Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Made it to Alaska!

Yesterday's post was late due to lack of decent internet. If you missed it, here it is...


Woke up to rain showers Friday morning, but they quickly cleared up and it became a decent day although it was pretty windy as we neared the top of the Top of the World highway on our route to Alaska.

We said goodbye to our new friends Martin and Christa and their two dogs Kibo and Schaki and their go-anywhere European motorhome...

Interesting rig!

It's an interesting rig. The chassis is a 1987 Mercedes Army vehicle, and the RV body is a year 2000. We had a look inside. Lots of cupboard space, but really not much more living area than the little 20 ft unit we had when we RV'd in Spain and Portugal.

It has three fuel tanks, and combined they can carry 660 liters (174 gallons) of fuel! That's great when you want to fill up when the price is low!

We said goodbye, and hit the road at just after 10am.

Top of the World highway.

Scenery along the way.

The road was in pretty good shape.

Another motorhome way ahead of us.

There was a steep drop off the right hand side.

This gives you a better idea, but still not the same as being there!

Lots of curves.

Ruth spotted some caribou far in the distance.

Made it to the Alaska border!

There is no "Welcome to Alaska" sign.
This is all you get.

No problems with the border guy. Handed off our passports, he asked about firearms, alcohol, tobacco and cash. He went inside his little office, and came back a minute later saying "have a nice trip". That was that.

Beautiful paved road.

Very strange thing though.

The road on the Yukon side was a gravel road, but it was in pretty good shape. Crossing into Alaska at the border, the road was a beautiful, fairly new, and obviously very expensive paved road for a distance of about 10 miles (16 kms).

But why? It is the only road... it doesn't go anywhere except between Dawson City and Chicken. The road on the Canadian side is decent gravel. And the road on the U.S. side becomes a terrible gravel road after that 10 mile paved section is finished. 

We can't figure why they would have spent the money on this road. 

Doesn't make any sense.

But Sherman sure enjoyed this 10 mile stretch!

Because it was about to get really bad...

Lots of washboard.

Some mining on the go here.

Scenery along the way.

Why didn't they use some of that pavement money to grade this instead on a regular basis?

More mining. They use the water to melt the permafrost.

Welcome to Chicken, Alaska.

Chicken was a mining camp back in the day. Now, it's kind of just a stopping point for travelers. Apparently the population is 23 during the summer and 9 during the winter. There are two RV parks, two fuel stations, and a restaurant and snack bar.

We tried to use the internet there, but the one place that was free gave you a one hour pass than didn't work well enough to post photos to this blog, and the other place wanted $5.00 USD ($6.50 CAD) an hour to use the internet. No thanks.

We wandered around for a bit and took some photos, then we decided to head directly to Tok. We were behind schedule anyhow, so this would catch us up a bit.

Things are very fowl in Chicken, Alaska.

Hey, we saw our friends Martin and Christa again!

There is an old dredge on display.

Swallow nests.

At the giant chicken in Chicken, Alaska.

It's all about the chicken!

Driving from Chick to Tok, the highway is a mixture of bad pavement and rough gravel sections. Pretty slow going, and Sherman was not a happy camper.

Sherman, admiring the view of Mt. Fairplay.

Getting close to Tok.

Back at the Alaska Highway, we headed west to Tok. We'll actually have to backtrack on this section to get back to the route to Yukon, but we wanted to do some more stocking up in Tok, plus the price of gas is $3.45 USD per gallon ($1.22 CAD per liter) so we'll fill up with gas again before heading back to Yukon.

We checked out this overnight spot but at the end of the trail it wasn't very good and we were still too far from Tok to get a decent internet signal. So we continued into town and found a decent empty lot away from the main drag.

The weather forecast is fantastic for the next few days. Highs of 78F (25C) and sunny. Beautiful.

We're going to find a power wash and give Sherman a bath today. The gravel roads are finished for the foreseeable future, so we'll now get him cleaned up! They have a 8 mile (13 km) biking path here, so we'll take the bikes for a ride as well.

Yesterday's drive, 245 kms (152 miles).

Camco's RV Shower Head is on sale... we have this one, and it's great! Especially for this price...

And in Canada, they've got their summer outlet deals on now...


  1. I wonder why they call the town Chicken...beautiful scenic drive.

    1. As the story goes, the miners wanted to name the town 'Ptarmigan' after the bird which is common in the area. Unfortunately, people couldn't agree on how to spell it! Finally they settled with the easier name of Chicken.

    2. That would make sense, they say that the ptarmigan, is the arctic chicken! ;-)

      We actually didn't see a sign explaining where the name came from and we didn't think to ask but we think Gene's explanation is probably close enough to the truth.

  2. In regards to one of your earlier post about a Camera
    Another avenue you may wanna look into pawnshops
    I was in one yesterday they have a Nikon D5200 24 megapixel for $349 usd knowing cameras that I do it was in excellent shape right next to it what is a Nikon D 5000 12 megapixel for 250usd both of them are full set up with straps lenses are included
    If you get to a larger city and want to go that route that might be a better avenue for you if you want the d2500 let me know I could buy it for you ship it to you when you get it paid me then,, that would be an option for you
    Being a used item I don't think you pay Canadian duty on it???

    1. Thank you for the suggestion Mr. Ed. That might be an option to look at.

      Also thank you for your offer to buy the camera and ship it to us as well but I think we will be fine for now without it. If we can't get it here in Canada then we will get it when we are back in the USA in October.

  3. Welcome to "Seward's folly," or Seward's icebox!" Methinks the naysayers might have been wrong. Hard to find a decent road anymore, anywhere! Have fun in AK.

    1. Thank you! I actually had to look up what "Seward's folly or icex was! :-) Unfortunately we aren't sticking around for long, it is basically just an in and out trip to continue our travels back into the Yukon. We will have to make another trip up north to visit Alaska properly. We just don't have the time on this trip to spend in Alaska that is really needed, our focus for this trip was on the Yukon.

      Up north the roads are in rough shape because of the permafrost so they have a legitimate reason, not like the ones further south!

  4. Interesting for you to meet someone who lives in Namibia~

  5. I googled Chicken Alaska - interesting how it got its name.

    1. I just did the same and Gene's explanation in an above reply was the correct one. The Ptarmigan is often called the arctic chicken BTW! ;-)

  6. We heard the roads weren't the greatest so one at least knows what to expect.
    Always a problem traveling when you have bad internet. How did the pioneers do it?
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. The roads are definitely hit or miss, but as I mentioned in a comment earlier, the roads up this far north have a legitimate reason for being in poor shape because the permafrost really does a number on them and there is nothing that can be done about it. Every year new frost heaves appear and big potholes, if you drive carefully though there really isn't a big issue.

      Again because there aren't many people up here and lots of distance between towns/communities you can't expect the same quality of internet that you would get in a big modern city. We are sometimes quite surprised that we manage to get on at all in some little off the beaten path places and other times when you expect decent WiFi or cellular you end up with a crappy connection.

  7. Maybe the plan is to repave the entire Highway 9 starting from the Canada border, and ten miles is all they have done so far?

    1. No idea, but honestly paved roads are not meant to be built on top of permafrost. They would be better off just spending the money and maintaining a better gravel road instead.

  8. Hey you two, yes the road are bad on the US side.... The welcome to Alaska sign is it the first pull out about one mile pass the border. The sign is down on the ground, I layed on it to take the photo. I have the exact same photo as your header, I sent it to you via messenger. Keep on trucking 👍👍

    1. Ha ha, too funny, no wonder we missed the sign! We didn't stop in at that turnout because the ramp down looked to be a bit difficult for Sherman, his backend would have scrapped down as we level out.

      I bet a lot of people have a picture very similar as well, thanks!


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