We left Yellowknife on September 11th, and headed West to the Yukon. Along our way, we passed approximately 250 bison, who were either standing on the road staring at our car as we slowly drove past, or were grazing on the side of the highway. Bison tend to give no f*#$ about cars. They just lolly-gag around, and don't mind having a car drive by 1 metre from them.
Bison on the road means that it is unsafe to drive at night because they camouflage well in the darkness. Thus, on our first day of driving after leaving Yellowknife, we planned to stop around 8:30. Unfortunately, about one hour before we planned to stop for the night, our tire blew. And blew it truly did, I had never seen anything of the like. The tire was literally exploded. Luckily, we were only 5 km away from a small town. And we had just completed a six hour drive down a back highway that was a gravel road, so we were actually so fortunate to blow a tire this close to a town.
Our jack was bent and broken, so when a local pulled up, we got some help from him jacking up the van and trying to get the wheel off. Of course, the lug nuts wouldn't budge. Whoever had tightened them previously, had tightened them too much, and not one would move even the slightest amount. We thanked the man who stopped to help us, and he continued on his way after giving us the number to the local mechanic. We called but no answer, so after a night on the side of the bush highway, we called again, and two mechanics showed up to help us out the following morning.
10 minutes later, the blown tire was off and the spare was on. They told us we should stop in the closest town with auto services, Fort Nelson, and that was 2.5 hours down the highway.
With a small prayer to the road gods and the bison gods, we made it. We stopped in Fort Nelson and got a new tire, a new car jack, and some apples, granola bars and potato wedges to snack on. And then we were again on our way!
Across the Alaska highway: our views impeccable and the weather perfect. Snow crested mountains jutted up around us, and clear, blue lakes popped up everywhere. We stopped at the Liard hotsprings and soaked in the sulphur-smelling water for a while (this was amazing). We stopped in Watson Lake for the night, and in the morning after being handed the "Yukon News" for free from a local, we were off, aiming to reach Dawson City by the evening.
Of course, as things go, we didn't make it by the evening. It turned out that we had taken the wrong highway for the entire day, and by nightfall we had entered into Vancouver. So we spent the night in Vancouver, walked around Stanley Park the following day to get some excersise, and then decided to say "screw it" to the trip and just spend the next three months on the beaches of California.
No, actually things worked out quite well for us this final day of driving. We actually didn't take a wrong turn at all, and we actually did end up in Dawson City by the evening, just as our plans went. It was a flawless day of driving.
And alas, we were there. In the city of gold, the city of dreams. We pulled into the downtown, and not a car nor a soul was in sight. It was a Tuesday night. What was going on? We asked. Unsure of how to answer, we went and did laundry, then went to a bar and watched a dancing show.
And the week went on.
Peace and love,