Tuesday August 10, 2010 – Day 5 – “Mining City”
The dawn came bright and clear and with almost no dew. This was a nice change for me, but probably not so good for the fire fighters in BC.
The road did not disappoint, winding its way through the river valleys with occasional openings at lakes or hilltops.
I like it when the lake reflects the trees so it is difficult to discern the shoreline.
The leaves were changing colors on some of the trees. I talked with a local and they were surprised too, because it hadn’t been that cold yet. We wondered if it was heat and drought stress.
A stitched photo of another lake.
Somewhere around here, I stop at the village of Ross River for fuel. I needed 4.48 gallons. Since it was a general store, I picked up an apple, a pint of milk, and some breakfast bars. I sat outside the store and ate some of my food and looked around. It was a sad little native village where the only income seemed to be government sponsored jobs. It seems the native population in Yukon has the same challenges as in Montana.
So I was bombing along the road at about 55, enjoying the sunshine and the views when there was a gap in the trees. All of a sudden, I come around a corner and there is a bridge. I set myself carefully in case it is a bar grate bridge and cross the river. I realize this is a deep canyon for such a little rivulet, so I stop on the far side and pull out my camera. Looking over the bridge railing I was amazed; I could see the rocks at the bottom of the river.
I end up in Carmacks, get some fuel, and start looking around for information about the Taylor Highway. At this point I really needed to decide if I was going to go north to Dawson City or south to Whitehorse. I wanted to try the Top of the World highway, so I pushed on to Dawson City, even though I didn’t have good information.
On the Yukon River these rapids, the “Five Fingers”, were difficult for the riverboats trying to make the trip from Dawson City to Whitehorse. Finally they removed some of the islands and dredged out the channel
I was a little tired, so I purchased a Mountain Dew at the Pelly Crossing gas station.
“Wait a minute, what’s this note on the can?” I think they would sell less Mountain Dew in the states if it was a caffeine free beverage. After that, I drank Coke while in Canada.
I headed out of Pelly Crossing towards Dawson City. The bridge was reduced to one lane of traffic due to construction work. As I rode through the bridge I was amazed at the project. They were sandblasting and painting the bridge superstructure. The entire steel structure, was covered with scaffolding with plywood and plastic sheeting. On the one end of the bridge is a diesel driven blower with a bag filter, presumably to catch all the bad stuff from this operation. Now, let’s say in the worst case, there is lead based paint on the bridge and you are going to replace it with a low VOC, environmentally friendly alternative, and use a non-silica blasting agent. Wouldn’t a normal person say that the diesel burned, and all the material and plastic sheeting consumed equal out with the lead paint and VOC’s released to the atmosphere and the river? Craziness.
At Dawson City, I saw the sign for the Midnight Dome before I got into the city. I turned up the road and went to the top of the hill. From here I had a bird’s eye view of dredge tailings along the Klondike river, and the mining operations on the hill on the far side of the river.
It also gave a great view of the Yukon River, and the town site. Across the river you can see the “Top of the World” highway.
So I got my room at the Bunkhouse, and went to the convenience store for gas and some sandwiches. I didn’t get any sure information on the Taylor Highway, but at this point most people were saying that it was closed. However it was too late in the evening call any agency and know for sure. So I went to bed and planned to get up in the morning to see what I could find.
Stats for Day 5: 505 miles, 12.2 gallons of fuel, 12.5 hours