On Thursday after work, just as the Trek over the Top riders were arriving in town, we bolted for Whitehorse.
The Ski-doo has a mandatory service appointment after it has been operated for 10 hours. They check for metal filings, change fluids, filters, tighten everything up, and we had them install a block heater since it is a 4 stroke with only an electric start and doesn’t have a pull cord.
It seems crazy to spend 12 hours driving to and from Whitehorse just two weeks after we were there to buy the sled, but we knew we’d have to do it, and it is a beautiful drive. From now on, all the maintenance can be done by ourselves.
I prefer driving long trips first thing in the morning, but Jeff was driving, not me, and he doesn’t care what time of day it is when he is driving. The service shop is only open during the week, so we each took Friday off and headed out of town at 5:30pm on Thursday with a hot pizza, a couple pops, snacks, and water so we could have the snowmobile at the shop bright and early on Friday.
We met an impressive amount of traffic heading north at night. Usually we meet a car every hour or two, but we must have met 50 on the 6 hour drive! People up here also drive with amazing bright lights. Usually trucks will have added a couple extra lights mounted on the front grill, or even a whole bar of lights. It isn’t nice for the eyes of the driver of the rare car you may meet in the dark, but it is great to spot the wildlife before you hit them and die.
I spotted two moose standing side by side in the ditch to the right of us, that Jeff didn’t even see. Don’t worry, we’ll be equipping his truck with some of these light canons before next winter! No sense now, since the days are rapidly getting longer and it won’t be too long before we lose the night’s darkness all together.
We got into Whitehorse around 11:30pm and checked into our hotel. Jeff was so worried that the sled would get stolen right off the trailer, even with it chained and locked, that he got up twice to walk out to the parking lot to check it. Pretty sweet how attached he is to that snowmobile!
While it was in for service in the morning, we went shopping. With the two extra trips to Whitehorse for Monty this winter, and a couple more for this sled, we’ve gone so many more times that we expected, so there wasn’t much we still need.
One thing we hadn’t bought yet is a barbeque. Our old one in Nova Scotia was getting pretty rusty from that salty moist air, and it just wasn’t worth including in the move. We thought we wouldn’t get one right away, since it was winter, and we’re in the sub-arctic, and maybe there really is such a thing as too cold to barbeque. But now it is March, and Jeff is really long overdue for a steak!
We settled on another Coleman from Canadian Tire. It is similar to our last one. A nice three burner with a side burner.
Of course, purchasing a barbeque adds a few other things to our shopping list, like a cover, new brush, and more steak of course!
Even in the city, meat prices are pretty steep. Here are a couple beef rib steaks for $27.99!
The snowmobile was ready in the early afternoon and we headed back for home.
I always love stopping at the old Montague roadhouse along the way. This one was built in 1915 (#). Roadhouses used to be found every 30-40 kms up here, so people could get a bed and a meal, and warm up. So many of them burned down. Even this one was the third roadhouse here with the other two burning between 1900 and 1915. The roof is long gone, but you can see the old stove in the corner. It was a roadhouse until the 1950’s.
We also stopped to check out this sign that always intrigued me, but I couldn’t make out while we zoomed by. It says there are plume agate gems found nearby on a hillside. I guess we better return with our rock hammer in the summer!
On Saturday, we joined in on the snowmobile poker run. The Trek over the Top event brought 160 snowmobilers from Alaska for the weekend, who travelled on the Top of the World highway that is closed most of the year.
A poker run is where you get a couple random cards, and then you have to go to a couple other locations to retrieve the rest of the cards of your poker hand. Jeff signed us up at the Eldorado Hotel, and then our first stop was the gas station a block from our house.
We had a couple mild days lately, which made the roads slippy, so the darkness you see on the roads and parking lot is gravel that was spread for traction for the cars.
Don’t pay too much attention to all those scratches on the front wind screen already. Jeff took it on a voyage through a lot of alder brush which broke it in really well!
Then we went out Bonanza Road and on a backwoods trail/road system, past some old mining equipment, and up and down some great hills in the woods. The trail ended at a mining operation where they had set up a fire, hot chocolate, had smokies on the barbeque for us while we drew more cards for our poker hands.
Afterwards, we headed back to town for the last stop, back at the Eldorado Hotel. Our best poker hand had a pair of sixes, so we didn’t win anything.
Then we assembled the barbeque! Last time, I took photos of the process. This time was distinctly less fun, since it was cold and oddly windy outside (it isn’t windy here much), which made it really cold on Jeff’s hands to screw together all the metal pieces. It took about three and a half hours, and then another hour to season the grill with vegetable shortening, but was worth it! The steaks were terrific!
So were the hamburgers we had for lunch today, and the chicken we had tonight for dinner! Jeff is happy!
This barbeque has a neat feature giving Coleman the right to call it ‘flare up free’. The cast iron grilling surface is doubled up, with the top on being on an angle so the grease rolls forward in little grooves on the grill, where it is caught in a metal channel that drips it into a handy drip dish on the side. Our chicken tonight was nice and crisp, but not blackened. Really tasty!
Jeff’s also been out fishing every day on the river with a friend of his. Here you put a line on a chunk of wood, wider than your auger hole, and you can leave it, providing you check your lines every 30 hours. Burbot is the only fish with an open season right now. They are bottom feeders, so you leave your baited line at the bottom of the river, and then cover the hole with snow so it doesn’t freeze up too much, and return every day to check your catch. Jeff wasn’t catching anything with chicken livers, but once he switched to stinky salmon chunks, he got some!
There is so much to do here in the winter!