Tuesday, May 31, 2016
We don’t sleep well in strange places and our lives are a bit topsy-turvy right now. It was not a good night. We were groggy all day.
We got to the Freightliner, talked with our new neighbors and went inside when it opened. We told the manager our story and he asked Andrew to look at our problem. And, he went right to work. Of course, Gary’s work and analysis was the key.
The manager then called Good Sam, or actually, the insurance company they use for our extended care insurance, gave an estimate for the parts and labor and Good Sam turned us down. Huh? Why? Well, the fan motor that failed had 4 bolts that sheared off and Freightliner is not putting that part in any more because it breaks. They now put in a 5-bolt part. Ah, Good Sam calls that an ‘update’, a new part. They will pay for a replacement of the old part if it breaks, which ours did not, or for 4 new bolts to replace the 4 that sheared off so we can put in the old part. But, our deductible is way more than 4 bolts so they will pay nothing.
I’m not kidding. In fact the guy at the other end of the line got quite testy with Gary when Gary was asking about this policy and explaining how we were at the side of the road with a busted fan motor.
But, if we put 4 bolts in again, it will break again.
'Nope, we don’t pay for updates.'
And, that was that - he was so dug into his position that we knew there was no hope. He could have said: Hey, I can’t approve this because this is what the policy says. But, here’s the Good Sam number and you can appeal this. Nope, not his style. No, and I mean NO.
OK, here we are, this part costs $1500 and then we have to pay labor. We’ve paid our insurance premiums for 8 years on this policy and this is the treatment we get. Hmmm.
Obviously we will appeal.
So here we are: Stuck down here in Whitehorse with the Fairbanks blues again. With apologies to Bob Dylan.
Monday, May 30, 2016
We had some time to wait so were in the clubhouse doing e-mails and other things. I was taking picturs with this camera but Gary was having a hard time figuring out how to download the pictures.
We pack up the RV and get it ready for rolling down the road. The tow truck comes about 2:00, parks, then rolls the back 3 axles to the middle of the flat bed, lowers the flat bed, hitches the winch to the back axle of the RV and pulls the RV onto the flat bed. Then he rolls those 3 back axles to the end of the flat bed and is ready to roll. But first, Amanda has some warm ginger cookies and a sandwich for him. Funny, he’s been here before. This campground is almost to the end of the worst stretch of the Alaska Highway, right when people are really tired of dirt, rocks, construction, pilot cars and all. Not only are they happy to see a nice campground, some of them, like us, need a tow.
Actually, Gary thinks that Andrew didn't use a winch but pulled it on himself. Andrew is all muscle, all power. And, a soft-spoken guy.
Andrew told us that he was going to stop at his home for night and wouldn’t drop off the RV at the Freightliner til 8:00 so we get a motel in Whitehorse.
We head out and he follows. He even comes up behind us while we are waiting for a pilot car.
But we finish eating and get back on the road. We missed this bridge on the way out but walk across it on the way back.
Then we get a call. Andrew, the tow truck driver, is already at the lot, dropping off our car. Oops, can we cancel that motel? Fat chance. Nope, we’re stuck. But we hit the Freightliner to check it our. Another couple, there with their RV waiting for parts and repairs, shows us the electrical outlet and we plug in for the night and head on to the Days Inn.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
We don our raincoats and head for the walk to the office. Very pleasant office/clubhouse/wi-fi hot spot. This RV park is somewhat in the middle of nowhere but the owner is very conscientious in making it quite special. There is no cell phone service but there is a dial telephone. She has a diesel generator to generate the electricity for the park, she has an artesian well and has to have the water tested regularly. And, I’m sure that she has to have a tanker truck come to pump our her sewage system. But, there is an grass airstrip with a windsock and planes do land here.
She knows the phone numbers of those who live locally, she knows who goes to Whitehorse (240 miles away) on Mondays and she knows who to call is she needs help.
We waled around the property where she has some old equipment from the building of the Alcan Hwy.
But the lodge is really nice. Look at this cozy room.
Great views from outside.
Later, we took our daily walk down the road, Gary banging some rocks together and I was singing and talking loudly. Then we saw a dirt road begging us to follow it. But, it’s eerie going down a dirt road through the trees when you know there are bear around. I’m singing and talking loudly, Gary’s knocking his rocks together, or is it his knees?
Saturday, May 28, 2016
or the muffin?
When you drive throuh an area with a lot of wildlife and you see several cars stopped on the road, you know you should stop because there’s something to see. This is a grizzly jam. A mother with her two cubs just munching along the roadway, playing and them ambling on.
Well, then, how do you explain this? This grizzly just munched along, looked up at us and them ambled over the highway and into the grasses on the other side. Not intimidated at all and certainly not scurrying out or our paths. Let me think about this - next time we hike.
Again, we had nice views for our journey today. Sometimes sunshine, sometimes showers, and sometimes rain.
We are waiting for the pilot car to take us through the construction. When we came up, we stopped at the red light but we saw the group just right up ahead. Oh, shucks, we wanted to join them rather than wait 20 minutes or so but, we had a red light so stopped like good doobies. Note that automation is putting flaggers out of of job. Even flaggers.
We unhook the Jeep, but since the road is so rocky, when we see cars coming, we run to the other side of the car and cover our faces so the cars don’t fling a stone or rock at us. When all is clear, we get back to work. I know that there is a nice RV park just a few miles down the road and take the Jeep to check it our. Yes, very nice, and they have a space for us: nice long pull-through close to the entry so we can make it.
I get into the Jeep, get to the top of driveway and see Gary just a ways down. I park the Jeep and begin to walk towards him. I haven’t had a chance to walk today and here it is. I walk bit and then realize: BEAR COUNTRY, I HAVE NO PROTECTION, I’M ALONE. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. And I head back to the Jeep, get in and drive down. Gary’s just waiting for the motor to cool enough for him to drive some more. It does and he drives into our site, helped by the little slope at the top of the campground driveway.
And, here we are. Now what? We are in the middle of nowhere, how are we going to get this fixed? How are we going to get it to a repair shop? And, where in the world is the closest repair shop?
Of course I can’t get over shutting our blinds at 10:30 to go to bed when it’s bright daylight out.
Others can’t either, they’re out taking a walk.
Friday, May 27, 2016
One of the first things we did was to get our window patched. We didn’t want it to get any worse.
Then we went into town, walked along a marvelous path which lined the Yukon River.
We also toured the paddle wheeler, Klondike, they have as a reminder of the founding of Whitehorse. It was the largest sternwheeler on the upper Yukon River. Sternwheelers ere used on the Yukon in the late 1860’s on to supply the towns up river with goods and and to carry the ores back down to Skagway via trail from Whitehorse. It also carried passengers. The Klondike itself was built in 1929 and used as an ore hauler until it was holed and sank in 1936. It was rebuilt the following winter using the same superstructure and machinery salvaged from the wreck. It was relaunched and continued to carry passengers and goods until 1955 as the last sternwheeler in existance.
Inside the main deck of the ship are piles of goods that were needed upriver to last through the winter.
Lots of liquor and beer.
It also carried lots of empty ore bags that HOPEFULLY were going to be used to bring the ore back down the river.
The crew quarters were open for us to see.
But the passenter quarters of both first class and second class were not open since they had some questions about the stability of the upper deck. But here’s Nancy playing quoits on the upper deck.
During the 7 1/2 months of winter when the boats were not running the boat companies hired workers to go up and down the river cutting trees down, piling the wood so that the boats would have fuel to make it up the river in the summer. Here’s a deckhand loading the wood on to the ship. He may look small but he is nothing but a powerhouse. That wood is not light.
It is a stern wheeler - guess why. There are two rudders because the draft is so shallow that a large deep rudder could not be used.
When the bought the Klondike and had to move it through town to get it to the spot on the river where they wanted to display it, they had to tow it through town. What a sight that must have been. (Gary and I have seen a 3-story apartment house being towed through the streets of Des Moines and that was fun to watch.) Moving the Klondike took 12 people 3 weeks using 3 bulldozers. They also used 8 tons of Palmolive Princess soap flakes, slighly dampened, to help the process. Made the boat move more easily through the streets.
Fun visit and an educational way to learn about Whitehorse. But we’re not done.
We walked around town and saw this interesting home.
We visited the airport where they have the world’s largest weather vane. We were reading about it when we both heard a creak. We looked up and, sure enough, it was turning. It really IS a weather vane.
Nice campground here.
Tomorrow we move on.