Carson's Alaska Newsletter #11
|Location: Tok, Alaska||Date: June 18-19,2003|
On the Road with Fred and Barb - Newsletter #11
June 18-19,2003 Destruction Bay, Yukon to Tok, Alaska
June 18 DESTRUCTION BAY to BEAVER CREEK
This was our first really bad road. Lots of gravel sections, frost heaves and dips, and washboard. Plus it was raining so the gravel sections were muddy. You can't even tell the color of the RV or car anymore. We got a rock chip on the passenger side of the RV front window slung by a 5th wheel going much too fast in the opposite direction. Will try to get it plugged in Tok tomorrow.
There were several "burl" shops along the route where the artists shape bowls out of wood burls. The owners of these shops were real characters. Talked to one woman about our age who came over from Germany 7 years ago. She lives with her husband in a wood shack that has no running water or indoor plumbing. She lives in this wilderness area all year long and says she loves the solitude. There are no stores nearby - it's a 3 hour drive to Whitehorse. She had to have surgery last year and must drive to Whitehorse then fly to Vancouver to get medical attention. Not for me! Fortunately all her medical expenses, including the flights, are covered by the government. True for everyone in Yukon.
Then there was the owner and carver of another shop down the road named Scully. It just so happened that the day we stopped in was his 80th birthday. Inside his shop they had birthday cake, cheese, moose sausage (delicious) and crackers for all his visitors. The simple life must have something going for it because he didn't look or act a day over 65. And what a jokster. He's got all kinds of witty sayings posted on the walls, inside and out, that he's collected over the years. I bought one of his books of sayings and of course he had to autograph it for me!
We stopped for lunch at a rest area by Pickhandle Lake. Saw a golden eagle eating some prey, a loon on the lake and a muskrat diving for fish. Nice stop.
This evening we're camped at Westmark RV Park which is really nice. Not only does it have a modem hookup but they also have a computer set up in the laundry room for guests to use for free. Next door at the Westmark Lodge, they have a dinner show each night that turned out to be fabulous. All the Holland America tour buses stop there overnight so they were also in attendance. Dinner was bbq beef bones, grilled salmon, teriyaki chicken, salad, veg., baked potato and desert. Really good. And the two lead singers/dancers in the show were great. Amazed to find professional caliber talent in the middle of nowhere. They did one funny routine about potholes that everyone in the audience could relate to.
June 19 BEAVER CREEK, YUKON to TOK, ALASKA
We crossed over the border into Alaska today. US customs asked a lot of questions and wanted to make sure we had no Canadian beef. We thought yesterday's road was bad but today was worse. It took us 3.5 hours to go 109 miles. It was almost funny watching everyone pull into the RV park as covered with mud as we were. The campground had an RV and car wash on site and there was a line around the block waiting for a turn. We decided to just wash the car so I could see to drive to the grocery store and post office! Figured tomorrow's drive would just get it dirty again. Got a load of mail forwarded by Escapees mail service for the first time this trip so spent the afternoon going through it and paying bills. In the evening, a local man came to the rec center and put on a free mini concert. He played the guitar and banjo and sang some of his own compositions about life in Alaska. He came to Tok in 1972 from Vermont and never left. Starting to get a feel for why people like it here. He told us there is absolutely no government of any kind in Tok. No mayor, no city council, nothing. There are no lawyers, no police. You settle any disagreements between yourselves. Also no taxes. We enjoyed his singing so much we bought his CD. The other reason we bought the CD was because he said he included his secrets of fishing in Alaska - where to go, what to use, etc. Naturally Fred wanted it even more!
Barb and Fred