F).

The ride today was just as terrific as yesterday. Lots of huge mountain views, some of the lakes still had a bit of ice on them, and lots of water in all the creeks and rivers. The weather has been great, had a beautiful sunny day today. The road required a bit more attention today. It gets a bit narrower and there aren’t any shoulders to speak of. The condition of the road deteriorated a bit too, with potholes here and there. The BC highway guys do a good job of marking them with little signs.

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My dad stopped chatting on the intercom for quite some time, so I figure he must be getting tired (normally I can’t get him to shut up). We pulled over in a turn out for a short safety break. No picnic tables here, so we put my bike up on the center stand and used the top box as a table to make some coffee.

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While my dad was resting I pulled out my point and shoot camera and got a picture of this cool little bird.

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Speaking of resting…

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At the north end of the highway we finally make it to Yukon! My dad took this picture of me…after this, we set my camera up on a tripod to get a shot with both of us and my battery died. We did get one with his camera, I just don’t have a copy. IMG_0298

You can ride your bike up to the sign, but you have climb a steep little hill (well it looked like you could go 1/2 mile back up the road and cheat). I decided that I didn’t want to pick my bike up two days in a row, so I passed. My dad threatened to do it, but I told him that I promised the family back home that I wouldn’t let him get hurt.

In Watson Lake, we visited the famous sign post forest. My dad wanted to make a sign to leave, but we just were too busy packing and preparing for the trip. The visitor center right next door had some cool exhibits detailing the construction of the Alaska Highway.

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We wanted to stay at the RV park in downtown Watson Lake, but they don’t have tent spots. This forced us to move down the road a bit to Baby Nugget RV park. The old man thought he was cool by weaving through the trees while we scouted out the tent area. And then it happened. This time the “pulling into the campsite curse” got him – the bike hung up on a root and he dropped it. To make things more interesting, he has a cramp buster on his throttle that jammed into the tree and proceeded to take the bike to full throttle. Well, eventually he got the bike shut down and everything was ok. I was a nice son and did not take any pictures of him on the ground…

The tent sites at the RV park are ok – they are away from the RVs, but there are tons of roots (glad I have a sleeping pad). The showers are very nice, but short. I brought along Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Shampoo and Soap – they are these little “leaves” that you get wet and then apply. Well, they suck (at least for me). We’ll stop in Whitehorse tomorrow to resupply and I’m gonna dump these and just get a sample size of some shampoo and soap.

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