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Outdoors with Don Q: The Yukon’s infamous Robert Campbell Highway

This is the third of a four part series of articles on our recent sightseeing and fishing trip to the Yukon in Canada.
While on that 11-day (June 18 – June 28) adventure in the Far North, Elaine and I traveled a total of six days in the “Bush,” convoying with our longtime, good friends, Barry and Susan Drury of Watson Lake, Yukon.
The Drurys were in their four-wheel drive camper pickup and we traveled in a 19-foot motorhome that had been rented in Whitehorse.

Our two-vehicle convoy left Whitehorse at about mid-morning on June 20.

We drove to:
Fox Lake, Braeburn, Montague and Carmacks (all on Yukon Highway 2);
Little Salmon Lake, Little Salmon and Faro (all on Yukon Highway 4);
Ross River, Frenchman Lake, Finlayson Lake, Finlayson Creek, Frances Lake, Tuchitua and Simpson Lake (also all on Yukon Highway 4);
And our final destination of Watson Lake (on the Alaska Highway).

Some memories of that six day trek include:
01. A tiny spot on the map called Braeburn where we bought very tasty and very gigantic cinnamon buns (one of those buns fed four of us for one breakfast and we only ate half of it!).
02. Catching a Mackinaw (Lake) Trout on a spincast lure, while sitting in the back of the boat and waiting for it to be launched from shore.
03. Cooking our breakfasts (pancakes, bacon, eggs and toast) and dinners (hotdogs, hamburgers and steaks) over campfires.
04. Visiting Faro, which has a nine-hole golf course that runs the entire length of the center of that tiny town.
05. Finlayson Creek, where Elaine and I caught Arctic Grayling on cast after cast after cast, while spincasting with small Mepps spinning lures.
06. Seeing many creeks that were larger than the Truckee River.
07. Mosquitoes, mosquitoes and more mosquitoes. They were fierce!
08. Very large lakes that made Lake Tahoe look wimpy in size.
09. The spectacular, never-ending scenery of thick forests of black spruce and alders, towering mountains, lakes, ponds, creeks and streams of the Pelley Mountains.
10. Marveling at the sun setting at 11:15 p.m., staying light behind the mountains, and the sun rising at 2:15 a.m.
11. Going fishing in the boat at 7:00 p.m. and returning to camp in bright sunshine at 9:45 p.m., so we could cook our dinner over a campfire.
12. Very, very, very little traffic wherever we went.

The infamous portion of the Robert Campbell Highway:
It is a main arterial between Ross River and Watson Lake, and to call that portion a “highway” is really stretching the truth.
It consists of:
01. Some small lengths of pavement near Ross River and also near Watson Lake, and in those several paved sections; you are constantly dodging potholes, many of them impressive in size and in depth.
02. Many long stretches of gravel roadway, which produce thick, choking, billowing clouds of white dust that penetrate everything in your vehicle.
You can see an oncoming vehicle’s dust for miles before it approaches you.
03. Dirt sections that reduce your speed to a slow crawl through those areas.
Having your vehicle “fish tail” in the soft dirt, while slowly driving in a number of those sections.
04. Many locations on both the gravel and dirt sections have a red flag on each side of the “highway” warning the traveler of an unsafe condition.
Which makes one wonder: If they have the time to locate areas where there is a need to place red flags at unsafe locations, why not fix those conditions?
Heck, that makes sense to me!
There were some locations that were “red flagged” where you had to come to a complete stop and then slowly creep across that problem area.
You would think that whoever is ultimately responsible for the Ross Campbell Highway between Ross River and Watson Lake would take appropriate action to upgrade (AKA pave) it to become a real highway.

A suggestion:
I’m no genius, but to do so, could accomplish the following:
01. The paving of that “highway” would provide employment for many Canadians working on that project.
02. The paving project would bring badly needed revenue to the communities of Carmacks, Ross River and Watson Lake.
03. The completion of that project would make the Ross Campbell Highway a true highway that would attract Canadians, tourists, hunters, fishermen, campers, photographers, etc., who would provide additional revenue for Carmacks, Ross River, Watson Lake, the Yukon and Canada.
However, that is probably wishful thinking on my part, as it is quite obvious that the terrible conditions of that “highway” have existed for a long time and are highly unlikely to change in the future.

Food for thought:
In my less-than-humble opinion, whoever is ultimately responsible for the condition of that “highway” needs to take action to improve the less-than-desirable travel conditions that exist today.
The Yukon needs to upgrade the Robert Campbell Highway from the early days of Canadian horseback travel of many years ago, and transform it into a first-class, 21st century transportation facility.
Let’s hope that happens in the not so distant future.

Would I return to the Yukon?
Will I do so?
No, not until the Ross Campbell Highway becomes a paved roadway that is safe to travel between Ross River and Watson Lake.

— Don Quilici is the Outdoor editor of Carson Now and www.SouthTahoeNow.com. He can be reached at donquilici@hotmail.com

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Another strong cold front will push through the Sierra and western Nevada region Thursday into Friday, bringing rain to the valleys and snow to Lake Tahoe, according to the National Weather Service. Ahead of the front gusty winds will develop with gusts up to 45 mph and locally higher in wind prone areas.

Tri-Net Narcotics Task Force arrested three men Wednesday afternoon in Carson City on felony heroin possession charges as well as obstructing officers and drug paraphernalia.

The arrests went down at around 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a Carson City fast food restaurant in the 300 block of William Street. According to task force officers, the men resisted arrest at first but were quickly detained.

The Carson City Sheriff's Office has released surveillance images of an armed robbery that happened Saturday at a Rand Avenue liquor store.

An 18-year-old Dayton man died in a crash involving a big rig Tuesday on Highway 50 and Ambrose Lane in Dayton, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

David Arroyo Lamas died Tuesday night at Renown Medical Center in Reno. He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Ana Laura Munoz, 18, of Carson City. She is in critical condition, said NHP Trooper Dave Gibson.

The driver of the big rig involved in the crash is Gary Alan Williams, 61, of St. George, Utah. He was also hospitalized with undisclosed injuries.

UPDATE: A 66-year-old Silver Springs woman was flown by Care Flight after a single vehicle accident Wednesday morning in which her car went more than 300 feet down an embankment off of Highway 50 and Pine Cone Road in Dayton, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

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The Carson City High School community is mourning the loss of one of their teachers, Debbie Elder. Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office told KRNV that Elder died in Arizona on Saturday. The Mesa Police Department said her death appears to be a suicide.

Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes said Mrs. Elder was a 24-year teacher of the school district, teaching math at Carson High School and before that, Carson Middle School.

The Carson City Sheriff's Office is again receiving calls from the public in regards to money scams. The first one involves citizens being called and told that a warrant for their arrest has been issued for failure to show up for jury duty.

The caller identifies himself using an actual deputy or Nevada Highway Patrol officers name to convince the called party that this is real.

The caller has also given the name of current judges as being the ones who have signed the warrant. He will then try to convince the called party to send a MoneyPak or some other form of pre-paid debit card.

Many petty larceny incidents in Carson City are entirely preventable. Most are crimes of opportunity where the thief's job is made easier by items left in plain view in cars and trucks, unlocked houses, bicycles, property that was not secured, and placing trust in untrustworthy "friends."

Here is a list of items stolen during late February to late April 2014 that were entirely preventable, had property owners taken actions to make sure they kept their belongings. Only half the items/cases have value of the property attached to them. Those that do, were worth almost $20,500.

On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Robert Crowell presented the Spirit of Enterprise Award to U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei at the Carson City Chamber’s Soup’s On! luncheon Tuesday.

The award is presented to those congressmen voting for pro-business legislation sponsored by the U.S. Chamber. This is the congressman’s third Spirit of Enterprise award from the U.S. Chamber confirming his continued commitment to business.

Photo provided by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

There was early action on the softball diamond as Carson hosted McQueen Tuesday. McQueen needed little to no time to take the advantage in the top of the first going up 4-0 after a couple wild pitches and a plethora of good at-bats by their Lancer offense.

It was a cold one to say the least at Ron McNutt field in Carson City Tuesday, but that didn't slow down the Carson Senators as they rolled over the Lancers. After a scoreless top of the first inning, Carson needed no time warming up in the cold weather picking up three runs early in the bottom of the first with a couple of singles, a sacrifice fly and a booming double by Jace Zampirro.

Here is this week's fishing report for rivers, lakes and streams in Nevada, northern California and the Sierra. This Saturday, April 26, 2014 is the opening day for fishing in most California waters. Remember to keep your fishing license in view, the thermos filled with coffee and tight lines all the way.

Students and staff at Eagle Valley Middle School need the community's help. Thursday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the generous owners of Pizza Factory 3120 Hwy. 50 E., #3, will donate 20 percent of the entire day's earnings to the EVMS parent teacher organization.

The donation will help with purchase CRT testing snacks for the entire student body. The community is asked to come in, call in or carry out pizza, sandwiches or pasta and help raise funds for Eagle Valley Middle School.

A Carson City man was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 40 months in prison for the injuries he caused when he hit a man in the head with a liquor bottle during a fight.

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NHP crash investigation details learned so far indicate a 2004 black Audi four-door vehicle making a left turn from Ambrose lane onto Highway 50 pulled in front of a red 2007 Wabash tractor pulling a trailer, said NHP Trooper Dave Gibson. The tractor struck the Audi in the drivers’ door with its front pushing it off onto the South shoulder.

A 41-year-old man was jailed Monday on a felony charge of vehicle burglary and a lesser charge of domestic battery after an argument over taxes and paperwork escalated with his former common law wife at her place of business.

David Alexander of Dayton was being held at Carson City Jail on $28,137 bond. According to the arrest report, Carson City Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a casino in the 3800 block of South Carson Street in reference to a domestic battery.

Nine projects have been awarded grants through the 2014 Lake Tahoe License Plate program, which generated around $350,000 last year from the sale of special plates through the DMV. Grant recipients were announced Tuesday by the Nevada Division of State Lands.

Grants are made available annually for projects that preserve and restore the natural environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

In 2014 the standard business driving mileage rate is 56 cents per mile. IRS adjusted that down from the 56.5 cents per mile in 2013.

If the business had four or less vehicles, it is OK to use the mileage rate instead of actual expenses. However, each vehicle’s tax basis (cost) is to be reduced by the depreciation component — 22 cents per mile. That will be important when the vehicle is sold.

Two men were arrested Monday and face multiple felony charges after they allegedly stole a vehicle and then went to Kohl's where they stole an Xbox and then led Carson City sheriff's deputies on a brief chase.

Jacob Andrew Pacheaco, 27, and Danny Maxfield Jr., 37, were arrested separately, with Maxfield jumping out of a moving vehicle, suffering injuries which required him to go the hospital.

The latest edition of Capital Crossfire explores drones and their future in Nevada. Join Karl Neathammer and Shelly Aldean with guests Steve Tackes, a senior partner of Kaempfer Crowell Law and Karl Hutter, COO of Click Bond, a local manufacturing company in Carson City as they discuss new developments in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“Drones”) and the regulatory challenges associated with their use.