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We got up early and hit the road again. Cereal and rice milk made a great breakfast again, too, this time at a hunting camp/lodge off the main road. We made it to Whitehorse about 1 p.m. and stopped for groceries and gas. The lady at the store gave us directions to Dawson City.
Just outside of town we stopped at a rest area for lunch. Corn cakes, honeydew, tortillas with peanut butter and Bonnie’s homemade cookies. The weather had cleared again, and the sun was shining out of a beautiful blue sky with white puffy clouds floating by.
After lunch we headed up the Klondike highway towards Dawson city. Gas is scarce out here, so we had to be sure to fill up when we could. The visitors centers provided maps with charts showing all the gas stations and mile posts, so that was a help. We soon crossed the great Yukon river. The road was straight and long, with almost no traffic. Matt put the pedal to the metal (well, not quite all the way), until Ben asked him to slow down so we could enjoy the scenery. Another thing we had to watch out for were frost heaves. This is when it freezes the ground so hard that it lifts the pavement up in big bumps. They can do quite a number on your vehicle if you’re going too fast. A lot of times they are marked with small orange flags on the shoulder to help you know when to slow down.
About 29 miles out from Dawson City we passed the last gas station and our gas gauge light just went on. We decided we had enough gas, and didn’t want to pay the high price out here in the middle of nowhere, so kept going. We were getting nervous by the time we reached Dawson City, but we made it without having to hitchhike.
As we neared Dawson city we began seeing tailing piles in the creek beds – telltale signs of gold dredges in years past. The guy at the gas station told us where the nearest dredge was, so we went up and looked at it. These gold dredges were pretty cool – they would float, and they would dig the hole for themselves to float in as they went. They’d dig down to bed rock, back and forth across the creeks, process the dirt and find the gold, then dump the rock out behind them and keep going. It only took a few men to run one of these giant gold-finding machines.
Back in Dawson City we searched around trying to find where we could get some drinking water. Meanwhile, Ben struck up a conversation with some bikers. They weren’t real friendly until he mentioned that he himself was a biker, and then they opened up. They told him of a good camping spot on the hill above town, and told him he needed to try the pancakes in Chicken, AK when he drove through.
Dawson City was kind of a tourist town, depicting gold rush days, but it was pretty cool. We got water at the gas station and headed up the hill the bikers had mentioned. The main hill was a nice viewpoint for watching the sunset and looking down on the town, but the next hill over looked better for camping. There was a little Jeep road up to the top of it, so we drover over there and parked. We set up camp and cooked up some stew for dinner. It was already about 11 p.m., but the sun was still shining!
After dinner we walked over to the viewpoint where there was a big gathering for the sunset. We took pictures of the sun setting at 12:25 a.m. and then went back to camp and crashed. I don’t know when the sunrise was, but it was early. We were way up north, and it was close to summer solstice. It was kind of a pain, because I was using a 15 degree down sleeping bag, and the sun came up really early and cooked me. If I opened up my sleeping bag a little, mosquitoes would bite me like crazy. So it was either cook or get eaten. I choose to cook – for the most part.
To be continued…
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