Friday, April 26, 2013

A day in Dawson City

A short video of the time I spent in Dawson City during my trip to Alaska

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 16 - Dawson City - Part 2

At the end of my last blog entry I was standing on top of the dike facing the Yukon River.  This far north the days are so long, sunset is not until almost midnight, that you have lots of time for sightseeing. Dawson is a small town and basically you can walk around the entire town in a couple of hours.  I stood on the dike enjoying the scenery, the water flowing leisurely past me, and watched the ferry cross the Yukon River, the same ferry I will be taking tomorrow to continue my trip north and finally into Alaska.

I walked north along the dike towards the ferry and the Klondike Spirit, a side-wheeler paddle steamer.  The Spirit is a new boat, is not a real steamer but diesel-hydraulic powered, that takes tourist on cruises up and down the Yukon.

Nearby was a stern-wheeler but this one no longer floats

My next stop was at the Monte Carlo gift store where I bought a drink and a souvenir for my daughter. Nearby was a private workshop.  Since all construction in Dawson must  follow a standard look, I'm sure this guy does good business.

Next was the Northwest Territories Visitor Center where I  had the opportunity to see old items from the gold rush era and read about the town's history.  Center stage was one of the dredges used to mine gold along the Yukon.

I wouldn't mind having this little cabin, loved how the grass is growing on the roof.  Nearby was a very old building, most likely a bank, that is in desperate need of repairs.

Time to continue the tour.   I pass the beautiful "The Bunk House" hotel and various other stores.

My next stop was at the Lowe's Mortuary, a building with an interesting story.  The log-cabin was a "Ladies furnishings" and "Fancy Goods" stores, whatever that means, followed by three undertakers.  The Lowe's Mortuary, chapel and furniture business operated here between 1906 and 1921.  I studied the instruments with curiosity and wondered about the "Dominion Peerless Cavity Fluid".  Filling cavities with fluid is not something I would want to do.

I continue my tour passing the Palace Grand Theater and another building with a beautiful mural on the side of the building.

I saw a group of tourists with a guide heading towards an old bank, I quickly joined them and snuck in with the group unnoticed.  These pictures are the inside of an historic bank.

Time to relax with an ice cream.

Some of the other buildings around town.

Beautiful home
The Dawson Daily News
Royal Canadian Legion
Whatever this is, it needs repairs

Dawson City Museum - It was closed
The Yukon Rose

And finally the "Flora Dora Hotel", look careful at the windows, I enlarged it so you can see it better.  Not sure I would want to stay here.  It might have a few leaks on the roof.

It was time for dinner and I have no idea where the other three guys are.  I walk to the center of the town and find the Billy Goat's Restaurant and Pub.  On the left is the Drunken Goat Taverna, I head for the pub area on the right.  Who would have thought I would have dinner in a Greek restaurant this far north.

My delicious dinner and genuine Yukon beer
The old bearded guy was recounting old Yukon tales, surreptitiously I set the camera on timer, set it on the table and continue having my meal while the camera snaps a picture of the three men. 

My table from across the room.   I had my back facing Marilyn Monroe and to my left was a Québécois lady (from Quebec) drawing beautiful colored pencil portraits of people. I spoke with her briefly, she told me she had moved to Dawson City recently and loved the slow pace of this tourist town.

The famous Rat Pack
As I left the restaurant I saw this little girl playing in the mud, oh what fun it is to be young with no worries in life.

I finally meet up with Paul, who was wondering around town by himself, and we both head to the famous Downtown Hotel for a beer.  This is the place where every year the Dust 2 Dawson riders meet.  If you don't know what the D2D meet is about, there's an interesting story, read it on the ADV website here.

We stop at the steps of the hotel to talk to an old guy and his dog.  The dog decided he had had enough of the conversation and decides to lay down and enjoy the afternoon warmth from the sun.

We sat at the bar having a beer while an old guy played old songs from the Yukon gold rush era on an old piano.  For me it was a magical moment, all around me was history, the old wooden bar, the old fashioned saloon doors, the old piano, the old one eyed dog laying on the steps of the hotel, I got a lump in my throat just listening to the old tales.  It was the most amazing time of my life. It was at that moment that I made a promise I would return to Dawson and attend the Dust 2 Dawson event.  My plan is to do it in 2014.
I will post a video of the guy playing the piano next.

I walk to the main entrance of the hotel and it's like stepping back in time, to an era of gentleman, cowboys and gold diggers, ladies and Can-Can dancers.  I loved the decoration on the inside of the hotel.

Reluctantly I leave the hotel, it was late but the sun was still up high in the sky.  Paul heads straight to the campsite but I take one more walk around the empty town and eventually make my way back to the corner of Fifth Ave and York Street where our campsite is.

There's no one up, I look at the time, it's almost midnight and I'm not sleepy.  I decide to take a quick shower and on the way pass this interesting bus/hotel.  I had never seen one of these, interesting concept.

After a quick shower I head to my tent, I feel I'm in a ghost town, not a sound or person around but it's still day, the sun is up, an eerie feeling descends upon me, I enter my tent and lay down on my inflatable mattress.  I fall asleep thinking about tomorrow's ride, crossing the ferry and ride along the "Top of the World Highway".

More to come......