East to the Yukon

To the yukon 13After our awesome time in Denali National Park, we drove east to the Yukon. We had ambitious plans to see some fall colors and more wildlife before our drive south to the lower 48, crossing borders a couple of more times. So this was a time to move a bit more quickly.

Our next stop was Fairbanks, where we stayed for a couple of days. We had quite a few chores: washing the car and the RV, laundry and groceries as well as an appointment with a veterinarian for follow-up tests and a checkup for Angel.

It rained heavily during our brief stay in Fairbanks and we just did not have energy left to explore, so we did not really see the town.  Next time.

To the yukon 4Alaska Day driving day 9 recap

Road Name: Parks Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Generally good, expansion joints are bumpy and there are a few frost heaves

Miles Today: 156

Driving Time: 3:30

Total Miles in Alaska: 1913

Total Miles since entering Canada: 3907To the yukon 3

To the yukon 1To the yukon 2Continuing to Tok, we drove through the small towns of Nenana and Delta Junction to check them out.

Nenana is currently best known for its Nenana Ice Classic, a lottery that requires entrants to predict the time, to the closest minute, when they think the winter ice on the Tanana River will break up.

A large striped tripod is placed on the frozen river and connected to a clock and the moment that the tripod moves and stops the clock is the winning time. Last year the pot was about $330,000CAD, serous money! But it is extremely popular so they had 22 winners.

To the yukon 5Delta Junction is the official end of the Alaska Highway, so we had to have the obligatory photo there. And I just had to get my photo by two of Alaska’s giant mosquitoes.

To the yukon 7To the yukon 6To the yukon 11To the yukon 12The road to Tok was the last piece of the Alaska Highway that we had not been on. We made a brief stop in Tok, where we caught up a bit more on internet and checked out all systems before heading to the Top of the World Highway, a pretty remote gravel road. There is not a whole lot to do in Tok but it does have a very large and informative visitor center.

Alaska Day driving day 10 recap:

Road Name: Richardson Highway until Delta Junction

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Generally good condition, some patches and frost heaves

Road Name: Alaska Highway from Delta Junction to Tok

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Some frost heaves

Miles Today: 213

Driving Time: 4:15

Total Miles in Alaska: 2126

Total Miles since entering Canada: 4120

To the yukon 8To the yukon 14We headed out of Tok on the Alaska Highway, then north on the Taylor Highway, with a stop at Chicken, a wide spot that has acquired some fame because of its location and its name. Supposedly they wanted to name it ptarmigan after the official bird of Alaska, but no one knew how to spell that, so they opted for Chicken.

To the yukon 15To the yukon 19Chicken is a quirky little town, just a few storefronts and some antique mining stuff including the Pedro dredge which you can tour at certain times.  They also had a cool bar with lots of baseball caps from all over tacked to the walls and ceilings.

To the yukon 18But it was raining so we headed out pretty quickly before road conditions deteriorated too much.  To the yukon 24To the yukon 16To the yukon 22To the yukon 23

To the yukon 21But not before our usual cutout fun!

To the yukon 20To the yukon 26On the very sketchy road from Chicken (see description in our driving stats), we saw the bottom of a motorhome that had flipped over down the hillside with its tow car still attached. This particular stretch was not the steepest, but it was narrow.  The only thing that stopped the motorhome from rolling further down the hill were the trees. So scary! There was a sign saying that they were ok, and not to stop in the middle of the road.

To the yukon 28After that, the road got even narrower with very soft shoulders and really steep drop offs (we think that the wrecked motorhome got a tire on this soft shoulder, and tipped over). Ay, ay, ay.  By far the scariest few miles of road we have been on.

Then, on the Top of the World Highway just before the Canadian border, we found Bob McQuade, who had a flat tire on his RV and had been stranded at a turnout for a few days trying to arrange help. Oh, boy. It was late in the day and he was planning to drive his tow car for help the next day, so after chatting a bit we continued.

To the yukon 29Interestingly and somewhat oddly, a few miles before the Canadian border the road was perfectly paved for a few miles, then it turned back to gravel after the border.

To the yukon 33The border crossing at the northernmost border checkpoint in North America was uneventful, the officer asked whether we had guns or other weapons, alcohol or cigarettes. As usual, we fessed up to our alcohol contents, but she did not charge us duty. She asked what our destination was and waved us through. Yay!

To the yukon 34To the yukon 17The next stretch of road, although gravel was very well graded and frankly in better condition than quite a few paved roads we have traveled on earlier this summer.

Alaska Day driving day 11 recap:

Road Name: Alaska Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Gravel breaks, gentle frost heaves, some patches, undulating road, major road construction around mile 50, 15 minute delay waiting for pilot caraylor Highway

Road Name: Taylor Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Paved road until Chicken, turning to gravel road, too narrow for two rigs to pass in points, with steep dropoffs, no guardrails and soft shoulders.

Road Name: Top of the World Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

To the yukon 25Road Conditions: From the turnoff to Eagle gravel for a distance, then becomes perfectly paved for the last ten miles or so before the U.S. border, then a very well-graded gravel road.

Miles Today: 202

Driving Time: 5:45

Total Miles in Alaska: 2248

Total Miles in Canada: 2054

Total Miles since entering Canada: 4322

To the yukon 27The views from the Top of the World Highway are lovely, as its name implies.

To the yukon 45

To the yukon 30To the yukon 37To the yukon 39We easily traveled to the end of the road, where we boarded a free ferry, the MV George Black, to cross the mighty Yukon River over to Dawson City.

The little ferry could only accommodate two cars, then Island Girl with the Coqui in tow took up the rest of the boat. Hysterical.

To the yukon 38We then spent a few fun days in Dawson City, which I blog about next.

~ BrendaTo the yukon 43

8 thoughts on “East to the Yukon

  1. Your photos as always are beautiful Hector. I have to agree with Pam. Seeing a motorhome down the side of a cliff would have freaked me out a bit. Safe travels!

  2. Top of the World Highway reminds us a bit of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier NP… in name and vistas, perhaps? Godspeed, Dear Ones! xo

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