We arrived in Whitehorse, YT the late evening of January 14, 2011 and stayed the night with the Doering family. Dom and their eldest son, Nate Doering were on the Nordic ski team at University of Alaska Anchorage back in 2000-2001. Almost 10 years had elapsed since Dom had seen the Doerings' so a reunion was in order.
Garry (aka"Yukon Garry") has served for 30+ years as an air traffic controller at the Whitehorse airport and his wife Maryanne is the assistant to Witehorse's mayor. They moved to the YT in the 1970's and have watched Whitehorse grow while raising their three children: Nathan (an aspiring physician), Michael (marketing and public relations for the YT government) , and their daughter (busy raising the first Doering grandchid).
The Doerings' welcomed us into their cozy home that can be heated by a wood-burning stove. After dinner we sampled a variety of superb microbrews crafted by the Yukon Brewing Co. ("Beer worth freezing for") and Yukon Garry's legendary homemade puffed wheat cakes for dessert--both well worth the drive from Anchorage.
We talked about a variety of topics including: gun control (Canada has strict laws), hockey (Canadians love to play it anytime and anywhere), gold mining (still an industry in YT), national holidays (Canada has some unique ones e.g. Boxing Day), and food (ketchup chips and French fries with gravy are national favorites). The 2010 Olympic gold-medal men's hockey final surfaced and was a sore subject for the Americans (Canada won in OT) but we managed to bridge the impasse in dialogue with more microbrew and puffed wheat cakes.
When they heard about our upcoming driving literary, the Doreings' asked us if we were racing back to Birmingham and advised us to slow down and tak'er easy--especially considering that the most challenging stretch of the ALCAN, 604 miles between Whitehorse and Ft. Nelson, was just ahead of us. They warned us what to look out and how to prepare for: black ice, isolated roads, whiteouts, and animals (bison and caribou mostly) crossing the highway. It was a long day and we were both ready for a good night sleep.