Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 27

Dawson City, Yukon Territory

We left Five Fingers turn-out at 8:00 this morning. The first 5 miles or so was quite rough. On the way there was a lot of good road, but a lot of it had frost heaves and pot holes. Most of them are marked well, but some you just have to be on the watch for them. My co-pilot was really on the job today helping to spot the dips and holes. Last night a car pulled into the rest stop at about 2:30 and Cindy said there was a sunset at that time. (There was a little bit of a pink hue in the sky.) I woke up at 4:00 and it was starting to get quite light.

We stopped for quite a few photo ops. It is still very beautiful country. We passed through several small towns, that didn’t seem to have much going on. We followed what I think is the Yukon River for a long way, but went over some mountains and followed and crossed several other rivers.

As we got close to Dawson City, The Klondike River was flooding, and in some places got very close to the Highway. At one rest stop, a man driving what looked like a jeep with a small camper pulled in. He told us he was from Austria and his truck had German license plates. He told us that in 2011 he had his truck shipped to Buenos Ares, Argentina. His truck was brand new when he got there, and now had 70,000 miles on it. He had a map on the back that shows he drove down the Pan-Am Highway to the end of the Pan-Am, and had then returned up through South America, Central America, Mexico, The US, and Canada. He had made it all the way to Prudoe Bay, Alaska. When we saw him, he was headed to Winnipeg, where he was leaving his truck and was flying home to Austria. He said he would return later and finish driving across Canada to the east coast, and then have his truck shipped back to Europe. He told us that when he started out, there were 10 vehicles, and he was the only one left. He has been traveling for 2 years, some of it by himself.

As we drove into Dawson City, there were huge piles of gravel tailings. They were remnants of the gold dredging that was done in the last century. Our first stop was the Visitor Center. We got lots of good advice about what to see in town, as well as watching a movie about the gold dredging and the various ways they got through the perma-frost to get down to the gravel where the gold was.

We decided to stay at the Goldrush Campground in the middle of town. With tax, the price for 2 nights is $87.00.

Cindy and I took a little walk around some of the town, and saw some interesting old buildings. Tonight we are going to Diamond Tooth Gerties to see the show that is put on 3 times nightly. At the visitor center they gave us a coupon good for one free beverage. There is a $10.00 per person cover charge, which includes the show. Cindy has read that the show is pretty fun. We were told that the later the show, the racier they get. We went to the 8:30 one. It was a fun show, and we enjoyed it. There was an RV caravan at the show, and they are going over the Top of The World Highway tomorrow. They have to leave their campground at 7:00 am and get ready to go over on the ferry. I’m glad we are not going tomorrow, and glad we are not in a caravan.

After the show, we went to the Dome Road to see the view of the town and the immense views of the mountain ranges that seem to go on forever. We could see across the river and see the Top of The World Highway as it goes over and around some of the mountains. On the way down, we had to have our sunglasses on. It was 10:15 at night. Right now it’s 10:30 pm, and the sun is about where it would be at 4:00 in the afternoon at home.

Tomorrow we are going to see some more of the town. 

Thanks for visiting.

Day 26

Day 26 Whitehorse to Five Finger Rapids

It has been a long day today, starting about 8:00 this morning and ending alongside of the road at 4:30, parking at the turn out at Five Finger Rapids. In between as usual there was scenery that was breath taking. We traveled 125 miles today. The temperatures for the last two days have been in the mid 70’s, great weather.

The four of us left the Wal-Mart parking lot and headed to  Miles Canyon along the way we passed float planes and of course a beautiful lake, what lake isn’t beautiful here in the Yukon.  Here are pictures of the suspension bridge and the surrounding canyon.   Everywhere you look to the majestic mountain tops to the smallest flowerer or moss growing on a twig, one is just struck with the wonders of nature.


Here is Ray on the bridge with Ed in the background.

It was 9:30 and the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site was open, this is a free site and well worth your time.  Ray and Ed were more interested in the technical aspects of the ship, where Barbara and I enjoyed the kitchen and living quarters. Here are some technical facts:

Yukon sternwheelers were powered by wood-fired boilers. The Klondike’s fire-tube boiler held 4000 gallons of water, and operated at a pressure of 184 lbs. per square inch (that means nothing to me).

Now on the other hand, the dining room, kitchen, and the first class passenger sunroom were interesting to look at. There was a menu on the bulletin board; they ate very well on the ship.

After the tour of the ship it was off to a quilt store of course.  Bear’s Paw Quilts was a fun little shop, Ruth the owner was more than happy to show us around her store.  Ray and Ruth had a nice little discussion on long-arm quilting machines and different threads.

It was 11:30 before we left Whitehorse.

Fox Lake Burn fire in 1998 destroyed many acres of timber.  You can see the regrowth is a slow process.

There was also a sign for a fire in 1958 that is growing trees, just not evergreens yet.

Our next stop was at Carmack, just a small little village with some very old cabins and stable.

This stable was in use by the White Pass and Yukon Route that carries mail along the road in the winter between 1902 and the early 1920’s. Carmack was established in the 1890’s.

Stopped at Braeburn Lodge for one the world famous cinnamon buns; with a little butter and in the microwave they will not be half bad. I could not believe the size of the sandwiches. We did not have one; we took a picture of another customer’s sandwiches.

There is a dirt air strip on the other side of the road from Braeburn called the Cinnamon Roll Strip.

We stopped for the night at Five Finger Rapids Recreation Site. There are stairs (219) that lead to a trail to the rapids. We were all tired and did not tackle the hike. I really think that Ray was afraid of the bears. LOL
We cann't put pictures on at this time because of our internet connection. We will do so when we get to Alaska. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 25

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

We left Skagway at 8:15 (9:15 Yukon time) this morning. Cindy and I walked down to the boat dock and she took some pictures before we left. There were 3 cruise ships in port this morning. We passed lots of tour buses and vans on our way up the canyon. The day was a bright blue day with very few clouds, and Cindy got lots of pictures.

At one place on the drive up, there are poles with reflectors coming over the highway. Nick had told us that they were there so that during a snowstorm they reflect light to help motorists, because they can hardly see where they are going.

 We followed alongside of Tagish Lake, it seemed like for miles. It was interesting that part of it was completely thawed out, while the further north we went, more and more of the water was still frozen. The top end of it was still frozen solid.

Canadian Customs after Skagway.

 We came to Carcross and went past an old paddle wheeler that is on display. At least parts of it are on display. We then went to the oldest continually operated store in the Yukon, the Mathew Watson General Store. They had lots of old antiques on display. It was kind of neat.
New Tourist shops in Carcross.

We went past what is called the smallest desert in the world. It is one square mile of sand dunes. A little way after the sand dunes, we came to about 10 miles of gravel road. They had just watered it, and our trucks and 5ers got extremely dirty. You could only go about 20 miles an hour. At one point we had to wait for a flag car for about 10 minutes. The road wasn't that bad, but we didn't want to go any faster. I guess I might as well get used to it, especially going over The Top of The World Highway. The beautiful scenery more than makes up for the inconvenience of the road conditions. Emerald Lake, which was about in the middle of the construction, was very beautiful.

We drove on for a while and found a rest stop which had a path leading to some old buildings that were ready to fall down. There was an old abandoned railroad track by the cabins and old barn. The tracks looked like they hadn't been used for a long time because of all the small evergreen trees growing in the middle of the tracks.

Today we only spent six hours to go what was about 2 ½ hours’ drive time. We drove 106 miles. We took so long, not because of road conditions, but because of all the photo ops. To be precise, Cindy took 208 pictures today. We finally arrived at Wal-Mart in Whitehorse, and after we got parked, we went to the Visitor Center in Whitehorse. We plan on going to see The SS Klondike tomorrow. There is also a quilt store by the Visitor Center that is calling our names to see it.

This stained glass is at the Visitor Center.

We probably won’t have internet for 2 or 3 days, so will post as soon as we are able. We are headed toward Dawson City. Thanks for visiting.

Day 24

Skagway, Alaska
This morning we went to church. The building is a lot different than any we have been in before. It is a log building. The meeting was held in the cultural hall. There is one basketball standard, with carpet on the floor. I would think they would have a problem playing basketball. We sure do like going to these little branches. For priesthood meeting and relief society meeting the door was opened for the song, using one piano. Then the door was closed and we each had our own meeting. It was an interesting experience.

After church we went to the pier to get the shrimp from Nick’s trap. We only found 5 shrimp in it. We went ahead and prepared them for eating, and had to have hamburgers and hotdogs as there weren't enough shrimp for 5 people (we invited Nick to join us). The shrimp I had was very good. An hour before it had been alive, so it couldn't have been any fresher.

These tags have to be on the rope to the traps, or the Game Warden will confiscate the trap.

Here we are pulling up the trap.
This is what the shrimp look like as they come out of the trap.

The one in the red shirt is Nick, the RV Park owner
Nice sunny day.

The ferry boat to Haines.

The two cruise ships that we in port tody.

 The Red Onion Saloon was a brothel during the gold rush. There is lots of memorabilia and a museum inside.

Inside the saloon.

An old snow plow on the end of the train.

Another picture of downtown.

After lunch, we went into town to see some of the shops. Cindy found an Alaska coloring book with Alaskan animals in it. She is going to use them for our Alaska quilt. She also bought some kids pillows for Christmas presents for our grandkids. They had different Alaska animals and should do great for the little kids.

 That was about it for the day. Tomorrow morning we leave for Whitehorse, where we have to decide to go to Tok or Dawson City.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 23

Skagway, Alaska

We left Tagish this morning at about 8:15. We hadn’t gone far when we saw our first wildlife of the day: this porcupine. The only animals we saw today were 2 porcupines, and lots of rabbits. It was a beautiful drive again. Some of the lakes are frozen over completely, some had started to thaw, and a few were ice free. Even so the beauty almost overwhelmed us. The day was partly cloudy and Cindy got some great shots.

The road had a few bad spots, which were well marked and we were able to slow down in time. The rest of the road was good except for all the photo turnouts. LOL The stretch of highway from  Carcross to Skagway is at a fairly high altitude, and some places we were able to see where there had probably been 10 feet of snow. We didn’t go into Carcross, but probably will when we go back toward Whitehorse.  From what we could see from the main highway it looked like it probably will be worth a stop. 

We passed another welcome to the Yukon sign, and stopped for pictures. We noticed one of Eddie’s trailer tires looked low. He checked it and it was down to 25 pounds. The front one was hot, we pumped it up and he made it to the RV Park in Skagway, but it was low again. He took it off and found a nail. The RV Park last night was a large grass field, and we feel that he probably picked the nail up there. We asked about a tire repair store in Skagway, and found out there isn't one. So we went to the hardware store and bought a tire repair plug kit and fixed the tire. I decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to carry one so I bought one also.  Eddie doesn't have a tire monitor on his rig, and I told him I thought it might be a good idea to invest in one.

We stopped at the welcome to Alaska sign at the top of a long down grade, and took a lot of pictures. We had finally made it to Alaska. There were 4 girls stopped there taking pictures and we offered to take pictures of all of them, and asked them to take some of all of us.

The next 11 or so miles are downhill at 11% in some places. We made it to the Customs Inspection Station. We had got some firewood in Alberta, and they took it away from us, but we had no other problems.

We got checked into the RV Park, and Cindy and Barbara went for a walk, while Eddie and I found the hardware store to buy the kit and came back and fixed the tire.

Eddie made friends with Nick, the campground owner, and he took Eddie to his shrimp trap. He told us we could have tomorrows catch of shrimp. He said there would be probably be about 24 good size shrimp, and showed Eddie how to remove them from the trap and get them ready to cook. Can you imagine fresh cooked shrimp?

After we all came back to the RVs, Cindy and I wanted to go see some more of the town and get some fuel, since we had found it was less here than in Canada. We Paid $4.65 per gallon for diesel and bought $198.00 worth. We found some interesting old buildings and just looked at some of the sights.

I'm sorry, but some of the pictures re not in the order we saw them, but I wanted to include them in this post.

Part of the long downgrade.

The Milepost book said this was remnants of old gold mining days.

Part of the narrow gauge railroad from Skagway to Whitehorse.

This looked to be about 10 feet high.

More of the downgrade.

Neat old building in Skagway. It hasn't changed in the 16 years since we we here last.

Part of the harbor.

Here we are parked at the Pullen Creek RV Park.

We then went out to get lunch. We went to a place that had Halibut or Salmon fish and chips. They were a little pricey at $15.00 each, but were good and filled us up. Cindy wanted to used the Alaska Tour Saver book for a Halibut Buffet, but Nick told us he personally wouldn't go to it, so we went where we did.

 These prices scare me!

You might be a Red Neck if.......

 We bought the Kit on the one above, and the pattern from the one below at Rushin' Tailors Quilt Alaska. They have some of the material special made for their shop.

 After lunch we went up to the old cemetery. Most of the graves were marked that the person had died at the end of the 1800’s or early 1900’s. One thing I noticed was that most had died in their forties, with very few living any longer. We decided to walk up to Lower Reid Falls, which is just above the cemetery. Cindy got lots of great photos. By the falls, the temperature was probably 25 or 30 degrees lower. The water coming off the falls was very cold.

This leaf was stuck to the tree and was kind of leathery.

We thought this old house was interesting. There was an old ambulance parked in front that looked like it could have came from M.A.S.H.

Some of the flowers are in bloom.
 That was about it for the day. We only drove 96 miles today and with all the stops, it only took us 4 hours. We are staying until at least Monday morning. Thanks for visiting.
Here we are going across this bridge.