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The Vickers

The Vickers began their travels in early June with a ferry trip from Port Angeles, Washington to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. They are planning on traveling North to Alaska via the Alaska ferry system and making many stops along the way. Their schedule is flexible and they have a lot of exciting adventures ahead of them.

Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.

After a long drive from Chicken, we arrived in time to be ferried across the Yukon River about 3/4 mi. to Dawson City. We are staying at a campground near town and we can walk to everything...almost. We started out by going to the Visitor's Center where we decided on three different events to take part in. We drove out to Dredge #4 up the Bonanza Creek and saw several active mines before we reached our tour. After the tour, we all tried our hand at gold panning but got no gold - only mosquito bites. We were able to visit the Dawson City cemeteries and with the help of a booklet, we found most of the people it listed. We continued up the road and went to a location called "The Dome," where we were able to see all of the city below with the Klondike River converging with the Yukon and then looking over to see the mines and the tailings. One day we took a guided tour by a historical interpreter dressed like 1898 who described the way it was through some interesting tales...we had to figure out which tale was true at the end of the tour. Another afternoon tour was conducted by yet another interpreter who was dressed as a mounted police and we all took park in solving a mystery of a Klondike killer. In the evening, we walked over to Diamond Tooth Gertie's saloon where we saw a delightful show. Today, we went to the Dawson City Museum and saw a movie about the gold rush narrarated by a man who grew up here and whose father came in 1898. We also saw a demonstration on how gold was panned and we participated in a Miner's Meeting where they were deciding on a miner's fate...we all participated in that one too. They have a unique program at the museum called "The Mannequin" program where they've casted the faces and hands of prominent individuals who have and are contriubting to this town and this is part of the exhibits and pictures you see. We have only eaten out once here and we had the best Greek food anywhere at the Three Goats Taverna. We loved every bite and by chance got to meet the owner who offered us an after dinner drinke of Ouzo...he said it helps your digestion. There was no need for help and we'd highly recommend this taste treat to everyone...very well-run establishment and friendly. I think you could say this is one of the friendliest towns and really gets visitors involved with it's history.

This is a great park and has spectacular views. We first came through Anchorage for one night just to shop for groceries and charge our batteries. We didn't really see much of this town because we wanted to get up to Talkeetna. Talkeetna is where people who want to climb Mt. McKinley have to register and make sure that they are fit and able. A signs says it's a quaint drinking town with a climbing problem! We drove through Eagle River to collect another Elks pin...something we do at every lodge in Alaska and then put them with the sled pin. We went to Wasilla where we really enjoyed the Iditarod Headquarters and learned a lot about the race. We got to Denali and found a great campsite right inside the park - Riley Creek. We are close to the buses and shuttles and have used them all this past week. We enjoyed the Visitor's Center where we signed up for three different hikes led by rangers. On the Horseshoe hike, we wound up at the lake where we saw one of eight different beaver dams along the river. They make a very intricate and sturdy dam and we could see their home across the lake. They love to cut down the Poplar and Birch trees for the dam. We also took a bus up 14 miles to the Savage River and hiked around there along the Savage River. We were surprised to see a Mama Moose (cow) and her calf on the way back to camp. We also fitted in a nice dog sled demonstration that was great. We walked around the kennels, talked to the dogs (one just had three pups)and saw and hear what a remarkable job these working dogs do in the Winter in Denali. Today, our day for the "big" ride into the park, it was raining most of the time. We had another moose surprise when a very large bull moose darted out in front of us and ran up a ways. Up and back is 66 miles on a very good gravel road. We stopped at various times to view Dall sheep and caribu out in the fields. There were quite a few larger bull caribu on the way back to camp today. Unfortunately, we were unable to see Mt. McKinley (Denali) but the mountains we did see were beautiful with casts of purple, rust and had green velvet grasses flowing down their sides. Unlike our home state of California, the wild flowers up here are spectacular - even the end of July.

Ketchican has been a very interesting stop. Being able to drive yourself is a plus since we were on a cruise ship last time and didn't really get to experience the area. We have driven from one end to the other (29 miles total). Saw loads of fishing boats and we are staying at a marina that has brought in lots of salmon and halibut. Even saw a few orcas the first day here. We wanted to see as many totems as we could so we went to two places; i.e. Saxman and Totem Bight State Historical Park. The latter was excellent and we even spoke to a carver who was working on an addition to the park...Potlatch Park. There is a short trail through a rain forest to get to see more totems and there is an interpretative map that explains them to you. There was even a building that house antique cars and a museum with quite a collection of really old guns (no connection to any of the First Nation information).

After picniking there, we drove to the end of the road to see if we could spot a bear...NOT. But, on the way back we noticed eagles circling above us so we drove down a road to the Salmon Falls Resort and were in for a great surprise.... hundreds of eagles flying, eating and sitting in trees all around us. The eagles looked like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Got some good close-up pictures of them.
We did enjoy downtown too, but there were so many visitors from the cruise ships that it wasn't as much fun as being out in the wilderness, so to speak. Lots to do and see in this neat town.

This location, Homer, has been our longest yet. We have been here 10 days. The biggest reason, other than we've had lots to do, is halibut fishing. The tides and the wind weren't in our favour so we waited until today, Wed. 20th, to go out. Talk about an incredible fishing day. It's called fishing not "catching" for a reason, but we FISHED!!! Our captain took us out 37 miles to a favorite spot of his and we immediately hooked up. Shannon brought in the only salmon, a silver that we're having for dinner tonight and we all caught our limit of two each in a very short period of time. The captain was so happy that he even took us to Gull Island to see the birds and see our first tufted Puffin. All in all it was a dream of a day. Our biggest fish was probably 65-70 lbs. but the average was closer to 35-40. We are sending them home. We have been fortunate to meet up with a friend who lives here and he took us on a short excursion of the town. We met his neighbor who works for Silver Fox and that's who set us up with our fishing he invited us to pick some of his rhubarb and we did and turned it into sauce with strawberries. We've been to the Farmer's Market here in town and the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies where we signed up for an estuary walk one day, a drive around "birding" areas another day, and a special program all about halibut... They have something to do all the time and it's so interesting. Toured the Bear Creek Winery and went out to a point with huge wildflower fields. We camped out on the spit right up against the ocean which was beautiful every day. When the tides were at their lowest one morning we went to the beach and walked the tidepools. Not quite like California, but interesting in a different way.

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