Tagged with " Watson Lake"
May 7, 2010 -

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Canada, Propane, Technical, Travel, Weather, Yukon    1 Comment
May 6, 2010 -

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 myย  nomadic existence.ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Boondocking/Dry camping, British Columbia, Canada, Personal, Travel, Why I Do This, Yukon    6 Comments
Oct 16, 2009 -

Flight From Nugget City

Leaving Nugget City as suddenly as I did ahead of the major dip in weather was a wise decision brought on by the not-so-wise decision I made last fall to stay at the RV park in Oliver. Whadya know, the gal can learn from her mistakes.

The owners were very understanding of my decision and paid me promptly. By the time my water hose was thawed and I’d taken on water and dumped my tanks it was close to 2PM. It was a beautiful, clear day; perfect driving conditions.

I decided to head south via route 37, the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. I’d heard mixed reviews about this road, with some people saying that it is a muddy, rutty mess while others claimed that it had much improved over the years. What finally made me decide to take it is thatย the Alaska Highway would have taken me more east than south and over high mountain passes while the Cassiar was almost a straight shot south, bettering my chances of finding improved weather conditions after only a few hours of driving:

routes

I hadn’t driven more than 5KM when I crossed over into British Columbia for the final time this year. As I stood there, between the signs on each side of the highway welcoming travelers to BC and the Yukon, I faced my adopted territory and thought of McArthur, vowing that I would return. ๐Ÿ˜€

The first section of the Cassiar was very scary. It was narrow, slippery, and steeply uphill. One particularly nasty incline made me consider turning back, but I’d done enough research to know that the worst was behind me. After, there were a lot of hairpin turns, but it was smooth going. The landscape was a kaleidoscope of emerald pine and amber poplar, snowy peaks and rocky hills. I could not stop gasping at the sheer humbling beauty of it all.

All the literature about the Cassiar and many signs along it state that it is unlawful to overnight anywhere but in established campgrounds. The only reason for this that I could find is that there is a concern about bears. I’m told that ‘everyone’ ignores the rules and boondocks on the Cassiar, but I decided to at least try to be legal. It was easy the first night since the Milepost mentioned a Lions Club campground with unserviced RV spots just south of Dease Lake on the Tanzilla River, roughly 200km from Nugget City. ย It sounded idyllic and the 10$ per site was a price I felt comfortable paying to avoid having the RCMP possibly ticket me.

The campground was indeed very beautiful, with sites tucked in between trees along a roaring river, but to call the sites RV spots was really stretching it. I would say that Miranda at 31′ was the absolute biggest RV I’d recommend trying to squeeze in there, and I only found one site wide enough for her. Moreover, the back-in only sites aren’t even remotely level.

I unhooked and then tried to manoeuvre Miranda into spot number four. Even though the site was super wide, I could not get her into it because of trees on the opposite side of the laneway. I noticed a clearing ahead and decide to turn around and approach the site from the other direction. This worked like a charm and Miranda slid in fairly easily.

This is where I came up with an idea that is really going to help me with my backing up. I’m going to get some bright flagging tape to tie around items I want to avoid. I notice that when I’m backing up I have a hard time identifying in a mirror the objects I’m trying to avoid, and my relation to them, especially if the objects are trees and there are a lot of them.

Once Miranda was tucked away, I tried to get her level, but failed since her muddy tires kept sliding off the the levelers when I tried to put her on more than two. The fridge was level enough, so I didn’t push it. I was only there for a night after all.

I spent a quiet evening reading a fantastic book I picked up at the Dawson dump called Parrot Pie for Breakfast. It is an anthology of first hand accounts of pioneer life written by women from the early 1600’s to the mid-1900’s in places all over the British Empire, from Burma to Sierra Leone, Canada to Australia. This book occupied several evenings after my departure from Nugget City.

I made chicken, potatoes, and veggies for dinner and used a new toy I picked up during my last shopping trip at the Dawson thrift store, a vegetable steamer. It’s one of those things I couldn’t justify spending 10$ on but thought would come in handy if I ever found one cheap. I used it to cook frozen veggies and it was the ideal method, rendering them nice and crisp.

Miranda history was made that night. I checked her useless sensors just for fun and for the first time, the grey and black tanks read empty!

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