Day 47

16. June 2000, Whitehorse to Watson Lake

This morning there was a sudden announcement that there will be two test sections today instead of one. Both are on the same road, one directly after the other so that the navigator, Kaya, has to jump out of the car, get a stamp, jump in again. Sami has to drive the test for more than two hours with full concentration while Karl is giving us support in the back. One time on the test we thought we would lose control of the car in an S-curve but Sami steers back and forth and stabilizes the car. Others are not so lucky: On the road we see Claude's Mercedes SL with a puncture (he has had five already, three in America!) and some time after TC 143 we see the Dutch Porsche off the road! The crew is fine though. The Dutch Porsche has had some problems recently with their car, so that they lost some time, falling from second place to somewhere behind us (which moves us into sixth rank). We also hear that the green Chevrolet (41) and one Austin-Healey got off-road. This evening, many people are doing repairs on their cars and tomorrow, we have the longest section of our route so far! After tomorrow, we continue with more tests, our team is wondering whether the rally officials are not overdoing it and making it too tiring for all drivers. We have no problems as our car has three drivers but the whole atmosphere at the moment has gotten very competitive and at the same time many are getting frustrated and tired of the rally. But the pace is bound to change as we get to the U.S. as there will be less opportunity to do "tests" in populated areas.

TC 140: Whitehorse OUT
TC 141: Johnson Crossing IN
50 128.12 km
TC 142: Johnson Crossing OUT
TC 143: Canol Road IN
03 (one minute penalty) 105.62 km
TC 144: Canol Road OUT
TC 145: Ross River IN
25 113.69 km
TC 146: Ross River OUT
TC 147: Watson Lake IN
26 367.00 km

Overall 1 hour 11 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

The drive from Johnsons Crossing to Ross River is 226 km. The street had been built during the second world war to support a pipeline guaranteeing American oil supplies. The project was a financial desaster but the road remains. Considering the warning signs we were not surprised to see no car on the road.

The road to Ross River is gravel, very windy and goes up and down. The rally office decided to split up the road into two tests, right after each other.

Johnsons Crossing: An RV (recreational vehicles) pulls a car behind it. A common scene because once the RV is connected to all supplies (gas, electricity, water) in an RV park, the car is used as dingy or tender boat, driving to supermarkets etc.

Roberto from Roma, Italy (in the red top) is being helped by Peter from the sweep team. Many cars are being repaired tonight and the longest section of the rally is scheduled for tomorrow: 840 km


Waiting for the test

The photo of the road from Ross River to Watson Lake looks similar to the test before, but it is actually a lot wider, less slippery and mostly straight sections where speed can be gained, but the speed requirements for the rally on this section are low (around 60 kph) as the tests are done and this is "our drive home". There is more traffic on this street (on the whole route maybe two dozen cars) and we have to watch out for our windscreen. Gravel from other cars has already split our screen and there are many small holes. I have not seen a single rally car without windscreen damage.

We never see any bears and the animals we do see on the side of road speed by too fast. So, when it comes to wildlife photography, we have to do with sleeping dogs.

With Watson Lake, we conclude our tour of the Yukon Territory with the third-largest city (1,652 souls) after Whitehorse, Dawson. Needless to say, there is not much to see other then the "Sign Post Forest" with signs from all over the world. Presumably they are mostly stolen, so I can't get too enthusiastic about it.