Sunrise 5:50 a.m., Sunset 9:46 p.m.
We made it back to ‘Merica’! Our ‘rule of thumb’ is to travel only 6 hours per day, however, today was 14 hours! We left Teslin with the idea of stopping somewhere near the border at Beaver Creek, but our plan wasn’t God’s plan.
We stopped at Johnson’s Crossing for a cinnamon roll. We had read about this place in the Milepost. What’s the Milepost?
Since 1947, this magazine has been published that gives minute details of the Alaska highway and other adventuresome routes. It gives historical facts which is why I appear to know so much, mileage from one place to another, names of provincial or state campgrounds, RV parks, where to buy gas or diesel and which wildlife is more prevalent where. Thus, Johnson’s Crossing to check out a more unique and quaint place to stay on our way back. Teslin is nice, but it’s more of a truck stop park and we like the feel of the early lodges that have been in service for 70 years. Yes, the cinnamon roll was delicious and Sandy, the owner was quite friendly. I even found a novel in Hebrew at the book exchange. Yes! I love book exchanges. I read a lot while we’re in our trailer and so when I finish one book, I look for a book exchange to get another. I even got my husband reading and that is an amazing feat!
From Johnson’s Crossing, we continued north toward Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon province. Last year we went into this grand city to find a Walmart and with our big rig, the congestion was too much so we decided to forego that trip – and the Walmart was small with nothing it in. A waste of time ….
One of my favorite spots on the Alcan is the Yukon River Bridge. I’m not sure why except I love the color of the bridge and the peacefulness around it. It’s also kind of a milestone of the trip to cross the Yukon River.
One of our goals to was to stop in Haines Junction for coffee at another quaint place that everyone who travels the Alcan speaks about. Last year we vowed to return every time we passed through Haines Junction. Then, last September, it was closed. Today, it was closed, too. It doesn’t open until May 1 and today is April 30. So NO delicious baked goods (already had that cinnamon roll) and no coffee. The St. Elias mountains at Haines Junction cannot be accurately described, but suffice it to say if I HAD to live in the Yukon Territory, it would be at Haines Junction: they have mountains, coffee, and a health food store. What else is there?
We decided to continue on towards Beaver Creek. The road goes through Kluane (kloo-WA-nee) National Park with its mountains, Dall sheep and frozen lake. From Kluane, begins the dreaded 90 miles of frost heaves through Destruction Bay and Burwash Landing. On our return trip last year, it seemed as though there was road work from the border through these little towns and so this year the heaves weren’t so destructive to our trailer. This was the section of road that broke all the shelves in my pantry that needed to be rebuilt once we arrived in Cooper Landing.
Knowing that all of the provincial campgrounds don’t open until May 11, we started to look for anyplace that may have RV sites. All of the rest areas in the Yukon have signs that say ‘No Overnight Camping.’ With our rig, it’s difficult to go ‘off road’ so we need something that is less rustic.
We found the Pine Valley Bakery and Creperie to be open so we stopped to check it out. It is run by a couple from France who moved to the Yukon 10 years ago. We enjoyed a quiche and crepe, but their RV park was still closed as they had recent snow, fallen trees and no services. We returned to our truck to drive the rest of the distance to Beaver Creek. We saw a lynx, some swans and a bald eagle. In the midst of caribou herds, moose and black bears coming out of hibernation, we saw none of them. When we arrived in Beaver Creek, their campground was still full of snow. We had to make the decision whether or not to hang out in their parking lot or drive another 2 hours to Tok, Alaska. With fully bellies and the sun setting at 9:30, we knew we could make the trek and still have daylight.
ALASKA! The border crossing was fun. The patrolmen were quite talkative about life on the border from crazy people to moose to where they buy their food and how grateful they are that the Milepost removed their phone number from the magazine as they had thousands of calls last year from people asking about the weather!
We continued to head north with views of the Wrangle mountains until we reached TOK, Alaska! We’re settled in for the night drinking hot chocolate and reading (writing this blog). Tomorrow we decide whether or not to take a side trip to Valdez – ONLY if there are RV parks open. Otherwise, it’s on to Anchorage and the Kenai Penninsula!
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