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Drive to Alaska

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

Following is the continuation from newsletter No. 112 (October 2002) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her drive to Alaska in 1999. (See introduction in Newsletter 105.)

6-27-99*Day 31*292 miles*7 hours 20 min.

We left Kamloops at 7:50 AM. We ate breakfast at McDonald's in Merritt. We hit the border at noon. We got our GST refund in cash (7 % on the cost of accommodations.) It was about $50.00 for both of us. I bought a fifth of Crown Royal for $15.30 (US). We got through customs about noon-thirty.

Since I have never set foot inside a Washington casino we stopped outside of Bellingham at the Skagit Valley Casino. It's a very nice, clean place with lots of slots, a Keno lounge and various card games. One buys "script" and inserts the slip of paper into the machine. And if you want to move to another machine you have to hit the cash-out button and it prints a new slip telling you how much credit you have. Mom ran through $10.00 and I spent $20.00. Dad played Keno. Neither one of them had been to this particular casino. They both agreed that this one is much nicer than the ones they are used to down their way.

We got to my house at 3:20 PM. It is pretty obvious that my car hasn't moved for a month. It's absolutely covered with dust. I plan to take a picture of it tomorrow - too tired now. As well as experiencing a weird feeling. Never having had a baby, I sort of think it might be equated with "postpartum blues." So when my friend Lee called and wanted to come over I initially told him yes. Then about hour later I called him back to say that I just would like to relish being in my own house by myself and for him to come over tomorrow. I think I hurt his feelings a bit, even though he said I didn't.

There was a message on my machine from KJ saying that she had been promoted to Redmond Twilight Manager! I am so proud of her.

My plants survived with the exception of the oregano.

All-in-all one pretty amazing journey that lasted a month to the day. One that I would make again in a heartbeat. The only change I would make would be to take more time on the drive going up. And I wish we had taken the detour down to Skagway, AK. Who knows, I might even go back to Stewart/Hyder!!!

Epilog

When we got home I e-mailed Lynn Nicholson at The Bunkhouse in Dawson City to express my displeasure at the unconcerned attitude of the two women, who replaced her while she was on vacation, about the lack of hot water. She sent back saying she knew nothing about it but, would check into it and she would speak to the women about their attitude. It turned out that someone had left the hot water running all night in one of the common showers. It was impossible to trace which guest did it. For our inconvenience she said that she would credit our room bills 10% for both nights' stay, mine included! So that made us feel better.

I also e-mailed Mike Pannone just to say "hi" and that I enjoyed our brief visit. And I sent one to Mike Turner to thank him again for our free fishing trip. Mom had mailed him a note as well. I received responses from both asking me to stay in touch.

All-in-all our pictures turned out quite good but, with my light meter not working and having to guess at the proper f-stop and shutter speeds, some of the photos I took with my 135-mm lens didn't turn out. The homestead/gift shop at Boundary, a view of the "S" curves & the valley below and one above Dawson, before descending down to the Yukon River ferry crossing, were completely black. The pictures of the storefronts & boardwalks and Jack London & Robert Service's cabins in Dawson turned out exceptionally well, though. And the old homestead between Whitehorse and the border is very nice too. The pictures of the grizzly are slightly out of focus and I missed him standing up. He was just about back down on all fours before racing off into the woods.



Three days after getting home I got a 6 week old gray kitten. Since I got her so close to the end of the trip I wanted to give her a name pertinent to our incredible journey. Kluane, Gold Nugget, Dawson, Tok, Kenai, Doll Baby (my Grandfather's [Julius Tryck] name for me when I was small) and Ruby (for where he and my Grandmother [Mildred] lived in Alaska, starting the family tradition of living in AK) are just some of the names I mulled over. I finally chose Susitna; the mountain visible from Anchorage, nicknamed "The Sleeping Lady" and the rivers nicknamed "The Big Su" and "The Little Su". I figure the latter will become her nickname.

Now that it's over, I can laugh about our stay in Hyder. I have decided I should have a T-shirt or sweatshirt to commemorate our visit. I mailed a letter to "The This 'n That" gift shop there asking for logos and colors and prices. I received no reply and have since sent another request.

None of us won the "passport" drawing in July. But we are still hopeful for the Grand Prize of 5 ounces of gold, the drawing to be held in mid-September. If any one of us wins, we'll split it. If we win the consolation prize of a T-shirt, it's mine!


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