~Wednesday, September 7, 2022~
Day 815 (Travel Day)
Day 79 of Alaska Trip
It was quite the long day, starting with an early arrival at Purcell Tires. Yes!!! The tires came in. However, they were in the back of the delivery truck which would take them about an hour to unload. So Jeff took the opportunity to grab a sandwich and a Chai Tea Latte to satisfy a little morning hunger. Evidently, this tire shop mostly services big rigs and receives 1,000 tires weekly to keep up with demand. Tires in Alaska is a big, booming, all-important business with the many brutal roads up here. After the 30 minutes it took to have them mounted and balanced, Jeff was out the door. Thankyou Richard for your friendliness and help to get us back on the road with new wheels for Hank.
If we ever decide to move to Alaska, we’ll definitely be repeat customers!
On our departure from North Pole, AK, it looks like we dodged a $20 camp fee (staying that extra night). At the end of our stay, it became quite the ghost town, so maybe after the Labor Day weekend, things just wind down, as we went from seeing a ranger every 30 minutes to virtually none at all.
It was a momentous day as it was the start to us heading south, slowly making our way “home”. We still have another 3 weeks to go before crossing the Canada/U.S. border for good (well at least until the next trip to Alaska). One of the big things we’ve looked forward to seeing is the Haines/Skagway, AK area. To do this will require us to exit Alaska, enter into Canada, then head back into Alaska again; 2 border crossings in 7 days, one of which will be tomorrow. Evidently, some of the most beautiful parts of Alaska are coming up on the way to Skagway; a little hard to believe since everything we’ve seen has been utter awesomeness! When we planned this whole trip, we were originally going to stay in both Haines and Skagway. Once we found out the cost of a ferry ride over to Haines WITH the trailer ($300-priced by the foot), we decided to stay in Skagway then do a day trip over to Haines, with the bikes. Plus, we’re a little behind schedule anyway and don’t have as much time to spend in each town like we planned.
Today’s drive took us on the Richardson Highway initially until we hit the AlCan Highway (Alaska/Canada Hwy.).
This will be the highway from now until we get to Haines Junction. Though this stretch of road was probably the worst we’d seen so far, we had a corridor of changing birch, black spruce and snow-capped mountains to keep us distracted. The colors are exceptional. Looking back, this time last year we were also in an
area of stunning Fall beauty…Vermont and New Hampshire. But the colors are very different from each other. In Alaska, it’s more golden yellows, and subtle oranges. There seems to be more color, including red on the East Coast.
It was kind of weird to be back in Tok again, as our last stop through this small town was in mid-July with the purpose of filling up on water, gas and groceries. Today, we returned to the same water stop and gas station, but no groceries, thank goodness. The prices were insane as I recall!! And this was as good a spot as any to fill out our ArriveCAN forms online to be able to cross the border into Canada tomorrow.
We decided to keep going for another 1-½ hour drive to put us at the Deadman Lake Campground near Northway, AK which would make tomorrow’s drive a little less. And we’re so glad we found this little gem. With only about 15 sites, it’s part of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s hard to believe this campground is FREE as the sites are spaced nicely apart, there’s free seasoned firewood, and free canoes to use at your disposal. We arrived early in the evening, but with it being so late in the season, we didn’t have trouble finding a site. Not only did we find a site, we found the BEST site, close to the lake. Too bad we were too tired to take full advantage of this amazing campground with our 1 night’s stay. But it is certainly noted to stay longer on a future trip. As we began setting up, a couple from Ohio came to greet us. They’re basically doing the same trip we are, but in half the time, making us feel so grateful that we got to take a little more time, unrushed. If the weather turns out to be nice tomorrow after all, we may just stay an extra day. A nice relaxing canoe ride sounds terrific!
Today’s drive produced 2 casualties, at least that we can see so far…….a broken shelf on the door to the freezer and broken trim that surrounds the freezer door; nothing that a little duct tape or electrical tape can’t temporarily fix until they're replaced.
It’s hard to believe that in just 1 day, we’ll be out of Alaska, at least for a little bit anyway.