Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Awesome Alaska Blog # 9

   Apologies for this blog being a few days late. Paid $ 5.19 a gallon out in the hinterland yesterday on a little excursion. Prices around here average in the 4 twenties & thirties. Prices on everything are noticeably higher. Spending is up for us as well as everyone else in the nation. As far as government spending is concerned, I believe it was late senator from Illinois , Everett Dirksen, who remarked, "A billion here, a billion there; the first thing you know, you're talking about real money." Every body else seems to spend MY money like it's water. How about yours?

   Sweet Lynda continues to talk about waffles in the road, about red pancakes and a long snake across the landscape (read pipeline) and such stuff. She is trying to teach me all the important issues of life that I missed back in that one room Fox school up in the Thumb. With this dear lady's help my education is expanding at a rapid pace. Oh, the joy.

   Speaking of joy, we stopped by there yesterday too. Joy, Alaska that is. A young couple began homesteading up here in the early seventies, raised a large family and made a go of it all. They have a little store there now. Tour buses and tourists like us stop by. Fourteen year old, home-schooled  daughter, Molly, was in charge yesterday. Deluxe outhouses were just down the path. Nearly all the small group that stopped by used the facilities. We did too. Hey, what does a person do 70 miles from nowhere? For me, shades of growing up on the farm north of Decker. Lynda suggested I title this blog, "Joy in the Morning."

  But to digress a bit, we hustled out of Whitehorse, Yukon  last Monday morning, June 1st, after catching the Follies the night before. They were entertaining but hardly worth $24 per. We did however, get to hear a rendition of , "The cremation of Sam McGee." Heading north up the Klondike Highway, we stopped by "the marge of Lake Lebarge" to see where all this Sam McGee story took place. You say you've not read this? Pull that Robert Service poem off your computer and enjoy. We may try to stay at the campground there for a night on the way out of this territory in a few weeks. In the brief time we were there, Lynda decided it was definitely a place of peace, quiet , and serenity.  Not bad, huh? 

   Part way to Dawson City we stopped for an omelet at Braeburn Lodge. Remember that young squirt at the Canadian border who had a personality like a "decaying cypress stump?" I believe we met his dad at Braeburn. Only this old bird had no personality at all. Perhaps the cold north has caught up with him. The good news is that he is the exception to nearly all the people we have met on this voyage. We dry camped for a couple of days at the Klondike River Provincial Park just outside Dawson. Drove to the top of Midnight Dome mountain to look down on the city. Wow, what a view! Downtown it's dirt streets and old, historic and dilapidated buildings took us back about a century. Had a omelet in a nice hotel dining room. Bought a few things at the gift shop. Checked out the grocery and hardware stores as well as a dress shop. Then on up to 8th street to take a look at the old cabin of "The Bard of the Yukon", Robert Service. Lynda took a photo of me sitting in the old wicker chair in the front yard. I'm still working on memorizing "Sam McGee." It was over to First street for ice cream before heading back to the park and a nice evening camp fire. The ice cream store owner, from Toronto, had just bought the place. His daughter was helping him run the it. Nice folks.

   Early Wednesday morning we ferried the rig across the mighty Yukon river and headed up over the Top-of-the-World highway. I've looked at that little line on the map for well over twenty years but last week I got to experience it. A little scary in spots but everybody should try it at least once. Forty miles later we crossed the border into ALASKA. YES!!!  Finally made it. Sweet Lynda was unimpressed with the condition of the road, especially in the U.S.  Dirt...& not very wide, and of course, guard rails are yet to be invented. Had a cup of coffee at Boundry with the owner and his kids, then on to Chicken. The guy in Boundry was still selling last year's gas. Didn't buy any. Had lunch in Chicken (not much there), and headed on down the frost-heaved and dippy Taylor highway through burned out forest fire areas. 

   Got back on the Alaska highway, which we had left at Whitehorse, and drove a few miles west into Tok. Our packet of mail was there and another came on Thursday. Tok has no local government, no laws and no taxes. Sounds like Paradise, doesn't it? Betty, the very delightful and knowledgeable senior citizen and "executive operator" of the visitor's center there drives a sharp looking 1951 Mercury. Local personality, Dave Stancliff gave a mini concert at the RV park each evening. He sang songs like, "If you can't take a joke, don't come to Tok" and "It's a Moose" along with a few "tear jerkers." Jerry and Everett, you would love his gospel CD. We also heard 'Sam McGee' again.

   Stopped for an omelet at the Buffalo Diner at Delta Junction on our way to Fairbanks last Friday. The place is owned by a very personable Ann Richards and her husband. We are at Riverview RV park near North Pole. We have checked out the Santa Claus house, the visitors center and Harley's Diner here. Exciting stuff. In Fairbanks it was the Yarn Shoppe, Sam's club and Walmart. Even more exciting. At church on Sunday we connected up with Roger and Velma who invited us to there home for dinner. What a a delightful and energetic couple. New friends. Some other ironic and interesting things took place there which we might share later. We'll see.

   Actually, our excursion of yesterday took us, only with the car, over 200 miles away up the Elliott highway, paved, (where we encountered Joy) to the Dalton highway, mostly gravel, and up to the Arctic Circle. The Dalton is known as  the 'Haul' road. It more or less follows the Alyeska Pipeline , Trans America Pipeline all the way to Prudhoe Bay at the Arctic Ocean. We were about 300 miles shy of that. Bought that high priced gas at the Yukon river crossing outpost. The pipeline was close by and visible on much of the run. A very interesting and enjoyable time. We're catching up on odds and ends today. A little more sight-seeing tomorrow and a trip into Denali  National Park on Friday. After that, who knows.

   Oldest son, Evans and wife, Teresa, along with 3 year old, Jasmine are in Kazakhstan for the purpose of adopting a little girl. Will be there for a few weeks. Keep them in your prayers up through July.

   From the pen of Will Rogers:   "There is no trick being a humorist when you have the whole
                                                             government working for you."

   To whomever is reading this, our love and blessings to you all. Keep on the sunny side.

On the road...with Winston & Lynda 




ar said...

Thanks again for sharing.
Your trip continues to be very interesting, and I am truly enjoying it, via your blog.

Continue safe and well, thanks for the blessings, and I wish the same to both of you.

~ar in so. Cal.

Michelle W. said...

"You have arrived" - to quote my GPS. I know, it's not as inspiring as Winston's fancy quotes, but it does kind of say it all at this point, doesn't it?

Thanks for sharing.

Thanks too for the cliff hanger. We'll all be reading to see what ironic events occurred in Fairbanks at Roger and Velma's place and also for an update on Evans and Teresa's progress in Kazakhstan.

Blessings back at you! Love,