July 16, 2024

RV ALASKA - High Spirits (and Expectations!) on the Way to Valdez

I can’t say that I was sorry to see the K’seugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park in our rearview mirror.  Maybe with a different set of circumstances and different weather patterns our visit would have been more enjoyable. It was with no small amount of anticipation for a better experience in Valdez that we packed up and headed south on the Parks Highway.

Valdez was always a possibility in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t a line item on our itinerary.  Other destinations in Alaska held a higher priority, but we were hoping to squeeze in some time in this port city at some point during our weeks in Alaska.  In retrospect, swapping several days in Valdez for our now useless reservations in Denali National Park turned out to be an excellent idea; Valdez was the salve that healed our wounds.

July 12, 2024

RV ALASKA - Holiday Weekend Plans Toasted by the Riley Wildfire

The only reservations I had made for our entire multi-week stay in Alaska were three nights at the K’seugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park followed by four nights at the Riley Creek Campground in Denali National Park.  Those reservations guaranteed us a place to call home over the Fourth of July holiday and the weekend that followed.  The plan was to arrive at Denali State Park on July 3rd, then travel north a few days later to Denali National Park.  Beyond that, we planned a run south to the Kenai Peninsula.  All good, right?  No, not good.  Not good at all.

July 09, 2024

RV ALASKA - Traveling Highways in Alaska Leads to a Gem in Palmer

At 586,000 square miles of land, Alaska is, by far, the largest state in the union.  It’s more than twice the size of Texas, and larger than the next three biggest states combined (Texas, California and Montana).  Texas has 314,000 miles of public roads; Alaska has less than 18,000.  It doesn’t take long to become familiar with the major highways in Alaska simply because there aren’t that many of them.

July 07, 2024

RV ALASKA - Winner! Winner! "Chicken" Dinner!

There are fewer than 1,400 people living in Tok, Alaska, but there are seven private RV parks in town and several state recreation sites with campgrounds outside of it.  Tok is the first town you’ll find along the Alaska Highway after clearing Customs and entering the state of Alaska.  For many Rvers, Tok is just a quick one night stop on the way to the state’s more famous attractions.  Alan and I planned to stay two nights, then move on to Fairbanks to reprovision and catch up on laundry.  It was just after we arrived in Tok that the McDonald fire, burning just south of Fairbanks, became the second wildfire to derail our travel plans.

July 05, 2024

RV ALASKA - Battling Frost Heaves on the Alaska Highway

When planning our route to Alaksa, I had discounted the Top of the World Highway – even though I would have loved to visit Dawson City, Yukon, with its fascinating Gold Rush history.  I had read that the Highway wasn’t in the best of condition, and Alan and I were both concerned about damage to the truck and trailer.  Having already had two windshields replaced back home within the past year, we weren’t too anxious to go through that again.  Comments made by our friend, Bernie, convinced us to give the Top of the World a go.  He thought the road wasn’t that bad and better than some.  I shook off my reservations, and we decided we’d head north from Whitehorse on the Klondike Highway, travel through Dawson City and follow the Top of the World Highway on to Tok, Alaska.  If we did that on the way out, we could take the Alaska Highway on the way back, allowing us to cover new and different territory.  On the morning of our departure from Whitehorse, news that a wildfire burning to the north had closed the North Klondike Highway between Pelly and Stewart Crossing stopped us in our tracks.  The fire had effectively blocked our way to Dawson City.

July 03, 2024

RV ALASKA - The S.S. Klondike National Historic Site (& Other Adventures in Whitehorse, YT)

Alan and I had been steadily on the move, covering the distance from Jasper, Alberta, to Watson Lake, Yukon, over the course of three days.  We usually try to drive no more than two full days before taking an R&R day, but traffic was light and we had been unusually lucky in finding three campsites in a row that didn’t require us to unhitch.  Not that unhitching is difficult, but not having to do it saves a little bit of time and makes for a quick and easy getaway in the morning.  We had been looking ahead to a two-night layover in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, that would allow us a break from the road, time to reprovision and the opportunity to visit the S.S. Klondike – one of the last remaining steam-powered paddle wheelers that transported goods and passengers up and down the Yukon River between the 1860’s and 1950.  The Klondike exceeded our expectations by a longshot.

July 01, 2024

RV ALASKA - Watson Lake's World Famous Sign Post Forest

Alan and I spent a full day traveling from Summit Lake in British Columbia to the town of Watson Lake in southern Yukon Territory.  We had been anticipating our stop at the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake since the beginning of the trip.  Since 1942, people from all over the world have been posting a sign to signify their passing through this small town.  Names, streets, towns, states, countries, special occasions and even memorials - all of these and more have been commemorated in the Sign Post Forest.  Of course, we had to add our own.