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We're Riley & Karen, semi-retired and traveling full-time in our 40’ Monaco Diplomat (The Dip) motorhome. "Seeking Sourdough" is our three-month journey through British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territory, and throughout Alaska.
Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.
Blackwell Island RV Park in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is a great place to kick off our three month road trip through BC, AB, YK, NWT, and Alaska. We arrive in Penticton, BC on June 7th. Northbound, here we come!
We chose Omak, WA as our last stop in the US before heading North. There is a nice municipal campground that can accommodate all sizes of rigs and plenty of shopping for last minute needs.
Penticton is our next stop, just 85 miles away. However, we want to make sure that we have adequate time to clear Canadian customs.
Stopped in Penticton to visit a friend and found a wonderful little community. There's lots of shopping making it a great place to stock up before heading north.
We stayed at the South Beach Gardens RV park, directly across from Skaha Lake. A very nice stop.
For a great view of Revelstoke and the surrounding mountains, drive up the Mt. Revelstoke Summit Parkway, a 24 Km road to the summit of Mt. Revelstoke. Mt. Revelstoke is a National Park and there is a fee for entering the Park. However, the drive is well worth the fee.
The views are spectacular and if you are lucky enough to make the drive in July, you might be treated to displays of wildflowers.
The park entrance is on Trans-Canada Highway (1) midway between the Revelstoke exits.
Camping in Revelstoke
We stopped for the night at Williamson’s Lake Campground, located 4 miles east of downtown Revelstoke. What a pleasant surprise! We were greeted by the proprietor, Lisa Longinotto, a 25 year resident of Revelstoke. She made sure that we had a site that would accommodate our 40’ motorhome and car and suggested things that we could do and see.
The campground is on a small lake where you can go swimming or rent canoes and other water play equipment. They also have a mini putt golf course, concession stand, volleyball court, and playground. Full hook-ups and electric-only sites are available as are showers and a small laundry.
We picked up the Rocky Mountain Route at Lake Louise, and of course, we had to get a photo of that iconic view from the shore in front of the Chateau Lake Louise. What more can we say?
We found the Grande Cache Municipal Campground to be a very nice spot nestled in the trees and not too far from town. Campsites can accommodate any size rig. The manager was very friendly and offered good sightseeing tips. She has a nice selection of travel brochures available if you miss stopping at the town's tourism centre.
Grande Cache, AB
A short drive off AB 40 took us to the Sulphur Gates Staging Area above the confluence of the Smokey and Sulphur Rivers. A short walk took us to three viewing platforms - what a view!
Dawson Creek, BC as the start, or Mile 0, of the Alaska Highway. It's also a great place to stock up on food and other necessities. Check out the museums and local points of interest. The Visitor Information center is in the middle of town, right along the highway.
Check out this spectacular rail road trestle near Pouce Coupe, BC. It's easy to find, but stop at the Pouce Coupe Visitor Center first for information about the town and surrounding area and directions to the trestle.
Sikanni Chief Falls Provincial Protected Area, BC
We wanted a good hike, an off-the-beaten path place, and if there was a geocache there as well, we’d be very happy campers! Leaving our RV parked at Buckinghorse River Lodge, we drove back south to the Sikanni River Ranch Road (KM171). This 10.5 mile/16.9 km gravel, access road leads to the Sikanni Chief Falls trailhead. At the trailhead, a clearly marked trail (0.9mile/1.5km) led us down, up, down again, over blown down trees, and down again; all the while listening to the sound of roaring water. Falling 98feet, waves of water cascade down from one ledge to the next. It is Mother Nature at her strongest! So worth the over 500 foot elevation change up and down the trail! Oh, and yes, there was a geocache out there. Our experience? Perfect!
Testa River Services and Campground, BC
All we can say is… if you don’t stop here for anything else… you must stop for their fresh baked breads and awesome cinnamon rolls!
Fort Nelson, BC
Located at Historic Mile 293, this rustic building holds so many treasures, you’ll need more than just a few minutes to wander through… From the many books, for all ages, to the handmade birchbark baskets from Ft. Liard artists, from mukluks to the softest sheered-beaver knitted gloves you’ll ever wear; this family-owned shop is a must stop on your way to/from Ft. Nelson. We’ll have a birchbark Christmas stocking on our tree this year!
Toad River Lodge, Toad River, BC
Have you ever seen 8900+ ball caps hanging from the ceiling anywhere? You can answer this question with a Yes! if you stop at Toad River Lodge. This tradition started around 1979 and hasn’t stopped. A good lunch stop - their burgers and onion rings are quite delicious.
Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park, BC
Great camping, hot springs, geocaches, and great people, what more can you ask for? Our two night stay gave us plenty of time for soaking, geocaching, and exploring the area. Wood Bison were plentiful both north and south of the park’s entrance; several black bears were in the area as well.
Laird River, BC to Watson Lake, YT
Today’s drive took us from Liard River to Watson Lake along rivers, over creeks, through forests, and great wildlife viewing - wood bison, black bears, and the first grizzlies of the trip - a sow and two cubs. Stopped for a morning break along Liard River’s Cranberry Rapids, wouldn’t want to take a canoe down those rapids! Afternoon brought us into Watson Lake’s Downtown R.V. Park. You just have to meet Archie; a true Scotsman!!
Don’t miss the Sign Post Forest; wish we had thought to make up our own sign to add to the mix. The Northern Lights Centre is another “Do Not Miss!” Enter the theatre, take a soft, comfortable chair, lean back, and watch the sky come alive in front of you. Two presentations - one on Black Holes, the other on the Aurora Borealis lasted less than an hour.
The Nisutlin Bay Bridge is not only the longest water span on the Alaska Highway; it is also a rather bumpy affair! The metal grated bridge decking really puts the bounce into the RVs tires. We ended today’s journey camped at the Teslin Lake Yukon Government campground to the west of Teslin.
Visiting Teslin begins with a very nice lunch at the restaurant for the Yukon Motel & Lakeshore RV Park and a walk through their Yukon Wildlife Gallery. This small informative gallery is one of the few places we’ve visited that shares how the animals came to be showcased.
Next stop was the George Johnston Museum & Heritage Park. Mr. Johnston was a Tlingit Indian who captured the life of the inland Tlingit people with his camera. We recommend the 45 minute video of his story, photos, and life of his people. The museum’s displays are excellent! We marveled aloud on its quality and were told by museum staff, that without a central Provincial museum, the smaller museums have better displays and more artifacts. It certainly shows in this museum!
After seeing the video about George Johnston, we were intrigued by the Teslin Tlingit burial site (cemetery). The cemetery can be seen from the west end of the bridge when traveling North on the Alaska Highway. It is located down an unmarked driveway toward Teslin Lake. Each grave is surrounded by a wood fence and many of the gravestones are engraved with images of wildlife.
Camping in Whitehorse
There are a number of RV parks in and around Whitehorse. Hi Country RV park is the closest one to Downtown that will accommodate a large (40') motorhome.
The staff was very nice and you can get tickets to local shows and events in the office.
Outdoor market in Whitehorse
The Fireweed Community Market at 2nd Ave and Shipyards Park, is a great place to get a feel for the true Yukon.
Just like sourdoughs of the past, Greg Clarkson is working his way north by busking on street corners and at farm markets. We came across him on the street and at the Community Market.
The market is open every Thursday from 10am - 2pm May 14 - September 27; and on Saturdays from June 28 - September 27.
There are two museums that must be visited in Whitehorse: the Yukon Transportation Museum and the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center. They are located just off of the Alaska Highway and the entrance to the Whitehorse airport.
The Transportation Museum covers all modes of transportation that were used to explore and open the Yukon.
The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center has displays of animals, such as the Woolly Mammoth, and extensive explanations about the last ice age.
Keno City, Yukon
If you have the time, consider visiting Keno City, YT. This little town is an eclectic mix of miners, retirees, and artists. You can get some of the best pizza in the world (according to locals) and meet some interesting people.
Leo Martel moved to Keno in 1984 and bought a home there in 1986. He's a former miner that decided that the Keno City Hotel needed renovation and has spent the last eight years doing just that.
It's been a labor of love, and as he calls it, "a money pit". But he keeps going, fixing up one section of the building at a time.
The bar is open, serving food and beverages and there are rooms for rent upstairs.
RVrs should probably camp around Mayo, YT as the road from Mayo to Keno is dirt and a little rough. Small RVs could park in the Keno City campground.
Along the Klondike Hwy
Be sure to stop at Braeburn Lodge, located about 55 miles (88 Km) from the junction of Alaska Hwy 1 and the Klondike Hwy 2.
Why stop? It's all about the buns, cinnamon buns that is! They are gigantic. So big that it took us two days to eat just one.
Lots of parking, hot coffee, and fuel too.
Dawson City - Bonanza Gold Motel & RV Park
As we were making plans to explore the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle and Northwest Territories we learned that it wouldn't be a good idea to take our motorhome on this route. The Dempster is 950 miles of rough dirt/gravel road that can be very hard of vehicles. So, we needed to leave the motorhome plugged in for four days while we explored the far north.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Bonanza Gold Motel and RV suggested that we leave our RV in an economical electric-only site while we were gone. In addition, they kept a copy of our itinerary and a relative's contact number in case we didn't return when expected.
We can't say enough about their great service!
The Dempster Highway
The side trip up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the Yukon. The Dempster is one of only two roads in North America that cross the Arctic Circle.
Be prepared! The road is dirt/gravel all the way to Inuvik, 450 miles from Dawson. A sign at the start of the road says "There are no emergency medical services on the Yukon section of the Dempster" and other services are few and at least 200 miles apart.
You can pick up information about traveling the Dempster at the Wester Arctic Visitor Center in Dawson before attempting this road. Be sure you pick up a copy of “The Dempster Highway Travelogue” They can be obtained at the Wester Arctic VC or Tombstone Interpretive Centre, at KM 71 on the Dempster.
Arctic Circle, Yukon KM 405.5
66°33’ North - The only place in the Yukon to cross the Arctic Circle! With a little help from fellow travelers, we were able to get the sign back up in its proper place so we could all get this iconic picture. As one of the guys said, we didn’t drive all this way to not get the pic!
Yukon/Northwest Territories Border - KM 465
You'll need to reset your car's trip meter at this point since the roadside distance markers change to KM 0 when traveling north into the Northwest Territories. This is a beautiful spot for a few pictures.
Tombstone Interpretive Centre Km 71
The Tombstone Interpretive Centre is a must stop on your way up the Dempster! We stopped in for a final check on highway conditions and enjoyed their cultural and historical information on the highway and the local area. The centre is within walking distance of the campground if you camp here. Signed the guest book and got our Dempster Highway Passport stamped!
Be sure to stop for the spectacular views at the overlook a few miles to the north.
Eagle Plains Hotel, KM 378
The hotel marks the halfway point between the Klondike Highway and Inuvik. Friendly staff greet you at the front desk and also serve you in the bar or restaurant - everyone does double duty here! Definitely want to fuel up here for the journey to Inuvik or the return to Dawson.
Inuvik - NWT KM 272
Two ferry crossings, awesome landscapes, and hundreds of bugs later, we’re in Inuvik on Canada Day! We made it and what a trip it was - 736kms/457 miles - over some pretty rough and some not-so-bad stretches of road!
We have to say, the journey was so much better than the destination. We had been told to expect a modern town that offers every amenity, and it does, but it is a gritty, industrial town focused on its main agenda - government services for the region. We can’t even say most people were welcoming - but then, we weren’t here to be welcomed - we were here to see something new to us; to be able to say we crossed over the Arctic Circle and into the Northwest Territories! Oh, and to get a geocache too - our farthest north to date.
The Dancing Moose - Dawson City
One of the things we liked about Dawson is the quality of the items available in the tourist shops.
One of the nicest is Dancing Moose Gifts on Front Street. Their high quality collection offers something for everyone. They also feature Canadian artists that create wonderfully unique items with northern themes.
Dawson City Cemetery
Dawson is a city rich with history. Treat yourself to a tour of the Dawson City Cemetery for a different view of the hardships facing the people that lived here.
The plot dedicated to the Northwest Mounted Police is especially poignant when you see how young they were when they died.
Drive east on King St and King turns into Mary McLeod Rd. The cemetery is about half way up McLeod, or take Mary McLeoud toward town from Dome Rd.
Gold Dredge No. 4 National Historic Site
While Dawson is an interesting and fun place to visit, it is important to remember why Dawson was so important. GOLD!
Parks Canada preserved a precious piece of Canadian history when they acquired Gold Dredge No. 4. Dredge No. 4 is located 12.3 km from the Klondike Highway on Bonanza Creek Road, which is the next road east of Bonanza Gold Motel and RV Park.
Dredge No. 4 was built in 1912 and was the largest wooden hulled bucket dredge in North America. It extracted gold from the Dawson area until 1959.
Entrance is by guided tour, so check the Parks Canada website or ask at the visitor information center about tour times. $15.00 entry fee.
Chicken Gold Camp, Chicken, Alaska
The Top of the World and Taylor Highways can be hard of RVs when traveling from Dawson City, Yukon to Tok, Alaska. However, there is a stop along the way that makes the rough road worth the journey. Chicken Gold Camp in Chicken, AK is a great place to stop and rest your road-weary-bones.
The owners, Mike and Lou Busby, have created a warm and welcoming environment that entices people to return year after year. We stopped here for two nights, but there is so much to do in the Chicken area that we, too, have vowed to return again.
You would do well to remember that Chicken is a remote location. They generate their own electricity. There is no cell phone or land-line connection to the outside world. Emergencies are handled by radio and satellite phones. There are 20 amp electrical hook-ups and water and a dump station are available, but you would do everyone a favor by carrying in your own water and carrying out your waste water.
We loved the place!
You can find more information at http://www.chickengold.com/ or on Facebook at Chicken Gold Camp.
Most people stop in Chicken, AK to take a break along the rough road from Dawson City, Yukon to Tok, Alaska. After all, Chicken is a unique name for a town. However, there is gold in them hills…
Gold mining has been an important industry in the Chicken area for over 100 years, and with gold at over $1,200 per ounce, there are lots of claims being mined today. You can join in on the fun of finding gold at Chicken Gold Camp. Here, you can try your luck with gold panning just steps from your RV or cabin, or set up a day of recreational gold mining somewhere on the Chicken Gold Camp’s 1,000 acres of claims.
We chose panning and found flakes of gold in every pan. Some visitors even found small gold nuggets.
Careful! Prospecting can be addicting and a lot of fun.
Tok is an important intersection and a good intermediate stop along the Alaska Highway when traveling from Whitehorse or Dawson City to Fairbanks or Anchorage. RV parks, fuel, restaurants, groceries, and other shopping is available here.
We stayed at the Tok RV Village which is conveniently located in the middle of everything and near a popular restaurant.
The Tok RV Village caters to all sizes of RVs as well as tent camping sites. There are lots of trees and plenty of space between sites.
Delta Junction – End of the Alaska Highway
We started up the Alaska Highway at Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and after 22 days have reached the end of the Alaska Highway at Mile 1422. We took a little detour up the Klondike Hwy to Dawson City so our route was about 1,500 miles.
If you drive the Alaska Highway, be sure to stop at the Delta Junction visitor center and get a photo of the End. The start at Dawson Creek is fancier but at the end, you have to appreciate the fact that the original road was built in just eight months.
It’s all been a blast and there’s more to come!
Delta Meat and Sausage, Delta Junction, AK
Obviously, this stop is for meat lovers. Really, how could you resist free samples of reindeer, yak, or buffalo?
However, the tasty sausages are worth the stop and there is plenty of room to park a large RV while shopping.
The store is located a few miles south of Delta Junction.
American Tire & Auto, 3101 S Cushman St, Fairbanks, AK
The roads can be rough in the north and we know of four people that have has some kind of tire problem. Ours came in the form of a vibration that felt like we had lost a wheel balancing weight. However, we found out that the problem wasn't the balancing weight.
American Tire & Auto provided us with a reasonable estimate for rebalancing four wheels. The technicians removed the wheels and found mud caked around the inside of all four. They took the time to remove the mud and clean the wheels before rebalancing. They did an excellent job and American Tire just charged us for the balance job.
Great customer service!
The Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay
There are two roads in North America that cross the Arctic Circle. One in the Dempster, which we drove a couple weeks ago. The other is the Dalton.
The Dalton was built for just one reason: Oil. Many Fairbanks locals still call it the “Haul Road” because it was built as an access road for construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline and to provide year-around access to the North Slope oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. Originally just dirt and gravel, today nearly 25% of its 415 miles is paved.
This is one of the wildest and most scenic drives in Alaska but it is not to be taken lightly. Be prepared! Services are few and at least 240 miles apart. Lodging is industrial and food and fuel is expensive. Access to the oil fields and Arctic Ocean is restricted and you have to be on a paid tour to visit the Ocean.
Before attempting this road, you should visit the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in Fairbanks.
Yukon River Crossing – Dalton Highway
The stops on the Dalton Highway are few and far between but you will need to stop at the BLM Yukon Crossing Visitor Contact Station. The Station is staffed by knowledgeable volunteers that are happy to provide information about the road ahead and the flora and fauna that you can expect to see.
Across the Highway is Yukon River Camp where you can find food, rustic lodging, fuel, guided fishing, and mementos of your trip.
Deadhorse Camp – Prudhoe Bay
It’s a long 240 miles from Coldfoot to Deadhorse Camp at Prudhoe Bay. While the road has some very nice stretches of pavement, most of the surface is packed dirt or gravel and it can be quite a challenge. However, the scenery is spectacular and if you are lucky, wildlife is abundant.
Prudhoe Bay is an industrial town that is focused on just one thing: Oil. Most of the land is leased by oil companies or contractors that support the oil industry. Consequently, there are no permanent residents and most people work a schedule that rotates them in and out every two weeks. The workers live in “camps” which are like large industrial hotels.
Tourist accommodations are the same camps as where the workers stay. We stayed at Deadhorse Camp in an industrial chic room with shared toilets and showers down the hall. The Camp also offered buffet style meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One of the main attractions is the Arctic Ocean Shuttle. Access to the Arctic Ocean is in a sensitive oilfield area. Consequently, you will have to arrange a tour on the Shuttle from Deadhorse Camp. For more information, go to: http://www.arcticoceanshuttle.com/AOS/
Coldfoot – Half way up the Dalton
To say that Coldfoot is rustic would be an understatement. However, after six hours of dodging heavy trucks and driving on pavement, gravel, and dirt, we were very happy to make Coldfoot Camp our home for the night. Our accommodations, former work camp lodging, were clean and comfortable. While it is rustic and a popular stop for truckers, Coldfoot offers more than meets the eye.
There is food, fuel, and lodging in Coldfoot but the real gem is the award-winning Arctic Interagency Visitor Center. The Center is operated by the BLM, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. The staff are a wealth of information about the surrounding parks and refuges as well as all aspects of the arctic environment.
It’s like an oasis in the boreal forest. The Hot Spot Café is a quiet spot where you can settle down and relax for a few minutes before rejoining the Dalton Highway.
You are greeted by a lush garden and eclectic mix of buildings that are adorned with signs from all over the Dalton. And then there is the food. The hamburgers are big enough for two and are cooked on a barbeque. It’s a great place to stop.
We managed to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of Fairbanks by camping at the Riverview RV Park and QuickStop in North Pole. The park is conveniently located just a couple miles off of the Richardson Highway and is about ten miles from downtown Fairbanks.
The park has all the usual amenities (toilets, showers, laundry, and full hook-ups) and can take all sizes of RVs. It also has a nice wooded tent camping area. The friendly staff accommodated our request to look after our rig while we spent five days exploring the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay. Book your site a few days ahead as this park can be busy with caravan groups.
The QuickStop has gas and diesel, groceries, and a small liquor store. The diesel pump is very accessible for big rigs.
Large Animal Research Station - Muskox
You have to drive 450 miles north to Prudhoe Bay to see muskox in the wild. The drive is very challenging and requires a lot of preparation, as we can tell you from our experience. However, there are muskox right in Fairbanks, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station. There are muskox, reindeer, and caribou on display and the friendly staff offer tours of the facility.
The Station is located west of University Avenue on Yankovich Rd.
If your time in Fairbanks is limited be sure to put the University of Alaska Museum of the North on the top of your list of things to see.
The museum is carefully arranged and exquisitely illustrated. Start with the Gallery of Alaska to see award-winning exhibits about the culture, wildlife, and regional geography. Don’t miss the gold display and the mummified steppe bison “Blue Babe”. You can also visit a gallery of historical paintings and see a fantastic video of the aurora in the auditorium. Allow four hours. There is an entry fee and a fee for parking. The Museum is located on the UAF campus off of College Road.
Riley Creek Campground - Denali National Park
Riley Creek campground is the perfect place to stop along the journey. The RV park with hookups just outside of the Park entrance is an unattractive gravel lot behind a row of stores.
On the other hand, Riley Creek is a beautiful wooded setting with lots of room between campsites. It has sites that can accommodate RV's up to 40 feet. There are no hookups but the ambiance makes up for it. There are clean restrooms, showers at the camper store, free shuttle buses, and a three-lane dump/fresh water station.
Denali National Park
Wildlife sightings can be hit and miss while traveling Alaska's highways. However, sightings are almost guaranteed in Denali National Park.
You can drive only 15 miles of the 90 mile Park road, so sign up for a shuttle bus ride to Eilson Visitor Center and prepare yourself for spectacular sightings of bear, caribou, dall sheep, and lots of small animals.
This little town is world famous for having a cat as it's mayor. However, that's not all it has going for it.
Talkeetna is the primary starting point for climbers attempting Mt. McKinley. Thus, it has a very energetic airport with services that fly climbers and tourists around the Mountain and onto it's glaciers. While it can be expensive, a flight through the Alaska Range and around McKinley is spectacular.
Talkeetna also has a number of great restaurants, plenty of lodging, and lots of gift shops.
Seeing Mt. McKinley
There are two ways to see Mt. McKinley, from the ground or from the air. However, only 20-30% of visitors get to see the mountain because it usually shrouded in clouds.
It took us nine days to get a glimpse of McKinley from the ground in Talkeetna. The best views in Talkeetna are from the deck of the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and a little known overlook at the end of Christiansen Lake Road.
Both roads are south of town off of Talkeetna Spur Rd. The Lodge turn-off is well marked. To get to the overlook, turn off on Comsat Rd, which will take you to Christiansen Lake Road.
We only had a couple days planned in Anchorage and we really enjoy learning about the local flora. So we decided to visit the Alaska Botanical Garden. The Gardens are very accessible and certainly worth the visit.
Allow 2-3 hours for a comprehensive visit and longer if you decide to follow one of the local trails.
We don't have much to say about Anchorage. Just over one-half of Alaska's population lives in the metro area, making this a big, urban, and sometimes ugly place.
Granted, there are worthwhile things to see here, but the most worthwhile thing for us to do was to re-provision. Anchorage is a great place to buy groceries and find fishing supplies at a reasonable price.
After a couple days, it's time to move on to the Kenai Peninsula.
The Kenai Peninsula
After a brief hiatus from blogging and writing for North to Alaska, we’re back online and headed down the Kenai Peninsula. It’s pretty easy to wear yourself out while traveling across Canada and Alaska.
Our RV has traveled 3,221 miles and we've traveled another 2,000 miles by car. We’ll travel another 3,000 miles before we’re back in Washington, so, it’s time to slow things down while exploring and fishing on the Kenai Peninsula.
Camping in Seward, AK
There are several campgrounds in and near Seward. We think, the best place to camp is one of the many campsites looking out on Resurrection Bay. Owned by the City of Seward, some of these sites come with water and electricity.
The sites can be a little tight for big RVs and the competition for waterfront sites can be fierce, but, wow, what a view!
Would you be willing to take a short survey?
Sure No thanks