Day 20 – Tok, AK to Haines Junction, YT

We headed out from the Mooseberry B&B (yep, that is actually the name) after a hearty breakfast and some great conversation with our other guests at around 9:15 AM. There were three men and a woman touring on motorcycles, a couple from Whitehorse, YT and Tom and I. Happy Birthday to Tom today!

Tom and I noticed almost all the folks we saw on motorcycles up here (and there were quite a few) rode BMW motorcycles as did all the motorcyclists at the B&B so we asked why. They told us that the BMW is dependable and can handle the rough roads should you get off the beaten path; unlike Harley Davidson.

It rained pretty hard in Tok last night and our drive was overcast and rainy pretty much the whole way today. We have learned that the critters do not get out much when it is overcast or rainy. We saw a lot of wildlife on this stretch coming up but it was sunny that day. We did come across one black bear.

Coming across the border into Canada was uneventful. The Canadian officials are quite a bit friendlier that the US Customs folks. I will be interested to see what it will be like coming back into the US in Montana.

There was a good bit more construction going on today in the YT than when we came through earlier. About 113 miles of it from the border into the YT crosses tundra type terrain and requires major work pretty much each summer. We had to wait for a pilot car several times today. The wait time varied but was as much as 10 minutes. The road is all packed gravel because that is about all that will hold up. One of our breakfast people knew a good deal about Canadian highways up in this neck of the woods. He said that basically the road is sitting on permafrost which is not very stable to begin with. The road has a lot of dips and usually they are in groups so you have to drive pretty slow or it will throw you off the road. If the van’s suspension isn’t pretty worn out now, it surely will be after this trip. There are also numerous potholes and sections of washboard surface. Needless to say, you do not drive much faster than 45 or 50 most of the time.

We stopped briefly at Kluane Lake and took a few pictures. The sun was starting to peek out just a little.

Tonight we are staying at the Raven Hotel in Haines Junction. It is very nice and almost brand new. They have a gourmet 3 – star restaurant and we are celebrating Tom’s BD there. Haines Junction was quite a surprise for us on the way up. The little town is nestled in among these spectacular snow-capped mountains. Coming into town from the north, the view is breathtaking. I think this little town is the jewel of the YT (of course, I have only seen a few of the towns :-)). The couple we met from Whitehorse this morning told us that the population of the whole YT is about 32,000 and 28,000 live in Whitehorse. There is a lot of unoccupied space up here that is just incredibly scenic. The only problem would be coping with September thru May each year.


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4 Responses to Day 20 – Tok, AK to Haines Junction, YT

  1. Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday, Tom! I hope you enjoy your birthday dinner tonight! It is 8:30 PM here and it is dark outside – what is the deal?! Oh yeah – I am back in Birmingham. We have had rain this week – close to 3 inches total since I left. Everything looks nice and green and although humid, the temperature is cooler, but not as cook as in Alaska!

    On the front page of today’s Birmingham News, there is an article about our former Governor Bob Riley. He left his hometown of Ashland, AL over 2 weeks ago on his Harley Davidson Road Glide and rode to Alaska. He was headed south on the Dalton Highway from the Arctic Circle towards Fairbanks when he lost control of his bike. He reports that he had to lay down the bike when he hit a slick spot on the gravel road. He was picked up by a trucker and is in the ICU at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. He has 7 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, and a punctured lung. He will be hospitalized several more days. He had planned to spend some time in AK before heading back to AL. So, please continue to be careful!

    Do you plan to post some pictures from our various excursions last Friday in the Homer area? There are not any pictures showing up on the blog for that day, but there is for Sat.

    Back to reality for some of us when we return to work tomorrow. Take care and again Happy Birthday, Tom! What a special birthday!


  2. Jim Schweitzer says:

    Can’t wait to visit one of these years. Lisa and the kids gave me a Christmas present many years ago to take all of us on an Alaskan cruise. They didn’t include “all expense” so I would have been left with the $10,000.00 tab 🙂 So we haven’t made the cruise yet.

  3. Lynette says:

    Happy Birthday, Tom! What an awesome way to spend your special day!

  4. Dale says:

    Happy B-Day Tom! Sounds like this has been a great vacation. May the trip southward be as pleasant as the trip northward.

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