Friday, August 15, 2014

Tok to Chicken

Top of The World Highway?  Or No!

Hey, y'all blog viewers!  Sorry that we have been a week without a post...I have been remiss in that regard, so I will try to catch up on our travels and experiences...a bunch, for sure!

As you probably know by now, I had to go to Oregon for a RV meeting.  Flew there because of my travel companions insistent argument that it was too long a drive alone--about 8 or 9 days from Fairbanks to Oregon!  And then back up to wherever to meet up with them, and in the mean time, missing some travels to interesting places.  So, flew to Oregon, did the RV meeting, flew back to Fairbanks, hooked up the JEEP and caught up with the mainstream of the Alaska Odyssey in Tok, Alaska, where they had been languishing for a day or two waiting for Camelot House to rejoin our "mini-caravan".

Well, not totally languishing!  They did drive up to Chicken--renamed from Ptarmigan because the founders couldn't spell Ptarmigan!--in a car and out onto the Top of the World Highway for 5 miles or so.  The consensus of the Alaska Odyssey group was to look at the road and make a decision if we should take the motorhomes across The Top Of The World of the "to do" items in Alaska, supposedly!  Advice from all quarters whom we asked:  50 percent said "NO, NEVER!" and the other 50 percent said "NO PROBLEM!".  There was no in between.  However, stern advice was given:  don't go if it is raining!  Checked the weather forecast:  looks good!  So decision made:  drive up to Chicken, stay the night, and head out across The Top of the World the next day!  Good decision, because we had a night in Chicken, Alaska, and clear skies the next day!

As to Chicken, population only about 1,000 plus but there are two big campgrounds because the Fantasy and Adventure Caravans stop here!  And other crazies like us who have big motorcoaches and have this 'death wish' to drive across miles of dirt/gravel top of mountain roads with no guard rails!
This symbol for the town sits atop a hill in one of the campgrounds.  Note the gold dredge in the background.

Imagine the size of the egg could this bird lay one!!
The campground we used was pretty Spartan...we didn't use any hookups because we only were staying one night, so dry camping was the order for the day.
This is the campground office and store

Back in it's day, this was a working dredge used to mine the placer gold.

The Alaska Odyssey caravan parked in Chicken!
There isn't much to the town itself:  it is a stopping place for RV caravans and bus tours coming and going across The Top of the World Highway.  This next set of pictures sums up the "downtown"!!

This is the "main" section of downtown Chicken--a café, saloon, and liquor store!

The saloon is a hoot--a few tables, a bar with about 8 bar stools, and a pool table.
Once you step over the threshold, you are greeting by a ceiling and walls covered with hats and ladies panties!

Most of these items have been hanging for a good while--the panties are tattered and ripped!
We arrived at the campground in gray cloudy skies after a short drive up from Tok.  But the forecast for later in the day and for the next day was promising:  we hoped the sunshine would dry out the gravel portions of the Top of the World road.  We did enjoy sitting out in the afternoon as we anticipated the next day's adventure.

Somewhere along the way in our travels in Alaska, we were told that summer is over when the fireweed blooms its top blossom.  The fireweed flower opens its blossoms from the bottom up.  There was a large patch of fireweed in the campground and any number of the plants had bloomed all the way to the top...summer must be nearing its end if the myth is correct!

So much for our brief stay in Chicken...tomorrow it is off across the Top of the World Highway as we leave Alaska and journey to Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada.  We have had a wonderful stay in the 49th State and we will carry fond memories of our many experiences with us as we begin the trip back to the lower 48!

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