ALASKA!!!! We made it!!!! Haines Junction to Tok

Trip Start May 25, 2008
Trip End Aug 03, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Friday, June 20, 2008

This was the toughest drive ever. 300 miles and almost half of it was gravel roads. Today we finally make it to Alaska - after almost 4 weeks on the road and what a trip it has been so far! The ride today took us from Haines Junction, Yukon to Tok, Alaska. It rained all night and most of the morning so dismantling our camp was pretty muddy this morning. We packed-up pretty quickly and were on the road by 8:00 in the morning. Just the first few miles of road and it was already rough and slow. If the road did not have gravel, there were frost heaves all over the place. This is where the road buckles during the hard freeze and the faster you drive over them, the higher in the air you go. Now in a bike this would be cool. But with a large truck and RV it can kind mess things us. So I tried to check out the road ahead and slow down if I saw anything. But sometimes one would sneak up on you and everything would go airborne. With the gravel road you also have to be concerned about drivers in the other lane as they can easily throw rocks on you and crack the windshield - this did happen to us today by the way with only about 10 miles left. UGH!!!! The views could have been spectacular today save for the rain and low visibility. Even with the clouds the parts of the mountains you could see would still dwarf our Georgia Mountains. For the first 30 miles of the trip, we did have the beautiful Kluane Lake on our side which is the largest lake in the Yukon. If is of course created by glaciers. Two major things we saw on the road today. One, was our first Grizzle Bear. We have seen several Black Bears, but this one was a big Grizzle. A truck is the best place to see it, not the trail. Another one was a motorcycle down a deep ravine on the side of the mountain. Everyone seemed OK as people were trying to get the motorcycle out of the ditch. One thing we are noticing about the Alaska Hwy. is all the closed businesses. This is not due to gas prices as they have been closed for many years but due to the fact that not many young people want to work in places like this. So there is actually a labor shortage on this route. And many jobs on the route are for summer only. Now, I would never work a summer due to the fact that Pooh and I are always traveling. But I'd love to do some summer work after retirement. The US Border patrol went OK as they only kept us for 5 min. (we did see a car get totally searched). We still have another Canada and US border to go through on the trip so I hope they go as smoothly as the first two. After 5 miles we reached our first US gas station and CHEAP FULE!!!!  Diesel was $5.11. Now this is in comparison to almost $6.00 in many places in Canada. So I filled the truck and the two Jerry Cans for a total of $167.00. So much for cheap. I thought the Canada road today was bad, but nothing like the US portion of the road. We had to wait one time for about 30 min. before we could follow a pilot car down a barley one lane gravel road around a mountain - the people in from of me were SO SLOW I thought I might get stuck in the mud. Finally around 2:00 we reached TOK and the Sourdough Campground. We set up camp after looking at our now brown rig and truck. A light and our balance broke during the hail of stones from the gravel as did our windshield. The windshield got a small crack but there were some lines coming out of it so we got if repaired for $50. After a quick lunch we took off for the visitors center and this huge souvenir shop. I did not get anything here but I did see some cool stuff I might pick up on the way out of Alaska since we will take this road latter on. Back at the RV Pooh gave me and the dogs a haircut. As she tended to the dogs, I went to the main stage of the campground to have dinner and watch and ol' time country music concert put on by a local band. Though I'm not a big country music fan, I did enjoy the concert, especially when they played some Jonny Cash. The dinner was some of the best food I've had all trip. For $10 you get a sourdough bread bowl filled with reindeer chili and a piece of home baked pie. I wish we could stay another day just for the meal and music. After the concert came the pancake toss - if you toss a pancake into a bucket you get a free breakfast tomorrow morning. I tired and missed, but I'll still get the breakfast tomorrow for $7.50. The RV Park is great as most of the sites have many trees in-between them. The bad part was the fact that their Wi-Fi had no down or up loading so I could not blog today. I'll give it a go in Valdez tomorrow. After a few loads of clothes, we called it an early night.
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