(Actual date – 5/28 – and we’re just 14 miles from our destination. We’re at North Pole, Alaska – where Christmas is always in the air! Here are the posts I’ve been writing, but have been unable to actually upload. Pour yourself another cup of coffee – this could take awhile!)
I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to post anything, so I’ll just keep writing, and hopefully it won’t be too confusing when it comes time to post.
More about Saturday May 23 – Day 13
Let’s be honest. For a girl who doesn’t like to spend more than $10.00 on a museum ticket, taking a day long cruise from Skagway to Juneau was a little outside of my thrifty comfort zone. But everyone that we spoke to highly recommended the cruise and after all, it included not only a comfortable 2 1/2 hour cruise (filled with promised wildlife) to Juneau, our only chance to actually see Juneau, a trip to a famous glacier PLUS a blueberry muffin and apple on the way down and smoked salmon chowder and a roll on the way back (another lengthy boat ride, but a little more direct since we wouldn’t be stopping to view known seal rookeries). My more traveled companions assured me that it was really a good value, so I agreed, figuring it really was a once in a lifetime excursion. And truly it was! I know I gave you a quick rundown of the day in an earlier post – but just to rehash (and with a couple more pictures…..)
The drive down to Skagway was breathtaking. It was especially so as we neared the Alaskan border, but even as we set out (like at 6AM), the nearby lake was beautiful in the morning light.
And as the drive continued south
and we began the climb into the mountains
It was like we were in a winter wonderland
We made it across the border (it’s so much simpler when you are in a car instead of a motor home!)
And started down a loooonnnnnnggggg 11% grade hill (another thing so much simpler in a car than a motor home)
Until we reached Skagway – (population 834- except when there is a cruise ship in port!)
(it’s pretty quiet there at 7AM on a Saturday!)
Our boat departed at 8AM – and right away we had a taste of how beautiful the day would be.
We saw probably a dozen eagles, sea lions and harbor seals – too many to count, had dolphins swimming along side our boat as she clipped along at 30 knots, spotted at least 4 whales and enjoyed scenery that was breathtaking.
Juneau was “touristy”, though we did get to see the capital building and the governor’s home (Hi, Sarah!) during our bus tour. I didn’t know what to expect at the glacier (not having one in the neighborhood and all), but it was very interesting. I don’t know if you can see how blue the ice is, but it was quite beautiful.
The cruise back to Skagway as just as beautiful, though a little shorter. We had no planned wildlife stops (like the rookeries), but when anyone spotted a whale or a dolphin, we did a thorough investigation. Here we are departing from our dock outside of Juneau –
We didn’t arrive back home in Carcross until almost 11PM. It was a very long day and we were all tired puppies. But it is a day that we certainly won’t forget anytime soon!
More Day 13 Photos (yes, there are more!)
Sunday, May 24, 2009 – Day 14
We left our campground in time for us to get to church in Whitehorse. We had scoped out a church that had adequate parking (or parking nearby) for our three big houses, and were blessed to worship with folks at the Whitehorse Baptist Church. I think they were pretty used to having travelers visit, but I also think we were the first of the season. We soon were on our way, hoping to get as far as Kluane Lake north of Haines Junction.
The drive, as always, was beautiful (though there were some patches of road that weren’t so “beautiful”.)
We were driving along the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountain ranges, home to Mt. Logan the tallest peak in Canada. We never saw Mt. Logan, but the mountains all around us were (I’m sorry to keep using this word) spectacular.
We were all feeling quite weary after our long day on Saturday and in all honesty, I think the guys were all getting a little tired of driving, driving, driving. While we didn’t have a particular camping spot in mind, Gary was hoping to find a pull-off with a view of Lake Kluane (and that didn’t have a “no overnight parking” sign).
Here is where we ended up –
Isn’t our God good to us????
The view out our front window around 10:45
And then around 1:45-
It almost made that middle of the night trip to the john worth it!
More Day 14 Pictures
Memorial Day – Monday, 5/25 – Day 15
It was a beautiful day – starting with prayer along the shore of the beautiful Lake Kluane.
(Pardon yesterday’s bugs on the windshield.)
From there on it was pretty much push on to Tok. We made it through customs with no problem – and arrived in Tok around 2PM Alaskan time. It was a long day, with lots of bumpy road, so we’re all BEAT! But still the beauty continues!
(eewww – gravel!)
We were all pretty glad to settle into a campground and call it a day. It wasn’t our farthest day of travel (about 250 miles), but it was over 8 hours behind the wheel. This last stretch of road was particularly full of frost heaves, and boy when ol’ Lizzie hits one of those heaves – all kinds of things heave in here! I finally tied my little dashboard plant to one of the stationary fans on the dash just to keep it from continually tipping over! We were glad to arrive in Tok in one piece (more or less) and just in need of a nap!
Off to bed – sweet dreams!
More Day 15 Pictures….
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Day 16
Today was a good day because
1. We were able to hook up with some Sower friends, Pete and Ellen, who were also traveling in Alaska. Turns out we were all in Tok at the same time, just in different campgrounds! They have joined our little caravan for a couple of days – what fun!
2. We came to the end of the Alaska Highway. All 1422 miles of it. No band was there to congratulate us on the accomplishment, but we did get (for the bargain price of $1.00) a certificate recognizing our accomplishment. Now we’ve driven 2175 miles all together (and still have about 100 to go), but somehow driving the whole length of the Alaska Highway (especially without any broken windshields or flat tires) seemed like a reason to celebrate. Fortunately the local IGA (and the closest thing we’ve seen to a real supermarket in the last 500 miles or so) had a nice ice cream stand so we were able to celebrate properly. And, it was a sunny 75 degrees. Here we are with our expanded group –
3. We found a great place to park – Rika’s Roadhouse State Historical Site. They offer dry camping for $5.00/night which was music to our ears. We settled in, had a great dinner of burgers on the grill and then sat around a campfire with folks from the other two RV’s parked there. It’s been fun to meet folks along the way, and we had seen one of the RV’s all along the way in our travels. (It’s not as if there are lots of places to turn off!) It was good to finally meet them and hear their story.
4. I knew we weren’t going anywhere on Wednesday. We were all ready for a no-driving day!
So here are just a couple of shots from our short (110) mile day.
Lots of long straight road –
Without too much break in the scenery.
And even though it was quite warm , there was still plenty of ice on the rivers –
No exciting wildlife sightings along the way. The only interesting thing we saw was a HUGE rabbit at the campground in the morning.
Trust me, this baby was BIG!
And of course we couldn’t resist a stop for some Yak Sausage (among other delights) at the Delta Meat and Sausage Company.
(We do kinda take up the parking lot, don’t we?)
Finally, a lovely Alaskan wildflower we spotted at the campground. I thinks it’s a Pasque Flower.
(It’s true, I’m still working on my macro technique!)
A good day in sooo many ways!
More Day 17 Pictures
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Day 17
Today was a lovely quiet day. We all walked over to checkout Rika’s Roadhouse – an historic compound where travelers could stop and rest along their journey up and down the Tanana River.
It also gave us our first view of the Alaskan Pipeline as it crosses the Tanana River.
We did a little driving around and spotted a moose. But as is often the case, this is what I managed to get a picture of –
Trust me, there’s a big il’ mama moose in there! No, look – she’s even looking at the camera!
The day started with sunshine, turned cold and windy and kicked up a huge dust storm, and then started to rain. We must be in Alaska!
And that brings us up to Today (well, yesterday by the time I got this all put together!) – Thursday, May 28 – Day 18. For the first time since we left Washington we were not the lead RV! Pete and Ellen had a campground all scoped out for our last night on the road, so we let them lead the way and we pulled up the rear.
It was a short drive to North Pole, AK. The Visitor Center was very cute –
and very informative.
Tomorrow we head into our June project, Camp Li-Wa , just 15 miles up the road. As amazing as this trip has been (with more delights in store for us as the summer progresses), it will be very nice to settle in and get to work next week. All this playing is exhausting. 🙂