The Trans-America Challenge 2012
7th May - 8th June 2012
Watson Lake to Whitehorse
JUNE 1ST, 2012
Yukon if you want to. We certainly did.
The reasons why you have to run a 24 hour car in this part of the world have become clear over the last few days.
Word came in last night from the Rutherford / Actman combo that the road to Ross River was still under extensive repair and while the town was expecting us - we'd been trailed on the local radio - the feeling was that the graders, diggers and diversions over such a long section of the route would have made it pretty unpleasant.
Additionally they discovered that the Canol Road was closed completely after suffering an exceptionally hard winter. The alternative was either a 600 mile reroute or to take a shorter more leisurely tarmac touring option.
The feeling of the Rally was very much to take the latter route.
It was a beautiful day anyway and route 1, the Alaska Highway, opened up before us across miles and miles of rolling pine clad hillsides. The road itself was built by the US army in 1942 and they didn't hang around, 1534 miles were laid down in only eight months and twenty three days. We all made light work of the journey as well but no one seemed to be in too much of a hurry. With scenery like this it's a case of slowly slowly, it's too good to miss.
Lunch was at the Yukon Motel next to the longest span bridge in Canada. We found great food and a well stocked gift shop waiting for us.
The hamburger soup proved popular as did the tea towels and fridge magnets. The local taxidermist had been busy and there was an excellent display of moose, wolf, bear and a couple of nice beavers for us to enjoy.
Tonight and tomorrow we stay in Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. Surprisingly given its sub arctic status this ranks among the driest cities in Canada thanks to its position in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains.
It also claims to be both the "land of the midnight sun" and the "home of the Northern Lights". It's a good job the hotel has blackout curtains.
When gold was discovered in 1896 the settlement near Miles Canyon was changed forever. Gold fever brought in thousands of miners and entrepreneurs and between them they built the city.
Whitehorse was named after the spray from the rapids on the Yukon which was reckoned to resemble the mane of a white horse.
The rapids are now covered by the Schwatka Lake formed as part of a hydro electric project in 1958.It's a pretty busy place but still small enough to walk around. Set on the Yukon River, which eventually disgorges into the Bering sea, it's a pretty busy place but still small enough to walk around.
Ideal for a rest day and we reckon that the local garages will be busy with last minute maintenance tasks such as oil changes, brake checks and maybe the odd tyre fitting or two.