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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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Restaurant inspections are made weekly by the Carson City Health and Human Services Environmental Health Division. 
Inspections through April 16, 2014 include several bars and lounges, convenience stores, restaurants and fast food restaurants.

See report below.

Economic development authorities, nonprofits and towns in rural Nevada that want to support rural business or create a revolving loan fund for business may now apply for USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant. An estimated $82,060 is available. Applications are due by June 30, 2014.

The purpose of the RBEG is to support the creation and growth of sustainable rural business opportunities and jobs. Eligible entities are public bodies, private nonprofit corporations, rural development authorities, and federally recognized tribes. Individual businesses are not eligible.

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The Carson City Board of Supervisors meet today in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center. The meeting began at 8:30 a.m. Go here for the agenda and here to watch it live.

A 5.4 pound bear cub is the newest guest at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. The female, about 10 weeks old, was dropped off at the front door of the Bear League without a note or any word on where the bear came from or where her mother may be.

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In other arrests: A Carson City woman was arrested Wednesday, 7:15 a.m. in the 1700 block of North Curry Street on a contempt of court warrant charge, issued out of Carson City Justice Court.

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld the removal of a state controller candidate from the June primary ballot because he doesn't meet residency requirements.

The Carson Tahoe Health Auxiliary hosts a rummage sale Friday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, May 3, 8 a.m. to noon at the Eagles Lodge, 1380 E. 5th St. (between Roop and Saliman streets) in Carson City.

Donations for the sale are also needed. Items can be taken to the Eagles Lodge, Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Auxiliary members will be there to accept your donations. NO LARGE APPLIANCES, COMPUTERS, OR EXERCISE EQUIPMENT PLEASE!

For more information, call Gwenn at 775-220-6116.

Carson City Cadette Girl Scout Troop 196 hosts a free Outdoor Education and Safety event May 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Washoe State Park.

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What a wonderful surprise! My husband and I arrived at our home to a find a beautiful display of red sparkly hearts arranged all over our front lawn. Also displayed on our lawn was a sign that read, "You've Been Love Tapped By The Carson Rainbow Girls." Oh how fun

"So how long do these stay on my lawn," my husband asks. We found a piece of paper on our front door. This was our "notice." We must contact the adult advisor of this fundraising project to have the Love Tapped display of love removed for a donation of $10.

Mothers will be the star passengers Sunday, May 11 on a special edition train ride from Nevada's capital, Carson City to the 1860s boom-era mining town of Virginia City.

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Carson City Fire Department responded Wednesday afternoon to a traffic accident at Robinson and Stewart streets. At least one person was seriously injured in the crash in which Care Flight has been ordered.

Firefighters had to extricate of one of the victims. Arriving personnel reported the vehicles had major damage. The landing zone for Care Flight was going to be the Carson Nugget parking lot.

The crash was reported at 3:13 p.m.

Ben Masters, 13, travels Saturday to University of California, Berkeley to participate in an official World Cube Association competition at Wheeler Hall.
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Here is this week's fishing report for rivers, lakes and streams in Nevada, Northern California and the Sierra. This report is for the week of April 16-22, 2014. Opening day for most fishing on California waterways is Saturday, April 26.

Partnership Carson City conducts a Prescription Drug Roundup, Saturday, April 26, at four locations. Folks are encouraged bring their unused and expired prescription drugs to one of the drop-off locations for proper disposal, as this helps protect the community and the water supply.

Drop-off locations are at Smith's Food & Drug at 599 E William St., and at Save Mart Supermarkets at 3620 N. Carson St.,3325 Hwy. 50 E., and 4348 S. Carson St., all in Carson City

A 26-year-old Carson City man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of driving on a revoked license, a suspended registration and not having proof of insurance.

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Shane Dwight's new album This House will be released this week.

Northern Nevada residents will get a rare chance to see Shane Dwight perform at Carson Station Casino, Carson City, Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m. The concert is free.

In the music industry, there is often a preference to try and quickly define an artist and his music by placing him in one or two genre categories. The problem is a preconceived model doesn't fit someone like Dwight.

YERINGTON — Several hundred of Joe Dini’s friends, family and colleagues paid their last respects Tuesday at a funeral mass for the former, longtime Nevada Assembly speaker who was described as a quiet, humble man who became a “legislative giant” with a nose for compromise during more than three decades in the legislature.

The third annual Egg-stravaganza takes place Saturday, April 19 at 10 a.m. at Mark Twain Elementary School in Carson City.
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