Friday, July 17, 2015

Aged to Perfection

Before arriving in Dawson, we had no idea what to expect aside from the fact that in its heyday, during the Klondike Gold Rush, it was one of the most advanced cities in the Americas and the largest one east of Winnipeg and North of Seattle.  We also heard something about a cocktail with a human toe in it.  More on that to come.

We've been sorely disappointed in the past when arriving in mining ghost towns to find the only general store is closed, the motel is missing its roof and all the residents look like they haven’t seen newcomers in years.

Luckily I didn’t actually need to drink my sorrows away

Well Dawson was a wonderful surprise.

That’s not our ferry, that’s an old functioning paddle wheeler… There’s our ferry

The local government and Parks Canada have done an amazing job restoring a lot of Dawson’s old charm and they have many programs and activities to showcase it.

Some of the restored buildings in Dawson

Doing a tour of Robert Service’s cabin with readings of his poetry by a period dressed Parks worker

They also seem to leave certain things in an appealing state of disrepair.

Visiting the remains of a paddle wheel graveyard on the Yukon, just downstream from Dawson

Then there’s the entrepreneurs:

The folks running Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall put on three great shows every night, progressing in modernity and scandalousness as the evening wore on.

Dancing girls at Gertie’s

David even got pulled on stage!

Capt. “River Rat” Dick has made his fortune off an old preserved toe.  He sells silly tourists like us memberships to the “Sourtoe Cocktail Club”.  To join costs $5 and a strong stomach.  You get a shot of Yukon Jack and Dick places the toe in your glass.  Then he tells you “drink it fast or drink it slow, any way you drink it your lips gotta touch the toe”.  Just when you think you’re done, he picks up the toe, squeezes the remaining liquid into your glass and says “don’t forget  the toe jam”…

Details on the toe

Toe prep

Down the hatch

Lastly, and quite importantly, is the food.  Dawson has several really good restaurants we indulged in.  Our favourite was Klondike Kate’s.

Needless to say, we think Dawson City is aged to perfection.  Hopefully all the fun and food we had here will fuel us through the next leg of our journey; over 800km of remote riding on the Dempster Highway.  The next time you hear from us, we’ll be in Inuvik!