Driving Day 4: Whitehorse and Whitehorse to Watson Lake – 441.0km

As we woke up in Whitehorse the next day, the race was on to find the replacement components for the two broken chargers. How were we going to get these components shipped out to the depths of Yukon territory? Or would there be a chance to get the components in Whitehorse itself? The day commenced by calling every single electrics shop in the vicinity. The hope of buying them in Whitehorse itself disappeared pretty quickly as we realised that the components weren’t so easy to get hold of.

Soon we started calling shops much further afield even all the way to Vancouver (1600 miles away), but still could not find a shop with the component in stock. We realised that the only option was to get it shipped out from a trusted source back in the UK. But where do we get it shipped to? Whitehorse is the largest town within 3 days driving – should we wait there for it or try and get as many miles done with one only charger? In the end we compromised by getting the parts sent to a place 750 miles down the road, and all agreed it was best to get as many miles towards Vancouver done as possible.

Day 8 did not feel like a particularly productive day and the team were itching to get back on the road. However, one positive outcome of the day was the arrival of a biker called Greg. Greg offered to join the team between Whitehorse and Seattle and it’s great to have him with us. His versatility on the motorbike allows Claudio to capture some great shots, and also gives us an extra vehicle in which to whizz into town now and again for food supplies! So, welcome Greg!

In order for us to get as far south as possible on one charger, we needed an early start to day 9. A few hours sleep for the driving members of the team and we were up at 3am ready to roll south. Clear skies beckoned as we hit the road at the break of dawn. The SRZero was out in front with Claudio zipping around on the back of Greg’s motorbike getting all the right angles for the video footage. We were headed towards Watson Lake which was 273miles (438km) away. Watson Lake is situated at the junction between the continuation of the Alaskan Highway and the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. It was actually the first time we had the choice between two roads since the beginning of the trip in Alaska.

Even though we had many more exciting things going through our minds, certain factions of the team could not resist the Germany v Spain World Cup semi final which was on later that morning. So we set a firm pace into the morning sunrise.

A breakfast stop came at the little community of Teslin situated around the cast iron bridge over Teslin Lake. This provided an awesome environment for some more filming and photography. Claudio even spotted the first grizzly bear of the day down at the lakeshore. Not only the mountains and the vast forests, but especially the huge waterways of the Yukon and Mackenzie Rivers and their countless tributaries have been a highlight in the scenic driving we have done down from Alaska. Teslin Lake was another one of these beautiful waterways stretched so long it is almost a river.

On we convoyed towards Watson Lake when suddenly someone in the motorhome spotted a black furry ball moving around in the undergrowth just 25m away beside the road. In fact nearly all the highways have a border region beside the road which is cleared of trees – sometimes only a few metres wide, and other times up to 20m. This is consistent along the thousands of miles of road in this very vast and remote part of the world, and serves only one purpose; to make sure drivers aren’t surprised by wildlife jumping out onto the road! So out we jumped to take a closer look. It was exciting to get so close to a bear in the wild – nothing separating the bear from yourselves apart from 20m of grass. It hung around for a while making its way slowly along the edge of the forest, and after giving us a couple of interesting looks, the bear thought there would be tastier food elsewhere and decided to move on back into the bush.

But it was not long until we spotted another bear next to the road, this time a much larger grizzly! As we were driving at the time, we had just enough time to take some photos from the vehicle before it lumbered out of sight. But nevertheless, you truly got the feeling that you were out in pure untouched wilderness.

We arrived at our destination in the late morning, just in time to catch Spain’s winning goal against Germany. Despite half the team’s disappointment, we played our own not-so-friendly game of England vs. Germany…


6 Responses to “Driving Day 4: Whitehorse and Whitehorse to Watson Lake – 441.0km”

  • Nearchos Palas says:

    As you go to sleep an ecxiting day is dawning here in Madrid. Spanish flags are all over the city and there is no other discussion than football. The San Fermin traditional festival (Runninig with the Bulls)which takes place in Pablona, northern Spain) took its toll:One person died and 2 got injured.

    You guys would come across so much forests,green and water so you will start…. appreciating Sahara!

    Take care and watch out from the bears.

    Which team the group will be betting on tonight?

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    you seem to have reached a milestone by arriving at
    Watson Lake , from where you will have to “ limp ”
    onwards with some strategic choices , whether to follow
    Route 37 or Route 97 which have some significant detours
    around the Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park and
    the Northern Rocky Mountains Provincial Park which are as
    big as some political provinces elsewhere .
    However , the road surface and topographical conditions ,
    the distances between towns and services are going to
    presumably be the deciding factors , which Route to take
    until Prince George .
    Route 97 , while a longer detour seems to offer
    possibly more services and support since the satellite
    maps show a larger tapestry of farming lands which could
    imply more farming services and support and possibly road
    upgrades for better conveyance of produce .
    These type of decisions are probably adding value to the
    Great Adventure that you have undertaken .
    Hopefully the local people will be able to advise you the
    best route to follow .

    Wishing you all the best from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in windy sunny South Africa , where the people have reached
    fever pitch for the World Cup Football Finals between Spain
    and Netherlands tonight at 20H30 local South African time ,
    after Germany beat Uruguay 3 : 2 in an exiting match last night .

    The Cycling Tour de France is now starting to come in focus
    as the World Cup is winding down and the highs of 31 days of
    football are prompting people to ask what will they do when
    all the previous excitement has ended , Charles and friends .

  • Nearchos Palas says:




    Madrid is “burning” !!!!!!! Everybody is out celebrating! Flags,partying,dancing,singing, drinking beer…

    Hovering helicopters, amboulance sirens, car horns….

    Nobody is sleeping and nobody will be allowed to….

  • David Baker says:

    Hello Toby and the rest of RGE,

    I’m reading your blog with great interest,it makes for fascinating reading! I hope you and the rest of the team are enjoying your experience. I’m looking forward to meeting you all in Austin for a well earned stop over.

    All the best, from all at National Instruments UK

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    13th July 2010
    Dear RGET ,
    the photos are rapturously wonderful and words are
    inadequate . We cannot thank you enough !
    Perhaps-maybe it is an explanation and compensation
    for the missing daily reports about the progress and
    associated experiences .

    We hope that you have been able to resolve the charger
    unit debacle successfully , although some of us would
    like to know if possible how you did it .

    Wishing you all the best as you continue the great
    strides ahead , from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in a very very cold sunny South Africa , where there
    has been a big snow fall further down south in the
    little Karoo , Charles and friends .

  • Sylvia Schey says:

    You guys have the eyes of the world on you! We are following your exciting journey with great interest and the fact that you are doing something which has not ever been done before as far as we are aware, makes us very proud of your achievements. I would like to see a bit more of the reactions to the car from the people you have met.
    The London Scheys.

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