Chasing Daylight - The Yukon Territory, CN and Alaska, USA
Jul 9, 2007
|The Yukon Territory, CN/Alaska, USA
Thursday, July 5th, 2007 Chasing Daylight
Just one great day after another, 550 miles and made it into Alaska, and back into the USA. It was a wonderful feeling coming around that last Canadian curve and seeing the American Flag waving in the breeze. It was definitely a goose bump moment. The Y.T. has a more diversified landscape than British Columbia. It had the lush green landscape like B.C. but the roads were a lot flatter. You could actually see several miles down the road and where the road went to. It also had more valleys and sand banks on the side of the roads, we even saw seagulls, hundreds of miles from the coast. It seems the lakes and rivers never stopped. We drove by a couple of lakes for what seemed like hours. Everyone seemed to have an airplane, mostly tail draggers and pontoon type seaplanes. Everyday the day gets longer and longer, it's been great fun chasing daylight.
We also ran into a lot more road work, lane closures, unpaved, rocky, dusty roads, and roads that were rough and bumpy. We had to reduce our speed constantly. The last 100/150 miles were the most in need of repair. It looks like they're working on it. Their road repair system is to put up a sign and the rougher areas marked with roadside flags to give you warning.
The Y.T. had some of the largest lakes and an interesting stop called The Sign Post Forest, in Watson Lake. It was started in 1942 by a home sick US Army G.I. named Carl K. Lindley from Danville, IL. He put up a sign showing the distance from home and people started adding their cities signs, etc. In 1990 they added the 10,000th sign! You've gotta see The Sign Post Forest to believe it. There are several acres with posts full of signs. Carl Lindley and his wife came back thru Watson Lake in 1992, to celebrate 50 years after placing the first sign. They just keep adding posts for new signs from all over the world.
We took off the hiway and drove thru Whitehorse, one of the larger cities and the Capitol of the Y.T. It had the Frontier Folly's, a live stage presentation and there was a nice river walk and city tours, maybe we'll catch them on the way back. We had lost so much time the previous week that we chose no to stop. Larry said it looked like a city but wasn't really a city because it didn't have a Starbucks.
It's amazing that there were very few road delay conditions and we were glad to make it to Alaska, the 49th State of the USA. What was really interesting at the border was a fire break like path that was cut through the forest on the international border for both ways as far as you could see, unbelievable.
The border crossing guard asked us where we were headed, and how far we expected us to go today. We told him we were going to drive for awhile and see how far we could get. He answered Glenallen and laughed. I thought it interesting that he thought it was funny. I asked Larry if his middle name was Glen since mine was Allen, I thought maybe he saw our middle names on our passport and was just kidding with us?
We stopped for dinner at Tok to let everyone know we made it to Alaska and send off the journal update. We finally had cell and internet service. We called Uncle Wally and Lil to let them know we're about 250 miles from Anchorage and will be in Anchorage the next day with 2 very dirty vehicles and 2 big bags of dirty laundry. He informed us the road was closed at Glenallen over night and we couldn't get thru until the next day anyway. I guess everyone knew but Larry and I we were only going as far as Glenallen.
Friday, July 6th, 2007 Happy Birthday Mom
Today was not without it's moments. We turned a curve and the road was covered with rocks and boulders from a rock slide. It looked like one car had run off the road. I thought we had a clear path and would made it thru but a big rock thought otherwise and we caught the inside rear drivers side tire and blew a tire. We were about 50 miles from Anchorage and decided to go on with 5 of 6 tires to Wally and Lil's. We could wait there for auto club to come out and change the tire, instead of being stuck somewhere on the side of the road.
The tire was not only flat but had a 4 inch dent in the rim, the two spare tires were looking like a real good decision on our part. While dealing with the spare tire issue we decided to check out the jeep only to find it wouldn't start. It made no sense because we'd been using it with no problem during the trip. When we opened the hood the engine compartment was covered with about a half inch of dirt/dust. We checked everything we could think of and it would turn over with spark and fuel, etc but wouldn't start. Dejavu, just like the RV. I could hear Liz, and Bob saying it's the coil. I had the original in the spare parts we brought along but just to make sure Wally and I took off to buy a new one just in case! It didn't help either, now we have a spare coil for the spare coil. We decided to rinse off the jeep and charge the battery and deal with the jeep next day.
It was fun visiting with Wally and Lil, it had been several years since I was here and we had plenty to catch up on. When we went into the kitchen there was a chalk board that said, "Happy 4th of July Welcome Charles and Larry" that Tristan, their 5 year old grandson had printed for us, a very nice welcome. While we were having dinner Lil's niece and husband who were here from Minnesota on vacation also stopped by. Lil's son and daughter Janet and Roger also stopped by, it was a crackup, Roger wanted nothing to do with having his picture taken.
After dinner we started our laundry, I started catching up on my emails and working on updating this journal. Larry spent the evening working with Wally trying to get his computer to copy, cut and paste, open up emails and attachments etc.
Saturday, July 7th, 2007 Kick Back Day.
The first thing Larry did was check to see if the jeep "fixed itself" over night, like the RV. It back fired but didn't start. Wally got on the phone trying to find a mechanic, after a half a dozen calls he gave up on trying to get it fixed over the weekend. We made plans to get into the shop first thing Monday morning. After thinking about the situation for a while Wally thought it had to electrical or timing and we decided it had to be timing. I remembered Todd moving the distributor slightly to fine tune the firing order, I figured we had nothing to lose. After several attempts it fired right up. The road was so rough that it had moved the distributor just enough it wouldn't start, maybe it just wanted a day off but thanks to Wally and Todd we're back in business.
Larry took off for a test drive and to wash the jeep. We wanted to get the remaining quarter inch of dirt/ and dust that didn't come off from the rinse off. It started raining before he got far and he returned before getting it washed and will try again another day.
The afternoon and evening was spent with Wally and Lil's grandsons, Cody, 10, Noah, 8 and Tristan, 5. We had a lot of fun with them in the RV, they all wanted to go out to the "van" again after dinner. Years ago when Cody was starting to talk he heard Wally call Lil Honey, and he started calling her Honey, she's been know as Honey ever since and now all the grandkids call her Honey! The evening was spent visiting and working on the journal while Larry worked on the Alaskan Adventure slide show. He thinks it's going to be the biggest slide show he's ever made. Judging by the size of Alaska it should be.
Sunday, July 8, 2007 Sight Seeing Day
We spent the morning relaxing and the afternoon in the RV sight seeing with Wally, Lil
and the grandkids. There's a lot to see and do in and around Anchorage. We started off at the Wild Berry Park and they have the Worlds largest chocolate waterfall, it's a 20 foot chocolate waterfall. It used 340, 10 pound blocks to make 3,400 pounds of flowing melted chocolate. After seeing all that chocolate we were hungry and went around the corner to The Peanut Farm, sports bar and grill, our table was right on the river and we could watch the salmon swimming upstream, very peaceful and relaxing.
After lunch we headed to Portage for the Wild Animal Park, and see the Portage Glacier.
The animal park held the interest of the kids, and the adults. They had a caribou that lost its antlers last November and started growing again in April. His antlers have grown about an inch a day and spans about 60 inches, and could possibly be a new Alaskan record. You wonder how he could hold his head up with that huge rack. The glaciers are awe inspiring; the rich deep blues can't be captured by photographs. There were mini icebergs floating in the bay. We're looking forward to going back in the next few days and spending more time.
We had to get back to catch up with Lil's daughter and husband, Diane and Danny. They had been to Valdez fishing for the weekend and had caught a 130 pound halibut. Diane had breaded and fried the fresh halibut and it was melt in your mouth delicious. After dinner Larry shared the slideshow he's been working on with everyone, it was a big hit and we can't wait to see the finished copy. Then we discussed some of the things we wanted to see and do while here in the area for the next few days, and recruited Wally and Lil to come along and be our official tour guides, so we're off to the Kenai Peninsula, Portage, Whittier, Seward, Homer and beyond.
Love Ya, Miss Ya, Wished You Were Here, Charles and Larry