Our Alaska Caravan continues – a stop at Watson Lake.
As we continue the press towards the 49th State, we did an overnight stop in Watson Lake. Making slow, steady progress towards the Canadian/US border.
Watson Lake was built – as many Canadian towns were – on the back of the Alaskan -Canadian Highway. Located at Mile 635 on the Alaskan Highway and named for Frank Watson, an American born trapper and prospector. Mr Watson settled in the area at the end of the nineteenth century.
When the US entered World War II a road connecting the Lower 48 to Alaska was required to provide a overland supply route – due to the threat of invasion by the Japanese – who had landed in the Aleutian Islands. The route was modified to service the airfield sites selected under the Northwest Staging Route program.
The road was designed to intentionally avoid long straight-aways which would jeopardize long supply convoys from staging air attacks.
The conditions were unimaginable – and perhaps helped the constructions crews (consisting of both Military and civilian support) – finish the job in an amazing 8 months. Eight Months!
Today, in addition to serving as the key transportation, communication and distribution center for mining and logging activities in the area, the town serves as a major tourist center and stop-over for Alaskan Highway travelers.
We stumbled on this duo – well, right now a trio – with this little dude joining in on vocals. Live music after a farmer’s market!
The town is now known for it’s signpost village – started by a member of the Military. Homesick for his native land, he hung a sign to assuage the loneliness. This stated a tradition of visitors through the town – hanging a sign with their name and hometown. Signs now total over 80,000 and growing.
We watched this cute Mennonite couple hang their sign – crafted from a wash basin (actually, their were quite a few wash-basin signs). They were traveling to Alaska in a small Toyota – on their Honeymoon!
We also came upon this cute little church – the sign outside read built by “The Pastor and the Congregation” – no names or dates. The metal roof was added recently by the townspeople.
Our stay for the night was as Nugget City – Baby Nugget RV park. The further North we travelled, the closer the RV sites become. Canada is a BIG country – just no BIG RV sites.
Our caravan mates queued up and ready for the night.
And the road ahead…
We continue onto Teslin and further into the Yukon Territory..