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Author Topic: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"  (Read 52672 times)

SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #60 on: July 04, 2012, 10:53:32 PM »
Oh I understand the free market system very well Ed. But it's not just one city we are talking about. We are talking entire Provence's that are priced that way. And it's not just the tourists that are getting fleeced, it's the residents that live here as well. I would have loved to have paid $5.50 for the box of Cheerios, but $8.00??  Come on now.  But I digress, just an observation from a lone traveler. 

It's all part of the adventure, and I am still glad that I am able to experience it. 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #61 on: July 05, 2012, 08:39:28 AM »
Look at the map, Sarge.  The cereal is $5.50 plus shipping.   ;)   General Foods doesn't have a distribution warehouse 50 miles away by interstate highway.
Gary
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RoyM

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #62 on: July 05, 2012, 08:51:01 AM »
Gary hit it. Freight costs are the killer, combine a small population and long distances from major distribution points. Perishables have to be flown in in many cases. 
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #63 on: July 05, 2012, 09:30:56 AM »
      FWIW, I just did an on line search at Walmart, Cheerios in FL was $398, in Prince George BC was $5.50, and $4.47 here in Ottawa.  Things have always been a bit more expensive here in Canada, but what you're seeing is mostly what Gary said, remoteness from distribution and transportation, like you have noticed the price of diesel is a lot more than in the US, maybe that's because we sell it to you cheaper per barrel than we have to pay ourselves.

Ed
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #64 on: July 05, 2012, 09:18:39 PM »
The Jeep dealer in Whitehorse came through for me. I stopped by the dealership today to check on the delivery that was due tomorrow.  Surprisingly it came in a day early, and was the right piece of glass and everything!  So I took the glass and went down the glass shop down the street that does all of the dealers installs "All West Glass".  I had originally made an appointment to get the install done tomorrow (Friday) at 2 PM.  I figured that it was worth a shot so I walked in and asked how busy they were. To my surprise they said "how about in 10 minutes?" 

Cool! So I dropped off the keys and asked about a place for lunch. We had planned on trying the "Klondike Rib and Salmon Bar-B-Cue" not too far from the glass shop (and recommended by Marsha and several others on the forum). The manager of the glass shop, Brad, offered to drive us over to the restaurant and drop us off.  When we got there we saw that they had an outside patio of sorts right in front. I asked one of the servers if I could bring our dog Heidi onto the patio with us while we dined. She asked "how big of a dog are we talking?".  I told here she was a medium size mutt kind of dog. She said "well, we aren't supposed to, but go a head, just keep her in the back of the table".  So we enjoyed a few beers, had fish for lunch and even had some dessert.  We walked back to the glass shop and the new window was installed and ready to go.  The window itself cost $194 delivered to the dealer, and the install was $150.  The windows in the Jeep hard top are not held in by rubber molding. They are held in by a two part silicone system.

With the window installed and the Jeep road ready again, we are pulling out of Whitehorse tomorrow morning and heading for White River RV park, a half way point on the road to TOK. We will stay a few days there then drive the rest of the way to TOK.   
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Tom

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #65 on: July 05, 2012, 10:18:17 PM »
Great outcome Sarge. Do you have a URL for the dealer &/or the restaurant?
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #66 on: July 05, 2012, 11:12:36 PM »
Good idea Tom. The web site for the glass shop is www.all-westglass.com  The Jeep Dealer is www.metrochrysler.ca and the restaurant is Klondike Rib and Salmon, http://www.klondikerib.com

All were great to work with and highly recommended, and the restaurant was tasty and fun!
Marty--
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camperAL

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #67 on: July 06, 2012, 12:12:46 AM »
Hi SargeW and all,

Wondering if you were to secure cardboard over your vehicle tote window while you travel, it might be a cheap insurance from picking up any gravel and having to repeat the window replacing process in the future.

Just an idea and seems like it would be easy to remove if you needed to drive it when camped.
CamperAL (Indiana)
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Kevin Means

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #68 on: July 06, 2012, 12:56:00 AM »
Hi SargeW and all,

Wondering if you were to secure cardboard over your vehicle tote window while you travel, it might be a cheap insurance from picking up any gravel and having to repeat the window replacing process in the future.
   
Just an idea and seems like it would be easy to remove if you needed to drive it when camped.

Was wondering the same thing - especially since Marty is a rock magnet.  :)  I've heard a lot of stories about busted windows on the Alaskan highway.

Kev
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Lakeside, California

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #69 on: July 06, 2012, 10:22:52 AM »
We pulled rocks out of the well in front of the windshield after most travel days and then we got a windshield star crack just outside of Tok. We added a heavy piece of vinyl with a cotton felt backing to our toad. Basically a big bra that covered hood and windshield, but home  made and strapped on with bungy cords. Worked fine, but would not have prevented Sarge's side window problem. You can only do so much... unless you want to use an enclosed trailer.
Gary
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BigLarry

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #70 on: July 06, 2012, 01:13:45 PM »
Really enjoying your reports Sarge.  Makes me ready to go again!!!!  We were very lucky on our trip and had one tire go down overnight and our battery charger in the TT quit requiring me to hook a charger up to the battery when we stayed in the same place for several days.  I left TX with a cracked windshield in my truck and didn't add any on the whole trip!!!!  I still haven't replaced that winshield.
Larry and Betty
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #71 on: July 06, 2012, 10:19:15 PM »
Yeah Al, if it got much worse I would consider your idea. But I think that side shot on the Jeep was just a freak occurrence. There wasn't even a second chip anywhere on the side of the Jeep. Just that one window.

especially since Marty is a rock magnet.  :)
Kev

Boy, no kidding Kev. But other than the one new "star" the first day after entering BC, I have been doing pretty good. 

Today though things changed quite a bit on the Alaskan Highway. Even the Milepost made a specific comment as to the road conditions. Ever since I entered BC I have been wary of the road conditions. But I have to admit, in about 2500 miles, I have only encountered one big dip that got my attention in BC. Most of all the rest have already been repaired. But interestingly the road flags are still in place. The ones that are there to alert you to a rough or unsafe condition.  It's kind of a fake out on most of the ones that I have come across thus far.   Until today. 

We stayed to the Alaskan Highway today passing up the road to Dawson City. We will drive back that way once we get to Tok in the Jeep.  And today was the first day in a while that we have really noticed a dramatic change of scenery. So far a lot of the way through BC we have seen lakes, and trees. Lots of trees. However today upon leaving Whitehorse we noticed that the scenery has changed for the better. Lots of dramatic snow laden mountains, clear mountain lakes and all close enough to reach out and touch them. 

But back to the roads. The Milepost noted that the roads past Destruction Bay to the Alaska border have presented a "significant challenge" to the road department do to the extensive perma frost conditions found here.   And boy howdy.  There are also many road repair projects in progress, ranging from a few miles, to as many as 10+ miles in length. The road surfaces are dirt and gravel, and the travel speed is reduced to around 50 kph (30 MPH). After my last rock incident with the truck in BC, I leave LOTS of space between me and the front vehicle, and when passing a truck coming the other way, I nearly drive off into the ditch to create space.  And of course where there is road construction, there are water trucks to wet the surface for compaction purposes.  So the nice clean Jeep that I had for a few days in Whitehorse looks like I have been out "mud blogging".  Oh well, another opportunity to detail the Jeep.  The frost heaves in this stretch of road are so numerous that they don't even flag them.  You just have to play very close attention and slow down. The travel speed in this stretch only averaged about 45 MPH anyway, but when a rough spot was coming I would slow to 30 to 35 MPH.  I missed one such heave and unloaded all the clothes in the closet. Again. 

But for now we are in White River, at the White River RV park. A nice little place with excellent mountain views. They generate there own power, so that hum you hear in the background is the generator running that supplies power to the campground, the hosts, and anything else that needs 120 volt power. Once while writing this entry the generator shut off, and everything went quiet.  Fortunately I didn't lose the whole entry!

There is also a road crew working here that is being transported around by helicopter. The helicopter is using the campground as a base of operation and from our site we can watch occasional take offs and landings.  We will be here for a few days to get caught up on things, wash a little mud off, and head for Tok, Alaska.  I will wait to refuel until Tok, as the prices are reported to be better than it the YT.

Internet here with the Telus air card is non existent. The campground does supply free WiFi if you get a space closer to the office. But, I am able to get Direct TV. Interestingly, the last two campgrounds when I attempted to enter the coordinates into the Direct set up screen, it has refused to process the entry and give me a Azimuth and Elevation. It just wouldn't accept the numbers (I know that they were correct as I obtain them from the GPS).  Then it occurred to me today what the issue may be. I am pretty certain that Direct is not licensed to do business in Canada. I have seen several RVers with dishes out that are getting satellite signal, but not with the Direct name on the them. And the dishes are really big, like at least 3' round.  It is my suspicion that Direct is not supplying me with coordinates because of where I am at.  It will be interesting to see if when I get into Alaska if the Direct box will return to normal.
Marty--
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #72 on: July 07, 2012, 03:20:04 PM »
Well, I had interesting night last night in White River. And some of the facts I reported yesterday have changed a bit so I will elaborate.  First the helicopter that is operating out of the RV park is not for road crew work like I had thought, but rather shuttling geologists around. I talked to the pilot last night at a community campfire held every night here in the RV Park.  A young man named “Scott”. Scott is 28 years old and has been a helicopter pilot for the last 6 years. He works for a company that for the last few years has had a contract to provide support to a geological research company working in the mountains around the area.  He fly’s crews, materials, fuel for diesel powered drills, and core samples to and from two different coring operations in the area.
 
The crews are looking for gold, silver, or any other precious metals that they may find.  It’s been going on for a few years now, so they must be having some luck. Scott works 7 days a week, sometimes long hours servicing the crews. Some days it’s just materials and workers, and other days they will disassemble and move a diesel drilling rig to a new location. He works every day possible, sometimes in inclement weather just to keep the crews working. He works from early May to approximately mid August before the weather turns bad.  He has to make as much money as he can to make it the rest of the year. What a life!
 
I also met the owner of the park last night, a colorful gentleman named “Bob”. Or, as Scott calls him, “Crazy Bob, or Doc”.  I asked Scott why “Doc”. He said, think about Doc from the “Back to the Future” movies starring Michael J Fox.  And he was right, there is a striking resemblance to Christopher Lloyd.  And he is almost as colorful.
 
A few facts that Doc shared with us last night at the campfire was that a large part of this whole area is “Permafrost” or what he preferred to call buried glaciers.  In this spot where the RV Park is the Permafrost is only down about 18”.  Now mind you this information is being relayed over drinks at the campfire, in a place that never gets dark.  So at 11 PM he says he will take us to a place and prove it. Doc is feeling pretty good about now with several of whatever he was drinking put away already.  There is me and about 5 other guys, so he loads us in a 1942 Dodge D62 military 6X6 truck that he has restored and drives us a short distance to a clearing in the trees next to his 3000’ long air strip.

We walked about 50’ into the brush and trees to a small hole in the ground that he says he dug there 13 years ago. He instructs me to roll up my sleeve and stick my hand in the hole. Hoping that this is not a joke, I comply. About 8” down the hole I hit ice water, then 6” into the water I feel a solid block of ice.  Doc says that this Permafrost is about 200’ to 300’ feet deep in this location.  Interestingly, the whole area around this spot feels like a giant sponge. Not wet, but spongy that goes up and down a few inches when you step on it.
 
By the time all of us finish feeling the ice in the hole, it’s about 1130 PM. We load back into the truck and head back to the campfire. Now Doc says “You want to see something really cool?”.  Sure, why not. He sends us back to refill our drinks (apparently drinking and driving at midnight in the Yukon is not a problem).
 
All I know is that we are going to the first bridge ever built over the White River by the US Army in 1942. I have no idea how far we are going, but we all are committed now. Fortunately we just drive across the highway and down about 50 yards. We turn down a dirt road that disappears into the brush and trees. I jump out and open a gate and he drives through. It’s now he displays the amazing ability of the 1942 Dodge 6X6. He keeps to a brush covered trail at first, then suddenly turns the wheel hard right towards a thick bunch of trees and tall brush. The old vehicle mows over the trees and anything else in the way. Some of the tree trunks are 3” in diameter, and the jeep doesn’t even slow down.  Now it almost midnight and from the jeep I take a picture of the setting sun, if you can say that, at about the lowest point it’s going to be all night.
 
Within a few feet we are stopped and jump out of the jeep. A short distance into the brush is the remnants of a 1942 era bridge.  It is made out of huge timbers and cut tree logs. The bridge is not very high as it was just intended to move heavy army vehicles over the river.  We walked out onto the top of the remaining timbers, and some are soft and decaying.  Others though have maintained a solid, firm feel, even after 70 years of sitting out in this brutal climate.  I took some pictures of the bridge, and had one taken of me and Doc (Bob) standing on the bridge beams. The picture is a little fuzzy (but so was the guy taking the picture).
 
We finally head back and I head off to bed at 1 AM. It’s still light outside, and Diane is wondering if I got kidnapped.  The next morning I took a few pictures of the 6X6 and a few more of some 1940’s era Army vehicles that Doc has displayed here on his property.
 
If you are heading up or down the Alaska Highway, White River RV Park is worth a stop, even if it’s only for the night.  No telling where you might wind up in an old Army truck.
Marty--
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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #73 on: July 07, 2012, 03:33:58 PM »
Obviously, you don't need lights on your vehicle in the Yukon in the dark... ;D

Great stories...there may be a book in this...like most, I am living vicariously through your adventures...ain't life fun?
Kim & Christi Bertram
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #74 on: July 07, 2012, 05:34:36 PM »
Absolutely Kim! And tonight we are supposed to go hunting for bear in the woods..........
Marty--
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Ned

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2012, 05:43:18 PM »
Absolutely Kim! And tonight we are supposed to go hunting for bear in the woods..........

Are you sure he didn't say snipe? :D
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Tin man

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #76 on: July 07, 2012, 06:15:04 PM »
Ned

I like your thinking..when they were in the truck, could they hear banjo's
Jim W
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Wendy

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #77 on: July 07, 2012, 06:43:06 PM »
Very cool.I like the idea of light late at night, maybe I could actually see where I'm going ! OTOH, isn't it hard to sleep?
 
Wendy
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #78 on: July 07, 2012, 07:09:24 PM »
Boy no kidding!  So, if a tree falls in the woods, can anybody hear you scream?

Very cool.I like the idea of light late at night, maybe I could actually see where I'm going ! OTOH, isn't it hard to sleep?
Wendy

Yeah, sleeping is tough. I have to keep telling myself not to look at the windows. And then waking up to use the restroom is tough too. Your head tells you it's the middle of the day.
Marty--
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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #79 on: July 07, 2012, 07:09:54 PM »
Wendy, I slept just fine.  Probably better than I do when it is dark all night :o
Lorna
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2012, 07:35:18 PM »
We left White River and drove the into Tok, Alaska today. WOOHOO! Sorry, it just felt really good to see that sign that said "Welcome to the United States of America" when I crossed the border. I didn't go out bear hunting with Doc last night. I figured I survived the first night out, so I wouldn't push my luck.  The last 50 miles or so of the Alaska Highway to the Alaska border REALLY sucks. It is a 35 to 40 MPH road at best, unless you want to unload your closets onto the floor (Diane was getting tired of rehanging all the clothes up at the end of the day.) 

We rolled up to the Alaska border and were happy to see there was no one in line. I pulled up to the border agent at the window, ready for a third degree.  Instead he was friendly and asked relatively few questions.  How many people we had on board, (2 and a 1 dog) does she have her health certificate? (Yes, would you like to see it?) No, that's OK. Any weapons on board? (Yes, one shotgun) Do you have the Canadian paperwork? (Yes, here you go).  I handed him the paperwork, he glanced at it and handed it back.  "Thanks, enjoy Alaska!"   

Wow, finally someone that made me feel that they wanted me to be there. It had to happen eventually. The whole process took about 3 minutes.  Then as I pulled onto the Alaskan side of the highway, they must have taken pity on all the travelers that had just drove up that way from Canada.  Because the next 14 miles of highway towards Tok is brand new, shiny black asphalt that felt like glass.  Even when the new section ended, the rest of the road to Tok has some damage, but the repairs are already done, even if just filled with patches.  The rest of the way in you can pretty safely travel 50 to 55 MPH. 

The first thing I noted is that the fuel is a lot less here in Alaska so far. The station across the street from the RV park is selling Diesel for $4.26 a gallon.  We paid about $5 a gallon at the last fill up in Yukon.  We pulled into the Tok RV Village, just ahead of a Caravan.  We paid about $45 a night for a 50 amp site (the first 50 amp site I have had in a while).  It's is about 90' long and is shaded with Pine trees on both sides. 

After not being able to get the Direct TV box to give me any coordinates in the Yukon I was curious to see if I would get the box to work here in Alaska.  I plugged in the Zip Code of the park and the box popped up the AZ and EL.  The elevation of the dish was only 11 degrees!  Surprisingly the direction our RV space was pointed was straight towards the direction that the Direct satellite was supposed to be.  I cranked up the dish and hit the satellite within seconds.  Not a real high reading on the strength meter, only about 50 to 50 on the meter, but plenty strong to pull in the signal. 

I also pulled out the Telus air card when crossed the border this morning.  When we stopped at a roadside pull off for lunch I plugged the Verizon air card back into the router and turned it on. At about 10 miles from Tok we hit signal and Diane had internet the rest of the way in. 

I think we may take the Jeep and drive to Chicken tomorrow just to look around. We probably will not drive into Dawson City, not on this trip.  The sun is shining, there is light fluffy clouds and a light breeze blowing.  So far so good!     
Marty--
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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #81 on: July 08, 2012, 10:35:10 PM »
If you'll go ahead and drive the rest of the Taylor up to Eagle, you'll see some country that is different than anything else we saw on the trip.  After the road turns north going toward Eagle, you're really on top, then the road starts down, crosses a river then follows a canyon down to the Yukon at Eagle.  For us, that road was a highlight of our summer in Alaska.  The Yukon Quest sled dog race travels part of the route every February.  I couldn't imagine what it must be like on top of that ridge in February!!!
Larry and Betty
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Betty Brewer

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #82 on: July 08, 2012, 10:45:31 PM »
Marty,
I love traveling with you.  Your posts are informative, engaging, interesting and  a highlight of my day.  As I told you before, much less expensive to follow your travels than to fire up our rig to make the second trip.

Keep those journals coming.  They are most appreciated. I too recall that feeling of "being back in the USA."

Betty
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #83 on: July 09, 2012, 12:40:22 AM »
Thanks Betty! Enjoy the ride!
Marty--
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #84 on: July 09, 2012, 07:17:13 AM »
We are enjoying it vicariously as well - every report brings vivid memories of our 2002 journey. I've even gone back and looked at my old Alaska logs & photo library a few times to assist my increasingly deficient memory!
Gary
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #85 on: July 10, 2012, 12:03:31 AM »
Today we drove into Chicken to see what we could see.  We drove the Jeep the 77 miles from Tok and it took us a little over an hour. The road to Chicken is 2 lane, curvy and hilly, but easily traveled at the 50 MPH speed limit. Most of the 77 miles is all nicely paved, save a few short repairs that are in progress. Several other repairs have already been done, and made nary a bump as we cruised over at speed.  The last 2 miles of the road before you get to Chicken is hard packed DG (decomposed granite) and almost as smooth as the road. I'm not sure if that part is just not paved yet, or they left it that way to get you prepared for Chicken itself. 

You can drive the whole town and all of it's buildings in a few minutes. The main part of town, 3 buildings all hooked together, a cafe, a bar, and a gift shop make up the bulk of the retail establishments.  The town once had a motel, but it was damaged by rain and ice in 2009 and never reopened.

There are RV spots in town, some are marked "free" but really amount to a place to stop your vehicle and boondock. There is a separate RV park across the street from cafe that had a few RVers in it. A few were being repaired, and all were pretty dirty. 

We drove back to the cafe to get some lunch. It looked pretty much like you would expect a cafe to look like in a place called "Chicken". A large menu written on the wall, a lot of various bumper stickers and trinkets advertising the town, and two guys behind the counter that looked like cooks, bus boys, dish washers, and maybe auto mechanics.  The food was actually pretty good, although a bit pricey.  But since everything the town uses either comes a long way by truck, or is flown in, it wasn't a big surprise.  I took a picture of a sign that they had hanging on the wall of the cafe that kind of sums up life in Chicken.

We peeked into the old west looking saloon, which was empty (at 1 PM on a Monday) and went into the gift shop. One thing to note here is that all of the buildings share one characteristic.  And that is when you walk in the door, you are instantly walking up hill.  It seems that all three of the buildings are sinking on the front end into the permafrost. The slope is quite noticeable and when Diane asked the female shop keeper about it, she seemed a little offended.  We poked around the shop and bought a few T shirts to prove to our friends and family that you really can go to Chicken with it being a Colonel Saunders.   

I am going to mention an interesting observation here that both Diane and I have noticed. It has been almost 3 weeks since we crossed into BC and headed north. It seems like the further we get away from the more urbanized areas, the grumpier the residents become. From the RV parks in BC that talked about those "damn caravans" the pulled into his park on a regular basis, to Crazy Bob (Doc) at the last park in the Yukon, and including the ill mannered female in Chicken, it's a love/hate relationship with their jobs.  First they will tell you that they love where they are, the area, the lack of congestion, and the weather. Then the next sentence is that they hate putting up with the people that are responsible for their lively hood. They all seem to be trapped into what they are doing for a living, and we (the public) are keeping them there.  I don't think that this is just a Canadian or Alaskan attitude by any means, we have just run into more of them in a row here lately.  Who knows, maybe it is just getting later in the season and their patience is wearing thin. 

We have been leap frogging a few caravans most of the time since we have entered BC. One is from Fantasy RV tours, and the other is a group called SMART which is comprised of all retired military. So far it looks like all or most all are enjoying themselves. I did see one guy that was serious about protecting his towed car from damage from rock chips.  While walking Heidi tonight we walked past a Jeep that had the entire front end covered in grey duct tape. The lights, turn signals, fog lights, hood, grill, everything.  It looked kinda like a Christmas present that never got unwrapped. 
 
We plan on pulling out of Tok in the morning and heading up to Fairbanks for a few days. Time to restock the shelves at a bigger grocery store and give me the chance to poke and prod at a few mechanical parts of the rig to make sure that everything is ship shape.   Then on to Denali.
Marty--
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Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #86 on: July 10, 2012, 01:07:49 AM »
Marty,

If you have any questions about Fairbanks let me know. I lived there for over 20 years.

The one thing not to miss while you're there is the University Museum.
Don & Peg
Alaska/Arizona
Currently located here.
Weather at Camp Verde, AZ.

SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #87 on: July 10, 2012, 02:29:52 AM »
Thanks Don! I will do that!
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #88 on: July 10, 2012, 07:42:46 AM »
It seems like the further we get away from the more urbanized areas, the grumpier the residents become.

When we arrived in Ennis, MT last year after a long snow season, my wife, Christi, an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) remarked something similar. She said she ought to come out of retirement because everyone was so depressed. Everyone loved where they lived, had great trout fishing, in a gorgeous area, but the winter had worn them down.

The shop keepers there were often tired of the tourists, yet that was the only way they made their living.

Possibly both of us are commenting on the fact you can have what you think you want and still not be happy! No doubt, you and Diane are having a big time, so I guess this is another chapter in the upcoming book on the interesting adventures that are the Alaskan tour.
Kim & Christi Bertram
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #89 on: July 10, 2012, 09:01:33 PM »
This entry comes from the "You have got to be kidding" file. Not exactly Alaska related, but maybe in a round about sort of way. We left Tok this morning in a light rain. We stopped across the street from the RV park and fueled up before we headed out. We paid $4.23 a gallon, and took about 37 gallons to fill up. I checked the mileage and calculated out at 9.2 mpg.  The lower speeds and relatively flat grades are keeping me pretty happy with the MPG on this trip. 

And there are no real big grades to pull coming to Alaska. A few days ago we were driving along and Diane read from the Milepost, "you are now at the highest point on the Alaska Highway at just over 3200 feet".  Even though you are routinely surrounded by mountains, the road has been built through the low lying passes.  That makes it easier on just about any rig not to have to pull long 6 to 10% grades. There are a few steep grades, but most are no more than a mile long.

So on to the issue of the day. After traveling for a few hours on the highway and not seeing anywhere in particular we wanted to stop for lunch, we decided to hit one of the many pullouts and have a sandwich.  I pulled over on a scenic overlook and prepared to shut down and make lunch.  I pull on the air brake and hit the neutral button on the shift pad. Nothing happens. We are still in Drive. I hit it a bunch more times. Nothing. There is a light rain still falling, and everything is all wet.  My mind starts spinning and I am trying to think what the problem could be. I am afraid to shut off the key, because if I do, I will never get it started again if I shut down in gear. So we decide that I will sit here in gear with the brake on while Diane makes a few quick sandwiches. While she is doing that, I pull out the black bag of manuals and find the owners manual. I flip to the transmission section and start looking for clues. Nothing leaps out at me. I see that there are a few fuses that control the shift control. Maybe one of them is blown. This is a "shift by wire" system used in most newer RV's. It has no shift linkage, just an electronic pad with a wire that runs back to the trans control mechanism. You punch a key, it sends a pulse back to the controller telling it what to do. 

Well, we are only about 60 miles from Fairbanks, and the park we intended on staying at (Rivers Edge RV park).   Lets just go the park, get a spot and I will figure it out from there.  Enroute Diane asks a good question. Will the trans down shift if you hit a button now? Good question, lets give it a try.  Nope. Nuts, I was hoping it would fix itself. 

We pull into the park and Diane goes in to register. I sit in the RV with the air brake on, still in gear. We get a site and I pull in and get out to start poking at things. Diane sits in the drivers seat to keep the RV from running me over. I open the appropriate fuse box and check the two fuses responsible for the electronic shift mechanism. Nuts, they both look good. I pull them out and clean off the contacts and put them back in. Nothing. 

The next step is to crawl underneath and according to the owners manual, I can change the gear that the trans is in by pulling a plug out of the back of the electronic gear selector and using a hex key, I can change the gear.  If I can get into neutral, I can at least shut down and have some time to work on the problem. I had mentioned to Diane that this may require a trip to a Freightliner dealer, to which she almost comes to tears (we have been in Freightliner parking lots before).  So before I crawl under the rig, I figure I may as well try the levelers. I don't know if they will work or not with the coach in gear. I hit the auto level switch and the air bags start to dump. In a few moments the RV is leveled and we are still in gear. 

I get the necessary tools and crawl under the rig and spot the electronic gear selector. I see the plug that I have to remove to put the allen wrench into to take the rig out of gear. I start fiddling with the plug, then I make a startling observation. There is a large flat 8 pin connector hanging right in front of me, that is not connected. Your kidding me, could it really be that easy?  I reconnect the two plugs and the engine which has been running this whole time suddenly smooths out. Diane tells me on the FRS radio "the gear shifter just went into neutral!".  I don't believe it. A goofy plug came loose, and nearly caused me to be towed.  I zip tied the connector together, and shut down the rig.  It seems silly that something like that could happen so easily.

Well, I just finished my second Jack and coke, and I think I am going to take Diane to dinner at the on site restaurant "Chena" here at the RV park. A little pricey, but after today we both need it. Tomorrow we go explore Fairbanks. 
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

 

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