Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monday July 18th - Tok to Chicken to Eagle to Boundry, Alaska

After a short nights sleep, John, Tommy, and I met Woody and Carole for breakfast at Fast Eddie's in Tok Alaska.  Oh by the way, it is raining and the forecast is for rain the entire day.  The locals tell us that there has been more rain this year, than in many years past and the forecasts have been most inaccurate in predicting the rain.  Oh joy!  While leaving the restaurant we noticed a very nice, vintage Indian motorcycle near our Jeeps, which the guys had to inspect and take pictures.  Bellies full, gas tanks topped off we headed for the town of Chicken.  Chicken is an old, turn of the century mining town that got it's name quite by accident because the miners could not spell tparmigan.  Chicken was settled by gold miners in the late 1800s and in 1902 the local post office was established requiring a community name. Due to the prevalence of tparmigan  in the area that name was suggested as the official name for the new community. However, the spelling could not be agreed on and Chicken was used to avoid embarrassment. If anything is left of the original town, we certainly didn't see it.  There are 4 distinct areas of Chicken, 1) the post office, 2) a group of buildings consisting of a bar, liquor store and souvenir shop, 3) just down the street from number 2 is the campground, general store, and their food concession, and the original gold dredge pedro, and 4) which sits at the bottom of a hill on the main road and consists of a gas station, a large souvenir store, another small camp ground, and a halibut shack.  Chicken now exists for tourists, as there is not much going on there and they use the word "chicken" in every possible ways for souvenirs.  For example, "Once you go Chicken, you will never go back" and "I got laid in Chicken".  After some halibut tacos for lunch, we proceeded to the town of Eagle.  Between Chicken and the road to Eagle we passed many people panning for gold.  Everything from the snowbird that comes up for the summer in their motor home to the guy who has some serious dredging equipment.  Do they find gold?  Some do and some don't, but they say that people do this all summer long, year after year.  We take the turn off to Eagle which is only 60 miles away, with an estimated travel time of over 3-1/2 hours and now we understand why.  The road to Eagle is a dirt shelf road with only one lane at times and drops to the canyon floor below at several hundred feet.  A mistake on this road could be your last mistake and with the addition of rain, it was a bit slippery.  We got to Eagle and took a quick tour of the old fort that they were restoring and then stopped at the National Park visitors center to get more information.  Eagle is another one of those old towns where many of the buildings could be a hundred years old, some in good repair and some falling down.  In 2009, an ice jam in the Yukon river caused major flooding sending water and huge chunks of ice onto the low lying parts of town, damaging some of the buildings.  Since then, many of those buildings have been rebuilt.  Even so, Eagle is a tourist attraction that has a general store and gas station that close up promptly at 5 every night and no restaurant because it was not rebuilt.  After touring the town, Woody and Carole, and John and Tommy decided to spend the night at a bed and breakfast along the river.  I decided to go onto Boundry, to camp for the night because I wasn't sure of the conditions of the shelf road if I waited till morning.  I arrived in Boundry, set up camp and was pleased to see that the rain had stopped momentarily.  By evening, the temperatures had dropped to 34° and it was raining heavily throughout the night.  Hopefully the weather will clear as we head to Dawson City tomorrow.

Coffee and Reindeer Hot Dogs and an Alaskan Jeep in Tok 
Scenes from Chicken, AK
Choke this chicken and it will dance to the Chicken Dance
 People staple their hats to the ceiling and walls of the Chicken Saloon and we left a few ourselves
And they also staple their business cards to the door and other wood areas,  JE and JPFreek are now represented
On the way to the junction to Eagle, people stake out mining claims along the river for the summer
 The Road to Eagle note the sink holes and cracks from the road getting ready to slide down the mountain in some pictures.  60 miles of wet, muddy shelf road each way to keep you tight in your seat!
Mud Slides starting along the road to Eagle
The town of Eagle where they roll up the carpet and close the shutters at 5 pm and if you want to eat,  you have to drive 90 miles back to Chicken because they have no restaurants
The Pool Hall in Eagle now stores bales of straw
 Has Woody been out posting political posters again ? :-)
 Satellite Dishes point down to the horizon in this part of the country
 These Alaskan mini cabins in stilts seem to be everywhere.   Emergency shelter from deep snow maybe ?
 Only in Alaska?

 The top of the world highway from Chicken to Dawson, Yukon Canada

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Your new truck is perfect for a family get away and amazing adventures! I bet you can drive it on a highway or even in a very rocky road with ease because of its body lift! I always dreamt of owning a truck because I love traveling, and it has every space that I need for my luggage. :D Have a great trip!
    Jeep Wrangler