6.15.2012

Alaska Road Trip: Day 5

Liard River Hotsprings had a great campground, but it was kind of strange to go without cell phone service for such a long period of time. We had to do all sorts of crazy things, like pull out real maps and calculate distances to plan our route.

Some of the clothes on the line were still wet, so I took the kids to the playground while Steve cleaned up camp and waited for the clothes to dry. We were quickly joined by some other kids. Adam is the champion at making new friends. 

Step 1: Ask them their name. 
Step 2: Tell them your name. 
Step 3: Ask them how old they are. 
Step 4: Tell them how old you are. 
Step 5: Ask them if they want to be friends. 

If only it were that simple for everyone. 


Adam played with Blake (8) and Luke (6) right up until we were ready to get on the road again. 

We went to fill up at this gas "station", which was actually just a tank connected to a pump, across the road from the campground and asked how far it was until the next chance to get gas. They told us 200 kilometers. At $1.86 per liter it was the most expensive gas we encountered in Canada, so I very carefully calculated exactly how much fuel we needed to get to the next station. 


Fifteen minutes later we passed another gas station. And their prices were much less expensive. Grrrrr.

Overall, I felt a strong sense of camaraderie between the travelers on the Alaskan Highway. I passed a shredded tire in the middle of the road and then watched in my rearview mirror as a trucker, coming from the other direction, pulled over and got out of his rig to move it off the road. 

We passed a family in a Suburban with Arizona plates and "Alaska or Bust"written on their window. We continued to go back and forth passing each other all the way to Anchorage. 

There were numerous pullouts with trashcans dotting the side of the highway. We are (thankfully) out of the diaper stage of life, but it made me think how wonderful that would be to someone driving with a smelly diaper. 

We saw more wildlife: 


After a while, Steve told me that I could only allowed to stop and take a picture if it was a brown bear. (We saw about five times as many black bears as we did brown bears.) And it had to be a BIG brown bear. 

We started to notice that every single vehicle we passed had gas cans strapped on top. Just to be clear, we did have a gas can with us. . . but it was still empty. We had been told that it should be empty when we crossed the border into Canada, and just hadn't filled it up yet. (Since then, we have heard of some people crossing the border just fine with gasoline.)

And then we promptly ran out of gas. . . a good twenty miles before we were supposed to, according to the "miles remaining"figure on our dash. We were at the top of a hill, so I put the Pilot in neutral and we coasted into the gas station. I cheered as we pulled in. Steve told me I was celebrating prematurely, since there was no guarantee they were actually going to be open. But good news, they were. I don't know what's wrong with us, but we still didn't fill up our can. 

There were lots of closed and deserted gas stations along the way. We were told that many had shut down over the last decade with the increase of fuel efficiency. If only there were more good customers pulling trailers like us. . . 

We drove by the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake, and thankfully, Steve decided to stop. Because it was awesome. 


We found some reminders of home: Lewiston, Snowbird, a lone Utah license plate, and then we could hardly believe it. . . Kilgore? Ogden needs to step up their game and get some signage up at the Sign Post Forest! Or maybe Ogden should just start their own forest. . . what a cool idea. If anyone travels on the Alaska Highway and plans to stop at the forest, Steve will track down an Ogden sign for you!


Somewhere between Watson Lake and Teslin, we ran out of gas again. But this time, there was no gas station in sight. We should have made it just fine into Teslin, but apparently, I drive a little more aggressively (less mpg) than Steve. I won't get into the details, but Steve quickly blamed me and reminded me of all the times we've run out of gas and how it's always my fault. I didn't like his solution (which involved riding his bike) and he didn't like my solution (which involved hitchhiking). He finally agreed to hitch a ride, but he wasn't convinced that we would be able to get someone to stop. I went out and stuck my thumb out. The very first car to approach us stopped and happily agreed to give Steve a ride to Teslin. 

(He also waited for Steve go get gas and gave Steve a ride back to our car. The man worked for the Canadian equivalent of a school district and had a great conversation with Steve about the school system, local schools, administration, etc. Steve insisted that it must have been twenty or thirty miles away; it was seven.) 

No pictures of this incident. I have been forbidden to take pictures of us running out of gas because Steve thinks it makes us look irresponsible. But I would like to report that when we filled up at the gas station in Teslin, we finally put gas into our spare can. 

We stopped for dinner at a McDonald's in Whitehorse, Yukon. The kids needed to get out of the car, but it was raining outside, so into the germ-laden Playland they went. The McDonald's in Whitehorse was a happening place. I counted twenty-one people in line, including three girls in prom dresses. (Rachel pleaded with me to take a picture, but I chickened out.) It was a well-run McDonald's, and many of the patrons were taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi, but it was expensive! Regular cheeseburgers were $2.69 and french fries were $3.79. Our meal (without Happy Meals, Extra Value Meals, or drinks) cost almost fifty bucks! The white Suburban from Arizona pulled into the McDonald's right as we were pulling out. 

This was the first night that we noticed a huge difference with the light. Note the time on the dash in the lower left corner. 


It didn't ever get dark that night. It was past midnight (and plenty light outside) when we pulled over at a RV park and dumped our trailer for the first time. Steve was being loud, and I had to keep reminding him that people were asleep. 

1 comment:

Kayli said...

I would definitely have taken a picture of each and every bear I saw. :)

I'm so glad you had a nice guy stop to take you to the gas station. Brett always says that we are irresponsible/unprepared too. I just like to think of it as adventurous. Because things like having a kid with pooey pants and no extra ones is super adventurous, right?