Friday, June 12, 2009

Tok, Alaska - Mile 1314


But, first, let us catch you up since the last blog.

After passing through Telsin, and encountering a few slow-downs due to road constructions (mainly on bridges), we wanted to go to Johnson's Crossing (Mile 809) because we read about the good cinnamon rolls and pastries served at the place. It was raining slightly when we arrived. Later that night, we saw a red fox about 15 feet from our RV. Tried to get a picture, but he/she heard us and moved quickly away.

The next morning, we walked over to get a cinnamon roll and a turnover (cherry and blueberry). They were as advertised -- delicious.

Johnson's Crossing is known for the highest bridge on the Alaskan Highway. See picture below.

After leaving Johnson's Crossing, our plan was to spend a couple of days in Whitehorse (Mile 888), the capitol of the Yukon (pop. over 24,000). But, once we arrived, we felt that we were somewhat back in civilization (even had our Starbucks) and decided to move on. But, before we did, Jerry tried to buy some halibut and salmon (obviously, we haven't been fishing for them, yet). He went to three grocery stores. Two had salmon, alright -- Atlantic farm raised salmon. Can you believe it? But, he found Copper River Sockeye salmon and Alaskan halibut at the third place. In a few more weeks, we (I mean Jerry) should be catching our own.

We left Whitehorse after shopping and headed up the road to the Takhini Hot Springs. We had to leave the Alaskan Highway and travel on the Klondike Highway for about 10 miles. After our great experience at the Liard Hot Springs, we were hooked on hot springs. But, what a disappointment the Takhini Hot Springs was! First of all, it was more like a commercialized hot swimming pool. It was not a spring. The water may come from a spring, but they have enclosed it in a large concrete swimming pool with algae on the bottom and dead mosquitoes floating on top of the water. Not only that, along with the fee for camping (which is on the high side), you have to pay to enter the "hot springs." All-in-all, definitely not worth the price. We didn't even bother to take pictures, except for the wonderful RV site surrounded by all trees.

For those of you who are specifically following Dorothy and David's adventure, we had an opportunity to talk to them the other night by cell phone. They made it through to Liard Hot Springs prior to the Highway being closed down. They are in Valdez where Dave is trying to catch fish.

On Thursday (June 11), we spent most of the day traveling the Alaskan Highway, making 280 miles in 7 hours. This was one of our longest drives, and we expect to slow up from here going forward. Everything we have read and heard prior to making this trip was that, between the Haines Junction turnoff and Beaver Creek (just before the Alaskan border), the road would be under major construction and is some of the worst part of the Alaskan Highway. Well -- it lived up to its reputation! Between pot holes, gravel roads in the process of being resurfaced, dirt and dust for miles, and road heaves (dips in the road), it was quite a bumpy ride. When trucks pass you coming or going, they kick up a real dust storm on the gravel roads -- and they throw rocks. Yes, our windshield has already been hit. Replacing the front RV window after an Alaskan Highway trip is a given and should be factored into the cost of trip.

Last night we stayed in Beaver Creek in the Yukon (Mile 1,168). It is just a few miles from the Yukon-Alaskan border. It rained most of the night and this morning.
Then, today (June 12), we crossed into Alaska, and, of course, had to have our picture taken by the welcome sign. See it below. We are staying at the Sourdough RV Park in Tok, Alaska. They are known for their sourdough pancakes and reindeer sausage. Earlier this evening, they had their daily "pancake throw." The key was to throw a left-over pancake and get it into the bucket about 24 feet away. Only four out of 35 people were able to do it -- Jerry being one of them. For that, he gets his breakfast free tomorrow. Looking forward to having the fresh sourdough pancakes and reindeer sausage in the morning before we leave, heading towards Valdez.

So far, we've traveled 5,300 miles on this trip, partly because we went south before going north to Alaska. Now that we are here, we will be taking our time trying to experience as much as we can of this beautiful state.
Until next time -- Jerry and Mary

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