Wow. I have a lot of report as we've had pretty horrible internet connections for the past few days. So here goes:
Before we got to Jasper, we took time to climb up to a glacier and I made this:
When we left Jasper, we immediately had two female wolves run right in front of us across the highway. Unfortunately, our little camera was broken so we missed a pic but it was great to see. But we decided to cough up more money at a Walmart for a new one (that's what credit cards are for, right?).
Broken on the right, new and tiny on the left:
After about 10 minutes on the road before leaving Jasper, however, a pretty stiff head wind picked up. We thought that it was possibly just coming off the mountains, but it continued to pick up throughout the day and by the time we reached Dawson Creek, I was pretty well fed up with it. It was probably the most frustrating day of driving on the trip. I think I'd take rainy and cold over windy any day.
We did a lot of this due to the wind:
But the scenery wasn't half bad.
We eventually made it to the Alaska Highway:
And we felt pretty good about ourselves, to be honest.
We noticed very early on that the farther north you get, the more eccentric the gas stations become. This one featured Sasquatch.
After Dawson Creek, we made our way to Fort Nelson through much of the same scenery and more wind and rain. Fort Nelson turned out to be a pretty interesting experience, as it turns out, mainly because of a few people we met there. We were sitting out in the parking lot as the air filter dried when a trucker and helicopter pilot came up and starting chatting with us. The first thing we learned (after answering the normal questions, aka 'how old is the bike?', 'where was it made?', 'is the sidecar comfortable?') was that Fort Nelson was scheduled to grow in population from 2,000 to 80,000 over the next year! The biggest gas find in North America was just discovered very near the town and so there are business men everywhere trying to get a piece.
Secondly, the trucker gave us our favorite quote of the trip thus far. In giving us advice about the road ahead, he said, "There are animals everywhere and they ain't afraid of the road, eh? It's $#&%*#$ Jurassic Park out there, eh?" Kristen couldn't help herself and laughed out loud and the guy was a real sport about it. And now, every time we see any wildlife, we sing the Jurassic Park theme song very loudly.
Here's Kristen beating my pants off at gin in the parking lot. 10 games. Who knew my wife was such a card shark?
The drive between Jasper and Fort Nelson was pretty uneventful scenery-wise, but it was gorgeous on the way to Watson Lake. Even though it rained nearly the entire time as we wound our way through the mountains, it was great.
To get a feel for this part of the country, you need to know that every gas station up here is multipurpose. They are also a restaurant, camp ground, tire repair station, store and private residence. I guess they have to be that way because services are hard to come by this far north. We're honestly excited every time we come to a place because they're all so unique.
We had homemade beef and barely soup at one:
One boasted a huge collection of hats:
We also saw a ton of wildlife.
Oh, and the buffalo don't get out of the way for anybody. This guy stood in the middle of the road and just stared us down for 5 minutes. I was intimidated.
After 10 hours of driving, we came flying into Watson Lake as it was getting dark and struggled to find accommodation:
We woke up the next morning and spent a bit of time at the Sign Forest. It's odd and definitely worth the stop.
We then drove through a sea of trees that were all changing with the season. Really beautiful.
After a nice drive, we ended up in Whitehorse - the capital of Yukon. There are only 24,000 residents in the whole province and 18,500 live in Whitehorse. It's pretty modern and the good weather allowed me to do a quick fluid change before sleep.
More in a bit...