I drove down to Whitehorse and back over the last couple of days for a check-up.
It was so nice to go for a drive! It was my first overnight journey with my new-to-me truck. Whitehorse is 6 hours away, so I had 12 hours of fairly remote wilderness to drive though. I got to try out my sixth gear for the first time, and use a stick shift with traffic and stop lights in the city! And I did okay!
I was a bit anxious about it, the thought of driving a standard in a city for the first time, until I realized I have a history of pushing myself too hard trying to be the best and perfect. Instead, I decided I just had to good enough. Meaning I could stall if I stall. Over rev or spin the tires if I needed to. And with that weight off my shoulders, I did none of those things, and drove just fine! Whew!
We’re really quite isolated from the pandemic up here in Dawson City, since we haven’t had a case at all. Being in the city with a shopping list exposed me to more of what you all are seeing – plexiglass, arrows on floors, barricades, stickers of where to stand. I had to ring a bell to get into the hotel every time I came or went. Someone from the front desk had to come and wave their hands in between the two sets of doors to trigger the door opener. There was a person asking health questions and making sure I used hand sanitizer before entering the hospital. It’s all surreal, and possibly drastically over-restrictive since there are no cases in Whitehorse and hasn’t been for over a month, but it isn’t my decision to make since I don’t live there. While our Yukon borders are closed, Americans are still permitted to drive through Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway to the state of Alaska, without any sort of quarantine, provided they leave the Yukon within 24 hours of arriving, so this keeps people on edge and fearful enough to be checking license plates, and tensing up when they see a travel trailer roll by.
Clearly many Yukon businesses exist primarily from the tourist income each summer, and this pandemic is having a dramatic affect. Some hotels in Whitehorse were closed. The one I stayed in was so sparsely populated, only one hallway was seemingly being used, and not the other floors. The same everywhere across the world I suppose. We just have this short season, from about now until mid-August, when so many people and businesses make all their income. I wonder if people will need to leave the territory this winter for work, or if these government subsidies will tide people over. What will next summer look like?
It is almost perverse to be off on a sabbatical right now, getting paid to not work for three months. I’m insanely fortunate.
The highway down to Whitehorse and back was quieter, without tourists, buses, and travel trailers, but there was still a number of construction trucks around and miners moving equipment north. Mining has been declared essential by the territorial government, so at least all industry isn’t dead right now. Miners are allowed to enter the Yukon, providing they can prove where they are working and that they have an isolated place to quarantine for their first 14 days. Several hotels in Dawson City are renting rooms by the week to people putting in their 14 days of isolation. Miners will help keep at least part of our economy alive. Some of the miners here are from other countries though, and are unable to get international flights to return to their gold mines, so we found the gold field roads pretty quiet when we took a drive around this past long weekend. Only some have returned, although it is pretty early in the season for most, with the snow just leaving the ground in the past week.
I saw a moose, 7 bears, and a porcupine on my drive down and back. Turns out my zoom lens through my truck window makes for some exceptionally terrible images, or my camera lens is toast. Not even Lightroom can touch up these duds. I’ll include them in a smaller size so you don’t cringe and strain your eyes from their poor quality:
The grass first appears on the side of the roads in the spring, so the bears park themselves there, quickly eating as much new green grass as they can. I found the black bears more skittish and they’d dash off into the woods while some of the grizzlies just gave me the “what the hell do you want” eye when I stopped by them.
Oh, so about that check-up. Every 3 months I get a check-up and exam by the gynecologist who diagnosed the cancer I had two years ago. It went well! Everything is appearing good and normal. He will stretch my next appointment to 4 months from now, and then if that is good, we’ll switch to every 6 months for the first 5 years.
I know you wanted to see the inside of a gynecologist’s exam room. You’re welcome.
Since there were no other patients there (I gather many appointments are done over the phone now, except for things that can’t wait, like post-cancer check-ups), so he had lots of time to chat. One of the things I asked him was if I really do have a weakened immune system and should be careful still now, a year after chemo. He said oh yeah! He said I will for the first 5 years and need to be careful. He wore a mask the entire time because of my medical history. He said it does nothing for him, but protects me from him.
That’s the first time I heard I’m immunocompromised for 5 years!
And I’ll tell you, there’s been one good thing about this pandemic. It has been an excellent distraction. I didn’t have the usual stress and anxiety before this check-up. It really made the last few weeks better than I could have imagined. Usually I’m a basket case before these check-ups.
Last evening I met up with our good friends who are down in Whitehorse waiting to have their first baby. Our community is too small for baby deliveries, so all births must be “scheduled” in Whitehorse, meaning you must go to the city two weeks before your due date, and camp out in a residence until your baby is born. They were doing as well as they could navigating all the restrictions, but when they found out the place they are staying won’t give them a code to the wifi!?!?!?! Gah they may be in for some looooong days. (I can’t wait to meet their baby!)
Today’s drive back was so nice. I stopped along the Stewart River and took a couple quick shots on my iPhone:
Some of the outhouses along the highway even had hand sanitizer on the outside now, like this one! This bottle of sanitizer was produced and provided by Yukon Brewing.
I’ve got a bunch of other photos to dump on here one of these days. Not to sure what I’ll be up to next. I think getting started on our winter firewood is one plan, and I can soon plant some flower gardens and containers. The 7 day forecast looks good, but the beginning of June always seems to serve up a night of frost so we’ll see.