Whitehorse trials and tribulations

July 1-6

Did you fix the tire some of you ask? No not yet but we will stay here in Whitehorse, YT until we do. Of course there is always something else not just a tire.  We knew that one front tire was wearing unevenly and Bill suspected alignment.  Our mission this morning was to find someone to check and fix it before replacing the tire because we knew, even I knew that this was the last big city before a long haul to Fairbanks.  The earliest we could get service was next Monday!!!!!Today is Tuesday. Keeee-ripes! We learned that summer months are the busiest for the 3 major towns; Grand Prairie, Whitehorse and Anchorage consequently, the services are backed up, really backed up but seriously Monday? Plan B.  We found a tire store and Chad, service mgr. at KAL got on the phone for us to find a mechanic and he was able to get us an appointment for Friday July 6th. Then, if everything works out we’ll buy a tire or two.We have been gone a month now; the weather has not been cooperative so this down time will probably be good for us both. Because the Wi-Fi connection is down at the moment here at hi country RV park, I am not sure when this will get published but at least I can journal a while.

remnants of 1942 Army Corps of engineers entombed along the highway and in front of hi country RV park.

By now you must be wondering what our days are like? If you can imagine what it was like during the old wagon train days, or traveling across country in the early 1900’s… We are in Yukon Territory, gold rush, Alaska Highway construction, First Nation Tribes and lots and lots of open land, dust, mud gravel, lush forests and wild flowers (fireweed), ravens, Also, keep in mind that the weather is mostly cold, overcast, and rainy with a few days that are bright, sunny and indescribable. One must travel several hundred miles before reaching another town and rest stops are mostly gravel turnouts with a trash bin and maybe a pit toilet. The division of labor runs along classic lines.  It goes something like this… The couple (us) gets up to cold floor, he tends the cattle or horses (Mocha in this case) she begins by straightening up the wagon (Murphy RV), ridding the area of pebbles, dirt and bark chips that need to be swept from the bed then make the bed which is not as easy as it sounds, put away the night time dishes that have air dried from the night before, put away which means wrapping and securing anything that might rattle, bang or clank to prepare for travel (moving, bumpy noisey clanging, clatter). Then, she tidies up the remaining schmutz in the cabin. Then she prepares breakfast, which could be a protein drink or fruit, yoghurt & toast or eggs with whatever was left over from dinner. He tends Murphy’s needs, filling or emptying the tanks, checking gauges and he tends Mocha’s early morning constitutional. He then maps out the route for the day destination and mileage, just like the pioneers did.  More or less, he sweeps outside, she sweeps inside and Mocha sleeps (or chases squirrels).

never give up

She has been a fabulous traveler though, we have no complaints and she is a conversation piece as well, hardly anyone has seen a poodle this color. Then we either pack up and leave for the next destination or attempt an outing of the day. If we have had a long travel day the previous day or if the weather is too rainy, like today, we stay in.  Bill reads his magazines I download photos and try to journal. When the weather allows we take a hike, sometimes it’s hanging out in the town or exploring the campsite, checking out local arts and crafts.

Raven’s nest at the Shipyard park, Whitehorse, YT

Almost always, upon reaching a destination we go to the visitor’s centers for activities, sites local eateries and events, some of which you have already heard about. But we do have an adventure, each and everyday. The nights are short and the daylight hours long in the Yukon. Last night at 10:30 pm it was still light outside but because it was pouring down rain, gray, cold and nasty it seemed as though it was actually nighttime.  Sometimes our campsites offer free showers and while it may be freezing the end result is delicious or as folks here use the term “perfect”.

This IS salmon country.

Even though we are often near a highway or train track, sleep comes easily.  Bill falls fast asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. He is the driver of this rig, and is exhausted at days end and she is the navigator who mostly gets it right and is exhausted too. But even with our trusty Milepost (Alaska hwy bible) in hand we have managed to get lost more than a few times, we keep reminding ourselves that this is an adventure.

Take today for instance; we left Caribou RV camp this morning in cold really cold drizzly rain, The Canadians call it June Monsoon! After driving thirty miles in the wrong direction, we turned around to head back to downtown Whitehorse where we found the tire store and got the not so good but not so bad news either about Murphy’s possible condition. It was premature to buy tires because the cause was somewhere else- that’s the bad news.  The earliest appointment time we could get was Friday at- Horseman Mechanic.  Anticipating a few days to kill, we head out 30 miles looking for hi country campground, which is supposed to be closer to downtown Whitehorse before realizing we had long passed it! Having seen enough countryside for the day we settled in, happy that the site is pleasant and we can call it home for a few days. The rain stopped, we are enjoying happy hour.

Friday July 6 – Still in Whitehorse. 8:00 am dropped off Murphy off at Horseman Mechanic for a diagnosis, it didn’t look good and most every one thought to get the parts and get the repair we would be here at least until MONDAY!!!!!!  Mind you, Whitehorse is the Capitol of the Yukon Territory (YT) with the population of the town larger than the entire population of YT province. But it is still a relative small area.  We have no wheels, the busses, trolleys, local attractions don’t allow dogs, and it’s cold but not raining, yay!  The good news: the RV is repairable and the parts available, double yay. On a positive note, the townspeople that we have met in Whitehorse have been exceptionally hospitable. Last night at dinner the proprietress of Casa Sanchez graciously offered us referrals, including a B&B if we needed it for the night. The day before we walked the city, shopped, did laundry, washed the car and made it a just like home, chore day. We saw the sites by foot, resisted the temptation to go to the huge Walmart to restock the larder.

SS Klondike

We saw the SS Klondike the famous river Sternwheeler River that ran freight along the Yukon River in the 1920’s-30’s.

You can imagine that anticipating another 8-hour day on foot was distressing but we found things to do.  We found a “Starbucks,” finally after a month – a real good cup of coffee.  We were limited in the touristy things but managed to see some historical sites and we had a nice meal at an outdoor café called the baked cafe then went to a fabulous bluegrass festival in the park at noon featuring the Alaskagway by “Windy Valley Boys”

Windy Valley Boys

Finally we settled back at the tourist center where we were invited to sit and use their facilities.  Bill has been schlepping the computer all day because I had no intention of leaving it at repair garages, it was a treat just to sit here in a soft leather couch.  We waited until 4pm to hike back a few miles to pick up Murphy.  I think we easily walked 10 miles today. Now we have new tires and are reading ourselves to leave in the morning for Dawson City. While we are over one week behind schedule, we hope to be closer to Alaska tomorrow.  The adventure continues.