Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Chicken, Alaska

Pretty interesting welcome sign arrangement for a city wouldn't you say?...
Leaving Dawson City was an experience in itself.  The tour included a trip over the "Top of the World" Highway from here to Tok, Alaska, via an overnight stop in Chicken.  And to do this, a ittle Yukon River ferry must be used to cross the river.  The ferry barely held our coach & tow, and another coach & tow plus a car,
Can you see how cozy it was?  Below are some more of our RV'ers awaiting their turn to board the ferry.  It was a short five minute ride across the muddy Yukon, and with no real excitement.  Well, except for the on/off, where the support ferry staff made it clear that they wanted us to go SLOW on & off.
Here's how cozy it is.  Pretty tight, but acceptable, unless you go 712 miles back around route 2 to Valdez, which was our stop after Tok.  Below, wagon masters Ben & Nancy await their turn.  They went just ahead of us.  Miss Nancy is chatting with Ben, as he has made this crossing four times before.
From our coach wind shield, we approach the landing area, and here is the girl urging me to go SLOW.  It wasn't too bad at all.
Just after disembarking off the ferry, we drove past this golf course.  I didn't get the chance to play.  :-(  There were some beautiful panorama along the ToW highway, but I'm not sure why they refer to it as a highway.  It was dirt just about the whole way. 
The road actually wasn't too bad on the Canada side.  But oh the Alaska side left much to be desired.  We would NEVER take our rig or any rig over 25 feet over this stretch again.
Most of these pics were through the windshield, so I apologize for any "effects" you may see, including bug guts.
Above, a relic wayside supply station of a former transportation company.  Below, one of those rare paved (but still rough) sections on the Canadian side.
The ToW highway is only open about four months, give or take a week or two depending on the amount of snowfall, and as a result, very few man hours or resources are used in the maintenance.  I assume they put maintenance dollars roads more travelled. 
We happened to have another RV in our group stop be this info sign, so we reciprocated by snapping their picture as well.
Have I mentioned panorama yet?  Below is a pic just prior to the US/Canada border.
And here we are at the 58 mile mark toward Chicken, or about halfway from Dawson.
Just after crossing into Alaska, we saw these Caribou.  Nice!  And below is Big Daddy himself...
Feels pretty good to be back on home turf again...but not for long though, as we will leave it again, twice, before returning to lower 48 sometime in mid-September.
Above, the "rock pile" in the road that ate Curtis & Eva's trailer tire. 
I guess Alaska DOT is trying to make repairs, but in the meantime, the road really was bad.
Lucky for our caravan, we had some folks that pulled together the whole trip so far, to pitch in & help whenever there was a problem with our coaches.  Below, Chuck & Nick assist in remounting the spare onto Curtis' trailer.  Nice job guys...and oh, we had about six RV's there ready to pitch in.
Along the way, not too far from Chicken & Jack Wade Creek, we saw several folks "prospecting" the creeks.
Chicken Gold Camp RV Park, our home for the night.  Below, a chicken made out of scraped school lockers by the local high school welding class in the industrial arts classroom.   A teacher-friend of the owners had his class make it for the RV Park & to kick off a concert last year.
Below, the Fireweed wildflower that seems to grow everywhere.
We took the dredge tour and it was conducted by the owner, Mike.  He owns both the dredge & the RV Park.
Our folks seemed to enjoy the tour.
Above, Mike explains how the gold flake is captured from the giant trammel and sluices of the dredge processes.  Pretty amazing as to how something large can settle out such small flakes of gold in these contraptions below Mike's feet.
Pretty stuffy & confining in here.
Above & below, the trammel where all the dirt & gravel is fed from the buckets dropping their pond mud onto the trommel conveyer.
Below, in the pilot house.  It is amazing to learn that only three men ran this behemoth.
Above, the conveyer that receives the bucket loads of dirt from deep in the creek below, and then is shaken & turned in the trommel with tons of water.
After the dredge tour, it was time for the wagon master to feed us.  Hamburgers & hot dogs with all the trimmings plus salad & cole slaw.  Good time & great weather, topped off with Huckleberry cobbler a la mode served by the RV Park owner Mike & his wife, Lou.  Yummy!
Below, Steve and Gloria (if my memory is correct) from LA County.
After dinner, it was time to find some gold.  And gold we found...I even found a few flakes myself, and put it in my little vile for cashing in one of these days.

Well, that about wraps up our one-day/night stay at Chicken, Alaska, population, 39 in the summer and three, yes, three, in the winter.  Mike & Lou head for southern AZ for the winter, as do the other 34 natives.  Too funny, and Chicken IS on the map...
So, we head out for Valdez in the morning, which is where I am writing this blog.  Till then, Joe & Nancy, RVing Beach Bums.