Posted July 9, 2023 – Narrated by Carmen
If we were young, we’d probably sugar-sprinkle our Alaska exit saying, “We’ll be back.”
We knew the score.
There would be no reprise of our Alaska overland tour.
We had a wonderful adventure, but the floods, fires, rain, and bad roads wore us out.
We were tired.
The time had come to find a dignified exit while dealing with the fact that Alaska won’t miss us at all.
Oh, it’s true. There’s no denying that feeling when you’ve given it your all. You’re standing there at the door, heart open, and the door slowly closes. The lock turns.
Alaska and us – it’s a one sided relationship …
with incompatible differences.
Don’t get me wrong. There is love and attraction but, it’s complicated.
For starters, there’s too much distance between us.
And, when we’re up, Alaska’s down.
When we’re down, she’s up.
There’s no level ground.
The stakes are too high …
the field too young and competitive.
We’d never make it as sourdoughs.
There was nothing left to do but grab as many unforgettable moments as possible and get out while we can still hold our axels high.
That’s why we keep this blog – so our King Salmon hearts can beat themselves up on our Living in Beauty river of memories.
Still, it’s not easy to turn your back on Alaska in Autumn.
Heading south, we felt North Country slipping too quickly from our grasp.
The scenery on our four-day, 686-mile journey toward Haines was agonizingly beautiful.
So we sank our eyes deep into every dog leg turn …
peek-a-boo glacier …
and graceful river valley.
The hillsides, graffitied with the colors of fresh kill seemed to read …
“There’s the door.”
We got the message loud and clear.
Yet, we dragged our wheels like a couple of stalkers.
Clearly, we were still love-struck. It could take years to clean the glacier dust out of the rig, and we were okay with that.
Pizza and beer is good breakup food.
and then sleep it off in the parking lot beside the AlCan.
Next morning, we cranked up The Beast and turned the rig toward Yukon.
“Beauty hurts,” Mama would say while combing my hair back into a scalp-stretching pony tail for grade-school picture day, “It prepares you for love.”
Likewise, hundreds of traveler reviews rate this drive as shockingly painful but beautifully rewarding.
Proceeding slowly, to avoid impact from snow heaves and pot holes, we covered 126 miles in four hours.
That notorious wormhole, led us into a region which Jim and I christened The Delphic Expanse.
And why not? We felt like explorers. No human life-forms ranged within sight. Playing with the idea of entering a fantastical land of our imaginations seemed the natural thing to do.
Seasonal color accentuated the landscape’s contours.
The work of refracting light revealed what mountain scrub is made of, dipping into carotenoids like a master of wet-on-wet watercolor.
Saffron flowed into magenta, chartreuse merged with amber.
This is Earth on sunlight.
That night we settled near Beaver Creek, Yukon, population 73, on a gravel pullout beside the AlCan.
We watched the sky bounce rainbows off the thin cloud cover until darkness put an end to that game.
The creek serenaded us to sleep.
The following day we covered 108 miles (3 ½ hours) to Kluane Lake near Destruction Bay, Yukon, population 43.
We hadn’t seen a soul in two days.
The beach was ours …
These fog-crowned mountains …
this blooming rose sunset,
this exquisite tranquility, solo la nostra, ours alone.
The next day, we drove through the north-west fringes of British Columbia.
and re-entered Alaska one last time to say a proper three-day goodbye in Haines.
Haines holds all of our lasts.
Our last Alaska campground,
Our last next door neighbors in Alaska.
Our last charming historic Alaskan village.
Our last art walk …
and historic building tour.
We said goodbye to the last Alaska marina,
dined on the last fish and chips,
toasted with our last Alaska draft brews,
paddled our last glacier lake
and, bid farewell to the bears.
The tiny village of Haines pushed all of our stay-buttons, but from here it was water under the bridge.
In the end, Alaska told us her side of the story.
She’s cool with us, but she’s juggling a lot of important stuff right now, like that crazy salmon run while wrestling with health issues, putting out fires and trying to find balance when so much is completely out of her hands.
She just needs some breathing space.
We parted on good terms.
Observing the bears bulking up for the coming winter filled us with new purpose. They reminded us of an empty place which yearned to be fed.
We missed our son and his girlfriend. We longed for our clan of friends. And we slavered for a big ol’ juicy grilled snapper fillet nestled into a bed of crispy greens on a handmade corn tortilla topped with fresh pico de gallo and guacamole.
From 4,500 miles south, the faintest whiff of our traditional feeding grounds had captured our attention, calling us home.
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
- Lawson’s Landing – Dillon Beach, California
- Mia Bea Wines (Harvest Host location) – Redwood Vally, California
- Johnny’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
- Weir’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 – 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
- Mileposts (the book)
- Cash and Currency
- Dump Stations and Potable Water
- Internet Connectivity
- Canada Border Crossing
- US Border Crossing
- General Observations
- 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.