No Need to Dawdle

The internet in Whitehorse is pretty bad, so I had a frustrating night there trying to get work done and ended up going to bed way too late. I needed to be out of my spot by 11 Thursday morning and still had errands to do, so the morning was pretty painful. I managed to get to two stores and then lost time back tracking to Canadian Tire to get my debit card. It’s the new kind with a pin number and I’m not used to not getting my card back immediately after it’s slid through the card reader. It was therefore much too late to get groceries and beer. I decided that I could get some beer in Watson Lake and that I didn’t need to ‘stock up’ on groceries since I’m heading back into civilization anyway.

So, I pulled out of Whitehorse at 11 and headed straight for Nugget City. I stopped in Teslin for lunch fixings and a nice picnic since I’d been given a ton of veggies before pulling out of Dawson. Teslin is still the prettiest spot in the Yukon in my mind!

Teslin Lake

Sometime after Teslin I started to get quite sleepy, so I pulled over for a leg stretch at George’s Gorge:

George’s (Gorgeous) Gorge

The ride from Whitehorse to Nugget City is one of my favourites; the road is in good shape and you can actually enjoy the scenery. It’s not a technical drive at all, so I was still reasonably coherent when I pulled into Nugget City. It’s a good thing for that since my friend Amber threw herself into my arms the second I stepped out of the rig! We haven’t seen each other since May of ’09!

Forget setting up beyond plugging in the rig; I was quickly spirited away to the lake where a pair of trumpeter swans were swimming.

The male got spooked by a beaver and took off to make sure everything was good.

beaver coming up for air

After two days of hard driving, it was great to get off my butt and get some exercise in fresh air! By the time we got back to the main part of the property, I was famished, so I headed to the restaurant and grabbed a beer after putting in an order for a chicken stir fry .

Amber works late hours so she came back to see the cats on her break around ten, then showed me the digs she’s had all summer. It’s a fifth wheel, the second one I’ve visited this summer, and I have to say I really like the way they are split into several levels…

Since there’s no cell service at Nugget City, I couldn’t get online, so I went to bed at a much more reasonable hour and slept well. This morning I had time to eat breakfast before Amber scared the living daylights out of me by sticking her face up against my back window and then rocking the rig so I’d noticed her. I just about hit the ceiling! She helped me pack up, we did the round of good-byes, and then she became the first ever passenger I’ve carried in this rig, traveling with me from the RV park to the restaurant.

I pulled out of Nugget City around 11 and drove to Watson Lake. After getting gas, groceries (including the black bread and gyoza I can only find here), and enough Yukon Brewery beer to get me through to next spring, I’m now parked downtown and plan to do at least an hour’s worth of work. I’ll then meander down to Liard hot springs, then I will have a couple of overnight options. I’d really rather not go much further than Liard tonight since I’m beat. I need to start boondocking; I’d forgotten how expensive it is to stay several nights in a row at an RV park!

And, so, another summer in the Yukon draws to a close…

Watson Lake to Whitehorse, With a Nugget City Stopover

After pausing in Watson Lake yesterday to check the status of my online stuff, I gassed up at the Tags in front of the Sign Post Forest and then rolled into Nugget City, twenty minutes north of town, for the night.

I was a week earlier than last year, so the owners hadn’t arrived yet, but Dave the Chef winters there as does Rog the woodworker and mechanic, so I still got a warm welcome. I was invited to plug in behind the restaurant since the RV park isn’t open yet and gladly did so for the chance to top up the batteries even though I hadn’t intended to unhook.

Since I had free power for the night and knew I’d have coffee and toast for the asking in the morning, I treated myself to dinner, which included Dave’s awesome fries. We caught up a bit and I took some time to walk around the property and see how my paint jobs have weathered the winter (not bad!).

Two other rigs pulled in and plugged in beside me for the night and people came and went to get food. Nugget City is a happening place with a good reputation, and it is favoured by many who travel back and forth along that stretch of the Alaska highway. It really does feel like home and I got more than an odd stare from guests when I’d pop into the kitchen to get a glass of water or drop off a dirty dish.

I ran one oil heater on low last night and was super comfortable, sleeping in just shorts and a tee-shirt instead of long johns and socks! I wanted a reasonably early start today and Rog promised to show me what he’d been up to all winter so I dragged my butt out of bed at 8. Ms. Tabitha was not pleased. 🙂

Rog’s big winter project really impressed me. He rebuilt a VW ‘bug’ from scratch! I couldn’t believe it; that thing had been an empty shell last fall and now it was a car! He added several personalized details for the recipient, one of the owners’ daughters. That is going to be a very sweet ride for her!

I rolled out of Nugget City at 9:30 and took it nice and easy to Whitehorse. It felt weird to just roll through Teslin, but I did stop at the rest area just west of town for the first time in order to have lunch.

Right now, I’m parked at the day use area just east of town. I’ll stay here for a few hours and get some work done, then move to the Walmart. I’m doing it this way because I intended to spend two nights at the Walmart since I’m going day tripping with the toad tomorrow to scratch another item off my bucket list. I had thought to move to a Territorial campground that would have enabled me to scratch yet another thing off my bucket list, but I forgot that I’m too early for those campgrounds!

There isn’t much for me to do in Whitehorse. I already have all the supplies I need for the first half of my Dawson summer, or at least as many as I can carry! I will top up the onboard propane tank, though. I didn’t do that last year and ended up having to fill up my little tank at a usurious rate. I would love to head up with both tanks filled, but I don’t like the idea of having a full propane tank in the trunk of the car, even if it’s apparently ‘okay’ because I have a hatchback.

I can’t believe that this time a week ago I was en route to Nanaimo! I had no idea I’d be in Whitehorse this quickly! The weather has cooperated, that’s for sure! I’m definitely taking my detour tomorrow and am considering another toad road trip in a couple of days, but am not stuck on that idea. I’ll see when I get nearer to the junction to that road.

It’s good to be back. 🙂

standing in the Baby Nugget RV park, looking up to the back of the restaurant; you can see Miranda if you squint

standing in the Baby Nugget RV park, looking up to the back of the restaurant; you can see Miranda if you squint

I love this mini-chasm in the middle of the RV park!

I love this mini-chasm in the middle of the RV park!

the steeple was just about ready to be installed when I left last fall

the steeple was just about ready to be installed when I left last fall

site no. 2 is 'mine' and I love it!

site no. 2 is ‘mine’ and I love it!

this is the set up behind the restaurant

this is the set up behind the restaurant

closeup of the hookups (not sure what that coiled up black wire is for)

closeup of the hookups (not sure what that coiled up black wire is for)

caribous that darted across the highway

caribous that darted across the highway

heading west, before Teslin

heading west, before Teslin

Teslin Lake

Teslin Lake

Teslin Lake

Teslin Lake

Teslin Lake

Teslin Lake

Miranda still looks pretty good for all I've put her through :) (at Teslin Lake)

Miranda still looks pretty good for all I’ve put her through 🙂 (at Teslin Lake)

Oh, Internet! How I Have Missed Thee!

I’m online!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The owners can now monitor internet usage and told me that there is tons left for September, so I’m welcome to surf to my heart’s content today. All well and good, but I couldn’t get on. So, the server was rebooted and, voila!, I’m online!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, let’s recap the past week…

Tuesday No. 1

I had a lazy morning in Teslin and pulled out at about 10:30. The ride to Nugget City was easy, but through rain. There is a rest stop right before the RV park, so I pulled in there at about 1:30 to have lunch and read. By the time I rolled out, the sun was out, so after a quick bit of hugging and hellos and rolling into my old spot, I was at work… and covered in primer. 🙂

A big past time out west is Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. I’ve been curious about the game; it was popular at Pacific Border and tournaments are a big draw to Dawson. The owners here play two nights a week and I’m welcome to sit in and watch, which I did Tuesday night. It’s not poker as I know it and I’m not sure it’s a game that can be learned from observation only, but it was fun to watch.

Wednesday No. 1

I did a first coat of Trem-Clad on the garage door and then spent the afternoon with my hands in the dirt, weeding and preparing the flower beds for the spring.


Did a second coat on the garage door, weeded, and then watched all of Gone With the Wind while I backed up the iMac, wiped its drive, reinstalled OSX, and restored my files.


Woke to rain that, thankfully, cleared by my start time of 10AM. Weeded in the morning, then put on the third, and final coat of paint. It was a pretty cold day. Spent the evening watching a four-hour long Civil War era western miniseries (True Women).


Spent the morning weeding, then began to apply stain to a huge fence.

Just after I got off work, a really big man dressed in camo knocked on my door. He informed me through the window that he was my neighbour for the night and had some fresh Kenai salmon for sale. I’ve seen this a lot over the summer; fishermen hocking their catch to anyone with whom they cross paths. He explained that the salmon is cleaned and filleted, vacuum packed, and frozen right on site. I decided to take a chance and agreed to buy one pound, for 15$. He came back with some of the reddest salmon I have seen in my life. I opened up the package and the smell was perfect, very fresh and ‘salmony’ without the nasty old fish smell. I baked the whole pound right there since I couldn’t separate the frozen fillets. I had a whole half pound for dinner, just baked to perfection and drizzled with fresh lemon juice. The rest made two fine lunches, mooshed up cold with sour cream, spices, salt, and a squeeze of lemon, then served over crackers. What a treat!

After dinner, I started to read Gone With the Wind after convincing myself that I couldn’t very well spend another four hours watching yet another Civil War-era western (Dances With Wolves)! I looked for a hard back copy of Gone With the Wind for years, scouring antique shops from Maine to Savannah, finally finding one in San Francisco. At more than a 1,000 pages, it’s heavy, so thank goodness Tabitha likes to sit on my lap when I’m reading as she gives me a good place to prop up the book. 🙂


It was a good day, bright, but cold, and I could smell snow. I continued to work on the fence until I ran out of stain. I then went to work on the steps, had dinner, then went to observe the poker game.


Snow fell in big fat flakes all day, so I just stayed in my jammies most of the day and drank too much coffee as I continued reading Gone With the Wind. It was my first real day off in months and I enjoyed it immensely, snug as a bug and impossibly cozy with two cats in my lap and a shawl over my shoulders.

Tuesday No. 2

I awoke to a leaden sky. I’d read that expression many times, but don’t believe I’ve ever actually seen such a sky before. Knowing there would be no painting that morning, I dawdled and decided to go into town early to check my email. Followed a frantic hour-long search for my car keys!!! I tore the house apart and went through the snow outside, finally finding them on Miranda’s bumper covered with almost foot of snow! I must have left them there the last time I went to get something out of a basement compartment.

The drive into Watson Lake was easier and shorter than remembered, mostly because a long gravel stretch was finally paved! I did the email thing and then popped into the grocery store for black bread and gyoza. I’ve decided that the grocery store in Watson Lake is my favourite in the Yukon of all the ones I’ve thus far visited. Products are much fresher than at the general store in Dawson or the Nisutlin Trading Post in Teslin, and there is a greater variety of products than can be offered by the huge grocery stores found in large cities like Whitehorse.

Back home, I continued to read, then went to work at 4:15, since the sun was shining brightly and the fence was clear of snow. I did two and a quarter hours of work and called it a day, coming home to finish Gone With the Wind.

Wednesday No. 2 (today)

I awoke to a clear day and decided to get an early start at 9:30. The fence was done by lunchtime, three hours later. I stained some posts in the afternoon, but it was getting cold and there were a few snowflakes in the air, so I finished early, knowing that there are a few long days ahead of me if the weather will just cooperate.

I am now off to reply to the many comments left over the past week and to catch up on my emails!

To her had come that pleasant intoxication peculiar to those whose lives are a deliberate slap in the face of organized society – the gambler, the confidence man, the polite adventuress, all those who succeed by their wits. She said and did exactly as she pleased and, in practically no time, her insolence knew no bounds.

Nippy Morning

I find it a tad amusing that the weather is colder and damper the further south I get from Dawson! Yesterday in Whitehorse was chilly, but a quick run over to Starbucks got the blood flowing. This morning, though, it’s COLD. I even went to bed with long johns on under my jammies! Had I boondocked, I would have run the generator the length of time it runs (more on that later 😀 ) and started up the heat, but I don’t feel it would be appropriate to run the genset in a park. Anyhoo, the coffee and toast are almost ready and they’ll warm me right up. 🙂

There was another improvement to the rig yesterday. The first night I hit the road, I am always reminded that I don’t have a non-120V dependent clock and I wind up having to find the cell phone, iPod, or even computer to get the time in the morning. At Walmart yesterday I picked up for 10$ a very basic and tiny clock with a back light with a sticker on the back. I stuck it up above the bed and it is making a world of difference. I can wake up during the night and not be bothered by the glow of an alarm clock, but still have the time available at the push of a button.

The internet here in Teslin is so wonderful. I think my only real disappointment the past few months was that I couldn’t blog with any sort of frequency or reliability. I made a list of all the things I wanted to share, but it’s a bit late for that now. At any rate, I have tons of material for next summer!

I have about an hour to checkout and I think I’ll just sit and watch the lake while I sip my coffee as this is probably going to be my last easy morning for a few weeks.

En route due south to Watson Lake

I’m back in Teslin, being too exhausted to make it all the way to Nugget City tonight.

My departure from Dawson was the easiest departure yet, ironically enough. Everything was so under control that I partied hard at Gerties my last two nights, stumbling home in the wee hours of the morning. That happened to be past two yesterday, with departure slated for hopefully no later than noon. Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting to make it to Whitehorse till late, if at all!

To my surprise, I was up at about nine, had everything packed and ready to go by ten, took some things up to a storage locker by eleven, and was on the road by quarter to twelve. Shocking! 😀

The goodbyes were heart wrenching, but it’d be a lie to say that I wasn’t happy to be back on the road. I stopped at Mackenzie Petroleum for gas, 1.20$ per litre and then drove long and hard. The weather alternated between sun, rain, and mist. The mountains were covered in bright yellow leaves surrounded by lush evergreens. I have yet to tire of the Yukon landscapes.

I only had a quarter tank of fuel when I hit Carmacks, so I decided to gas up there, but was thwarted at both gas stations by selfish idiots parked in front of the pumps while they ate a meal! At neither location was anyone inclined to move until they were good and ready and staff didn’t care about the loss of a 200$ sale. Braeburn Lodge, a short ways down the highway, was happy to have my business. *shrugs*

Whitehorse was a welcome sight after 530km of driving. I was bone tired and just wanted to crash with a movie. I pulled into the Walmart and unhooked the toad so that I could park away from the road, went in for a movie, got some dinner, and I was done for the night. I went to bed at 10 and slept solidly until 7!!!

Today was nuts. Oh, everything went smoothly, but I had a million things to buy and it was unnerving to spend so much money! I had breakfast at Starbucks and then drove Miranda over to the Shell station for propane and fuel. The propane pump is oddly located, forcing the owners of longer motorhomes to park with their ass end in the laneway. Just that made it sensible for me to have unhooked, even though I don’t like to unhook when I’m Walmarting it. But I had a ton of errands to run, so it made sense to be parked centrally (the RV parks are all on the outskirts) and to have my car accessible. Propane was relatively cheap, 83 cents per litre, if I recall correctly, and gas was at 1.03$. I’m already under budget for gas, which is awesome! Once everything was topped up, I had to deal with my propane tank, which was leaking from the Extend-a-Stay opening. I quickly ascertained that this was because the opening was dirty. A quick swipe with a cotton swab solved the problem and allowed a proper seal with the cover.

The rest of my day went something like this, but not necessarily in this order:

I stocked up on a mega ton of groceries and a ton of beer, did some banking, and hit up Canadian Tire (found another oil heater on mega sale!), Staples (found an external hard drive on mega sale!),  Shoppers Drugmart (for the generator…), and Home Hardware (for something I’ll reveal in a later post). And let’s not forget the Walmart shopping spree for all the luxuries I’ve been rationing for two months, like toilet paper.

By the time I got home for the last time, it was mid-afternoon and I was sorely tempted to just stay the night in Whitehorse. But I had had my fill of that city with little charm and just wanted to get away from all the people.

50km shy of Teslin, I knew it would be my stop for the night. It would be dinner time by then; a push to Watson Lake would take me to at least 8pm. I was famished and exhausted and knew that by the time I said all my hellos and settled into a back in spot in Nugget City it would be past 9, maybe later.

As a compromise, I’m not on hookups tonight, paying 15$ to dry camp with access to the showers (which I’ll use seeing as I remember how clean they are) and the internet. I had a quick, but well-balanced dinner, and in short order I’m going to curl up with a good book and a mug of tea.

Tomorrow, I’ll be able to sleep in, enjoy the morning, and still get to Watson Lake at a reasonable hour.

Tired as I was last night, I still managed to find the energy to pen a few words in my journal, which I’ll quote verbatim as I tend to find myself funny when I’m this tired. 🙂

Back on the road!!!!!!!!!!

With Yukon plates!!!!!!!!!

With a Dawson City address!!!!!!!!!!!!

Going to Vancouver Island!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With a guaranteed job next summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!