|After dinner last night we decided to watch a DVD. Since the DVD player and TV have never been used since we bought the rig, we had to get out the instruction manuals to figure out how to set the units up. A half our later, we watched the first two episodes of season one of Northern Exposure. The microwave oven was also used for the first time to make a bag of popcorn.
Our route today: Alaska Highway - Mile marker 1168 to Mile marker 1314, then South on Alaska 1 Tok Cutoff to Mile marker 88 of Alaska 4 Richardson Highway
Today, the early morning silence was again broken by the sound of firing up the diesel while everyone else was still asleep. After a quick stop at the dump station, we roared out of Beaver Creek long before anyone could compare notes and figure out who messed up the parking.
Driving the short distance to the Canada / US border went quickly. The last few miles before the border were full of holes, loose gravel, washouts, and long stretches of severe washboard. At Historic Milepost 1221 just before the customs station there is a rest area with a “Welcome to Alaska” sign where we stopped a took some photos of ourselves.
Proceeding on to the customs station, the US customs agents asked where we had come from, where home was, if we owned our vehicles, if we had purchased any citrus fruit while in Canada, and waved us through. After the customs station, the roads were in good condition. There was intermittent road construction between the US border and Tok. One short stretch at about Mile marker 1267 required that we follow a pilot car thru.
Everything seemed familiar again once in Alaska. Signs were in miles/hour, volumes were in gallons, and prices were in US dollars. I could tell that the phenomenon would be broken!
Arriving in Tok we parked at the Chamber of Commerce / Visitor Information building and made some phone calls home. Seems everyone is having a good time reading the drivel I write in the journal! Cheryl came back from Visitor Information with a huge pile of visitor information!
Just across the street from the Visitor Information building was the “Three Bears Alaska” grocery store. We bought some fresh fruit, meat, bottled water, and Johnsonville brats. Prices are about double of what we pay at home.
Just south of Tok while parked at a roadside pullout, I dragged out the little Honda generator and connected it to the trailer. We used the microwave to heat up some leftovers for lunch. The 600 watt generator was just enough to power the microwave and get the job done.
There are several forest fires burning and views of the scenery and mountains are partially obscured by a fairly thick layer of smoky haze. We can also smell wood smoke at times depending on wind direction and topography.
We found a large paved pullout about 88 miles north of Valdez that overlooks Willow Lake and decided that it would be a good spot to boondock overnight.
Wildlife sighting count today: 4 swans, 3 moose, the ever present ravens, and a small red squirrel.
Weather at start: 45° F – clear and sunny
Miles start / stop / total today / total trip 9,479 / 9,756 / 277 / 3,457
Altitude 1,471 ft.
End location for the day: Roadside turnout along the Richardson Highway (Alaska 4) Overlooking Willow Lake about 88 miles north of Valdez
(61° 46’ 42’’ N, 145° 10’ 49’’ W)
Weather at stop: 72° F – partly cloudy with moderate wind