Day 16 (July 15): Whitehorse-Dease Lake

It was a great start to the day. Why, you may wonder?

Here is why.20160715_104446

They roast their own coffee and make outstanding espresso and Americano πŸ™‚

It was a lovely day to ride. Mostly sunny with a few sprinkles of rain but nothing serious.

Somewhere between the towns of Swift River and Rancheria, I crossed the Continental Divide (Arctic-Pacific).

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I made a small detour to Watson Lake. The thing that fascinates me about Watson Lake is the Signpost Forest. Here, see for yourself.

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Including the place where I was born πŸ™‚

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Here is how it started.

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This is the picture of Carl back in the day and a more recent one from 1990 with his wife when they celebrated the placement of the 10,000th sign.

He must me proud of the impact he made. The Signpost Forest is designed as an official Yukon Historic Site.

This is the official count.

It is simply unbelievable to see the official traffic signs and licence plates from all over the world hanging in the “forest”.

In addition to that, many people decided to custom make their own signs to mark the moment.

Can you believe that people brought full size traffic signs from Germany, Finland, Poland, etc.? Β And some of them are quite large.

The next interesting stop was the Jade Store on the Cassia Highway.

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It is much more than a store.

Grandpa Steve started the mining operation for this gemstone in the 70’s and then opened the retail store in 1985. His son took over the operation and now his three sons are running it with him.

I hade the pleasure of spending some time with Shaun, one of the three sons, and his wife Caring.

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Shaun is the third generation of the family involved in the business and he is hoping that two of his sons will continue as the fourth generation.

I learned that British Columbia produces some 90% of all the World’s jade and that this specific operation contributes 100’s of tons every year.

Shaun shows me how a high quality jade rock looks like. When it’s rough.

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When it’s polished.

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The hardness of jade is very high which makes it polish beautifully to revel a rich translucent shade of green.

Jade can rnge in colors from white to various shades of green and even black. Cutting the row jade rock leaves a layer of dust that makes the pieces look very dull. When you sprinkle a bit of water they light up into bright green.

In order to cut them they have to use saw blades with diamond tips.

Since 2015, Discovery Canada and Corus Entertainment are running an unscripted series named “Jade Fever” following the adventures of the family mining business in Jade City. The filming and shows are still going on.

An hour or so later the beauty of Dease Lake started to get my attention as I was riding alongside.

I finally arrived in Dease Lake town. Dease Lake has a population of just over 300 but to my surprise not a single mobile network. WiFi is everything I have for the next two days – and that’s only when I am in my hotel.

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There is an interesting car parked in the hotel parking lot. The gas stations are very sporadic here – it’s good to have a backup plan πŸ™‚

 

 

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