Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On to Cassier Highway, August 16-20

Back tracking on the Haines Highway

We back tracked on the Haines Highway to Haines Junction enjoying clear skies and wonderful vistas.  Some of the mountains were very hazy, most likely from forest fires. The border crossing was uneventful, although we did wait awhile.  The agents seemed more concerned about weather or not I had any fresh or frozen salmon or had I been fishing.   
We stopped again at Haines Junction for treats at the bakery and then made our way to Whitehorse to stalk up on groceries.  Whitehorse will be the last big city for a while.  
We spent the night in Whitehorse and then continued on to Teslin to the Tlinglit Cultural Heritage Center,  which opened in 2001.  It was a pretty big deal for the First Nation Tlingits to open the center.  We spent a few hours there, mostly watching a long video, and then headed towards Watson Lake, which is just past the junction of the Cassier Highway.  
Tlinglet Heritage Center

Canoe on the Teslin Lake
We hit smoke near Rancheria from forest fires  about 50 miles east of Watson Lake and continued on until it became pretty thick.  We debated whether to turn around or keep going.  Some folks stopped coming from the junction said there was no smoke there so we continued on until we got to Big Creek Campground, a nice Yukon Government Campground.  Some of the campsites were overlooking the river.  It was a little smokey, but not bad.  
We had noticed that the fireweed was losing its blossoms, a sure sign that summer is on the way out.  I also notice that the fireweed stalks stay red for a while after losing all of the blossoms and then the stalks seem to open up a become feathery white.  

We left Big Creek to make it to Junction 37, (as the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Cassier is called) early enough to determine if the road was open.  It had been closed intermittently due to forest fires and traffic was controlled with pilot cars.  We arrived and we told the pilot car would be leaving at 10:00.  There was a huge line of cars.  Liz went into Watson Lake and was to be back by 10:00.  The Pilot Car came a few minutes early and all the cars were through a few minutes after ten, and Liz had not made it back,  and then gate was closed. We were told that another pilot car would be return early afternoon.  So we waited.  When the pilot car came back they said the fire was worse and they would not be making another run.  We decided to go to Watson Lake to spend the night at one of the campgrounds.  
We returned to Junction 37 the next morning and waited until about 10:30 and were told the road was completely closed as the fire had been burning on both sides.  So, we returned to the Watson Lake Campground for another night.  

The line of cars went forever

Oh, fire

This morning, August 20, we returned to Junction 37 and were told they were working to clear the downed trees and any other debris the could potentially fall on the highway and they were hoping to open it.  Finally, about 1:30 we were all allowed through.  Liz ended up being many RVs behind us.  Nancy and I were finally able to find a spot to pull off and wait for her.. and we waited and waited.  She finally showed up..her hitch had broken on her tow car and someone was driving her car for her and she was driving the motor home.  We all dove to Jade City.  

Once we got through it was pretty smokey for about 10 miles and the ground and trees were really scorched.

The drive down the Cassier so far has been really pretty.  There are lots of small lakes and stream, and few places to pull over.  Had the road been better I would have taken windshield pictures but I didn’t take too many because the road is is very narrow.  

Saturday morning Liz was able to make phone calls to Blue Ox about her tow bar and arranged for her car to be driven to Prince George.  She'll need to call Blue Ox again by Tuesday to talk to the Canadian Representative and figure out where a new tow bar can be sent and installed.  

Jade City folks have been wonderful.  They have free overnight camping, wifi, free coffee and lots of Jade jewelry to buy.  Very friendly and helpful folks.

We'll continue on to Dease Lake today along the Cassier Highway.  

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