Friday, July 02, 2010

Road Trip 2010: Days 18
Watson Lake to Teslin

Sunday, June 27
Watson Lake to Teslin

The trip from Watson Lake to Teslin proved uneventful—and short. Once more it was drizzling when we started out but the rain didn’t last long and, after washing all the mud gathered on the Tundra and trailer from the road construction late the day before, the rain diminished to nothing. Heck, the sun even made an appearance late in the day.

We saw no animals other than the frequent Raven. They seem to appear in family groups of four. But the scenery was spectacular. (That’s going to become a daily proclamation!)

Along the road to Teslin

Along the road to Teslin

Pyramid Mountain on the road to Teslin
(Hard to figure
that name!)

We ended our day at the Yukon Motel & Lakeshore RV Park just past the north end of the Nisultin Bay Bridge, which, at 1917 feet long, is the longest water span on the Alaskan Highway.

Nisultin Bay Bridge

Having parked our rig and unhitched, we did some grocery shopping at the Nisutlin Trading Post and then drove a short distance up the road to visit the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre and the George Johnson Museum, both of which were well worth the trip.

The Teslin Tlingit are interior residents and live differently than those Tlingits on the coast. The Heritage Centre details some of their traditions and way of life.

Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre totem poles.

George Johnston was a Tlingit who lived in the Teslin area during the first half of the 20th Century. He was well known for his trapping and fishing ability and also his innovative ways. His skill in photography has preserved much of the Tlingit culture and ways before the Alcan Highway was built.

George Johnson Museum

George is also known for having brought the first automobile, a 1928 Chevrolet, to Teslin despite the complete lack of any road. He hired out the task of clearing three miles of roadway through the woods and proceeded to sell rides in his taxi at $3 a pop. (You could work off some of the payment by helping to maintain and lengthen the road.) During the winter, George had the entire length of the frozen Teslin Lake as his road and he took full advantage of it. Every winter he painted his car white so as to be able to sneak up on the animals while hunting. And every summer he would again painted a dark color. When he returned the car to the dealership in 1960 it didn’t have a dent in it but it sure had a many coats of house paint! That faithful auto has been carefully restored and is on display in the museum.

George Johnston's winter highway: Teslin Lake and beyond.

Back at our rig, we decided to eat at the restaurant and visit the little Yukon Wildlife Gallery next door before turning in for the night.

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