Cruising Canada’s Klondike in a motorhome

Former AFL player and radio and TV presenter Peter "Spida" Everitt shares his Klondike travel diary with Citro. Spida and his family explored Canada’s sprawling wilderness and wildlife in a motorhome (also called an RV - or recreational vehicle).

By Peter "Spida" Everitt

Driving the Klondike region around The Yukon River is beautiful, especially in Autumn when the leaves change colour.

Our drive, like nearly every day in Canada, delivers plenty of wildlife. From the caribou and bison to a couple of lonesome bears. Remember that the wildlife have the right of way! I have never seen wildlife so up close and personal in their natural habitat as here in Canada.

Canada is best seen by taking your own RV - also called a recreational vehicle - and exploring it with ease.  The RVs in Canada are brilliant, fully equipped and super spacious. We chose the biggest we could. We travelled with 4 adults and 1 child and we were never cramped in.

The mighty Yukon is the second-least populated territory in Canada, but its motto is that it’s larger than life and that certainly rings true.  Our first stop is in Dawson City, which was only accessible by ferry as we came from the north. This added yet another exciting experience into our jam-packed itinerary.

No matter how big your rig, they all fit on the ferry, which is free and only takes a few minutes – but a very interesting fact to note, this fast flowing deep river actually freezes over in winter and the big trucks drive across it.

The seasons in Canada are harsh. Winter is extremely cold and it is not advised for anyone other than hardened locals to visit during this season. The river completely freezes and temperatures drop to minus 50 degrees farenheit, with a wind chill factor even lower. But throughout May to early October, this is a fantastic holiday region.

We call Gold Rush campground our home for a few days, located right in town and in easy walking distance to absolutely everything. One point to remember, Canada is superb with their RV Park locations so never fear that you will have to walk too far from your park to get to everything you need to. In Dawson City the Gold Rush Campground is right in town with just a 5-minute walk to the main street.

The first port of call is the Dawson City information centre which has a whole host of information and even an interactive light display showcasing the entire region. You can even try on an original Inupiat jacket! It’s very heavy but I guess it has to be when temperatures in this area fall so low. You can feel the warmth in the jacket almost immediately after putting it on.  The Dawson City locals are very friendly and welcome you with open arms, with the tourist trade during May to October a main source of income for many.

Dawson City is a colourful Canadian visit.

The First Nation People are the most interesting and intriguing Indigenous people you will discover. Next stop was to stop at the Tr’ondek Hwech’in Cultural Interpretive Centre, which showcases early life and history for these remarkable people.   I was hungry for more information about the First Nation People so we asked a local man by the name of Tommy who is a very famous First Nation local born and raised right here in Dawson City if he would take us on a tour of this area.

Tommy shows us a summer fishing village and his remarkable salmon-catching contraption that his great-grandfather invented to catch salmon on the river. Tommy takes us to his home and shows us how they survive in the winter months – which is simply astonishing.

Husky dog sled teams still thrive in this part of the world.

We also visited his sled dog team, which was housed on a separate island during the summer months. During winter, these dogs become the region’s resident sled dog team, taking children to school up the river and working as a taxi service for those in need. Tommy’s home is full of history about the area, artefacts and of course bear hides!

Afternoon trips with Tommy are available throughout the summer months - you just need to contact the reception area at the Gold Rush Camp Ground or the local information centre to book.
We bid farewell to Dawson City and head south through The Yukon to Whitehorse.  Another day’s drive and  yet another day of superb scenery and bright autumn colours.

Whitehorse is the capital and largest city in the Yukon and is built on the banks of the Yukon River.

The city was named after the White Horse Rapids, for their resemblance to the mane of a white horse. Framed by 3 nearby mountains: Grey Mountain, Haeckel Hill and Golden Horn Mountain. It is also home to the SS Klondike, a famous old sternwheeler.  It was built in 1921 and had the distinction of having 50% more capacity than a regular sternwheeler, while still having the shallow draft in order to travel down the mighty Yukon River.

Klondike I ran aground in 1936 and The British-Yukon Navigation Company salvaged much of the ship and used it to build the Klondike II the following year.  Klondike II carried freight until 1950. Due to the construction of a highway connecting Dawson City and Whitehorse, many sternwheelers were decommissioned. In an attempt to save Klondike II, it was converted into a tourist ship. This tourist venture shut down in 1955 and the Klondike II was parked up in the Whitehorse shipyards. It is now here that you can see her in all her glory.

The Yukon is history rich, scenery abundant with wildlife a plenty! It is a holiday region that will amaze you. Around every bend in the road there is something new and exciting.   With Apollo RVs you can travel in luxury and comfort with every possible amenity right at your fingertips.  Travel at your leisure, follow others or travel in a convoy! The options are endless.

Citro travel tips

The highest mountain in Canada is Mt Logan in The Yukon. The word Yukon comes from the native work Yu-Kun-Ah meaning great river. For 3 months during summer, the sunshine is almost continuous

Citro member offer

Freely have simplified travel insurance so you can pay for the coverage you need, on the days you actually need it. As a Citro member, buy your discounted Freely policy at 10% off, using this link and the code CITRO10. See terms and conditions.

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