Day 11 on the Alaska Highway

Day 11002We considered staying one more night at Cottonwood R.V. Park if the weather was nice, but it was very cloudy. So yesterday became our day 11 on the Alaska Highway.Day 11001

We stopped in Burwash Landing to visit the Kluane Natural History Museum – yes, more wildlife displays and also artifacts depicting the life of the Southern Tutchone.

Day 11007Day 11006This was one of the best wildlife displays we have seen, they are all beautifully done dioramas. Unfortunately the lighting used in the dioramas was not very good for photography.

Day 11020On the plus side, outside was the worlds largest gold pan for everyone’s viewing pleasure 🙂

And the First Nation regalia was amazing.

 

Day 11005

Day 11026Day 11046Day 11032Day 11033Day 11035Day 11 driving recap:

Road Name (s): Yukon Highway 1

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: After Destruction Bay the road begins to get worse, after Burwash Landing it gets significantly worse, large sections of rough patches and frost heaves. These were followed by a rough washboard gravel section of ten and one half miles where at times Hector drove as slow as 12 miles per hour, mostly under 25 miles per hour. There were two other gravel sections, including construction stops where we had to wait for a pilot car, super dusty, but neither as bad as the first one. Definitely the worst section of the Alaska Highway we encountered. It was also, by far, the dustiest part of our drive to this point.

Miles Today: 136

Miles driven from Canadian border: 1974

Miles on the Alaska Highway: 1166.5

Driving Time: 5:40

Driving time also included stopping and waiting for pilot cars to lead us through construction areas on two occasions.

The roads around this area are built over permafrost, which explains their terrible condition.  The pavement absorbs heat, this melts the permafrost under the roadbed causing the soil to liquify.  When that happens the road collapses. Then, when this liquified soil refreezes it expands again causing the road surface to “heave” up.

Note the little ripples in the road.  They can really launch you!

Note the little ripples in the road. They can really launch you!

Day 11024Even when not a big frost heave, this permafrost creates a constant up and down side to side undulation that can really bounce you around. Constant vigilance is in order.  Day 11023

The scenery was absolutely beautiful with more wildflowers and views of the Kluane Range Icefields.Day 11030

Day 11038Day 11036At one point, we pulled into an overlook that should have been large enough for us to be able to turn around, but there was a Mack truck on one side, a large motorhome waiting for parts to repair a belt on another, and a Class C repairing a flat tire in the middle.

So we had to unhook. We weren’t too far from our destination so we continued the rest of the trip separately, with me in the car in front to avoid the dust that Island Girl was kicking up.Day 11034

Tip of the Day: Allow extra time for travel from Haines Junction to Beaver Creek. This is the worst section of the highway, and the going is slow. Taking it really easy is recommended, but the beautiful scenery will ease the stress a bit.Day 11031

Once again, we had a few choices of campgrounds for our overnight stay. The first one was the Discovery Yukon Lodging and White River RV Park. It sounded interesting as the owners sometimes give nature tours aboard their WWII military vintage 6-wheeler and they offer WiFi. Unfortunately, their WiFi is currently not working on Apple devices, a known problem, but not resolved yet. They were nice enough to let me test it before registering.Day 11004

Day 11040Choice number two was another Yukon Government Campground, Snag Junction. Unfortunately, most spots do not accommodate big rigs, and it was mostly full. This was the first time that we did not find a suitable space in a Yukon Government Campground, but it was also quite late in the afternoon.

Day 11045Day 11041Third try was the charm. We drove on to Beaver Creek and stayed at the Beaver Creek RV Park. We got an electric only site, basically in a gravel parking lot, but with good WiFi and across from the Visitor Center.

The town of Beaver Creek is the most westerly community in Canada. The visitor center is very nice, as always providing lots of good information and good WiFi. And the lady that we spoke with there was very nice. She was going to pick up her first RV at the end of the day, a Class B. Safe travels if you are reading this!Day 11043

Day 11042We drove over to see another Catholic church built from a Quonset hut that was used during the Alaska Highway Construction. Quite lovely.

Now we were just over 20 miles from the border!

~ BrendaDay 11029

14 thoughts on “Day 11 on the Alaska Highway

  1. Found a link on Technamadia to your Island Girl Walkabout and will be following your Alaska trip closely, as we look forward to making that run one day. Travel Safe. Charles

    • Wonderful, welcome to our blog! Judging from this first part of it, it is an amazing trip. Thank you.
      Brenda

  2. I just keep thinking about all this amazing, beautiful scenery to take in, and then I realize that you two are true island escapees from the Caribbean part of the world.
    I know you have a long history in Colorado and beyond, but this adventure is over the top.
    I admire your perseverance, your dedication to documentation, and the sharing all of this with everyone.
    I wish you more safe travels and a journey that endures in your mind but one lifetime. Enjoy and share with us this fall if your travels come our way.
    T&B

    • Thank you so much! We will definitely be seeing you this fall, sometime end of September/beginning of October depending on how weather chases us out of Canada.

  3. How much trouble is it to have the kayaks and bikes on the roof of the car? We have hard kayaks, which we like but currently leave at home, and an inflatable that we bring along, which I like less. We also have bikes that we currently don’t bring but would like to. The concerns are: (1) the trouble is getting them onto and off of the roof (2) the inconvenience driving the car around with the kayaks and bikes up there most of the time (3) The trouble of having them considering how often we would use them (4) others things I haven’t thought of.

    I’d appreciate you, or others, feedback.

    Mike

    • Good questions! We actually had an inflatable tandem kayak initially, but we thought it was too slow. And we like to each have our own kayak. So we bought two “sit on top” kayaks. They are 14 feet long and weigh 63 pounds each. We do try to take them off the car when we are in places where we won’t be using them, and I really hated that lugging back and forth at first. Hector never really minded it. And now I’m used to it – the only problem being that you may not always have a place to leave them depending upon the size of your campsite. But when we are in a place when we can use them, it’s really wonderful, and we don’t have to depend on when people are renting boats – we can go in the late evening when the days are long etc. The bikes are less trouble, Hector made a homemade rack out of PVC pipes and we use a cable lock. But in certain places that is not secure enough so we leave them on top of the car. One time we drove into an underground parking lot with them on top, the bikes made it okay but we had to get a new rack. Hector brought a mountain bike and a road bike, and he says he could have done without the road bike. And both the kayaks and the bikes get pretty dirty riding back there on the tow car, another consideration. On balance, we are glad we have all of them.

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