Sunday, May 13, 2012

Yukon Towns Underwhelm

     With the exception of bustling Whitehorse, the Yukon towns of the Alaska Highway are underwhelming. The people are gracious and friendly but the towns themselves reflect their heritage—stopping points on a road to somewhere else. Haines Junction, Teslin and Watson Lake present a bleak face to the traveler passing though.
Watson Lakes Claim to Fame
The "GI" signs that started it all
     It was painfully apparent when we were looking for a Saturday evening RV park/ The Teslin park was a wide open lot next to a lake. In hindsight it was the best we were to see. Wanting to cover more ground we pressed on for Rancheria, which was described as a charming roadhouse dating back to the 1940’s with restaurant and RV park. The RV park wasn’t open and the roadhouse itself badly needed pick up. It wasn’t just old. It was messy.
     Next stop, a road junction near Watson Lake. Two parks there looked good on paper. The first was closed. The second was a wide open field behind a gas station with rest rooms of questionable quality. On to Watson Lake, where three parks looked good.
     The newest and best, per our guide, was, guess what—a gravel lot behind a service station. But someone had run over their transformer and there was no power. With temperatures at 40ish nightly, electric heat is nice!
     Number two was a gravel lot on a small lake. Later in the season bugs might be an issue but not now, with ice still clinging to the lake edge. It was a possibility but we hoped for a more wooded home for the night so headed to park number three with “pads separated by small trees.”
     Number three was not open for the season.
Any type of sign will do.
     So it was back to gravel lot number two which turned out to be ok. The facilities were great, wifi strong and neighbors quiet. Life is good in the RV park.

Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake, Yukon Territory: In 1942, a soldier working on the Alaska Highway installed a sign showing the distance to his home town. Others added signs to the post. Now the Watson Lake Sign Post Forest boast signs from all over the world, left by travelers passing through. Over 70,000 signs are claimed and more are added daily. It is a sure photo stop for anyone heading up the Alcan.
Saturday Travel: Haines Junction, Whitehorse, Teslin, Watson Lake 

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