"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Friday, May 31, 2024

We Made it into Alaska Via the Top of the World Highway!!

South of Chicken, Alaska
West Fort BLM Campground

The question everyone asks???

Well, first we have to climb the Top of the World Highway.  We stayed in Dawson City, Yukon a couple extra days so the sun can dry out the road some.  The report we got from others that just came down the way we are going up, is it was very muddy and slick.  This road is known for being horrible to drive.
It dried out quite a bit in those two days.  It also appears to have been recently graded.  Yay for us!  That's a plus for heading up here early as most of the grading has just been finished. Except for some soft spots it started out very well.  We were lucky too as we had blue skies which made it possible to enjoy those gorgeous mountain views that aren't normally visible when there is cloudy skies.
It's about 65 miles from Dawson City to the Canadian/Alaskan border.  It took about 2 hours to drive that.  We took a few stops for pictures along the way. 
When you get up at the top, you know how it gets its name.  You are up, what seems, even with the surrounding mountain ranges.  They surround you.  Pictures just can't capture the vastness.

At one point the clouds were below us.

It's so hard to miss all the potholes, even driving mostly at 25.
That thin light line is the road. 
We see very few others except the Ricky Racers.  They just zoom past you, bouncing along.
The snow was still pretty deep in some spots.

We quickly were covered in dust and mud.

Looking behind us at Rick & Angie.  Some parts of the road were very dusty!

Some fun facts about the Top of the Highway Road:

It's about 80 miles long from Dawson City, Yukon to Jack Wade, Alaska.
It's been in existence from 1955 to present, open only in the summer.
It's one of the most northerly highways in the world at this latitude.
The border is only open 8am-8pm.
There is a 1-hour time difference after crossing the border.

It's just around the next bend!  We are at the highest elevation on this road at 4515 feet.  It sure seems higher.
There it is.
Of all the warnings they could post, this seems a little weird.
Crossing into Alaska! It is May 31st, 2024.

We made it!!  After 35 days from leaving Placerville, CA and 2,836 miles, we have arrived!
We absolutely loved the time we spent in British Columbia and the Yukon along the way and look forward to seeing more on the return trip.
We found another spot in Jack Wade that has a public gold panning area.  Good thing we don't do this for a living.  We'd be broke.  Actually, we're thinking there's no gold here at all.  HA!
The only thing we came upon was some rusty stuff.  But it was fun though!

It's nice when they mark the really rough spots with flags.
A few more bumpy roads and we finally arrive in Chicken, Alaska!

You can spot the dredge coming into town.  The giant chicken sits across from that.

There isn't much here really, except a couple RV parks, a store, saloon and cafe.
I remember my Mom telling me about this place when they came through in their RV about 15 years ago.  It was just liked she described.
We had some lunch and took a break from the road.
Plenty of hats and bras and other items hanging from the ceiling.
Parked out front, we had some company.  It's like we're part of a small army of campers!
Cute bathrooms outside.
We may not have found gold, but we got lucky another way  ;-)
Back onto pavement.  Pretty choppy, but it felt better than the bouncy dirt road portions.

And then back to gravel/dirt.

The Westfork BLM campground was quiet and only $6 with our Sr. Pass. 
We just stayed 1 night.
We looked forward to arriving in Tok where we had many stops planned.  First up, a bath!  $20 did it.
Turtle 1 and Turtle 2 as we call them sometimes.  All clean and shiny!
Then it was time to dump tanks, fill fresh water, get gas, groceries and pick up our guns.  So nice to fill the tank up with cheaper gas.  $3.81 a gallon instead of the usual almost $6 Canadian (w/conversion).  We shipped our pistols and rifle from Washington to Tok. We should've been able to cross into Canada with the rifle (legally), but we got rejected and turned back.  To read the blogpost about why, click HERE.  Steve found an FFL (Federal Firearms License) that recommended we use an FFL in Bellevue, WA and have him ship them to Tok, which was our first stop over the Alaskan border.  All worked out perfectly and we moved on after a late lunch at Fast Eddies Pizza.

Tok, Alaska
Gravel Lake Dispersed
The scenery from Tok down to this boondocking spot was gorgeous!  We saw several moose along the way.  At first we thought this spot was a bit of a bust.  As we drove back a bit further we pulled up along the small lake, relaxed and decided we liked it much better.  Especially the free part!
The water was super clear and somewhat shallow.  We did see some trout swimming around later as we hiked around the lake and the stream that fed into it.
Lots of BIG moose prints.  We never did see any at camp though.
The water out of the stream is crystal clear.
It was just us until a motorhome joined us later that evening.
We are so happy to be in Alaska!!  Wow, it doesn't even seem real!  This will be our home until late September.
That night I noticed that the pink duckie our son, Brennan, placed in the camper in a strange spot, was actually STILL there.  Nothing is holding it in place on this little block of wood.  Weird, as most everything else gets tossed about now and then with all the bumps and potholes on these roads.
Lucky Duck!