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Drive to Alaska

by Barbara K. Almy (1233-4668-1323)

Following is the continuation from newsletter No. 110 (April 2002) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her drive to Alaska in 1999. (See introduction in Newsletter 105.)

6-21-99*Day 25*373 miles*10 hours 26 minutes.

Mom and Dad were running late because of staying out past their bedtime last night! Dad was still in the shower. We left Dawson at 8:04 AM, stopping to take a picture and gas up. We went to Gold Dredge #4 and then to breakfast at the same place as yesterday on the edge of town. Dad and I both had sausage & eggs. The sausage was just so-so. So we really left town at 9:55 AM. Mom and I took about an hour nap, during which time Dad saw a beautiful silver fox. We took the cutoff to the Mayo and Keno Silver Mine Museums that are part of the passport. We now have the four in Whitehorse, one in Teslin (between Whitehorse and Watson Lake) and the last one in Watson Lake to complete all ten stops.

Mom nodded off again for over an hour. Seems odd since I was the one who only got 3 hours sleep last night. We saw no more wildlife other than rabbits and gophers.

We got into Carmacks at 6:30 PM. The Carmacks Hotel rooms are nice, but again expensive ($89 Can.) It was the most expensive motel of the trip. It turns out my room was on the quiet side. Mom and Dad had all kinds of noise during the night from the parking lot and kids running up and down and yelling.

We ate dinner out of the cooler. I took a tuna sandwich and some barbecued pork back to my room. I updated our map travel, organized the literature we have gathered and wrote in the journal.

6-22-99*Day 26*114 miles*2 hours 54 minutes.

We departed Carmacks at 7:26 AM heading south. We pretty much had the road to ourselves in our direction. We did meet a lot of oncoming traffic. At 8:14 Dad pointed to the right shoulder up a ways. I thought it looked light brown and said, "I think it's a grizzly." Sure enough it was. It walked to the middle of the road. I took a picture through the rain-spotted windshield. Then it walked back to the side of the road. We stopped and I rolled down my window. It stood up and I think I got a good picture of it standing before it ran off into the woods.

We stopped for a scenic picture, stretch and smoke break and decided to make breakfast of a few slices of reindeer sausage, a bagel and cream cheese and some grapes. We sat there and ate.

We rolled into Whitehorse at 10:20 AM. We were unable to get into our rooms that early at the same motel as on the way to Alaska. We went to three of our passport stops. I had the fourth one mismarked on the map. We went back to the motel and got checked in. While Mom and Dad snoozed I did laundry.

We then want on the Yukon River Cruise aboard the MV Schwatka. It was two hours long, through Miles Canyon. It was not a glorious day for picture taking. After the cruise we went to the last Whitehorse stop. We now have only two stops left on the passport series. We have gotten our posters (which we qualified for after visiting eight stops.) We went shopping and then back to the hotel and then walked to dinner at The Galley restaurant located in the Edgewater Hotel. We all liked what we had. Mom had tiger prawns; Dad broiled halibut and fries. I had beef kabobs with baked potato and salad. It was kind of expensive.

6-23-99*Day 27*275 miles*5 hours 20 minutes.

We originally intended (and had reserved rooms) to stay a second night. But, since we had time on the trip to visit the S.S. Klondike and got in yesterday early enough to visit the four mandatory stops as well as do the Yukon River Cruise, we decided to move on which will allow us to possibly spend an extra night somewhere. Or in a place that we haven't even thought of. So we left at 9:32 AM (really 9:50 after getting gas and stopping at the post office.)

We arrived in Watson Lake at 3:40 PM. We got our ninth stamp at the George Johnston Museum in Teslin, YT. I'm sorry we didn't pay the money to go through the museum. It looked kind of neat from what we could see.

We got our tenth and final stamp at the Northern Lights Centre just inside Watson Lake. We decided not to see the show, based on things we heard from various shopkeepers in town. We turned in our entry forms and got our passport books back. The lady said that they had about fifteen stubs already turned in.

When we got there, there was a couple also turning theirs in. They said they had been seeing us along the way and that the woman and I had played machines next to each other at Gertie's in Dawson. I don't remember her at all.

According to our original plan we will be home after two more nights, but having left Whitehorse early we will probably break up the drive more. And maybe spend only five or six hours a day driving. We also have heard tell that there are some casinos in BC and may plan our stops accordingly!

We had a drink in Mom and Dad's room and Dad and I had pastrami and cheese sandwiches, while Mom enjoyed chicken and cheese. Afterwards Mom and I went over to thee Signpost Souvenir Shop. I bought a T-shirt for the equivalent of $13.50 (US).

To be continued.

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