Edit Blog Post
Published: September 17th 2016
2 Sep 2016: Alaska is a large State. It is 811 miles from Anchorage to Skagway, much more than we can drive in one day. There are almost always occasions when the road is under repair and your speed is reduced to 10 mph or even zero if you need a pilot car to lead you through the construction zone. We always like to wave to the flagman or woman at the side of the road because it has got to be a very boring job. Why not try to show our appreciation by giving them a friendly wave and a smile? The flagwomen respond with more enthusiasm that their male counterparts. I wonder if they do that all day long or if they take turns driving the construction equipment? We toyed with the idea of driving to Haines and then taking the ferry up to Skagway but it would only shave 16 miles off the journey and the 1 1/2 hour ferry would cost us about $225.00. We didn't think Haines was worth the additional expense. No offense, Hainesians, maybe next time.
Prior to leaving Anchorage we got the oil changed on the coach and replaced the
air filter. That took almost the entire morning. Our first day's travels took us 399 miles to Tok (pronounced "Toke"). We drove Northeast on Highway One known as the Glenn Highway through Palmer. Actually, we had to exit the Glenn highway at Palmer owing to the road construction which compounded the traffic snarl waiting to get into the Alaskan State Fair. Between Palmer and Glennallen the road was in deplorable condition. We alternated between bad paved road and bad gravel road, all in the midst of construction crews. At one point when I was slowly passing a dump truck, I slowed down to see what it was it was dumping. I told Jeanne they appeared to be potholes.
Once we passed Glennallen the road was smooth, which was most welcome as the scenery was spectacular. We passed many glacier covered mountain ranges. Part of our journey took us along the Copper River, that formed the border of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The trees were turning color. The colors just burst out of the green background. Sometimes just one tree in a grove of hundreds changed to bright yellow ahead of its companions. Other trees changed in
unison, but not to the same color. Whole mountainsides became a blend of green and yellow. In the midst were sections in orange with some already brown. The Fireweed normally a bright red, darkened to a reddish brown. Black Spruce, trees that look like they were abducted from a Dr. Seuss storybook, canted this way and that in the unstable permafrost, as the ground was unable to withstand the weight of the tree with its shallow root structure. White Spruce, growing on stable permafrost close by stood straight and tall. Many rivers empty into the Copper River drainage and their braided channels, punctuated with boulders and fallen trees cut a field of view through the thick forest. It was a wildly picturesque drive.
We pulled into Tok about 1900 and located a place to stay for the night. It was closed but a sign instructed us to register and come by in the morning to pay. I returned about 0900 the next morning and paid the sweet little old lady who said she just can't stay up late like she used to. She commended me on the excellent completion of the registration form and asked me if
I wanted a job there as a night clerk. I told her I had tried working once and after 48 years decided I didn't like it so I quit and no longer work for money. We packed everything up and drove across the street to gas up the coach. When I drove up to the pump I noticed people were looking at me funny. One gentleman pointed out that I had not disconnected the 30 amp electrical line and it had dragged behind us. The door enclosing the electrical and cable connections had broken in half. I had also neglected to lower the TV Antenna. This had never happened before in seven years of RVing and was very embarrassing. I felt like the late Robin Williams in the movie, "RV". The antenna was undamaged and a little duct tape secured the half door remaining. I'll just add it to the list of repairs that has been developing since we left. We continued our journey Southeast along the Tanana River, across into Canada, past Kluane (Kloo Ani) Lake and down to Haines Junction. From there, it was only a few dozen miles to Whitehorse, the Provincial Capital of the Yukon Territory
where we spent the night in the High Country RV Park. This was the same one we used on the way North.
The next morning was foggy with rain and low hanging clouds as we drove South on Highway 2 to Skagway, a distance of about 110 miles. We passed Carcross before entering British Columbia. The community used to be known as Caribou Crossing but was changed because of the overuse of that name elsewhere. Carcross is the home of the world's smallest desert. "Winds blowing off Bennett Lake remobilize glacier meltwater sands from Pleistocene (0.1 - 3 mya) to late Holocene (present -0.1 mya) into a dune field that surrounds Carcross." Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Nevertheless, it is amazing that 3 million year old sand can be exposed, blown by the wind to form a dune formation in modern times.
We continued down through the White Pass and entered Skagway (pop 1000 summer, 100 winter.
Tot: 2.904s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 12; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0478s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb