Saturday, June 15, 2013

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

The rain didn't stop. Everyday that I drove the rain was heavy at times and the temperatures were in the low 40's to upper 30's since the glacial mountain and valleys acted like a huge refrigerator.

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory is a larger town by backwoods mountain town standards. I had gotten used to the lack of services in the mountains, but now I needed car parts to continue driving in the rainy weather.
Whitehorse, YT has a Napa store and now I had hope of buying the electric wiper motor and repairing my wiper. I was getting tired of cheating death at every winding mountain turn with no guard rails.

The Napa store confirmed I needed a $800  electric motor replaced to make the wiper work again. They had no parts in stock and they only get deliveries once a week. It would be a week before parts are available. Now I was desperate so I tried the local salvage yard. My father would be proud of me digging up my used part to fix my own vehicle. I still remember being scolded because I bought a new part as a teenager repairing the family car. I wasn't real happy about not only having to fix my own vehicle but having to cannibalize used car parts that are greasy, dirty and remember freezing cold to fix my own car.  So I find the local junk yard and when I told the junkyard guy I needed a 2005 Chevy wiper motor I was told "Mister nobody here drives a car that new." Again, I would drive another day without my driver side wiper working.

 Next town is Tok, Alaska.
I was looking forward to being home to the USA. It had been almost a month without familiar use of English. Tired of litres of gas, paying with Loonies, Toonies and driving 110 km/hr and feel like I'm standing still. Don't get me wrong the Canadian people were very nice. But I'm used to services and parts being available, give me some US consumerism any day. One evening I had a long talk with a gentleman from British Columbia and he said the Canadian's really like to come to the US to shop, buy gas and have our heath care system. They have a carbon tax that has made gas very expensive and all products delivered to stores are given a carbon tax. The bad part is the carbon tax money goes to the general fund and the government wastes the money. The national health care in Canada is so poor that people who can afford to travel leave to have treatment but a health care tax is added to all products making everything more expensive. He is worried he will have no place for health care when Obamacare is the required health care standard.

First I needed to get through US Customs, I had heard it would be harder to get back in the US than it was to enter Canada. I arrive at the US Border Crossing station, "Do you have anything to declare" I was asked in a not so happy tone. It made me glad to hear the not so nice American way of doing business. God Bless America. "Nothing to declare". Let me see your papers. Sure I thought, I need papers. I, born here, need papers. But no, I was cool and behaved myself. I was allowed to pass and drove on. Immediately the roads were smoother, the Sun shone bright and all was good with the world. Really the Sun came out and the roads were not rattling my fillings out of my teeth anymore.  

I drove to the first town in Alaska, Tok. As many isolated towns are they are self-sufficient and have people within their town, who make it possible to survive the long Winter without outside help.  And they have a Napa store, I was sure the part would be there waiting for me. I asked the clerk for the part, told him my problem and he said "You don't need no part. If one wiper is working and the other is not, there is only one motor for two wiper blades". "Just tighten the nut on the blade that won't move" He showed me the nut, I took out my socket set and tightened the nut. It works, no $800 charge and only took three turns of the nut. This made my day.

Things got better from the minute I crossed into the US. Next was the gas I bought, only $4.00 per gallon. Yes, higher than back home but still good news to me, better than $7.50/gallon in Canada. The best part was the offer of a free car wash with a fill. A fill was considered 25 gallons. With an RV I could get a free car wash every day. It was a do it yourself pressure washer car wash but unlimited water and a bucket with soap and a long handled brush no charge. After muddy gravel roads with pot holes in the Yukon and log trucks coming head on, the Roadtrek looked more like a 20 foot long Tootsie Roll than an RV.  I cleaned up my language of what my RV really looked like. After the car wash I needed a good place to camp. Drove a ways down the road and saw a big sign $10 Boondocking, Free Shower included. I am really beginning to like this town of Tok, Alaska. First they save me $800 on repair, then a free car wash with low cost gas and a free shower when boondocking for only $10.00. What else could happen? Well I found out. In the town square they have a 15 foot tall glass box with a stuffed moose inside. My kinda people.

Tomorrow I drive to the city of Anchorage. I had visions of McDonald's milkshakes. Shopping on every corner. I decided since I had just put 6,500 miles on the Roadtrek in the last 28 days I will have a Chevy dealer check the engine and tires. I had synthetic oil put in at Great Falls, Mt and that was 3,000 miles ago. The oil will be good for another 3,000 miles. I have a college friend in Anchorage so it is time to call him.

I'll be back to Tok, Alaska on my way home. I'll be sure to get a picture of the moose in the glass box and the Boondocking sign with Free shower to add to the blog.

July 1st I board the Columbia Ferry, a 280 ft ferry that will take me and my Roadtrek the 1,900 miles Inside Passage from Skagway, Alaska to Bellingham,Washington. I will have a real private room with exterior window with shower and bathroom. The best 5 1/2 days of the trip I hope.

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