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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Down Day in Dusty City

Aug 13, 2022 (Sat)

Two weeks from today we get on our ferry in Skagway and head home. That gives us 14 days to meander 350 miles. We’re pretty sure we can make it, unless something goes wrong…(we very sincerely hope this isn’t foreshadowing)

12:30 pm Dawson City, YT

Our spot in the Bonanza Gold RV Park was too nice for us to stay in for two nights in a row. So we drove to another spot, which isn’t as tree-lined.

We are officially out of clean clothes, so it’s time for laundry. It’s also time for us to have a “down” day where we take it easy and relax.

Laundry is $4 a load here (Canadian, but still--$3.20 a load!). Worse than that, showers are a dollar for two minutes! It’s not even a nice shower. Some RV parks have very nice showers with wooden benches and locking doors and they don’t charge anything. Other RV parks have flimsy shower curtains and no place to hang your clothes and they charge you for it.

Robert refuses to shower in protest and heads for the Harvey shower.

We have a list of things that need to be fixed in Harvey (and an appointment at the Harvey Spa for when we get back). We add to that list: Shower drain doesn’t.

Fortunately, we find that out before a ton of water is dispersed. Just enough to wash off some of the dust in the shower. (Someone left the bathroom vent open and dust got everywhere.)

After some naps we head into Dawson City for dinner and to scope things out. The tour took about 10 minutes and about a quarter of the buildings are “historic,” which means, “about to collapse.” This town used to be a big deal in the Gold Rush days, but now is about reeling in the tourists. In fact, right now is “Discovery Days,” celebrating the discovery of gold in 1896. Which explains the lack of RV space.

Typical street in Dawson City (that’s Harvey in the distance)

When you build a store on permafrost without taking special precautions, the permafrost melts and refreezes unevenly and your building gets a distinct, unliveable tilt to it.

Yup, it even affects churches!

We missed the concert in the gazebo this afternoon, and we’ll miss the outhouse races next Saturday, but we definitely get the feel of many young people wandering the streets looking for something (anything) to do.

There are a lot of closed restaurants and stores here. Back in the Covid times (well, the earlier Covid times) Canada got very clenched about letting in visitors and that hurt a lot of tourist-dependent activities. Even now, there’s a lot of Americans that think it’s still a pain to enter Canada.

We have seen more people from Europe than from the U.S.

We finish our tour with an ice cream cone at the one and only ice cream store and watch a thunderstorm make its way here. No rain or lightning (yet), just lots of dust blowing everywhere. We think they ought to change the name from Dawson City to “Dusty City.”


We had a request for a map, so here’s our official AAA map in the photo below. (We actually started somewhat below the bottom of this map, but that’s all paved and boring.)

The green line shows our route going to the Al-Can highway and along it to Delta Junction (where the finger is). Originally, we were going to go beyond the finger to Fairbanks, but instead we went back a bit and took the red line northward.

The green shows our route as far as the finger

Here’s a map of our current area. Today: Dawson City. Tomorrow: Mayo.

Here’s the area we’re in now

Note that red lines with highway markers might be gravel roads. They have a different definition of “Highway” in the Yukon.

By the numbers

The days march on, but not the mileage.

Miles traveled so far: 2,685

Estimated Percentage of total road miles: 86%

Days so far: 21 days

Estimated Percentage of total road days: 68%

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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