February 8, 2013
Review and photos by Paul Williams
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Arctic Drive, Part II
Autos.ca writers participated in Mercedes-Benz Canada’s “Sprinter Arctic Drive.” Here’s Part 2 of Paul Williams’ Road Trip Report. He continues from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
After stopping at a popular coffee chain whose name combines the celestial with the financial, we began our drive from Whitehorse west to Haines Junction. From there we would head northwest, eventually reaching the Canada-US border, and then our next destination, Tok, Alaska. On the road here you see far fewer vehicles of any kind. Every half-hour or so a giant lumber truck will come hurtling towards you, leaving a whiteout in its wake, and a temporarily blinded Sprinter driver hoping for the best.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Arctic Drive, Part II. Click image to enlarge
Unless other vehicles driving in our direction were perfectly matching our speed, there was no one else heading our way. I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that we neither passed nor were passed by anyone for the entire leg from Whitehorse to the US border. Nor did we encounter any speed traps or police cars at all.
Until we got to Destruction Bay, that is. A former construction camp, this small community is located on the shore of Kluane Lake, flanked by the Ruby Range of mountains to the east and the Saint Elias Mountains to the west. Rounding a corner and entering town at the legal speed, an RCMP cruiser suddenly loomed large at the side of the road. Instantly the right foot is on the brake as our convoy obediently slowed to the newly posted 50 km/h speed limit.
But the argument for doing so was perhaps a little thin. Approaching said cruiser, things didn’t look quite right, and we realized that the threat of a ticket from this particular officer would have had no substance at all. The cruiser, it turned out, was an almost life-sized two-dimensional likeness made of plywood, painted on both sides. Too funny, but it had the desired effect.
Lunch at Destruction Bay was punctuated by power outages that, of course, shut down the kitchen and everything else. Our group, so pleased to finally have wi-fi, was left actually having to talk with each other. The police cruiser cutout amused everyone, but what a shame that the fabulous mountain vistas of Kluane National Park were obscured by thick, grey cloud.
Pressing on, we headed for Beaver Creek, 30 km east of the Canada-US border. By now we were seeing no other vehicles at all. If you want remote, this is it.