LARRY – Well after a really exciting ride over the Top of The World Highway, we rode a ferry across the Yukon river into Dawson City.  We were taken back about how damn quaint it was!  No sidewalks just board walks and dirt streets.  We spent 3 nights there and did the walking tour along with going to the casino and watched their show.

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Here’s a couple of pictures we took in Chicken Alaska on the our way to Dawson City that we couldn’t get to load at our last two stops.

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And here are some pictures of our time on the same Top of the World road.  As you can see it was very cloudy and rainy that day, but still very beautiful!  Oh, the score is still 9-9!

DSCF1515 DSCF1531 DSCF1543CINDY:  I have to wonder if Larry isn’t going a little gay on me.  He used the word “quaint” for a famous, tough gold rush city on the Yukon.  Dawson looked exactly like you would want it too, without even one fast food joint or name-brand hotel.  DSCF1630Got me a cemetery fix in Dawson (love a good cemetery)DSCF1623 and saw the cabin of my childhood favorite author, Jack London.  Pried Larry off of a fancy-lady in the Dawson casino and dance hall.  Starting to see a pattern with Larry, bars, and shady ladies.  DSCF1617

LARRY: Well, we left Fairbanks on Tuesday and got an early start (9 AM). We made it back to Tok fairly early in the afternoon and had lunch at Fast Eddy’s. This is one of the few restaurants in Alaska with a salad bar. We decided that it probably would be good to spend the night there before we got on the road to Dawson City because we heard there was going to be a lot of gravel road. Also we were told that it is narrow, curvy and best to do it when it is dry.   Well, guess what it was doing this morning when we got up, of course raining! We thought about just waiting it out in Tok but there is absolutely nothing there to do, so we took off. We only had a little over 100 miles to Dawson City so we decided it couldn’t be too bad. We had pretty good roads for maybe 20 miles before it turned to gravel road. And saying it was gravel is being very generous. But in another 43 miles we came upon Chicken Alaska. And it was really a cute little place with a big Chicken. The reason it is called Chicken is because they couldn’t spell Ptarmigan, which is Alaska’s state bird. I can understand that, I can’t spell it either! Anyway after a beer in a neat little bar and lunch at the Chicken Café, we headed out for Dawson and what a trip that was! We immediately hit a muddy road with hair pin curves. I had to put the truck in 4 wheel drive and I was still spinning the tires. I really got worried once when I stepped on the brakes and everything started to slide. I thought Cindy was going to go NUTS. But she got control of herself and did pretty good in a short while.

We got to Dawson City about 8 hours after we left Tok with only about an hour break at Chicken. I am so glad we waited for a full day to drive that 100 miles. Anyway we are in Dawson City and found a camp site. There is apparently several caravans of RVs in town and have everything full. But we did drive through town and it looks like it is going to be a lot of fun to explore. We plan on spending all day tomorrow doing that and may stay for an extra day, we will see.

No fights and no betting today, so score is still tied 9-9.

CINDY: When Larry slows down to under 20 miles and hour and says “it’s kinda slick” you know you’re gonna die. Was actually glad when we would hit the zero visibility clouds so I couldn’t see the 1000 foot drops off the side.

Sorry no photos will load right now.

CINDY:  It really is a freaking small world.  Several years ago we met two great couples in Florida.  Have kept in touch – some have moved – yada yada yada – and now we are here in Fairbanks, Alaska and meet the sister and brother-in-law of one of the original really cool Florida people.  Don’t know how to explain that better.  They are camped two rows over from us and served us the original Steve-O-Rita drinks that damn near killed me years ago.   Tonight they gave me the recipe.  Terri – Cindy – Ron – Kathy.  Miss you guys!  Wish you were here.  DSCF1476Oh – and the betting score is still tied L9-C9.

 

LARRY:  It was really great talking with these folks.  Both the guys are retired Air Force and have a great outlook on life.  Steve and Julie have been doing the RV full time for over 2 years and still enjoying it.  I really admire them for living their dream.

The internet here is so damn slow or my computer is so screwed up, we are having a terrible time getting pictures to upload.  Hopefully, we will get something going at our next stop.  If everything goes well today, we will be taking off tomorrow morning for Dawson City, Yukon Canada.

CINDY:  Finally took Brent to visit Santa at the North Pole – promised we wouldn’t post the pic of him on Santa’s lap.  Hanging in Fairbanks after dropping Brent and Cousin Mark at the airport.  Now Larry and I have only each other to talk to.  Scary.  Especially since the score is L9-C9!  Leaving here tomorrow after I find a Doc who will stick a needle in my old lady knee.

LARRY:  Well, it has been a couple of days after Cindy started this post and a few things have happened.  Cindy couldn’t get in to see a doctor so she went to the Emergency Room Thursday and they looked at her knee and said she would have to see a Orthopedic doctor and scheduled an appointment for her on Monday.  Then Friday we took a little bus ride to the Arctic Circle.  A little bus ride that started at 5:45 AM and ended at 11:30 PM.  It was about 200 miles of gravel road up there and another 200 miles of gravel rode back.  It was so smokey that we couldn’t see more than a half mile.  Apparently Alaska is on fire!!  Actually, they had about 400 forest fires going state wide and we happen to drive through several of them.   Then Saturday and today, I repaired all the crap that has broken or fallen apart on the camper since we left.  Let’s see, a light over the island fell out of the ceiling, the ceiling fan lost a screw, the bedroom door came off the track and bent the rail, the kitchen table came loose, a drawer fell apart, some wiring broke loose under the camper, and a few other odds and ends.  The trip over the Denali highway was pretty damn hard on the camper!!!  It was 120 mile highway with 20 miles of bad blacktop and 100 miles of bad gravel road!! It was a great time but I am getting pretty sick and tired of gravel roads.

Thank goodness, it rained all day yesterday and it is a beautiful day today here, sunny and 70 degrees so we are finally clear of smoke.  I am not sure all the fires are out but it really helped the air here in Fairbanks.  We are trying to decide whether to head to Dawson City or just head south out of Fairbanks.  We are meeting a couple that just made it in from Dawson City tonight and hope to get some information on what is over there that we must see or if we want to go at all.  It sounds like there will be hundreds of miles of gravel road!!

We are having a really hard time up loading pictures because the internet here is so slow.  Hopefully, we will find a faster one soon.  Also, I allowed Cindy to catch up with me on our bets, so it is now 9-9.   (I am sure that little comment will piss someone off!)

Hey, we certainly would appreciate some comments.  It is a lot easier posting stuff if we know someone is reading it.

DSCF1468Picture of Cindy and me standing in the Arctic Circle.

DSCF1438  This is a picture from the Antique Automobile Museum in Fairbanks, which is a must see if you come here!!  They have some of the most incredible completely restored cars all of which run.  They take them out once a year and drive all of them.  I think Mark and Brent were really impressed with this as well.

CINDY:  On the way to Denali we drive through Talkeetna – supposed to be this really cool, funky little Alaska town 14 miles off the main highway.  This place was like Overland Park on Farmer’s Market day – “lets go play like common folks!”  Sorry Overland Park (kinda).  About 2,000 yuppies crammed into a 5-building cute town if you could see it, drinking expresso at the bistro tables.  Brent did a u-turn in tight quarters and we got the hell of there. Only highlight was their brewery on the outskirts of town.  Do you all see a local brewery theme developing here?  We’ve had a good time looking for them, and this one was very good.

Get to Denali and it’s raining, and we shouldn’t bitch – God knows this state is burning up and needs all the rain it can get.  But on they day we reach Denali Park?!!!  DSCF1286Larry and I have done the bus tour before, but we were really disappointed Cousin Mark and Brent couldn’t do it.  Spent the day hanging at the visitors center and seeing movies on what it would look like on a good day – but still……   Did spend a nice afternoon at the 49th State Brewery in Healy, and how cool!  The bus from Into the Wilderness was a highlight – plus really good beer that I think we all agreed was the best we had tasted so far (except for Larry, who always orders a Bud Light). DSCF1290 Backtracked a little to the Denali Highway the following day.  “Highway” is a misleading word – it’s 140 miles of rough gravel.  Brent drove most of the way, like a bat out of hell, and as a result a few things in our 5th wheel will never be the same – but worth it all.  We stopped mid-way at a lodge that rents ATV’s and did a 3 hour tour that took 6 hours.  Some of the most beautiful scenery ever, bull caribou, moose, ptarmigan with cute little babies and grayling fishing.  Oh – and baby ducks (with a duck momma).  One of the best days every with the best DSCF1316people to share it with.

This area is supposed to have the highest concentration of grizzlies, but if you’d seen the freaking cannons our guides were carrying, you’d have felt very safe.  Very good day.  SCORE L9-C9

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CINDY: We’ve been traveling through some pretty remote places with little to no cell service – so now, 5 days later, I’m trying to remember where we’ve been, and we’ve actually had to go back and look at pics to put it together.  If we didn’t have this blog, in a year we’d forget we had even been to Alaska.  So – from dragging Larry’s drunk ass home from the bar in Homer, we have spent two kinda wasted days in Soldotna.  We were supposed to hook up with a sockeye salmon guide – who called and said the fishing sucked and he hated to take our money.  Soldotna has no real redeeming qualities other than fishing, so wasted days except for a few things. 1) Hobo Jim (google him – you’ll like him) was playing at Hooligans’s.  2) Highway to Denali was closed due to forest fires. 3) Caribou laying along the road. DSCF10404) Drove to a beach near Ninilchik and saw how they put boats in the ocean without a ramp.

Fires are everywhere – 186 right now I believe.  Locals tell us summer fires are normal – just not this many.  They’ve had no winter snow and no spring rain, and lightning strikes are crazy here.  We’ve had no great views of mountains, etc. because of the smoke haze.  We’ve driven through thick enough smoke on the highways that you kinda started to wonder where the hell the “closed highway” signs were.  But you drive through it and things are fine, so – having a great time around the fires.  DSCF1058

From Soldotna we drive to a park outside of Whittier.  The guitar player at the evening campfire (remember – the sun never goes down – so you’re never sure when it’s “evening”) sounded pretty bad after Hobo Jim – so we took turns disappearing from the campfire.  Did a glacier cruise – unbelievable. DSCF1152 Boat got us up close enough that he had to back up and nose into the waves when the glacier would calve – which it did big time twice!  Made you seriously wonder about the sanity of the kayakers sitting out there!  I’d never heard the big bang noise they make when they calve, and it was pretty damn cool.

Headed off to Denali from there – and will do that in a separate post – cause this is getting awful long.  SCORE L9-C8.

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Well after a full day of great fishing, we had to celebrate a little so we went to the Salty Dawg bar.  We were just going to have a nice drink and then move on to another bar, but Brent had to go and buy everyone a shot.  Well, as you know you can’t just do one of those, so one led to another one, then another one.  Needless to say, a couple of us (mainly ME) had way too much to drink.  And unfortunately, Brent decided to video some of it.  Thank God, he didn’t post that but as you can expect it was not a pretty sight.  Mark did a pretty good job of holding his liquor because he had a previous week to practice since he was down in Mexico.  I am not sure why Brent and Cindy didn’t get as bad as I did.  I think they were too busy laughing at me and Mark.  We had a good time and unbelievably, both Mark and I were fine the next day without any hangover. DSCF1033 DSCF1038

Erica was the bar maid, and I was told she had a pretty good laugh at us too.

Long day yesterday – Cousin Mark and Nicest Son Brent flew all day to get to Homer – we drove all day to get them – we’re three hours off of Missouri time so when it was 1:00 a.m. when we dropped them off at their hotel room it was actually 4:00 am Missouri time.  Then woke them up three hours later to go fishing.  But guess it was all worth it.  They’re still telling their stories and working with the guys who are packing the fish – so major fish tales to follow tomorrow.

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Cindy has found a way to put all of our pictures on our blog.  If you look to the left of this post, you will see some small pictures.  Click on them and you will get access to all the pictures we have taken so far on this trip.  The latest ones taken are first to come up and the get older as you scroll down.  We (and I mean Cindy) haven’t yet figured out how to put a place on them yet.  If any of you know, we would appreciate it.  So if you are really bored and have too much time to kill you might want to look at them.  And Kathy it looks like I will be coming down soon to live with you because Cindy and Ann will be living here together and they don’t want me.

CINDY:  Homer is a little different from the other small towns we’ve been in.  The others have been a fairly tight cluster of homes, rv parks, and a Safeway next to a highway and a harbor.  Homer is spread out all over the place!  There is a full-blown mountain looming over Homer  that is covered in houses built into said hill at unbelievable angles.  I don’t know how they get in and out in the winter, but the views make you understand why they’re there.  The rest of the city straggles down to a 4.5 mile tail of land that juts out into the water called “The Spit”.

View From the Top – Homer, Alaska

The Spit is the location of the harbor, a bunch of rv lots, a few overpriced restaurants and touristy places, and the rest is strictly fish industry.  It’s not really pretty, but again – the views are amazing, and then there’s this bar called The Salty Dawg.  Again, Ron – thanks for the heads up.  Its one of those cool, weird places where you sit down at the bar and within 5 minutes know everyone in the place.  I might consider moving here.

Still can’t believe how expensive the seafood is.  The oysters have dropped to $15 a half dozen, cheapest we’ve seen, but still! Right now we’re just cooling our heels waiting for son and cousin to fly in Sunday so they can all go catch the most expensive halibut we’ll ever eat.  (Also camped next to Homer Brewing Company.  Ha!)DSCF0827DSCF0803DSCF0760

BETTING SCORE:  L8-C6 (thanks a lot Karen!)

LARRY – The weather has been rainy and cool for the last week, but yesterday and today things are starting to change and clearing up.  By tomorrow it is going to start warming up to the 70’s, so our fishing trip weather looks like it is going to be in the 70’s and clear, I can’t wait.

We have been passing time by playing cards now.  I am ahead, 3 to 1 games and it is really pissing Cindy off since she picked the game.  What can I say??  It has been nice not having to travel for the last several days, but we are getting itchy to hit the road again.  It seems that staying in one place very long isn’t something that we are good at.  It is the same when we go south in the winter.  After a few days in one place, we start to get bored and want to see something new.  We are already thinking that we might not be in Alaska beyond June because we are seeing things faster than we thought we would do.  But, what the hell, we are retired and are definitely not on a schedule!  Life is good.

Ceiling of the Salty Dawg

Ceiling of the Salty Dawg

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