Day 45

14. June 2000, Rest day in Dawson City

Our rest day does not qualify as one: We have to drive around a loop in Bonanza Creek (were the first gold was found). The test is quite demanding as only seven cars manage to get zero penalty. To save weight, Karl decides that he is not going along, especially as part of the section is uphill. The regulations require one driver and one co-driver. We manage to clear the section with zero penalty but when Kaya, the navigator, saw the time on the official's clock, there were only two seconds left! We actually took one ten metre early (and wrong!) left turn on the section which, after 800 metres, took us up a plateau with an antenna - we decided that this could not be the route and made an immediate return, probably losing two or three minutes. After the test section we realize that the battery has not been charging and take it to a garage on the way back to Dawson City. While waiting for the battery to charge after switching the alternator, Sami tries his luck in panning for Gold in the river behind the garage and actually finds some gold! It is probably not even enough to buy a chewing gum but makes our day.
Dawson City is an idyllic small town which, although every second person on the street is a tourist, manages to keep much of its authenticity.

TC 128: Bonanza Creek Road OUT
TC 129: Bonanza Creek Road IN
36 18.20 km
TC 130: Bonanza Creek Road Start
TC 131: Bonanza Creek Road Finish
21 120.50 km

Overall 1 hour 11 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Moving house: The permafrost ground provides difficulties as it is a bad foundation.

Our hotel principal invites us to an outdoor barbecue. When it starts raining, we move to the catholic church common room. The priest of Dawson City encourages us that, after the dinner, we should move on to Diamon Tooth Gertie's, the local casino (?!?)

Bonanza Creek Road Start: The top-seeded cars get to start first.

Bonanza Creek Road: the ground is wet and soft. Dry gravel by itself would have been slippery, so we start taking lessons on how to do "controlled slides".

Dawson City certainly can claim to have atmosphere. Dawson City used to have 35,000 inhabitants, now it has a few thousand and is referred to as Dawson. Somehow, Dawson has managed to survive a century without changing much. All the buildings are old-style like these but it does not feel like Disney World, in a way it feels real - and people are real, too. Many of them having dreams of finding lots of gold but most of them never finding enough to even support them.


Getting friendly with the locals

This local hardware shop is not much help in case of a car breakdown, but we managed to install a new alternator at the local Esso garage. The coals of the old alternator were used up, probably by the desert sand, and we already have had too much trouble with it, so we put in the new one.

Bonanza Creek Road: some minutes of fog make it more difficult

In the valley of the Klondike flowing into the Yukon: All these stones and gravel were taken out to find gold and are now filling up the valley. Most of the gold was found around 1900 but the "rush" was over fast. "Dagobert Duck" or "Scrooge McDuck" famously made his first money here. Today, there still seems to be gold of some value around as one can see modern heavy mining machinery.

So how can Dawson City manage to survive in the middle of nowhere, in the far north (the furthest north we will get, with midnight sun and everything), without a bridge over the Yukon. There is tourism and the Canadian government has granted "Diamond Tooth Gertie's" the only license for a casino with alcohol and entertainment. It is not a big place, but a casino nevertheless and everyone knows who always wins in a casino - the owners, in this case the Dawson community.