We left Beaver Creek this morning headed toward the Alaskan border (again). No trouble crossing the border. We are starting our 6th week on the road and we still are enjoying every single day. We drove on dirt and gravel roads a good bit of the morning headed toward Tok, and finally Delta Junction. Actually the dirt and gravel is not as bad as the frost heaves, as they will really give you a ride if you aren’t careful. We’ve learned after the first day of driving on them that we must be vigilant and drive slowly.
At times there is hardly any traffic behind us or in front of us so we get the feel of the frontier. We arrived in Tok at lunchtime and had lunch at “Fast Eddie’s Restaurant”. We heard this was a great place to eat and Don and Sandie had eaten there on their last trip. We had a nice lunch of soup and sandwiches. We shopped at a couple of nice little artisan shops and yes I picked up a beautiful mammoth ivory bracelet and earrings.
We’ve noticed that a lot of buildings and houses on the side of the roads have been abandoned and boarded up. I think people come and go up here and think they can make it and just cannot. It’s a rugged country and I see how only the strong can survive (isn’t that song?) We had rain coming into Tok but the temperatures are moderate.
By mid-afternoon we had reached our destination of the day, Delta Junction, Alaska. This is also the end of the Alaska Highway. Remember we drove every mile of it, all 1422 miles. Don Fancher has a distant cousin who lives here and they had met once before so we made plans to meet them again for dinner. We drove to their beautiful home. They have lived here for about 30 years. Kirk and Lorraine Ueeck (pronounced eek) have three sons. One son who lives near, Kim, and his wife LaRee, joined us for dinner also. Lorraine is a very talented artist and she showed us all of her artwork, crafts, and such. Their home is so interesting—they have a lot of artifacts from years gone by from their families as well as natives they have met in their time in Alaska. Their son, Kim, is also an artist. He and his wife LaRee live in Galena during the school year. LaRee teaches school and Kim works for the government during their time in Galena. During the summer they move back to Delta Junction where they are building a log cabin. I mean they are BUILDING it themselves. They took us to see it after dinner. They have 40 acres of property and when we walked through the woods this beautiful 2 story log cabin came into view. You will see it from the photos but I’m not sure the photos will do it justice. Kim hunts and there are 2 huge moose antlers on the side of the house. Kim handmakes canoes, the most beautiful canoes you’ve ever seen. And he also does a kind of artwork that is hard to describe. He carves the picture on a piece of birch or some other wood and then in a complicated process tranfers the art from the wood onto paper. I was so taken with his work I bought 4 originals right there from his home. He has also authored a book about the history of his family in Alaska—he gave each of us a copy as well. I must tell you this is one of the most interesting families we have ever met. They were gracious hosts and we enjoyed them immensely. Lorraine processes salmon and she gave both Sandie and I a can of her smoked salmon. Kim also has a smokehouse and he smokes moose, salmon, etc. I could go on and on about this family but nothing I say can give you the impressions we came away with. Thanks to all of them for making our visit to Delta Junction a memorable one.
Tomorrow we head to Fairbanks. Stay tuned. Bonnie