Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 13 of the Great Adventure: Dease Lake to Whitehorse

When we last spoke, I was complaining about the heat and mosquitos in our hotel room.  Well, morning came (after I had fallen back asleep from the mosquito bites at 4am) and the room had cooled, though it was still quite a bit warmer than outside, and the mosquitos weren't quite as vicious (they were all over our room though).  Still, we got to look out to a beautiful sunrise to begin our day.
The sunrise in question.
We were not in a huge rush to get out of town in the morning... because the gas station didn't open until 9 o'clock.  No really, it was Sunday.  So we let the boys play for a while while I loaded the car.
Family picture, still smiling.  Today we had the excitement of entering the Yukon Territory as motivation.  

The boys with their daily 'treasures' from Lala.

Good news!  The gas station is open.  Bad news! This is the middle of nowhere Canada and gas was $1.59/L or somewhere around $6.36 a gallon.  At least that was $114 Canadian so we made out like bandits in US dollars ($112).  That's ok though, we would only need one more tank in Canada and this was the most expensive gas we encountered.

Made a left out of the gas station and headed north to the Yukon!

But then we stopped about 20 miles later to throw out some diapers.  The bright side was that we actually got to see Dease Lake itself for a few minutes.
The fairest damsel in the land... with a bag full of trash.  Fun times!
Not too long after we got back on the road we encountered a patch of unpaved road.  It lasted a couple of kilometers and then returned to pavement.  
We then happened upon a bridge and, again, it had water under it.

Fun, windy roads (reminder: that's 60 Km/h) leading to beautiful views.
This day we were not in a hurry.  If there was a photo op like this, we pulled over and took it.

The boys were chugging along in good spirits, mommy's iPad contributed to this in no small way.

We didn't get a ton of pictures along the rest of the Cassiar highway, but we did get a drive-by shot of the Cassiar Mountain Jade Store. Fun fact, the Cassiar Mountain Range is home to around 90% of the jade in the world.  We didn't stop, I only buy jade on the black market from China.  
Can it be??

Yes!  We've made it, and Robby and I can finally adopt our recently given names.  A fellow from work back at Randolph told me that after we left he would ensure that my legacy grew to legendary proportions.  He said he would tell tales of "Yukon Tim" and other fanciful tales.  So I took this home and told Robby that he would be "Yukon Robby" soon which he liked very much.  Once we made it to the border I informed him that we had made it to the Yukon and soon we were a whole Yukon family: Yukon Daddy, Yukon Mommy, Yukon Robby, Yukon Charlie, and Yukon Annie.  He made sure not to leave anyone out.

We only stopped for tourist pictures this once.  If you check the map from where 37 intersects with the Alaska Highway, you will see that it crosses back into BC and then back into the Yukon for good.  This seems like unnecessary mileage to cover, but these dang mountains keep getting in the way of a perfectly good straight road.
This sign is a good indicator that you have reached the end of the Cassiar Highway.  Mainly because there isn't any more road on the other side of it.  Also, because the only options are for the Alaska Highway (which is a good thing when you're heading to Alaska).  Clearly we had a decision to make, but first we decided to top off the gas tank and empty our bladders.
So we turned into the only gas station/place of business at this junction.  Seeing as I had geeked out over the "North to Alaska" sign back in Kitwanga, I though this sign was equally cool and worth photographing.  It may seem weird to go south to get to Alaska from here, but Alaska has it's 'lower arm' (not an official term) that contains Hyder, Juneau, Sitka, and some other places most people haven't heard of.  
Super awesome adventure bike was also filling up so I took a picture while the owner was inside and couldn't judge me for creeping on his ride.

After filling and emptying, as appropriate, we decided west was the best way for us and headed off to Whitehorse.  It was always nice to see what seemed like a long distance to go and realize that those were in kilometers and, thus, were meaningless to our American minds (just kidding, but 260ish miles sounds a lot shorter).  
The Yukon.
More of the Yukon.  By the way, it's beautiful here too despite what BC license plates might lead you to believe.

The bridge at Teslin Lake which leads into the town of Teslin, YT which is home to the Teslin Inland Tlingit First Nation.  Teslin has one of the largest Native populations in the Yukon and much of its livelihood still involves traditional hunting, trapping, and fishing. (All educational sounding information was stolen from the Milepost and Wikipedia)
Of course, we didn't get any good pictures of the lake or the town since we didn't feel like stopping.
Teslin was the last noticeable town before Whitehorse which was still a ways off, but the scenery didn't change much (fine by me) so we didn't take any pictures until we arrived at...
The Yukon Inn!

The scenic view from the parking lot.  Whitehorse is the capital and largest city in the Yukon with a population around 23,000 folks, eh.  We ventured all around looking for food later on but didn't take any pictures as the city map I had acquired earlier in the trip was confusing and most of the restaurant options weren't terribly toddler friendly.  

Remember how miserable we were in Dease Lake due to the lack of air conditioning?  Well the Yukon Inn had a welcome sight underneath each room's window.
Yes my friends, those are A/C units for each room.  It was gloriously cold in our room that night.  
Eventually we did find food.  We decided on G&P Steak House and Pizza (something for everyone, am I right?).  Turns out, this was as close as the area had to fine dining (note the candles on the tables and the fancy white table cloths) so we felt underdressed at first.  Of course, it was a non-issue and our waitress was very friendly and loved talking to the boys.  Randi got steak, I got pizza, and the boys and I split some fried calamari.  It was all very good and predictably expensive given the location (Whitehorse is pretty much in the middle of the middle of nowhere).
Our night dinner pictures.
As I wondered around the parking lot a couple times, to take Annie out and to venture out for supplies, I noticed the awesomeness above.  The fabled Northwest Territories... that giant expanse of ice and snow and polar bears... has the coolest license plates on Earth.  Period.  No contest.  It is shaped like a polar bear!  Anyway, I just thought this was super cool and felt it necessary to inform you lower 48ers of this, in case you don't make it up this way anytime soon.  Plus, I wanted to justify creeping around the parking lot at night (despite the sun being up) taking pictures of people's license plates.

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