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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Decisions are made

Aug 10, 2022 (Wed)

9:00 am Delta Junction, AK

As we ponder which way to go, we consider that it is getting colder and colder—this morning, the low was 34°—and not only is it uncomfortable, but if it gets below freezing, our water tanks could ice up. We briefly consider the ramifications of the black water tank icing up. It would expand and—oh dear! We’d have to set fire to Harvey!

So, heat becomes a priority, but there are very few RV repair places in this part of the world (despite over half the road traffic being RV’s). We do know of one back in Tok, but it’s going to require some careful planning before we take our home into the repair shop. Where will we sleep? What will we eat? How will we make coffee?

Robert decides to give the propane furnace one more try (“Maybe whatever got jiggled loose got jiggled back with all the swerving I did!”). Happily, it works! Robert can now justify all his crazy driving (“Hey—I’m just fixing a few loose connections!”).

Robert in his natural environment—driving!

10:30 am Delta Junction, AK

We now have an object lesson on always stowing things where they belong and not just tossing them in whatever random direction seems good at the time.

We have spent the last hour looking for Robert’s shorts. Not so much because Robert needs his shorts (he brought an extra pair), but because his wallet is in his shorts and without his wallet, he has no driver’s license.

Now we know they are somewhere in Harvey (he used them earlier this morning, but didn’t put them back where they should go). But we have an image of getting pulled over by a Mountie and saying, “Well, officer, my license is somewhere in the back here. Would you like to help us search for it?”

We’re pretty sure that wouldn’t end well. The alternative is having Gini drive, and she has zero interest in driving Harvey on roller coaster up and down, swerving, pot-holed roads. Our only option is to go through Harvey until we find them.

Harvey has an amazing number of cubbyholes and obscure places (“Hey—I found that cable we thought we lost!”), and we check all of them twice.

Finally! The shorts were wrapped up in the sleeping bag, which had been stuffed into its storage bin!

Never has so much fuss been made over Robert’s shorts. “Well, THAT’S something you can blog about!” says Gini.

11:00 am Delta Junction, AK

We have three possible routes we can take to end up in Skagway, AK on Aug 27 (when our boat leaves):

  • Go to Fairbanks (big city) and then down to Anchorage (bigger city) and then over to Tok, AK and then re-trace the really bad road to Whitehorse, YT and then south to Skagway. We’re not entirely sure we want to be around that many people in those cities, although we would certainly enjoy smooth highways!

  • Turn around and go back to Whitehorse, YT over the really bad road and then south to Skagway. None of us especially want to discover what new things could get shaken loose on Harvey (“But maybe it’d fix them!” exclaims Robert, shortly before a pillow hits him in the head)

  • Go north from Tok to Dawson City—the second largest city in the Yukon Territory at 2,000 people (about as many people as we can stand right now). The only problem here is we don’t know for sure about the roads. Gini called AAA and the person in Bremerton looked at their map and said, “Huh, the road is marked all in yellow. I’ve never seen that before. She advised us not to take that route.”

What to do? Gini says that she needs some more research, and the best research is to stop by the Visitor Information Center here in Delta Junction and ask the person working there!

11:45 am Delta Junction, AK

Well, Beth at the Visitor Information Center says, “Um, sure, it should be okay. I mean, you’ll hit some construction and the road probably will go up and down a bit…”

That’s good enough for us! On to Dawson City!

Which of course, first means going back to Tok, AK, but that’s only 100 miles away and the road is (mostly) smooth.

Gini in her natural environment: shopping at an antique store in the farmers’ market.!

1:40 am 30 miles north of Tok, AK

Yesterday, when we came through here, it was all rainy and cloudy and all we could see was gray and we weren’t impressed.

Today: Holy Moly! Look at those mountains! They just go up and up and up and they’re all granite-y and is that fresh snow?

Dang—those are some mountainous mountains!

Anyway, they are pretty spectacular and we feel validated in our decision to back-track a little bit. Worth it for the view.

3:00 pm Tok, AK

On the way into town, we stock up at an actual grocery store (which has everything—food, camping equipment, sewer hose connectors), and then we see a jewelry store.

When Gini was in Alaska in her youth, she got a pendant that contained actual gold flakes, which got lost over the years. Now we’ve found another one, and we’re excited.

In the course of buying that, the shop proprietor brings out a lump of gold as big as your fist. They said they found it while they were mining out in the fields beyond Chicken and it’s shiny and golden and heavy—5 pounds! After holding it, we inquire as to what it’s value is. We’re told, oh, $500,000 to $750,000 and we get a lot more respect for it!

Yup, that’s the nugget!

Robert holding gold that’s currently the 14th largest nugget ever found.

4:00 pm Tok, AK

We settle into our campsite. (The same one we had two nights ago! Right across from the showers!)

It’s sunny and 72° degrees and windy enough to blow all the mosquitoes right down the road. What could be better?

Harvey living his best life

By the numbers

Without numbers, we wouldn’t know where we’d been!

Miles traveled so far: 2,502

Estimated Percentage of total road miles*: 80%

Days so far: 18 days

Estimated Percentage of total road days: 58%

*Revised for new route

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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