Thursday, May 10, 2018

Knocking the 50th State Off Our Life List

Bob and I like goals and one goal has been to visit every American state.  On Monday we visited Alaska and now have visited each and every one of the fifty states.  In case you think we aren't patriotic people, we have visited our ten provinces as well.

Sunday was our last day with Elizabeth as her show started the touring portion  on Monday.  She and her cast and crew headed to Dawson City.  Jack, the husband of one of the actors, was at loose ends so on Monday he and the two of us hopped in our rental car and headed to Skagway, Alaska.

The trip each way is about two and a half hours.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  First of all, the scenery along the way is magnificent.  Have a look.

We passed a number of signs that said, "Avalanche area.  No stopping."  Inevitably near these signs would be pullouts for scenic views.

Here we are about to step into our last state.  (A giant step for Kingkind and all of that!)
Skagway is a town of 900 people.  On Monday there were about 920 people as I think there were twenty or so tourists which included the three of us.

The next day would be considerably different as Skagway's cruise ship season was starting on Tuesday.  There would be 7,700 tourists arriving by ship!  On the busiest day in the summer 11,100 people arrive.  One shopkeeper told Bob that he wouldn't have a single day off until October.

A benefit of being ahead of the tourists was that nothing was busy.  A disadvantage was that a lot of the stores weren't open.  This one was included in that number so I sat down on the curb and cried.

Luckily I picked up a couple of northern quilt kits in Whitehorse.

We pounded the pavement ... or rather we clip-clopped the boardwalks.
We aren't shoppers so we are wondering what all the tourists do for their day(s) in port.  There are a couple of small museums and there is a half hour video.  There is a cemetery from the gold rush era.

There are lots of wooden buildings which date to the late 1800s.  It's a miracle fire hasn't wiped them out at some point in history.  There are warnings all over town for smokers to be very sure that their butts are completely extinguished.

The Skagway Fish Company was recommended, but they weren't opening until the following day.  There were workers scrubbing and bringing in supplies.
It's on the water and the view is astounding.
We had to find another place to eat.  We were told that the fish and chips are good at every place in town so we picked a random place.  The fish was delicious but I'm not positive this meal was worth $18 American.
On the way to and from Skagway there are but a few stopping places.  Carcross is one of them as it has the world's smallest desert.  That's it.  Look at the sand and continue on.
The desert is about one square mile and was formed during the last glacial period when silt was deposited from large glacial lakes.  Now sand is added when wind carries it from Bennett Lake.  It can be argued that this isn't a true desert because it isn't in an arid region; some refer to it as sand dunes rather than desert.
We got back to Whitehorse in plenty of time to drop off Jack and to pack our scanty possessions in our carry-on bags for the trip home on Tuesday.

The departure lounge of the Whitehorse airport isn't conducive to wanting to leave.  Look at the panoramic view.
We packed a lot into our time up north.  Visit there if you can.  We recommend it.

Our Favorite Yukon Day

Bob and I didn't have to debate our favorite day.  We were unanimous (if two can form unanimity) that the day we spent at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and Takhini Hot Springs was the best.

Liz knew the route.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a 750 acre park with thirteen species of northern animals.  Some of the animals are bred; some are not.  Some of the animals are rehabilitating and will be returned to the wild; some will remain in the preserve.  Examples of ones that live there permanently are the three-legged lynx and the three-legged fox.  This preserve is contacted when people find injured animals in the wild.  The goal is to release the animals back into the wild, but that is sometimes impossible as the animals wouldn't survive.

Before we started the tour at the Wildlife Preserve, it made sense to use the facilities.  They were newly built and hadn't yet acquired the outhouse smell.

First stop was the elk area.  Lifting the antlers wasn't easy and we think all elk must have perpetual headaches.
Notice the gopher scampering in the next photo.  They were everywhere except for in the fox and lynx compounds.  Apparently there they are eaten just like we would scarf down M&Ms.
We went on a two hour tour and we were the only ones except for our information-filled guide.  People can hike in the preserve and we saw many families ambling along on this sun-filled day.  The benefit of the tour was collecting all the information the guide could give us.
We got up close and personal with some mountain goats.
Better than that, was spotting some mountain goats on a ridge.  We watched for quite some time and saw how cleverly and elegantly they can pick their way over the rocky terrain.
The Preserve has two moose and the moose have an extremely large enclosure so often they aren't seen.  However, this fellow was happy to visit with us from his side of the fence.  I like how this photo contains him, the mountains, and pussy willows.
He seemed to be saying, "pleased to meet you."  
Liz had never seen a moose, but the next day on her trip to Dawson City one crossed right in front of her vehicle.

I didn't get a good photo of the musk oxen, but I was very happy to see them as I hadn't ever seen any before.  They were sleeping in a huddle but two obligingly rose up as we watched.

The preserve has a photo op area.
We drove a little further to have lunch at Bean North.  The day was so lovely that we ate on the deck. 
The resident dog was happy to sit with us.  He didn't realize that we had just been at the Preserve where we learned that we weren't to feed the animals.  Sorry, doggo, no crumbs for you.
Who brings a swimsuit to the Yukon in early May?  Not me so that necessitated a $23 stop at WalMart so I could soak in the Takhini Hot Springs.  It was lovely to be soaky hot whilst looking at snow on the mountains.  Liz definitely has an old-time Hollywood vibe in this photo.  
Elizabeth was here when there was still snow around.  The lobby has photos of people with frozen hair and it reminded us of her synchro days when she would come out of the Weyburn swimming pool.  She wouldn't dry her hair thoroughly before she left the building and she would have "rice hair" which was crunchy and cold.

This day was so special and we loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Food! The Scrabble! The Live Theater!

I didn't realize that Whitehorse has as good a food scene as it does.  Burnt Toast, Baked, and Antoinette's are three eateries listed high on guides such as Yelp and Urban Spoon.  Another that is regularly mentioned is Klondike Rib and Salmon but it is still closed for the season.
At Antoinette's, which has been featured on You Gotta Eat Here, I had one of the best meals of my entire life.
It was the crispy guacamole salmon.  Yum!  Double yum!!  Triple yum!!!
We ate there with Liz's BFF Sarah who lives in Whitehorse.  BFF may sound juvenile but since their friendship goes back to early elementary school I feel I can use it here.  They've been friends so long that they even look alike in certain ways.
We also had a meal at The Deli.  The helpings were so large that we took enough food back to the hotel for another meal.  Not only that, but had we not been conscientious hotel guests, the next people in room 415 would have found a Deli meal in the room's refrigerator.
The menu changes daily.  I skipped the pork hocks, but didn't pass up the sauerkraut.
Some other beauties I spotted there were these:

You might be wondering if Liz and I carry around a Scrabble board each and every day just in case the occasion arises to play a game.  The answer is "well, yes, yes, indeed we do."

Ross, how would you play out my remaining letters?
We played nine games in just a couple of days and our scores were pretty even.
As a parent, I want my kids to be bigger brainiacs than me.  That wish has come true.
Here's our nine game tally.
What does Bob do while we play Scrabble?  He does whatever he wants.
We try to include him in our games, but he always turns us down. 

Elizabeth has been stage managing for the Gwaandak Theater and we saw her show at this charming, intimate theater.  The show is now on the road to Dawson City and Old Crow so Liz is even farther north.  

This play and its premise
create deep thinking and lively conversation.

Liz, you and your group have my respect and my applause.