Tuesday, October 27, 2009

AlCan: Day 6 -- Watson Lake, YT to Haines Junction, YT

I got another early start this morning -- in the dark, of course -- leaving Watson Lake, bound for legendary Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The morning coffee road report -- quite the social event in these parts -- called for a "crunchy" road the first hour or so, then clearing up considerably. The report was accurate, but -- thanks to the trusty road crews who had obviously been out -- the way was mostly plowed, graveled and much better than it could have been.

With my camper loaded on the back of my truck, the total weight of my rig is almost seven tons. That much mass creates a lot of momentum and limits my rig's agility.

Driving in road conditions like this calls for soft hands on the wheel, soft feet on the pedals, sharp focus and plenty of patience.

It also adds a bit of tension in the neck and shoulders -- if you catch my meaning -- so the whole experience becomes pretty tiring as the hours go by.

By late morning, however, the skies cleared, the road improved and I was able to get back into cruise mode.

The Yukon Territory is very sparsely populated, so any kind of establishment or habitation becomes noteworthy. Cresting a hill and seeing the small town of Teslin -- in its amazing locale! -- is a very pleasant and reassuring moment. The very substantial bridge crosses an arm of Teslin Lake.

The combination of few roadside services and making good time on clear roads prompted me to skip lunch and drive straight through to Whitehorse. I had planned to stop there for the day, but it was only 2pm when I arrived so I decided to push on another hundred miles to Haines Junction.

I stopped in Whitehorse only long enough to fill up on fuel and grab some snacks, then was back at the wheel. Almost immediately, the weather closed in and the road turned moderately messy.

By the time I reached Haines Junction at 4pm, I'd been driving almost eight hours straight and was quite ready to stop. I covered a lot of ground today, in varied conditions and through mostly vast, uninhabited terrain. More than once I commented aloud to myself, "This is some road!"

Here is the documentary video for Day 6:

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