On July 31st, 2014, after being on the road for at least 10 days, Gerald and I made it to the Yukon Territories!
The first town we came across after crossing the border was Watson Lake and the first thing I saw was Watson Lake Cemetery. I can’t tell you why I’m drawn to cemeteries but they’ve always been a bit fascinating for me. No other animal marks the grave of their family and friends – it’s such a human thing to do and speaks to our need to remember and be remembered. Gravestones declare, “I was here, I lived” in the same way that photographs do and that really resonates with me.
We stopped for lunch at Bee Jay’s Cafe – a small shop with the biggest dog I have seen. He would either peer at you from behind tables covered in plastic red and white checkered table cloths, wagging his tail, or would be passed out in front of the cash register with a happy grin. We ate fish burgers and french fries and then continued on our way.
Moments later, we arrived at another site of memory: Sign Post Forest.
How it came to exist is a romantic story, really. In 1942, a man named Private Carl K. Lindley, a member of the US Army of Engineers was in the Yukon to help build the Alaska Hwy. He was injured on the job and went to the Army Aid Station in Watson Lake to recuperate. He was wildly homesick and to remind him of his hometown he posted a “Danville, Illinois” sign on a tree where he worked. This gesture caught on and people from all over the world began leaving signs from their places of origin there and slowly but surely the Sign Post Forest was built. There are over 72,000 signs there now.
Gerald and I didn’t bring a sign from home but we were determined to add to the forest’s collection on our way back. On our way back down from more northerly adventures we stopped to buy a license plate in a tourist shop in Dawson’s City, Yukon and scribbled on it in permanent black marker, “Gerald and Giulia’s Cross Canada Road Trip – 2013 – 30 Days from Toronto, ON to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT – We miss our dog Meatball!! <3”
August 05, 6:15 pm, Gerald and I made a second stop at the Sign Post Forest and posted our sign. The collection grew to 72, 001. ❤