Just as an FYI: when Alaskans talk about going to the lower 48 – they will say they are “going out” – hence the title of this post!
I left off in Eagle River, AK. We boondocked at the Fred Meyer (grocery store owned by Kroger). We went in and spoke to the manager like we always do and bought a few items before watching some TV and getting some sleep.
The next day we made our way to Tok, AK. We were just pulling into town when people started flashing their lights at us pointing at the rig. Ut oh! What now? As far as we knew the trip was uneventful. The pic says it all:
By the time we pulled into the Chevron, no less than 10 people had come by to say “you know your bikes are dragging!” Needless to say, we are not happy about this at all. The rack just broke. Guess there will be a chat with Swagman in our future! UGH! The Tok Cut-Off was not a good road – bumpity bump – but didn’t think it was THAT bad! I was literally scared to go inside, but thankfully all was well!
While getting settled, as happens often, Bill met a couple of guys, also staying at the Chevron. One couple had driven all the way from Brazil! Yes – the country! Wow! They had a very unusual set-up:
We settled in and had dinner and was getting ready for some TV, when there was a knock on our door. Bill was in the restroom and I am yelling through the door (not wanting to open it) and someone replied but I couldn’t understand. Bill came to the door and opened it and it was our neighbors from Brazil (don’t speak very good English) pointing at the sky – NORTHERN LIGHTS! AURORA BOREALIS! We had seen them in Homer, but had hoped to see them again – and there they were! I had forgotten that the forecast (yes – there is a forecast) was a 6 out of 9 – so high probability of seeing them! Only issue is there is no way to get a good pic with an iPhone! Didn’t stop me from trying –
We left out of Tok with a tentative plan of getting to Haines Junction, Yukon and see if we wanted to continue down to Haines, AK. The road was not so good, but not as bad as the day before. We made good time to Haines Junction and pulled in to fill up with fuel. The awning at the gas station said 13’6″, but I jumped out to watch, which thankfully I did, b/c he was not going to make it. The ladies in the next lane started yelling at him before I did! So he just pulled up far enough to fill and then backed out. Sometimes you do what you’ve got to do!
I had called Oceanside RV Park before leaving Haines Junction, just to verify what it said in the Milepost about them being open year-round – and they were! When we arrived, just before sunset, they had 4 spots open for us to choose from. Bill had a more difficult time than usual getting parked, which I blame on a long day of driving and his being tired. And the poorly placed picnic table – yea – that’s it – the picnic table!
The next day, after sleeping in, we drove around exploring. We went out to Chilkat State Park – glad we didn’t take the rig! 14% down hill! On a gravel windy road! Views from their were pretty amazing when we got to the end!
We also had to (ok – Bill had to – I just tagged along!) go back to Haines Brewery. He just loved their beers. His fav this trip was “The Devil Made Me Do It” which is 6.66% alcohol. Ha! Also it was originally released on Halloween (not planned that way – just worked out). He enjoyed 2 pints and then filled his growler.
When we got back to the rig, Bill was outside and noticed one of the cars had PA license plates, so he went over to say hello. Turns out the couple, Nancy & Ken, are from the Reading area, just like us! What a small world! Anyway, Bill mentioned to them we would be having a campfire later and invited them to join us! They then told him about seeing bears down the road a bit. Bill came into the rig and said “come on – lets go!” I asked where we were going and he said “Bears!” So off we went!
We had been driven along Chilkoot River earlier that day but didn’t see any bears, but this time – there they were! A Momma and 2 cubs! I was so excited! This was a large part of the reason we came back to Haines!
While soaking up the heat from the fire, (yes – it was COLD!) – we started to see a glow on the tops of the mountain across the bay. Northern lights! And what a show we got! We watched for about 2 hours before letting the fire die down and heading inside to get warm! I so wish i could have gotten some good pics – but they just don’t come out! I must have tried taking at least 10 – but it was a waste of time and trying to take them was taking away from watching, so I gave up. You know I don’t do that lightly or easily! I just decided to enjoy the time – and I did!
The next day we took care of some housekeeping stuff and relaxed. We drove out to the Bald Eagle Preserve to watch for Eagles. There were lots of them out there but not close enough for me to get a pic. So, again, I just enjoyed the time. We could see them flying around, and watch them with the binoculars. Pics – not so much!
Nancy & Ken started a fire right at dark and after we gobbled up our buffalo chicken wings dinner, we went out to join them. Sadly, the northern lights didn’t become more than a glow on the northern horizon, but after the show the night before – we are not complaining!
This morning, we weren’t in a hurry to leave and we pulled out right at the official check-out time of 11am. Destination: Whitehorse!
We arrived here in Whitehorse at the Walmart around 5pm – we are parked here along with 15 others! We’ve already been inside and had some Mac and cheese for dinner. Time for some TV! Tomorrow destination: Watson Lake!