We got a late start today as we had a scheduled oil change after 5,200 dusty miles and had to pick up some engine coolant to top off our radiator before leaving Whitehorse. As we’ve had two rock strikes on our RV windshield (both now repaired) and with the predictions of more gravel roads ahead, we purchased a sheet of Nolgahide and jury-rigged a windshield protector for our tow vehicle.
The drive from Whitehorse to Destruction Bay took us through valleys with higher and more rugged mountains that over the past week,
alongside picturesque roadside lakes and ponds
and over newly constructed bridges bypassing some of the original Alaska Highway bridges.
Along this 1,500+ mile highway, we continue to pass folks walking (one pulling what looked like a small porta-potty on wheels painted with messages to REPENT and warning of the END OF THE WORLD) and the daily number of people biking the Alaska Highway.
During this part of our trip, we also encountered the first of the sections of roadway which have given rise to the horror stories about the Alaska Highway.
The poor roads are the result of the underlying soil over which the Alaska Highway in the Yukon is constructed. First, these soils are not conducive to compacting which is needed for a long-lived stable roadway. Second, the roadway retains heat which causes the underlying permafrost to melt (causing the road to compress and sag but then expand when it freezes again). Parts of the roadway, particularly in the Yukon are constantly under repair. Driving speeds across some of these sections can be below 10 MPH.
While the sun did not appear until this evening, Kluane Lake is a large, beautiful and pristine body, 154 sq. miles in size and colored from a dark blue to almost aqua depending on the light, sits between two mountain ranges. Even better, our campground is located on its western shore.
After dinner, the sun poked through and our group gathered
for an old fashioned campfire,
complete with singing,
(who coincidentally, up until 3 years ago, lived just 2½ miles from us in Yardley, PA and who purchased an identical motor home to ours not only from the same dealer but also from the same salesman as we did)
wine and marshmallows to roast over the fire.
Although we saw a black bear and two ground squirrels crossing the road, the only wild critter we “captured” was one prowling under our motor home at our campground.
Tomorrow will be an early start for us as we have a lot of mileage over some sections which may be in the poorest/roughest road conditions anticipate for the trip.