Faro is about the same size as Ross River, but quite a contrast. Martha Stewart has no fan base in Ross River. Faro has paved roads, and many houses that would not look out of place in lower suburbia. To be fair, Faro was until recently a prosperous mining town and had a population in the 1,000s. There are also a lot of empty houses in Faro, the population having shrunk to about 400. The Faro-ese are going after the eco tourism trade. There is a population of Dall sheep on the edge of town. There is a blind a few miles out where you can go to observe them. It was still drizzling and cold when I got there, and I suspect the sheep were all hiding in caves knitting sweaters for themselves. Whatever, I didn't see so much as a mutton chop.
After Faro the weather starts to improve, it is now sunny but still quite cool. Highway four follows the Yukon River to Carmacks, where it meets up with the Klondike highway that will take me to Dawson City. Along the way is a marker and a sign describing the Columbia Disaster. Click on the picture you will be able to read the story. It sounds like a plot for the three stooges or trailer park boys, except that people were killed.
Highway 4 from Faro to the Klondike highway is mostly all paved, which was a nice break after all the gravel. Just before I joined up with the Klondike highway I pulled off the road to have coffee from my thermos and a snack from my hoard of road food. As I was checking my by now very worn rear tire, I noticed a nail had buried itself into the treads. I pulled it out, and was greeted by the sound of air hissing. Oops. Fortunately I was prepared, having brought all the tools I needed to remove and replace a tire and a spare inner tube to replace the holy one. I always pack tire irons and spare tube on my travels, but had never had to use them, and was beginning to wonder whether I should lighten my load and leave that stuff behind.
It was easy to fix the tire, easier than installing the tire in my garage almost. No mosquitos in the garage and instead of an air compressor, I had to pump up the tire with one of those small hand held bicycle pumps. That took a bit longer.
By now I was cold and tired and looking for a place to stay. Watson Lake and Dawson City are popular tourist destinations, and finding accommodations can be a challenge, especially if you wait too long. I was still about 100 km from Dawson, and it was about 4 O'clock. I had been to Dawson before. It is a high end tourist trap. The upscale kind where they sell you hand made artifacts of natural materials instead of gaudy trinkets made of plastic, but still a tourist trap. About a ten to one ratio of stores selling overpriced souvenirs and hiking gear to regular store stuff.
As one approaches a popular tourist destination in the empty Yukon, road side motels start appearing about 100 km before you get there. The cabins at Moose Lodge are one such. A nice warm little cabin to yourself with battery powered lights and a propane stove. Just the ticket. After resting up take a walk and smell the flowers. Don't leave home without your mosquito repellent.
End Part 2 -to be continued.