I’d like to start with a little leftover business from Colorado, which has nothing to do with Canada, except that they both start with a “C”.
Just a quick shout out to our friends, Marsha and Lee, who we met in Port Aransas, Texas, and then visited at their home in Colorado. We hope to meet up with them again real soon, perhaps this winter in Texas.?!
We are currently in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. This is a fairly large town, so most people on their way to Alaska stop here to pick up any provisions they think they may need for the trek north. I won’t bore you with the details, but we’ll do as many projects and chores as we can in the next day or two.
One very odd thing here, at least for us, is the many, many hours of daylight. We went out for dinner yesterday for Father’s Day, and returned home about 10:30 pm. The sun was so bright, we wore sunglasses, and had the car visors down. Even weirder, we’re trying to sleep with the sun pouring in through the cracks in the blinds, and the birds are chirping like crazy !!!! The bags under my eyes just keep getting bigger and bigger…
Some people say use cucumbers, others say try tea bags. I’m afraid the only thing that will work for me at this point is a full hajib.
Beaver Lodge is 43 kilometers from Grand Prairie. Not a lodge at all, but a town. Lest you think they don’t have roadside oddities here in British Columbia, fear not. Let me introduce you to the town’s mascot, a beaver.
The Beaverlodge Beaver is an engineering marvel. It took 90 gallons of polyurethane to coat, approx. 13 gallons of paint, and 18 blocks of foam to make the sculpture. The measurements? The beaver weighs: 1,500 lbs, is 18′ long, 10′ wide, and 10′ tall. The log weighs 1,500 lbs., is 5′ tall, and 20′ long. I think he’s kind of gross – looks like a huge rat ! Well, they are rodents, along with mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, guinea pigs, hamsters, and of course, rats!!!
We passed the gorgeous Muncho Lake.
At times, it felt as if we were in a plane, flying through clouds.
Back on Earth, we saw these two beauties on the side of the road, Stone Sheep.
and this sweet Teddy …
Our next stop was Dawson Creek. The TV show was Dawson‘s Creek, so no relationship. One cool thing is that it is Mile Marker 0 on the Alaska Highway.
We entered the Yukon Territory (YT) in Watson Lake.
Right down the street from our campground was the Sign Post Forest.
Sign Post Forest is a collection of signs, and is one of the most famous of the landmarks along the Alaska Highway. Originally, there was a simple sign post pointing out the distances to various points along the road but it was damaged by a bulldozer. In 1942, Private Carl K. Lindley, was ordered to repair the sign, while serving light duty from an injury. He repaired the post, and decided to personalize the job by adding a sign pointing towards his home town, Danville, Illinois, 2835 miles. The idea has been snowballing ever since. Visitors may add their own signs to the 100,000 already present.
Do you remember the picture of the “blow-up doll/Burt Reynolds” policeman from Torrey, Utah?
Well, here’s one from Teslin, YT. The one in Torrey, Utah, made you slow down for sure – this one – not so much !!!
When we got To Whitehorse, YT, there were a number of things to see and do. Anxious to get to Alaska, we opted for two. During the day, we went to a LGBTQ pride parade, in support of liberty. This is a photo we love –
And of course, me with a true member of the RCMP or, as we know them, “the Mounties“.
That evening, we enjoyed a show called the Frantic Follies. It was very old-fashioned, and a lot of fun. The cast was small but talented, with singing, magic, jokes, and musical numbers. The finale was the can-can. The Frantic Follies have played 7 nights per week, for the last 47 years, and has been seen by 1,400,000 people. They have to be pretty good – right?
Leaving Whitehorse, we stopped to take a picture of another oddity:
According to the Explore North website, this is a challenger for the title of world’s largest weather vane. It’s a retired Douglas DC-3, that sits atop a single, swiveling, pylon support. It is located beside the Whitehorse airport, and is used mainly by pilots to determine wind direction. This weather vane only requires a 5 km/hour wind to rotate. That’s pretty amazing. (Note: there may be another in Spain that claims to be larger, but I’m going with this challenger.)
Today we are in Dawson City, YT, not to be confused with Dawson Creek, AB. There is much to see and do here, but we’ve got to whittle it down a bit. We’re so ready to get to Alaska. Dawson City is an old mining town on the Yukon River. It still has dirt streets, and wooden sidewalks. A number of the buildings have been preserved. But not this one…
Diamond Tooth Gertie’s is a casino of sorts. They charge $12 per person to get in. The card is good for admittace forever. They have slots and a few table games. Of course, I had to throw a few dollars at the slots. Guess what? I won. Not much, but it covered the night and then some.
Oh no! Can-can dancers – again! Those prospectors certainly loved their high-kicking ladies! I hope to never see another one. Sorry girls…
Before going home, we stopped at The Dome. You have to climb up a mountain road to the very top. When you arrive, you are rewarded with this view. It is quite lovely. But more importantly, it is 11pm. The sun is high in the sky. I don’t know if we’ll ever get used to this daylight at night thing.
Well, I saved the best for last. We heard about a special libation at the Sourdough Saloon in the Downtown Hotel. (in the Yukon context, a “sourdough” is one who has resided in the Territory long enough to experience at least one freeze and thaw [four seasons]).
Established in 1973, the Sourtoe Cocktail has become a Dawson City tradition and is exactly what is sounds like: An actual human toe that has been dehydrated and preserved in salt is served in a drink.
WARNING: DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU DON’T LIKE GROSS!!! This is a photo of a human toe preserved in salt. At 9pm, the hotel “brings out” the toe. You buy a shot of your choice. For an extra $5, you pay a guy at the end of the bar, and he allows you to dunk the toe in your shot glass. Now, I’m really not too squeamish. I even ate the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle. But this went a little too far, even for me. At about 3pm, I went in thinking I would do it . When I found out the “toe” didn’t come out until 9 I was actually relieved. – and we didn’t go back. That’s some tradition!
If you want to know more about the “toe” – read on. This information was taken word-for-word from the Atlas Obscura, which I found on line.
“According to the story, Yukon local Captain Dick Stevenson found the toe preserved in a jar of alcohol while cleaning a cabin in 1973. After discussing it with friends, Captain Dick preserved and started serving the toe in a “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Eldorado hotel bar. Thus the Sourtoe Cocktail Club was formed.
The first toe is said to have belonged to a miner and rum runner named Louie Liken, who had his frostbitten appendage amputated in the 1920s. Liken preserved it in a jar of alcohol in his cabin, where Stevenson found it some 50 years later.
Unfortunately, the first toe lasted only seven more years after its discovery. According to the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, “In July 1980, a miner named Garry Younger was trying for the Sourtoe record. On his thirteenth glass of Sourtoe champagne, his chair tipped over backwards, and he swallowed the toe. Sadly, Toe #1 was not recovered.”
Since then, seven more toes have been donated to the bar. Number two was given after an amputation due to an inoperable corn; number three was from a victim of frostbite (it was also swallowed accidentally); four was an anonymous toe (later stolen by a hunter); toes five and six were donated by a Yukon old-timer in return for free drinks for his nurses; toe seven was an amputation due to diabetes; and toe eight arrived in a jar of alcohol with the message, “Don’t wear open-toe sandals while mowing the lawn.”
Today you can still drink the Sourtoe Cocktail (which is still garnished a real toe) and join the club – complete with a certificate. The original rules were that the toe must be placed in a beer glass full of champagne, and that the toe must touch the drinker’s lips during the consumption of the alcohol before he or she could claim to be a true Sourtoer.
The rules have changed in the past 27 years. The Sourtoe can now be had with any drink, but one rule remains the same: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow—but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”