On the Road Adventures

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11 Watson Lake

We weren’t sure we’d be able to leave today. There have been forest fires north of the hot springs and the highway has been closed sporadically and yesterday afternoon it was closed again. I wouldn’t cry to stay another day at the hot springs, but no, this morning it was open again because the rain last night knocked down the fire. The rain also added to already swollen rivers to make some impressive rapids. We have met a couple who are riding their recumbent trikes from Kansas to Alaska, (yes, wow! and other adjectives!) and I worry a little about them on this leg of the trip, going through the burn areas. We could still smell the smoke in the air, so I hope they made it through okay.

We saw some bison beside the road, and a smallish black bear who ran across the road in front of us. Dave and Pam had gone ahead of us, and she said they saw a bear act like it was going to run across the road, too. I figure it’s either the same bear, getting his jollies by giving the drivers heart attacks, or there are two of them, daring one another to play chicken with the vehicles.

We arrived in Watson Lake after the mandatory stop at the Welcome to the Yukon sign. Watson Lake's claim to fame is the sign forest started by the men working on the Alaska highway in 1942. They say they are up to 35,000 signs people have posted there, showing their home towns. We saw the sign forest, checked out a stunningly expensive grocery store and did laundry. My advice about Watson Lake? Spend the extra day at Liard Hot Springs and highball through this place on the way farther up the road. You might want to slow down enough to check out the signs and say, “man, there are a lot of signs there.” Then keep on going.

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