Thursday, June 30, 2011


   We arrived at Denali National Park on 6-21 and settled in for 1 week. What a beautiful park. There is only 1 public road into the park and private cars can only drive in around 15 miles and after that you must take a bus. While at Denali several SKP folks came and went. The Reinhimers , the Kings & Devonshires along with our traveling friends Carol & Everrett. It was nice to see and talk to familiar faces. While at the park we did several trails which took us along rivers and lakes and train trestles. On our walk along Salvage river we were treated to Arctic Ground Squirrels (very similar to Prairie Dogs), 2 baby Marmots playing & a mom & dad Ptaragin with several chicks. On another trail we were all admiring the work of the beavers when we heard a splash and there was a cow moose in the lake. She was not concerned with us just having a leisurely walk in the lake. We took a 70 mile bus ride into the park where we saw caribou, grizzlies, moose, dall sheep, and the High One, Mt Mckinley. The clouds parted pretty good and gave us a nice view. Our little camera didn’t do it justice. We also went to a sled dog demo (we love those Alaskan Huskies). At 7:30 every night Carol, Everett, Paula and I walked down to the Amphitheater for the ranger presentation. We enjoyed everyone of them. We were busy the entire time we were there. On the 28th we left Denali and moved to the tourist town of Talkeetna. In the summer it is a staging area for climbers who are going to attempt to summit Denali. The Alaskan train stops here so there are buses all over. We watch Man vs Food on the travel channel and there are 2 places Adam has been to in town. We also have been to both places and one twice. The roadhouse has one of the if not the best breakfasts I have had (I retired from the phone company and I know breakfast places) so we went there 2 times. There is a great place to view Denali in town but it has been clouded in everytime we have checked. Some of the range has been visible but not Denali. A little while ago 6 SKP motorhomes pulled in so we went out to meet them. I think a happy hour is in our future. Tomorrow we leave for Anchorage. We’ll spend the 4th weekend there and then move over to the Kenai Peninsula for a few weeks.


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 18,2011

  We spent longer in Fairbanks than we thought we would. That’s what is so good about this life style. If we’re enjoying a place we can stay longer. We’re not on a time table. It was rainy and cool when we first got here so we spent some down time. We did get some shopping in and stopped at the Creamer waterfowl refuge several times. We took a ride to University of Alaska botanical garden. A lot of folks were working in the area and it was a little to early in the year for something like that. We then took a ride down to the Pump House Restaurant. It was to early to eat but they had old artifacts from the gold rush days around. While walking along the Chena river on which the Pump House was located a beautiful bald eagle flew about 15 feet over us. What a magnificent sight. We have seen a lot of eagles in our travels but never that close. Another day we took a ride to the North Pole and met with the great one Santa himself. Next up was the visitor center in Fairbanks. It has an excellent display. From there we stopped at the headquarters for the Yukon Quest Int’l Sled dog Race. Jodi Bailey and 4 of her dogs were there. Both her and her Alaskan Huskies ran last year in the Iditarod and Yukon Quest races. She enjoyed talking about the races and dogs and happily answered all of our questions. We enjoyed petting the oh so friendly dogs. The Alaskan huskies are not as big as we thought they would be. After visiting the city museum we headed back to the rv. Yesterday we took a ride on a sternwheeler along the Chena river. We had a bush pilot take off and land along side of us, visited an Chena Indian village, tasted smoked salmon and to me the highlight was a demonstration at the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher. Sled dogs were hooked up to a 4 wheeler, that is used for training, and off they went. The dogs that were not picked went crazy trying to show there dissatisfaction at not being chosen to do the run. Today we went to Pioneer Park. It is made up of authentic  buildings from the early 1900’s used as museums and gift shops. While in Fairbanks we ate at 2 interesting places. Big Daddy’s BBQ. It is billed as the Northernmost Southern Barbecue and was featured on Diner’s Drivin’s & Dives. I enjoyed Paula didn’t. And Soapy Smiths. Soapy’s  owners (quite a character)  grandfather was the 1st governor after statehood. The place is filled with memorabilia. It never really gets dark here at this time of the year just dusk for a few hours. Tomorrow is the summer solstice festival and that is how we’ll finish our stay. Tuesday we’ll move over to Denali National Park and begin another adventure.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


   On June 11th we began our ride on the Top of the World Highway. The highway is so named because, along much of its length, it skirts the crest of the hills, giving looks down on the valleys. It is also one of the most northerly highways in the world at those longitudes. It was a rough ride with some of it chip seal and some loose gravel. There were several switch backs and several white knuckle areas where you rode along the edge of some long drop offs. It reminded me a lot of the Apache trail in Arizona. The views were  great and made the ride bearable. We’re glad we did it but wouldn’t do it again. We entered Canada on May 17 and today we were going to cross back into the USA. The border crossing was simple and we began our tour of Alaska. The road was dirt for the next 40 miles or so to town of Chicken. It is a small town and they were having a music fest so we decided to travel on. The road we just traveled from Dawson City to Chicken is only open in the summer as the only way across the Yukon river at Dawson is by ferry so when the river freezes over the road is closed. Except for the frost heaves the road from Chicken to Tok was pretty good. That evening we had our bottle of champagne that we had been carrying since we bought it at a winery in Florida. At Tok we returned to the Alaskan highway. Some of the rivers are still icy here. We made our way to Delta Junction and the end of the Alaskan highway. A little north of Delta Junction the had our 1st sighting of the Alaskan pipeline.  Were now in Fairbanks having a few down days. Tomorrow we’ll do some exploring here and decide when we’re going to head over to Denali NP


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  We pulled into Watson Lake on June 3rd. We were now in the Yukon Territory. We went to the sign post forest where people have placed 1000’s of signs from there home towns and a northern lights show. When going to the show we saw a small diner that looked like a good breakfast place. If I learned anything in my time working with the phone company it’s was how to spot a good breakfast place. We went over the next morning and it was crowded so we ended out sharing a table with a young man. We found out a lot of the folks in the diner were firefighters in town to fight the forest fire along the Cassier Highway. The young man we were sitting with was a helicopter pilot down from Whitehorse to fight the fire. We enjoyed our chat with him. Several people told us to stop in Teslin for a cinnamon bun so we did and they were great. When we reached Whitehorse we decided to stay a few days. While there we toured the Yukon Brewery which was a step back in time. It was a small operation and quite a few of the operations that would normally be handled by machinery were done by hand. We visited a dam built by the power company where they built a fish ladder so salmon could get over the dam. We did some trails along the Yukon river and walked around town. It was the biggest town we had been in in quite awhile. They gave visitors a parking pass for 3 days so we didn’t have to pay at any of the meters. We walked around town and ate diner at a great 50’s diner. It is also home of  the World Biggest Windvane a  DC-3 Aircraft. We decided to veer off the Alaskan Highway and head toward toward the top of the world highway. When we were walking around Whitehorse some locals we were talking to told us about another cinnamon bun place along the Klondike highway so when we got to Braeburn we stopped to get one. It was huge about 3 times bigger than the one we got in Testa and even though we thought it impossible it was better. We arrived in Dawson City on June 9th. We  decided to stay at a Provincial Park across on the other side of the Yukon river and since there was no bridge we loaded Emily on a ferry and across we went. Dawson City had it’s beginnings with the Klondike gold rush so one of the 1st things we did was pan for gold with no success. We also walked around the discovery claim where the gold was discovered and toured a dredge which was used to move a lot of dirt and remove the gold from the dirt. We also walked around town and toured the local museum. Next up the Top of the World Highway. 


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Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3,2011

  We made it to Dawson City and Mile post 0 on the 29th. We stayed 2 nights and did some exploring. After picture taking at Mile post 0 we went into the visitor center. We found out a little about the town and got directions to an old wooden railroad tressle and a pamphlet on a walking tour. After searching a little we found the wooden bridge and it was worth the search. The walking tour was not so great. Most of the buildings it took us to were gone or completely remodeled. There was several nice murals and we enjoy them. The Chamber of Commerce had a nice exhibit of things used during the making of the Alaskan Highway. They had a model of the Kiskatinaw Curved Bridge which is on the old Alaskan Highway. It’s the only original timber bridge still in use. On the 31st when we started our adventure up the highway our 1st diversion was at mile marker 17 when we turned off of the new highway and onto the old. In a few short miles we reached the bridge and it was worth the little side trip. We crossed over and continued back to the new highway. That night we stayed at a camp along the Sikanni river. It was nice to listen to the water flowing. There wasn’t much wildlife along the way except the big one. A momma black bear and her 2 cubs. The cubs went running across the road in front of us and into the woods but the momma stayed put and watched us as we passed by. The road has begun to narrow a bit and hugs the mountains on one side and lakes & rivers on the other at places. We’re traveling through the northern Rockies. Yesterday as we were approaching the entrance to Laird Hot Spring Prov Park we saw several buffalo wandering around. Yesterday we soaked in the hot springs and it felt so good. We were going to to to for a quick dip before we left but we woke up to s**n. Not sure what elevation we’re at but it’s June and this is not right. We have no radio,tv or cell signal here so we’ll check at the office to find out how the roads are. If there’s any doubt we’ll stay here another night but we were looking forward to hookup at Watson Lake as we haven’t had any for awhile.  The roads were good so we moved to Watson Lake in the Yukon. On the way today we had a moose run across the road in front of us and about 8 horses running loose along the side of the road. Don’t know what you will see along these roads.


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