Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 29

Chicken, Alaska

We drove 105 miles today.  It was a warm night and today is going to be rather warm, 78 degrees.
We left the RV Park in Dawson City, and headed to the ferry. When we got to the ferry they were loading about 6 cars. We had to wait till they got back, and then they could take one of the 5th wheels over. We had to wait for another turn before they took us over. The wait was only a few minutes.  They loaded one toad, then us, and then a large motor home.  As you can see from the picture it was a close fit. 

A bit tight.

  When we got across the river, we started up the Top of the World Highway. The first part was paved and in good shape. After a stop at a rest area, Cindy said she would like to drive for a while. She drove till the road started down, and then had me drive again. The gravel part of the road was mostly in good condition. The road had just opened and had been graded about three days ago. The ice on the Yukon River had broken up on the 15th, and then they took the graders over. Customs had opened yesterday, so this was the second day they allowed traffic.  One place where the road was wet, it was pretty mushy and straight down on the outside. We had to stop for some traffic coming from the other way, until they got past us. It was only one lane through that section.

We could have made good time if it weren't for all the photo ops. I had been told that there were places that the snow was 10 feet high, and you could see where they meant, except in one place the snow looked like about 20 feet high. We got to a rest stop that had an information sign about the highway, as well as an old fallen down cabin.

We finally reached the Alaskan border. I asked the customs officer how the road to Chicken was. He told me it was a lot worse than the Canadian side. It was about 40 miles, and the first thing we saw was a sign that said road construction next 14 miles. The last 10 or so miles were really bad. So I guess except for the first 14 miles, the last 10, and the middle 15 miles the road was in good shape. LOL The road really wasn't in that bad of shape, and was passable, except you had to take it easy and not be in a hurry. There were a few parts where you could make good time. However the road is a lot narrower than Canada. We met a truck on one of the narrow turns and just about did not make it, it was rather close.  If we had met another 5er at that spot one of us would have to back up!

We couldn't believe we would meet a tour bus on this road. Not only one, but three.

When we started out this morning the sky was blue and no rain in the forecast, perfect for the Top of The World Highway. One lonely dark cloud started to form and it stayed with us for a time, then wouldn't you know it, it started to rain.  Thank goodness it was only a small shower.  I can see why they say not to do this road when it is wet.  The melting snow was bad enough.  Ray did not dare slowdown in some spots. That would not be a good place to get stuck.

The start of 40 miles of bad road


 We finally got to Chicken, a fun little bump in the road.  This bump should not be missed. Why Chicken, as the story goes, the miners wanted to name the town Ptarmigan after the bird that is common in the area.  The miners could not agree on how to spell Ptarmigan so they settled on Chicken. The name stuck. There is a tour of the old town, but we are too early in the season for it.  It is just a few old buildings on private property.  One of the buildings is the school house where Tisha taught school.  She is buried next to her husband on their homestead in Chicken.

Chicken was once home to 400 miners, but when gold was discovered in Dawson City most of the miners went east.

 The first gas station wanted $5.20 per gallon fodiesel, and I wasn't too impressed with the place and RV parking. We decided to go on, and a sign said downtown Chicken .2 miles. We turned into it, and found the place we had seen on all the blogs. They even have free RV parking, so we are staying the night. Their diesel in $4.89 per gallon, but I’m going to wait until Fairbanks, where diesel is $4.19 to $4.24, big savings. I’m not sure we will make it to Fairbanks tomorrow or not, but we shall see.

Yes, the sign does say Chicken Poop (the rest rooms/ pit toilets).

Thanks for visiting. 

1 comment:

  1. I think you guys went up there a little early. All that SNOW!! But the scenery is amazing and Chicken is an "interesting" place.