From Chicken to North Pole
From Dawson Creek in the Yukon, we took a ferry across the Yukon River and then traveled on the Top of the World Highway and crossed into Alaska. Chicken, Alaska is the first little town you pass through after going through customs at border in Little Gold Creek,Yukon.
Check out the website at: http://www.chickenalaska.com/
We went on through Tok and then to North Pole, Alaska. The street lights here look like candy canes. Of course, we visited Santa Claus house - the biggest Christmas store I have ever seen. We then went through Nenana where they have a unique restaurant that's only open for lunch and dinner. It's called the Two Choice Cafe - they have one selection for each meal and you either take ir or leave it - those are your two choices.
Denali, also known as Mt. McKinley, is spectacular to see. The top usually is enclosed in it's own weather system. We took the bus ride (limited car access) to Wonder Lake, about 85 miles in along the Denali Park Road,the only road that goes through the massive park. Saw lots of wildlife roaming like they have been doing for thousands of years.
Near Wasilla and Palmer, it is still sort of out of the way. The views here are stunning. We visited the Independence Mine, which is now abandoned, and which is encompassed within a beautiful alpine-type valley. We toured the remains of the old buildings, schools, cafeteria, lodging, etc. that served all the miners who lived there with their families during the gold-mining days. The mine closed in 1951. We also hiked several trails in the area. We had decided not to visit here, but we ran into an RV-ing couple from New Jersey who were planning to visit, so we decided to see it also. We kept running into this couple throughout the entire time we were in Alaska. We did not share our itineraries, but we still kept seeing them. One time they were the only vehicle we met on a 65-mile dirt road to McCarthy. We both stopped in the middle of the road and talked for over an hour before we went on our way. Alaska is very big, but it's still a small world. We still stay in touch with Jim and Roberta (yes, another Jim!).
We got to Whittier by riding through a tunnel that is shared with trains. The tunnel operates on a schedule, shifting from auto traffic to trains. Otherwise, you need a boat to get to Whittier. The city, with little land area, was established by the Army during WWII. The big buildings housed not only the residences, but also included the schools, hospital, churches and stores. We took a dinner cruise on the Prince William Sound and saw sea otters, whales and lots of other wildlife on the trip. The seas were choppy that day, but seemed like "the good ol' days" for me growing up on the Chesapeake Bay and going on my father's boat in the summers.