Sign Post Forest & Hope for Goop

In the town of Watson Lake, Yukon, there are about 80,000 homemade (and stolen) signs nailed up on tall posts by tourists. The phenomenon was begun in the 1940s by a homesick soldier, and now it’s a ritual to leave your own sign here.

Tracy started making ours last winter when we camped on the beach in Texas; he picked a perfect piece of driftwood, then bought letter stencils and a wood carving doohickey and started in on the letters.

I painted them (go me!) and added a coat of varnish just a couple of weeks ago in Edmonton, in the nick of time.

Here in Watson Lake, Tracy and I walked around and around the place until we found a central spot guaranteeing us mythological status among Alaska road trippers. Tracy did not break his neck on the ladder he carried over, and I didn’t have a heart attack watching him up there. (It’s all much higher than it looks in this picture.) Success.

So many signs from far away, fancy ones and spur-of-the-moment ones.

I could have spent more time in the Sign Forest looking at all the different signs, but I had errands to run.

Watson Lake

This place definitely has a northern vibe. For example, I read on Google Maps that the only laundromat in town was in a place called Tags, listed as a restaurant.

I loaded up three bags of our dirtiest laundry, walked through the lot at Tags and

  1. navigated around two dudes in camo arguing over bear hunting, stepped inside, and found
  2. a small grocery store. I wandered around and finally found a doorway into
  3. a small restaurant, that’s basically one room with a few tables in it and a cashier, with many more dudes in camo. Signs in the far corner indicated bathrooms, so I walked that way and down
  4. a long hall, and I found myself, voila, in
  5. a pretty seedy-looking room with washers and dryers, about half in working order.

I didn’t care: I’d found it!

More weirdness in Watson Lake: there’s no potable water at the dump station, but there is a faucet for public use at the car wash. The car wash is broken, so you can enter any way you want.

We refilled the trailer and our external water bins with fresh water, and we dumped the black tank, but, alas, a hole in the grey tank dumped that waste water for us the night before.

Tracy was showering (we do do that sometimes) and I was sitting outside with Banjo when I heard massive dripping. We’ve sprung a leak.

This is what we came prepared for, in a way. Well, we don’t have a windshield patch kit (oops) but we do have a lot of Goop.

So we drove out of the Watson Lake campground, so as not to be a leaking nuisance, a couple hours north, and down a gravel road to a nameless pond, where Tracy will try to patch the leak, and Banjo and I will look for moose.

I want to be able to get back on the road, eventually, but right now I’m happy looking for moose.

Doug and Melanie are off exploring rougher roads than the ones that chipped our windshield and cracked our grey tank; wish them a smooth trip!

3 thoughts to “Sign Post Forest & Hope for Goop”

  1. Whangarei represent! At that distance away it’s basically like it’s the same town as Auckland 😁

    Hope you get that tank fixed. I have no idea what goop is but it sounds like it’d fix anything.