Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Riding the mighty Yukon

It's a miracle! Three days in a row without rain! That has not happened since we left home. Cool but sunny this morning as we took our final scheduled boat ride, a two hour cruise on the Yukon river.

Beaver lodge
The cruise on Swatka Lake took us through Miles Canyon which was up to 40 feet deeper before the river was dammed in the 1950s. The walls of the canyon are volcanic rock.
 Before the dam was built this section of the river contained dangerous rapids. The canyon is only 70 feet wide at one point.

When this foot bridge was built in the 1920s it was the only bridge across the Yukon river.

After the boat ride Nancy and I went back into Whitehorse and visited the steamship Klondike and the log church again.
 Then we returned to camp and Nancy did laundry while I washed the truck.

Gas was $1.095/liter at our campground, Pioneer Campground.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Horsing around in Whitehorse

Wow, two nice days in a row! Sunny with temps in the 40s this morning but got up to the 70s this afternoon.
We slept in this morning until 8:30am, our bodies are still on Alaska time. Nancy and I went geocaching and sightseeing today. Our first geocache took us to Miles Canyon, a very narrow canyon of volcanic rock.

The water is incredibly clear and swift.

Later we went into Whitehorse to look for some more geocaches, check out the visitor center, shop and eat lunch.

Whitehorse high rise

After lunch we went to the fish ladder and the dam near town. The salmon won't be here for two more weeks since they have to travel over 1800 miles of the Yukon river to get here. Only a few hundred salmon make it this far up the river.

After a few more unsuccessful geocache searches we headed back to camp. We had a nice steak dinner at the campground.
We actually had darkness last night for the first time in weeks.

Ride to Whitehorse

Campground in Destruction Bay, YT

 A beautiful day for our drive from Destruction Bay to Whitehorse. It was cold this morning, low near 40 degrees, but warmed up to the upper 60s. Good road most of the way and it was nice to see the mountains without clouds.  Lots of traffic on the roads due to Taylor Hwy closure and all of the campgrounds are full.

Kluane Lake 

Someone had their vacation spoiled.
Burned motorhome by Alaska Highway

Gas was $1.17/ liter in Haines Jct.
Happy Hour

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Aloha Alaska, for now

Since the Taylor Hwy is still closed due to washouts we had to take the Alaska Hwy back to Destruction Bay. This is very rough section of the highway with lots of frost heaves so it took us 6 hours to drive 222 miles.

Of course it was raining until we got to the Canadian border but then it cleared off and we had a nice afternoon with temps in low 60s.

There was a long line at the customs checkpoint due to the other highways being closed but we did not have any trouble getting through.

Tonight are having a potluck dinner then tomorrow we had on south to Whitehorse.

Gas was $3.48/gal in Tok and $3.79 at the border.
Kluane Lake at Destruction Bay

White River

Campground at Destruction Bay

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fairbanks to Tok

Yeah! We completed the Alaska Highway today. We started out with the usual clouds and rain as we headed south towards Tok from Fairbanks. From Fairbanks to Delta Junction the road was flat and straight through the spruce forests. We stopped at the Knotty Shop hoping to score some free ice cream with the ad in the Milepost but we got there too early in the morning and it was closed. Nancy took some pictures of the cool animal sculptures though.

Our next stop was an overlook by the Tanana river. The river must be a mile wide in some places the way it spreads across the valley. Across the river we could see glimpses of snow capped Mt. Hayes, Mt. Deborah and Hess Mtn as the rain had stopped and the skies began to clear.

Rika Roadhouse was our next stop. A beautiful log house and farmyard that has been turned into a state park.

At Delta Jct we got back on the final section of the Alcan Highway and headed for Tok. There was a long section under construction so the truck and camper got even dirtier and dustier. Other than this section we had pretty good roads today.
Oil pipeline crossing river

This bridge over the Gerstle river is one of the original steel truss bridges built in 1944. We tried to find a geocache here but failed.

Finally warmed up to the 60s today and was one of the nicest days we have had.
Tomorrow we head back into Canada and the rough road between here and Destruction Bay.
Alaska range near Tok