Fairbanks and On to Dawson City
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07/02 - Headed out to Chena Hot Springs. Look at the bathing pool and toured the Ice Museum. Fantastic Resort. Wish we had known of this place before planning as we would have spent a day or two in the campground here. Beautiful site with the hot pool and a 85-90 degree covered swimming pool. Would like to have boiled my bones for a day here. The tour of the Ice Museum was fascinating. Many beautiful displays of award winning ice sculptures. It is kept at 20 degrees by a geothermal refrigeration plant. Most of the power used here is from renewable resources with a large refrigeration unit, some solar and wind generation. Stopped at Pioneer Park for a quick look at some of the old cabins from Fairbanks and the Tenana Railroad Museum. Ran into Safeway for some supplies for the trip through Canada as we don't want to pay Canadian prices for meat.
07/03 - Ran past North Pole again to get a few pictures WITHOUT 5 cruise ship tour busses in the place. Unfortunately, Santa is not there on Monday or Tuesday. I guess he has to keep an eye on the Elves as I hear they like to party on the weekends and they need to get back to work on Monday. Down the Richardson Highway towards Tok. NICE road. 65 MPH most of the way. Except when you get behind a 1/2 mile of RVs with a too large motor home pulling his toad down the road at 40 - 45 MPH. Saw the Alaska Pipeline crossing at the Tenana River. Quite a sight. Stopped at Delta Junction but the visitor center lot was so full of RVs on their way to see Alaska that we just left and headed into Tok. Back to the Sourdough Campground for a night of food and fun. Managed to get a copy of the 'official' picture of Elena from the Pancake Hall of Fame from our last visit. This campground is the best place we have stopped. (must be, we came back) Like a campground used to be. Not a gravel parking lot with cable TV! Great place.
07/04 - Got up early and headed for Chicken. Not too many miles, today but again through some beautiful mountain scenery. Got a parking place in the Gold Panners (gas station-gift store-RV Parking Lot) with power. Really friendly and of course quite rustic. This is the site of some serious gold mining from the 40s through the 70s. They offered a guided tour of the abandoned mining town so we embarked on a very well done 1.5 mile walking tour. The town is as it was when closed. Old, and not touched. All original condition. Most buildings are sinking in the permafrost but well preserved by the dry climate and low temperatures. Inquired about Fourth of July Fireworks, Not until it gets dark, sometime late August! Tomorrow is a long drive on the Top of the World Highway of to Dawson City. Expecting around 5 hours on narrow winding gravel road, crossing the border into Canada and a free ferry trip across the Yukon River. There are no phones in this town but internet is available and actually WORKS even from the trailer! A contrast to most of the RV Parks in Alaska.
07/05 - Another early day to hit the road. This time to the famous Top of the World Hwy. Left the campground at 7AM and expected the worse. Yes, it was 116 miles of mostly gravel until we passed through Canadian customs. Minimal questions this time. Only asked what city we lived in while they looked at our passports and if both vehicles were registered to us. Wished us a pleasant trip and we were on our way. A lot of the road was paved in Canada. The entire trip was fantastic scenery and the road even when gravel could be traveled at 40 MPH most of the time. Several grades over 10% and one construction zone that, of course, had been recently wet down covering the front of the trailer with mud. (back to the pressure washer) Lots of stories about the drive on the the Top of the World that, like the Dalton Hwy, must come from drivers that do not understand SLOW DOWN. Or they don't have a road to their house like we do! The trip took 4 hours and I would not hesitate to do it again. The ferry was quite interesting to watch as the Yukon flows about 15 MPH and the ferry crossed sideways to maintain its course. Only waited for a short while, (one RV before us) while watching the line of RVs grow to 26 in the other direction. The ferry can hold 3 or 4 RVs, so these folks were going to be there a while. Round trip for the ferry including loading, crossing and unloading is about 1/2 hr. Checked into the Bonanza Gold RV Park and went to the visitor center for maps and info. Next to the visitor center was a First Nation Cultural Center which we visited and then up to Midnight Dome for a spectacular 360 degree view of the area. Time for dinner and website work!
07/06 - Finally in the famous Dawson City. Drove up to Midnight Dome again for a morning view of the area. Different light created a very different perspective. Looks like we are in for some more rain. Ran past a few Gift Shops and after lunch went for the tour of the largest gold dredge in North America. It was quite an experience to go through the inner workings of such a device and then understand it had been dismantled and moved twice. Also it was necessary to sail it to the Bering Sea to even bring it down the Yukon River. Quite a journey. Off to dinner at what was supposed to be one of the finest restaurants in town. Not bad, but not great. Well, time for the biggest attraction in the Yukon. Diamond Tooth Gerties casino and show. Got there early enough to get a front row table and Elens disappeared to the casino and a waiting machine. We sat through 2 of the 3 shows which were a lot of fun. Lots of action and good singing and dancing. One of the numbers was "Whatever Gertie Wants, Gertie Gets"'. Click here for the gory details...
07/07/07 - Headed down the road for our next overnight stop. Not sure where, but we will find one. Whitehorse is too far for one day and there seems to be nothing much of interest along the road. It was now beginning to rain and the sky was dark ahead and soon became real rain. There was several area of gravel roads and the trailer got covered again but the rainfall washed it off as well as a high pressure washer! Noticed Carmacks on the way past but only stopped at a rest area for lunch. Stopped for the night at Twin Lakes BC Provincial Campground. Beautiful, level site on a really nice lake. Hopefully, the gravel roads have all been seen and there is nothing unpaved until we hit our driveway!
07/08/07 - First thing in the morning we stopped at Braeburn Lodge to pick up some of their "World Famous Cinnamon Buns. These buns were better than 10" round and about 4" high. $7 each. Milepost says they feed 4. Each one fed the two of us several times! Delicious! Stopped in Whitehorse for some supplies. On down the road on excellent paved roadbed. Able to drive 60-65 MPH with not problem. Filled up the truck in Watson Lake and continued on as we want to stop at Liard Hot Springs and will need to get there early to get a campsite. The trip between Whitehorse and here has been mile after mile of forest and raining lightly off and on. Nothing really worth stopping for so on we went. Found a RV Park at the Continental Divide and spent the night.
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