A loud knock at the door awoke us at 11 am. Obviously it was Eskimumu getting us back for waking her up for a late 4:30 am check-in hours before. We brunched downstairs at the Burwash Landing Resort restaurant, chomping down fish and chips before hitting the dusty road.
Winding through desolate, fir-tree-lined Yukon territory, the H2 handled well for an extreme off-road machine. We took turns at 70+ mph with confidence. Never eliciting a single tire howl or loose moment as we chose not to translate all kilometer speed signs into miles per hour, the H2 charged through every challenge. Prudence had us slowing for numerous blind turns, as the rare oncoming vehicle was often an 18-wheeler using more than its share of the road. A hard-charging juggernaut, the H2 wasn't perturbed by the occasional pothole, frost heave crack, or broken pavement.
As we drove deeper into the Yukon, the landscape became increasingly different from Alaska. The forest was denser, small lakes more commonplace, and most notably, the sunrise/sunset schedule became more traditional.
The weekend was focused on logging miles, getting us into the lower 48 as rapidly as possible. Our photo stops were seldom, though more pleasant since opening the H2 doors didn't bring the same battalion-strength mosquito attacks we suffered in Alaska. Suddenly, as we were singing along to high-volume 1980's classics courtesy of XM Satellite Radio, our karaokefest went silent. The thought of thousands of tuneless miles was too much to bear. We read the owner's manual, pushed every button on the dash, and cursed the H2 for critiquing our tone-deaf singing. Parked in front of a general store, we checked the fuses. All appeared fine. For some reason, after removing and reinstalling the radio fuse, the system reset and when the sport/ute was re-started, the stereo was raging loud, screaming Ministry, "...the look in your eye!" With the system working, we were back in business.
Most Canadian townships are spaced out at far intervals, making it essential to strategize fuel stops. In the wee hours, we were below half a tank, scouring the map for villages large enough to have a 24-hour gas station. None were to be found. As the needle slid to a quarter-tank, we came across Tatoga Lake Resort, a darkened assortment of store, gas station, and RV stop. Desperate, we pulled in alongside an aboveground fuel tank and checked the pump to see whether it would work after hours. Despite an Open sign in the decidedly closed store, the situation looked promising. There was a self-serve, ATM-style credit card machine with instructions and we tried in vain to get it to work, realizing we would have to sleep in the truck until morning, otherwise.
With a dog barking at us from the store, we didn't notice a grumpy white-haired man approach from the main building, complaining we woke him up. Wondering what we wanted and how much we'd pay for it, he commanded a $20 premium for the late-night gas, pushing the total to $85 for the fill-up. Compared to the agony of dealing with this walking yard gnome again if we slept in the truck until morn, the price seemed a bargain.