It was another cool morning. The temperature was 12 C (54F) when I got up and it got cloudier, cooler ( 10 C ) and it was raining near the Alaskan border, however it warmed up to 18 C (64F) when I got to Whitehorse.
I got up early, because I knew that I would lose and hour as soon as I crossed the Alaskan border.
As I packed up my tent, I noticed that the pressure in my passenger front tire was a little low so I drove to 3 gas stations in the vicinity before I found one that had an air compressor. The tire was down to 172 Kpa (25 psi) and it should be 250 Kpa (36 psi), so I knew that I had a slow leak because I had pumped up the pressure in Dawson before I left and because it had been a little low then. It appears that the Dempster got me again but not as bad this time.
With the tires all at a good pressure, I went for full breakfast at Fast Eddy’s and then headed for Whitehorse at 7 am Alaskan time.
It seems rather repetitive, but the scenery was captivating. I have spent a good deal of my time driving, while keeping an eye out for animals ( especially the big ones that might challenge me to a game of chicken ) while enjoying the scenery and keeping my eyes on the road.
Even the sight of recent wildfires, were interesting.
The road condition on the AlaCan (Alaska Canada highway, aka Alaska highway) varied. It was mostly paved, some areas with smooth pavement, some areas (especially in the Yukon) with a rough pavement ( more stone than tar ) and a few areas that were under repair from the heaving of the permafrost. The worst section was a 40 km (25 mi) stretch that was under repair and it had sections that were so bad that I had to slow down to 30 kph ( 20 mph ) while dodging potholes only to find that I had miscalculated and hit a bigger one than the one I was trying to avoid. Between the potholes, the stones catapulted from the tires of other cars, the undulating pavement and the road debris, I am surprised that there wasn’t more damage to my car. I had suspected that I would have some stone chips or a cracked windshield by now and that hasn’t happened. The flat tire on the Dempster was a stoke of luck, although, a bad one. I won’t be surprised if I need new shocks, tires, idler arms, windshield, etc., by the time I get home. It might just be time for a new vehicle by then.
It is interesting that the US Border patrol office and the Canadian office are about 30 km apart. I reached the border after opening time, which is 9 am. The border is only open from 9 am to 9 pm. I’m not sure if that is Yukon time or Alaskan time. There were 3 cars ahead of me and it didn’t move for 20 minutes, so I shut off the engine and worked on a crossword puzzle.
When the line did start to move, it didn’t take long to meet the border patrol agent from St. Catharines that used to work at the Lewiston bridge. A few questions, a couple of funny comments and I was on my way.
There was a lot of spectacular scenery through the mountains and I took many pictures as often as I could using my stop and dash routine of pulling over, putting on the flashers, unbuckling, taking my camera, turning it on, checking traffic (there was never any when I did this), getting out, taking the pictures I wanted, getting back to the car, putting on my seat belt, turning off the camera, putting it away, checking for traffic (again no traffic), turning off the flashers, turning on my signal and I was on my way again. It had almost become a game. I also took advantage of some pull-offs to take the pictures but the routine was almost them same.
Unfortunately, none of my pictures do the scenery justice.
It took about 8 hours for the trip and I pulled into the campsite in Whitehorse about 5 pm ( Yukon time ) and called Pat McKenna, who had invited me for dinner and we arranged to meet at her house at 6 pm. Pat has been a great host and I have enjoyed our conversations and her awesome meals. We had a moose stew with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and a warm onion bun, all of which she had made. We also had an excellent desert cake, covered with fruits and berries, that she had made from scratch.
After dinner and stimulating conversation, I returned to the campsite to wash my car again and do some laundry, in preparation for the next leg of my trip to Surrey, BC.