Saturday 26th July 10:00 p.m Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
No electricity! The backpackers hostel in Dawson is across the river from the town itself. There's no bridge, but a twenty-four hour ferry service. The town of Dawson is powered by a huge diesel generator, and there's no electricity across here. I would have thought it rather difficult to run a hostel without power, but it seems to work quite well. There's a couple fo outdoor sheds, with wood burning stoves, and the bathrooms are also wood powered. There's a stove in the bathroom with a tub of water above it. You mix the hot water with cold water from the tap to your own preference, then scoop it over yourself with a saucepan. The whole room is kept warm by the stove, so it's almost like a sauna. I was so impressed that I took a photo!

The hostel, as seen from town. Using the wood powered 'shower'.

Dawson is a quaint little place, kept that way by a council mandate. Any building in the downtown area must meet with the late 1800's/ early 1900's theme. They know where their bread's buttered, and although I'm sure many locals dread the summer influx of tourists, they all need the dollars that arrive with the coaches and RV's. The town is set up to provide the 'authentic' gold rush experience that tourists love. I couldn't help feel it was somewhat contrived, but charming nevertheless. Slightly less charming is the drink special at the local Sourdough Saloon. They call it the Sourtoe Cocktail. It is a shot of whisky, with a real human toe in the glass. You don't consume the toe; it is replaced in a jar of salt to preserve it for the next happy punter. If you don't believe me, do an internet search for 'sourtoe cocktail dawson'. Did I try it? Not a chance!

Dawson is built on permafrost, which begins just a few centimetres down. Buildings have foundations of planks resting on gravel and many show the seasonal effects of heaving.

The hostel was quite busy when I arrived, but as happened in Fairbanks, a lot of guests left over the next two days *starting to wonder if it's me* until it was a virtual ghost town when I left today. I did meet a couple of cool girls during my two days there, but spent a lot of my time with my maps and books spread out in front of me, planning the next stage of the trip. My friend Jodie would have laughed; she was always amused by how much time I spend plotting over maps, just to change my plans the next day!

Making plans. This little guy kept me company while I was doing my trip planning.

Dawson was the first place I had to pay for accommodation since I left Australia. The owner wasn't at all impressed with my offer to work off my stay. It cost $20 a night for a bunk in one of the cabins, and I couldn't afford to stay for long. This morning, I took off south to Whitehorse, in the hope that Roland and Wanda at the Wired Cabin internet cafe would let me stay for free in exchange for a few hours work. One lift saw me right to their door, and they seemed pleased to see me *maybe cause I still owe them a couple of hours work from last time* My signed ten dollar note is framed on the wall behind the counter- I was their first paying customer in these new premises two weeks ago! It's after 10:00p.m. and when the place closes at midnight, I start my work; painting the floor and doorframes, not in that order!

Skagway, Alaska is my next stop. My host there is coming to Whitehorse on Monday, and will pick me up on his way through. From there, I'll be ferrying down to Juneau and on down the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. You want a bit more detailed outline of my itinerary from there? Read below, but remember this is just a guideline; who knows what opportunities or problems could present themselves along the way?

->Nevada->Colorado....a big month, I know!

->Kentucky->Ohio.... I've realized it just won't be practical for me to be in New York for September 11th. It's a shame, but I just don't think it would work out.

->Pennsylvania->New York
->New York->New England
->New England->Nova Scotia, CANADA
->Nova Scotia->Ontario...from there it's a bit vague, but at some point I'll be trying for another stay in the States, taking in the east coast and the deep south, then across through Arizona to California and down to Mexico and beyond!

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