21 Aug 2006 Monday

…And it’s still raining.   We left our camp and headed intoTok for breakfast.  We also found a laundromat to dry my pillow.  Wewant to get out from under this rain cloud as soon as possible!  We stoppedat Three Bears Grocery for a few supplies and headed for the border (theCanadian Border, that is!).

Our drive along the dirt and gravel road that was “Top of the WorldHighway” would have had beautiful views except for the constant raincloud.  We arrived in Chicken, AKnear the Canadian Border.  Chickenwas named because the two prospectors that founded the town couldn’t spellptarmigan.  Ptarmigan is a bird that was quite prevalent in this area andwas known to fill many a gold miners cook pot.  Chicken has a year roundpopulation of 15, but that swells to 30 during the summer.  There are acouple of restaurants, a couple of shops that sell gifts and Chicken shi-… uh,stuff, and a bar.  We ate at one of the restaurants and bought a couple ofT-shirts and some other Chicken shi-…stuff, supporting this fine town with alittle bit of cash.

We found out something interesting while up here, the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperaturescales cross at minus 40 degrees.  I guess I’ve never thought of minus 40as a real temperature before.  They actually get minus 40 and minus 50 inthe winter here!   Brrrr!!!  We talked to one girl and she saidit was more mild now than when she was younger (not that long ago, she was onlyin her mid-twenties), she remembered it getting minus 50 for a few days inwinter and now it’s only minus 30.  Minus 30 she considered MILD!

We were almost to the Canadian border and we saw the clouds break and arainbow formed over one of the huge valleys with rolling hills below.  Westopped for gas at the last place before Canada and topped off our tank. This guy doesn’t get out much.  He didn’t take credit cards and we didn’thave much American cash, so we scraped together $32.00 and he told us that wasabout 8 gallons of gas (about $4.00 per gallon).  Part of his gas pumpdidn’t work and the total purchase didn’t register on it.  Only the numberof gallons.  But he assured us it was cheaper than Canada.

We crossed the Canadian border and border patrol was in a cloud.  Wecould barely see the “Welcome to the Yukon Territory” sign.  Andit began raining again (sigh).  

We drove along more dirt and gravel roaduntil we came to the Klondike River.  There is no bridge going across,butthey do have a ferry that shuttles cars across the river 24 hours aday.  On the other side of the river we entered Dawson City, YukonTerr.  Thetown began as a gold rush town and is kind of still in that era.  Theyhavedirt and gravel roads, wooden boardwalks between buildings, paddleboatsalongthe river.  Paddleboats were once used to ship out gold and silver oreandto ship in liquor, food and passengers.  There is a casino, “DiamondToothGerties”, that has live shows with Can-can girls.  We thought aboutdoingthis, but we just wanted to get a room, relax and dry out.  

We found an ATM and got some Canadian cash, since we’ll be in Canada for awhile.  We also found a cabin with a kitchenette, so we can do some of ourown cooking and not eat out.  We checked into the Whitehouse cabins righton the Klondike River.  As we were getting our stuff out of the car, we sawthe rain clearing and the great bright orb in the sky appeared just beforesunset.  We haven’t seen the sun since August 10th, while we were on theferry in the Inside Passage!

We were awake about 3am and went out to see if we could see the Aurora Borealis. It seems that the Aurora Borealis is always showing, but you can only see itwhen it’s dark enough.  Summer here is the land of the midnight sun, ourday’s have been from 4am to 11pm.  Not much total darkness.  And, ofcourse, you’d have to have clear skies, something we haven’t seen much of. We went out for a minute in the cold, clear night and even with the streetlights, we could see faint streaks of green in the night sky.  But the fogsoon rolled in and we went back inside to sleep.

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