Tag Archives: Alaskan Highway

Day 11 – Quiet and productive

Thursday, May 21, 2009
Hi!
I figured I’d do an update tonight even though it was a quiet day for us. We had already decided that it would be mostly a chore day – Jay and Naomi had that dental problem to take care of up in Whitehorse and we certainly could find plenty to do to once we got settled at the campground. We’ve positioned ourselves so we can make an easy trip to Skagway where we are taking a one day “cruise” to Juneau. We had planned to do it tomorrow (Friday), but turns out they only go out on the weekend. Good thing we called! So tomorrow I think we’ll take in some of the local sights – maybe even driving up to Whitehorse. But today was definatly doing stuff that needed to be done! The 120 mile ride from our campground to Carcross was as beautiful as always, but I’m thinking you are getting a little tired of pictures of “the road.” So in an effort to spare you (for at least a day), here are some pictures of water that we crossed over. These are all from different bridges, and taken from a moving RV, so sometimes the angle is a little weird. But the sun was great – and the ice was really interesting. And let’s remember – there are no roads in these pictures! 🙂
Alaskan Drive - Day 11-1
The Nisultin River
Alaskan Drive - Day 11-2
The Teslin River
Alaskan Drive - Day 11
The Tagish River

It’s almost 10:30PM and the sun is finally going down behind the mountains. And since it will be coming up at 5:06 – I think I’d better call it a night!
Thanks for stopping by, friends!

Catching up = Day 9 and Day 10

(You might want to pour yourself a cup of tea and get comfy! This is my first internet connection in three days……)

May 19, 2009, Tuesday, day Nine
Fort Nelson to Laird Hot Springs
What a spectacular day! After the guys fueled up, John got his windshield ding fixed and Naomi figured out what to do about the dentist, we headed to the local Pioneer Museum. It’s amazing to me how much stuff can be collected for an area that was relatively unpopulated until 1942 when the 2000 soldiers arrived to begin construction of the Alaska Highway.
Alaskan Drive -Day 9
Fort Nelson was originally Mile 0 for the highway until the stretch from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson was completed and then it became Mile 300. Even today the population is just over 5000. But this museum was pretty extensive and seemed to include a little bit of everything historical about the town and the area. It was a good way to start the day.

Official departure was around 10:30, we made two stops for a total of about 40 minutes and made it to Laird Hot Springs Provincial Park by 3:30. That might not seem like a lot of driving time, but oh where that highway took us! Up and down (and up and down and up and down), around mountains, alongside beautiful lakes, over rivers and then along side the rivers. I was bouncing from the front seat to the sofa to try and get shot after shot of some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen. We saw caribou, stone sheep, bison and a glimpse of a bear. The sky was a perfect backdrop for the stunning white crowned mountain tops, the mountain tops were the perfect background for the spectacular lakes and rivers we drove by. Honestly, I took close to 500 pictures. It’s embarrassing, but I just couldn’t stop myself. (Plus it distracts me from getting too involved in all of the 8%-9% grades that we were either going up or going down). I’ve tried to pick just one (ok, sometimes two…maybe three) pictures from each hour of the day’s drive. Here goes –
The day started out pretty cold, but we were so pleased with the sunshine that we didn’t even care as the hills gradually became more and more covered with the white stuff.
Setting out –
10:30 -11.30
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-2
Before too long –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-6
the snow was all around us!
11:30 – 12:30
We did stop for a photo op at Steamboat Mountain Summit –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-8
And then just to be silly –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-9
(Can you see we’re a little bundled up? I think it was still below freezing at this point.)
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-15
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-16
12:30 – 1:30
We stopped for lunch at Summit Lake – the highest point on the Alaska Highway. (We were at the lowest point just that morning when we were at Fort Nelson).
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-17
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-18
Peanut butter and Jelly have rarely been set to such lovely surroundings!
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-24
It’s good to meet friends on the road.
1:30 – 2:30
Views from the side windows –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-26
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-27
2:30-3:30
Muncho Lake. This was absolutely stunning. It’s seven miles long and for a good part of it we were driving right along the edge (with a stone wall beside us). The color was amazing – even with it mostly covered with ice it was dazzling.
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-30
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-31
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-33
(That our little caravan coming around the corner)
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-34
So beautiful! I couldn’t resist going over my allotment of pictures on that one
And here is a moose – making it’s way (rapidly) down the river –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-38
Did you know that moose can swim continuously for several hours, dive to depths of 20 feet, and can remain submerged for up to a minute? Well, now you do!
He’s just a dot in this picture (toward the right) – I think he was in the express lane!
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-39
By 3:30 we were at our campground for the night – Laird Hot Springs Provincial Park. No hook-ups, but two wonderful hot (and I mean HOT) springs.
Laird Hot Springs
Here are John and Rosie and Gary and I enjoying a relaxing dip in the spring –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-41
Ahhhhhhhhh………….
It was a lovely way to end a beautiful day. (Not to mention a great dinner and fellowship around a campfire!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 Day 10 – Entering the YUKON!
Laird Hot Springs to Continental Divide Campground

Another gorgeous day! The early daylight is making early risers out of us, and Gary and I were out for a walk (after breakfast!) by 6:30. (scary, isn’t it?).
We walked out to the hot springs to check out the second pool – it was just as lovely as the one we had taken our dip in, but much deeper. And so beautiful in the morning light –
Alaskan Day 10
We pulled out right on scheduled and continued our trek North and West. We had seen several signs warning about Bison herds, but had only spotted a couple along the road. We weren’t too far down the road when we finally came upon a herd (ok, so it’s not a Dancing with Wolves size herd, but we felt it was pretty sizable!).
Alaskan Day 10-4
And imagine our delight to find several young ones in the group – and one even nursing.
Alaskan Day 10-5
We continued to keep our eyes peeled for wildlife along the side of the road and a couple of time spotted a black bear grazing near a tree line. We finally hit the jackpot though –
Alaskan Day 10-11
Made my day!
The road was pretty much winding through forested hills
Alaskan Day 10-7
as it followed the Laird River west.
Alaskan Day 10-13
I was excited to see the snowcapped mountains on the horizon
Alaskan Day 10-16
but wasn’t so excited about the fact that I couldn’t see any more of the road. Gulp.

We made it to Watson Lake and the Signpost Forest just before noon.
Alaskan Day 10-19
Travelers from all around the world stop there and nail a sign to one of the posts in the “forest”. We came prepared –
Alaskan Day 10-17
Alaskan Day 10-18
And were glad that we had joined in the tradition.

A quick lunch and on to the last bit of our trip for the day.
Alaskan Day 10-23
Alaskan Day 10-25
Alaskan Day 10-28
We did hit a couple stretches of gravel – not a real problem to drive on, but boy does it kick up the dust. It’s one of the good times to be the one out front!
Alaskan Day 10-30
As we were approaching our destination for the day –
Alaskan Day 10-33
And finally the view out of our picture window here at our resting place for the night.
Alaskan Day 10-34
Snow notwithstanding, we ate dinner outside and enjoyed a lovely campfire with some neighbors from Austria. 🙂

Tomorrow we will be splitting up for a bit. We’ll leave together, but Jay and Naomi will be heading into Whitehorse for a dentist appointment (yea!!!) while the rest of us head to Carcross. Once they’re finished at the dentist they’ll come down and join us. We are planning on camping in Carcross and then driving down to Skagway for the day on Friday.
Map of Days 9 &10
Day 9-10
Map of Day 11 (Jay and Naomi’s route is the little blue line!)
Day 11

(OK, I’m back to the present! The Carpers did indeed head to Whitehorse for the dentist (and Naomi did get her tooth fixed enough so she’ll be comfortable for the rest of the trip) and we are settled in at a little campground in Carcross. The guys have just finished up washing the rigs and cars – boy, were they dirty! I’ve finished up some laundry, worked on getting this post ready to go and now I need to get the vacuuming done. I do have some pictures of the drive today – but I’ll spare you right now. I mean, really – how much of this road stuff can you take! We won’t be heading into Skagway until Saturday, so tomorrow is a little up in the air. But with all the tourism information we have, I’m sure we’ll find something to do!)

Oh – I almost forgot –
More Day 9 Pictures HERE
More Day 10 Pictures HERE

Driving, driving, driving, driving

Monday, May 18, 2009 Day 8

We were huddled together this morning as we had our pre-drive prayer in the parking lot of the gas station with the snow swirling around us. It was COLD (like 27 degrees!). But we were ready. Our fuel tanks were full, we had picked up some odds and ends at the grocery store and we were ready to drive. And that really is all we did today.
But first – the conversation after we’ve filled up with diesel –
Gary – figure out how much diesel we got.
Me – OK – so I’ll add the two receipts together (we almost always have to do two fill-ups since they cut off before we’re really full.). Let’s see – 151.3 plus 11.71 liters – Ok – 163.41 liters. Now, I divide that by 3.8 – 43.01 gallons.
Gary – so how much is that per gallon.
Me – Well, if I take $140.06 (what we spent) and divide it by the number of gallons we bought (43.01) that gives us a $3.25/gal price.
Gary – what’s that is US dollars?.
Me – Hmmmm…let’s figure that the rate of exchange is 1.14 – so I take the 3.25/gal price and divide it by 1.14 – so we just paid 2.86/gal for diesel. And we bought 43 gallons. Does that sound right?
Gary – Yep – now what about MPG –……..
(Who knew this trip would involve ALGEBRA!)

Needless to say, we’ve been having an interesting time figuring our actual expenses. But even Canadians are somewhat conflicted. A fellow at Ness Lake said that even though he buys his gasoline by the liter, the cars are rated on MPGs. Go figure!

But on to our travels. As I said before – we left in the snow. It wasn’t sticking on the road, thankfully, but it was beginning to coat the trees.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8
It was pretty, but still. We weren’t very excited about the whole driving in the snow thing!
The only real “off the beaten path” event we did today was to drive on a short stretch of the original Alaskan Highway which included the only original wooden bridge still in use.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-1 And it’s a curved bridge at that.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-2
It even had wood decking. It was very neat – though we did go over it one at a time! 🙂
It was just a quick diversion, and only a couple of miles (or kilometers) outside of Dawson Creek, but it was pretty interesting.
From that point on – it was pretty much road, road and more road.
Here are a some of my favorite road signs – all together in one place.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-3
Not.
I don’t know how high your tolerance for “windshield pictures” is, so just let me say we crossed some amazing bridges –
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-6
Spotted some interesting “art” along the road
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-9
(that boy needs a jacket!)
Saw the trees change from deciduous
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-8
To Evergreen
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-13
And more Evergreen trees that I have ever seen in one place
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-17
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-22
And finally back to “trembling aspen” (honest, that’s what the Milepost said!)
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-24
And just after we crossed the Muskwa River bridge (the lowest point on the Alaskan Highway) we pulled into Fort Nelson.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-25
286 Miles. Almost 7 hours of driving. A good day for a bunch of folks not really in a hurry! We settled into our campground and after we enjoyed a shared dinner the guys drove back into town to scope out the best place to fuel up tomorrow. Best place? $1.10/liter. This morning at Dawson Creek it was $.87/liter. (Ah, the beauty pain of supply and demand!)
Ouch. I know I don’t want to do the math on that one! Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotto do!

Here’s a collage of more windshield shots –
Alaskan Road Day 8
but if you’d like to see them in a slide show – check it out here!.

Tuesday Morning, May 19th – Day 9 (well, the beginning of it anyway)First of all – THE SUN IS SHINING!!!!! We haven’t seen too much of that lately, so it’s pretty exciting to us!
Next – The day’s schedule is kind of tentative – there’s a windshield nick (John & Rosie) we’re trying to get taken care of and Naomi was hoping to see a dentist this morning for a broken tooth (but apparently no dental problems here can happen until the 23rd!), so I’m not sure just how the morning is working (especially since I’m over in the laundry room doing this update!). We hope to get as far as Laird Hot Springs today – about 200 miles.
And it looks like we’ll be in provincial park tonight – no electric, let alone an internet connection. So I figured I’d better get this baby posted while I have the chance!
Hmm….is that our diesel rumbling outside the door?????