Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 17: Rancheria YT to Twin Lakes YT, July 17

The mosquitoes were still bad in the morning, and we were itchy all over. We took advantage of the hot showers, coffee, cinnamon buns and Internet in the lodge café, then headed out a bit late for the day's drive. It was our day to see Wood Bison (see the picture); there are thought to be 250 of them alive today, and we saw a good dozen of them today. There was really nothing else to stop for on the way to Whitehorse, so we hit there by mid-afternoon and had some good time to spend.

Our big goal in Whitehorse was to get the oil changed. JON - this is for you! The oil change my brother did in Thunder Bay had held up well, but just as we were going through the hilly parts of BC, we started to notice a bit of burning oil smell at the top of hills, just for a moment as the bus shifted from 2nd back to 3rd. (Not sure why we could smell that inside the vehicle.) I check the oil level, colour and smell each time we fill up with gas, and the day before it had suddenly started to change colour from amber to dark; not black yet, but just starting to smell a bit burnt. The EnviroLube in Whitehorse took good care of us, letting us poke our noses into the whole process, changing the filter but also cleaning the screen. There was no grit in it at all, never mind the flakes of metal that were there when Jon cleaned it in Thunder Bay. So that seemed to be all good, and we were happy enough to do the oil change even though it had only been about 3000km.

We were out of the oil change in plenty of time to go the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, which was a destination Will particularly wanted to hit. He has been reading Aurore of the Yukon, a book written by a local author that my Mom and Dad had bought for him a couple of years ago. The author used the MacBride Museum heavily for research, and it was neat; they have a whole gallery full of taxidermy specimens very well done, including a rare albino moose. They had all kinds of stuff in a nice-size museum; we could see everything in a couple of hours and feel like we'd learned about lots of different things.

I keep thinking we've hit our last Where to Eat in Canada meal, and new ones keep coming up! There is only one place listed for Whitehorse, and we managed to get there early enough to get a table. As we walked in, the guy at the next table said "didn't we see you this morning in Rancheria?" Sure enough, it was a guy in a Yukon Parks pick-up that we'd been passed by several times that day, because he kept stopping at campgrounds along the way. Giorgio (of Giorgio's Cuccina) seems to have some Greek in his background, or at least in his cooking. The baked goat cheese I started with was amazing, with basil, tomatoes, and red onion. I was intrigued by the idea of smoked salmon on a Caesar salad, and it really worked; especially with the addition of slightly warm snow peas. Will's linguine with meatballs showed that a Where to Eat in Canada restaurant really is "true for its name", as he says; I can't tell you what was in the sauce that made it so good, but it tasted just like pasta, only more so. Mike said his seafood cannelloni was good, too.

We wanted to get a bit further in our driving so we didn't have to do a 7-hour drive the next day, so we headed out of Whitehorse and ended up at the Twin Lakes campsite. Like the other Yukon campgrounds we saw, it was small, basic, but well-maintained. Free firewood, too! We got the last spot there, but it didn't seem to be full of other music festival attendees; in fact, most of the southbound traffic we saw seemed to be big RVs.

Total so far: 6265km.

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