Day 5 – January 10
Haines to Tok
The next morning we took our time waking up and getting ready, though we also weren’t especially slow. We ate breakfast in the lounge and began packing up the car and preparing to check out and leave. As I was returning the key the few people there, behind and around the desk, asked about why I was checking out now. I told them I had a long journey today. When they asked where I told them, Tok and ultimately Kodiak. They wished me luck and told me there would be a trucker going that way too. This was a relief, as now we wouldn’t have to worry so much about being stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no one around to help. The people we’ve met so far have all been very nice and helpful.
We began our journey out of Haines to Tok around 9:30am. At first the roads were somewhat snowy and some snow was coming down. I drove cautiously and tried to imagine how I was going to do this for the next 10 or so hours. Eventually the roads did clear up some and driving became easier and I was able to go faster, with more confidence, though still being cautious. As we went along we remarked more on our excitement of doing this together and not being alone in this journey.
Eventually we came to the Canadian border. We pulled over to the side, an officer came out and around to my side. I rolled down the window and we proceeded to answer about 50 questions about what we were doing, where we were going, what was in the car, if we were staying in Canada, etc. Finally he established that we had pepper spray with us, and told us that wasn’t permitted in Canada. We didn’t care too much about mailing this anywhere so we gave it to him and went inside to sign a paper acknowledging that the Canadian government was going to destroy it. At some point during all this the trucker we had heard about pulled up too. After filling out paper work we were able to leave. As we were leaving I pointed out a truck that had about a foot and a half of snow on it (exciting things to look forward to?).
We drove through Canada for most of our journey today, spending about 30-40 minutes in British Columbia and the rest in the Yukon Territory. We were amazed at the beauty of this place. It was a wonderful drive.
After driving a little while we stopped in Haines Junction, YT and had lunch. For lunch we had an omelet and pancakes. It was wonderful. After a little while of just relaxing we set out for Beaver Creek (a city in Canada, but along the way; our last city before Tok).
We eventually came to Beaver Creek and got gas. I wanted to keep going and make it to Tok, and it wasn’t that late yet. So we decided to keep going. I got green tea at the gas station and we pressed on.
A fun note about Beaver Creek: This is the meeting point of the highway workers. The US and Canadian workers stopped working from there respective sides at this point and the highway was joined together.
After leaving Beaver creek we drove for about a half hour before we came US customs. This border checkpoint was much easier to get through, with only about 7 questions, instead of 50. After crossing the border the changes were quickly apparent. There were now mile markers, instead of kilometer, the road was a bit nicer and there were oodles more road signs.
Speaking of road signs, throughout the course of this journey we found a number of road signs covered with snow. There was no way you could read it, unless you pulled over and knocked the snow off. Some of the signs looked important. We laughed at the silliness of this and made guesses as to what the signs might say. At one point we even wondered if we would miss a turn or a road because the sign was covered. Fortunately we didn’t.
After driving a couple more hours we made it to Tok (Pronounced Tōk, with a long o). We found a couple motels driving into town and decided to just keep driving and see what we found and then decide. We decided on one of the first motels we found, Young’s Motel & Fast Eddy’s Restaurant. It was a wonderful motel. Very inexpensive and very nice. Nicer than the one in Haines and less than half the cost. We checked in and drove around to our room. We plugged the engine block heater in, as it was already -19° F outside (and you could tell) and went to sleep.