After a sound nights sleep, we woke the morning of January 15th, happy to see that the temperatures had warmed UP to -20 degree F!! The plan was to push on South down ALCAN although this was on of the few days we did not have a solid plan regarding where we would layover for the night.
After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee with "a wee bit of eye-opener"(i.e. amaretto) we said goodbye to the Doreings' and headed off to check out downtown Whitehorse, YT before heading south.
We left Whitehorse, YT sometime around noon and drove the rest of the afternoon/evening. The stretch of road between Whitehorse and Watson Lake was supposed to be pretty dangerous this time of year so we elected to take our time and enjoy the Yukon sights and scenery. A couple hours after it got dark, we decided to spend the night in Liard Hot Springs, BC and checked into the Laird Hotspring Lodge (mile post 497).
The rooms are normally around $150/night for double occupancy however the innkeeper gave us a $20 discount on our room because it’s door didn’t lock. We were too tired to care and the room was clean, comfortable and warm.
The other folks staying at the lodge were members of a work crew operating a gravel pit further up the hwy. Their heavy duty mud-stained 4x4 pick-up trucks were neatly parked and already “plugged in” – just like horses hitched to the saloon rail in Western movies—when we pulled up to the lodge around 8pm.
After checking into our room, we drove over to the Laird Hot Springs around 9pm. The hot springs is the second largest in Canada and a popular year-round destination. As we walked the board walk into the springs we noticed a trucker--soaking and sipping coffee after a long day on the road. Although it was -20 F and lightly snowing, the water was warm (~108 F)—heated by an unspecified geothermal source. After soaking for 30-40 minutes, we made a mad dash back to changing hut and then quickly scurried back to the Jeep. The reality of the trip had started to set in, we were 1000 miles from Wasilla, AK at the heart of the ALCAN and it would be another two days before we reached the US Border. Exhausted we crashed out for a couple hours with the plan to wake around 6am and continue past Muncho Lake and onto Dawson Creek, BC.