|July 11, 2009
Watson Lake, YT - Whitehorse, YT - 10.2miles
This morning the sun was out and playing with the ravens. Battery was full with yesterday bottled sunshine. The weather is looking promising, we are in high spirits, great sense of optimism - Can we make to White Horse today? - humm, yet to be seem, 275miles to go, it is a good challenge any day driving on flat terrain, even more so today. The road from Watson Lake to Whitehorse is hilly, all the climbing will take a toll on the batteries. The only way we could pulled such a feat is by driving very sloooooowww.
Thank you Archie for your hospitality, gave us a complimentary stay at the Downtown RV park. Thank you Heather from the Northern Light Centre for helping promote the solar car visit in Watson Lake, Thank you Laurie for all the contacts you made, Thank you Super A Food and Gas station Tempo for your support.
To be continued.
We managed to make to Teslin, YT 162.8 miles. The weather was great this morning but it didn't take long it got overcast and we even had a bit of rain. We tried to tape the canopy seems but it was in vane, tape didn't stick due to the humidity but since it wasn't raining a lot a towel was used to keep the solar car monkey drive. The rain stopped, as we pressed on the drive north the weather slowly cleared, the sun was shining again. The landscape has been just amazing, everyone on the crew can't take enough, enjoying the spetacular view. Josh tells me "now I understanc why you want to come back here, it is so beautifull, I never seem anything like it". Indeed, it is amazing, I couldn't wait to come back. By the time we got to Teslin (18:02) the crew had already stopped 17 times to flim and take photos. So, expect to see some amazing images later on.
It just after 18:30 now, the array is set up at the Yukon hotel / restaurant parking lot, the batteries charging, the crew treated me for dinner, Thanks guys!
Whitehorse is so far yet so close. We are determinated to arrive there today. Well, tonight that is. However, I am uncertant of such attempt. The battery is seating at 100V, not enough to get us the 175km (~110 miles). We let it charge a bit more, by 21:00 the battery at 103.V. It is exactly what we need if we were to drive slow on a flat terrain. Now the sun is extremelly low in the horizon driving now would be blinding. To be on the safe side I much rather drive at night than facing the sun. We take the array down and wait for the sun to go sleep before getting back on the road, 23:22 the drive began. Getting inside the car was a challenge, there were so many mosquitos inside. I am defenceless, at their mercy. The littly cannopy around my head there is an army or very hungry mosquitos, rd IleF
While waiting for the batteries to charge I tired to take a power nap, useless effort. So, I take a couple of energy drinks, good excuse to have one. Its seems to help but I think it was more the rest and a good meal that gave me the energy I needed. The drive is slow, very slow, my eyes are glued to the display showing the amps.
Trying to capture all the elctrons we can, patience is game, slow acceleration, slow is the name of the game in order to make distance. Driving like this take the fun out of it, I like it fast but I have to set my ego aside to gain distance.
The landscape is breath taking, we stopped many times to film and take photos capturing the beauty of this amazing landscape we are driving by.
By Willy Wanka
We woke up in Watson Lake with Whitehorse on our minds. There were some updates that needed to be done and we took some pictures with the local supermarket, Fast Gas and the Northern light centre. We left for Watson Lake at 11.00 in the morning with full batteries.
We drove through magical Yukon, enjoying every scenery along the road. Of course we had shot a lot of footage, it’s hard to leave the cameras alone with so much beauty around you. We drove trough rain, overcastted skies and even crossed the continental divide. Around six in the evening we stopped to charge the car and ourselves with a meal and some rest. Whitehorse was still 120 miles away but we kept our hopes up, leaving at 9 in the evening. Woohooo let the journey start again! The drive was slow, Marcelo was driving the solar car and I was driving the van at low speeds. Around 3 in the morning it started to get darker and we were fighting our sleep. I was driving though the wilderness following the red taillights of the solar car, putting me in some sort of trance.
Claire and josh stayed awake all the time giving mental support and telling bad jokes about dancing tissues.
When it started to get light again around 4.30 in the morning and we were approaching Whitehorse. We all looked liked ghosts, talking nonsense making no sense at all. We were a bunch of sleep drunk gypsies on the road.
Believe it or not we made it to Whitehorse around six in the morning driving a total mileage of 275 miles. We made it all the way and Marcelo proudly gave us good news that there was enough energy in the batteries left to brake our personal day distance record of 292 miles. It was unreal; we were driving around in circles to put more miles on the car. After 20 hours of driving we stopped driving with a total of 300.5 miles!! Congratulation everybody!! Especially Marcelo who had the toughest drive of all! I am glad that I was there when we broke the record just before ending my part of the tour! A great experience!
5 am I wake up, ready to get on the road. We have a full battery from charging all day yesterday. I skip to the showers and enjoy the hot water for long enough until I feel guilty and step out, fresh and new. I love the morning, the early morning when no one is awake(none of the crew is awake yet so this is a rare early morning) when the dew is fresh and the air is quiet, when only the birds are awake and not even the flowers have bloomed yet. Close to 6am I open the trailer door and say good morning, the sun is up, time to go! But they are not about the rise and shine this morning, no charging to do, no reason to get up. Plus I think Josh might have kept them up. So they were taking the chance to sleep in. We finalized updates and got back on the road. The views were spectacular. Snow covered mountains with clouds gently brushing over them. I want so badly to climb them. It rained a small bit but no trouble, we left by 10:30 and are hoping to make it to Whitehorse today. We crossed a loud and amazing bridge that showed the waters underneath it and stopped at the Yukon Lodge and Motel. We tilt the array to charge the batteries in hopes we can make it the total trip of 275 miles to Whitehorse, of which we have done a bit more than halfway. I entertain some people with answers about the solar car and receive some donations for the postcards we have while the crew sets up computers inside and orders a meal. Motorcyclists pull in and one looks quite close to the man of my dreams. He was tall and dark, rugged and young and rode in on bike strapped with everything he owned. If there was any room on his bike I would have jumped on the back. We would spend our days riding throughout the world, sleeping with buffalo in the grass and setting up hammocks in the jungle. He knows many languages and speaks with the spirits. I hold him tight on the bike as we pass by oceans, mountains, prairies and deserts. We will die on the bike in our travels in a beautiful tragedy with lots of flames and as we soar over the cliff we’ll kiss passionately, our lips still locked in our final moments. In reality I sit with the solar car team sipping hot tomato soup and trying to ignore the tv show in the background showing plane crashes and tornado chasers. Before we head out we have a meeting in the van where Marcelo tells us he is likely to leave us all in Whitehorse...things are not working out, we are failing him as a team. Wow.
We voice concerns and promise to do better, he mentions to me that there will be less and less opportunty for sleep after Dawson City and maybe I should stay there, 500 miles south of Inuvik while they go to north and get me on the way back. He thinks I got sick because of lack of sleep and notices I need a lot of it. Hmmm...I feel offended at first but think realistically that if I don't feel better by then maybe some rest would be good. It’s hard to make plans when you have no idea what is going on. So I take it moment by moment, and right now it’s 11:30, the sun is setting and we are taking on the challenge of making it to Whitehorse tonight. Eight hours later we arrive and have broken the record, having traveled an astonishing 300.5 miles, on yesterday’s sunlight to make it a distance that took Marcelo 2 days last year. Horray!
Our goal today: Whitehorse. We set out around 10:30 AM, right after fixing a few kinks on the website, we hit the road with our eyes set further into the Yukon Territory. Claire and I jumped out of the car about twenty times today. I was constantly taking pictures of the beautiful scenery, which was only getting better and better around every corner. The landscape was surprisingly beautiful, and every time I put the camera away, an even better span of snow capped mountains and forests came into view. I was jumping out, running up hills, and getting dirty trying to get all the good angles of the car cruising down the Alaska Highway. We followed Marcelo straight until the Yukon Motel, in Teslin. He had stayed here a year before, and we stopped for some lunch. We crossed an amazing looking bridge to get into Teslin. The Nisutlin Bay has a great view, and it looks even better with a solar car crossing the river. The Yukon Motel was a nice spot to charge, and for Michael and Marcelo to catch up on old memories from last year. Many families and others came to see the car for the second time in a year. We charged for about two hours, getting the battery to about 103 V. Setting out for Whitehorse, our new goal becomes, to beat Marcelo's personal record of 300 miles in a day. Driving at maximum efficiency, We drive the car all night. The task of Marcelo getting out of the solar car to relieve himself at night has become quite the challenge. Every time he gets out of the car, an army of mosquitoes chases him and the crew down. Marcelo drove the solar car about 30 km/15 miles per hour all night long. It was quite difficult to stay awake for almost 24 hours, but with Claire and Willy to keep me company, I was able to keep alert and entertained during the slow and steady drive from Teslin to Whitehorse. We joked all night long, and survived on mostly crackers, peanut butter sandwiches and water. We arrived in Whitehorse around 6:00 AM, and not only surpassed Marcelo's personal record of 291 miles, but also his claim of the cars capacity to drive 300 miles in one day. He even shut off the array at sunrise in order to only be utilizing energy from yesterday. By the time we got to Whitehorse, we were barely awake, but holding on strong. We arrived in Whitehorse with very little energy left, and made it to a broken down shop's rear parking lot. With the car parked, I did a short interview with Marcelo, asking him about how it felt to have achieved another personal record. After the interview, I promptly went to sleep until about 2:00 PM.
A full battery collected yesterday allowed us to sleep in until 7am this morning. I cant say it was the mos fruitful of sleeps. I love you Josh, but not your nightly breathing habits. I wasn't able to let my mental guard down, my mind laid there ready to spike in anxiety once the deep nasal chime started up again. It's ok, its my sleep karma and there is much more good sleep to look forward to in my lifetime.
Today's drive was a lot of fun. It didn't seem so at first because the luxurious lure to slip in to zombe mode was so strong. Turns out that running around the side of the road readying for a shot was a fresh aired way to erode the groginess. Since Willy was feeling the same drag as I was, we were both happy to take these roadside cebaticals. So much so that we ended up taking at least 15 passing shots. You thought the solar car was the only one breaking records?! Marcelo told us about a past crew member that he called 'mountain goat' because of his ability to quickly skip up the side of the hill the road was carved into. Josh took this comment as a personal mission and was soon declared the new mountain goat. I have to say it is a most entertianing sight to watch anyone run down a steep slope, teetering between opposing degrees to avoid a painful consequence of gravity. Well I had my first go at the mountain goat protocol today and I must say that it was most fulflling! There was one slope that I fell slow behind Josh and with the intesity of a cinematic exchange, Josh turned back, thrust his hand toward me and proclaimed, "Moutain goats must stick together!" Not to disappoint on the downhill exit plan, he held out his bent elbow and said, "mountian goat assistance!" Too too funny.
An update or two ago I showed restraint in my verbal treatment of the mosquitoes in this neck of the woods, but my poise has its limitations. I have a respectable past with the flying grime, growing up in south Florida and traveling in Africa, but the ones out here have major issues. I wish I could just sit one down and, on the verge of tears,ask, "Why? Why must you do this to my kind?" They are totally lawless. The ones I've dealt with in the past seemed to have some sort of ethics, but these ones even go for your face, in teams, nonetheless. Filming today, I would have had six on my face, four on each arm, five on my ankles, and a whole family feasting on my back. That's when we need someone filming the filmers, to show the dance of agony they go through all while trying to keep the camera as smooth as possible. Now I have landmines all over my feet, ankles, neck, face, arms, back, and rear end (from the jaunts to the bush) and I have to watch myself to make sure I don't set them off with an passing itch. The better the nature, the worse the blood suckers.
We left this moring around 10:30 for Whitehorse, which was over 400 kilometers away. Our progress was pretty good, after a period of overcast skies and 112 miles we still had 98volts charge remaining. We stopped at yukon Motel and Restaurant in the early evening to soak some rays. We originaly meant to stay there for an hour or so, but it made more sense to hang out for a bit and get as much charge as we could, getting food, internet, and some down time, before we got back on the road for a guaranteed late night.
We left there around 11:30pm and I am now writing yesterdays update today, even though yesterday's day hasn't ended yet. To be continued...
|Archie and Marcelo|
|"How do I stick my head out the window." The dog wonders|
|Downtown RV Park in Walton Lake|
|"No, no, don't touch."|
|Hey Peter thanks for the free groceries!|
|Northern Lights Center|
|Thanks Tempo for the free gas!|
|"Hey get outta my shot!"|
|The road ahead is paved with sunshine and ice cream.|
|Crossing Liard River|
|Mountain goat Josh|
|Mountain goat Claire|
|Between the water and the mountains|
|The windy road ahead|
|Laura on the update case|
|Shelter from the storm|
|Come out and play|
|Don't run over the flowers|
|Armed and dangerous|
|Get those shots|
|Helping fellow motorists|
|Changing tires and petting dogs|
|Top of the world|
|Charging at the Yukon Motel|
|Reach for it!|
|Laura explaining the car to locals|
|The solar circus ukalele jam|
|A new friend|
|Shut in with all the mosquitos|
|Makinging the miracle drive to Whitehorse tonight|
|Into the mountains|
|Now it's a lunar car!|