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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Dease Lake, BC to Whitehorse, Yukon: August 29-31, 2017

Today, August 29, we drove from Stewart to Dease Lake. We thought we had a reservation at the Arctic Divide Hotel. When we got there, we were turned away because they had not updated the computer and our confirmation was a mistake. The desk guy pointed us across the street and around the corner to the satisfactory Northway Motel. When we arrived at the Northway Motel, there were only 2 room left and we felt lucky to have one of them. When we asked what there was to do here, the owner said "nothing." Where are the restaurants? "There aren’t any. The Shack closed because the owner was having water problems. The Deli across the street closes at 3:30pm." It was 4pm. We went to the grocery store and bought some supplies: paté, raisin bread, crackers, and wine to supplement our emergency supplies of PB, jelly, cheese, crackers. Before our dinner of paté, cheese, crackers, we walked down to Allen Lake, sat on a couple of rocks, and had a paper cup of wine while trying to figure out where our next night would be spent.

As soon as we crossed into Canada, I bought a "Canada-Wide" sim card for my phone so we could call or use cell data to arrange our next nights and also in case of emergency. "Canada-wide" we discovered didn't mean the territories or even northern British Columbia. That means we have been at the mercy of whatever WiFi is available from the hotel/motel we find. Now, even with an emailed confirmation of a reserved room, there is no certainty of a reservation.

The next morning we had PB&J on raisin bread for breakfast. The hotel owner called ahead for us to hold a room (the pre-internet method) at the Yukon Motel and we drove to Teslin where the internet was better but the bed oh so uncomfortable. They did have a restaurant.

Between Dease Lake and Teslin we drove through quite a stretch of long ago burned over landscape.

The remains of a black spruce forest
Black spruce are tolerant of wet, swampy areas and bad soil. Even with such a wet environment, fire raged through this area years ago.

Leaving the Cassiar Highway and crossing into Yukon Territory, we headed west on Canada 1 (Alaska Highway) bound for Teslin. Along the way, we stopped at a small nature park, Rancheria Falls Recreation Site, for a short hike. 

A fluffy white lichen    

View of Teslin River and Nisutlin Bay National Wildlife Area 
Before leaving Teslin, we stopped in at a couple of First Nation Museums. We visited the George Johnston museum. George Johnston was a Tlingit Man who as a small child was brought inland. He was an early adopter before that term existed. He showed his entrepreneurial streak by  buying the first car (1928 Chevy) even though there were no roads, paying his friends to hack a 3-mile road, and then using his car as a taxi service. In the winter when the lake froze, his car was able to travel another 90 miles or so over the ice. He saw the frenzied construction of the Alaska Highway and the destruction of the Tlingit hunting grounds after the US joined WWII. He witnessed the dismantling of his culture and the demoralization of his people. In 1967 he returned his 1928 car to the dealer and bought a pickup. There wasn’t a dent on his car but there were layers and layers of paint. In the winter George painted his car white so it would blend in with the landscape and not be noticed by the animals he was hunting. In summer it became a dark green. George died in 1974. His car was restored and now is part of the excellent George Johnston Museum. Oh, and I should also say that when he was about 11 years old he ordered a camera from the Eaton catalog so for many years he documented life of the Tlingit in Teslin. Fabulous museum!

We had an easy drive to Whitehorse and stayed in the comparative luxury of the Edgewater Hotel. Next stop is Skagway. We will stay in Skagway two days and then taking the car ferry to Haines for another 3 nights. Yes, while we had decent WiFi, we scheduled several days in advance to take the pressure off. Neither Skagway nor Haines were in our thoughts when we began our drive two weeks ago. While traveling without an itinerary or advance reservations can be troublesome, it also allows us to blow in any direction like leaves in the wind.

Sculpture commemorating Whitehorse as the birthplace of McGee and McGrew (characters in poems by Robert W. Service)
The Cremation of Sam McGee (small excerpt printed here)

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

The Shooting of Dan McGrew