Just a few more pix from the road.
Just a few more pix from the road.
We overnighted in Tok AK, then took a slightly different route home than the one we took getting here, opting to check out Dawson City Yukon. Along the way we encountered some caribou who had wandered onto the highway. They thankfully escaped back into the woods before
Here's something we learned on our trip. Northern British Columbia and Yukon have no people in them. Dawson City, population 1400, is the 2nd largest town in Yukon. As we approached the town we were confused by our Google maps telling us we were 2 km and 20 minutes away. Until the road led us to the shoreline of the Yukon River, and we saw the town across the water. Fortunately the government provides a free ferry shuttle service back & forth, and we waited only about 10 minutes for our ride.
Like most towns in Yukon, northern BC, and eastern Alaska, Dawson City's only claim to fame lies with its ties to the Klondike gold rush in the late 1800s. A few pix attached...Read more
We leave Coldfoot behind and look forward (not) to our 3550 mile journey home. Say hello to long days in the car. Our plan:
Day 1: Coldfoot to Tok - 10 hours
Day 2: Tok to Dawson City - 4.5 hours (short day - woot woot!)
Day 3: DC to Watson Lake - 11.5 hours (no woot woot today, more like boo-hoo)
Day 4: WL to Ft. Nelson - 6 hours
Day 5: FN to Grand Prairie - 6.5 hours
Day 6: GP to Radium Hot Springs - 8.5 hours
Day 7: An overdue day off from the car
Day 8: RHS to Spokane - 5 hours plus border crossing time
Day 9: Visiting with Craig's cousin Mike in Spokane
Day 10: Spokane to ? probably Boise - 7 hours
Day 11: Boise to Reno - 6.5 hours
If sitting is the new smoking, we've got one foot in the grave. Speaking of, this trip has yielded about 3 days of exercise (over 5 weeks). Can't wait to get back to the gym, but there WILL be tears during the first workout.Read more
A few more pix...
We left Fairbanks for Coldfoot, which is halfway between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay (which is on the Arctic Ocean). Prudhoe Bay made its way into the headlines when oil was discovered in 1968. It is now a thriving commercial oil drilling site, transporting 1.8 million barrels of oil a day through the 800 mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) down to Valdez in south Alaska. We thought it was pretty cool. Deadhorse, the town on Prudhoe Bay that supports the oil workers, has average high/low temperatures in January of -7 degrees F, to -16 degrees F. Needless to say, there's pretty much no one but the oil workers up there.
The road from Fairbanks (actually just north of Fairbanks) to Prudhoe Bay is the reputed Dalton Highway, which travels alongside of the TAPS. Travel guides tell you that "Driving the Dalton Highway is a once in a lifetime adventure, but motorists should be prepared to be self-sufficient." Meaning, no gas stations, food or water, places to stay (other than Coldfoot) and certainly no cell service. You're in the middle of nowhere. The road is 25% paved, the rest dirt & gravel. Depending on recent weather and road maintenance, the paved road has frequent road heaves and potholes, while the dirt roads are washboardy, alternately dusty or muddy, and rife with the propensity to launch pebbles from oncoming vehicles into you car or windshield. Fun!
Our destination, Coldfoot Camp, is one of the few inhabited places in Coldfoot. I mentioned previously that Craig's friend from Skagway called it "the armpit of Alaska". Haha. He wasn't kidding. There is a main building where guests are checked in and buffet style food is served, as well as a helicopter landing pad. Across the muddy, pot-holed dirt lot is the lodging, which is a rusting, trailer/motel-like structure they laughably called "The Inn". Our room consisted of 2 single beds pushed up against the walls with about 18 inches of space in between. Our airline sized bathroom contained a shower whose dozen or so cracks were repaired with a fiber-based tape. Don't get me wrong - I'm not averse to cramped quarters or cheap furnishings; Craig and I have endured this with a smile many times before. What seriously irked me was the $250 it cost to crash there for one night. Sheesh! Most expensive and cheesiest accommodations of the trip.
All that aside, the drive up the Dalton proved unexpectedly enjoyable. Its colder up there, and Fall colors were already out. Check out the pixRead more
Fairbanks is the second largest city (by population) in Alaska. Since our phone provider Google-Fi, which was so useful & reliable in South America, decided to have almost no coverage in Alaska, we used our time here to get on-line and plan the remainder of our trip. We also checked out the UAF (University at Alaska, Fairbanks) Museum, and toodled around a local Bird Preserve.
Like Anchorage, I thought there would be more to say about Fairbanks. Tomorrow, its off to Coldfoot (or, the armpit of Alaska according to one resident).Read more
We've been itching to see a wild moose the whole trip. We see signs for moose everywhere, and have searched parks where there are frequent sightings. Our results attached here...
Denali National Park & Preserve is a 6 million acre park centered around Denali, the tallest peak in North America (formerly called Mount McKinley). They offered the option of a guided tour through the park or just a transit bus. We opted for the latter, and lucked out by getting Elton Parks (yes, that's his real name) assigned as our driver. Under no obligation to talk to us at all, he was friendly, funny chatty, knowledgeable and made our 5 hour drive quite enjoyable.
Our goal was to absorb the beautiful scenery, spot & observe wildlife, and see Denali peak. Once again, the weather was uncooperative, and Denali remained huddled in the clouds. While our quest for a moose sighting remains unfulfilled, we did see caribou & bears.Read more
Seward sits on the opposite side of the Kenai peninsula and like Homer, owes its claim to fame to its fishing industry. We grabbed a boat tour here, hoping to get an up close view of the glaciers and perhaps some whales. Unfortunately the weather was not our friend on this day, and the boat had to turn back without reaching our final destination. So, no glaciers or whales. Oh well. Boat tours are fun anyway.Read more