Thursday, August 9, 2012

From Chicken to Dawson City

For those that haven't studied the Alaska/Yukon map need to know that the direct route from Chicken, Alaska to Dawson City, Yukon is the famous Top of the World Highway.   The GPS will tell you that the mileage is only about 110 but that doesn't take into account the vertical motion that is added on. That up and down vibration of traveling across the miles of dirt and gravel with a number of pot holes and washboard sections to traverse....   The views are spectacular if you like driving across the tops of mountains above the tree line and being able to see forever.

But first there was the trip to Chicken.  The drive up from the turn off near Tok was beautiful in its own right.   We passed a bunch of Class A's coming down that were part of a caravan....we never did find out if they had actually driven over the highway or just taken the side trip up and back.

The drive up took us through an area that had been hard hit by forest fires in the past.   You may also notice that we were enjoying some sunshine amidst the partially cloudy.  Actually as we got out of our rigs to walk over to the office to register in the campground in Chicken we walked through small pea sized hail which was quickly followed up by some sunshine....Alaska weather.....

I had to promise Herschel that the chicken was not going to drop any eggs on him.

Another sculpture out in front of the campground store.

Sprinter/Sharon pulled into the lot after not to long after we had gotten settled. She was kind enough to join the dogs and I on our evening "I've been in the rig all day" walk.   She invited Nan and I to join her over at the chicken cafe for breakfast of blueberry pancakes.....One serving fed three of us with plenty left over.  And there was no doubt that the blueberries were all the real deal.    

Before Nan and I got on the road to head over the mountain the lady that was work camping and helping Susan (the cafe and saloon and gift shop owner) suggested that we might enjoy peeking our heads into the now deserted saloon.   Nan got a picture so you might see one on her blog. The ceiling was completely covered with hats and caps....and well if you looked a little closer you spotted in between the caps what looked like shredded rags.  The lady asked if we had heard a loud boom last night around midnight. It was the small cannon that she showed us sitting next to the door.  The evening patrons of the bar talk the young ladies into giving up their bras and panties and those that do can watch their delicates be shot out of the cannon and the shreds hailed up in the rafters or on the walls.   

After our breakfast and brief tour of the shops Nan and I headed out on the road towards the border and the Top of the World.   Church's camping guide recommended that it best be undertaken in dry weather and luckily that is what we had.  The book also mentions to be careful of the soft shoulders and areas that are very narrow.  We learned before we even headed out that a large Class A had rolled over the side of the road just the day before due to the side of the road giving way.   Well fortified with blueberry pancakes as our last meal, we headed off. 

Before we hit the Canadian border while still on the rougher dirt road section I see a pick up truck pass me with a "wide load" sign.   Hey, not really I good idea on this road fellas! About a mile farther down the road I see what looks like a huge truck.  I slow down and notice that that there seems to actually be an extra foot of room on my right so I stop and watch as Nan and the truck do a slow dance head of me while Nan inches by the truck.  The truck proceeds and is able to pass me at this particular spot in the road.  He was towing the beat and bashed Class A out.   A few miles farther down the road we also passed the tow truck that was trying to load the busted up Toad on a flat tow trailer.  And yes you could see the soft shoulder of the road and a missing hunk.  Herschel was not able to get a picture of that and I was busy trying not to hit anything....

Later in Haines, Nan and I would meet a couple that had been up on the road behind the RV.  They also got to spend the night on the mountain as the road was impassable at that time.... watching the tow trucks break their cable and chains hauling the rig back up onto the road. They said it took multiple trucks to haul the rig up.  We were told that some trees were all that stopped the rig from going completely down the hill side and as it was it went down over 100 feet.    The elderly couple were not seriously injured but did have trouble getting out because the escape hatches were 8 ft above their heads.   

But our adventure over the mountain was not nearly as hairy.   Just beautiful scenery.  Nan heading down the road.

The old cabin that is about all there is left in Boundary.

Bye Alaska, at least for a little while.

So we drove slowly and made it over the top of the world and back to civilization.....and the ferry that takes you across the river to Dawson City.


When we hit Dawson City we opted to stay in the campground right in town and really enjoyed being able to walk to everything.  Stuart got to be "town dog" and take walks around the town exploring but those pictures will need to wait for another day.

Nan bought her "I survived the Top of the World Highway" back when we were in chicken.  She had confidence in our abilities before we even began.  We did check to see if the lids had rattled loose on any of our jars afterwards...just in case.


  1. Loved the chickens especially with Herschal sitting under one of them. Glad you made it across the Top of the World okay!

  2. You two were very brave to do that after what had just happened to the Class A and toad. Glad no one was hurt in that accident. I too remember the beautiful views.