The drive across the Yukon from Whitehorse to Watson Lake was mostly rainy, with poor visibility, so we didn't see some of the great scenery along this stretch of highway. We did, however, find Rancheria Falls, with an easy path back from the road to the river, and a sign explaining the darters, tiny birds that feed in and under the surface of the water, have waterproof fur, and spend the winter in air pockets under the ice. In a scenic setting the river comes tumbling over a rocky ledge and falls into a dark pool of water Rancheria Falls

We stop at all the rest stops with signs, and some of the rest stops with potties, to refresh mind and bodies and switch drivers. The Yukon is no more densely populated than Alaska -- here and there a First Nation village or an RV Park-cum-campgrond, but basically only three towns -- Whitehorse, the capital, Watson Lake, and Dawson, whose winter population is still in the hundreds.

Watson Lake has some very nice tourist attractions.

First of these is the Signpost Forest. The oldest signs go back to 1942, when U.S. Army Engineers were building the Alcan Highway. Lonely and bored GIs put up signs with the distance to their home towns, always measured in the thousands. Lots of small towns have signposts with the distances to everywhere, but gradually the signs in Watson Lake have multiplied, and the growth has mushroomed in the last ten years.

Some visitors go to their town government and get official town signs; Each wooden post driven in the ground is festooned with colorful signs from all over the world Signpost Forest others use license plates; lots of RV-ers use those wooden door signs that they hang out of their RVs with their name and home town; we even saw a few Coasties who had taken their out-of-date desk nameplates and nailed them up. All told, there are nearly 50,000 signs in a town park set aside for the purpose.

There are more signs from Germany than from the rest of Europe; in fact there are more signs from Germany than New England. We asked the ladies at the Visitor Centre, who told us that Germans have written many books about the Yukon; they are fascinated with its wilderness. There are two flights daily from Germany to Whitehorse. Go figure.

We passed on the Northern Lights Show, because it was just a laser simulation; we'll wait for the real thing. But we happily took a 50-minute walk around Wye Lake, located right downtown. Aside from three ring-necked ducks and an equal number of screaming gulls, we didn't notice much bird life.

We've been trying to pick towns along the Alaska Highway with more than one motel; there aren't too many!