North To Alaska – Gold Rush Route
This feisty old woman picked up the “Gold Rush Route” in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada by taking Interstate Highway 16 North. Since 1896 fortune seekers flocked west to try their luck at panning for gold during the Klondike Gold Rush. This route was put to good use. As you zip north in your trusty vehicle towards Yukon Territory try to imagine traveling along the same route in a covered wagon, or on horseback. If you had a well-conditioned horse and treated it kindly, you would have been able to travel 30 to 40 miles a day. It would take you over a month to get from Prince George to Whitehorse. I took four days. Two days were spent in Topley at a very cute, very cheap little motel. Those days were needed to remind my body that it was, in fact, a human not a machine and it is not normal to move forward at high speed every day even if you are Feisty Old Woman.
If you are a novice at long distance traveling and you want to stay safe, then I will give you a word of warning: If you get out of your car and feel like you are still moving forward and having slight dizziness, then it’s time for a break. Vertigo or dizziness is a serious condition and will impair your judgment while driving. I am fortunate that a break every four hours is sufficient for me to get back on the road on a daily basis, but after so many days, my body needs to STOP MOVING.
Fortunately the ‘Gold Rush Route” offers wild and wondrous landscapes to enjoy. Here’s the link again…http://www.northtoalaska.com/Maps-and-Routes/Gold-Rush-Route.aspx The website has a map or you can read all the wonderful side trips available. I don’t put a great deal of detail about where I stopped, stayed or played because your trip should be YOURS!
I do make recommendations, however. On my drive from Whitehorse to Fairbanks I stopped here:
Kluane Lake, Destruction Bay, Yukon, Canada from Wikipedia because my picture sucked: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kluane_Lake
There are so many things to do and see on the Gold Rush Route that you might forget one of the most wonderful things about traveling, and that is experiencing the “beingness” of a place.
Close your eyes.
Sharpen your sense of hearing and smell.
I can hear a Diamondback rattler sliding across the ground from 6 feet away, and a lizard scratching its way across a boulder. I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve just been doing this a long time. We deaden our senses trying to dull the effects of city noise, pollution and general craziness of busy living. Get out of the city! Nature is calling your name.
Ecotherapy is healing. If you doubt this Old Woman with Spidey senses then just Google it and you will doubt me no longer. The more we learn about the natural world the more “present” we can be in our daily lives.
We become more aware.
We are awake.
But I digress. Where was I? Ahhh, yes, my Zuzu-baru was driving toward Whitehorse along the Stewart-Cassiar Hwy.
Have Your Own Adventure
I’m not one to tell you exactly where to go and what you should see and do. This website was created to inspire people to get out and have their OWN adventures. That’s why I put so many links in my posts for you to get an idea of what’s available. Only you know what you like and dislike. I will say that I don’t think you can choose badly when it comes to driving up to Alaska! It’s beautiful country everywhere you look.
After being on the road for several hours, the little town of Iskut, BC offered me a place to rest my tired not-so-feisty bones. The road twisted downhill through tall trees followed by a very barky dog. I had no idea the Hotel and RV Park was located on Kluachon Lake. For 20 dollars I had a view of paradise.
Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon and former gold-rush town. I treated myself to a hotel while staying there. This was the place where a great discovery was made! Ninety percent of Canada’s bug population was trapped on the air filter of my car. Some of those dead critters were large enough to audition for the next “Men in Black” movie except for, you know, they were all dead.
Car maintenance is something you do not want to neglect while on the road. There was never any problem getting gasoline but full-service stations were only found in the larger towns and cities. Let’s return to the topic of gasoline. ALWAYS fill up whenever you have the chance. There are gas stations placed very strategically along the Alaskan Highway. When you are just about “empty” there will be a gas station, but there will NOT be another one thirty miles down the road! ALWAYS fill up your tank whenever you get the chance.
Do I need to repeat that a third time?
When I wasn’t at the service station, the city of Whitehorse was explored. Nestled on the banks of the Yukon River, it was one of my favorite places. If you love water sports, this is the place to be. I was fortunate enough to meet several folks from all over the world who had flown to Whitehorse for the “Yukon River Quest” event. You can find out more information here: https://www.yukonriverquest.com/
Feisty Old Pioneers
Talk about FEISTY! This early Whitehorse pioneer was not only feisty, but tough, persevering, and enterprising. He went from being a wrangler for a former gunslinger (Jack Dalton) to a successful Whitehorse entrepreneur. He married a First Nation woman and together, with their children, ran a prosperous freight company.
I like that Canada uses the title, “First Nation” for the people that were there FIRST.
For some wonderful aerial views of Whitehorse, and more information about the Yukon, check out this website: http://www.yukoninfo.com/photo-gallery/yukon-territory/whitehorse/aerials/
Lessons On The Road
The Yukon River was easy to walk to from the car repair shop.
The Zuzu-baru was in spiffy condition by the time I left Whitehorse. Of course, it didn’t stay that way after hitting several sections of gravel roads on the Alaskan Highway.
In Fairbanks, I was advised to wait to get a new windshield because…ya know…I still had to drive back to Texas. Apparently, the route I was using to get home would also have sections of evil gravel intent on embedding itself into my windshield. We learn such wonderful lessons on the road.
Car mechanics are full of useful information. Did you know that during the winter in Fairbanks, Alaska, you can spit and it will freeze before it hits the ground?
“Gosh, no” I replied. “I didn’t know that. I’ll have to try that sometimes (during the three days of winter we get in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.)
Do you know that women are genetically unable to spit?
See what fun things you can learn on my website!
Stay tuned for “Feisty Old Woman in Alaska.”