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Monday August 12, 2013- Tok to Destruction Bay

Holy smoke! We woke up to forest fire smoke everywhere; glad we were planning to leave today. We packed up and headed over to the Tosoro for diesel and gas. Some firefighters drove in for gas so Bob went over and asked them where the fire was. Everywhere! The one in Fairbanks is still going, there was one in Dot Lake and another really big one in Delta Junction,  both just north of Tok and several of the previous fires, which had been put out, have re-ignited. Most fires in Alaska are caused by lightening. Lightening, even when there is no rain. Since it has not rained in the interior, the fires are re-igniting. What happens is there is the bottom layer of permafrost. Then moss grows over the permafrost and sparks get into the moss. The sparks smolder,  just sitting there under the moss and eventually re-ignite the moss, when the weather is so dry. Sometimes they are even there all winter, under the snow! The picture is in Tok, but it was much worse later…

Tok with forest fire smoke

We drove south out of Tok on the Alaska Hwy.. We had no idea how far the smoke was going to continue. We could see a light pink color in the smoke to the southwest, so we thought there might be a fire there. The smoke would get thicker and thinner. Sometimes we could only see the trees directly on the side of the road. It was too bad, as Mileposts was listing all sorts of beautiful scenery off to the east and west. 

We did one very quick stop for a potty break and continued on as fast as we could drive, which was only 45 mph, with some areas of 35 mph, depending upon the frost heaves and pot holes. I drove from here to after lunch.

We finally made it the 93 miles to the Canadian border. We stopped to take pictures. Just as we were leaving, some other motor homes drove in from the south. We asked the folks how long the smoke continued. It was only another 24 miles in Beaver Creek.

Below, is our good-bye to Alaska. Except we will be visiting the panhandle.

Welcome to Alaska signe as we were leaving Alaska

International boundry Canada and Alaska

Above is the ceremonial boundary. Below is the actual boundary.

International Boundry

Welcom to Yukon sign with forest fire smoke in background

Bob and the dogs are in Canada and I am still in Alaska

Above, Bob and the dogs are in Canada and I am still in the US!

The US customs is at the border, but the Canadian customs is located 22 miles into Canada, just before Beaver Creek.  That was 22 very long miles! Right at the border, on the Canadian side, there was construction for 22 km/14 miles. So much for washing the motor home and car the other day!

We waited 45 minutes in line at customs. This time they did  ask about pets. The guy asked if they were up to date on their rabies vaccination. When I said yes, I asked if he wanted to see the vaccination forms. Nope! He just asked the rest of the questions, liquor, guns, other folks traveling with us and where we were going. We went right through. We had been watching the folks ahead of us and they had pulled over two separate trailers but skipped a 5th wheel and us. One km into Canada there was a rest area, so we stopped for lunch.

The air cleared in Beaver Creek, but the road became worse. When you hear about how awful the roads are on the trip to Alaska, this is the area that they are talking about.

According to Yukon Transportation, the Alaska Hwy is built on glacial silt, which is not a good foundation for roads. As everywhere, when it warms, it liquefies.  Then it freezes and melts, causing pot holes and frost heaves. Both the Americans and the Canadians are doing testing to try to mitigate this issue. We passed some of the ways they are trying to maintain the permafrost so that it will not liquefy and then re-freeze. On the sides of the road, in the US and Canada, they had pipes coming out of the road, with vents on top. We certainly hope these tests are successful, as you can tell when the road is not built on permafrost. We could sail along at 55 mph. The rest of the time it was 35-45 mph, or even slower.

Since we had to drive so slow, and we lost an hour when we entered Canada, we arrived at our destination for the night, Congdon Creek Provincial Park at 5PM. A very long day for us! We do not usually travel this long( time wise), for a total of 251 miles.

We pulled into the first site we came to which was flat and on the lake. Here is the view out the front of the motor home! We parked, set up and went to pay, as it was self-registration $12/night. At that point, we realized that we were in a double site, taking up the whole site! Oh well, we were too tired to move, and the site is pretty narrow for two vehicles!

Below are pictures from the motor home, overlooking Lake Kluane.

View from campsite 3 Congdon Creek Campground Destruction Bay YT

View from motor home in Congdon Creek park

View from campsite Congdon Campground Destruction Bay YT

We BBQ’d dinner, read our books out by the lake for awhile, then came in and watched Flash Gordon on DVD.  A lousy movie! We had purchased a DVD with ‘action films’ which we had been watching. That was not great either, although some were better than others. This is a SciFi DVD with four movies on it. This movie was worse than the other ones! Hopefully the other 3 movies on the DVD are better than this one.

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