South to Alaska

Cassiar 13After our amazing experience watching the Aurora Borealis, we continued south to Alaska headed for our final stop in the 49th state, Hyder.

Cassiar 3We ventured up Canol Road for a little bit. This road was built in the 1940’s to provide access to oil fields in the Northwest Territory and is supposed to be a beautiful drive over the Lapie Canyon, but is not recommended for RVs. But we did get to check out the interpretive panels and some pretty rusty vehicles that were used in the construction of the road.

Cassiar 6Cassiar 7It was cloudy once again, we were definitely in a rainy period. So although there are picturesque lakes and mountains along the road, the mountains were not always visible due to the clouds.Cassiar 10Cassiar 8Cassiar 12

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Teslin's fake roadside cop

Teslin’s fake roadside cop

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We drove through Teslin, where we had stopped on our way north, and had lunch at the Yukon Restaurant while taking advantage of their Wi-Fi. Hector also wanted to stop at one of the museums we had visited (and very much enjoyed) on our way to Alaska, the George Johnston Museum where we bought some jams and jellies.

The lady who makes the jam is in her eighties and has been making them for more than 30 years. The best part is that she still picks all of the berries herself. They were delicious and we had to have more.

But they had sold out her last supply. So instead we made arrangements to have them mail us some of each flavor when she finished making the next batch! Such nice people.

Shortly thereafter, we turned south on to the Cassiar Highway, another very remote highway, with only tiny communities here and there and almost no services along the way. Cassiar 20

Soon after on the Cassiar, we crossed from Yukon Territory into the province of British Columbia. We were sad to leave the Yukon, where we drove the wilderness roads of the north, and saw many wild and remote places. As the sign says the Yukon is “larger than life”.Cassiar 24

Cassiar 23Cassiar 21Cassiar 19Alaska Driving Day 16 Recap

Road Name: Alaska Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Massive potholes until just beyond Teslin, then generally good

Road Name: Cassiar Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Condition: Chipseal, pretty narrow with no centerline and no shoulder, after about 20 miles was smoothly paved and seemed brand new

Miles Today: 252

Driving Time: 5:30

Cassiar 28We finally arrived at Boya Lake, yet one more lovely lake surrounded by mountains.

Cassiar 35Cassiar 42Boya Lake was such a beautiful and quiet location that we extended our stay an extra day hoping for some better weather. But the sun only peeked out briefly, happily during a short hike along the lake. The lake has a gorgeous blue-green hue.

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Cassiar 31Cassiar 36We were following the autumn on our way south, and the autumn colors were on display on the lakeside. And there was lots of evidence of beaver, though we did not see any actual beavers.

Lots of mushrooms sprouted after all of the rain and Hector spent some more time “down low” with his camera.Cassiar 34Cassiar 38

The next morning was lovely even in the cloudy weather, and a little fog softened the light and gave the lake a mysterious air.Cassiar 52Cassiar 53Cassiar 51

Cassiar 44Cassiar 43Cassiar 56On our last evening in Boya Lake, as we turned our generator off, the ac power died even though we had the inverter on. And we were unable to turn the inverter back on. Hector inspected the inverter and the batteries and looked through the manual but could not identify the source of the problem. We had to make a decision: go on to Hyder, a long drive across very remote country, or turn back to the nearest (tiny) town to find a mechanic.

In the morning, the batteries had not discharged, so we reluctantly decided to continue to Hyder and stay in a park with electrical. But Boya Lake is definitely a place we could have stayed in for a longer period of time.

Back on the road we made a quick stop at Jade City, named for the rich jade deposits found in the area. It is not really a city but a little community that surrounds the Cassiar Mountain Jade Store. There is a tiny hotel and they offer free jade-cutting demonstrations and free overnight parking for RVs.

Cassiar 57Apparently, a reality show is being filmed at the jade store, as there were signs saying that anyone entering the premises might be filmed. Fortunately, they were not filming on that day.Cassiar 58

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Cassiar 60Cassiar 62Cassiar 64Cassiar 63Cassiar 61We finally reached the Glacier Highway, the road to Stewart and Hyder. This highway winds through Bear Creek Canyon, past 20 glacier formations and 72 snow avalanche paths.

Bear Glacier is the most prominent glacier on the road, but the clouds made for a very gray view of the glacier. Glacier Highway is also framed by a number of waterfalls.

We arrived at the town of Stewart in Canada. Hyder is just across a “border” which is not manned by U.S. customs. (But there is a Canadian border station coming back). We unhooked the car and I drove to Hyder, two miles down the road, to check out the two RV parks in town.

Alaska Driving Day 17 Recap

Road Name: Cassiar Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Fairly smooth, no centerline, no shoulder, occasional bumps. Became bumpier at about kilometer 530, then improved again after Dease Lake with a centerline after Iskut.

Road Name: Glacier Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Condition: Generally good.

Miles Today: 347

Driving Time: 7:45

Total Miles in Canada: 3689

Total Miles since entering Canada: 6053Cassiar 68Cassiar 65Cassiar 67

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It was a good thing that we did not drive Island Girl across the border to Hyder, since the town of 60 or so residents seemed to be mostly shut down for the season including both RV parks.

So I drove back to Stewart and we stayed in their full hookup park for the night. Stewart was a cute little town, so that gave us a chance to check it out in the morning.

Cassiar 69The next morning, we planned to drive back to Hyder and then decide whether to stay or continue south across Canada.

~ Brenda

16 thoughts on “South to Alaska

    • Nerve wracking indeed. The choice was to go back north 70 miles to a tiny town that may or may not be able to fix our problem and if we needed parts or something we could get stuck there. OR, head 300 miles across the super remote Cassiar Highway and hope we make it. If not, we’d be in DEEP doo doo. All worked out in the end … turns out it was a minor thing … whew!

  1. Such tough decisions. Beautiful vistas and lakes and mountains here, great views and waterfalls and changing colors there! Great pics and long rides. Hope the electrical problem works out!

  2. Sorry to hear you are having some RV issues. Hope you can get them resolved soon. We have spent the last couple of days with some friends and just learned they are planning an RV trip to Alaska next year. I have referred them to your website.

    • Lu, it did turn out ok in the end, but we didn’t know that for awhile, and we took a few risks along the way not taking care of the problem. Thanks for referring your friends, hope it is useful for them. I will be doing a summary post at some point too.

  3. Hi guys! Sounds like your still up there in that beautiful outback. As usual, Hector’s photos are like art. The color of the water is stunning.

    Question: Did you ever get your electrical situation taken care of? It seems to me that when using the generator, that’s equivalent to shore power, no “inverter” needed. Most inverters won’t run the AC anyway, unless it’s a huge inverter with lots of batteries. Ours is 2000/4000 and it won’t run our AC long if at all. Could you have been referring to the CONverter. If so, the converter and inverter should not run at the same time. At least, that’s my understanding.

    • Thanks Ed, all fixed, turns out to have been a loose connector that we vibrated loose on all these bumpy roads. But to clarify the issue was not the air con / it was ac power. when we turned the generator off … we usually have the inverter set to “on” so that 110 power would be uninterrupted when the generator went off. Not so much .. all went dark. I thought maybe our inverter / charger had failed. Fortunately not. Easy fix!

  4. What a great trip! In May of 2000, my youngest son and I drove the Cassiar Hwy. and on up into Alaska to pick my husband up at the airport in Fairbanks. We were in a 20′ Class C, and I didn’t even have a cell phone. Probably no coverage there anyway! No one told us that the Cassiar was not the best idea, especially at that time of year. If memory serves me rightly, the entire highway was dirt and gravel at that time. We drove for several days and saw nothing but a few huge logging trucks, and some type of small store with fuel pumps. We did make the trip over to Hyder and stayed at a small RV park by a creek. It was so wild and beautiful! My son is 27 now, and still often talks about that 13 months we lived on the road. We traveled to every state except Hawaii, and made a visit there last summer. My husband and I are looking forward to full-timing again in a few more years, and Alaska is high on our list, even though we have been back twice since 2000.
    I am enjoying your blog so much. Safe travels!

    • Wow, what a great experience, especially for your son. The Cassiar actually was one of the better roads we drove on, but it had a terrible reputation in the past. Alaska has so much beauty, it is a trip worth taking multiple times. I’m very glad you are enjoying the blog and that it has brought back great memories. Best of luck to you with your future full timing plans!

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