Our fifth wheel and the truck

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A drama or two!!!!!

G’day all!

We were traveling from Sikanni River to Fort Nelson when I finished my last post. It was an interesting drive with lots of water lying around and some wildlife along the road. We were fortunate to see a black bear on the side of the road early in the trip. We figured it was a bear but really as we drove past it just looked like a black blob on the side of the road.

It wasn’t that long after that Steve and Nancy pulled over suddenly and, thinking they may have been in trouble, Norm and I pulled up in front of them. I raced back to see if everything was okay and Nancy informed me that Steve had seen a black bear. Peering around the front of their vehicle I was able to see it and raced back to our truck for the camera. It was a big one and we got some really great photos. Our first serious wildlife sighting since the eight of us started our journey. After that we decided that it would be a good idea to be behind Steve as he was pretty good at spotting the wildlife as we went along.

We stopped off at the Trapper’s Den before arriving in Fort Nelson. We thought it might be an interesting place but turned out to be just another shop aimed at the tourists. There are a few of them up here!!!

Arriving at Fort Nelson we stayed at the Triple G RV Park. After setting up we set off for the Heritage Museum which was really interesting with many very old cars that are still in working order thanks to 80 year old Marl who still drives some of them for important occasions within the town.

Then on to the Visitor’s Centre where we found out about the next two stops and finally the eight of us went out for a lovely dinner. An early night followed as we had another day of driving again the next day. I am a little over the drive all day, set up, pack everything away the next morning and drive another day. We have been doing a lot of that since we left Phoenix. I am really looking forward to a couple of days in Watson Lake!!

We got an early start the next morning and headed to our destination at Strawberry Flats Campground at Muncho Lake. We had been advised to fill up with petrol before Muncho as they were pretty expensive! Ha!! We filled up at Toad River - $1.70 per litre!!! But then we checked out Muncho Lake at $2.00 per litre. Good move at Toad River.

Toad River was an interesting stop though. Apart from the cost of the fuel they had a shop (the usual touristy stuff) where the ceiling was absolutely covered with baseball caps!! They were from all over the world and made quite a colourful display. We only had our two Aussie ones and were reluctant to leave them.

Norm and I on the shores of Summt Lake - very cold!

We made it to Strawberry Flats and that is where some of our problems started! Oh boy if things could go wrong then they certainly did.

The sites were very small and difficult to get into but Jim and Jan (our heroes and the most amazing parking team) got our rig into our spot and put his own into the most difficult place. At one time he had his 35ft rig at right angles to the truck!! It was amazing to watch.

Rick and Karen had quite a difficult time getting into their spot and unfortunately their worries began here with some damage to the front fender and bumper of Rick’s truck. Then they had problems with the bedroom slide which wouldn’t extend, then the toilet wouldn’t stop running so an urgent repair job on that. The next morning as we were getting ready to leave their front jacks wouldn’t retract and had to be done manually.

Stone sheep

Early morning view of Muncho Lake from Strawberry Flats Campground - how amazing is that?

About ten miles down the road we stopped at a pull out to have a look at the view of Muncho Lake and the guys noticed the smell of rubber. After walking around the rigs the guys dismissed it as just the use of the brakes. It wasn’t till our next stop a bit further on, that the smell of rubber became even more noticeable and Rick discovered that two of the wheels on his RV were rubbing against each other! Oh boy! The guys soon discovered that one of the leaf springs on the rear set of wheels had broken causing them to pivot so that the rear wheel was rubbing against the front one. Bugger!!!

Okay so Norm, Karen and I jump in our truck and head back to the lodge at Muncho Lake so Karen can call the Good Sam road side assistance they have. Not our day - the phone lines are down and there is no way to contact Good Sam via internet.

Back to the broken down rig and Karen and Rick disconnect their truck from the RV and drive to Liard River where we are all heading, so they can make a phone call. One and a half hours on hold to Good Sam and no luck. Eventually they contact someone in Fort Nelson who can come out and fix the spring the next morning, Sunday, so they head back to the RV to spend the night!!! This is the short version of the story too!!!

The rest of us head to Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park where we planned to spend one night before moving on to Watson Lake. Well we arrive at Liard to find that the road from Watson Lake to Whitehorse has been washed out in four places and no-one can get through. There is only one road to Whitehorse and no way to go around unless we wanted to go all the way back through Prince George.

Well we pulled in to the three spots that we had chosen and Jim and Norm started setting up the RV’s for the night while Jan and I went up to the office to pay. EXCEPT, that the two sites we had chosen were ‘one night only’ (already booked for the next night) and if the road wasn’t opened by Sunday then we would have to move and potentially have to boondock in the pullout on the other side of the highway.

Jan and I discovered that there was a double site that we could potentially share that wasn’t booked and we could stay as long as needed so while I sat in the site to discourage any other RV’s from pulling in Jan hightailed it back to the guys to tell them to pull in the slides and get ready to roll and move both RV’s to the new site.

As it turned out this was a wise decision as I am writing this on Monday and it doesn’t look like the road to Whitehorse will be opened to traffic until Tuesday. Apparently an alternative one lane route is being developed and the 300 trucks that are waiting at either end of the washout will be able to use it tonight with the other traffic will start moving tomorrow.

The stories that we had heard about the bank up of traffic in Watson Lake, cars and trucks and RV’s parked on the side of the roads and in ditches, the town running out of supplies and fuel were greatly exaggerated as Norm and I found out on Sunday when we had to take a flying run up there for medical help. Yep you guessed it, Norm had an accident! He was cleaning some mud from the front of the RV when he stood and turned and hit his head on the hitch. What a mess!!

Well the statistics were! Departing Liard at 1.00pm and fuel - $1.87 per litre. En route to Watson Lake -four black bears, one brown bear, one grizzly cub, two bison, nine cars heading to Liard and one car going to Watson Lake and six bicyclists. Distance to Watson Lake - 128 miles. At Watson Lake - fuel $1.36 per litre, 8 stitches in his head at $67.50 per stitch! Watson Lake back to Liard - 128 miles. Fuel at Contact Creek $1.33 per litre. Six black bears and six bison, five trucks and six cars going to Watson Lake and one car and two bicyclists heading towards Liard. Arrived back at Liard at 9.00pm. And you know what - he didn’t even have a headache!!! No brain no pain!!!!

I did manage to do some shopping in Watson Lake so we would have plenty to eat if the road wasn’t opened for a couple of days. Plenty of supplies were available (except milk- I got the last two litres of lactose free milk) as some of the produce trucks that were delivering to Whitehorse were stuck in Watson Lake and rather than let stuff go off they were making sure that the town was supplied. Thoughtful truckies!

Well we have heard today about the trucks going through tonight however it is raining once again at Liard which doesn’t promise good things as there are concerns with the Liard River, which was very high yesterday and had broken its banks in some places along the road and also, although Watson Lake is a fair way from here if they get more rain there may be further damage to the roads up there.

Mind you, if you had to get stuck somewhere I am absolutely certain there are far worse places to be stuck than Liard. The hot springs are just wonderful and Norm and I have spent a lot of time in them over the last three days. There is even a resident moose that likes to smooch around in a field just next to the boardwalk that goes to the springs.

Beautiful Liard Hot Springs.

We have all decided to stay here till Wednesday when we hope that there may be some room at the RV parks in Watson Lake (hopefully) where we will spend one night before heading further into Yukon Territory.

There is no wifi in the park here but I will try to get on at the lodge across the road to post this. If not it is going to have to wait till we are in Watson Lake.

We hope you are all staying well and happy and that all is right in your world.

Love and hugs from us.


PS No time to edit.  As at posting the road is open to trucks and maybe start the backlog of cars going through today.  Read about the storms back home - please stay safe everyone.
Pictures to come late as I am sitting in the lodge across the road from the park and hacking into their wifi.  Now off back to the park for breakfast and a soak in the hot springs - what a hard life!!!!!


  1. Very interesting reading of your adventures. We are coming along in August so sure hope things are much improved by then. Hope things become much more positive for you in the days to come.
    Thanks for sharing - love the animal counts and the fuel prices, very interesting. Joy

  2. Hope the weather improves for you so that you can relax and enjoy your holiday. What is going to be your furtherest point north? We are hoping for nice weather as some of our convoy members are sleeping in tents!! As you have probably heard we have had storms here in Perth and there has been quite a lot of damage. Many houses without power but fortunately we have been OK. It seems to have moved east now. Look forward to seeing your pics when you are able to upload them. Cheers Sandy