Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yukon Trip 2009 - Day 12 Part 2 - Klondike Highway

After a quick lunch we were back on the road and had only gone a few kilometers when we noticed a tour bus off in the distance - not an unusual sight! but what was unusual was that this bus appeared to have turned off the highway, and then backed up....and was now stuck right across the highway.
The bus had been coming from the north, and just a few kilometers back from this spot was a resort where Tour buses usually made their lunch stop. Obviously, the driver had missed the turn off to the resort (it really wasn't that well marked), and had decided to turn around at the first available spot. The silly part is, that the side road he had attempted to turn in, opened up into a big flat gravel pit so he could have simply driven in there and driven around, but instead chose to just pull into the side road, then back up, but unfortunately, he backed up too far so the rear tires were now down the embankment on the side of the highway.

We were first on the scene from the south side and pulled off into the side road. A semi was next on the scene and the driver of the semi figured he could probably pull the bus out, so we moved aside (you can see how big an open area there was and this wasn't even the gravel pit) while the semi pulled into the side road, drove around in a circle in the gravel pit (like the bus should have!) and positioned itself to tow the bus. In the meantime all the passengers were asked to disembark and move back to a safe position, and of course, by this time, traffic was building up on either side of the bus....especially from the southern end.

The semi tried but, by this time the rear tires of the bus were worn smooth from futile attempts and were now firmly packed right against the asphalt of the highway. So after the failed attempt the driver of the semi, who was headed to Inuvik and whom we would later see again on the Dempster highway, managed to sneak past the front of the bus, albeit with a few wheels balanced in mid-air....and continue on his way. Ernie then figured that if a semi could get by, so could we....I held my breath, but we did squeak past....ONLY because both the semi and we were in that side street - an option not now available to others as the attempt to tow the bus had shifted it's position so it partially blocked the entrance.

While the men were busy trying to figure out how to move the bus, I amused myself taking pictures of what I could find growing in the area. Tufted Jacob's Ladder.......

including a less common white form......

This interesting thing that I haven't been able to find in my books, but that I think must be a type of Plantain.

This has to be a type of Saxifrage.....

and this, a variety of Chickweed or Long-podded Sandwort (at least according to the Wildflowers of the Yukon book I'm using)

We're going to be seeing a lot of yellow daisy type flowers in the next while. This one, is, I think, Alpine Arnica.
Felt slightly guilty as we sailed off down the road, leaving a bunch of bewildered bus passengers standing in the hot sun, at the side of the road. We learned later that police arrived on the scene in a timely fashion (they are stationed at Carmack's, to the south of the incident, and also at Pelly's Crossing which is a bit to the north). Road crews that were working not too far away were called and they created a temporary road around the nose of the bus so that traffic could continue on, one lane at a time. The bus driver had been taken to the lodge where he was supposed to be having lunch and where there were a number of other drivers...and one assumes an empty bus would have been sent to pick up the stranded passengers - although how it would turn around I'm not sure. The bus itself was there for a quite a while. A crane was sent for in Whitehorse.....240 km away.

We learned part of this while talking to a couple at this viewpoint, which over looks Pelly Crossing. This couple had had a small car, so could get around the bus, and they had taken the driver to the lodge.

Back underway again and making progress, we went through the community of Stewart crossing, now 340 km from Whitehorse. Another typical road side floral scene......

a quick stop to view the Stewart River, very swollen and muddy. The Stewart River flows into the Yukon River.

Moose Creek Lodge afforded another short break. There is a gift shop and restaurant here as well as a B & B. Think I was most thrilled to see chickens roaming around - I do miss having chickens!

There were some interesting artifacts and works of art scattered around, including this 'Mosquito'!

Off 428 km from Whitehorse, this is Gravel Lake where there was a large rest area. As it was now past the dogs usual suppertime, we stopped to feed the dogs and make ourselves a fortifying cup of coffee.

another great sign, located at this rest stop, explaining the importance of the lake......

and yet another.....
now onto the third and final part for this day, the 3rd of June.

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