Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On To Skagway, Alaska

We left Atlin this morning at 8am after completing the RV-ers favorite activity: a trip to the sani-dump. Skip the rest of this paragraph if you want to avoid thinking about details of this aspect of life. We’ll spare you the photo, but in this remote town the facilities were unusually basic, even more so than any we saw in Mexico: nothing but a short pipe leading to a wooden trough which fed into an open sewage lagoon that looked and smelled like a most unusual “pond”. About 50 feet from the RV pipe was a much larger version of the same, used by the commercial guys who pump out the septic tanks of local residents. Basic. Exceptionally basic, to our sensibilities.


We retraced our steps north 60 miles to the Alaska Highway. We have to say the gravel roads up here, so far anyway, are nothing like we expected. They’re very well-graded and there isn’t a lot of loose rock flying around. Maybe it’s just early in the season when it’s all been newly graded and it will get worse later? After re-joining the Alaska Highway we traveled southwest 80 miles to Skagway, Alaska after passing through some of the most beautiful mountains we’ve seen so far.


During today’s journey we passed from British Columbia where Atlin is located, into the Yukon Territory, back into British Columbia again, then crossed the international border into the U.S just short of Skagway. The border crossing took less than 5 minutes with only a few basic questions. The road the last 5 miles to the border was a steep descent of 8% and higher. By the time we got to the border crossing our brakes were hot. We imagine one of the worst aspects of working that Border Crossing is smelling all the hot brakes.


We arrived in Skagway at 11am after gaining an hour, shifting to Alaska Time. We’re staying in an RV park with very slow wi-fi and full hooks ups. They even let us wash our rig right at our site, and boy did it ever need it after the last few days on wet gravel roads!

We wandered through downtown Skagway this afternoon on foot. It was absolutely packed with folks from four, yes FOUR cruise ships in port. Upwards of 10,000 tourists can have an overwhelming impact on a town with 400 permanent residents. We think we’ll go back to town this evening after the boats have left and walk around to find a saloon for a beer, something we did in Ketchikan on our Inside Passage trip last summer and found fascinating.

We did see a poster (see photo below) we found interesting. If any of you would like any of the products mentioned, please let us know. You can send us a private email to avoid having our other readers know about your purchase. We promise we’ll deliver it to you discretely when we see you next. Phebe and Lynn: we’ve already picked out your birthday presents! Of course you can probably get all of this, and more, on the internet.


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