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North to Alaska - Full Version - Day 7 (May 23)

Sunday, May 23 - 8 AM: Left Fort Nelson on a roller coaster road (caused by freezing and thawing tundra underneath the roadbed), passed snowy mountain vistas and stopped at the Toad River Gas Station ($83.76, Canadian) where there was a large, interesting baseball hat collection and a huge grizzly bear carcass completely filling the back of a pickup truck outside. Even dead, it was scary. Later we saw mountain sheep, deer, a moose, mountain goats and a sign, "Watch for Buffalo on Road," though no buffalo. Since Monday was the "Canadian Day" holiday we had been advised not to try to stop at Liard Hotsprings Campground because it would be packed with locals. We crossed the Liard (French for poplar) River Suspension Bridge, 1143 feet long, the only remaining suspension bridge on the Alaskan Highway, and continued to Watson Lake (only 136 more miles) thus gaining a day on our schedule. We saw several black bears loafing by the roadside.

We reached the Downtown RV Park (very nice, with large, clean restrooms and showers) at 2:45. Later we visited the famous Signpost Forest containing more than 58,000 signs with place-names from all over the world. The local visitors center showed another film on building the Alaskan Highway and The Northern Lights Center showed 2 films, one about myths and beliefs concerning auroras (northern lights), and another titled, "How Big is Big?" (the universe). Then Margaret walked along the marsh boardwalk at the edge of Lake Wye while Ben and Garrett looked at photos stored in the laptop and Sherrila did laundry.