Tuesday, 8/25, and we are in Watson Lake, Yukon. We’ve left Alaska and it makes me sad to leave since I don’t know when I’ll get back. It’s been an absolutely wonderful trip and I would go again in a second, only in the summer time.
Chuck’s written about last week, and as usual we were really busy, so I will just say, it sure is a long way to get back to the states. If any of our friends ever get the chance to travel to Alaska, I’d tell them to go. You’ll have the experience of a life time. Alaska has so much to see, do, experience and explore. We only scratched the surface.
Two weeks ago when we booked to go see Denali, it was raining, so the trip was off. I forgot to say Denali was seen in it’s entirety only two days the entire month of August this year; August 4th and August 11th. We booked to fly onto the glacier on Denali on the 14th but couldn’t go because of the weather, maybe next time…
That’s it for now for me…Hello to all our family and friends in the lower 48. Hopefully we will be back stateside in time to see our daughter, Susy, granddaughter, Kaitlyn and SIL, Mark. Hang on there Kaitlyn, NaNa and PaPa are trying to be there in time to see you all. Till next time…..Lorraine
8/23/09 Chuck’s Report
We are now in Whitehorse, Yukon again, on our way back to the lower 48. While we were able to explore and enjoy Alaska, we, by no stretch of the imagination, didn’t see all of it. We truly enjoyed our time and we’re glad we got to spend two weeks with our son. And it was much more fun to have our friends Tom/Dorothy, Rob/Norma and sometimes Mark/Sue, Bob/Vicky and Joe/Loretta with us plus we met lots of folks along the way. I plan on posting a separate report about Alaska later but for now this will do.
This past week we went to the Eldorado Gold Mine on Monday where we got to pan for some gold (and I freaked out on the train ride into a tunnel!!). The “poke” they gave us to pan was seeded, I’m sure, as most people got about the same amount of color. And of course, they just happened to have the makings to turn your own gold in jewelry so Lorraine has a new necklace with gold that we panned. But they did have free coffee, hot chocolate and cookies to help ease the pain.
Tuesday we went to the Ice Museum and to the town of North Pole, Alaska. Every spring in March, Fairbanks has the world championship Ice Carving competition with entrees from all over the world. Some of the carvings are saved at the Ice Museum and displayed for those of us who don’t want to be here when it’s cold. Although the carving are nice, they are some worse for wear and I wouldn’t recommend going to this attraction. As to our trip to the North Pole, I would recommend the guys stay home and let the ladies experience this on their own. We guys sat on a bench and waited for over an hour for the gals to shop and get Christmas stuff, not my cup of tea. But they do have a post office so you can get a post mark from the North Pole and send a letter from Santa that they will mail in early December.
The University of Alaska Museum of the North was our trip on Wednesday. Once again, there were displays about the different regions and tribes of Alaska plus history about the state. This is one of, if not the, best museums we have been to up here. Very well done, I think we spent about 4 hours there and could have spent more, even another day would could have been in order. Plus, the University sits on a hill, overlooking the valley below and on a clear day, they say you can see Denali. If you ever get to Fairbanks, put this stop on your list would be my recommendation.
Thursday we went on a trip down the river (and back up) on the Steamboat Discovery, with about 500 of our closest friends. We made a stop to see the farm where Susan Butcher (sp) lived and trained her sled dogs. She won the Iditarod race 4 years in a row, the first person to win three in a row. They have a tee shirt that says something like ” Alaska, where men are men and women win the Iditarod again and again and again and again”. She pasted away in 2003, I think, from cancer but her husband keeps the place going and raises dogs.
We then stopped at a reproduction of a Native Village to show how the Natives lived before being “discovered and civilized”. This was a bit hokey but they gave three good presentations plus had other displays. We then boarded the riverboat for our return back up the river.
Friday was travel day, we left Fairbanks and headed for Tok. We made the decision not to go to Chicken, Alaska or Dawson City, Yukon. We were having problems with the turn and stop lights on our car but I couldn’t fix it so I made an appointment at a RV repair place for the morning.
Saturday morning we got the coach to the RV place by 8:30 and they worked on it until almost 1:00. There was four things wrong but the main problem was a broken wire, must have been from all the rough roads we’ve traveled. Anyway, we got a very late start that day so only traveled until ~5:00 when we stopped for a boondocking night at a turnoff on the road just before Destruction Bay in the Yukon. We were along a small, crystal clear lake on a gravel road maintenance station. Once we got set up, we again played a heavy card game of “pass the love”. The last time we played was on Rob/Norma’s anniversary so of course, we “let” Rob win. This time, however, no one had a birthday or anniversary so it was brutal. In the end, Lorraine and I were the only two left so we stopped there, saying the Norths won this one.
Sunday we left and headed for Whitehorse where we plan on staying until tomorrow morning. We plan on leaving here and head to Watson Creek. From there, we plan on driving down the Cassair Highway to Stewart, BC and Hyder, Alaska. We hope to see the bears feeding on Salmon while here, this is one of the better places so we hear. We also hear the Cassair Highway isn’t the best road to travel so we will be going slow, I’m sure. After that, we still aren’t sure about heading for North Dakota to work the sugar beet harvest or head for Bellingham. Lorraine talked with our daughter the other day and they plan on being in Seattle over Labor Day weekend and we may be able to be there at the same time. Let’s see, head to North Dakota for a j-o-b or Bellingham to see our daughter, son-in-law and grand daughter, where do you think we’ll be??
So that’s our week in review once again. And now for some pictures.
Proof we were at North Pole, Alaska and saw Santa Claus!!
Some pictures from the Museum of the North.
The Natives weave some nice baskets.
Warm parka and boots.
Polar bears, just pictures, we didn’t see any of these.
Dorothy went into a freezer to experience –40F. She had a cup of hot water, threw it into the air and it was ice before it hit the floor.
And of course, some pictures of flowers.
Lorraine and the gals at Susan Butcher’s (sp) dog sled that won the Iditarod race in 1998.
A steamboat that we took a cruise on, notice the draft that it has, about 3’.
Some of the houses along the river.
We stopped at an Indian Village. Some pictures of shelters the Indians may have used. First is a cabin with a sod roof. Next is a temporary shelter using spruce boughs.
A shelter made from animal hides and a more permanent one using birch bark.
A canoe made the old way.
Salmon drying in a smoke house.
Pictures from the trip out of Alaska, the only time we were able to see Denali (Mt McKinley) the whole trip.
A small church along the way.
Yep, we are out of Alaska and into Canada, heading South before the snow flies.
More pictures out the windshield while driving.