Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 14: Welcome Home: Alaska Hwy part 3; Yukon part 2

From: Whitehorse, Yukon
To: Tok, AK

We left Whitehorse around 10:30am this morning. Nathan drove the first leg. We filled up with gas on the outside of town and hit the road. The road traveled almost directly west until we crossed into the Yukon where the road changes from route 97 to route 1. Further west we ran into the edge of Kluane National Park. Never heard of it? Neither had we. But this was possibly the coolest place we passed by in over five thousand miles.

Kluane Lake is huge and, snowcapped mountains in every direction surround it. The road took us between the foot of mountains and the edge of the lakeside. Breathtaking views caught our eyes every which-a-way we looked. Hannah-banana recently asked us what our favorite part of the trip has been. Kluane National Park may be our answer.

Further down the road we stopped for gas in a little town thingy called Destruction Bay. Strange name. Come to find out it is so named because the high winds actually destroyed the first colony that came to live there. Destruction Bay sat up against Kluane Lake and was a beautiful spit on the map of nowhere.
At the lake, the road turns definitively northwest. There were no towns for quite some time. However, the scenery this day was the mostest bestest of any single day. We took more pictures today than any other of the gorgeous mountain views and lookouts. The snow peppered the trees and capped the mountains making the scenery more majestic and enchanting. Heather is now ready for Christmas.

Just before the USA border there are a few stops, gas stations and houses that are called Beaver Creek, Yukon. Our original plan was to make it to Beaver Creek and stay a night. We’re glad we didn’t. We stopped to use the bathroom (in Canadian it’s called a washroom) and continued the final leg toward the boarder. From here the road quality declined considerably. I suppose this is because the only thing it goes to is the USA, and they don’t deem it worthy to keep up this road. There was also quite a bit of snow covering the road, but thinly enough so that we could proceed at about 50mph (in Canadian its 80 kph). There were ruts, huge bumps, dips and divots. It was basically one notch above 4-wheel off-roading.
Finally, we made it to US Customs and crossed into our homeland (the mother-country). The customs agent made us feel good by simply saying, “Welcome home.” The roads after that, though still snowy were infinitely in better condition. (Silly Canadians and their bad roads.) It did feel like home being back in the states.

When we crossed the border into Canada, it was a whole rigamorow. We had to dig out the gun case from the back, fill out forms, get a gun license, pay a fee, and even temporarily quarantine the dogs. We’d also always heard that the hard part is getting back into the US. But, not so. Today, the agent simply asked us a few questions and sent us on our merry way. He inquired about firearms, and we said, yes, we had some. But he had no interest in seeing them. We mentioned the dogs and that we had the paperwork to show him. “Nah, you’re good,” he basically replied. When we said we were from Asheville, NC, another agent came to the window and was like, “Hey, I’ve got a son in Asheville. Billy Joe Jenkins, do you know him?” Really? How are we supposed to know one guy in all of Asheville? Anyway, all this is to say that crossing the border back into the US was easy as pie. (Mmmm.....I could go for some pie right about now...)

Ninety miles later we entered Tok, AK (pronounced ‘toke’) and found a cheap little hotel for the night. We ate at one of the two restaurants in town for dinner. For breakfast, we’ll probably eat at the other. Good night.


Anonymous said...

Welcome home! Love ya,
Momma T

Alle Photography said...

Gorgeous photos! Bet it feels good to finally get there!

Audrey said...

More great pictures! Glad you made it back "home" safe.

Erin Miller said...

Billy Joe Jenkins! His dad probably called him that night and asked him if he knew you two. Can't believe you are almost there.

Vicki Hesse said...

Of course, Billy Joe Jenkins! That's Evelyn Crowe's nephew...