Monday, June 29, 2009

Fairbanks to Denali National Park ,Alaska

We took a 3.5 hour paddle wheel boat ride on the Discovery. The trip was on the Chena River. We made a brief stop at the former riverfront home of veteran Iditarod Dog Musher Susan Butcher. Her husband talked about her adventures and introduced her champion sled dogs. There were many dogs and cute puppies.

We had a stop at an Old Chena Indian Village. We had a guided tour and they shared their culture with us.

The next day we went to the El Dorado Gold mine, first by bus then by train. It is a hands on adventure. We learned the history of mining in Alaska and also experience a modern day mining and panned for gold. Both of us found gold and had it made into a pendant and chain.

When we left Fairbanks we headed to Denali . It was a beautiful day ,so as soon as we set up the RV’s we headed to the Park. We took a 15 mile ride into the park hoping it would be clear enough to see the Mt. McKinley. What a beautiful sight, a huge snow covered mountain waiting for us. You can only drive the first 15 miles into the park. The only way to see the interior of the park in on one of the parks buses. The next day we took an 8 hr bus tour of the park and you could not see the Mount McKinley at all. We saw many grizzly bear, some with their cubs. We also saw caribou and dull sheep.

There are approx. 6 million acres, although visitors only get see a fraction from the 85 mile Park Road, only about a 30 to 40 percent of the visitors get to see Mt McKinley. The visitor Center is great, and a very busy place. We attended the Sled Dog Demonstration. You could get there by bus or hike, guess how we got there! We took many photos and got up close and friendly with the dogs . No puppies this time. The sled dog demonstration was at the amphitheatre given by a park ranger. The ranger also explained the role of the sled dogs in the park. They use them to patrol the park in the winter. They have cabins spaced about 20 miles apart to overnight in. The sled dog teams are very important to the work in the park.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Camper repairs

The supervisor's

Top Of The World Highway

Top Of The World Highway

Top Of The World Highway

The view was the greatest, the road the worst.

A friendly visiter

We stopped at a pull, out on the paved part of the Top Of The World Highway in the Yukon when this fox came a calling. He sat like a dog at the driver's side door looking for a hand out. This is what happens when people feed wild animals.

Pancake toss

The Sourdough RV Park pancake toss. You get 2 tries to get one in the bucket. If you do you win a free all you can eat breakfest, a $12 value. See the first picture with the pancake on its way. Bob did win a breakfest and Linda had to pay. Great fun

I Need a wash

Many of the RV Parks have a truck and RV wash, I wonder why! This was after about 10 miles on a road repair area, where they wet it down to keep the dust down. Not sure if we would rather have dust or mud!

The world's largest weathervane

A DC3 used as a weathervane in Whitehorse, Yukon. It was used from 1946 until 1970 by several Yukon airlines.

Keno Yukon

The great little museum in Keno, one of the best. There are several other buildings. A wonderful job by a town with a population of 12.

The signpost in Keno YT, elevation 6065.

After 40 miles on a winding gravel road we took the Keno Hill road 6.5 miles UP. If we didn't have 4 wheel drive we wouldn't have made it. It stared to sleet. Once committed we had no place to turn around. We checked with the locals(population 12) and they said the road is ok. Well for them it may have been ok. It was a great view from the top. The last picture is getting off the ferry.

Crossing the Yukon River

GPS photo's showing getting on the ferry and almost to the other side, note speed is 4.8mph. On the ferry ride.

More of Dawson City YT

More of some of the restored buildings. Two views from Midnight Dome and the city below.

Dawson City Yukon

View fron Midnight Dome of the Town. Some of the restored homes. Diamond Tooth Gerties Dance Hall and Casino, 2 pictures. Going to the Ball in period costumes.

Chicken Alaska

This is downtown Chicken. The hats are on the bar ceiling and walls.

Now this is a cinnamon bun.

On the road to Dawson City YT, Braeburn Inn.

5 Mile Lake Mayo YT

A few nice fish and 2 lucky fishermen loading up. I did catch 10 northern pike this day. We were the only 2 RV's in the park the 1st 2 days we were there. Its along the Silver Trail on the way to Dawson City.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dawson City,Top of The World Hwy,Chicken, Tok,Fairbanks

We keep promising picture’s, but we upload some when we have a good, fast connection. Dawson City is a really neat town as we said in our last update. We are glad we did the extra 300+ miles to get there. The next day we toured the #4 dredge. Wow is that thing big. Parks Canada does a super job with the tours. The Dawson City Museum is super.

The next morning we leave Dawson City Yukon for Chicken Alaska. We cross the Yukon River on the free ferry. This was our first time with the RV on a ferry. It was a great trip across. Took about 15 minutes. The first 20 miles of the Top Of The World Highway are spectacular. The scenery is beautiful. We climb and climb till we are at the snow line. We climb to 4,500 ft. Its about 7 miles up. Then we come to the US border and Customs. No problem at customs. Then from here the next 80/90 miles went downhill, but literally and physically. The road sucked, plain and simple. The road was potholes and washboard with shear drop offs of several 1000 feet. Why did we subject out truck and rig to such abuse? I guess to say we did it. We did break a spring shackle on the RV and cut a tire on the truck to the cords, so it has to be replaced The shackle was replaced with the help of our traveling friend Bill. He is very handy and undertook the job of replacing the shackle. With 3 jacks and a lot of muscle power we got it replaced. The tire has to be replaced. We would NOT do the Top Of The World Highway again. We traveled many miles at 10 mph, so it wasn’t the speed, it was the road. We stopped at the little town of Chicken, population 12 in the winter, 20 in the summer. We decided not to spend the night. A couple of hours were more them enough time.

We then went to Tok Ak. We spent 2 days there to relax and give our nerves break. We stayed at the Sourdough Campground. We had raindeer chili in a sourdough bread bowl. Very good. Then we attend the pancake toss. You get 2 pancakes and from about 15 feet you have to toss them into a bucket. If you get one in you win a free breakfast the next morning. Bob did get one in. We had raindeer sausage and sourdough pancakes for breakfast, with all the fixin’s.

We left Tok for Fairbanks. A pretty ride to our first “big” city in months. We are sill here now. We will leave here on Wed for Denali. There is a lot to do here. We toured the University of Alaska and their museum. We toured the Alaska pipeline and learned about its building and upkeep. We visited the pioneer village and toured all the old buildings. We took a bus tour of the town. We then went to the Alaska Salmon Bake. What a treat for the pallet. The salmon, halibut, cod where wonderful, and then add prime rib to top it off. Wow what a treat. Today is the summer solstice. They are celebrating 21 hours and 50 minutes of daylight. The celebration goes from 12 noon to 12 midnight. We also visited the city of North Pole.

From the dogs: What’s with all this daylight. We go to sleep and its light out, we get up and its light out. We can’t figure out when its time to sleep. When do we get dark time? Lilly is totally confused. She keeps getting up between 3-5 AM to go out. She has to wake the old folks and they don’t like it. Maybe they are mixed up. They go to bed when its light out-go figure, old folks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

After leaving Whitehorse, we headed to Five Mile Lake, at Mayo in the Yukon. Beautiful park. We were the only 2 rv’s in the park for 2 nights. It was a bit off the path. Fishing was great, we had a fish fry and really enjoyed it. Bo did catch 10 northern pike in one day. Still can’t get used to the daylight. We have about 21 hours of day lite a day. We took a trip to Keno, about 40 miles and dirt/gravel roads. They have a great mining museum. Nothing else except a snack shop and a trip to the sign post. The trip to the sign post was dirt, mud and ditches going up and got even worse going down because we had rain, snow and sleet. Bob had to use 4 wheel drive. We had ordered a pizza at the snack shop (several people had told us it was the best pizza) before we headed to the sign post . It took us so long to get back the pizza was dry,burnt and not very good. They failed to tell us the trip would take so long and roads were so bad. They knew we were going up to the sign post. Population in Keno is 12 in the winter. Can’t believe people actually live like they do.

We are now in Dawson City. What a neat old place. Wooden sidewalks and dirt roads. You get the old west feel. Last night we went to Diamond Tooth Gertie’s. Had dinner and a great show. Can Can girls and gambling. Bill got picked to go up and dance the can can with the girls. Today Sunday we went on a town walking tour, the guide was excellent and very interesting. She talked about life in Dawson City during the gold rush times etc. Pictures will follow when our wifi is better. Had lunch at a cute cafĂ© and tour of the Commissioner’s Residence, what a beautiful place. Our luck we were the only two on the tour and it was the same guide. Both times she dressed in period costume. Again she gave an excellent tour. Yesterday it was the 100th Anniversary of becoming a territory. They had a tea in the afternoon and a Ball in the evening, we watched them arrive in their period costumes, they were very pretty.

So far the roads haven’t been too bad. One stretch about 10 miles of gravel. Some frost heaves. On Tuesday we will take the top of the world highway which has a 40 mile stretch of gravel to Chicken AK. Then we will be in AK for several months. Keep tuned, pictures will follow. Click on the map at the top right, and follow our travels.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The fish God smiled

Bob with Northern Pike and Lake Trout. Great eating.