The tarmac ends at Dawson City, but there is a route beyond. It starts with a free ferry across the Yukon then a dirt road - 'the Top of the World highway'. It had rained heavy in the night and the road was awful. Every climb Tilly's wheels were losing some traction and the back of the truck and camper were getting sprayed with mud. It is a lonesome highway only open June to September with no dwellings other than some goldminers lodgings down adjoining dirt tracks and the US customs office at the Alaskan border. The road goes above the treeline, over, round and through the mountains. We were hoping for great views but drove up into dense white hill fog. This did clear in places but any high peaks normally in view were obscured. The US Customs post at Poker Creek is an isolated place, you get the feeling that the officers have been sent here to work for being naughty! Once through customs we hit beautifully smooth tarmac - welcome to the USA. This ended though and it was followed by a gravel road. The tarmac machinery must have been brought along the gravel road to build the tarmac road, so why didn't they tarmac the gravel road as well? We descended and climbed alongside creeks and gold mining settlements to reach the town of Chicken. The first miners here wanted to call it Ptarmigan as that's what they survived off, none of them were certain how to spell Ptarmigan so they called it Chicken instead. Despite being the back of beyond Chicken has 2 RV parks, a few shops, various gold mine tours and array of chicken signs. I tried my hand at gold panning - it's harder than you think. Yes, I struck it rich with a teeny, weeny speck of gold. After a short stop we re-boarded Tilly to burn some more rubber. From here it was supposed to be tarmac all the way to Tok - after a very short spell of enjoying the smooth ride the sign said 'Damaged road for 12 miles'. They weren't kidding, potholes, craters, bumps, dips, no road surface and dirt sections. We pulled into the 'Sourdough RV Park' at Tok. We had heard about this place at least a month ago, they have a flapjack throwing contest every evening. The flyer was lost in translation their flapjacks are actually pancakes. We along with other campers gathered at the pavilion to be told the rules. You had two goes each to try and toss a pancake into a 'Buckit' (something else thy can't spell correctly). You were picked out at random and had to introduce yourselves - name, from where, number of times in Alaska. Then during the tossing everyone else clapped and shouted bukit, bukit, bukit,……… If you got your first pancake in the bukit you didn't win anything - that was your practice shot. If you got your second pancake in the Bukit you got a free breakfast the following morning. Half a dozen or so people were selected and all missed, except one guy whose pancake didn't go in but landed on the rim. The misses were all collected up so they could be tossed again - except for the one on the rim, this one remained and if anyone on their second shot didn't get theirs in but knocked the 'rim' pancake in they still won a breakfast. Eventually I was chosen to toss. There was a big cheer when I said I was from England - everyone else was from North America. First shot - miss, second shot - in - yeeeehaa. I couldn't believe it, I was the first one to win a breakfast, there was lots of cheering. Later came Donna's turn, first shot - miss and only just made it over the 'pathetic line', second shot - she hit the 'rim' pancake but knocked it out of the bukit not in. There was a big 'ooooh' from the crowd. Maybe it was because we have travelled a long way from England to stop at Tok or maybe because I had already won my breakfast or maybe because no one normally knocks the 'rim' pancake out of the bukit instead of into it - whichever it was Donna was awarded a free breakfast as well, lots more cheering. When it was all over, the winners (4 of us in total) had our photos taken then all the losers (around 25 of them) had their photos taken. All this was followed by a campfire and toasting marshmallows (and people wanting to chat with the Brits). We are now 9 hours behind the UK and it's lighter even later (only 2 hours of darkness)! Breakfast next day - they have some strange combinations. We were given 2 large blueberry pancakes (maple syrup on the side) with Reindeer sausage and 2 fried eggs. Donna decided to go for normal 'pork' sausage and just one pancake as they were like hubcaps. Neither of us finished the 'thick' tasty pancakes, but they boxed them up for us and gave us some maple syrup to go. What an interesting first 24 hours in the USA.
Justin You are on the same latitude as Greenland, Iceland and Sweden, no wonder you have little darkness. Great reading as always. Have fun kids x