Our route today days took us from Tok AK north to Chicken AK. We had pretty good internet in Tok, so we stayed late in the morning to complete our last two posts from Fairbanks. We departed Tok about 11am, by way of the Post Office and the Three Bears grocery, then drove about 80 miles north on the Taylor Highway to Chicken. We had pretty good weather and took bunches of photos along the way. Included were pictures of extensive fire damage seen along the way.
Rolling North From Tok on the Taylor Highway
Frost Heaves and Roller Coaster Road
Note Fire Damage in Foreground
We Pause to Catch Our Breath Near Chicken
We arrived in Chicken about 1pm and went with the group to lunch at a nearby café. Chicken is growing like a weed. It now has two campgrounds, a filling station, and a café, not all the same business. Kathy had a sort of a Ruben, made with a funky kind of bread. Keith was not feeling well, and confined his intake to hot soup Both were tasty, about 3-1/2 COWS.
Beautiful Downtown Chicken Alaska
Abandoned Gold Dredge in Chicken
The rest of the day we rested up for the journey over the Top-of-the-World highway to Dawson City. This is an unpaved road that travels about 100 miles through some rugged terrain, especially the first 40 miles from Chicken to the Canadian border. Keith traveled this piece of road in 2005, and swore “never again!”. Just one of many occasions when Keith has eaten his words. Keith doesn’t have a serious problem with the rough, dirty unpaved road, as much as with the narrow right of way. In many places the road is just not wide enough for two 102 inch vehicles to pass one another, and the shoulder drops off 1000 feet to the river valley. This is especially a problem at sharp bends, where you can’t see the oncoming traffic. There are numerous wide spaces, but they can be a mile or more apart, and we cannot reverse with the car attached. On our previous westbound trip, we met a lot of eastbound traffic, including large RV’s, and a Holland American tour bus. It was at that point that Keith said never again.
Later in the afternoon at Chicken, the tailgunner from our disbanded caravan pulled into the campground. He recommended that we depart at 6am the next morning. He noted that the US Customs station did not open until 8am, so there should be no westbound traffic between 6 and 8.
About midnight it began to rain.