Alaskan Trip Journal

Date: Saturday, July 19, 2003

Starting Location: Fairbanks, AK

Destination: Dawson City, YT

Trip Description: Our ambitious goal today was to drive from Fairbanks to Dawson via the Top of the World Highway. The road from Fairbanks to Tok (rhymes with JOKE) was in really good shape (by Alaskan standards). We left the Alaska Highway at Tok and headed northward to Chicken, Alaska. Chicken is about 70 miles north of the Alaska Highway, in the middle of nowhere. It boasts a gas station ($2.09/gal) and a store with tourist junk (shirts, fridge magnets, rubber chickens, etc...). Unfortunately, we really needed gas, so we paid the price. A free rubber chicken came with the purchase of 20 gallons or more! That really made me feel better about filling up in Chicken. The road got really crappy from Chicken to the Yukon border. There is plenty of washboarding and holes to deal with on that 35 mile stretch. The worst part was the dust. The entire RV is covered in dust on the outside and inside. It is an unavoidable fact of driving up here. I guess there are worse things that could happen.

We had no trouble crossing the border. It's a really small border crossing station that is open from 8AM to 8PM. It's quite different from the customs station near Niagara Falls! The road suddenly improves as one drives into Canada. There are still gravel patches, pot holes, and dust, but there is an absence of washboarding. This section of road (Yukon Highway 9) is known as the Top of the World Highway. The scenery is worth the effort. The road follows the mountain peaks all the way to Dawson City. We even found a geocache along the way.

After about 60 miles or so, we reached the Yukon River. The Yukon government operates a free ferry across the river to Dawson City. The river has a strong curent here. I guess a bridge would be less cost effective.

We arrived in Dawson City at 10:30 PM. Of course, the sun is still shining. There are large numbers of teens and college-age people wandering the streets. It looks like Senior Week! I learned that there is a music festival in town. Laura and I decided to fill up the tank and leave town. There looked like no place to stay in the downtown area. We drove about 3 miles south. There are a few RV campgrounds just outside of town. Luckily, we were able to get a spot at the Bonanza Campground. It's been a long day. We lost an hour as a result of the time change. The Yukon and British Columbia are on Pacific Time. It is 3 hours earlier than Eastern Time. It's now 1 AM. There is still light outside, but I need to sleep.


gold in Chicken, Alaska

This is Chicken, AK!

the top of the world

The RV is treating us well.