Day 22, 6/20/15, Saturday
Weather: Dawn broke (before we awoke, sometime around 4:30 am) with partial clouds. Temperatures today were in the mid-70s.
We were up, had breakfast, and were ready to leave the parking area in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory by 8:30 am. We always fill up each day since we are not always sure where the next station might be; we want to have a large reserve.
We did discover today that many businesses, including gas stations, have gone out of business on this highway. I can only imagine that since the visitors’ travel months are so limited this far north it is a challenge for businesses to “make a go of it”
During the trip, we did come upon a Catholic Church that was originally founded during the time of the road construction. It is called Our Lady of the Way. The church building is one of the actual huts being used at that time. It is still functioning as the center of an active parish.
Today’s driving was tedious. We again found much of the highway was in extremely poor repair from Beaver Creek to the Alaska border crossing. There were more than 20 miles of wash-outs, loose gravel, pot holes, road heaves due to ice, washboards, and ongoing construction projects. In Paul’s opinion, it looked like the responsible agency had no clue on road maintenance. This was a stark contrast when we entered Alaska. The roads, although suffering the same problems as the Yukon, were well repaired and resurfaced where appropriate.
Yes, we did cross into Alaska at 4 pm Alaska time (four hours difference from EDST). Although the trip through the Canadian provinces and territory was beautiful it was nice to finally see our intended destination.
Our last stop in Yukon Territory was in Beaver Creek we were met with the strong smell from the forest fire raging near Tok, AK. At some points, the smoke from the fire presented a fog-like situation. This was better than the extreme dust conditions that were endured during the construction areas earlier but still a concern. In another part of Yukon Territory, there is a fire encompassing 3,000 acres caused by lightening. Since there are no people in the area, the fire will be allowed to burn. The man in the Visitor’s Center estimated that it would burn all summer. This is typical for this area, he said.
We continued about forty-five minutes past the boarder and registered at the Naabia Niigh Camp Grounds at N 63.01074° W -141.80226°, elevation 1,800 ft. The owners are pleasant native Alaskans. Our plan for tomorrow it to drive toward Fairbanks and enjoy everything of interest that there is along the way.
G & P