This morning it felt nice to walk a few blocks over for breakfast, so we loaded up the van, both luggage and cats, and then headed over to Tim Horton’s. For a little while, it felt as if we were on a vacation instead of a massive road trip with a time frame. The gas attendant who told me about this chain wasn’t too far off of the mark. Once in line an older gentleman came up to hubby and just started talking. I figured him for a local character striking up conversations with the tourists, but I never figured him for THE local character. You see, the gentleman talking to us was Tim Horton of the Tim Horton’s chain. You would have never guess by looking at him or chatting with him. He is a real down to earth kind of guy. Both the food and coffee were excellent.
Out of six days of straight driving, we were blessed with the worst roads to date. The best roads were just after the Klondike Highway broke off from the Alaskan Highway, for a while we had fresh blacktop. I told my husband that we must have taken the wrong road! We definitely enjoyed the nice road while we had the chance, because the road soon went from good to bad to worse to are you kidding me?!? At one point it felt like we were driving a rollercoaster. The road went up, and then down, then tilted left, then right, then just when you were finding a routine, it through in potholes and huge dips. At one point, my seatbelt was all that kept me from hitting my head on the ceiling of the van. No, we were not speeding. In fact, we said good-bye to any speed at all yesterday; we just did not realize it. The speed limit (maximum) out of Whitehorse is 90, which equates to about 55mph. For the most part we were going between 50 and 70kph.
The highlight for my eldest and I was the cougar that we saw and the truck did not. For those that forgot, my husband and youngest have been in the truck driving lead for the majority of the trip, while #1 Son and I have been following in my van. Half of the time the truck gets to sees animals that we miss. So it was nice to see an animal for a change and for it to be a cougar was a bonus. He was coming out of the forest to cross the road to get to the lake. As he approached the road, trotting, he glanced at us and gave us a look that simply dared us not to stop for him to cross. Of course I had to stop; I wanted a chance to really look at him. So as I practically came to a stop for him, he trotted across and then ran off towards the lake. The only regret was that the camera was down and this all happened so fast that neither #1 nor I even thought to grab the camera.
Besides saying good-bye to higher speeds (as if 60 mph is a high speed), we also said good-bye to the forests that we were used to. You can tell that you are at higher latitude when the evergreens start thinning out and you are higher to the summits of the mountains around you. Outside of Haines Junction we were greeted to the awesome sights of majestic, yet cold, looking high mountains in front of us. Basically, you head due west until you reach them, then you have a choice; South to Juneau or North to Tok, Alaska. As they say up here, Alaska is split in half by Canada. I know, you are looking at a map and it is clear that Canada is East of Alaska. But if you want to drive from Juneau to Anchorage, you have to drive through Canada first.
North of Haines Junction you start heading into the Boreal Forest. It feels as if you are driving on an alien planet, the trees look so different. Not only do they resemble scrawny evergreens, but they are also stunted. The reason for this has to do with the permafrost this far north. Regardless of the reason for them, combined with the lakes the scenery is simply breathtaking.
We finally passed back into Alaska, and one more time zone. The border crossing was just as easy as before, in fact this agent didn’t even seem concerned about half the paperwork I gave him. He cracked jokes with the boys and asked the routine questions. The only drawback was the length, but it still went faster than customs at the airports go.
Alaska so far is gorgeous. I know, I have only driven an hour into the state so far. We are staying at the Caribou Cabins B&B in Tok, Alaska. There really isn’t much to this town except for hotels and RV parks. I think the purpose to the town is to serve as a junction for Fairbanks and Anchorage. If you are ever here, I recommend both the Cabins, they are great, and Fast Eddies to eat at. I learned at an early age, if you are new in town ask a local where they recommend eating. Most of the time, you can’t go wrong. So, like last night, I asked the owner (a father of two young girls) and this is where he steered us. We knew we were in for a treat when we pulled up and the parking lot was full and the restaurant was busy. The food is top-notch and well-priced. My only regret is that we are only staying one night in this little town.
Tomorrow we arrive in Anchorage and start our next adventure . . . looking for our new home.