Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 11: Yukon

Posted December 4, 2022 – Narrated by Carmen
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Airstreaming to Alaska

Chapter 11 of the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series.

“This is the Law of the Yukon,
     that only the Strong shall thrive;
That surely the Weak shall perish
     and only the Fit survive.
Dissolute, damned, despairful,
     crippled and palsied and slain.
This is the will of the Yukon –
    Lo, how she makes it plain.”

Long dusty roads.

Alaska Highway
AlCan Highway south of Watson Lake, Yukon

Midnight sun.

Teslin, Yukon
Almost midnight in Teslin, Yukon

Thick wildfire smoke.

Klondike Highway
Klondike Highway south of Dawson City, Yukon

Rivers rising to the breaking point.

Teslin, Yukon
Teslin, Yukon

Cell signal outages. Moose crash hot zones.

South of Dawson City, Yukon

Every morning we untangled our weary bones from the mosquito net

to resume the ongoing discussion, “Should we turn back?”

Klondike Highway
Fires and rough road on the Klondike between the Pelly and Stewart Crossings

For me, the question was complicated. True, this was a dangerous and uncomfortable place. But thinking of ways to die – all of us at once; me first, then him; Pico first, me second, him last; him, me, and poor, poor Pico last – this is what I do.

Imagining death by explosion, landslide, tidal wave, asphyxiation and anaphylaxis is a thing I picked up as a child while living in southern Italy on an infant volcano which occasionally burped plumes of lethal gas. I should have turned my talent into a career as a Worst-case Scenario Specialist, but instead I use it to torture myself.

Alaska Highway
AlCan Highway between Watson Lake and Teslin, Yukon

Thinking the horrible doesn’t make me risk-avoidant, it just gives me a tummy ache and annoys those around me. Over the years Jim has adapted to my hair-raising projections which may have saved our lives a few times. The occasional close shave, near miss or narrow escape inspire gratitude for every breath we can grab on this beautiful, blood-thirsty planet.

Atlin
Kayaking Atlin Lake, British Columbia

Here, on the crispy-thin Alcan my powers had purpose.

a market in Atlin B.C.

This is a place where the Circle of Life is not a song, a region where creatures readily sense the sharp edge of their existence.

Heaven and nature kill, and on the Alcan that heavy-duty thought is red-flagged at all times. Here, my quirky skillset had found purpose.

At my request, Jim would have turned the rig south at the first available opportunity whether he wanted to or not. That is a sacred Living in Beauty pact.

There were days on the Alcan when we both felt we were out of our depth. But Jim is an advance guy. For him, problems are like oxygen. We would press on, like a moving target if necessary.

In the end, The Alcan made the decision for us. Turning south was out of the question when the road closed behind us.

July 1, 2022 – Alaska Highway – rising waters triggered a flash food from a Beaver dam collapse

It was the talk among the soakers at Liard River Hot Springs. A few days earlier we crossed the very spot where a flash flood busted the road in two.

With water still rising from the Spring thaw, we pulled out of Laird onto the Alcan heading towards Watson Lake.

Alaska Highway
AlCan Highway between Laird River and Watson Lake, Yukon
Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway
AlCan Highway Yukon border

Watson Lake, Yukon

Watson Lake
Watson Lake Visitor Center parking lot – home for three nights

The Watson Lake Visitor Information Center kindly allowed us to dry camp in their parking lot. With a region-wide cell-service outage (which had nothing at all to do with flood or fire) we needed the complimentary WiFi. Though the signal was weak, we were able to connect with family, attend to the (LIB) blog, and confirm campground reservations up the road.

Meanwhile, we explored the legendary Signpost Forest.

Signpost Forest
Signpost Forest
Signpost Forest

The Visitor Center staff provided supplies and a craft area to design our personal contribution.

Signpost Forest
Abandoned Dog by Robert William Service

The next morning we continued west toward …

Teslin, Yukon

Alaska Highway
The Alcan just south of Teslin, Yukon

The constant drizzle cleared the stench of wildfire smoke from the north.

Alaska Highway

Yukon, is a great watery paradise made of a million minor paradises.

Alaska Highway

The territory is named for the river which flows nearly 2,000 miles through mostly untouched wilderness beginning at the McNeil headwaters and turns west toward the Bering Sea. The Yukon converges with the Tanana and Klondike Rivers and countless tributaries.

These waterways are glories among thousands of impressive lakes, streams and islands that go unnamed. The tease, Yukon: Larger Than Life did not prepare us for the grandeur of this vast wilderness in Canada’s smallest territory.

Alaska Highway

With river banks overflowing, it was no surprise the charming Village of Teslin was in a state of emergency …

Teslin

and our campground, under water.

teslin
Yukon Motel and RV Park under water

The local authorities allowed us to park in the rest area on the hill.

Teslin

The view of the village below, backdropped by mountains, changed constantly in the shifting light.

Teslin
Our view from the Teslin rest area

Yukon takes beauty to a whole new level.

Teslin

We stayed in Teslin for only two days. The dangerous water was not safe for the kayaking we’d planned.

Alaska Highway

Fortunately, the George Johnston Museum was open.

George Johnston Museum

We didn’t know what to expect but the film, Picturing A People made us feel as if we’d been let in on a secret.

George Johnston Museum
George Johnston Museum
reconstruction of a trapper’s cottage
George Johnston Museum

The lovingly preserved archive of art, antiques, garments, handwork and photos told the story of a visionary artist whose dedication to his work continues to influence generations of villagers.

George Johnston Museum
George Johnston, The Elvis of photography in Teslin

We pulled out of Teslin with more respect for this land, and for the resilience of the community and for the strength of stories shared.

George Johnston Museum

Following the signs …

Atlin

we detoured south about a hundred miles …

Atlin
Atlin
Atlin

to beautiful …

Atlin

Atlin, British Columbia

Atlin

There, we settled in beside the lake

Atlin

a short walk from downtown Atlin, where everyone knows your dog’s name.

Atlin

We came for kayaking …

Kayaking Atlin
Kayaking Atlin
Kayaking Atlin

but there’s more. We visited the little firetruck that didn’t save the town …

Atlin

and some cool boats.

Atlin
The Historic Atlin Lake Excursion Boat Tarahne
Atlin
Atlin Lake launch Atlinto

Neat old stuff like that.

Atlin

Atlin doesn’t take its long-lost boomtown history too seriously.

Atlin

This town is progressive.

Atlin

There’s no cell service or WiFi, but it’s not about turning back the clock.

Atlin

It’s about making room for peace …

Atlin

and quiet …

Atlin

and serenity.

Atlin

But don’t be surprised if you have a great shopping experience in paradise.

Atlin
Atlin
Atlin
Best coffee EVER! Atlin Mountain Coffee Roasters!

Atlin is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth …

Atlin

… to meditate, write a poem, draw, or just stare at the tranquil lake.

Atlin

If we ever go dark, you can find us in Atlin.

Atlin

Starting early, we followed our detour back to the Alcan.

Atlin
Atlin
Atlin

Wildlife viewing was best on the side-trips.

Atlin
Atlin

That morning we left one of the least populated hamlets in British Columbia and entered the territorial capital …

Whitehorse, Yukon

Whitehorse
Whitehorse

Big town, big stores. We were desperate for tactical gear. Herbal repellants are enough in the lower forty-eight, but not here where the mosquitos train in terrorist camps.

Our first stop in Whitehorse was to explore solutions at The Real Canadian Superstore. The locals set us up …

Whitehorse
Check, check, and check.

and invited us to attend the Canada Day parade and festivities!

Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Thanks to immigration, the once declining population of Yukon is now on the rise. We met former Californians who had recently immigrated.
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
36,000 fascinating Yukoners live in 482,000 square kilometers.
Whitehorse
We found Yukoners to be cheerful, friendly and eager to have a good time.
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Senior athletes. You go girls!
Whitehorse
Swift as the panther in triumph,
     fierce as the bear in defeat,
Sired of a bulldog parent, steeled in the furnace heat.
     Send me the best of your breeding,
lend me your chosen ones;
     Them will I take to my bosom,
them will I call my sons
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Whitehorse
Whitehorse

Special events continued throughout the day.

Whitehorse
Aerialist
Whitehorse
Beadwork Classes
Whitehorse
You gotta try Grandma Treesaw’s garlic and herb Yukon Bannock
Whitehorse
Landslide performed by these wonderful musicians at Arts in the Park

To live in sub-arctic Whitehorse you must be sturdy and resourceful, but when the going gets tough, Yukoners go to…

Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs – Whitehorse, Yukon

Newly renovated and only a short walk from our campground

Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs

a paradise of relaxation awaited us.

Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs

Formerly known as Takhini Hot Springs, famous for the Deep Freeze Hairdo Competition, Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs opened the new facility to the public only two weeks before we arrived.

Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs
Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs
“The water is believed to possess medicinal properties such as will cure every ailment in the human category from gout to chamber maids knee.” 1907 Advertisement
Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs
“Cayenne Pepper” fountain
Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs

We were two lucky cheechakos.

Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs

Sometimes we had it all to ourselves.

Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs
Nordic Eclipse Hot Springs

As the region-wide cell-service outage continued, hanging out at Eclipse kept us informed. Word from other soakers was the Klondike Highway north to Dawson City was closed due to fire…

klondike highway

and the Alcan was closed to the south – the way we came.

alaska highway

The store shelves emptied.

We moved camp to the city to wait out the fires and position for a possible evacuation. The Real Canadian Superstore Parking lot provided refuge for two days.

real canadian superstore

In this stressful situation it was a comfort to be near vital services.

The delay also opened a window of opportunity for a paddle on the Yukon River at Lake Lebarge … yes, that Lake Lebarge.

kayaking Lake Lebarge
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
⁠     By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
⁠     That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
⁠     But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
     I cremated Sam McGee.
kayaking Lake Lebarge
kayaking Lake Lebarge

Dawson City, Yukon

The following morning, the Klondike Highway to Dawson City still remained closed. Jim, following a trickle of news reports, calculated that if we reached the closure point – 175 miles up the road – chances were good we’d arrive as the road opened.

For 330 miles we drove through fire …

Klondike Highway

and blinding smoke…

Klondike Highway

weaving through torturous detours …

Klondike Highway

and, we made it!

dawson city

Like a letter in a bottle, Dawson City is a fragile remnant of a passionate moment in time when these streets were overflowing with gold seekers.

dawson city
“I had thirty-five cents in my pocket when I arrived. I did not have that much when I left more than two years later. But if I could turn time back I would do it over again for less than that.”
– Stampeder Walter Russell Curtin
dawson city

On a picturesque slope overlooking the mud-flat confluence of the Klondike and Yukon rivers, the city was established in the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.

dawson city
dawson city

In the summer of 1895 the population held at 200 mostly Hän-speaking people.

dawson city
dawson city

The next summer over 40,000 stampeders arrived in the largest mass migration in the shortest period of time in North America.

dawson city
dawson city
Jack London‘s cabin: 1897 to 1898
dawson city
The Dawson City Visitor Centre loans gold panning equipment.
dawson city
And there I strove,
     and there I clove through the drift of icy streams;
And there I fought,

     and there I sought for the pay-streak of my dreams

One can only imagine what it was like for indigenous people to see their simple village become – literally, overnight – a cosmopolitan western city with gold-fevered white people usurping their land.

dawson city
dawson city
dawson city
dawson city
The air was quite smoky but rain was in the forecast
dawson city
dawson city
dawson city

Four years later, as the Klondike Gold Rush wound down, the surviving stampeders dispersed …

dawson city

leaving the city frozen in time, a fever cooled.

dawson city

You can’t blame ’em for packing out. Even with a piping hot red-light district it’s cold in them thar’ hills.

diamond tooth Gerties
Across the road from Diamond Tooth Gerties
diamond tooth Gerties
Diamond Tooth Gertie
diamond tooth Gerties
It’s art!
diamond tooth Gerties
It’s history!
diamond tooth Gerties
gold rush campground
Our campsite at Gold Rush Campground located in the middle of town

Bonton and Company is the best dinner in town.

bonton and company
Charcuterie plate
bonton and company
Every morsel is locally sourced
bonton and company
What a surprise to find flavors like this in such a remote region. This marvel is why Dawson City is known as the Paris of The North.

After dinner and a show we wandered over to the Sourdough Saloon.

sourdough saloon
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up
     in the Malamute saloon; 
The kid that handles the music-box
     was hitting a jag-time tune; 
Back of the bar, in a solo game,
     sat Dangerous Dan McGrew, 
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love,
     the lady that’s known as Lou.
Robert Service

This is an authentic watering hole where patrons are challenged to kiss “the nasty toe,” – an amputated appendage surrendered by some unfortunate Yukoner for this dark duty – lying in state on the bottom of a whisky tumbler.

So Clancy got into Barracks,
     and the boys made rather a scene;
And the O. C. called him a hero,

     and was nice as a man could be;
But Clancy gazed down his trousers

     at the place where his toes had been,
And then he howled like a husky,

     and sang in a shaky key:
“When I go back to the old love
     that’s true to the finger-tips,
I’ll say: ‘Here’s bushels of gold, love,’

     and I’ll kiss my girl on the lips;
‘It’s yours to have and to hold, love.’
     It’s the proud, proud boy I’ll be,
When I go back to the old love

     that’s waited so long for me.”
Robert Service

For fifty years, you think know a man, then the Spell of The Yukon, or the midnight sun, or the local appellations, or all three, most likely, do their sinister work.

Jim cozied up to the challenge, positioning himself in line, ready to throw his money on the table. Then, like magic, a parable leapt off my tongue snapping my beloved out of it: “Men who play footsies with cannibalism sleep in the dredge.”

Jim cooled his curiosity by watching from the sidelines while I lingered on the porch, my attention focused on keeping that nice supper down.

sourdough saloon
The Captain and some random drunken imbecile considering the nasty toe

Next morning we were off to board the George Black, a teenie-tiny ferry which is supposed to navigate our party of three and our 9,000 pound rig across the rapidly rising Klondike during a thunder storm while Jim nurses a hangover.

Pico, him, me. Me, Pico, him …

I have no doubts that the devil grins
     as seas of ink I spatter.
Ye Gods forgive my literary sins.
     The other kind don’t matter.
Robert Service

Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series



If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.


59 thoughts on “Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 11: Yukon

  1. What an adventure! You two had every imaginable obstacle but persevered. I especially enjoyed seeing the beautiful scenery and interesting places you visited. Glad you made it back safe and sound!

    1. Dawn! What a compliment from you, former Alaskan who knows the lay of the land and almost died there several times! Those words, “safe & sound” came up in my prayers many times while we were in North Country.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  2. Sounds – and reads – like a challenging trip. We can’t really think or worry too much living this lifestyle, or we’d turn around at every obstacle. Yet, I totally was there, recently.

    Yes, about a week ago, Mark and I were ready to pack up Maya, book a return flight to the US, and leave Colombia to pick up our camper in Texas, because it still hadn’t been loaded on a boat to South America. When is enough, enough?

    That being said, I’m glad you persevered. The scenery, peace, and wildlife make up for many a bad day. And you found great food and drinks again.

    Congrats on that hot springs video! It’s a masterpiece and encourages a visit there. And I have to agree, Atlin looks gorgeous. When I drove through The Yukon, a lifetime ago, I remember being impressed and pleasantly surprised – maybe even more so by that territory than by Alaska. If only it wasn’t so cold and dark in winter!

    I’m looking forward to reading the next entry in the series.

      1. Hi Carmen,

        Wow! Thank you so very much for writing this amazing review for Plunge and posting it on your website. I’m humbled and excited and grateful about that. I’m happy you enjoyed reading my book and so appreciate you spreading the word. It was a lovely surprise and makes my day.

        We are still waiting – nervously and stressed – for Thirsty Bella. There has been hiccup after hiccup with the shipping process, but we truly hope to be reunited with our camper here in Cartagena in mid-December! Fingers crossed.

  3. I do hope when (or if) you return, you consider the Cassiar Hwy. as a route. We found it delightful, although when we went to Alaska, we had to do the covid rush through route, non stop. We spent 14 months in Alaska, would return in a heartbeat.

    1. Hey Helen!

      We exited The North via The Cassiar – though it rained most of the way home – what an amazing highway.

      Sounds like 14 months wasn’t long enough for you. I hope you have the chance to return.

      Great to hear from you!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hello Jen!

      Thanks so much for saying so and for sharing our journey.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey BRAD!!!

      Wonderful to hear from you! Did I give you a chill? I have a warm hug to make up for it. Hope to see you soon! xoxo

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Gary!

      Isn’t The Cremation Of Sam McGee the best poem ever!? In the fifth grade I recited a selection from it. It was wonderfully exciting to be there. It’s a lonely lake, still. Only a couple of boats within sight. I sure wouldn’t want to be there, alone, at night. I wish I could share all of the photos – but way too many.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. John! Oh my, yes! We’re still processing all we went through … and still exhausted. We might need a year to truly recover from that trip.

      Great to hear from you! Airstream on …

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Gary! Oh, I’m not so sure about “never” … We’ve almost packed out of several gnarly places, but so far, so good. Usually it’s just a matter of taking the time to pull over and have a good meal, a couple of beers and a good night’s sleep and wake up with new goals and a fresh perspective.

      Great to hear from you Gary!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  4. We took our Rv to Alaska 3 times. The last one in our Airstream. Loved every minute. I’d go again in a heartbeat but husband doesn’t want to drive there again. Reading your blog is like a 4th trip.

    1. Oh my, what a compliment, Carolyn. If we strive for anything, it is to explain the journey in such a way that it can be relived – to our benefit and yours. So, thank you. But there is so much more to this trip that I think we have to write a wrap-up with out-takes. We were shocked by how rough the roads were this year. It was much worse than anything we expected. I hope that if you ever go back the roads are better … though I doubt they will be with the permafrost advancing as it is. Maybe one day we can all go there again in our hydrogen fueled flying cars!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Thank you, Marcy! Good friends brighten the journey 💕

      xoxox to you and Ted.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  5. Teslin Lake had some phenomenal fishing, but it’s so big it’s like putting a small boat into the ocean. Too much for our 13′ Zodiac. Miss that drive.

    1. Hey Skipper!

      I like big water, but not fast water. At that time, the currents were clipping along carrying timber from all the broken Beaver dams.

      It’s an amazing drive and with the road closures we had it all to ourselves. Once in a lifetime thing.

      Thanks so much for sharing your memories.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Cynthia!

      Yukon has its scars – mostly from mining and the timber industry – but compared to every other place I’ve seen it’s as fresh and miraculous as a new born babe – and just as untamed and high maintenance with no beginner’s manual. We drove in when Spring had just exploded. I’d never seen so many shades of green and blue. The fireweed had just gotten started. I like to think of your parents being in that Edenic setting. It probably hasn’t changed much since they were there.

      I miss you, but we have plans to drive your way soon!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

      1. Looking forward to seeing you! Will you stay where I saw you last time? It was an easy drive for me!! I’ll come visit wherever you end up! Are you eating cookies for Christmas? I have two recipes I found in mom’s old books, ricciatelli and cucidati (fig filled cookies). I’d love to send you some!

    1. Oh Pete. Thank you. Your timing is perfect 🤗 I needed that ☺️ The check is in the mail 😁

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey David! The door is open, the awning is out and Pico is taking a sunbath. There were days in Alaska when I was dreaming of this day, and here it is.

      ☀️🏝️🌵

      Bliss.

      Great to hear from you! xoxo to you and Kathy 💕

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  6. Oh Carmen, my Carmen! You tell a good tale, your rhythm is beautiful and you know how to sell!! 😆 Any travel advertising agency would do well to scarf y’all up!! Your pictures tell stories of their own and are, as always, breathtakingly beautiful and expose the majesty that I never knew was there!! I will confess, as I was coming out of my dream state of mind, that you had me laughing out loud at your last monotone line!!! I love you my friend, give Jim a big hug!!

    1. Margie 👯‍♂️

      Oh, you and me – me and you. Here comes trouble! Of course you laughed. We get each other when no one else does. Pink rings forever!!!

      xoxo,

      Carmen

  7. I love your blog! It’s like taking a beautiful vacation, while sitting in the comforts of home. Based on the comments, you’ve touched many people through this journey. What an adventure! Doug and I hope you have a safe, happy, and joyous Christmas!

    1. Laura 💕

      Oh, how we miss you two! What fun to hang out in Kamloops!

      I’m sure the scenery on the lake is glistening white right now. We wish you every joy and peace of the Christmas season. Tonight we will light a fire on the beach and toast you from the south. Cheers, Dear Friends.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen & Jim

  8. Love your stories. We crossed the Canadian border August 21. Drove to Dawson Creek and the Alcan into Alaska. We only spent 6 days in Alaska and decided it was time to travel south – the weather was turning and several places were closing for the season. But all in all it was a fast trip but worth the adventure. Now we can say ‘been there done that’. Milepost it a great book – everyone taking the trip should get one. Did you know Seattle to Anchorage is 2260 miles and Seattle to New Orleans is 2573 miles. Makes it seem not so far. Another trivia note – If you cut Alaska in half it would be the 1st and 2nd largest state with Texas being the third = it is huge!

    1. Hey Sheryl!

      Thank you for the fun and fascinating facts. I guess, the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and The Florida Keys, South Texas and San Diego are remote regions to Yuconers. The difference would be the amount of vehicles arriving to those areas from Seattle without broken axles, blown tires and windshields – and not having to drive 5-10 mph for days in a row to avoid potholes big enough to swallow a VW Bug. Though that could change in the future as the highways in the Gulf Region are getting worse every year.

      So glad you got Alaska under your belt. We stayed there for almost 60 days and I think it didn’t rain on about four of them. At least we were better off than the tourists on the cruise ships that never saw a clear sky.

      We used the Milepost and, for the most part, we found it useful. For a commercial enterprise it was helpful. What Milepost tells you is great but sometimes what they don’t tell you is what you need to know, such as, August is a notoriously rainy month. We endorse Milepost, maybe even as a primary source, but it’s good to research multiple perspectives to fill in the gaps of information.

      We just feel that the main thing is to GO. If you can afford the time and expense to drive overland to Alaska, DO IT.

      https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20220210-the-alaska-highway-a-subarctic-road-to-prevent-invasion

      … because these roads have an expiration date.

      https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21122021/alaska-dalton-highway-trans-alaska-pipeline-cilmate-change/

      Time’s a’wastin!

      Thanks so much, Sheryl, for sharing your experience in The Great North!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  9. “Atlin is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth.” You can say that again! Those snow capped mountains behind the lake are just spectacular!

    Alaska certainly put you guys through the ringer, but I’m so happy to see that you persevered and kept going. I know those feelings of fear well, and of course, it’s easy to say these things after the fact when you know things have turned out well, but still… it’s true – it’s worth it to push through and keep going and trust that things will work out.

    1. Laura,

      You know the lay of the land well.

      There’s no “sure thing” about RVing through a disaster zone. You feel that you are equipped like a bug-out specialist but you’re still dependent on the integrity of the roads. In the US, we’re spoiled because functional roads are the norm. Jim and I pressed on because we trusted in the tried-and-true scenario of dependable roads and maintenance. But let me just say, our trust in the availability of safe and sane infrastructure is beginning to wane – but not just in remote places. Roads are crazy-expensive to maintain and I am expecting to see more closures in the future – especially along coastal, desert and mountain routes.

      All said, we had a great time. It truly was an amazing trip. We’re happy (and a bit surprised) to have made it home safely and with no major damage to ourselves or our rig. We are a bit old for a North Country adventure, I think. I wish we’d done it when we were younger. And, yes, we would live in Atlin if we could, but we would need to have a plane and know how to fly it. The small airports along the Alcan are wonderful alternative.

      Great to hear from you, Laura! (Shoot. It’s just great to be alive!) We love reading your posts about your transition from RVing in your Tiffin to now living in Portugal! We wish you the best in this new chapter at Chapter3Travels!

      https://www.chapter3travels.com/about-us/

      Hugs to Thor 💕🐾 Woof!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

      1. I agree with you 100% about the safety of our current infrastructure. I’m sitting here in Lisbon in another crazy rainstorm. Last night, there was widespread flooding and one person was killed. Last month there was widespread flooding that included a tornado. When we were in California in 2021, we had to await the rebuilding (again) of the PCH after (yet another) mudslide washout. And everything on your side of the ocean and mine is on fire every summer. Climate change is here and I don’t think anyone is ready for it. It’s definitely something we need to think about in our daily lives and when we make choices about where and how to live.

        Stay safe, you guys!

        XOXO

        1. I agree, Laura. Every time Jim and I find a great place where we think we could live year-round we loose all enthusiasm after a quick inspection of the climate-risks. Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans … Now, we are only content to live in those dream-retirement places in a house equipped with good tires and a hitch – prepared for a same-day emergency get-away. Because camping is usually only zoned in eco-sensitive areas in fire-buffer and flood zones, we’ve had to skedaddle several times.

          But even when we were living in houses we had to deal with wildfires (our house in Spring Valley was once made into an emergency fire station with several neighbors houses burning across the street) and we had to spend crazy money on air-filters, new house paint (due to smoke from distant wildfires), fire-retardant roofing, annual brush removal … Depending on where you live the responsibility of home-ownership can be overwhelming.

          Even though most American cities seem to be at war with RV’s and go out of their way to make ridiculous laws about where we can park our small smart homes, we are happy to live this way.

          Ok, I will stop preaching to the choir 😜

          Safe & Happy Travels & Hugs to Thor!

          Carmen@LIB

    1. John, it is our pleasure. We only write to journal our adventures and share with those who have an interest. It makes us happy that you are a part of our journey.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  10. As always an entertaining and exhilarating read. I would’ve headed south at the first inkling of trouble. Do NOT possess Jim’s steely resolve.
    You are a wordsmith my darling C
    Keep it up

    1. Hey Funniest Man In San Diego AKA San Diego’s Best Santa 🎅🏻

      No, you don’t have Jim’s steely resolve, but you know how to rock those Rudolf-poop earrings 𐂂

      Merry Christmas! Make children happy and we will see you in the rope line soon. I have a very long list to go over with you 🎁

      xoxo to you and the Mrs. 🤶🏻

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  11. Yes, Mickie, the situation got sticky.
         But the cause is easy to explain.
    Think, bison and moose and bears running loose
         along a barely paved road in the rain.

    But with Beauty and The Beast
         the odds were right sweet.
    We made it home with the whole enchilada
         Credit goes to you and our followers too
    For the good vibes, the prayers and the love.

    xoxo,

    Carmen

    1. Yes it was Dean! We had to keep reminding ourselves that The Alcan is the reason why only 5% of tourists overland to Alaska. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? 😜

      Always great to hear from you, Dean! I hope you are having a fabulous holiday season 🥂

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Twosna Travels!

      Thanks for following. Going to Alaska was almost too much to process in the moment, so reliving the experience is still exciting for us! Sometimes we can’t believe we really did this stuff! One mile at a time we got through.

      Wonderful to have you with us!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  12. 41 years ago I celebrated my 25th birthday in Whitehorse. Flying there was quite an adventure. Now, as an Airstream owner, it’s time to return on a much-anticipated Alcan journey. Love following your blog.

    1. Hey David!

      That would be an epic return trip. Whitehorse is a unique village. We loved the hometown vibe, fresh air, creativity, history and diversity. There is a wonderful visitor center and an impressive library as well – both are great for concierge services. They have concerts and arts events in the concourse area. We didn’t see a fraction of what Whitehourse has to offer in the summer, but we saw enough to know that we’d like to go back someday and spend the fair months.

      Thanks for being with us, David!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  13. Another amazing blog from our favorite bloggers. You’ve settled a long standing dispute between Debbie and me. I keep wanting to go to Alaska. Debbie says we will get stranded with a broken down tow vehicle and Airstream. She wins. I think we will take a cruise to see Alaska. We hope to see the two of you this spring or summer.

  14. Frank!!! 💕 It’s an honor to settle something … somewhere, but please keep the conversation open about how to see Alaska.

    We feel that just cruising is probably the worst way to experience Alaska because the ships move too fast through the ports. On low visibility days there won’t be much to see. We felt sorry for the cruise passengers when the glaciers were socked in with fog. When you go on your own terms you can stay as long as you like, wait for the weather to clear, or just say forget it and drive inland.

    The best passage to Alaska is probably by private sea plane. Lake-hopping up and down the AlCan would be spectacular. We met a couple in Mesa who did exactly that. The problem is, you have to be a pilot and own or lease a seaplane.

    My ideal way to see Alaska is to take Beauty & The Beast to Whitehorse in the Spring. When the melt starts, we leave the rig in a good campground and take a scenic flight up to Anchorage. In Anchorage we catch a coastal Alaska cruise. Then, back in Anchorage, we rent an RV to explore the interior at our leisure and revisit any port cities we missed due to weather. We’d end the trip with a good long week or two exploring the Fairbanks area. When we’ve had our fill of the Aurora Borealis, we catch a flight to Whitehorse, retrieve the rig and skedaddle south before the first snow.

    Believe me, we’re still processing that drive and all the bad things that could have happened. We saw a few RV’s abandoned along the side of the road, but we got through it fine without damage. In every campground several RVers, but not most, were having service done on broken axles and windshields and almost everyone had so much interior damage that they were just limping along. In Valdez we saw a moose crashed RV being towed from the highway.

    All of this was quite sobering. Seeing with our own eyes what could happen made us even more alert and careful. We went very slow. So what? Going slow insures that you will see more wildlife and views. We had leisurely lunches overlooking scenery so beautiful it looked fictional. With the late sunsets we were never in a hurry to beat the light. There’s no need to rush – ever. There’s nothing to rush toward. So, if you take your time, make sure your rig is in the best condition ever, have a spare or two aboard (we never needed ours) then you’re good to go.

    We saw many people traveling in groups. That is something to consider but we like traveling at our own pace. We don’t want to be pushed or slow someone else down. We like to sleep late or rise early when we want. When we saw a pull-off we liked, we took it. If we were hungry or wanted a bio break, we stopped and just enjoyed the countryside.

    Also, through In-Reach we were constantly communicating our GPS coordinates to our son and my dad. We had several emergency plans. We kept our Bug-Out Bags ready in case we had to unhitch Beauty and evacuate in The Beast.

    There is much think through before going to Alaska, but there’s no reason not to go and you don’t want to miss British Columbia and The Yukon!

    We can’t wait to see you two next year!

    Hugs to Debbie💕

    Safe & Happy Travels!

    Carmen@LIB

    1. Carmen, Thank you so much for the tips. We will carefully consider everything that you said. I sure hope we can reconnect this coming year!

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