Last week the fall colours were really brightening up in town as the night time temperatures are plummeting. We turned on the oil monitor heater one morning to take the chill off, and Jeff started the first fire in the woodstove on Friday morning when it was -3C outside. We made it through August without any heat!
Here is the ball diamond south of town where we took Hank for a run last Monday. The black flies were obscene, so the romp was short lived.
I had a medical checkup on Thursday, the one I have every 3 months with the gynecologist in Whitehorse. I was planning to head down on Thursday morning, and drive back on Friday, but I heard the construction south of Dawson City was brutal, so I decided to leave on Wednesday at noon instead.
It was a good thing I did! It took me almost 7.5 hours to get to Whitehorse, a trip I normally do in 6 hours (including pit stops) and Jeff does in under 5.5 hours (because he drives fast and has a huge bladder).
There is construction this summer about an hour south of Dawson City. I was warned it was bad, especially in the rain, and to put my truck in four wheel drive. It didn’t look too bad as I sat at the stop light waiting for the pilot car, as directed by the sign. It was starting to rain a little, so I put the truck in 4 wheel drive and then just turned the truck off while I sat there, wondering if I had time to run and pee in the bushes before anyone else came. (I had tons of time, but didn’t!)
Finally a pilot truck came and we headed towards the construction. The slow drive started out okay, but I wasn’t too confident on the condition of road ahead, going up the hill! And enormous rock trucks were racing by at a crazy speed!
By the time we got to the hill, I could see it was not gravel, but rather soft brown sand that had been dumped on the road. It was thick with ruts deeper than car tires. I have no idea how someone driving a small car would get through here. Do they just toss those cars off into the mucky swamp along the road? Or lift them into those big rock trucks for a free ride to the other side? Or is everyone up here rugged enough to drive a car with at least all wheel drive and bigger tires?
I had to keep the truck in second gear as we went up the hill. Unlike “normal” construction, we were here, there, and everywhere across the road, going around obstacles (graders, rollers, stakes, bottomless pits, and piles of dirt). There was a pilot truck working from the other side too, so we had to just stop and idle while a line of traffic met us in the other lane, mostly Yukoner’s in huge Ford 350’s, and some motor homes from BC with bewildered looking drivers.
There were two stretches with pilot vehicles going through this construction, which meant parking and waiting until they returned for another group of vehicles. After I made it through, I pulled over at the Gravel Lake rest stop to regroup and use the outhouse and let the traffic behind me go. I guess I’m getting old. I like to take my time driving now, going just 90-105 km/hr on the road to Whitehorse. It just feels safer on the rough road with wildlife along the corridors. I get annoyed when people just sit and follow, so an outhouse stop is a perfect excuse to pull off for a couple minutes and then gain the highway to myself again.
For a couple of hours I was driving through freshly patched potholes and newly tar and gravelled sections. In Carmacks the bridge was just one way while they were washing it. And then, around Braeburn, there was another long stretch, with two pilot car stretches, where they were laying fresh tar and covering it with fine gravel (the entire highway from Whitehorse to Dawson is a chip and seal type of road. Not asphalt.)
It was 8 o’clock before I got to Whitehorse. The drive felt long and I was tired. I checked into the Westmark – actually they just changed their name! Holland America sold the Whitehorse Westmark a year or two ago. To reduce confusion, they’ve changed their name to the Sternwheeler Hotel and Conference centre. It wasn’t too busy. I’m pretty sure I was the only person in the third floor wing I was on of about 25 rooms.
Thursday morning I got up and tackled my exercise. Yeah that’s right, I’m now a yoga mat carrying, exerciser! I’m three weeks into a program on the Nike Training Club app, which is thoroughly kicking my ass. I didn’t want to miss my scheduled exercise, and didn’t want to be face down on a hotel carpet, so the yoga mat worked nicely! I’m finally feeling strong enough to add more exercise on top of walking and it feels amazing (amazingly sore). My core is so ridiculously weak from surgery, but I’m working on it!
Afterwards I tackled our shopping list, which wasn’t too big. Just the usual – bulk kleenex, toilet paper, kitty litter, cat food, and treats for Hank. I also got a new digital weather station on sale and a curved shower curtain rod. We have no Covid cases in the territory, and continue to limit access to the territory to just British Columbia residents (Americans passing through to or from Alaska are not permitted in town), but both Walmart and the Superstore have mandated masks across the country. I get why this is comforting in some communities. But we don’t have a case here so it makes very little sense. Sure, if you are immunocompromised (like me I suppose). Canadian Tire doesn’t have a mask requirement, so I shopped longer there, and by the looks of the store and parking lot, so did everyone else.
My appointment was at 3 o’clock in the hospital. By the way, masks aren’t required at the hospital either, since the risk in the community is rated as low. I love living here!
My appointment was quick! I heard the ‘n’ word several times – “normal” ! Everything looks normal! I can now switch to appointments every 6 months. The next one will mark the 2 year point since the end of chemo treatment. Making it through that one will be a tremendous milestone since the reoccurrence of the uterine cancer I had lowers drastically after the 2 year mark.
As I was dressing after he left the exam room, I had a touch of “I’m going to bawl my eyes out, I didn’t realize I was so anxious about this check-up too, oh what a relief.” I choked it back so I could see the shoelaces I was tying and left the hospital.
Afterwards I was so eager to celebrate with a nice supper at the Klondike Rib & Salmon that is right beside the hotel. Their Facebook page said they were open, so I walked over and read the limited menu to decide what I was going to order. They’ve been doing just carry-out this summer, due to the drastic reduction in tourism and I’m sure their tight dining tent would make it difficult to seat people according to the new pandemic health regulations.
I was wanting the wild boar on a pretzel bun that I saw on their Facebook page, but it seemed to be just a limited special so I kept studying the menu on the wall and finally settled on the seafood fettuccine and went to the window to place my order. The window had an arrow to the door and when I went there I discovered it was closed!! AHHHH! And I had spent all the time picking out what I was going to eat! Their hours said they were open just Sunday through Wednesday??!!
Feeling so rejected that I wasn’t going to have a special dinner, I sulked back to the hotel, decided to get in the truck to find somewhere else to eat. Not wanting to settle for fast food, I ended up topping up my Domino’s pizza points again and picked up a pizza for take out, which was almost as fast as fast food. It was delicious though – the perfect crust thickness that I could never seem to perfect when I worked at a Dominos 20 years ago.
After my appointment, I was chatting with my friend Pam about Schitt’s Creek, my favourite show right now. I had been saving the last 6 episodes, to savour the ending. Pam told me that season 5 wasn’t the end, there is a season 6 that isn’t on Netflix yet!! There is a whole season left for me! So I did what is only natural, I binged the rest of season 5 before bed. Well no, I saved the last episode of season 5, what I’m hoping is the Cabaret performance, for another day. It is just so good! David is my fav. Well maybe Johnny Rose too. And Moira. Patrick. And Twyla too! FINE I like them all!
On Friday morning I packed up and decided to tackle one more thing from our wishlist. We need new lighting fixtures in our kitchen, well maybe in most of the house. They are old, and dated, and just plain weird.
We wanted to start with the kitchen. There was no light above the sink when we moved in! Who lives like that!? We had our electrician neighbour put an electrical box for a light above the sink a couple of years ago, but it’s only had a plain light bulb in it because we couldn’t decide on a fixture.
I changed that on Friday by going to Home Hardware and narrowing down the choice to one fixture line, and then settling on the colour by ruling out the one that didn’t have enough stock for a set. We have three switches in the kitchen. The two lights on the ceiling are halogen track wavy patterned lights which burn out prematurely and are just weird. I got one fixture for above the sink, and two identical fixtures to replace the track lights. The nice man in the lighting department helped me pick a good set of LED bulbs for them, and then I hit the road.
Oh wait, FIRST I went to McDonald’s to see if I could ruin my truck’s lovely scent by providing a ride for a dozen burgers back to the deprived folks of Dawson City, but alas they didn’t serve burgers until 11 o’clock. Thank goodness KFC wasn’t open yet either. Jeff’s done the drive twice now with a big bucket of chicken. I don’t think I could do that smell for that long.
As I was leaving town I could see all the hills and mountains all around Whitehorse were covered in snow from the night before! I didn’t get a good picture, but if you look to the distance in this one you’ll see a white hill with fresh snow.
I seem to have a great knack for reaching construction areas and having to wait for 15, 20, 25 minutes for the pilot car. Once I sat there so long I got out the car cleaning supplies (Armor All wipes) and started cleaning my dash and doors!
I don’t remember having pilot cars much in Ontario road construction, but they were mandatory in Nova Scotia, and I suspect here too. They set the speed and plot your navigation through the chaos. But they are only around during regular daytime hours, so I’ve heard tales of the free for all guessing that happens to people who plot their way through during the night (who on earth drives this remote road at night, which is dark again, by the way).
After the construction, I stopped at the old Montague Roadhouse for a lunch of moose stew, bannock, and ha, I wish I did. The roadhouse closed long ago and the roof was moved to another road house. I took a walk inside where the old stove still sits, near a deep underground area with log walls that must have been a cold food cache under the floor. The floor, assuming there was one, is long gone.
I stopped and looked at the front door sill. I don’t know if it is original, since it looks like some of the logs on the front of the building have been replaced to stabilize the structure, but just imagine crossing this big old wooden step after leaving your horse drawn stage and rushing inside to warm up. This particular road house was used until the 1940’s. There was a road house every 30-40 kilometres all the way to Whitehorse along the winter road that was constructed in 1902, with stables for the horses to rest, and beds to sleep. I think it would take 5-6 days to get to Whitehorse by a horse stage!
Oh look at that nice truck. I still love it.
North of Stewart Crossing I got back into the construction that needed the four wheel drive. It was so soft, and rutted, and sometimes we were right along the edge of the road, which I bet was keeping those two motorhomes from British Columbia behind me on their toes.
It took more than 7.5 hours this time, mostly due to time spent waiting for pilot cars (trucks).
When I got home, Jeff helped me unload all the loot from the truck and he dove right into installing the new light fixtures!
We’re pretty pleased with them. They match nothing, except each other, which fits in well with the rest of this old house where nothing matches anything. They are extremely bright, a nice white daylight colour, which immediately made me start cleaning the kitchen. If you ever think your kitchen is clean, install brighter lights and you’ll see otherwise!
Actually they match our new paint colour fine, and the stainless steel fridge and tap. And once we replace the windows, we’ll likely lose the orangey oak trim that doesn’t match and that ugly old blind. (That ugly wire is just for the thermostat for our oil heater, to get it away from the heater itself for a more accurate reading.)
As you can imagine, selection is very limited here, and all the nice kitchen over sink lights expect a ceiling mount, so this one is actually for over a bathroom vanity. Shhhh don’t tell.
Yesterday I took a nice long walk with Hank and topped off the day with a fire with our friends.
It is so dark at night now, and I’m completely not used to it at all, since it hasn’t been really dark since sometime in the spring? I’ve got night lights plugged back in to light the way to the bathroom, but I still fumble finding our bedroom door in the dark. It’s so weird to not be used to the dark!
Anyway, that is enough rambling for now. Signing off for a soak in the hot tub. Bye!