Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 28, 2010

When we woke up this morning at 8:00 it was 33.6 degrees. We decided to stay another day in this pretty place and move to town. First we went to the municipal dump site to dump our tanks. What looks in the picture like a pretty pond is actually sewage from the trailer dump. We moved to an RV park on the lake and we got the site the owner calls "The Penthouse". This site is on a small spit into the lake. It has it's own little deck on the lake with a picnic table and umbrella. We have water and electric, and wi-fi. We saw a porcupine at camp. After setting up we drove to the old settlers cemetery. Most of the graves date from 1900-1915. It was interesting how some of the people died. Some of the headstones said, "found dead on the trail", "shot mistaken for a bear", "died of starvation", "found dead in the woods", "died in a mining accident", "killed in a railway accident", "died from an accidental gunshot wound", "drowned on Taku Arm". We went back to camp and had lunch then drove out to Pine Creek Falls and Surprise Lake, and then to Warm Bay to see Llewellyn Glacier, Palmer Lake, and Warm Springs. This spring is not hot, it is 85 degrees. Jim took a dip and said it wasn't warm so I didn't get in. The day started out clear but got totally cloudy by the afternoon.

August 27, 2010

We have spent 72 nights in Alaska! We got ready to leave and drove to town for gas. There were another three cruise ships there today. We stopped at a pull out to read the signs about the White Pass & Yukon Railroad and along came a train on the tracks across the gorge from us. We took a trip on the WP&YR narrow gauge train last time we were in Skagway. We crossed the William Moore Suspension bridge, went through the White Pass and left Alaska at 11:37 a.m. After going through Canadian customs, we drove along Tagish Lake and Windy Arm. This was a beautiful drive. The sun came out and stayed out all day. We made a stop at the town of Carcross, Yukon and it was as crowded as Skagway. There were 8 princess cruise line buses in town. We did not go back through Whitehorse but cut across to Tagish via the Tagish Road and then took the Atlin Road down to Atlin. This is a scenic little town at the end of a 58 mile dead end paved and dirt road. At the end is a very nice lake. We got a camp site at the city campground just outside of town. The payment for your site is on the honor system, and you can pay at any business in town. We drove into town and took pictures of the historic old buildings and a ship which has been in dry dock since 1937. Then went to the Atlin Inn which is being restored and had a beer.

August 26, 2010

The alarm was set for 5:30 but we woke up at 5. They started boarding the ferry for Skagway at 6:30 for the 7:15 departure. The ship was the M/V Mantanuska. It only took one hour to get to Skagway. When we left the weather was split pea soup fog. You couldn't see beyond the bow of the ship. Thank goodness it lifted some on the trip.

We drove to our camp at Dyea, this is in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. I fixed us a quick bite to eat and we went to the Ranger station at camp for maps and information. We drove to Slide Cemetery and the old Dyea Townsite. To get there we crossed the Taiya River bridge and saw rafters. The Dyea Townsite was started as a staging area for the "stampeders" starting their trip to the goldfields. There is only one remnant of the 1898 buildings -- they call it the "false front".

Jim found out Skagway has two brewpubs. The first one we stopped at was Gold Rush Restaurant and Brewery. Their beers weren't that great. We ordered a gold pan full of french fries. They did have free wi-fi. We continued into town and went to main street (there were three cruise ships in dock today) and looked around. This town is really just a tourist destination. Skagway gets 900,000 cruise ship visitors per year. These big cruise ships didn't stop at Haines. Haines wasn't crowded and Skagway was.

We stopped at the information center and the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park main office. We walked around and looked at some of the old buildings. One of them had thousands of pieces of driftwood attached to its facade. We then headed for Skagway Brewing. Jim got a t-shirt and I got a hat with a bottle opener built into the bill. The couple in Haines who had the Burro on the truck bed had a very neat coffee pot. Jim found one like it in Skagway at the hikers outfitter store. This coffee pot will be used when we don't have electricity instead of making instant. It is a drip camp coffee pot. Then we drove to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Reid Falls. Most of the people buried here died in 1898, the year of the gold rush. On the way back to camp we saw harbor seals in the Taiya River. We will only stay one day here and tomorrow we will start the turnaround trip home.

P.S. The sun came out around 2 pm and stayed out the rest of the day, the temperature was 64, on this our last full day in Alaska.

August 25, 2010

We saw the momma grizzly and two cubs today. There was another cruise ship in town - Holland America. It rained today, surprise, surprise, so we went to the library again. Afterward we hooked up the Casita around 3 pm and went to town and on the way we bought ferry tickets for Skagway for tomorrow morning at 7:15 am. The ticket agent asked us if we wanted to stay in the lot in lane 11, he said to come back after the 8:30 PM ferry left. We dumped and took on fresh water while in town because it was free and there wasn't going to be a free dump station in Skagway. We went to the Fog Cutter bar and had a beer and met some people from Wisconsin who were on the cruise ship. They said they would send us some New Glarus beer. We spent the night along with two other trailers in the ferry lane.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 24, 2010

We ate the last of the fresh blueberries this morning. We still have some in the freezer. On the way out of the state park campground we saw seven bald eagles. One of them had his head turned around 180 degrees looking behind him! The momma grizzly bear with the three cubs was in the river again. We took more pictures along with about 20 other people. The Silver Sea cruise ship named Silver Shadow was in port today. There were a lot of tour vans driving around town but it wasn't very crowded in town. Jim needed to pay a few bills that didn't get paid yesterday so we went back to the library. Afterward we drove out to Chilkat State Park and had a picnic lunch. From there you can see the Davidson and Rainbow glaciers. We also saw harbor seals.

We went back to Haines Brewing and had a couple of beers and talked to the brewer. He has a barley wine aging that he made in May and will start serving in September. He gave us some to sample. Then we went to the Fog Cutter bar in town with free wi-fi to update the blog for today (the library was charging $3.00/hr). I needed to go to the post office and after we left we saw a little trailer that was advertising fish and chips -- the name was Big Al's Salmon Shack. They also own the cannery in town so the fish was very fresh. The lady who did the cooking told us her little brother and her dad catch the fish. They had fish and chips for $8.00 (salmon) to $12.00 (halibut). One place in town was charging $24.00 for fish and chips! We had the combo - salmon and halibut. It was the best we have eaten so far, even better the the halibut capital - Homer. The SUN actually came out this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow will be sunny too! We had a fire at camp again

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 23, 2010

It was still raining when we got up this morning so we decided to do indoor stuff today. On the way to town we saw the momma grizzly and her two cubs. The momma was walking in the river and the two cubs were on shore wrestling. They are so cute. We went to the library and Jim updated the blog and I went to to the visitors center. Afterward we went to Mosey's Cantina and had Mexican food. It was the first Mexican food we have had in a very long time. When we were finished eating we were on our way to a museum and ran into a couple from San Francisco with a Burro. It was without wheels and mounted on the back of his truck. We talked to them for a while and then we all went to the museum. This museum only had hammers. Big hammers, little hammers, old hammers, doctor hammers (reflex), judges hammers (gavels), construction hammers, promotional hammers, welders hammers, railroad hammers, cobblers hammers, cattle stunning hammers. You get the picture, only hammers. The young girl working there was really into the hammers and she knew about each one of them. We had fun.

We left there and went to "Dalton City". This is the old movie set from the 1991 movie "White Fang". The buildings have shops the Haines Brewery is in one of them. Jim and I had a couple of beers and talked to a full time RV couple from Livingston, Texas. There is a walking tour of the old Fort William H. Seward but it was rainy so we toured it in the car. We needed to kill some time before we could go to the municipal swimming pool for showers (the time for showers was 5:30 - 7 pm) so we went to a bar and watched the Monday night football game until half time. We went for showers and then to the grocery store. When we drove back onto the campground road there was the other momma grizzly with her three cubs. Everyone was standing out taking pictures and the state park rangers were keeping order. We checked on the ferry to Skagway and the next daytime sailing is on Thursday morning at 7:15 am so we will probably be here until then. Maybe tomorrow it won't be raining.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 22, 2010

We both had blueberries in our cereal this morning. We drove to Haines Junction, Canada and took in some of the sights. We saw a sculpture of animals the locals call "the muffin". We visited another Catholic Church built from a Quonset hut. The inside was pretty. There was a street sign post that the person living on the corner made out of antlers. We continued on and made a stop at the last remaining Indian fishing village in this area. Klukshu Indian Village was a neat place. There were lots of little log houses and fish drying huts and caches. There were bright red salmon in the creek. Our next stop was at Million Dollar Falls. Driving down the road afterwards we saw two trumpeter swans. Then we saw two vehicles stopped on the roadside. There was a very large grizzly bear eating soap berries. He wasn't bothered by us and continued to eat. Then along came three massive motor homes pulling cars that made such a noise they scared him away. Later we saw a black bear walking in the road and when we approached he went into the woods. The weather has been cloudy all day. After arriving in Haines, Alaska we dumped, got water and gas, and proceeded to the Chilkoot Lake campground and got a site. On the way we saw a momma grizzly bear and two cubs in the stream harassing a fish and game man who was counting fish at a small dam. We lucked out again and got the last remaining waterfront pull through site on Chilkoot Lake. The camp host came by and told us we were very lucky, the lakefront site usually last only minutes once they are vacated. We chilled out the rest of the afternoon and will go into Haines tomorrow.