Haines Jct to Tok – Worst part of Alaskan Hwy so far

Between unpaved portions and frost heave having it’s way with the pavement, this was by far the worst stretch of road we’ve travelled. As much as I’d like to avoid it on our trip back, the only way around it is to take the ferry. That’s too expensive for this trip. It was cloudy all day and rained most of it. We made it to the Alaska border – they don’t frisk us when we’re coming back into the US, just when we are entering Canada. Maybe it’s the Texas plates? This guy DID have to tell us a “fun-fact” that the Texas plates inspired. He said, “If you cut Alaska in half, Texas would still only be the 3rd largest state in the Union.” He said most Texans are amazed and don’t believe it. We told him that Texas transplants get that in the debriefing material when they leave whatever state they are moving from. 🙂 I’ll tell you a secret though, if there is any other state with more “pride” than Texas, it’s Oregon. I’m waiting to see what happens the first time someone calls Don ‘Tex’. LOL The hardest question we’ve had to answer, either at the border, getting fishing licenses, registering for campgrounds or casual conversation, is “Where are you from?” We won’t be able to get Texas driver’s licenses until this fall.

Anyway, back to the trip… We stopped to take a picture in front of the “Welcome to Alaska” sign. It’s a requirement. We stopped for lunch at a small campground on Yarger Lake. It is in a wetlands area. There were a few birds making a terrible racket when we got out of the truck. We thought they were mad at us for invading their privacy. Then Don spotted the eagle at the top of the tree. There were just 2 shorebirds yelling at him to go away. They were persistent and didn’t stop the whole time we were there. He was pretty patient too – he didn’t move other than to look at us. I don’t know if he is a Golden or a young Bald Eagle. Okay, back on the road…We pulled into a little state campground, before Tok, to take a cat nap because we wanted to make it to Valdez tomorrow and not have a really long drive. The construction crew woke us up when they started loading their equipment onto the flatbed right next to our truck. So, into Tok, gas up and head south. It is easy to see, even in the rain, why the Glen Hwy is a designated scenic route. They must not have a problem with getting enough rain because the roadsides are green and lots of wildflowers are out. We saw couples of trumpeter swans on the plentiful ponds in this area. We also saw 3 moose and even a weasel crossed the road in front of us. We think we’ve figured out why we can’t sneak up on the wildlife. We think our deer whistles really do work. We passed an RV park that was close to the road. A gentleman was down on his knee working on his truck and he turned around and intently watched us go by. We figured it was either because we were making a weird sound or all our stuff was hanging off the camper and flapping in the wind. No flapping goin’ on so it must be the whistle. We pulled into Porcupine State Campground, about 65 miles south of Tok. There are 12 sites and 11 of them were open. We were glad there was at least one other person camping there. If no one is in the campground, we wonder if there was a bear alert that we didn’t hear about. Before we got set up, though, there were 9 campers in for the night; 3 of them were in the same campground with us last night. They recognized us and spoke to us. We commiserated about the road and talked about where we were going next. I can see how people end up travelling together that didn’t start out that way.

Oh, I forgot to mention, yesterday, about the fish wheels on the Chilkat River. They were water powered nets that catch the salmon and dump them into a tank. Then the people collect them and harvest their eggs before they put them back into the river.
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