Dawson City

Dawson City 8To the yukon 36As we waited to board the ferry into Dawson City, Hector met the owner of Klondike River Distillery. He distills vodka off the grid, the only such distillery in North America according to him, and infuses each bottle with a bit of gold.

Dawson City 1But what was serendipitous was that Dorian’s “day” job is as a ranger at Tombstone National Park, our next destination! So he gave Hector an update on the fall colors. We had been concerned about driving up the Dempster Highway only to find that we were too early but he encouraged us to go and told Hector that the colors were definitely beginning.

Dawson City 2This was a great start to our stay in this interesting town. We chose to stay in a Yukon Government Campground just outside of town. We love the Yukon Government Campgrounds, they cost 12CAD, are located in lovely natural settings and offer free firewood.Dawson City 4

It is always a bit of a shock to our system to come out of a really natural and wild setting to a town (even a tiny one) full of people, and so staying at this peaceful forested campground just outside of town helped to keep us in balance.Dawson City 3

We kicked off our visit by going to the Farmers Market, which was really mostly an arts and crafts market as coincidentally it was the weekend of the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival.  We did buy one amazing head of lettuce though.Dawson City 6

Dawson is a very artsy town. In addition to the arts festival, it has the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture, the Dawson City Arts Society, the Dawson City Music Festival and the Yukon School of Visual Arts.

Dawson City 5Their Visitor Center, as almost all Visitor Centers in Canada we have visited, offers excellent Wi-Fi for free as well as tons of information.

Dawson City 13Dawson City 12As with all of these northern towns, from the tiniest to the largest, flowers are planted everywhere and maintained beautifully until the very last moment that they can possibly survive. Really the flowers are just spectacular.Dawson City 14 Continue reading

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.

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Alaska at last!

Day 12003Yesterday, on the 23rd day after entering Canada, we arrived in Alaska at last! We made it, what a wonderful milestone.

Day 12008We are happy on so many levels, not the least of which is that we have our girl Angel with us. We were not so sure she was going to be with us after she had some medical issues last November and again in February. We had some rough times together during the past seven months, but here she is!

Alaska initially greeted us with a warm beautiful day at the Welcome to Alaska sign and we took some fun photos there. We were now on the Alaska Highway 2.

Day 12014Day 12010

The boundary between Alaska and the Yukon is on the 141st Meridian, first described in an 1825 treaty between England and Russia. The U.S. accepted this provisional boundary in 1867 when it purchased Alaska.

There is a clear cut through the forest as far as the eye can see to designate the boundary, something we first learned about last year.  The treaty with Canada states that wherever the border is, it must be visible.

And so it is.Day 12007

Day 12001 (1)The Alaska Highway from the border to Delta Junction was designated the Purple Heart Trail to honor veterans. I was proud to have traveled on this road and thinking of my dad, a patriot who got a purple heart in World War II.

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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.

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Day 10 on the Alaska Highway

Haines to Cottonwood001We spent part of this day on a hunt for a mouse. Yes, we seem to have another mouse. Yikes! We found a nest and have put out “humane” traps. And we are heading out on day 10 on the Alaska Highway.

Haines to Cottonwood003Haines to Cottonwood010Day 10 driving recap:

Road Name (s): Yukon Highway 1

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Starts out pretty smooth with some dips, bumps and patches.  Overall not bad.

Miles Today: 84

Miles driven from Canadian border: 1838

Miles on the Alaska Highway: 1034

Driving Time: 2:15

Haines to Cottonwood015The above includes an extra 30 miles from our campground back to Haines Junction. The Haines Highway is an excellent road. Back on the Alaska Highway there are more views of the spectacular Kluane Range. Haines to Cottonwood004

Haines to Cottonwood014

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Haines Junction

Haines Junction010The morning was really windy, no chance of taking the kayaks out on Dezadeash Lake. And so we hung out inside the RV in the morning.

Haines Junction007Then we headed for a very short hike out by Kathleen Lake with Angel. It really is quite a beautiful lake, but there are lots of warnings about the wind picking up rather quickly. The hike is just a ½ mile mostly on a boardwalk but you can continue around the lake at the end of the boardwalk.Haines Junction008

Haines Junction005We were hoping to publish a blog post, so we had a plan A and a plan B. Plan A was to stop at the nearby Kathleen Lake Lodge and ask if we could use their WiFi, plan B was to continue another fifteen miles to the Visitor Center in Haines Junction and use theirs.Haines Junction001 Continue reading

Day 9 on the Alaska Highway

To Haines Junction025It was raining when we left Whitehorse on day 9 on the Alaska Highway. Our 9th day driving out of 14 on the Alaska Highway, and our 19th day in Canada.To Haines Junction001

Day 9 driving recap:

Road Name (s): Yukon Highway 1

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: a few frost heaves and patches, becoming more frequent frost heaves just a few miles past Whitehorse, then several long gravel breaks due to road construction, smoothing out a bit just before Haines Junction

Miles Today: 130

Miles driven from Canadian border: 1754

Miles on the Alaska Highway: 985

Driving Time: 3:15

To Haines Junction008To Haines Junction003To Haines Junction010The beginning of the drive was not especially scenic, but of course we are pretty spoiled by now. And we soon had to slow down due to the road conditions. Continue reading

Whitehorse, Yukon

Whitehorse001Whitehorse020This day we had a really short drive into Whitehorse, Yukon so we took it pretty easy in the morning. We really liked the Marsh Lake Yukon Government Campground, although there were quite a few mosquitoes there. Fortunately, we were able to get by with some natural mosquito repellent, and the campfire helped. We have several levels of repellent, from natural to frighteningly chemical.

Whitehorse002Whitehorse003Day 8 driving recap:

Road Name (s): Yukon Highway 1

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Excellent as this was mostly in “suburban” Whitehorse

Miles Today: 31

Miles driven from Canadian border: 1624

Miles on the Alaska Highway: 887.4Whitehorse060Whitehorse088Whitehorse087

Driving Time: :50

Whitehorse is the largest town in these parts. It is both the capital of the Yukon and home to over two thirds of Yukon’s 35k human residents. In the Yukon Territory there are significantly more moose than there are people!

It is a great place to refuel and restock. On the way in, we stopped at Integra Tire, which provides free sani-dump service with a fill-up. We got gas, dumped, got a water fill, a propane fill and a free bag of ice. All in one place, very convenient. But they are a very busy operation so it took quite a while.

Then we headed to Walmart, where we were clearly not the first to think about overnighting.   It was pretty jam packed with RV’s. I honestly have never seen so many in one parking lot.

But we found a good spot and settled in. It is a great location right in town and once again, they had WiFi and it was working pretty well when we arrived in the middle of the afternoon. This Walmart actually has a sign outside indicating where RVs are allowed to park overnight – amazing.

Next stop was the Visitor Center, a beautifully decorated building with lots of great information. There are quite a few museums and other activities in town, and this is the place to get the details on all of them. They also have really good WiFi.

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Day 7 on the Alaska Highway

Teslin001Teslin003We returned to the Rancheria Restaurant for breakfast. When we arrived, we heard that “we had gotten up too late and missed two moose in the pond”. Shucks. But we had a good breakfast and used their WiFi again. We had an ambitious plan on driving day 7 on the Alaska Highway, with a couple of town and museum stops along the way.Teslin022Teslin002

We took a quick walk over to the pond behind the restaurant after breakfast and after a few minutes, a cow moose came out on the opposite shore. She was a bit far but we got a nice long look at her as she walked around feeding by the shore. A great start to our morning.

Teslin004Teslin007Next, we did more doubling back in the car to take one last look at the road we saw just before reaching Rancheria as it was quite pretty.

This led us to a detour and across an old wooden bridge, but the road was impassable after that point.Teslin006 Continue reading

The Signpost Forest

Signposts010Our campground in Watson Lake had an area to wash cars and RVs so we washed the car in the morning. Then we blogged some more and headed to the visitor center museum and the signpost forest.Signposts013

Signposts012The signpost forest is pretty amazing. Thousands of signs from all over the United States, Canada and many other countries on countless posts. Continue reading