Saturday, July 4, 2009

Heave Ho and A Broken Windshield

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.


  1. Thanks for the border crossing information. We leave in two weeks!

    Your trip sounds like a lot of fun.

    I am eagar to hear what you do as far as any ferry trips from Hains. I looked at the ferry schedule to Sitka on line and it did seem "involved", but is smething I still would lkie to do! We definitely plan to do the ferry to Skagway also. We will heading back that way.

    Thanks for sharing your trip. You are doing many of the things we are looking at.

  2. We just got back from the ferry part of our trip. The process of getting to Sitka is a little wierd because the routes overlap so you have to have layovers or catch the ferry at odd times (3:45 AM). We left Haines at 9:00 and got to Juneau at 1:30 PM. Then the following morning you can go to Sitka at around 8 or 9 in the morning and get there at around 1:00PM. Depending on the day you go you might have to have a 2 day layover in Sitka OR leave at 3:45 AM for the return trip to Juneau. We decided against Ketchikan because it was 24 hours in each direction from Sitka. We left Sitka at 3:45AM and got back to Juneau at 2:00 PM and spent the rest of the day and night and then left at 3:00PM to return to Haines.

    Sitka was fine but there is not two days worth of stuff to do their unless you just like to hang out or go out in the hills and hike around. The town rolls up the sidewalks by 5:00PM and then there is nothing to do!

  3. Hope this is an excellent one. Replacing the Windshield is an expensive one, so it should be done in a very professional manner.