Last week Jeff had meetings for work in our capital city of Whitehorse, so I took the week off to go with him so we could stock up on supplies for the winter, and buy a few other things we still needed for the house.
It takes about 6 hours to drive to Whitehorse (or 7 hours, if you believe Google). It is a peaceful drive, very little traffic, very few guard rails or signs, just a road, trees, snow…
We have so many stone chips on our windshield since moving up here. It was finally cold enough for them to have some fun. With the cold outside, and the hot defroster blowing on the window, with two little snaps one stone chip near the bottom of the window split all the way to the left and to the right, across the window.
Here’s a little time lapse video I took:
There are 4 places with a gas station between Dawson City and Whitehorse: Stewart Crossing, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, and the Braeburn Lodge. Two of them have a cell signal, Pelly Crossing and Carmacks, so you can quickly check your email or make a call.
There was light, fine snow falling until we got closer to Whitehorse, where the sky started to clear.
The road is a hard surface, but it isn’t asphalt. It is stones embedded in a thin layer of tar. So it can have some potholes, and sunk areas here and there due to the permafrost, but for the most part it is a really good surface, especially in winter when the potholes fill in with snow.
Jeff spotted some of the Braeburn elk herd beside the road! We turned around and pulled out the camera to take a few shots.
We saw about 7 elk, but unfortunately they were tagged and two of them have tracking collars. Those stupid tracking collars make me so, so angry. If I could change one thing about mankind, it would be to eliminate all collaring of animals for tracking purposes. Have you ever seen the size of the collars? Grrr…
Soon enough we were in Whitehorse and ready to settled into our home for the week, at the Westmark Hotel. Here was our room’s view:
I had grand plans for all the things I was going to do all week. I was going to put Monty in a boarding kennel for a couple of days because he barks at every noise in a hotel and I knew we wouldn’t get any sleep.
However he was a dream! So no boarding kennel for him. Although that meant that he had to come everywhere with us. I didn’t do anything that would take too long because it was really cold to leave him in the truck for too long. It was better at night when we were running errands, so the truck had time to heat up between our stops and dinner.
Mostly, during the day, Jeff was at his meetings, and Monty and I watched Christmas movies in the hotel room on the tv.
We had so many things on our list to buy, but it takes a bit of strategy to shop in the winter. Anything that could freeze we had to wait until Friday to buy, on our way out of town, or haul it all into our hotel room.
We did pretty good though, bought a lot of stuff that we had on our list.
Some shots from around Whitehorse:
OK so I didn’t take many photos.
On Friday we did pretty good getting out of town by noon. Shopping at the Real Canadian Superstore was better than expected. Living here in Dawson City, we want to support our two local grocery stores, so they stay open and available for all of us, but at the same time, the prices are drastically higher than elsewhere, and we’re still carrying our house in Nova Scotia, so money is tight.
The Whitehorse Superstore had surprisingly fantastic prices. Most items limit their good price to the first four items. If you buy more than 4, then you pay a much higher price. I’m sure this helps keep their stock in place, because I imagine they often have people shop there who are buying many months of groceries at a time. We focused on meat, frozen vegetables, and some dry goods that could freeze (granola, cereal, flour). We brought a cooler to keep some things from freezing and breaking, like tomato sauce. Next year we will do more canning and freezing, and after a year in the Yukon, Jeff will be able to hunt for moose, caribou, and bear, so we won’t be so dependant on grocery stores.
We also picked up a couple more bags of Monty’s dog food from the pet food store. At the Walmart we stocked up on bathroom products, cleaning products, and some carpet runners for our hallways.
Walking into Canadian Tire was almost overwhelming. Seriously, we haven’t lived here for very long, but walking in a fully stocked store, my eyes open wide, and I immediately think I want this and that and two of those, and then I’d stop and realize I don’t really need any of it. We drastically downsized this year, and we really only need the essentials to live. And some nice smelly candles 🙂
We headed north for home with a pickup truck full of supplies. We stopped at the Braeburn Lodge for lunch.
Braeburn Lodge is where you can get the biggest cinnamon buns in the world. I just don’t feel the photos do them justice.
They are as big as dinner plates, and inches high. Bigger than my hand stretched wide. Maybe as big as my head. Three days of eating. Maybe four. Seriously.
Instead of a cinnamon bun, we decided to each get a sandwich.
I was NOT expecting the sandwiches to be the same proportion. HOLY! Here’s my ham sandwich:
And Jeff’s reuben sandwich:
Freshly baked, homemade bread. Really good, old fashioned, delicious sandwiches.
I still don’t think the camera is getting the size proportion of these sandwiches either. Those are full size dinner plates.
Maybe I’ll add a fork for perspective? Does this help?
They were sooo delicious. Jeff managed to eat his entire sandwich. I thought I did pretty well with half, and I took the other half home for lunch the next day.
One of the great parts of travelling in the Yukon is our outhouses. First, there are still roadside stops here with outhouses! So much of the rest of the country seems to have de-prioritized roadside peeing. Second, they are open in the winter, plowed out, and most of them have toilet paper! These newer cement vault ones are really nice.
We stopped a couple times just for some fresh crisp air, a bathroom stop, and to let Monty stretch out and get out of our back seat.
The road was hard packed with snow and the transportation department was spreading a coarse sand mix on most of the hills and corners. There is no salt here (and our truck is thankful) because it is just too cold for salt to be effective. A coarse sand is perfect for a bit of extra traction.
You can easily go a couple of hours without seeing another vehicle. You’d be pretty crazy not to travel with full survival gear, because if you went off the road, you’d really want to give yourself a chance of surviving. We’re thinking about getting a personal Spot device (like this one). These give you a way to send a call for help through a satellite monitoring system.
There were actually two cars upside down in the ditch along the road. They’ve been there for months though. Not sure who finally comes to collect them. Luckily there is police or danger tape on them, so you know they weren’t fresh incidents and you didn’t have to stop to check on the driver.
About an hour after dark, we pulled into Dawson City. Home sweet home!