We slipped into the small community of Burwash Landing late that afternoon after a long and somewhat difficult day. The community was located along the Alaska Highway in The Yukon Territories, Canada. It was on the shore of beautiful Kluane Lake. Here’s the story….
We’d had a quiet morning heading north to Alaska when we ran into a hailstorm. The hailstones weren't big or dangerous but made a very loud drumming noise in the Blazer. In the midst of all this another vehicle pulled alongside us, the occupants waving frantically and pointing back to our popup camper. I pulled off onto the muddy shoulder and we waited till the storm abated. Sure enough, I had a flat tire and a badly damaged wheel. What to do? Jack it up and put the spare on. Not so easy. The wheel and back axle was buried in the mud. I needed a shovel to dig it out and get the jack underneath. Of course, I carried a shovel with me all the way to Alaska. NOT!
This is where our unlucky day began to turn as we stood forlornly along the highway in the Yukon wilderness. We had waited about 10 minutes before a truck appeared in the distance. It turned out to be a Yukon Territory Highway Maintenance vehicle and the driver had a shovel. We were business to get the spare on. The driver also had the advice that our best bet was to head back to Whitehorse where they surely would have a new wheel. It was only 100 miles back down the highway.
We’d been heading south for about twenty minutes when we entered another very small town. It was then that I noticed among the ramshackle buildings two gas pumps. We “filled er up” Mentioning our recent problem and Whitehorse destination he allowed that he “just might” have a tire replacement for the camper. He did. And he mentioned his friend “Joe” down the street had a “junkyard” where one, though unlikely in this case, could just about find anything. “Anything” turned out to be a very functional wheel.
Beautiful Kluane Lake adjacent to a National Park along the Alaskan Highway southwestern Yukon Territory.
So we turned about to head north once again relieved at the evidence of our good fortune. Burwash Landing, which turned out to be a small “First Nation” community, had a small campground and bar and grill. We called it a day. Having set up the camper, we were discussing world affairs with the proprietor, while the ladies were fixing supper. Sudden outcries of consternation from within led us to learn that the cupboard, laden with cooking utensils, was filled with mud. It seems that the disintegrating wheel had knocked several holes in the wheel well. “Not to worry” our campground host said. “I’ll round up my handyman. He can fix anything”. And he did. At no charge. There is a moral to this tale. We’ve had similar experiences before on our many trips north. Canadians are the friendliest people. Always willing to help a stranger in need. I was reminded of that more recently when we saw the Academy Award winning movie Argo……