We headed out from the Mooseberry B&B (yep, that is actually the name) after a hearty breakfast and some great conversation with our other guests at around 9:15 AM. There were three men and a woman touring on motorcycles, a couple from Whitehorse, YT and Tom and I. Happy Birthday to Tom today!
Tom and I noticed almost all the folks we saw on motorcycles up here (and there were quite a few) rode BMW motorcycles as did all the motorcyclists at the B&B so we asked why. They told us that the BMW is dependable and can handle the rough roads should you get off the beaten path; unlike Harley Davidson.
It rained pretty hard in Tok last night and our drive was overcast and rainy pretty much the whole way today. We have learned that the critters do not get out much when it is overcast or rainy. We saw a lot of wildlife on this stretch coming up but it was sunny that day. We did come across one black bear.
Coming across the border into Canada was uneventful. The Canadian officials are quite a bit friendlier that the US Customs folks. I will be interested to see what it will be like coming back into the US in Montana.
There was a good bit more construction going on today in the YT than when we came through earlier. About 113 miles of it from the border into the YT crosses tundra type terrain and requires major work pretty much each summer. We had to wait for a pilot car several times today. The wait time varied but was as much as 10 minutes. The road is all packed gravel because that is about all that will hold up. One of our breakfast people knew a good deal about Canadian highways up in this neck of the woods. He said that basically the road is sitting on permafrost which is not very stable to begin with. The road has a lot of dips and usually they are in groups so you have to drive pretty slow or it will throw you off the road. If the van’s suspension isn’t pretty worn out now, it surely will be after this trip. There are also numerous potholes and sections of washboard surface. Needless to say, you do not drive much faster than 45 or 50 most of the time.
We stopped briefly at Kluane Lake and took a few pictures. The sun was starting to peek out just a little.
Tonight we are staying at the Raven Hotel in Haines Junction. It is very nice and almost brand new. They have a gourmet 3 – star restaurant and we are celebrating Tom’s BD there. Haines Junction was quite a surprise for us on the way up. The little town is nestled in among these spectacular snow-capped mountains. Coming into town from the north, the view is breathtaking. I think this little town is the jewel of the YT (of course, I have only seen a few of the towns :-)). The couple we met from Whitehorse this morning told us that the population of the whole YT is about 32,000 and 28,000 live in Whitehorse. There is a lot of unoccupied space up here that is just incredibly scenic. The only problem would be coping with September thru May each year.