Daily Archives: 17 May 2013

Whitehorse to Tok, Alaska

yukon

I camped out at Wolf Creek, just south of Whitehorse for my extended stay.  A nice campground, already fairly full, no doubt due to the road closure.  It was also one of the few already up & running for the season.  Had two Germans camp next to me.  Not much for campfire skills, as they had the entire area filled with smoke.  The tent definitely has a nice woodsmoke scent to it now.

In British Columbia, there was an obvious push towards spring.  It was far greener than in the midwest of the U.S., and the trees were well on their way to leaves.  The Yukon and Alaska are still in hibernation.  No leaves, no buds, no green tint to the grass.  There is snow still, especially at any sort of elevation, and very little mercury rise.  It’s a bummer.  Talking to a native woman in Haines Junction, she made the comment that obviously “winter doesn’t want to let go.  It reminds me of a spring when I was a little girl, and we had no summer.”  I cried out, “Don’t even think such thoughts!”  When I left, she was still giggling to herself.  Highs in the thirties are forecast for the next two days in Fairbanks.

Once again, the border crossing was a breeze.  The woman was great, although she did ask for my registration because the front plate was “procured” by some ass in Montana.  In the end, she said to me, “Welcome home.”  In all my crossings, that was the very first time an agent at Port Alcan has said that.


Detour

AlCan Detour

Here is our detour around the washout.  They put us on an old section of the Alaska Highway, which has not been used in many years, but some asphalt was visible.  When I arrived at the detour, the pilot truck was just taking off, so I wasn’t able to stop for more info.  The woman who turned me around yesterday was there holding the flag.  She recognized me, and we both waved.  Since we came back out onto the highway well beyond the “issue”, I have no idea what happened or how severe it was.


Watson Lake to Whitehorse, YT

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Watson Lake to Whitehorse, YT

After topping fluids in front of the Air Force Lodge, it was a relatively uneventful drive up the Alaska Hwy. Very little wildlife to keep me entertained. A few caribou and a couple of fox.

Road construction and pilot trucks in the Yukon, no surprise there. A lot more snow than in BC, and daylight hours are already considerably longer. Temps are also quite a bit cooler.

My plans were to push on to at least Haines Junction and hopefully further, but Mother Nature had other plans. A bridge was seemingly washed out 50 miles from the junction of the Al-Can with the Klondike Hwy. Leaving me stuck on the Whitehorse side. Not much to be done. I had already looked into the Top of the World Highway, but the ferry across the Yukon isn’t in service yet, so that option isn’t in the cards either.

I hung out with several people at a nearby rest area for a while. There were several dogs around. Mostly labradors, but one guy had an extremely friendly Saint Bernard, that slobbered enough to cause another washout. A cool dog though.
Eventually, we all gave up for the day, and I backtracked to a campground I had passed.

Sometimes life just happens and all you can do is break out the scotch you’ve been hoarding.


Historic Air Force Lodge

For the most part I’ve been camping out on this trip, but I decided to splurge when I arrived in Watson Lake and rented a room at the Air Force Lodge.

Originally built in 1942 as a barracks for pilots flying during WWII, the building has been refurbished, although many of the barracks-like amenities are still to be found.

The owner is a blast, and we spent quite a bit of time talking Rovers, VW’s and life in the North.

A great place to stay along the Alaska Highway, and actually one of the least expensive.  Highly recommended.air-force-lodge