We start the day having a telephone interview with a search committee that is considering Fr. Bob Blessing, our former priest at St. Michael and All Angels in Longview Texas. All through the Yukon and in Skagway, our Verizon phones have not worked. So we thought that we would have to postpone this interview and already had done so. During our boat trip to Juneau, Verizon turned on their service in Skagway. This must have been a "God Thing", as we were now able to do the interview, but again lost service as we left Skagway and did not get it back until near Anchorage. We bid Skagway goodbye and vow to return. Three nights here was time well spent. The Garden City RV Park ($25) is a great base to see the Skagway area. If we were in awe of the scenery coming into Skagway, we are doubly in awe at seeing it in reverse. More frozen lakes and small glaciers than we remember. We bypass US customs and a few miles later stop for the Canadian customs officer. A few questions and we are on our way back in BC for a few minutes and then into Yukon Territory for the rest of the day's travel.
The roads we travel today have gotten progressively worse in condition. Frost heaves in the road bed during the winter really tear up the road surface. We pass a place called Destruction Bay and think that it is aptly named for this part of Yukon Territory.
We stop for the night at at the Kluane River Overlook rest area. Dry camping in the Discovery is really not roughing it. We still have all the creature comforts, as we have plenty of fresh water, power for the microwave and TV, hot water and heat if necessary. What else do we need? There are three other "campers" that spend the evening in this area. Jake and Herb play fetch on a grassy area near the woods. We were sure hoping that the bears don't check out Jake's training dummy. Herb wakes near midnight and sees a beautiful sunset over the mountains. He walks to the other side of the coach and sees just as beautiful a sunrise from the other windows.
Sunday June 11, 2006 Kluane River Overlook, YT to Palmer AK Log 487 Miles
We leave our free campsite and continue on the Alaska Highway north. Much more road destruction, er I mean construction and repair, along here. We travel over a stretch of washboard gravel that is absolutely the worst of the trip so far. We slow to less than 15 mph and still the clothes closet is wrecked, the microwave almost comes off the wall, many things that normally travel on shelves find their way to the floor. Finally we come to the Alaska line and a few miles later stop at USA customs. Wilma is busy snapping photos of the guard shack and two BMW motorcycles ahead of us. We see the customs official watching us through binoculars. After successfully clearing customs with only a couple of questions, we read in the Milepost that taking photos at this point is prohibited. This brings to mind a question I have concerning the laws in this part of the world. All through Northern Yukon Territory and all of Alaska, I have searched in vain to find a road sign that does not have a bullet hole in it. Most have many, in fact one near Anchorage has several plus a shotgun blast. Yet every customs official in both Canada and the US has asked us if we are carrying any firearms with us. We do not carry firearms with us, but it looks as if we are in the minority in both countries.
Our first stop back in Alaska is Tok. Here we stop for diesel ($3.079) and brochures at the welcome center. After Canadian diesel, I am pleased to pay the cheap?? price here in Alaska. We paid upwards of $4 per gallon in Canada. We leave Tok heading in the Anchorage direction on a great road. Only a few miles out of town, we see a sign that says "Pavement Ends". Duh. Is it dirt and gravel the rest of the way? For how long does it end? Not a clue. We drive for several miles, even considering going back and heading for Fairbanks instead, when finally we see smooth road ahead. We continue for the next 150 miles with bits of repair work along the way, but beautiful scenery. As we pass through Glenallen, the road gets better and so does the scenery. Some of the most majestic mountains of the trip along this stretch. Also along here we find that our North America GPS does not consider Alaska as in North America. We have no roads on our screen....bummer. We resort to paper maps and the Milepost. Grins. At a rest stop, we dig out the old Delorme GPS for the laptop and hook it up. We are back in business; now we know exactly where we are at all times. Big Grin.
We have seen numerous signs warning about rock slides, but fortunate not to be at that place when one happens. Today we did see a small slide ahead of us, but off to the side of the road and no harm done.
We decide to make this our longest traveled day of the trip and arrive, at Elsie and Leon Sikes' friends' rv park in Palmer AK. We arrive and get settled in about 9 PM Alaska time. Of course, it is still broad daylight, so no trouble seeing how to get to our site here at Homestead RV Park ($12 Passport America).
Walldog, Willie and Jake