Thursday, July 02, 2009 – We left Kenny Lake heading for Tok via the Tok Cut-off. Although paved, the road was about as bad as any we have seen on this trip. There were frost heaves, pot holes, pavement breaks, and gravel stretches for most of the route. When we reached Tok we made a brief stop for fuel and then rejoined the Alaska Highway. We continued about 80 miles to the Canadian border where we crossed with no problems. It was close to 5:00 PM by the time we crossed the border so we stopped at the first RV Park we came to which is next to the Westmark Hotel at Beaver Creek in the Yukon Territory. The park doesn’t have much in the way of amenities but it is conveniently located right on the highway. In the morning we will continue on toward Haines.
Friday, July 03, 2009 – Since we had a fairly long drive today to get into Haines we left Beaver Creek and continued south on the Alaska Highway. As bad as the roads were along the Tok Cut-off they were worse today! All the way from the Alaska/Canada border through Destruction Bay and even a little beyond the roads were a never-ending series of potholes, frost heaves, and gravel breaks. At about mile marker 1079 near the Quill Creek Mine Road we got hit with a rock from a passing motorhome. The impact made a loud crack and you just had to know it did something but on my initial check from inside the coach it looked OK. However, an hour or so later the sun hit the window in such way that I could see “the curse of the Alaska highway,” a large crack making its way across the lower part of the windshield. I marked the spot with a sticky note and noted the time and within an hour it had grown another 3”. When we finally made it to Haines Junction we stopped for lunch and put a strip of clear tape on the crack in a fruitless effort to stop the crack from spreading. The good news is that from Haines Junction south into Haines the drive is quite scenic and the roads are good paved roads with not a frost heave in sight. The Haines Hitch-Up RV Park is a little expensive but it is the nicest park we have stayed in probably since leaving West Yellowstone. After dinner Bill and I drove down to the ferry terminal to get information on routes and rates to Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. What we found is that trying to do a loop to all of the various towns is not as easy as it might seem and the travel time between the stops varies from a few hours to more than a day depending on whether you take the regular ferry or the fast ferry. To complicate the situation even further the schedules are overlapping and don’t all run daily so you have to plan for layovers in each town. From Haines you have to go 4 ½ hours to Juneau and then another 4 ½ hours on to Sitka and then from there it is a 24 hour trip each way between Sitka and Ketchikan. Since we were in Ketchikan several years ago on a cruise we have pretty much decided to skip it this time. We also found that when leaving Haines we can take the ferry from Haines to Skagway for less than the cost of a tank of gas and save close to 200 miles of driving and not have to retrace any of our routes. Sounds like a good plan to me.