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July 29, 30 - Dawson

Dredge_#4, Cemeteries, City_walk, Convoys

sunny 22 °C

July 29

We were up early and ready to leave Whitehorse behind. We wanted an early start to the day because the r/v park only has two dump stations and the day before there was getting to be a pretty good line up to use them. After getting the glamorous part of camping out of the way (very full grey and black water tanks) we stopped at Starbucks for a road coffee.

Today is the 525 kilometer drive to Dawson City. We've driven this road before and it is pretty tedious, with just a few good stops for scenery along the way. We played a cd of Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee" as we approached Lake Labarge and we quote from the Klondike bard: "and there, on the marge, of Lake Labarge, I cremated Sam McGee".


We switched back and forth driving on the first half of the trip, where the road is fairly decent and reasonably good time can be made. We gassed up in Carmacks ($1.19 a litre) and headed on. We stopped at the Fox Lake fire memorial and took a walk in the woods to the lookout.
Huge fire that burned for a whole year and finally had to be dug out of the ground in the spring to get it completely out. Lots of mushrooms growing here:

We also stopped at the Montague Road House Historic Site. This was an inn on the road to Dawson:



We stopped at Five Finger Rapids and had lunch at the lookout. Later we stopped for a break at Moose Lodge, and Jenny posed, using her scared face, with this giant mosquito:


After the halfway point the road is at best described as rough, with gravel patches, potholes, and, worst of all, dips. The dips bounce the trailer against the hitch pretty violently, so we were slowed to 35 kph in a few places. Not much traffic on the road this year so we felt fine taking our time. This photo gives an idea of the amount of dust in the rough sections:


We arrived in Dawson almost 9 hours after leaving Whitehorse. We'd booked an R/V park at the south of town and settled in for the night. A thunder shower washed down the trailer for us and the temperature dropped to 8 C overnight, just chilly enough for us to put our heater on in the morning.

We have now seen 18 r-pods on our journey. Across from us is a 2012 173 model, from Quebec...a nice young couple hiking their way around the north.

July 30:

Our day started with a French Toast and bacon breakfast. There are a lot of convoys of Motor homes that come through here in the summer, and monopolize the small ferry across the Yukon River. Today was no exception, and when we got to down town Dawson there were 13 Class A Motorhomes lined up for the ferry. Each ferry run can take only one motor home and 5 or 6 cars, so the ferry line up was at least 3 hours for the very short crossing of the river. The Top of the World Highway is the draw as it allows a loop tour of the Yukon and Alaska without having to backtrack to Whitehorse.

They are on an escorted tour, with guides at the front and and a tail rider at the back of the group to keep stragglers in check. Oh my, we could not travel like that. In their defence, most of the couples on these tours were very much senior, way beyond our years. This 24 unit convoy had formed in Idaho and were on a 60 day round trip that would end when they reached Edmonton in another month. Their motor homes were in the $500,000 and up price range, and most towed a vehicle behind.

DSCF3750 (2000x1125)

DSCF3750 (2000x1125)

There was also a motorized barge, being loaded with equipment and supplies for one of the many operating placer mines in the area:


We learned later in the day there is another 24 unit convoy in Dawson. When we lived in Dawson Creek back in 2005 these massive motor homes piloted by very old people were called "coffin dodgers". It is a bit like a seniors care home on wheels.

We walked up to the Robert Service house on Eighth Street. The poet lived here from 1899 to 1912 and wrote his best work while working for the Bank of Commerce, Here I am sitting on the front porch


Here is the bank where he worked...it still stands today:


On the way we saw this this fixer upper and thought we should buy it and move here...a bit of work involved:


There is a whole complex of buildings, build on permafrost, that have been left to nature, just to show the effects of trying to build houses on unstable ground:



We also wanted to see the local cemeteries, and, after a bit of a search we found them. Some very interesting graves here. The NWMP cemetery is the best kept:




We drove to the top of the dome for a bird's eye view of the area. The dome is the site of an annual party to celebrate the almost continual sunlight on June 21 each year.

In the afternoon we went to see Dredge #4, the biggest dredge to ever work the Klondike area. It is 12 kilometers out of town along Bonanza Creek. From 1940 until it was sunk in a dam burst in 1959 the dredge worked it's way 12 kilometers along Bonanza Creek, by creating it's own moving lake. The dredge dug in front about 10 feet at a time, extracted the gold from the ground it dredged and then dumped the tailings behind it, always moving forward along the creek bed. Fascinating.


In a previous visit we did the Diamond Tooth Gertie's visit for the can-can dancers and the casino and decided not to re-visit them this time around.

Gas prices here in Dawson City are quite high. We paid $1.35 per litre here, which is about $5.18 per US gallon. We hear gas prices in Alaska are running about $3,20 a gallon. Down in British Columbia gas is about $1.19 per litre, or just over $4.00 per gallon.

July Summary:

We are now 2 full months into this trip. We have travelled 13,750 kilometers in total. We have been in 8 Canadian Provinces, and 2 Territories. Our average gas consumption for the entire trip is 16.2 liters per 100 kilometers, or about 14.5 miles per gallon. The Honda Pilot is performing well as a tow vehicle, and handles the 3,200 pound load of the R-pod quite easily. In the past 30 days we have been in two great national parks, Grasslands and Wood Buffalo. We have dry camped less than originally planned, and have used r/v parks more than government campgrounds. We plan to change that beginning tonight with a dry camp on the Top of the World Highway.

The road ahead:

August is a big month for us. 11 days in Alaska, and then down the Cassiar Highway to Prince Rupert. We will stop in Steward BC and Hyder, AK on the way south. We'll spend three days on Haida Gwaii, and then head south though the British Columbia interior to the Okanagan Valley. We expect the end the month with a one night stop in Osoyoos, British Columbia before pushing on to the second half of this trip...3 months in the United States.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:45 Archived in Canada Tagged dawson gold_mining historical_cemetery dredge_#4 Comments (1)

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