Today is our last day in Canada, but we still have some miles to drive before arriving in Alaska. 149 miles to be exact. It is a rainy, cold day and the views are less than spectacular. But, we are excited to be getting close to our goal so it doesn't matter.
In the past we would see these roadhouses that were built to support the crews as they constructed the Alaska Highway. Some of these original buildings have been restored and are still operating even today. Others, sadly are still there but in ruins or barely recognizable. We haven't stopped at any of these places until today. I spot a small sign by the side of the road..."Fresh Cinnamon Buns Ahead". I am in the mood for a fresh cinnamon bun and another cup of coffee, so we pull into the roadhouse and park. We are the only ones there and we wonder of they are open. The lights are on, so we go on in. A lovely french lady greets us and asks how she can help us. I order a cinnamon bun and a cup of coffee. She asks if we want that to go and I ask if we can sit in the dining room.
"Of course", she replies. I make my coffee, which was free BTW, and we chose a table near the oil drum wood burner that is keeping the room nice and toasty. The bun is heavenly and the coffee reminds me of New Orleans french roast. The bun is almost like a croissant, very light and flaky. We've never had a bun like this and we make a point to return here on our way back out.
After finishing our treat, we head back out on to the road and soon find ourselves arriving at Beaver Creek, YT. This is the last town in Canada before crossing back into the USA. We have plenty of fuel and already ate, so we keep moving. You drive past the Canada Border Station right outside Beaver Creek but the US Border Station Alcan is another 20 miles or so.
The butterflies are starting up again. I remember when I would go back and forth to Canada and how rude the US Border guards were to American truck drivers returning to the USA. I never understood that. There is an RV in front of us and and we time how long it takes them to get through. 3 minutes. They leave and we pull up to the line and wait for the green light. I have our passports ready and hope that we don't have any issues. We get the green light and slowly approach the booth. The guard greets us and we return a friendly greeting as I hand over our passports. He asks us about when we entered Canada, if we have over $10,000 in cash, any weapons or anything else to declare. I reply with a date and a bunch of negative responses. He hands our passports back and say "Welcome back to the US, enjoy your visit to Alaska". Now, this border station is literally out in the boondocks. It isn't right at the edge of the earth, but you can see it from there. They are so remote here that they have government supplied housing for the workers and families. Must be rough. The nearest Walmart is in Fairbanks, 300 miles away.
We didn't stop for a picture at the welcome to Alaska sign because it is on the left side of the road and the entrance to the parking area looked dicey. We will stop on our way out.
We pass a speed limit sign, in mph, and I almost do the conversion until I realize that I am back in the good old USA where we don't have the metric system. Yay, no more math! So, our destination today is Tok, Alaska which is the first town of any subsequence. Our plan is to stop there and spend a couple of nights to rest up. After all, we've been at it nonstop for 11 days and 4445 miles!
The road goes from really, really bad to pretty good and back to bad several times. We keep the speed down in the bad sections. Don't want to break down out here. There are no businesses open until you get to Tok. There are remnants of places, but they are long since closed and falling down.
Not too long after arriving, we see a large cat run across the road just ahead of us. Sharon has her camera at the ready and gets a few shots. Now, when I say cat, I'm not talking about a house cat. This was either a Lynx or a Bobcat. Later on, I looked up the difference and the Lynx has a black tail while a Bobcat has a black tipped tail. Looking at the pictures closely, I can see a black tip. Bobcat!
Nothing much else to report on this section. Just bad roads and flat, wet land. I hope it gets better!
We arrive in Tok and look for an RV park where we can have electricity and showers. We look at several before deciding on Golden Bear Motel and RV Campground. There is one other RV in the campground, the motel looks about half full and there is a restaurant and gift shop. We go in and are greeted by an enthusiastic fellow who inquires as to our needs. We explain that we need an RV spot for 2 nights. He says that they are doing some work on the campground but says there are a few spots that he can rent. $15 a night for power and water. What a deal. So, that's $15 USD. See? No conversions. He also says the campground bathhouse is undergoing a renovation but they have setup a room in the motel for RV guests to shower in. Yeah, that sounds iffy. They do have a laundromat and thankfully, it is open so we set out to get our laundry done.
We park in one spot about two doors down from a truck camper. They give us the stink eye, or maybe they are jealous of our gorgeous Airstream. In any even, they finish filling their water tank and leave. We move down to the end of the row to a nice shady spot. The rain has quit and it is sunny and nice. Shade is the ticket. The electric is 15 amp only, so I'm really glad for the shade as we can't run the air conditioning on 15 amp.
We putter around the rest of the day. Walked down to the visitor center and also hit a few gift shops. Dropped by the IGA and picked up a few things for dinner and a small cheesecake assortment for dessert. Soon, we are fed and wore slap out. We are tired and ready for bed. It might have been only 4 pm for all we knew. I think it was more like 8 pm but you couldn't tell by looking outside!