Slowing Down

It was a slow, easy drive to Liard Hot Springs last night. I decided to be a tad cheeky, what with a full hookup park next door and dry camping spots available for the exorbitant cost of $21 at the provincial park, and just spend the night in the parking lot across from the park entrance.

Beta Pool was closed because of bear activity, so I had to hang out with a million other people in alpha pool. It wasn’t the most relaxing hot spring experience of my life, so I didn’t soak for long.

It was nice to get back to the rig, shower, and then hunker down for the night. I made a nice dinner, watched a movie, and read.

This morning, nothing short of a natural disaster could have gotten me moving at a speed faster than a crawl. It was the first time in months that I was able to just lie in bed with the cats, read, and know that I had nothing and no one waiting for me. I lingered over coffee and breakfast, then set off around 10:30.

The drive from Liard to Fort Nelson is very technical; lots of tight turns and 7 to 8% grades. It was my first time doing it in that direction and I had a lot of fun. I saw more buffalo and caribou today than in all the sightings I’ve had in my life combined.

I’m going to get some work done, gas up, then head to a turnout I stayed at in the spring of ’09. Tomorrow, I’ll move on to Fort St John or Dawson Creek and then the adventure will begin!













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)

Sawtooth Mountains to Watson Lake (!)

The rig was cozy this morning, belying how bloody cold it was outside. The day promised to warm up, though, and the sun was shining brightly. I refused to be rushed, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and reading for a couple of hours with Tabitha happily curled up on my lap.

When I did hit the road, finally, it was with excitement at the treat that waited for me an hour or so down the road, a soak in the hot springs!

As I did that final mountainous stretch, with grades reaching 9% and curves hugging Muncho Lake nearing ninety degrees I realised with a shock that somewhere between Hope and Summit Lake I went from being a novice full-timer wannabe to a seasoned RVer. I could do longer and more difficult stretches now because I was comfortable at the wheel of my rig and confident in my abilities. Even the boondocking thing has improved over last year as I’ve learned how to manage my batteries.

With this realisation came the fact that I am out of that grey zone where I was no longer housebound but not yet firmly rooted to my  nomadic existence.  I belong to the road now and my destiny is in the wind at my back. Second star to the right and straight on till morning, and all that.

Liard Hot Springs hasn’t opened for the summer season yet, so admission was free! I had a leisurely soak in Beta Pool and was just about to float off into a nap when a fish thought it would be funny to come tickle my armpit! I didn’t even know there are fish in the hot springs! Needless to say, my torpor was broken and I decided it was time to head out. The fish’s timing was pretty good since a couple approached Beta Pool just as I headed out.

It was an easy drive to Watson Lake after with very few grades or curves. I drove down the main drag until I saw a spot in front of the defunct Chinese restaurant where I felt I could stop for a couple of hours if I could get online, which I obviously am. 🙂 I’ll be pulling out shortly, will get gas, and then will complete the final schlep to Nugget City for the night.

Most of the following pictures are of buffalo, my obsession with which I discussed in depth last year. 🙂

approaching Muncho Lake

approaching Muncho Lake







that black bear darted across the highway faster than you can say lickety split!

that black bear darted across the highway faster than you can say lickety split!

red light just shy of Watson Lake

red light just shy of Watson Lake