Aug 21, 2022 (Sun)
Man, this was definitely a Pan Day!
Our big adventure was trying to watch our granddaughter sing at a church service. (Side note: Our granddaughter recently changed her name from “Zoe” to “Zahara.” So when we refer to Zahara, it’s still the same person. We didn’t suddenly acquire another granddaughter.)
Anyway, Zahara’s singing was broadcast live and—well, you know Canadian Wi-Fi, right? We’d get about 60 seconds of the service and then it would buffer for a minute or two. However, instead of just resuming where it left off, it would “catch up” to the live stream. One minute we’re watching the choir sing, then suddenly there’s a sermon, wham—a prayer, wait—is Zahara going to sing? Yay—wait, now we’re playing gongs.
We miss American electrons…
Aug 22, 2022 (Mon)
There’s a 15% chance we can see the aurora borealis tonight (we have aurora predicters on our phones—well, Robert has one on his phone). We set our alarm for 2:00 am and Gini staggers out into the night while Robert helpfully yells “Harvey is pointed north!” from the warm and cozy bed.
Gini reports: “It’s dark. Very dark. Amazing how dark it gets out here. There’s certainly a lot of stars! And a lot of dark.”
But no aurora. We think that if we want to see aurora, we’ll need to come back in the winter—when it’s dark for 20 hours a day and maybe get even farther north than here. We will not, however, bring Harvey, as neither of us wants to put chains on his four rear wheels.
10:00 am (Still Whitehorse, YT)
Apparently, Siri gets confused by big cities in the Yukon. She has developed the habit of taking us within a block or two of our destination and then proclaiming “Arrived,” when we’re next to a vacant lot, or a completely wrong store.
She gets us close enough to the Burnt Toast Café that we’re able to circle the block and find it. We are not the only ones looking, as there’s a line out the door (which stays out of the door the entire time we’re there).
We get a “Coque Madame” for breakfast, because we’d never heard of it (even Gini orders it). It turns out to be a ham and cheese sandwich made using French Toast for bread. Yum! We’re now ready for adventures!
Our madame, Gini, enjoys her Coque Madame
11:30 am Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre
The Kwanlin Dün (“people of the water running through canyon”) were the original folks living here when the foreigners arrived. This is their very nice cultural center. It has a number of displays about their history, culture, and art. What we liked best was all the meeting rooms, which were being used for actual stuff—like cultural parenting classes! This wasn’t a museum, it was a building being used by today’s Kwanlin Dün.
The history is pretty familiar to us as Americans:
Natives getting along pretty well, living in a land of abundance (if you know how to live there)
Foreigners show up, natives show them how to live on the land
Resources discovered (gold and silver in this case), Foreigners decide that natives should live over here, because they need that land with the resources.
Whoops—we need that land, we’ll move you over there
What do you know—we’ve expanded and now we need that land over there. How’s about we just make you real citizens and assimilate you?
It took a long time (starting in the early 20th century), but by 2005, the Kwanlin Dün finally got rights to their land, and are now sovereign citizens.
We also enjoyed the art part of the exhibit. The Kwanlin Dün got beads from the foreigners and quickly incorporated it into their clothing designs. They were especially fond of doing flowers everywhere—even the men’s clothing until the foreigners said that flowers on men’s clothing was “sissy.”
Modern art—we think the construction crews could use more pylons that looked like this!
12:30 pm Kwanlin Dün Cultural Center back yard
Well, what’s this over here?
Robert wanders over to what looks like a construction area and it turns out to be a construction area. A group of Kwanlin Dün are busy carving out a canoe! This sucker must be 20 feet long and is an ocean-going canoe. In a couple of years, it’ll be done and ready to jump in the river and sail down to Skagway and Haines and do canoe things.
Duran working on carving the canoe
We get to chatting and find out that there’s a gift shop out here, full of native things. Some of them made by the very people carving the canoes! One of them, Duran, comes over and points out the T-shirt designs he made (so, of course, we buy one). There’s a couple of artist houses off to the side and we stock up on earrings.
Robert, Duran, and the “Wolf” T-shirt that Duran designed
Most places you buy native artifacts, you don’t know how much of the purchase price goes to the native artist. Of the $40 we spend on an earring, how much gets all the way back to the person who did the work? $20? $10?
Here, we know that all $40 goes to the artist, because we put it in the artist’s hands!
Happily, we use up the last of our Canadian Cash (there’s an ATM to help supplement our supply) and end up with a bunch of authentic Kwanlin Dün art (and coffee!).
1:30 pm MacBride Museum
Remember way back when, we stopped here and heard The Creation of Sam McGee? Well, there were some areas we didn’t get to, so we figured we’d finish up touring the museum.
One important fact the museum leaves off its website (https://macbridemuseum.com/) is that they are closed on Mondays! They cheerfully mention that they are “open daily”. As the museum door is locked and we see no lights inside, we finally call the number and the recording eventually gets around to mentioning that when they say “daily,” they don’t mean every day. Just some days. And not today.
3:30 pm KFC (or PFK)
Last Saturday, Gini got a hankering for some fried chicken, so we headed to the local KFC to get some. For reasons inadequately explained, the KFC in Whitehorse was closed all day on Saturday. (This seems to be a theme here, yes?)
Well, fine, we’ll just get our chicken someplace else. Apparently, “fried chicken” is a specialty item in the Yukon. Of the first ten results for “friend chicken, Whitehorse” Google search, five of them suggested we visit the KFC. Another thought maybe “jerk chicken” at the Caribbean place would be a good substitute, or maybe we’d like the “chicken fingers” at A&W.
Today, since the museum is closed, perhaps the KFC/PFC would serve us some? They did, we ate it, and now we know what bon a s'en lécher les doigts means.
Also, it tastes just like it does in the U.S.!
The colonel looks the same, though!
By the numbers
We’re almost there…
Miles traveled so far: 3,129
Estimated Percentage of total road miles: 98%
Days so far: 30 days
Estimated Percentage of total road days: A bunch. We lost track. This Saturday, we board our ferry in Skagway.
Gini & Robert