We drove the rest of the Cassiar Highway without incident. We had heard from several friends that this road was challenging. While we did run into a few patches of gravel road we did find it mostly paved. As I said yesterday, we did find it desolate and an accident or breakdown could mean a lengthy wait. I don’t think there was any cell service either. Still, it was truly a beautiful drive and I would recommend it. BUT. You must not let your gas tank get under half full (an old Alaskan rule) and you must carry a spare and know how to change a tire. The rest of the rules for remote driving also apply. When we were at the closed gas station we talked to a family headed south also looking for a fill-up. The man was very distraught to know that the last station we had seen was more than 100 miles ahead. The gas station pumps are mostly the old fashioned kind without a place to prepay with your credit card. The station has to be open to get gas. So…there’s my warning. Travel prepared.
We did arrive in Whitehorse late in the afternoon. Just in time to visit the MacBride Museum, a small museum dedicated to the local history, including the gold rush, some natural history (Matthew’s favorite) and a whole section on the poet Robert Service. When I was growing up we loved to listen to some of his most popular poems and in particular one called, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. It’s a rather morbid story about a prospector who found the Klondike too cold and was always complaining until he caught cold and was near the end. He asks his friend to cremate him on the shores of Lake Labarge. The poem is really more fun than morbid. I’ll share it if I can find the YouTube version. You’ll like it. We learned that there really was a Sam McGee. He was a friend of Service and we got to see his real one room cabin. All you homeschoolers, notice how we added History and Language Arts to our trip.
After we picked up some groceries and long johns (to keep us warm at night) we found a campsite just out of town. Bob, Matthew, and Rebecca began setting up the tent while I worked on supper. It appeared the three of them were poking around with their job so I told them it was going to rain in three minutes and they’d better hurry up. Well, I was wrong. It began pouring, a hellacious downpour, just moments after the words left my mouth.
Oh my word.
All our stuff was sitting outside waiting to be put in the tent. The food was all outside on the table. Just about everything we owned was outside the truck. It poured and instantly we were all soaked. I yelled at Rebecca to get the packaged stuff back to the truck while I helped Bob. It didn’t matter. everything was filled with water…and sand from the campsite. Finally we got the tent up and emptied it of water, got the rain cover over it and it quit raining. We reheated the food, found dry clothes and then made some hot chocolate because our hands were frozen and finally made it to bed. Thankfully, it did not rain again but we decided we need to pay much closer attention to those threatening looking rain clouds blowing in. And yes, we were grateful for those warm unders.