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  • Robert Gidley

We wish they’d delay their construction

Aug 14, 2022 (Sun)

12:00 pm Outside of Dawson City

We’re at the first of many construction delays. There’s an automated red light in the middle of the road, and a sign that says “Wait for Pilot Car.”


It’s Sunday afternoon, there’s nobody in sight, certainly not any construction crew or equipment. It occurs to us that maybe somebody forgot to turn off the light and move it off the road. We scowl at the light in a skeptical way.


Suddenly, a pick-up truck goes barreling past the red light. “Well, that’s me,” thinks Robert, figuring this is some local who knows the score. He revs up Harvey and takes off after the pickup.


The pick-up quickly brakes and a man comes out frantically waving at us. “No, no,” he cries, “I’m not the pilot car—please wait!”


So we do a quick 12-point turn-around in the middle of the road and go back to wait in line. And somewhere, there’s a construction guy griping about those “crazy American drivers!”

Ah, the scenic Yukon!


Construction delays

That was the first of four total construction delays. Here’s how they all looked:


  • Wait at a deserted light in the middle of nowhere while post-apocalyptic scenarios run in our heads (well, Robert’s head, anyway).

  • Pilot Car shows up, but only once is it marked as “Pilot Car.” One time it’s a pick-up with his flashers going.

  • Follow the Pilot Car at 20 mph (40° C) through five miles of active construction (these guys are working on a Sunday!). The road is sometimes hard packed sand. Other times, not so hard. We think light thoughts to keep Harvey from getting stuck. We’re pretty sure we saw one travel trailer get stuck, but there was lots of heavy equipment around, so he probably didn’t stay stuck for long.

  • At the end, go “Whew, finally!” and zoom along for another five miles before the next Construction Delay.

Following the Pilot Car


At the end of all this, Harvey is filthy from all the construction dust, and our nerves are shot between waiting and driving on sand dunes next to steep drop-offs—but at least our vents were closed this time.


Actual construction happening on Sunday!


2:20 pm Roadside café

Pretty much exactly in the middle of nowhere is a sign, “Cash Only” and a smaller sign below that, “Café.” This place is full of Chinese souvenirs and home-made pastries (guess which ones we partook of?).


Our butts need a break, so we wander through the shop, pay cash for our tarts and move along.

Even the sign here can’t be bothered to keep up


4:00 pm Mayo, YT

Did we pick this destination based mostly on the name? Well, maybe…


Seems that Mayo (“Founded by Colonel Mustard,” says our Canadian friend, Wendy) is a “thriving” settlement of 200 folks on the banks of the Stewart river. It used to be an important link in the silver (and gold!) biz, but is now mostly a First Nations settlement.


Its claim to fame is that it is both the hottest and the coldest place in Yukon. They’ve recorded the lowest temperature ever in the Yukon (-80° in some February) and the highest temperature (97° in a June). The lowest temperature in August was 27°, but today it’s a muggy 77° with high clouds.


Our guidebook says there’s an RV park just outside of town called, charmingly enough, Bedrock Motel and RV Park. Siri insists that it’s permanently closed and there’s no earthly reason to go there.


Well, not only is it open, but they have a lot of spaces, almost all of them, in fact. “Just drive around until you see something you like!”


The town church and the youth center


5:30 pm Downtown Mayo

Although our RV park may be “permanently closed,” Siri insists there’s a lovely place called the Trappers Hat Pub and Grill, which sounds perfect for our goals (eating and drinking!). Unfortunately, the location turns out to be an abandoned warehouse.


So we turn to Yelp, who proclaims, “Everybody loves the Moose Creek Lodge!” Well, everybody but Mayo, as this location turns out to be in the middle of a construction zone.


We are so desperate that Robert stops and talks to a Mountie (our first in-person interaction with a Mountie!). She’s not from around here, though, but she offers to “radio in to her supervisor.” Ooh, we get to witness 21st Century Mountie Radio Protocol!


This turns out to be her texting her boss, who replies, “Nope, nary a restaurant in Mayo, but there is a grocery store that sells pre-made items if you hurry.”


And that’s how Robert ended up eating a “beef donair,” which seems to be Canadian for “slices of roast beef rolled up in a flour tortilla.”


Mayo, by the way, was named after a circus acrobat who ran away to explore.


Maps

This map doesn’t show the four construction delays, but this is where we went today.

Today’s journal in mapical terms


By the numbers

These miles don’t include the aggravation caused by following a pilot car who hits every single pothole in the deconstructed road.


Miles traveled so far: 2,852

Estimated Percentage of total road miles: 91%

Days so far: 22 days

Estimated Percentage of total road days: 71%



Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff


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