OK, we chickened
out on going to Chicken. The smoke this morning was worse than the
day before. After giving it some thought we decided that going into
a fire area in a vehicle with a canvas top and plastic windows was
not a bright idea. Now what to do? First thing – get breakfast.
We hurried down to Fast Eddy’s before 11AM so we could get some
omelets. The meals were so large we both brought half of our meals
back to the camper. We then hit a gift shop we had been to last
time around to pick up a few items we decided we should have bought
before. From there we checked out the latest fire information at
the post office before returning to the campground to tell the owner
we would not be needing the ice. Since we had not stopped in Delta
Junction to take pictures the day before we decided to go back
and correct that. It was only 109 miles back so off we went. The
road back was smooth with only about a dozen gravel patches and
one section of one lane road due to construction. The smoke was
with us all the way. There were several places that were signed
as being good places to take pictures – but not today. You could
not see any further than the trees next to the road so if there
was something out there you sure could not take a picture of it.
We took a few pictures in Delta Junction and got gas before turning
around for the trip back to the camper. A couple of years back Alaska
raised the speed limit on most of their roads to 65 so we really
booked down the road. Still it took quite a while to make the trip
back. We felt obligated to go to the bar and explain to the locals.
They were there on their usual stools. Keith and Sue as well as
the owners Don and Barb. The local poet showed up a little later
as did a bus load of german tourists and their driver, Walter. We
had several beers and shared stories from our travels. Sue seemed
quite the world traveler and could name bars in almost any place
you could mention. Keith fought fires and the poet fixed windshields.
Don was the local information source for anything about fires while
Barb just seemed to keep the whole place all together. A nice group
of people and I highly recommend the Tundra RV Park and its lounge.
There are 12 stools. Sit on one of the left four or the right four
– the four in the middle seem to have names on them. After we left
I updated web pages for JoJo’s volleyball teams and we turned in.
Tomorrow we move – again.
By about 10AM
we were ready to hit the road. The smoke was a little lighter and
easier to breath. We got fuel at Three Bears and turned south toward
the Canadian border. About 12 miles out of town we passed the road
to Chicken. It was marked with a cardboard sign indicating ‘Road
Open’ but there were fire people everywhere. We decided we had made
the correct decision in not going. The road to the border was terrible
– some of the worst we encountered in Alaska. It seemed odd that
since all tourists driving to Alaska have to enter by this road
or the one from Chicken that these two roads would be the worst
Alaska has. Every tourist’s first and last impression of Alaska
is that they have terrible roads. The border came up about 90 miles
down the road. The US customs had their office there but the Canadian
customs office was about 20km further into Canada. We passed through
customs easily and continued on to Kluane. The campground was just
a flat spot with posts holding 15amp outlets and water spigots.
The guy at check-in thought is was odd we wanted to stay for two
nights and that I wanted to pay for both of them ahead of time.
He said ‘There is nothing to do here’ – quite the salesman. The
campground did not assign sites so we just picked one and pulled
in. There was a Good Sam tour group checking in and campers were
everywhere. After we got settled in we got hooked on a movie on
one of the three channels we could get on the campgrounds cable
TV. Afterwards we walked across the road to the restaurant/saloon
combination where we had a good supper. The saloon looked interesting
but we decide that we would check it out the next day. We spent
the evening watching movies and even a little Deep Space 9. The
air was clear of smoke and it felt good to have the windows open
again. The sky was blue and you could take a breath without smelling
smoke – how nice.
Like the man
said “There is nothing to do here”. The place cleared out early.
By the time we were ready to face the day we were basically the
only camper in the place. We took this day to clean the camper and
do misc. chores in and around the rig. The camper even got washed.
That is the second time on this trip. I have seen people wash their
camper twice in a two day campground stay. I am not that crazy.
I worked on preparing pictures for the website while Rita finished
the cleaning. When everything was cleaned within an inch of it’s
life (the only way Rita knows how to clean) we walked over to Scully’s
Burl World. The guy that started Kluane Village is called Scully.
He has the service station, motel, cabins, campgrounds, restaurant,
saloon and this burl place. He makes all kinds of bowls and various
other items using the burls from the local trees. We purchased a
bowl before leaving. After taking the bowl to the camper we crossed
the road to the saloon. Burl wood was everywhere. It actually looked
quite nice. We chatted with the bartender while we had a couple
of Bud Lites. He explained that all the electricity in Kluane Village
came from a generator in the service station. A 100kva unit backed
up by a 60kva unit. They have to keep an eye on it 24hrs a day during
the winter as a power outage of about an hour on a cold winter night
would freeze the pipes in all the building and much longer would
kill the sleeping residents. We returned to the camper for supper,
some TV and a couple more beers. Tomorrow we cross back into Alaska
and move to Haines.
The road going
south from Kluane Village was not the best. Lots of gravel, twists
and winds. One hundred miles down the road we got to Haines Junction
and turned toward Haines. From here the road got better and the
scenery was excellent. There were still some twists and winds but
the road was in good condition. The customs people gave us no trouble
and we got back into the US with no problem. The various instructions
we had for getting to the next campground conflicted with each other
so we decided we would have to read the signs when we got close
– assuming there would be some. There were no signs until we got
to the driveway but an RV park is hard to hide so we had slowed
down and were ready to turn in. Check in was fast and easy. We pulled
into the site without having to unhook the Jeep and got settled.
Later I unhooked the Jeep and moved it along side the camper. I
went back to the office to talk with them about their wireless internet
and a Juneau boat tour. After signing up for both I returned to
the camper and signed on to the internet. Internet in the camper
- it does not get any better! A little later we headed downtown
to find supper. Being the Fourth of July and a Sunday to boot, many
of the places were closed. We ended up at the Bamboo Room. The place
was busy but the food was good. From there we toured the town. Not
much to look at. The price of fuel was about 25 percent higher than
in the last town. I guess they figure they have you cornered. There
is only one road leading to this town. All the other roads going
out of town lead to dead ends. Your only other choice is to get
on the boat which is what we plan to do on Wednesday. After returning
to the camper I worked on our website and watched some TV. The cable
had 34 channels so the variety was good. Tomorrow we check out the
boarding process for the trip to Juneau on Tuesday and the ferry
to Skagway on Wednesday. I will likely do a little more surfing.
Hurray!! – it got dark last night! The mountains must be arranged just right. The town did the fireworks thing and it was very noisy. We spent the night in the camper watching TV – not big into fireworks. The morning was like any other. We left the camper with a couple of projects in mind. We wanted to be more familiar with the ferry process and find out where to park for the trip to Juneau. Lunch was found at Grizzy Greg’s. We had pizza and it was very good. We managed to get our reservations changed at the ferry terminal ($10 fee for changes) so that we could leave at 11:15AM rather than the 8:15PM we had previously been assigned. The rest of the day was spent shopping the various souvenir shops in the city of Haines. Not to say there was a lot of them – this is not much of a town. We visited the Fog Cutter – one of the local bars. A nice place with cold beer. The rest of the night was spent working on web pages and watching a bit of TV. When you have internet access you have to make use of it. Tomorrow we go to Juneau.