July 8 - July 13
The drive down the Top Of The World Highway came to an abrupt dead end on the banks of the Yukon River. There was a tiny ferry boat waiting for us and we crossed over to Dawson City in the strong current. Dawson is legendary and the beginning of many "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" radio adventures and has a special place in Tom's heart. Dawson was also the center of the Klondike gold rush in 1900. We had a reservation at a campground in Dawson, but the location among piles of 100-year old gold dredging tailings was unappealing, so we pushed on after walking around the town.
This was one of the longest days of driving we experienced. The campgrounds seemed to be either not far enough down the road or unappealing. We did stop and sample the Dempster Highway for a couple of miles. This 455-mile gravel road extends north into the Arctic regions of Canada, ending at the town of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. We had a snack here and did not find a campsite we liked until 10PM. Of course the sun was still shining this late at night!
We continued on our journey toward home after over 7000 miles. We stopped at Watson Lake campground where the mosquitos were so thick, Tom ran back to the van shouting, "GO! GO! GO!".
Laird Hot Springs proved to be a different kind of an experience. We set up camp and walked the half-mile to the natural 110 degree water for a dip in the deeper (3 meters) beta pool. Most of the campers were using the shallow alpha pool which was the hotter of the two.
As we passed through an area of intense gas and oil exploration, we headed toward Dawson Creek, where the Alaska Highway ends (or begins depending on your direction) and are now in the Mile 0 RV Campground where there is excellent Wi-Fi internet and we met a couple from Rochester, NY as well as a group from New Zealand where we will be visiting next Fall. One of the New Zealanders has a Chinook that he bought for this trip.