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Thread: THe Great Yukon Alaska Road Trip|Aug 28th-Sept 20th|

  1. #1
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    THe Great Yukon Alaska Road Trip|Aug 28th-Sept 20th|

    As things are slowing down for us, I thought Id try and get a trip report started. My apologies for the grainy pics and shaky video. The day before we were to leave, our good camera died and we were forced to use our beat to death point n' shoot and cellphone cameras the entire trip.

    The following is excerpts from our journal, mostly narrated by my wife

    8/28/2015

    Today was the day. The truck was packed and ready, and after a few last minute things we hit the road at about 3:30.






    We decided that we would push for the Sumas/Canada border tonight.
    We hit the border at around 10:00pm. The border was much easier than the last time we went across, even with needing to go in and file paperwork for shotgun and dog.




    I drove across the border and past Hope, BC. Joe took over driving when we got to a two lane winding road. About 40 miles further we decided to call it a night. We pulled off in a Provincial Park area and explored a dirt road. We pulled off the side of the road and set up the bed. Shortly after we realized that we were close enough to hear the trucks on the road and the trains that go past nearby. but we didnt care, it was nice to lay down and be done traveling. 12am.



    8/29/2015
    We slept in till around 8. At this point we realized that we lost one of our kayak cover. What we didn’t realize was that we would spend our day trying to find a new one so that our kayak didn’t become a water tank on our roof. We didn’t end up finding one after 5-6 stops. In the end we bough some bungee cord and strapped a husky garbage bag over the opening.
    We stopped for coffee and drove and drove. The country is beautiful.




    The highway is dotted with lakes big and small. We had rain throughout the day. Since this day was mostly devoted to covering a lot of distance there wasn’t much excitement. Joe decided to see how far we could make it on one tank. Turns out it is 452 miles while driving 65 mph on full tires on the highway. We ran out of fuel 15 miles out of Prince George. Joe pulled down our extra fuel and used his new shaker hose to fill our tank. This worked so well and we were quickly on our way.

    Bc has the coolest rigs... The driver of this turbo diesel 4x4 eurovan actually gave US the thumbs up



    We stopped for the night at a lake that showed a road to it on Google Earth. Turns out the rd did not go to the lake. We ended up camping in a clearing off of a dirt road. I made quesadillas for dinner and we cracked the first growler. It was nice to have some down time! We crawled in for the night about 10:00.

    8/30/2015
    We woke up with the sun and packed up. We ate breakfast at a little café in Houston. BC is such a beautiful place!




    Just north of Hazleton, we met Roy and Michelle, world travelers in their Land Rover Defender camper. They have completed a 3 year world trip, came to a stop in Seattle for about a year, wrote a book and are now starting their second journey off the proceeds. They are heading to Alaska and then across Russia. You can see their journey HERE





    We spoke with them for a time and then continued on towards Hyder, AK. We finally reached hwy 37 north, The Cassiar Hwy.




    Cool old abandoned rest stop along the cassiar




    This hwy would take us to hyder AK, and ultimately all the way north to yukon with precious little civilization along its 543 mile length. There was a sign that stated that the highway was closed at Dease Lake. We were wondering about this but since Hyder was before Dease Lake we pushed on. We again were pushing our luck with gas but made it to the turn off to Hyder before we ran out. We filled up at that intersection and found out that the highway was closed because of an accident and it was supposed to be cleared by 6-8 pm today.

    The Road to Hyder is awe inspiring. It runs down the crack formed between two massive ranges, the road competing with a raging glacial river for space between the rock walls and swollen river waterfalls that plummet thousands of ft down sheer rock faces.







    We pushed on to Stewart BC and then to Hyder. There was no border stop going into Alaska and Joe and I celebrated making it to AK.




    The town was tiny with no services, and we were quickly through it on the way to the Salmon Glacier.

  2. #2
    Member McMash's Avatar
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    This is awesome! Can't wait to see more. Some gorgeous country up there, and cool rigs too!
    Tyler

    2004 Toyota Tacoma Xtra Cab: Lunar Mist, TRD SR5.
    SAW 2.5 ext. travel w/ LR UCA's, OME Dakar's w/ Nitrochargers.
    Cooper ST Maxx 255/80R17, 1.25" spacers, Tundra split-spoke wheels, Tundra 13WL front brakes.
    CBI rear bumper and sliders, Relentless Fab front bumper, B.A.M.F LCA skids.
    PrInSu roof rack. And stuff.


    1984 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler, Alaskan USPS variant (RHD)
    Long-term project.

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    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    It was not long till we saw our first glimpse of the glacier. It was amazing. The size of the thing is overwhelming and the color of the blue. A river of ice!




    It was raining pretty heavily and was very overcast. It started to snow as we climbed higher.



    Soon there were huge flakes beginning to coat the trees. It was beautiful. We came across a mine tunnel and explored it a little.This tunnel was built as a shortcut through the mtn from the Granduc mine further north





    The afternoon was spent exploring the area further north.





    Inside one mine, we discovered the old trolly cars intact, and left at the ready since the 30's, just waiting for the men who operated to come back. amazing stuff.

    Granduc mine site, now defunct. in 1965, 26 men were killed here following the worst avalanche in Canadian history. The place gets some of the heaviest snowfall on earth, at 800-1100 inches per year.






    We had many water crossings and miles of rocky,bumpy roads. It was wet and cold, but gorgeous.






    We also came across a remote hunting cabin on a rabbit trail, and took a look inside. It had a great book filled with visitor notes.





    We explored a lot of offshoots. Around 7 we started looking for camp. We found a road that headed up a mountain. It passes many beautiful mountain lakes. We camped right on the edge of one. I had hoped for a shower but as I started making dinner it began to dump snow. It was COLD. Just 4 days earlier it was in the upper 90s at our home. Talk about weather change.





    Joe filled the shower bag with lake water and our plan was to boil water and add it to the other to make a decent temperature water. That was not the case. I decided to just wash my hair. It was chilly but felt good. We decided the shower bag was a waste of time. We boiled more water and added some cold to wash Joes hair. Mexican rice with sausage for dinner and cocoa for dessert. We then packed up and got into bed. We were both cold.

    We went to bed early.

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    Senior Member 93FZJ's Avatar
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    So Jealous, it's a bummer the trip got cut short, someday I want to take a month and explore Alaska! Thanks for sharing!
    Your CB sucks and you know it!

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    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93FZJ View Post
    So Jealous, it's a bummer the trip got cut short, someday I want to take a month and explore Alaska! Thanks for sharing!
    Alaska is an amazing place, truly.

    Also, our trip didnt get cut short. trans quit once we were on our way back, and once we were back on pavement. No harm no foul. made it home on time and on schedule

  6. #6
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    8/31/2015
    I woke at 5:30 to my work alarm. Oops. Back to sleep and up with the light. It was a slow morning as each of us did not want to go out into the cold. We finally got up and moving. We determined last night that we needed to add some tranny fluid as we could hear the transmission whining. Our plan for the morning was to go into town, eat breakfast and ask about a shop in town as we needed a t55 tox bit for the transmission .





    As we began off the mountain we found a few more roads that we hadn’t discovered. We explored these and we’re rewarded with some super water crossings and an amazing road that led to the edge of the salmon glacier. It was exciting to be so close and see how enormous it was. The road was too steep and narrow to drive so we had a nice hike to it.






    Dog photobomb




    By now it was 10:00 and we decided we needed to cover some distance. As we got to the higher elevation we got into 3” of snow. We then booked it into town. There were beautiful views of the valley and glacier on the way down as the sun peeked through the clouds.



    Hyder didn’t have any restaurants so we went through BC customs again.




    We stopped to eat at a bakery and we’re given instructions to a local mechanic. The mechanic graciously let Joe use his t55 and his gravel driveway to put some transmission fluid in. All mechanically sound again we hit the road.








    We ended the day at Boya Lake. This lake had a campground . We decided to get the kayaks out and go for a paddle. It was beautiful! The lake was clear and blue green. The shore was all medium rock. The sun was still shining and we were able to paddle around for about an hour. Joe played with the gopro for a while.







    We got back to shore and set about making dinner and prepping for the night. I made cheese burgers and put them on the bread that we bought from the Baker this morning. Beer and burgers in the woods in Canada, EH

    We took a look at some of our gopro footage and discovered how much we suck at filming. We went to bed at around 10:00 and set an alarm for 6 am. We want to get an early start tomorrow as we have about 600 miles planned. We are hoping to make it to the Alaska boarder tomorrow.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 93FZJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by expeditionnw View Post
    Alaska is an amazing place, truly.

    Also, our trip didnt get cut short. trans quit once we were on our way back, and once we were back on pavement. No harm no foul. made it home on time and on schedule
    Oh awesome, I thought it was in the middle I am very happy to hear that!
    Your CB sucks and you know it!

    1993 Land Cruiser FZJ80 Bad Maw
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    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    9/1/2015
    It proved hard to get out of bed this morning. We managed to be up and moving about 6:30. Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast and then we hit the road. After 80 km we made it to the Yukon Territory. 400 ish miles to Whitehorse.




    YUKON!





    Our makeshift kayak cover keeps blowing off. We wrapped it with a few more straps in the hopes it will stay.
    The cover did stay. We hauled tail to cover as much ground as possible. The birds are crazy out here and more than a few ran right into us. It got cold. We were surrounded by such beauty.
    We drove a valley most of the day and the mountains are huge one either side. They had snow cover halfway up them.







    The Kluane Lake was more like a small ocean. The waves were large and the water was blue green.





    We stopped to help a truck on the side of road. It turns out that they were from Portland and were headed back from spending 7 months in Fairbanks. They blew a rear end. We let them use our sat phone to get a text out and waited for a reply. We got a reply that a tow truck was on the way so Joe and I continued on.


    Our destination for the day was either the Alaska border or a ghost town just before it called Snag. We opted to turn off to Snag.




    We continued on. The road to Snag was 32 km. It was not windy or steep.

    Snag was a WWII base and had a huge runway in the middle of the woods. We got to Snag and saw what remained of the runway. The road down the middle was so smooth. We could see the edge of the runway because the trees there were significantly larger than the ones growing in the runway. There was one rundown army building near the runway.






    We continued down the road and found an old log church. It was significantly rundown but it appeared like someone was working on re building it.




    There were hunting cabins all around it and more collapsed log homes. Joe found and old forest service dodge pickup.










    We found an old cemetery. Down another road we found that someone was apparently still living in the area. It looked like they were building a cabin on the river.
    We decided to camp on the runway and had a dinner of mashed potatoes with chicken in it. Joe added chili cheese fritos and stated that they completed the dish. We had a beer and went to bed.


  9. #9
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    9/2/2015
    We woke to sunny skies. We decided to pack up and get coffee when we got gas. We got both in Beaver Creek. We had a good breakfast at a café. We met a fantastic couple who were from Vancouver, BC. They had to be in their 70's and had driven their 1927 Nash convertible from Vancouver to Alaska and were on their way back. They had about 3000 miles on the car. This was their test for an across Europe trip they have planned for next June and July. They were fun to talk to. Some people will never get old.






    Back on the road






    Back on dirt again!







    Shortly after we hit the Alaska border. We continued our drive with the hopes to get to McCarthy. It was a lot of miles. The road to McCarthy was 62 miles of dirt.






    It was the most pot holed road we had ever been on. We aired down to 15. One tire with the run flat would not release any air. Our rear passenger tire was stuck at 25. It was a long drive in and we made it shortly after 7.

    We stopped for pizza at the famous pizza bus only to discover that it was closed. We spoke with the owner, Peter, who told us that the season shut down quickly and early this year. We spoke with him for a while we discovered he is a big rover nut. Peter graciously offered that we could camp in his lot next to the pizza bus instead of paying the fellow down the road to camp. We accepted.





    We decided that we would walk into town and have dinner at the bar. The walk was longer than we thought and we crossed two rivers over new walking bridges.








    Dinner was a burger for Joe and a salad for me. We each had beers and spent $50. About 1.5 miles back, we turned the corner to the truck and startled a black bear near the truck. luckily, he wanted no part of our business, which was a relief. So to sleep we went. It was 10:30 but still light.


    9/3/2015
    Today brought a slow start. Once we managed to get up I made breakfast quesadillas and Joe made coffee, twice actually. The first french press was spilled while it was steeping, oops. Peter came down and we were shootin the breeze. He gave us some info on the area and some good spots to check out. His afternoon was going to consist of taking a 6x6 army truck up into the mtns and over rivers to drag out on old tracked snow vehicle that he had acquired. I decided right then that he was my sort of fellow. told him to let me know if he needed a hand, and We decided that we would walk into Kennecott and see the mine.

    Kennecott was about 5.5 miles from Mccarthy. We took a road that was the original vehicle access to kennecott. The train route is now the main road, now that the tracks are gone. The old road is barely wide enough for a 4wheeler and passes many original cabins and the original cemetery. Lots of history here.




    We saw a female moose. The size of the moose was amazing.


  10. #10
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    Kennicott was full of red buildings with white trim.








    The town is in the middle of restoration so some buildings were falling apart and others were pristine. Kennicott had been a booming mine town until 1938 when it shut down. The mine itself was 14 stories high. The National Park Service (NPS) was in the middle of restoring the town and the old buildings were filled with new building materials. The restoration was done really well and some of the buildings were amazingly huge.












    MASSIVE pistons



    Engine room. Dual fuel coal/diesel engines that ran generators






    We decided that the trip up was enough and caught a shuttle back to McCarthy. Once there we sat down for a burger. It was delicious especially after a day of exploring. We walked through McCarthy and looked at the old buildings and then walked back to our Rover.

    We were tired and sat down for a cold growler beer. The boots came off and the sore feet stretched. We both were in need of showers and we’re hoping that the shower bag may warm up enough for a warm shower tonight. We should have thought ahead and put it out before we left. We ended up heating up Creek water on the stove and pouring it into the shower bag. Joe and I each had warm showers and washed clothes. Clean is good!




    After cleaning up we went into town for open mike night. Joe was hurting from the hike, his new boots were not good to him. The entertainment at the bar was extraordinary. There was so much talent and we had a lot of laughs. We met a man and his two grown sons who were visiting from Minnesota, of all places. They were nice to talk to. It turns out there are a couple of reality TV shows filmed in McCarthy and they pointed out the characters.
    We took a slow, painful walk back to the Rover and called it a night.


    9/4/2015
    Morning brought an overcast day but no rain. We had oatmeal and coffee and then checked out the tracked vehicle that Peter hauled in last night.
    He borrowed a deuce and a half and went 12 miles up the mountain to get a Swiss tracked vehicle that had a vw motor in it. It was a cool little machine and Joe checked it all out.





    Massive crop of shaggy manes. place is covered with them!



    We said expressed our thanks to Peter and went to fill our water jug at Jim’s. We spoke with Jim last night. He owns 80 acres on the river and runs the campground we had avoided. We offered to pay for his water but he wouldn’t take money. We had an interesting and lengthy conversation about the virtues of the $11 vodka from costco in anchorage. $11 a bottle, can you believe it?

    We got on the road and picked up a hitchhiker about 5 miles down. He was from France and had flown into Whitehorse on July 15. He and a friend canoed down the Yukon river. His friend went home August 15 and he has been hitchhiking since. He was on his way to Fairbanks to meet another friend who lives there and had plans to backpack all next week before flying home on September 15.

    We dropped him off in Glenallen. heck of a nice guy, can barely understand a word he says. He's a vegetable farmer in France. We spent 3hrs in the car together, and he had a very strong, like overpowering garlic smell. I assumed it must be some kind of hippy bear repellent since he had no bear spray. I commented on it to Karen when we were back on our own. she sputtered "Garlic?? that was BO!! I could hardly breath back here!" We almost died laughing. Apparently my nose was trying to shield me from the horror.

    We got fuel and some bread from the store and decided to travel to Valdez, 120 miles south. It was a beautiful drive through mountain valleys. Valdez itself wasn’t much to talk about but as we were leaving we saw salmon jumping and people reeling them in one after the other. We met a man from Fairbanks who was down here for the weekend fishing. He let Joe use his lures since Joes weren’t big enough. Joe managed to lose 3 and we went to town to replace them. We tried some more and must have caught 30 ling cod, but stuck out on some silvers.




    We left the fishing spot in search of a camp spot. We found a Creek off of a forest service road and decided it was a sweet spot. The creek was roaring and I set to making a very late dinner. It ended up being macaroni and cheese with hamburger. It was good. We got in bed and read books for a while before turning in.


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