Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 31 – To Kluane National Park

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It rained for part of the night and when we awoke it was cloudy and gloomy.

We crossed the actual border back into Yukon today as though it wasn’t there. The American checkpoint is right at the border. The Canadian one is not. You have to go 32 km farther down the highway past the border to get to it. The Canadian checkpoint was easy. A few questions and “Welcome back”.

The section of the Alaska Highway on the American side is brand new and wonderful to drive on. The next 200 km starting at the border are what all the RV’ers call the highway from hell. It was by far the worst paved road of the trip.

The problem is that when it was first built during World War II they used the wrong kind of gravel for the roadbed. Just underground here it is all permafrost. The roadbed retained heat and caused the permafrost to melt and the whole thing sinks down at weird angles. So you sometimes get dips where the road goes down and up very quickly and if you hit them too fast you think the RV is going to lift off. There are also a lot of ridges and places where the pavement is just gone. They try and repair the bad spots but it really just makes it worse. They do put little orange flags at all the really bad spots so you are always on the lookout for them.

I didn’t get pictures of the worst sections because we were too busy hanging on.



There were lots of gravel sections as well.


There were a few good sections which encouraged you to speed up but that was a bad idea. I just gave up and set the cruise control to 60 kph. If something snuck up on me it usually wasn’t too bad and if I did see them I could easily slow down enough .

It made for a long drive. It took 5 hours to drive today’s 250 km so we averaged only 50 kph.

There was no wow scenery today either, not that I could have taken my eyes off the road to look.




As far as the road goes I think they have realized they just have to start over. We went through one very long section that was all ripped up.



We timed it just right though. The trailer just ahead of the truck had passed us just before we stopped for our lunch break so they must have waited about 1/2 hour before they were allowed through. We got there just as they started moving. The construction was so long they even had a pilot car for each direction. Their purpose was to just force you to go slowly as there was only one, short, one lane section.

As we neared our destination campground it started getting sunnier.


We drove down to and along Kluane lake.



And now we are parked with the front of the RV only a few feet from the lake shore.



Some rain across the lake that never made it to us.


One interesting thing about this place is that all their power comes from generators so their electrical hookups can only supply about 15 amps. This is like one outlet at home and allows you to run a space heater or a toaster or a microwave but not together. Normally hookups are 30 or 50 amps. Everyone has to be very careful what they turn on. They tell you where the breakers are since a lot of people mess up. They also have T shirts for some of the really big rig owners, that normally use a lot of power, that say “I survived 15 amps”.

We plan on visiting Kluane National Park and do some hikes. One visitor’s center, with some of the hikes, is near us now. The other center is about 100 km down the highway near Haines Junction. We will stay near there a few days as well.

We would normally go check out the center right away but with the long drive and losing an hour now that we are back on Pacific time, by the time we had setup it was closed.

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