Monday, August 2, 2010

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Sunday did take us north. After a leisurely morning and a fond farewell to Chuck and Grace, we ‘inched’ our way north. Ninety miles - 4 hours!! A combination of ‘not the best’ road and no need to hurry. Most of the roads up here are two lanes - one in each direction. The difference in a ‘major’ highway to a very small side road is the width of the two lanes, a shoulder (or not) and markings. This was our ‘smaller side road’ for today - width about 1 1/2 lanes, no shoulder and you get to drive where you want -

Headed north to check on the fire and road closure - not-so-wide road.

About 4PM the road closure appeared before us.

Road closed for the night. There should be an escorted caravan at 8 am of all goes well.

The closure was actually about 30 miles from the fire zone - but, was at a large rest area (the last one before the fire) where the waiting vehicles could ‘stage’. AND - that is just what happened. We were only the second vehicle when we arrived, but the area filled quickly. The highway maintenance woman told us there would not be any further escorting done on Sunday - but, the fire and weather permitting, they would escort a group through at 8 in the morning. So - we picked a good spot for Magic and set up for the night. This was much like the shuttle launch in Florida this past spring. Everyone was there for “the event” at 8 in the morning - this time it was an escort through a forrest fire!! And, there was nothing to do but have a communal party until then;-))

By morning between 40 and 50 vehicles had accumulated. (The first day they did the ‘escort thing’ they had 141 vehicles!!! No wonder they started to escort through - they had to do something with all those people.) Everyone was up by about 6 and ‘bugging’ those in charge about - how soon we would go?? Would we go?? Elizabeth included -

7 a.m. Elizabeth is checking with the caravan escort to see if we are still a go. Magic is to the right of the blue semi.

At 7:30 the “Start Your Engines” call went out and we were on our way;-) We had ourselves a convoy, good buddy!!

Breaker - Breaker - This is the Magic Bus.

As mentioned above - we had about 30 miles to go before we even got close to the fire. Fortunately, even though the road was narrow it was good. AND, there was only traffic one way so we could drive down the middle. Even though we were in a convoy, we made good time. Then we hit the fire area, which extended for about 10 miles. It was smokey - and there were hot spots fairly close to the road;-(

The fire and smoke along the route was very eerie.

Flare ups were still occurring along the roadside.

Can’t tell you how glad we were to get to the other side!! About ten miles the other side of the fire were the people headed south all lined up - waiting for the escort to turn around and take them through.

This line of vehicles was waiting their turn at the north end.
Gives an idea of the
organized chaos.

Here we hit several mileposts in our journey - 1) we passed from British Columbia into the Yukon Territory, which made Gary feel like Sgt. Preston and made Elizabeth feel like we were finally out in the hinterlands,

Welcome to the Yukon Territory

2) we turned onto the Alaska Highway - FINALLY after more than 3 weeks on the road we made it to the Alaska Highway!!!! and 3) we both felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Neither of us realized how much the fire and waiting on the fire had stressed us out;-( We were just sooooooo happy to be on the other side and on our way again.

Now good road awaited us and it was only 9AM. Even the moose signs seemed hilarious, as we had seen them continuously since entering Canada - and hadn’t seen a one!!

This was the only animal we saw all day...

Suddenly the 200 miles to Whitehorse seemed like a piece of cake, and the one night stops in between went by the wayside. We had to admit we were both ready for a ‘city’ - so Whitehorse became the destination. That would be our base for the next 4-5 days and we would do side-trips from there. Hi Country RV Park was calling with all the necessities - full hook-ups, cable TV, WiFi (and fast), laundry - and the ever necessary WalMart nearby. Whitehorse here we come -

We arrived at out destination, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Thanks for listening - so glad to be on the other side -


No comments:

Post a Comment