Alaska to Alaska through Canada – August 2018

After failing our attempt to see a bore tide, it was time to leave Alaska and head to … Alaska. Southern Alaska is purely coastal, and many towns, including the state capitol of Juneau, are reachable only be sea or air. However, there are three towns that have road access from Canada: Haines, Skagway and Hyder.

Haines was our next destination.

We’d planned to just stay one night in Palmer, but the next day was rainy with wind gusts over 35 mph. We were getting a lot of rock and roll at our campsite even with trees breaking some of the wind and our stabilizers down. Not good driving weather, and there just wasn’t a good reason to drive in that. So we paid for another night and did some work on pictures and the blog.

The next day was much less windy, so we left Palmer and headed for Tok. The drive took most of the day and was scenic. We retraced our steps past glaciers, mountains, rivers and lakes. We did get a good photo of what melting permafrost does to roads. It’s not too bad to drive as long as you slow down for the worst stretches of road.

Frost heaves (really frost depressions) happen. These are among the worst we experienced, but just required slowing down for them.
Friends thought the wrapped-up log looked like a dead body.

Our first stop in Tok was Sourdough RV Park, where we had stayed on our way into Alaska. Oma had wanted some knotty wood (a burl log), and Sourdough had been selling them. Lucky for her (and unfortunately for me), they had just gotten a new supply.

The rest of the way home, a seven foot log (which was dubbed “the dead body” by some friends) occupied our bed except when we were sleeping.

Knotty logs for Oma to choose from.

Although we got the log at Sourdough, Oma wanted to stay at Tundra RV Park this time. Tundra RV had very long spacious pull through sites with lots of room between neighbors. It offered full services but we only needed water and electric. They also had a nicer laundromat, but we didn’t need to use it this time.

Campers were literally nestled under the pines in a lovely forest. There also was a lounge but it smelled very smoky and although Oma was excited about having a lounge accessible, she did not want to sit at a smelly bar. But Oma preferred this campground to all the others and if we do come back, this will be our go to campground.

The motorhome was filthy again, so we took advantage of the campground’s RV wash before we left. Then we were off on a section of the Alaska highway that we had skipped on the way up when we had detoured through the Klondike.

The drive was pretty. By this time, it was just normal to be driving through beautiful mountains with frequent glaciers, so it was a little hard not to be jaded as we started moving away from that. But we enjoyed the new scenery regardless.

Back into Canada

The border crossing into Canada went well enough, although when I told the agent about the dead body – err, dead log, he seemed to mostly just not want to know. No questions about produce. As usual, we had minimized the amount of stuff that we might have to throw out, but it was still nice not to have to pitch anything.

We overnighted at Congdon Creek Campground, a Yukon Government Campground. It was very nice, although it only had a few campsites on the lake. However, the next morning pretty much everyone pulled out. It was a beautiful day, the campground was very nice, and a huge campsite on the water was begging for us to stay.

We later realized that the campsite was technically a double. There were plenty of other sites available, so I doubt most people would have wanted to share a site with us even though it was on the water. We were obnoxious and made the site look unavailable to passers-by and enjoyed our day. We were even able to collect enough split wood to build a big fire, where we did something we hadn’t done in decades – cooked dinner over an open fire. The steak and potatoes were great, even if we had to rush indoors as soon as dinner finished cooking due to a passing rain shower.

The next day we were off to Haines. We stayed on the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction, then headed down the Haines Highway. The scenery was pretty, but nothing as spectacular as the drive into Valdez.

Back into Alaska

Once we got closer to Haines, we crossed back into Alaska. I was hoping that this would be an easy border crossing – after all, the small town of Haines is the only thing down the road, so it seemed stupid for anyone to get their knickers in a knot about produce and such, but you never know when someone is having a bad day and wants to spread the love. Fortunately, it was an easy crossing (the easiest US border crossing we’ve ever done), and we were on our way within a minute or two.

Alaska construction

From there it was less than a half hour to our campground on the water in the town.

Day 83 (Day 49 in Alaska)

Miles: 0
Overnight: Matanuska River Park, Palmer, AK
Weather: Mostly cloudy, very windy with morning rain (54/65)

Day 84 (Day 50 in Alaska)

Miles: 287*
Driving time: 5:45
Roads: Glenn Hwy (AK-1), Richardson Hwy (AK-1/4), Tok Cutoff (AK-1)
Overnight: Tundra RV Park, Tok, AK
Weather: Rain early, then partly sunny and windy (56/70)
Total miles in Alaska: 2,568*
Total miles since crossing Canadian border: 5,128*
Total miles: 6,696*
* Since our motorhome is our only vehicle, mileage includes side trips.

Day 85

Miles: 238*
Driving time: 5:00
Roads: Alaska Highway (AK-2/YT-1)
Overnight: Congdon Creek Campground, Destruction Bay, YT
Weather: Mostly cloudy (42/64)
Total miles since crossing Canadian border: 5,366*
Total miles: 6,934*
* Since our motorhome is our only vehicle, mileage includes side trips.

Day 86

Miles: 0
Overnight: Congdon Creek Campground, Destruction Bay, YT
Weather: Partly sunny (43/63)

Day 87 (Day 51 in Alaska)

Miles: 223*
Driving time: 5:00
Roads: Alaska Highway (YT-1), Haines Highway (YT-3/AK-7/unnumbered in BC)
Overnight: Oceanview RV Park, Haines, AK
Weather: Mostly sunny (42/64)
Total miles since crossing Canadian border: 5,589*
Total miles: 7,157*
* Since our motorhome is our only vehicle, mileage includes side trips.

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