Day Three on the Alaska Highway
Moxie and I got up about 5:30 this morning so we could go for a walk around the lake. We were on the trail by 6:00. Moxie loves her morning walks. The first half of the walk was between the lake and the back of businesses along the highway. About a fourth of the way into the hike we entered into a wooded area which continued throughout the remainder of the hike. The hike was a couple of miles long and at one point I wondered about wild animals in the area - especially since we were out early and that is when the wild animals like to eat their breakfast. When we got to the end of the trail there was a big yellow sign warning people of bear activity in the area - I can't decide if it was a good thing or not that there was not a sign at the beginning of the trail. If there had been a sign, we would not have taken the hike. We did not see any animals and no bears ate us so, perhaps it was a good thing there was no sign.
Before leaving the RV park, we visited the signpost forest in Watson Lake. Mary had a sign with our names on it made for us to add to the "forest". With hammer and nails in hand, we entered the forest and started looking for a spot to hang our sign. We had no idea how large the signpost forest is. I am sure you could find signs from every state in the US, every town in Canada and most if not all countries in Europe.
Many places along the Alaska Highway do not open until mid-May or June and close by August 30th. Many of the places that are open are operating with limited services (RV parks do not have water turned on or sewage hookups available). When we were in the planning stages for this trip we were cautioned about making the trip so early. Warnings were about weather and road conditions and the lack of available services along the route. So far, weather and road conditions (except a few rather large potholes) have been fine and in all cases we have been able to find services. We may have had to drive farther than we wanted to or do without things like water hookups or pay higher prices for fuel, but we have been fine.
One nice thing about traveling this time of year is that there is very little traffic on the road and very few people in the places where we stop. So far that has been a good thing, but if you had trouble on the road it probably would not be a good thing. For the past two days we have had no cell phone service except in the larger towns which can be hundreds of miles apart.
Mary found several places she wanted to check out on today's drive. The first place was a famous restaurant - Rancheria. When we arrived at Rancheria, we were a bit concerned. The place looked like it had seen better days and the generator building was making an awful lot of noise (some places along the Alaska Highway are off the grid and use generators to provide power). None-the-less, we decided to have lunch. There were four tables and an extensive lunch menu - they just didn't have everything on the menu. Lunch was fine and the power only went off one time.
Our next stop was a short hike to waterfalls. The rivers and lakes along the Alaska Highway look low - there are even some river and creek beds that are dry. I would think rivers, creeks and lakes would be full this time of year because of snowmelt, but apparently there wasn't a lot of snow this year. The waterfalls were pretty and Moxie enjoyed the hike.
Our third stop was to see an exhibit of totem poles at a heritage museum, but the museum was closed. The final planned stop was an RV park in Teslin. The RV park was actually twenty miles northwest of Teslin and when we arrived and saw that it did not match the description in it's ad we decided we were not comfortable with staying there (it looked a bit scary). Our options were to turn around and drive back twenty miles to an RV park we had passed or go forward about eighty miles to the next RV park outside of Whitehorse, Yukon. We opted to drive forward and hope that the next RV park looked a little better - if not, there is a Walmart parking lot in Whitehorse.
The Caribou RV Park looked acceptable. It did not have water turned on but there was a "hose" available to fill the RV fresh water tank. I was a little leary about the "hose" and the water source, but when in the Yukon…. We paid for two nights, used the "hose" to put some water in our tank, and found our site. The site was so unlevel that even that we could not get level using blocks and our leveling system. We asked to be moved to another site. The second site was a bit better although still not level. We leveled as best we could and hooked up the electric. Around 9:30 PM, our electric went off. We checked breakers, checked the power pole, called the RV park phone # and got a machine. We finally got hold of the owner who was obviously used to electrical issues. She came out with her thing to check and discovered that the 30amp connection on our power pole had died. Our options were to hook up to the 15 amp outlet on the pole or move. Moving would very likely mean having leveling issues again. Since it was supposed to be below freezing, we knew we had to move in order to have heat. We packed up everything and moved to another site. Surprise, surprise - the site was unlevel. We blocked up one side of the RV and got as level as possible.
One thing we have noticed about Canadian campgrounds / RV parks is that the bathrooms are spotlessly clean - even ones that are being used a lot and the ones in public campgrounds. Showers have good water pressure, lots of hot water and are very spacious. i pretty much refuse to use campground / RV parks in the US because they are usually nasty and the showers are cramped. Most of the RV parks we have stayed in so far on this trip have been more parking lot like than park like.
We did not see a lot of wildlife today - two black bears, two caribou and one porcupine.