Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 12: Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska

Posted January 4, 2023 – Narrated by Carmen
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Airstreaming to Alaska
โ€œPeople who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely because chickens run about so absurdly that it’s impossible to count them accurately.โ€

“You are a catastrophist.”

Ruth, my editor friend, wearing a “I am silently correcting your grammar” T-shirt, captured and labeled me with the benign efficiency of a seasoned naturalist before tightening the lid on a killing jar.

Chicken Alaska
Near Chicken, Alaska

She’s good! Touchรฉ, shoe-fits, call’m-like-ya-see ’em.

I accept the characterization. In fact it’s my favorite emoji ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Thanks to the Greeks, there’s a word for “a tragic turn of events.” Catastrophe, Catastrophic, Catastrophist. The tongue needs a grab bar just to say the word. Sounds like a saber-toothed tiger devouring prey. Looks like a rusty fish hook stuck in wooden dock, thirsty for a bare foot. It runs with scissors, yanks consonants up by the roots, orphans vowels and sells them into slavery. It is a word I can trust to carry out its stated purpose.

Top of the World Highway
Views from the Top of the World Highway between a break in rain and fog

If you’re dead set on eating sushi from a food truck, walking and texting while crossing the road, or planning a drive to Alaska, I will pray for your welfare, but do not mistake me and Jim for influencers. No.

We are chroniclers.

Jim and I love our lifestyle, but we do not peddle it. If, on occasion, the joy is piled on a bit thick that’s because (as a true-blue catastrophist), I deeply sense that every day we awaken, intact on this boiling cauldron of a planet, we are experiencing a bonafide miracle. It would be a pity not to savor every second.

Top of the World Highway
Views from the Top of the World Highway

Jim, though he listens to my concerns, actually believes good things are supposed to happen ๐Ÿ˜‡. Like the starry-eyed pioneers of old as they prepared for the journey west, Jim plans for the best but he also gears up for every catastrophe I can imagine. He prays I’m wrong. I pray he’s right. We’ve found balance.

But writing this blog is my job, so prepare to be terrified of driving to Alaska.

Top of the World Highway
Top of the World Highway near the Taylor Highway junction

The Ferry

At Dawson City, Yukon, we boarded the George Black Ferry to cross the swelling, raging Klondike River on a glorified raft during a downpour.

I reined my tongue. Kept thoughts to myself. I knew what he was thinking: “It’s free, safe, government-approved transportation so, okay, let’s do this. What could happen?

And, he knew what I was thinking: “So, this is how it ends.”

george black ferry
July 10th ferry crossing

Once again the miracle of human technology won the day and I was thrilled that we will never, ever do this again.

Top Of The World Highway

Now we entered the recently reopened and deceptively named Top Of The World Highway which makes it sound both like an actual highway and a joyride. Top of the World Highway connects to the Taylor Highway and our first Alaska destination: Chicken, (no joke) Population: 12 (or 7 depending on the time of year and who you’re asking).

chicken alaska

Chicken is to pie as pie is to Chicken.

We heard that Chicken has pie and we were holding to that image because every scrap of research warned us this would be a rugged drive. So while over-landing to Alaska I learn that I can be bought with pie.

top of the world highway
“sections of very rough road, soft shoulders, hairpin curves and steep 1000โ€™ drop-offs.”

After hours of brain-rattling washboard road and giant potholes behind us, we pulled over to shake off the stress and evaluate damage. Thus far, we hadn’t seen another vehicle on the highway. All good, we prepared to move.

top of the world highway
Resting on the Top of the World Highway

Then, a truck passed, skidding sideways in the mud, barely clearing our rig before fishtailing wildly up the hill.

top of the world highway
“Do not risk a tip over by putting a wheel into the soft shoulder. WATCH your trailer wheels on turns. Stop for oncoming traffic at narrow spots.”

I repeated my silent prayer, “Chicken and pie. Chicken and pie. Only 110 miles. Dear God, please, oh, please. I am a mother and a daughter, a sister and a friend. Don’t let us be a cautionary tale. Just get us, without incident, to Chicken and hot, delicious pie.”

chicken alaska pie
Endless pie waiting for us in Chicken

On a sunny day, the Top Of The World Highway would dazzle us with spectacular views of the valleys and rivers below. But in wet conditions we were forced to focus on the slippery-as-snake-shit dirt road โ€“ until great waves of fresh fog from hell, ranging from bad,

top of the world highway

to worrisome,

top of the world highway

to terrifying, rolled in.

top of the world highway

Pardon my navy-brat mouth, but we shall always remember this road as “The Grab Hold Of Your Sweet Ass Highway.”

top of the world highway
“Steep hairpin curves with 1,000 ft. unguarded drop-offs.”


The drive went slow. Four hours and sixty-some miles later we reached Alaska, too exhausted to celebrate or care.

poker creek alaska

There were no crowds or red carpet or a big brass band to greet us. There wasn’t even a booth stocked with We Overlanded to Alaska merch. We passed some historic buildings which had not reopened since the pandemic. A ranger welcomed us to the United States and performed the usual inquiry about contraband before waving us through.

poker creek alaska

We stretched our legs, took the “Woo-Hoo We Made It” pic …

poker creek alaska
July 10th, our arrival in Alaska

and scrounged up a bite of yummy lunch from our Alaska-power pantry.

Well nourished, we gathered strength for the final forty-two mile stretch to Chicken. The smooth newly paved road beneath the tires felt unfamiliar and totally out of context, like pearls before Moose.

top of the world highway
The sign said Alaska but it sure looked like Yukon: Hurray for lines on maps.

Then, almost instantly, the thrill was gone. Fog obscured our vision.

top of the world highway

Jim slowed The Beast to a crawl. As we rounded a curve we spotted moose and a herd of caribou running uphill.

top of the world highway

Wow. Had we not lowered our speed at that precise moment we might have crashed into this young man waiting for help beside his disabled vehicle. He said he’d stopped as a herd of caribou crossed the highway, but a few stragglers caught him off guard, causing him to skid and roll into the ditch. He was okay but his car was totaled.

top of the world highway

We were three hours from the nearest town offering towing services and, of course, there was no cell signal. Jim used our inReach emergency satellite system to call for help.

Our position โ€“ on a downhill curve with no shoulder โ€“ was incredibly unsafe in the fog. Fortunately, there was little traffic. We spent an hour there texting details to secure emergency services and during that time only one other vehicle โ€“ a motorhome โ€“ slowly passed. Then, as we waited for a text confirming roadside assistance was in route, a truck screeched around the curve stopping just a few inches short of slamming into all three of us.

We had to get out of there, but the young man chose to stay with his vehicle. We wished him well and, out of concern for his safety, we left our emergency traffic triangle kit.

top of the world highway
Weeks later, our adventurous friend messaged us. He made it to Tok, where he gifted the car to a mechanic and caught a bus to Anchorage where he boarded a flight to Hawaii.

An hour and a half later โ€“ following another twenty mile stretch of dirt road โ€“ we finally pulled into …

top of the world highway
State-line Squirrel says it all. We were so done with this road.

Chicken, Alaska

As the chicken flies, the town is about 173 miles from the Arctic Circle.

chicken alaska

Gold mining is the thing that makes Chicken Chicken,

chicken alaska

one of the few surviving gold rush towns in Alaska.

When the town was established in the early 1900’s, the founders wanted to honor the ptarmigan โ€“ the Alaska State Bird, but they thought it over and decided to name the town Chicken because, hell, everybody knows how to spell Chicken.

The postmaster agreed the idea was gold.

chicken alaska
Chicken Post Office

Not much has changed since then. There is the Old Town …

chicken alaska

and the new town …

chicken alaska
Sorry. Correction: This is the old town. The previous photo is the new town.

The tiny community free-ranges widely over 115 square miles.

chicken alaska

There’s the cafe, gift shop and gas station …

chicken alaska

a roadside motel, RV park, general store, a suspension bridge

chicken alaska

a very cool miners cabin

and a band stand.

chicken alaska

Chicken is an off-the-beaten-path international destination, drawing flocks of tourists who like to scratch in the dirt for gold …

chicken alaska
Gold panning class

and do the Chicken dance at the annual Chickenstock Music Festival.

They even have an airport so folks can fly to Hawaii. During the pandemic Jack in The Box gifted Chicken $10,000 to help the town weather the pandemic. Interesting. That sum is chicken feed for a huge corporation, but it’s just about right for a Hawaii get-away for 7-12 people.

chicken alaska

The homemade pie at the Chicken Creek Cafe is famous in these parts. The classic breakfast …

and reindeer stew were not small comforts considering how deep in the tundra this place is. Our first made-in-Alaska brews were top-notch and they soothed the sciatica pain brought on by the frost heaves.

Reindeer stew

The ceiling of the saloon is festooned with thousands of panties donated to The Panty Canon. It’s a tradition for road warriors with Dead Butt Syndrome to celebrate their Alaska arrival by blowing up their underwear. Chicken Creek Saloon is the Sistine Chapel of grunge bars, and we’ve seen a few. With no WiFi or cell signals, the music is entirely classic vinyl. Boom!

chicken alaska

And, yes, there is pie,

chicken alaska
Just follow the red chicken …

an endless counter of perfectly crusted, rewarding pie.

chicken alaska
Congratulations! You made it!

And plenty of chickens.

chicken alaska
Don Quixote Chicken
chicken alaska
The World-Famous Eggee Chicken
chicken alaska
Just some other chickens

The photobombing chickens are unavoidable.

All my pics got clucked up.

chicken alaska
Just another chicken

A Chicken overnight rest was on the schedule.

chicken alaska

But, parked there beside the saloon and the cafe we just felt like, “Hey, what’s the rush?”

chicken alaska

After all, the next stop is Tok, to wash the rig.

chicken alaska
chicken alaska
chicken alaska

Maybe, we should just walk over to the airport and fly to Hawaii!? ๐Ÿ๏ธ

chicken alaska

We voted on it and two out of three wanted to delay the clean-up for an extra night in the Chicken coop.

chicken alaska
Subjected to these impossible conditions our security specialist nearly surrendered his resignation.

Cheers ๐Ÿป We made it to Alaska without loosing our pants.

chicken alaska

Thanks for the pie, Chicken ๐Ÿฅง and one more round for The Road ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

top of the world highway
Some potholes are long and deep (This road was fresh in 2017)
top of the world highway
and some potholes are short, considerably deep and dangerous
top of the world highway
When it’s raining one must assume they are all, at minimum, Chicken deep.

Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series

  • Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
    • Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay – Chula Vista, California
    • Malibu Beach RV Resort – Malibu, California
  • Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
    • Morro Bay State Park – Morro Bay, California
  • Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
    • Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park – Santa Cruz, California
  • Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
    • San Francisco RV Park – Pacifica, California
  • Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
    • Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair – Wilton, California
    • High Water Brewery (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Harmony Wynelands (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Van Ruiten Family Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
    • Four Fools Winery (Harvest Host location) – Rodeo, California
    • Lawsonโ€™s Landing – Dillon Beach, California
    • Mia Bea Wines (Harvest Host location) – Redwood Valley, California
    • Johnnyโ€™s at the  Beach – Eureka, California
  • Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
    • Harris Beach State Park – Brookings, Oregon
    • Bay Point Landing Resort – Coos Bay, Oregon
    • Blue Herron French Cheese (Harvest Host location) – Tillimook, Oregon
    • Seaside RV Resort – Seaside, Oregon
  • Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
    • Washington Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park – Olympia, Washington
    • Salt Creek Recreation Area – Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
    • Weirโ€™s Beach RV Resort – Victoria, British Columbia
  • Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
    • Riverside RV Resort – Whistler, British Columbia
    • Big Bar Rest Area – Clinton, British Columbia
    • Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
    • Alexander MacKenzie Landing – Mackenzie, British Columbia
  • Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
    • Northern Lights RV Park – Dawson Creek, British Columbia
    • Former Prophet River State Park – Peace River, British Columbia
    • Hay Lake – Fort Liard, Northwest Territories
    • Northern Rockies Lodge and RV Park – Muncho Lake, British Columbia
    • Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park – Liard River, British Columbia
  • Chapter 11 – Yukon
    • Watson Lake Visitors Center Parking Lot – Watson Lake, Yukon
    • Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
    • Norsemen RV Park – Atlin, British Columbia
    • Hot Springs Campground – Whitehorse, Yukon
    • Real Canadian Superstore Parking Lot, Whitehorse, Yukon
    • Gold Rush Campground – Dawson City, Yukon
  • Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
    • Downtown Chicken Cafe and Saloon
  • Chapter 13 โ€“ Tok to Valdez
    • Tundra RV Park – Tok, Alaska
    • Gulkana River Rest Stop – Gulkana, Alaska
    • Bear Paw RV Park – Valdez, Alaska
  • Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
    • Grand View Cafe and RV Park – Glacier View, Alaska
    • Alaska Raceway Park (Harvest Host location) – Palmer, Alaska
    • Ship Creek RV Park – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Chapter 15 – Kenai Peninsula
    • Heritage RV Park – Homer Spit, Alaska
    • Marathon RV Campground – Seward, Alaska
  • Chapter 16 – Whittier to Talkeetna
    • Williwaw Campground – Whittier, Alaska
    • Talkeenta Camper Park – Talkeetna, Alaska
  • Chapter 17 – Denali
    • Riley Creek Campground – Denali National Park, Alaska
  • Chapter 18 – North Pole to Chena Hot Springs
    • Riverview RV Park – North Pole, Alaska
    • Chena Hot Springs Campground – Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Chapter 19 – Tok to Haines
    • Fast Eddy’s Restaurant Parking Lot – Tok, Alaska
    • Gravel Turnout – Beaver Creek, Yukon
    • Gravel Turnout – Destruction Bay, Yukon
    • Haines Hitch-UP RV Park – Haines, Alaska
  • Chapter 20 – South to the Lower 48
    • Gravel Turnout – Haines Junction, Yukon
    • Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
    • Jade City Parking Lot – Jade City, British Columbia
    • Mehan Lake Rest Area – Bell II, British Columbia
    • Fort Telkwa Riverfront RV Park – Telkwa, British Columbia
    • Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
    • 100 Mile House Municipal Campground – 100 Mile House, British Columbia
    • Mt. Paul Golf Course (Harvest Host location) – Kamloops, British Columbia
    • Crowsnest Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Cawston, British Columbia
  • Final Chapter – Lessons Learned
    • Philosophy
    • Preparation
    • Planning
    • Mileposts (the book)
    • Roads
    • Weather
    • Camping
    • Cash and Currency
    • Clothing
    • Food
    • Wildlife
    • Bugs
    • Fuel
    • Dump Stations and Potable Water
    • Pets
    • Internet Connectivity
    • Hiking
    • Cycling
    • Kayaking
    • Damage
    • Dangers
    • Canada Border Crossing
    • US Border Crossing
    • General Observations
    • Serendipity
    • Final Thoughts
    • Our Camp Sites

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.

68 thoughts on “Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 12: Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska

  1. Wow!! We had to avoid that route due to road closure due to fire and Iโ€™m so glad we did. The Alcan was hard enough on our rig..

    1. Hey Stella!

      We had just made the cut before the fire closure on the AlCan. Lingering in B.C. and Yukon was a gamble. It worked in some ways and hindered us in others. We were lucky to miss most of the fires, but then the rain started and it never ended. So we missed the fair weather early in the season. Ah well. We still had a memorable trip with many fabulous moments.

      Thanks so much for sharing your Alaska trip experience! Everyone has a different unique experience.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  2. Holy hell!!! Glad you lived to tell about it, and with such good humor. I kinda want to go see it for myself, but I’m kinda chicken. LOL. Could you could have waited for the fog to lift before embarking on the road to Chicken, or was it too difficult to predict?

    1. Hey Laurel!

      Great point. Why did we proceed into (HOLY HELL!) danger …?

      We never saw a place to turn around! We thought about it quite a bit and were looking for a spot to pull over and wait the fog out. The road had just reopened and some of the areas that may have once been used as unofficial turnarounds or pullouts were overgrown with fallen trees. The only place we saw a safe pullout was at the Alaska border where we made lunch. At that altitude we were above the fog. Maybe we could have waited there but I don’t think the fog cleared for days thereafter.

      Thanks for sharing our horror. If you want to take that route we recommend you research often. Facts change daily. The ferry closes often (for days) for repairs and/or maintenance, and the TOW Highway (an appropriate acronym!) also closes for many obvious reasons. You don’t want to get stuck on that highway because there are NO services.

      Thanks for being with us, Laurel!

      Safe & Happy Travels,


    1. Hey Brenda!

      I will not advise you to go or not to go or what to go in. I don’t want it on my conscience! But if you do go, your tires should be in great shape and you should take several spares. We didn’t need our spares, but we took our time and went slowly. We saw many overlanders with broken axles, abandoned rigs and blown out tires which they had abandoned on the side of the road. Most drivers get impatient and when you do that the road will win every time.

      Great to hear from you!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


    1. Glad to hear it Carolyn! We gave it one chance. Never again. There are too many other places with better roads.

      Thank you for sharing your experience on The Top Of The World (TOW ๐Ÿ˜) Highway!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  3. What a “I scared myself to death trip”. Holy cow! Love your account of it and blog. I’m laughing and cringing at the same time.
    Mid 60’s, I don’t think so. Try 80’s. That monster will take years off your life. That’s probably the biggest adventure on this planet. Oh my goodness. What a ride. But you had the courage to do it. Wow!! Now you surely can do ANYTHING!! Love you guys!

    1. Linda ๐Ÿ’• Wonderful to hear from you. I’m not entirely convinced we can do anything, but we did learn that we have a good solid rig. We didn’t break anything and we even came out of it with the same windshield, axels and tires we started with and no interior damage. But our rig has been lovingly owned for decades and tuned by the best at Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair. But we were lucky the road didn’t close due to flooding (the last few miles to Chicken were very soggy with water running across the road. That would have forced us to turn back ๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ and do it again ๐Ÿ˜ถโ€๐ŸŒซ๏ธ

      Happy New Year Gal!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


      1. Thank God, it all worked and your rig came out in one piece. I would have needed a flock of chickens and a dozen pies to get me down off the ledge after that leg. Can’t wait for your next journal entry.

  4. Oh yes. Alaska sheโ€™ll shake your rig apart!! We were supposed to do it at end of June but thank goodness the northern road was closed due to fire. Instead we went west and north via Alcan and had that nightmare
    to deal with..

    1. Hey Barbara!

      We were lucky to sustain no damage. Our plagues were mud, bad roads, no connectivity and unrelenting rain. At times we thought about turning around but south only offered a major long-term heat dome and wildfires. Fortunately, we were rewarded with some amazing scenery and memorable Alaska moments. I hoping that, over time, the difficult aspects of the Alaska journey will disappear like the pain of childbirth and only the bright shining moments will dominate our memories.

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I hear ya, Barbara. That road is not one I would want to contend with again.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  5. The highlight of our trip north was the Top of the World Highway! We had dry conditions and kept up a pretty good speed with minimal dirt and dust. Chicken and Eagle were another world! Loved it!

    1. Hey David! Thanks for sharing your entirely different experience driving The Top Of The World Highway. I’ll bet it was amazing. You caught that road under the best possible conditions. Of course we were hoping for a scenic drive, but it was not to be. What year did you travel? It appears the highway department has plans to pave the entire road but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. I don’t think we even saw a dozen vehicles that day.

      Great to hear from you!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  6. We traveled to Alaska last May. Once was enough for us! We did enjoy Seward best! The weather, scenery & wildlife was great too! We drove 12K miles during our 3 month trip. We’d drive to British Columbia again to visit Stewart & drive the 4 miles into Hyder, Alaska! Plus, BC has the best Provincial parks for camping & the people are the friendliest!

    1. Hey Lori!

      Oh wow. We love Seward. Missed Hyder but Haines blew us away. We spend a week in both places. Our favorite area is north of Fairbanks. We feel the same way you do. Once is enough for Alaska, but we would definitely go back to B.C.

      Thank you for sharing your 2022 Alaska experience! Please stay with us through the end of the series. Your contributions help other travelers as they make plans for their once-in-a-lifetime trip North.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


    1. Chris ๐Ÿ’• We will never intentionally push our angels that hard again. Though our research was thorough, we didn’t have a full picture of the challenges. The roads up north don’t last more than four or five years before they break up, and the pandemic stopped many road projects, so right now it’s easy to get outdated mile-by-mile info. Being able to see those potholes ahead of time is so important and it just impossible with that fog. So, yes, we will always be forever grateful for the ๐Ÿ™๐ŸผHelp๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

      Love you SO much and Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen & Jim

  7. Great post….we’ve done that route with a 10-unit BC caravan many years ago. Cannot believe how rainy and foggy it was for you. We had many sunny days during out 6-week caravan however, that meant the road was really dusty. Would do it again in a ‘New York Minute’ if age wasn’t a factor now.

    1. Hey Arlene! Yes, ever since we began planning this trip we were prepared to deal with dust, but with rain almost every day of August, we contended with mud. Even with months of clean-up behind us, I’m sure we still have some actual Alaska with us right now ๐Ÿ˜‚

      In our mid-60’s this trip was more of a challenge than we expected it to be. With the border closures due to the pandemic, our timing for this trip was decided for us. We figured that if it wasn’t 2022 it would probably be Never. We still have quite a bit of travel in our future, and maybe even a few more adventures, but nothing like Alaska. Wow. Alaska is for real!

      Thank you for sharing this amazing trip with us!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  8. My Airstream looked like that, when I was did that trip, I don’t regret doing the trip at all. ๐Ÿ‘

    1. Hey Sondra. Yes. We all need a secret handshake or something. I want the t-shirt. I deserve the t-shirt. Where’s my “I Over-landed To Alaska” t-shirt?

      Safe & Happy Travels!


    1. Jan ๐Ÿ’• Years after we stopped night driving we decide to overland to Alaska ๐Ÿ˜‚

      BTW, congratulations on your academic achievement, Ms. MDiv!!! You’re my hero. Go save the world!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  9. We were on that same WBCCI caravan in 2018 with the Broads and can certainly confirm the pretty pleasant ride TOW was. Our caravan drank all the beer at the pizza cafe in Chicken if I remember correctly.

    1. Hey Grady! Any day you can be in Chicken is a good day. Getting there is another matter. Sounds like you had wonderful conditions back in the day when there was no labor shortage. Extensive improvements were made in 2017, but it’s due for another make-over. No telling when that will be completed. When traveling to Alaska, the most recent updates about road conditions/hazards and weather are like gold.

      Thank you, Grady, for sharing your experience on The Of The World Highway.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


      1. Really, I would think the roads would be better. There was a lot that was dirt. What is the best month to drive up?

        1. The guide books say June-August. But August was rainy last year. The locals say August is rainy every year, but 2022 was exceptionally wet. This year June was unusually warm and dry, but that climate shift caused more fires from the inland areas, and very bad smoke in the coastal areas, so bad some people couldn’t see the glaciers. So, we don’t know of any ideal time. The roads are mostly closed until the melt, but the melt is comes early some years and late during others. It’s a crap shoot I think. I will say this, the Farmer’s Almanac called it perfectly for 2022 and if we were acolytes of the FA’s extended forecast we would have driven straight through – no dallying – and explored Yukon and B.C. lake country during August and early September.

  10. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading about your adventure, but there is no way I could do it in that fog! I applaud you — and your writing and photography are spectacular — one of my favorite blogs. I will live my Alaska adventure vicariously through you, and probably go there someday by plane or cruise (I’m too chicken to RV to Chicken)!

    1. Hey Carmela! This blog is a magical way of having the pleasure of your company on the ride, and we are delighted you are here. We enjoy traveling for others and someday we will be the ones who need others to travel for us. We have our limits and Alaska certainly tested our endurance. We wish we’d gone when we were younger, but better late than never. At this point both of us are too Chicken to go to Chicken ever again but we will always hold Chicken in our hearts ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ’•

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  11. Great blog! I went through Chapter 12 and then had to look through the rest of the trip. I donโ€™t have an AS yet but plan to have one in the next few years. Meanwhile I will read through the rest of your trips. Thanks for posting!

    1. Hey Craig!

      Welcome to the adventure. We look forward to hearing more from you. Stay alert! Those Airstream dreams have a way of coming true at the most unlikely moments.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  12. Carmen you are in fine form for this post. One question remains, are there any real chicken/ptatarmthingies in Chicken?

    1. Linda๐Ÿ’• We didn’t notice any, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. We had an afternoon of fair weather and saw some wildlife at a distance but we never saw a ptarmigan, but we think we heard them when we were in Denali. Here are some lovely photos of the three kinds of ptarmigan in Alaska:

      You can listen to the “call of the ptarmigan” here:

      Wow. How about this rain!?!!!

      Safe & Happy Travels to you and Greg! xoxo


  13. We were there this summer too. Fortunately our drive to Chicken was on dry, but very dusty roads.

    1. Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing your experience in 2022 on The Top of The World Highway. Exactly, take your chances, dust or mud. Did you have fog or was it an unclouded day?

      Safe & Happy Travels!


      1. We had fog later in the trip when we were closer to the coast. The weather on the top of the world highway was clear, but cold and very windy.

  14. The picture with Jim holding Pico looks like Pico is saying “you calling me chicken?” And giving you serious side eye! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ Wow, what a road trip!

    1. You are a Pico expert, Nancy! ๐Ÿ’• Pico is a body guard. When he’s with me Jim is the enemy and when he’s with Jim I am persona non grata. He’s the 8 lb Boss of Us and we’re good with that arrangement.

      Great to hear from you, Nancy! Jim and I hope you are having a lovely rainy January day.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  15. Funny storyโ€ฆ A friend from my college days in 92 showed up in my life a couple days ago. He lives in AK on the Kenai peninsula. I was telling him about you two and Barb Darien going up with your Airstream. Iโ€™ll send him this pic. Love your stories!

    1. Hey Lindy ๐Ÿ’• Always great to hear from you! Yes, it is funny how life’s currents flow through time. Thanks so much for being a part of the journey.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


    1. ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿผ

      Thank you and Safe & Happy Travels!


    1. Jody! ๐Ÿ’• Yes Pico’s oppositional defiant disorder is something to contend with at border crossings and inspections ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

      Great to have you with us! Enjoy the rain!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  16. Wow! This was your best trip log yet. I felt the build-up from the beginning and, boy, was I stressed out as the story played out. The picture of the hairpin turn, uphill, with fog, and no guard rails, really packed a lot of punch. You will look back on this as a badge of honor. Having traveled, and been in some bad situations, these are the stories that stick with you and you will one day look back at fondly. It is adventure at its highest setting! Congratulations!

    1. Hey Randall!

      Thank you for mentioning the photos. Yes, when I look at them the excitement of that drive is fresh again. I had not seen the pics until a couple of weeks ago as I prepared this blog entry. Because of the bumpy road, most of the images were too blurry to use. The few photos I took from the outside were in the rain and most of those were not keepers. I’m just so happy I had enough to tell the story.

      Wonderful to have you with us, Randall.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  17. OK — couple of things from an editorial point of view
    First, excellent descriptions and photos as always, but I think a selfie video (especially of Carmen) is you forded the river on the Tom Sawyer raft would’ve provided much mirth and proper context to your safe and sane readers.
    Second, you never showed us the pie you chose nor even described its luscious flavors. Did you forgo pie? Was it not to your liking? I was waiting the whole blog to hear about it so I could vicariously delve into its wonderful gustatory delights. Shame!
    Lastly, Panties!! Did you donate?
    See you soon I hope
    Funniest man and his mate

    1. Hey Funniest Man In San Diego!

      I hear you. Last first: No, I did not surrender my panties to the panty canon. Several reasons. First. No one wants to see that. Not even you. Admit it. Then, there is the technical problem. The canon is very small designed for delicate lingerie. My granny panties are large and thick. I didn’t want to risk backfire. Third. Gunpowder is involved. I am not a union actor and cannot risk the liability.

      I ate pie. Two slices. One apple and one blueberry. A cinnamon bun with an extra slab of cream cheese icing was also involved and an oatmeal cookie, I believe. The sugar high lasted into the next day. Oh the shame. Do I have photos? Sure I do. I have a hot steamy one right here behind my back. Wanna see? C’mere. Just a little closer …

      So sorry there were not enough antics and high comedy for you as we crossed the scary river like ants on a cornflake. We could use some comedy coaching. Hey? You got any pics of your reaction when Southwest dumped you in a blizzard on the other side of the country and left you to figure it out?

      As always, those were some great catches Funniest Man in San Diego. Thanks for keeping us on our toes. We worship the banana peel you slip on. Our only goal is to make you proud.

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  18. That road, pictured with that fog, and combined with the warnings about 1,000 foot drop-offs on unguarded curves would have had me in a fetal position on the floor, rocking myself to calm. Good grief! What a stressful couple of days. And yet, you were kind enough to stop and help that poor guy on the side of the road. How terrifying that must have been for him and I can only imagine how grateful he was for your help. (My favorite part is where he officially said “to hell with this” and went to Hawaii. LOL. Smart man.)

    Well, your nerves were rattled and your rig was filthy, but that pie sure did look divine. I think after all of that, I might have grabbed a whole pie for myself. And a bottle of wine. Laura

    1. Hey Laura! Hiking up Half Dome and Mount Whitney in the Sierras was easy compared to driving Top Of The World Highway in fog. We should have waited, but it is possible the road was socked in every day last August.

      Hmmm … Chicken or Hawaii, ๐Ÿ“ or ๐Ÿ๏ธ ?

      “Hawaii” is probably the code Chicken P.D. uses for a female overlander walking to the airport with a pie and bottle of wine.

      Great to hear from our Portugal friends!

      Hugs to Thor ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’•

      Safe & Happy Travels!


  19. Such a fun post – for us, the readers! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay, you made it. And, you sure deserved that pie. Chicken sounds like the perfect first stop to take a breather and sample the food and drinks of Alaska!

    1. Hola, Liesbet!

      Yes, it’s a fun outpost where fascinating people provide for travelers who have reached the end of their road tolerance. Pie, beer and Chicken is all that matters way out in the tundra.

      Speaking of “way out” I need to check in and see how things are going at Roaming About!



  20. Oh, my gosh. Just found your blog. We had our own trip to Alaska last year also. Enjoyed it – mostly – but will never drive it again! And we skipped Top of the World. It was at the end of our trip, in August, and by that time we were sick, cold, extremely wet from the torrential rains, and very tired. It was not a drive I wanted to even contemplate in bad weather. This blog has confirmed my thoughts were not wrong!

    1. Hey A!

      We concur. We do not regret overlanding to Alaska, but we will never do it again.

      Your description, “tired, sick, cold” … is how we describe our own experience – and continue to months later. We’re still tired. We’ve RV’d to some challenging places, but nothing like Alaska.

      Bad weather luck has been following us for two years – even in Florida. Two out of three trips were too cold to justify the trouble and expense. And as Southern Californians it’s difficult to admit that the last two winters have been unusually cold and far too windy for pleasure camping on the coast.

      As Living in Beauty progresses we are increasingly aware that unseasonable weather is the norm these days, so we are developing new strategies.

      Great to hear from you, A. Thanks for finding us. Better luck next time!

      Safe & Happy Travels!


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