It only took us a month, but we made it to Alaska! Now it certainly didn’t have to take us a month, but we had a most delightful trip, as you may have surmised if you followed any of our previous posts. We could have done this trip in two weeks, or two months… your mileage will vary.
We departed Dawson City in the Yukon, took the ferry across the Klondike River, and drove the Top of the World Highway, still in the Yukon at this point.
You really do feel like you are on the top of the world when you are on this road. This road is all gravel, but in pretty good shape.
Entry into Alaska was in Poker Creek, Alaska – the northern most land border port in the US. We were accepted back onto the team after we affirmed we did not have any fresh fruit or vegetables. Not to worry; we just left the Yukon. This may be a drop dead gorgeous territory, but fruits and vegetables? That may not be their long suit.
Having driven over the Top of the World Highway, we settled into Chicken. So Brad, how did you know when you had arrived in Chicken? Just a guess. The town of Chicken is comprised of two RV parks, a saloon, and a restaurant. If you were expecting more, rethink your expectations.
We hardly ever stay at private campgrounds, but the Gold Rush (I’m not kidding) Campground had a cute and small restaurant attached, with huge Alaskan Halibut and Steak signs prominently displayed. You know, signature items. In my mind, I’m thinking I wouldn’t mind some fresh Alaska seafood for dinner, so the decision to stay here was easy.
We get parked and decide to go for an early dinner. We walk into the restaurant and look at the menu board. There are several halibut offerings on the menu board – but they are out of halibut. Karen asks if they have steak, to which the cashier (there are no waiters or waitresses) says, well, yes, but it is from last year. OK, no fish, steaks are from last year (tempting – not), which leaves us wings and burgers as choices.
I asked, “Do you have beer?” No, but they do up at the saloon, which is about a quarter mile up the road. It is raining and cold, we would be walking in the mud, and our truck is still hooked up to the trailer. Plan B. We go back to the trailer, heat up some chili, and I have a beer out of the cooler.
It is all about setting expectations. If they had not had a restaurant at all, I probably would have been happy and would have been delighted with Karen’s chili! But with the big bold sign – my juices were flowing! Alas…
From Chicken we followed the Taylor Highway towards Tok. If you lived in the 60’s/70’s, you already know how to pronounce this name.
The Taylor Highway has some fabulous views, some of which reminded us of Maui (think Road to Hana). The colors, textures, and dampness from the clouds all gave a similar impression to Maui – well, expect maybe for the snow, permafrost and sub-artic temperatures.
And we managed to catch a little wildlife – a coyote who had snared a nice rag to bring back to her cubbies… mmm.
We made it into Tok, which has a grocery store, gas station, RV repair shop (“Well, let me take a look at that thar thing – nope, can’t help you.”), and a few other places.
With choices to go to Fairbanks or head south, we chose to head south towards the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – more to follow!