May 22, 2016
Could also be titled, The Yukon. This is probably the part of the trip that just seemed the longest because the driving was insane. The "towns" or places that you would even consider staying a night in are few and very very very far between. So the amount of time spent in the car was plentiful. But, I think we do a rather decent job of breaking up the hours for the kids, so they seem to be in good spirits. Plus, as you will see, the amount of animals that we stopped for kept everyone on the lookout. So shall we get to it?
We started out the journey in Whitehorse, YT which is probably the most built up town there is in these parts. Housing all your normal amenities. Coffee shops, large scale grocery stores, a Walmart, and a small local pharmacy for a pickup of Dramamine, (or Gravol in this region) for Avalon and her never-ending battle with the winding roads. After a quick stop over we headed right back on the road for a long stretch of 12 hour driving.
We always try and find a campground or rest area that is big enough, and far enough off the road for the kids and Caspian to let loose. Since we have a cook-top with us for cooking while camping, it really comes in handy for lunch or dinner if need be. We always try and make a healthier option for a meal, rather than hitting up yet another drive thru. Plus the kids can wear themselves out before we load them back in the car. Truly, I think this is the only way we are surviving this journey. The kids look forward to the next place that they can collect sticks, throw rocks, and run around and be as loud as they want without Chris and I having to tell them to keep the noise level to a semi-deafening tone. It works though, it works.
Here is a small town with quite the character, Watson Lake, YT. They have this license plate memorial if you will, or as Chris would tell you, graveyard. There are more than 75,000 license plates there, and as I was fascinated by this Chris kept coming up with stories about how they got there. I'll let your imagination wonder.....if you are an avid Law and Order SVU fan like myself you should have fun with this. Or not so fun. Lock your car doors. Kidding....
The other thing that is a lifesaver, is the camping. I know so many of you have left me comments or sent me snaps like "you guys are crazy for camping with four kids and a dog", but seriously it is a thousand times easier than the hotel stays! Yes, a shit ton of work to unload all the gear, set it up, and then load it all back in however many hours later. But the kids are so happy to be exploring and free to roam around, that Chris and I would probably set the tent up a hundred times over.
This time we stayed at Liard Hot Springs, which let me tell you, if you ever find yourself in the Yukon you must make it a point to go here. The campground was beautiful, and they had a wonderful playground for the kids as well. The hot springs were simply amazing. Chris was like a child running after the ice cream truck down the boardwalk to get there, and he couldn't have stripped his clothes off fast enough to get in. Granted it was 33 degrees out, but he was just a little excited. The kids were apprehensive at first, because well, it's hot. But the water was glorious, and the scenery can't be beat. Needless to say this was a highlight of the trip for everyone.
The rest of the drive on the ALCAN was like a wilderness safari. We saw more animals in these 400 miles than we saw living in Alaska for four years. At one point we saw 16 black bears in 42 miles. It was insane!! Also abundant were the bison.....on the road. The kids were losing their minds with these guys. And the animals are not phased by cars. No need to do your best Ludacris impression, because no bitch, there is no get out the way! So we soaked it all in. We watched them, and Caspian practiced his manly bark, and all was well.
One thing that I am so grateful for when it comes to road trips, is that Chris has no problem stopping at all the insane places I randomly yell at him to pull over for, last minute of course. Most of them begin with the sentence, "yep, we're gunna die". But I need to see these things. The man with the wood carvings, had to see it. The lady that sold dolls in her front yard, yep stopped there. The coffee place that advertised with "no tea here" I mean....they spoke my language, even if the coffee was hard to choke down. But by far the best was this place in the middle of nowhere selling cinnamon rolls and knives. We went in and just saw a tons of knives, Chris said "I don't think this is the place", then a lady walked in and I said "we saw a large sign on the road for cinnamon rolls, please tell me they are here". She said "yes, they are out back how many would you like?". Chris said "four" I said "six". They both looked at me like I was I was crazy, and then six piping hot cinnamon rolls were purchased that day.
But no knives.