Week 5 ~ Sunday, June 28 to Saturday, July 4

Day 26 ~ Sunday, June 28 - It's 71 degrees and sunny first thing in the morning here at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia. It's pretty and quiet here. Most of the campers left early as is normal for a Sunday. Not much wind and the lake is calm. After breakfast and some religion time with God and some Christian music, we all piled into the truck and headed for our first peek into Alaska. Just a peek for now.

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We woke up to this view this morning looking out our bedroom window in the trailer. Nice... We are in Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. Guess the name of the lake.

We headed out of the park and onto westbound highway 37A from the park to Stewart, British Columbia. It was a very scenic Sunday drive with mountains, rivers, waterfalls and a few bear sightings. Cool. It was about a 40 mile drive and the weather was absolutely perfect.

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The snow is still melting along highway 37A to Stewart, British Columbia, Canada.
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You can see the result of an avalanche that will probably take all summer to melt.

We were practically alone on the highway and when we arrived at Stewart, British Columbia, we were practically alone there also. Not the big tourist destination we thought it would be. Everything in the town is old and in need of repair and paint. The grocery store was one of the few places open; it is Sunday. We did a little shopping here on the way back home, but first we must cross the border to Hyder, Alaska, just to boast and brag that we were in Alaska. The border is wide open with nobody to stop us. Apparently, they are not worried about illegals crossing the border here. This is the only road in and out of Hyder. Well, now we were back in the good ol' U.S.A., but for only an hour or so.

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This is beautiful downtown Stewart, British Columbia, right next to the U.S. border leading to Hyder, Alaska. Today is June 28 and height of the busy tourist season. Not much happening here. It is quiet and does have some pretty scenery.
No Home Depot or Kohl's.
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Welcome to Hyder, Alaska. Not much here to talk about. You could swap the whole town for about $132 worth of junk jewelry.

Hyder, Alaska, is smaller and in worse shape than Stewart. Just nothing here to see or write about. So we continued on up the road a few miles (not kilometers) and visited Fish Creek to see the bears. More marketing BS. There were NO bears because there were NO salmon in the famous fish creek; we're too early for the salmon coming upstream to spawn. No fish means no food for the bears so we had a nice walk on the long, elevated boardwalk that followed the river without seeing any fish or bears. All out of season. Bad timing, but it's the only timing available for us. Oh, well.

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No fish. No bears. But, a very nice boardwalk about 15 feet above Fish Creek just outside Hyder, Alaska.

We called it quits with Alaska for now and headed for the Canadian border where we were stopped for a few minutes while the border guards checked our IDs to be sure we weren't wanted for something or by somebody. Lots of bad guys must be crossing this little unknown gateway. Note that Hyder, Alaska, is tiny and the roads are short and go nowhere; they simply end. This border crossing is the only way in and out of town.

It's time to go back to our portable home. On the way we saw a mamma bear next to the road eating grass or something while her baby climbed a tree and ate grass. Seems like the kids always want to climb trees. We saw more bears and took pictures of some and couldn't stop the truck or get the cameras out fast enough for others. Camera shy.

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Momma bear eating by the side of the road. Look at the fur on this sucker. Soft and fluffy, maybe.
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Baby bear. Cute! And probably soft and fluffy. Needs a pedicure.

Bear Cub Eating

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How do baby bear cubs grow up to be as big as their mum? By eating a lot of green grass-like organic matter. Ain't he cute?

By the way, the crow should be Canada's national bird. There are billions and billions of them up here. And noisy! They're big and all over the place. Creepy, just like in Alfred's movie. They land in our campsite and poop on the picnic table. Jerks. Heckel and Jeckel wouldn't do this. Bad manners, you stinkers.

We got back late in the day to our campsite in Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada and discovered that we acquired new neighbors to our campground loop which is a small parking lot right on the lake. Now, the parks should ban air conditioners. Look, if you are going camping, have respect for fellow campers and keep it quiet and turn your damn porch lights off at night. Others don't want to hear your air conditioner running or have your lights shining in their windows late at night. Oh, I'm too hot! Suck it up. You're CAMPING. If you don't like what mother nature deals out, stay home or stay in a motel. Just stay out of the once-quiet campgrounds. Rats, there goes the neighbors' AC again. Rude and inconsiderate. Maybe booze will help. Oh yeah, two fingers of Crown Royal and we are good.

Day 26 Summary ~ We drove about 90 miles today which puts us at 3950 total miles into our journey.
It is 79 degrees outside at 8:00pm pacific time.

Day 27 ~ Monday, June 29 - We broke camp around 10:00 this morning, gassed up at the corner gas station for $4.72 per gal. and continued north on Hwy 73 toward the Yukon Territory in search of gold. We saw a bear crossing the road right in front of us. It's still a surprise and a bit of a thrill, but becoming more commonplace seeing them.

The road started out smooth and hilly, but is turning into bumpy and repaired-bumpy. Are we back in Michigan? It's much narrower here too and the small shoulder has disappeared. We're driving through Spruce and Aspen forest with the mountains peeking over the treetops - the usual. Stretches of Purple Loosestrife, buttercups, daisies and white clover among the grasses with Red Sumac and spruce as the backdrop. With very few truckers, or even cars for that matter, we have the road to ourselves and no pesky billboards or gas stations to distract our attention. Every now and then we'll see logging operations, but not often. Small lakes and creeks are rushing to who knows where with narrow bridges overtop. The mountains here are craggy and somewhat snow-capped, but green with the forest. They look like they're covered in moss, but we know it's small trees and bushes. The curves in the road keep you awake and on your toes. Oh, look, another bear!

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It is cloudy in northern British Columbia here on northbound highway 37. As usual, there's no traffic.

There are a lot of small rest areas; one about every 30km or so. Many more than gas stations. We just passed a lake covered in yellow water lilies. Beautiful and peaceful. We've picked up the 100,000+ volt power lines again and the lumberjacks have cleared stretches of land and piled the brush and logs into what look like Indian teepees-whole villages of them-or imagine lots and lots of huge bonfires set and waiting for the football season. A bit of rain has started to clean the bugs from the windshield and we've picked up a white water lovers paradise. If we only had a raft and wetsuits. The water is VERY COLD and right from the snowpacks! When we take pictures near the creeks, the air temp drops 10-15 degrees as we approach the rushing water.

We stopped again for pictures and the four bicyclists we passed have just passed us. There are a LOT of cyclists on these roads and with vehicles traveling 90 kph or 55 mph and wildlife, it just doesn't seem safe. There is no shoulder and it's a two-lane road with tall brush up to the edge. These people are nuts, but in great shape.

Road maintenance workers were mowing a little way back to create a shoulder for the road and we wondered if it was necessary way out here in the middle of nowhere with so very little traffic. But the weeds (mostly wildflowers) are encroaching on the lanes and higher than our side mirrors on the truck. They affect visibility, so yes, it's necessary.

About every 10 km there are pull-outs with just a bear-proof trash container. The question is: do a handful of drivers create that much trash driving this deserted highway that they need so many trash containers? Now here's big Canadian government at work. Think about the cost of building a paved pull-out with a fancy $500 trash container plus the cost of a guy to come by every so often to empty them. Canada wastes a lot of money on really stupid stuff. So much that there is no money left for more important things. You are hard pressed to see signs stating the highway number. Highway 37 that we are driving on all day today has a sign maybe every 80 or 100 km. The lack of speed limit signs is also apparent. Just take a guess what road you are on and drive whatever speed you want. Sharp curve coming up? Don't warn the drivers. Let 'em find out when they start skidding around the curve and over the cliff. That'll slow them down. Oh, and you know that painted center line? No money for that either. No paint to mark the edge of the road - only weeds. But, they have nice trash cans. Bear proof ones at that. I must say the roads seem to be litter free. And paint free also. Makes for a clean, modern look, eh?

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Highway 37 northbound in British Columbia started out very nice. Not much of a shoulder, but it was smooth and did have painted lines.

The drive today was long, the highway was good for the first half and crappy for the second. The lack of gas stations is scary; one every 200 miles. If you get 300 miles per tank, you better fill up at every station. Gas is now over 5 bucks a gallon. Where is this you might ask? The Yukon. Yep, we made it out of B.C. today and are into Gold country. We'll start heading due west on the Alcan (Hwy 1) when we leave, but first we'll see the Watson Lake area with the Sign Post Forest and since we're in the "big city", Diane has to catch up on work. Or not.

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Highway 37 in British Columbia, Canada, turned into a really crappy road with no shoulder and no painted lines. It was like this for hundreds of kilometers, miles, football fields, soccer fields or whatever way up here. Still better than Michigan roads, but not much.
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We are now in the Yukon Territory on the Alcan highway (Hwy 1) heading east towards Watson Lake, our destination for the day. Is that a Dairy Queen I see way up there?
Rats! It's another ice cream shop mirage.

We drove into Watson Lake and checked out the campground there and decided that it did not meet our low standards for camping. So we turned around and headed west back out of town a few miles to Watson Lake Campground. This is yet another rustic Canadian campground with pit toilets and water that must be boiled 10 minutes before drinking. But, it is so quiet here you can hear a chipmunk fart. I'll take care of that when I start my generator to keep the refrigerator cold. I only run it for about an hour or so. The wildlife will just have to deal with it.

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Our campsite in the rustic Watson Lake Campground, Yukon Territory, Canada. A sign told us to boil the water. Good thing we brought our own.

We had tube steaks for dinner with a glass of Merlot; an all-American dinner. It is red wine with hot dogs isn't it?. Or does it really matter because we don't know what's in a hot dog anyway and we don't care. Cheers and good night.

Day 27 Summary ~ We drove about 369 miles today which puts us at 4319 total miles into our journey.
It is 59 degrees outside at 10:30pm pacific time.

Day 28 ~ Tuesday, June 30 - We packed up and left another primitive campground, Watson Lake Campground, and headed into town to visit The Sign Post Forest. Back in 1942, during construction of the Alcan Highway, the American Army posted directions to various points of interest in the Yukon and then added New York, Chicago and Tokyo. A homesick GI, Carl Lindley, was working on damaged sign posts and set up his own with the distance to his Illinois hometown. That single signpost has grown to over 83,000 signs naming places all over the world.

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Now this has got to be one of the craziest places anywhere. There's probably 5 acres of land here that is just covered with trees and 15 foot tall posts. It is just... nuts!
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The guy that runs the gift shop/sign-making shop says that this place holds the Guinness Book of Records for the most stolen property. There are a lot of "Welcome to the Village of..." and "So-and-So City Limits" signs. Thousands of car and truck license plates. One heck of a lot of signs that were "borrowed" from public roads.
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It really is a Sign Post Forest. You can wander around here for hours (we did) reading the signs and trying to find some from your home state. Of course, we found many from Michigan. Even one that said Hockeytown. We just had a great time here.

A couple years ago, our friend, Matt, gifted us with a cedar sign for our trailer “Alan and Diane, Farmington Hills, Michigan”. Alan put a new layer of clearcoat on it for this trip, so it looked shiny and new. We had no intentions of using this personal sign for this project. We just thought of it when we got to this site without a personal sign to hang. Well, what an honor to place that sign on one of the posts! And our trip is forever commemorated. By the way, Matt, we need a new sign.

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It's a good thing I brought the Dewalt drill, hammer screwdriver and deck screws. We hope it lasts for a long time. It'll certainly get buried in snow.
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See our sign at the bottom in the middle. Looks pretty good there doesn't it?
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Gregg screwed their new sign up high onto the post. Good thing he had a step stool.
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Gregg and Gale's sign looks pretty good up on that post. All shiny and new in the bright Canadian sunshine.

We're now on the famous Alcan Highway heading west toward Teslin, Yukon Territory and a full-service campground for the night. The ad says SHOWERS, electricity, water and Wi-Fi. I can hardly wait! I have work to catch up on and we haven't had showers in, hmmm, too long. But first, the drive is pretty good; a wide, hard-surfaced road WITH painted lines! The paint is old and faded, but it's there! We're booking along at 90kph making great time in the sunshine. No “Singing In The Rain” today. We're dancing in the sunshine with flowers in our hair, flowers everywhere! Gas tank and bellies are full. Truck is running well at over 12 mpg. That valve job is paying for itself – many thanks to all the guys at K&J Auto Repair! Go there. They do good work! The few clouds are puffs of white cotton. Life is good!

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You can almost see Russia from here. Oh, we're not in Alaska yet.

We passed stretches where people have spelled out names and messages with rocks along this highway. A Fort Nelson swim team started this in the summer of 1990 and it has caught on – whole hillsides are littered, I mean lettered.

There's more of a buffer area between the road and forest here, between 30-60 feet, and there's a wide shoulder area. It's like a wider US-24 with a coarser aggregate asphalt. Very few pavement patches. How is it that the Yukon DPW can maintain a road in this harsh climate and Michigan roads are full of potholes?

Well, that was exciting - an Alaska plated pick-up hauling another pickup and passing us on an outside curve. Gutsy. Glad he made it. We're passing lots of small lakes and ponds and with the mountains as a backdrop, it's really a beautiful road and it's a lovely 70°F or about 23°C (the C is for Canadian - I'll bet you thought it was Celcius).

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Heading west on the Alcan highway in the Yukon Territory, Canada.

There's not much traffic on the Alcan and yet the campgrounds are pretty full. We can still pull in without reservations, but that may not last long. We really have no idea how far we'll travel on any particular day and have just a sketchy outline of places to visit so we can be flexible. We may need to have a stricter schedule soon. As long as we're in Canada (a.k.a. the Black Hole), we have no communications, so making campground reservations is a moot point for now.

A big hello to everyone at Encore! We're almost there! Deni, that Thermos is the BEST. COLD water every day and when we have electric, ICE WATER. Very refreshing. THANKS!

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Over the bridge and make a right is the Yukon Motel and Restaurant and large parking lot that they refer to as a campground. Camp? No. Park? Yes. By definition, this is a truck stop. They allow trucks to stop here for the night and charge the drivers for shower and restroom privileges.
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...and here we are in the truck stop parking lot that they call a campground. Not.
In all fairness, it's the Yukon Motel & Restaraunt RV Campground in Teslin, Yukon.

Well, our over-night accommodations are mostly awful. This place is a truck stop / motel / restaurant and parking lot. A true oasis in the Yukon desert. Not a campground as we were led to believe. There are trucks parked out front with their engines running all night long. Noisy is a word for it. The restrooms are nothing to be proud of. The Wi-Fi that they advertise is non-existent where we are in the parking lot. It does work way over there in the motel and restaurant, but only for one hour at a time and not at all after 11:00pm. We are desperate sometimes and I must admit the showers are wet. Filthy, but wet. Good night, maybe. An alcoholic beverage might help make this place look better.

Day 28 Summary ~ We drove about 168 miles today which puts us at 4487 total miles into our journey.
It is 59 degrees outside at 10:30pm pacific time. Same as last night. Amazing!

Day 29 ~ Wednesday, July 1 - We shared a wonderful homemade, pecan cinnamon roll for breakfast (the truck stop restaurant/bakery is good for something) – everything we should not be eating, but oh, was it ever yummy. So now our tummies are full and the gas tank is topped off again, but most importantly, we had showers. We're clean and ready to go. I thought I'd be able to work last night, but no luck. Maybe tonight. Our destination is Haines, AK, back in the good ole USA. We're tired of Canadian money and pricing and attitude, so it's over the border we Yankees go.

Gregg and Gale were able to photograph a magnificent Bald Eagle last night. It was gone by the time Alan and I caught up with them, but he/she was proudly guarding the nest. They didn't see any eaglets.

There was a nice little museum accessable through the campground gift shop. The taxidermists have been busy and the displays were first-rate. All the animals we've been told to watch for, but haven't seen yet were represented, plus many others. Taxidermy may be our only opportunity to view these creatures.

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Highway 1 heading west out of Teslin. The nice sunny skies turned ugly in a few hours.

We put Teslin, Yukon, in our rear view mirror as we headed west on highway 1. We've been buzzing along quite nicely until this last stretch between Johnsons Crossing and Haines Junction where the road's been dip and curve, bumpity-bump and stretches of loose gravel. This last one got the motorhome air bourne and opened up the refrigerator, freezer and a couple cupboards. They had a bit of a mess. Note to the Yukon government: A warning sign would have been helpful.

Johnson Crossing has a small bakery and restaurant that we could not pass up. We purchased some day-old cinnabuns and a fresh cherry turnover. Very good. BTW: they have to give names to every small oasis on these open roads. Just one small store of sorts and maybe a gas station. It gets a name. Looking at the map, you think you are coming into a small town, but no. Just 2 buildings, maybe. And a dog.

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Ya just don't know what will find next to the road. How about some wild horses?
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Back into British Columbia on Highway 3. The road is great and the weather is still good.
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Which way do we go? Let's go to Haines first. It's closer.

It was a long day today of just driving with a few stops to check out the scenery and try out the roadside pit toilets. Listen to your pee hit the brown pile below. (Diane did not write this). We crossed the border from the Yukon Territory and back into British Columbia again. Later in our journey today, the trees disappeared. Somebody stole all the trees for miles and miles. It looked like we were above the tree line, but we were at about 3000 feet. No trees. The land looked like it had been strip-mined by gold seekers and the trees were never replanted. It looks pretty bad. A barren waste land.

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Where did all the trees go? Looks like the southwest desert.

We zipped out of British Columbia and thru the border crossing into the U.S. and made it to Haines, Alaska, in a light rain. It has been very gloomy and overcast all afternoon. The best stop we made was to see some eagles in their special protected place in Alaska. Of course, we took their pictures.

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Alaska! Big state means a big sign. Here at last and we didn't bust.
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A pair of eagles just sittin' and waitin' to be "preserved". How long does that take?
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There are Totem poles all over this little town. The tourists love 'em. We're tourists.
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Haines Hitch-Up RV Park, Haines, AK. What a nice campground! Even in the rain.
All of the campsites are covered with really nice grass. Wow!
They have rules here like "No Doormats" and "No Washlines". Picky, picky, picky.

The second best stop today may be our campground choice for the next couple days. Haines Hitch-Up RV Park welcomed us with a couple side-by-side sites. This campground is so nice; the whole campground is covered with thick green grass except for the really pristine smooth stone roads. It is so picture perfect! And the Wi-Fi is quite good so Diane can get her work done and I can upload all of these writings for your amusement. It's pretty quiet so we should get a good night's sleep. The sun is setting about 10:20pm and back up about 4:00am. Crazy long days and short nights. What kind of nightcap should I have?

Day 29 Summary ~ We drove about 352 miles today which puts us at 4839 total miles into our journey.
It is in the 50's and chilly and rainy this late evening.

Day 30 ~ Thursday, July 2 - It rained all night and all day today. A good day for Diane to set up the mobile office and get her job done. The internet connection is good and she has an adequate supply of fresh hot tea. It is chilly outside. In the low 50's. Gregg, Gale and I went on a short road trip to the local IGA for a few grocery items and then a 10-mile trip to Haines Packing Company to see their fish packing operation and purchase some fish products.

Haines is small and pretty dumpy like most of the Alaskan towns we've seen so far. The season is a short 100 days or so, and the flow of money into these areas is too low to maintain anything. BTW a gallon of milk is almost 7 bucks here at the IGA. I have no idea why everybody makes such a big deal about these crappy little towns in Alaska. But, it's Alaska and people spend a lot of money to get here just to say they've been to Alaska. Bragging rights, I guess. What the heck, we haven't even seen a moose yet. Or a kangaroo for that matter.

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The Totem poles all around town are really cool.
This bit of Alaskan marketing is real; no BS here.

"How many museums have you seen?", you may ask. Well, there are museums for everything up here in the great north all trying to capture the tourist dollars. Gather up a bunch of old junk, stick it into an old dilapidated building and call it a museum. There are hundreds of museums. Now that's what you call local culture! They probably get government funding.

The rain finally quit. After Diane finished her work, we all packed into the truck and toured the town taking pictures of the Totem poles and stopping at the liquor store to get some very important provisions. We then headed on back to the campsite for dinner and some sleepy time. I'll drink to that. Rum and Coke, please.

Day 30 Summary ~ We drove about 25 miles today which puts us at 4864 total miles into our journey.
It is 56 degrees at 10:30pm Alaska time, now 4 hours difference than Michigan.

Day 31 ~ Friday, July 3 - We woke up to a fairly nice looking day; the rain finally quit and we quickly drove to the local fish cannery to see what had come in. They were chopping up halibut for Big Al's fish joint in town. Not much going on and no more boats were expected. We gave a ride into town to a gal originally from Germany and now living in Whitehorse. Interesting gal and gutsy. She was visiting Haines for the summer and living on a fishing boat. She was "low man" in the crew and given the job of getting grocery supplies. We got her to town but don't know how she was getting back with the supplies. There are no taxis in Haines, Alaska. We stopped at Big Al's for Halibut and Shrimp lunches.

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Haines Packing Company, Haines, Alaska. We bought some salmon and shrimp here.

Not taking any chances, we bought gas for $3.989 per gallon before we left Haines, Alaska, and headed out of town the same way we came in, back across the border into British Columbia, Canada, toward Haines Junction in the Yukon Territory. It was good driving today in the hazy sunshine that illuminated the beautiful landscape. No rain.

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Our drive north on highway 3 thru British Columbia toward the Yukon Territory has some really beautiful scenery. We pulled off and walked across the road. We are looking south here.

What a View!

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We pulled off the road for a better view. I just had to take a panoramic movie. Single pictures just don't show it all.
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Why did the Yukon bear cross the road? To get to the other side. And he did.

We did see more eagles and a brown bear crossing the road. The eagles didn't cross the road. We met a couple at a rest area who were riding a BMW motorcycle. They were from MEXICO and had ridden through the lower 48, through Canada and all around Alaska and were now on their way home. We said they were crazy. He corrected us to "loco", but the idea came through loud and clear. They didn't have much of a windshield and being battered for that long didn't sound like fun to me. They said the next trip they're taking the pick-up.

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A drive around Kluane Lake on highway 1 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. It's a BIG lake. This whole area around the lake is quite arid. Not as many trees.
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See, Kluane Lake is a big lake with mountains on the other side. Not as many trees in this area. We are on highway 1 looking east across the lake. Purdy ain't it?
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Our campsite in Cottonwood RV Park on Kluane Lake. Nice place. The lake is maybe 50 feet from the rear of our site. Great view.

We pulled into Cottonwood campground situated on Kluane Lake in the Yukon Territory, Canada. It's a very nice, quiet, private campground with clean restrooms. It's going to be cold tonight. I'll top off the day with some Parrot Bay Mango Rum. Yum.

Day 31 Summary ~ We drove about 214 miles today which puts us at 5078 total miles into our journey.
It is 53 degrees at midnight Pacific time, back to 3 hours difference than Michigan.

Day 32, Saturday, July 4 - HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! - It was 45 degrees last night - chilly, but we were snug and warm inside the trailer. MaryAnn and Glenn, who own this campground told us they have seen signs of a grizzly in the campground. They haven't actually seen the bear, but we should be careful. We were. This campground is very nice - clean, hot showers, water and electric hook-ups, horseshoe pits and putt-putt golf. They have a nice-looking cabin to rent and some great decks overlooking the lake and mountains, for $35 American, we highly recommend it.

We parked with the back of our trailer facing the lake and the sunshine is beating in this morning. There are only a couple hours of darkness at night and then it's really a twilight kind of darkness. I still sleep like a rock and wake around 5:00 - we're in Yukon again so that's 8:00 EST.

We were hoping to be back in the US for the 4th and we may still make it. We're heading to Tok, AK and to the Sourdough Campground. I've been waiting to check out this place. It seems that the owners were great flapjack fans and made them often. As is usually the case with pancakes, you never make just the right amount - always too few or too many. Well, he usually made too many. One day, he told his grandson to take some "extras" and toss them like a Frisbee to see if they'd fly. They did and now the campers are given the opportunity to toss a pancake into a bucket. If it lands properly, we'll earn a free breakfast delivered to our trailer - Flapjacks and Reindeer Sausage. It's too quirky for us to pass up.

We'd rather sit and stare out at the lake and mountains, but we have places to discover today, so off we go. The mountains that were hazy last night are clearer in the morning sun but not much. We picked up a radio station 98.1 FM for about 15 km playing country honky-tonk music. The road has deteriorated to wavy, bumpy, dips and hills - lots of them. Hold on to the steering wheel. Can't write now - gonna lose the computer with the lousy road. The road was very bad just north of Destruction Bay on the west coast of Kluanne Lake - more dips and hills than a Cedar Point coaster - a real thrill ride. They attempted numerous patches - unsucessfully. Could it have possibly been worse before the repairs? Still bad - feels like we're horseback riding. Our poor little Lark trailer is trying to live up to it's name and fly. Good thing it's firmly attached to the truck.

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Lots of wildflowers everywhere along the roadside up here in the Yukon Territory.
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We passed a lot of wildfire burnout areas. The new growth is quite abundant. It's a natural cycle.

Oh boy, a Momma Grizzly with her cute baby in tow. The baby stands up on it's hind legs to see what's going on while the momma is grazing. She's a beautiful blonde. The baby was playing with a stick in the middle of the road. A crazy bicyclist with a worried look on his face and bear spray in his hand flew past us and the grizzly family.

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This is a Yukon Territory Grizzly bear. Stay out of her way. Yes, it's a she with a cub.
This mama is keeping an eye on lunch-on-a-bike coming on down the road.
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Hello cub! Where did mom go? Oh boy! She's going across the road again. Must be better eatin' on the other side.

Mama Grizzly and her Cub

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The two bears walking across the road and keeping an eye on the bicyclist (possible lunch) coming down the road.
Sorry about the focus.
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Mom said to look both ways before crossing the road. But, she never does. She demands respect and gets it. Just look at all the cars stopped to take our picture. They're not going to hit us.

We're moving again and Alan is doing a lot of creative steering. Road construction ahead. I wonder why? Warning of extreme dust. Get out the bandanas. Could be worse-could be snowing! It's 70 degrees and we already passed about 10 miles of washboard dirt road with more ahead. Glad we bought new tires before we left Michigan. Our trailer is screaming “Take me home!” Whatever wasn't thrown onto the walls is now being shaken to death. What was originally a little, red car being towed by a large motorhome just passed by. It's now tan. The dust is horrendous.

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The so-and-so truck drivers have no respect for the speed limit or do they care about the dust cloud they create. The speed limit was 35 and they were clippin' along at about 50. Jerks.
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Cough, cough. Can you imagine driving a motorcycle thru this. We saw a guy in a convertible with the roof down. Crazy. This dust is real fine and got into every little crack in the trailer and truck. What a mess.

Whew! Fifteen miles of dirt road and now the road is paved again and decent but we need to find a rest area. All that bouncing has shaken down the morning coffee. More construction signs - prepare to stop, but for HOW LONG? The pressure is off for now. The rest area at Pickhandle Lake was a most welcome sight.

We've been on stretches of loose gravel off and on for quite awhile. Maximum speed 50 kph or about 30 mph and that's too fast in many places. No sign that they're planning a hard surface yet - just dust. Trucks are going by; we're in a whiteout. There's a detour on the gravel road with people actually working. We feel bad for the men out in all the dust. The washboard is getting bad; gotta stop typing for now. If there was another road, we'd take it. We're glad we got gas when we did. We're up to forty miles of roller coaster area now. Even I have had my fill and I'm an Edgewater Park fan from waaaay back. Remember when “Pay one price. Ride all day” was a new concept? We don't even warn Gregg and Gale of the gravel areas any more; we assume they'll see the dust. We're not making the progress we had planned. Wonder where we'll stay tonight?

Lots of small lakes and the spruce look stunted and scraggly. Gale says it's from permafrost. We must be on the new road now. The road bed is way higher than the surrounding land, flat and wide, but very rough blacktop-still needs the topcoat of finer aggregate. The mountains are hazy again. We think it's from the miles and miles of dusty road.

We've gone about 60 miles now toward Beaver Creek and will stop at Buckshot Betty's restaurant for a bite. Buckshot Betty's is more name than anything else. The food was fair and kitchen was very slow. We shared a Taco Salad and Gregg and Gale shared a burger, onion rings and soup and spent an hour and 15 minutes. There were only a couple other tables occupied.

We are about twenty km to the Alaska border and a promise of better roads.

It was a quick over the border and we're back in the USA on the 4th! The road is much nicer and quieter - good blacktop WITH painted lines AND a paved shoulder - heaven! These are American dips in the roadway. We've gained another hour in Alaska so there's 4 hours difference now. Gas was ½ mile over the border and at $3.95, it was $1.00 less per gallon than in Canada. Too bad we didn't know that.

People live here. We see mailboxes and rooftops through the trees. Every now and then, we can see a house. Let it be known that Alaskans are rich and have it all. And all is displayed in the yard. Every house looks like a huge yard sale. Have people no pride? I suppose they only see it 3 months of the year so it's not so bad.

There were drunken electric poles near the border leaning every which way, but none for the last 10 miles or more. Generators are the main source of electricity and TV… let's just say they're not bothered by commercials...at all. (Diane wrote all of this while we were driving today)

vacation pix
We have been driving westbound on Hwy 2 and now we must turn left and go south on Hwy 1. ALL of the traffic driving in and out of Alaska goes thru this intersection. As you can see, there is not a lot of traffic.
They should put a round-about at this busy intersection to handle all of the traffic.
This is Tok, Alaska. There are NO mountains here. Look way in the distance. Nothing. We might as well be in Kansas, Dorothy.

We made it to Tok and into Sourdough Campground. It's a dump with style. Old, old style. A campground built in the sixties with no clear plan or layout. But, it works and the water is wet. We know how to pick 'em. We have electric and a water spigot and, as usual, the promised Wi-Fi is only by the office and NOT in the camping area. I couldn't get it to work at all. As far as I'm concerned, a one star rating.

vacation pix
Here we are in Sourdough Campground in Tok, Alaska. It's a very old, very classic campground with lots of trees and new owners.

The driving today was absolutely terrible and on the worst roads ever. The trailer was just shaken to near death. The bad roads are mostly in the Yukon Territory and people from around the world come here and brag about how beautiful it is. Of course, there are people who will tell you how wonderful Detroit is. Right. What really ticks me off is all the damn dust that has creeped into every small crack in the trailer storage areas and both the truck and trailer are disgustingly filthy. My most reliable truck is begging for an oil change after over 5000 miles. Oil change places are not to be found in Canada or Alaska so far. I don't think anybody ever changes their oil up here. A guy in Haines wanted $90 to change my oil. No thank you, not today. I asked the gal running the campground in Haines about an oil change place and she had no idea. (Note added July 7: I'll have more info on the oil change matter next week. Interesting.).

I have to say this trip is a bad idea. Maybe it'll get better. I hope so. I will say it again, people come here for bragging rights. So far, nothing great, nothing we haven't seen in the lower 48. Today was a really bad day of driving (except for the grizzly bear sighting) and has gotten me completely flustered. I'm ready to quit. I'll get over it. Maybe a beer will help.

Day 32 Summary ~ We drove about 243 miles today which puts us at 5321 total miles into our journey.
It is 66 degrees at 11:30pm Alaska time, back to 4 hours difference than Michigan.
This is the end of Week 5 ~ Tomorrow is Sunday and start of a new week, so you'll need to Click Here to Go to Week 6