We spend the morning getting ready to move. We use the internet connection at Rick's All Day Grill to return phone calls and clear up our emails. We are hooked up and in the parking lot of the post office by 3 PM. The clerk asked us to wait until about 4 PM to see if our mail arrives with the airmail delivery. It does not, so we leave instructions to "Return to Sender," as the song says (Escapees in Livingston), "Addressee gone South." We will have it sent later to us in the US where it does not have to clear customs to get to us.
We say goodbye to Whitehorse and head south down the Alaska highway, traveling out on a section that we traveled in on nearly two months ago. Compared to some of the roads we have been on recently, we marvel at how smooth the coach is riding.
Our turnout and home for the evening is just inside the Yukon on the British Columbia-Yukon border. Our neighbors for the night are a motorhome and a small fifth wheel. We have a long cleared vista ahead of us as we set up for the evening. We just know that we will see some wildlife at this location during the evening or early in the morning. We do not.
The sun set at the position of 7 on the virtual clock, and appeared in the morning at the 10 o'clock position. Small arc, even as far south (relatively speaking) that we are.
Thursday July 20, 2006 Turnout Mile 706 Alaska Highway Yukon to Eastman Creek Rest Area Cassiar Highway BC Log 343 Miles
We begin our day about 68 miles from the north end of the Cassiar Highway. We stop at Beaver Dam Lodge just before the Highway intersection and find a wi-fi to check our phone calls and emails. At the intersection of the Cassiar we plan to fill up with diesel. The station here is closed and out of diesel. Rather than start the Cassiar with only a half a tank, we elect to detour 14 miles to Watson Lake so we can start this highway with a full tank of diesel. We pay $1.189 Canadian per litre. Roughly translated, that works out to just over $5.00 US per gallon. The most we paid so far has been at Dawson City, $1.299 Canadian per litre. Even so, we are still spending less than a nice cruise would cost, we have Jake with us, we get to see the Interior, and look how many days we have been exploring this beautiful country.
Having left early in the morning, we see some beautiful sunrise scenes, and one of the interesting ones is the pink of the sky reflected in the shiny treads of the highway.
With a full tank of diesel, we return to the J-37 and head south. Almost immediately, Herb spots a large black bear starting across the highway from our right. The bear sees the coach and reverses direction. Wilma misses her first photo op of the day. Bummer. Since we had just left the intersection, she really thought Herb was making a joke, and looked at him incredulously, rather than to where he was looking. Shortly afterward, we both see a grizzly, medium size, on the left. We are passed too quickly to get a photo, but are able to stop, where Wilma steps out onto the steps to get a shot behind us. (He was the exact color of the two cubs she dreamed about last night. The cubs were very friendly, and one of our grandchildren was carrying one around.)
We began to see a little snow on the mountain peaks, and read our altitude at Gnat Pass at 4004 feet. We drove about ten hours today, averaged around 30 mph, and the slowest we went was 15. There were several gravel sections -- washboard not as bad as Destruction Bay area -- but slow going. We think the worst was the quick breaks in the pavement where they had replaced a culvert, but not re-laid the seal coat, yet.
We checked out Kinaskan Provincial Park, which was treed, by the Kinaskan Lake, but there were no pull-throughs available, and we were feeling lazy. A good night's rest at Eastman, but no grizzlies seen. The creek was named for George Eastman, of Kodak fame, who hunted big game here before the road was built.
Walldog, Willie and Jake