Here we are...two weeks from leaving! The camper is on the pick-up, much of our extra supplies stashed, BUT as we began loading the camper we discovered the back jacks did not work with the controls, so we had to manually use the provided hand cranks to raise it enough to back the p/u under... AND, after having the refrigerator malfunction fixed that wouldn't let it run on propane last summer we have discovered that...it's not fixed...SO, the whole thing goes into the 'fix-it' people on the 29th and 30th. Also, we have had new brakes, rotors and shocks installed on the Dodge ...and, of course, the wheels aligned. If all goes well, our friends will be here on the 5th of June and we will leave on the morning of the 6th.
One of the high-lights of the Alaska Highway is staying at Liard (Lee-ard) Hot Springs in northern BC, about 3 1/2 days from Whitefish, MT. There is a provincial park...no hook-ups, but has water available, clean outhouses, and firewood (for a price)...very beautiful shaded sites...and only 1/4 mile on a well-maintained boardwalk to the hot springs through a wetlands environment, supporting more than 250 boreal forest plants, sometimes frequented by bear and moose. There are 2 hot spring pools with water temperatures ranging from 108 degrees to 126 degrees F. The first...Alpha pool...is very clean with gravel bottom and steps into the water....about three feet deep. The Beta pool, a little further on, has a dirt bottom and is deeper. Both have changing rooms available. Most likely, we will stay a couple nights here and venture to the pools numerous times as we have previously done.
Plans for now are to go to Dawson City before crossing into Alaska, but we will have to check on the weather first. The reason for this is, if we don't backtrack, we will cross the Yukon on a ferry (free!) and take Top of the World Highway~which is very slick if it's raining. Not a fun time then! This highway connects with the Taylor Highway that runs by historic Chicken (yes, Chicken, AK, home of the famous school teacher, Tisha) and gets a person back to the Alaska Highway at Tetlin Jct., a few miles east of Tok, AK.
We have made reservations for the Wonder Lake shuttle bus into Denali National Park for the 19th, an 11 hour ride, sometimes not too comfortable, but, OH what sights to be seen in God's awesome creation... land/mountain and wildlife! Even with the abundance of mosquitoes, it is worth it to see this part of Alaska...sights that will never grow old.
Another exciting thing about the north is the LIGHT! One can read without a light at 2am during middle May to middle July...and, during this time, some people don't require as much sleep.
One major drawback of our venture...the fuel prices. Not a pleasant thing to think about. Once we are in Alaska we won't have to stay in campgrounds most of the time as we have our land...and also, relatives and friends who let us hook up to their water/electricity, so that will save us about $20-$25 or more per night. Eventually, we may have a vehicle stationed in AK, thereby letting us fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks, BUT THE BIG DRAWBACK of that is not seeing the country while driving. Even the thought, "when you've seen one tree, you've seen them all" has been spoken aloud, the miles are still ever-changing and an adventure every time.