Jul 1st

        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.
 

Jul 2nd

        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.
 

Jul 3rd

        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.
 

Jul 4th

        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.
 

Jul 5th

        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.

Pictures