Day 31

Geoff’s Post

And more rain…

So yesterday we left Chicken for points south.  We were going to do a
highly recommended road called Top of the World Highway, stop in
Dawson(an old mining town on the Yukon River) for a spell and then
head further south.

It just started sprinkling in Chicken as I posted the last blog entry
and we hit the road.  The road was not in as bad a condition as we had
heard but it was starting to rain harder and being dirt it quickly
turned muddy.  They are actively working on fixing the road and they
use the Prudhoe Bay method… no signage, just play Dodge the Dozers
again.

We are crossing back into Canada again.  It’s the most forelorn border
crossing I have ever seen.  All by itself on the top of a hill in the
middle of a dirt road (no trees) but when it is not raining I imagine
it is gorgeous.  You pull up to the stop sign at the building(no gate
or anything formal like that) and the ding-ding of a bell rings like
back in the day at the gas station.  After a bit a nice Canadian gal
comes out, collects our passports, asks us the standard questions (do
we have anything fun on us, like guns, fireworks, drugs) and then
sends us on our way without even opening the passports or making us
take off our helmets.

Did I mention it’s raining still?

As we leave the crossing we put on all our foul weather gear and it
starts pouring.  The entire gorgeous highway is a grey blur of clouds
and rain.

At the end of the road there is a ferry that takes you across the
Yukon River and into Dawson City.  It’s a cool looking town and aside
from FBanks and Anchorage, the biggest town we have seen in awhile.
It’s really old school with wood plank sidewalks and dirt roads and
only a few stop sign and no lights.  It’s also the home to the
northernmost casino in North America complete with a can-can show.
There is also a great camping place on the west side of the river(we
just passed it) so we decide to make it a 110 mile day and stay the
night in Dawson.  It finally stopped raining 15 miles before we got
here so we go back across the river on the super cool ferry and set up
camp.

The ferry holds about 12 cars and goes back and forth across the swift
moving river.  It leaves one side, points upriver and guns it while
being swept downriver in the current.  It gets out of the main current
downstream of the landing and has to work back up along the edge to
make it.  I bet it’s a real struggle when the river really gets
honking!

We make our way back to town and hit the casino.  I don’t normally
gamble much but Elliott’s early success inspires me (and the can can
show doesn’t start for 30 minutes).

My dealer is a young (~20ish) kid with the coolest afro ever.  It was
frizzed out in like 5 directions off his head and he looked like a
cartoon character.  The good news for me is he couldn’t count very
well.  Not even to 21, which is a bad trait in a black jack dealer.
He double paid me twice when I got blackjack and I corrected him both
times.  Then on the second correction, he put the overpayment into his
tip container and caught himself after and had to tell the pit boss of
his error.  He was a really nice kid and fun to talk to and
smiled/laughed every time he made an error, but I think we all knew
this was not going to be his calling in life. He said he was an
English Lit major so he should be safe.  I left the casino about $50
ahead and Elliott was about the same so it was a successful trip.

Dawson really is a pretty cool town and I am glad we decided to stop
here and stay.

We went back to camp and after a fire and few more beers hit the sack.

Woke up this morning to… yup… more rain.  I seriously think the rain
is following us.  Met a couple guys from BC, Nevil and Adam a few camp
sites away.  They are on their way up to Prudhoe Bay as we are on our
way down… his blog is at

http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Nevil/.

I’ll be following his journey as well.  Adam gave us a great lead on a
camp site with some hot springs for tonight… if the rain doesn’t stop,
we are going to need the springs!!!

Elliott’s Post

Well we had a big day lined up – “planned” on getting all the way down near Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory but we loved Dawson City so much we just stayed.

Leaving another lovely spot (seriously, it was really cool there) Chicken, AK, we headed East past some work crews that were rebuilding the road that we had feared would be washed out.  It was in pretty good shape though as those work crews have been trying to fix it non-stop for over a week.  There were bulldozers driving through rivers and doing cool stuff that bulldozers do.  We crossed the border back into Canada and our welcoming present back to the country was…..you guessed it: rain.

So here we are on the “Top of the World” highway – one of the most beautiful roads in N. America and it’s f’ing raining.  There were brief periods of sunshine depending on which side of the mountain we were on and the views were stunning, brief, but stunning.  The road ends in Dawson City – a charming town on the banks of the Yukon River.  You have to take a little ferry (that’s free) across to get into town.  Totally cool place.   This is where the gold rush really started and there’s all kinds of history here.

We camped back across the river and probably did about eight ferry rides in our time here.  Out by camp were a couple old paddlewheel shipwrecks that we checked out (see pics).

Last night I went to the casino and won a little spending money.  They had $2 minimum tables for blackjack.  Never seen that before.  There was a hilarious dealer there that kept screwing up – paying out when you lost and taking your money when you won.  Got back to camp and had a fire by the river – such a great spot.

Anyway, now it’s Thursday and it’s raining as usual and we have to drive 300+ miles towards Whitehorse.

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