Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 7 - Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

3622.8 total miles, 599.7 miles today

I was not looking forward to today. Today was the day we were going to be driving the part of the Alcan that makes people run out and buy "I Survived The Alcan" t-shirts. The Milepost warned of steep grades up to 10%, unpaved and unlined portions of road, twisting turns through the Rockies with no shoulder and no guardrails... Egads.

So it was with a sense of nervousness that we left Fort Nelson. However, things were not at all what any of us expected.

The road simply wasn't that bad. Sure, some parts were being repaired, and those were unpaved, gravelly and dusty. Other parts were roughly paved and bumpy. The whole thing was twisty. This is one of the under-repair areas, where the gravel is loose and the dust is thick:

James wanted to show you what we saw most of the trip on the GPS - long expanses where it simply says to stay on whatever road you're on for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

But oh my, the Canadian Rockies are giving Montana a run for its money when it comes to my favorite place ever. This has to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

There are things that made us scratch our heads in bewilderment, though. Like this guy:

He's pedaling INTO the Rocky Mountains. He's on his way UP. And there's nothing for miles and miles and miles. It's like these random cyclists drop from the sky into remote areas and have to work their way out again, sort of like Survivorman. Hey, that makes as much sense as anything else, right?

Jim as usual drove in front, and was very good at radioing back to us about where the potholes were, and the fresh asphalt patches, and obstacles in the road such as these:

These are stone sheep. We can't figure out what they're eating on the road, but they were finding something that would keep them munching along no matter how close the cars got to them.

This guy on the right has a radio collar on. They were losing their winter coats.

Down the road a ways, Jim alerted us to the cutest thing we'd see all day:

A black bear sow and two tiny cubs. Before the day was out, we'd see another mother bear with another set of twins, and several lone black bears. We also saw a grizzly, but we didn't get to take his picture.

Moose aren't exactly rare to us anymore, but getting to take a bull's picture this close is something special.

And here's something you don't see very often, even in America - a herd of wild bison, grazing by the side of the road. Look at the calves!! There were 31 bison in this herd that we were able to count.

Our wild animal count for today came to 69. We saw black bears, a grizzly, bison, moose, and stone sheep. It was like going through one of those safari parks but without having to buy a ticket.

You'll probably be relieved to know that Tate has cut out the drama and is back to being the fine traveler she was at the beginning.

You may also be relieved to know Jim isn't having any drama, either.

Our big touristy moment today was a visit to the Signpost Forest in Watson Lake. People from all over the world come here and leave little mementos of their visit. From license plates to road signs to plaques with names on them. I don't know how much land the Signpost Forest occupies, but it's pretty big and must have thousands of pieces of stuff in it. Jim left his license plate from his first car, and I left a license plate from the brief time when the Metropolitan was registered as a driver.

I guess that's about it for today. We're hitting the road again in the morning and will be back in the good old U.S. of A. by the middle of the afternoon. See you then!


  1. Oh what an incredible journey! I would be mesermized by all the wild life! And the stoned sheep! How cool. (giggling) Not much traffic and m wow, just a whole new world. What a grand entrance into your new homeland of Alaska.
    Thank you so much for sharing this adventure!
    Ps James really didn't leave the budgies at that signpost place, did he?

  2. LOL, it looks like we either left the pets, or left James AND the pets. LOL! No, we brought them back with us, and briefly thought about "letting" Tate leave her snowman toy there, but didn't.

  3. BABY BEARS!!!

    Love the signpost place.