ALASKA – HERE WE COME!
The following was written by Barbara after they returned.
May 25, 1994, the day had finally arrived! We, Betty and Billy Yawn, Morris and Barbara Mixson left for Alaska in our motor home.
Our first stop was in Branson, Missouri where we spent four days and took in several shows. On May 31, Joyce and Wyndall Skipper (Barbara’s high school friends from Brandon, Florida) met up with us. They traveled in their pick-up truck and pulled a camper trailer.
On our way to Rapid City, MT, we went through Mitchell where we saw the Corn Palace and Museum of Dolls and went though the Badlands National Park. We spent two days visiting Mt. Rushmore and Custer’s National Park; then two days at Glacier National Park. While we were there we took the “Going to the Sun Road,” where saw our first glaciers. That day it was very cold, light snow, sleet, fog and winds, but oh, so beautiful. By this time our CB radios were in constant use as we kept exclaiming one to another, “Isn’t that beautiful, did you see the bears, or the moose, or the sheep or whatever?”
Our trip continued through Calgary, Banoff National Park, Lake Louise and Jasper National Park. We stopped early each day at a campground we’d pick out the night before. Some days we only traveled 15—250 miles. That way we had the whole afternoon and evening to sight see.
Saturday, June 11 we had gone 3582 miles when we arrived in Dawson Cree, British Columbia, where the Alaskan highway begins. This is the starting point for those going on to Alaska and we met up with hundreds of rigs getting ready for the 1500 mile trip to Fairbanks. Travel days were getting shorter now due to the bad road conditions. At times, we were going ten miles per hour.
June 18 we arrived in beautiful Skagway, Alaska where we left
our rigs and took the ferry (the night cruise from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am) to
Juneau, the capital, were we spent three days and two nights. This was the
only time we stayed in a motel. We all loved Juneau and the shopping there was
June 21, the longest day of the year, found us back in Skagway were from then on we had almost twenty-four hours of daylight.
Leaving Skagway going to Valdez was the most incredible scenery anywhere on our trip. The road was high up on the mountains right along side of huge glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, creeks, rivers and lakes.
In Valdez, we went on a small cruise ship owned by a member of the First Baptist Church. We went out in the port of Valdez for a “different church service” led by the pastor of FBC. We left the dock at 8:00 am to worship God in the beauty of His world during the one hour cruise. It was great and one of the highlights of our trip.
On to Anchorage, a large modern city of 250,000. Here we stocked up on groceries and supplies from SAM’s, Walmart, and K-Mart. The cheapest gas since the states was found here -- $1.15 a gallon.
Our next stop was Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula. Here we camped at the Deep Creek right on the waterfront and we met three other couples from Gainesville; friends of Betty and Billy’s from their square dancing group. This area is known for its great halibut fishing but because of the bad weather (cold, rainy and lots of strong winds) their trip was canceled. So instead, we drove down to Homer and ate out and took in the sights and museums.
Seward was next where we took an eight hour cruise. It was a wonderful cool and sunny day after a week of rain. We saw a hum back whale, sea lions, puffins, and about fifteen other species of birds, and of course, the highlight of the trip was a close up view of the glaciers. We were some of the lucky ones as we saw a huge glacier calve, about six times in a row. Calving is when big pieces of the glacier fall off with a crashing sound into the water. These huge pieces of ice make icebergs in the water. It was a wonderful sigh. Yes, we have this on video tape.
From Seward we went to beautiful Portgage Glacier; then to Hope, a gold mining town, small and peaceful, for a few days of rest.
We met our son David, in Anchorage. He spent five days with us. We spent three days at Denaile National Park where we took in eight hour bus tour to see Mt. McKinley. Only 25 percent of the time can anyone see Mt. McKinley and unfortunately, it was covered with clouds when we were there, but on the way back we stopped and looked back and we did get to see the tope of it.
On July 19, we were in Fairbanks where David left us to go sight-seeing on his own. From there, we drove the awful gravel road trough Chicken, Alaska on the “Top of the World Highway.” It was awesome, just beautiful and so different, in spite of the bad road.
We arrived at the Yukon River and waited in line for almost two hours for the free ferry, which held only four to six vehicles at a time, to take us across to Dawson City.
Our return route led us though Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Liard Hot Springs, Ft. Nelson, Dawson Creek (all in the Yukon); Edmonton in Alberta, Saskatoon, Minot, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Lawrence, Kansas where we spent a week with Brenda, Tom and the boys. Betty and Billy arrived home August 14 and Morris and I on August 20.
We were gone 88 days and traveled 11,600 miles. It was a great and wonderful trip; one that we will never forget. We thank God for a safe trip and for making such a beautiful world and that we had the opportunity to see a part of it.
The following are letters that Barbara sent the family while on the road.
Sunday night, July 17, 1994
Its' 8:30 pm Sunday night and the usn is till way up. David & Billy left for a hour hike up th emountain to some late. Morris & I just finished taking a shower.
I think I left off on my last letter on June 27 so I'll stgart on June 28.
We arrived in Anchorage about 1:30 (afternoon) after a beautiful drive by the Matanusaka River and saw good views of the Matanuska Glacier. We went shopping at SAM's and the grocery store. We all ate together tonight - Lasagana from SAMs. We have gone 5569 total miles - 127 miles today.
June 29 we onle went 155 miles to Soldotna, a beautiful dive right along the water called Turnagain Arm with the mountains in the background. We found a small campground (only 10 sites) amolst downtown and later on in the day Betty & Billy's friends from square dancing found us., They were camping about 45 miles from us.
June 30 we spent another day have doing our wash, getting our films developed and went for a long ride around the area. That night at 11:00 PM - I already had my nightgown on and morris was in the shower, Joyce & Wyndall had gone riding around and they rode up calling for us to jump in the truck. Swe we did and about 2 miles down the road we saw a papa moose, a mamma moose & 2 baby moose. After we took pictures, we turned around to go bac and 2 more moose crossed the road right in front of us!
Friday, July 1
It was 45° this morning but sunny. We left about 10 am to go the 45 miles to Deep Creek State Park (over 300 campers here, amost all of them fishing for halibut) where Betty & Billy friends (3 couples) from square dancing were camping. Deep Creek is between Soldotna and Homer, near a darling little village called Ninilchik. We toured the tiny village, & climbed up the thill to see the Russian Orthodox church (this villiage was settled by Russians). It got colder today and the wind is trong here. We are camping right on the water way (Cook Inlet).
Sat. July 2
In the rain and fog we all got in our campers and went to Homer where the sun was shinning but before we left it was raining there too. We took a ride down the narrow strop of land called "The Homer Spit". It was full of tents, motor homes, on both sides of the raod, on right next to another on all the way to the end. We ate lunch in a small restaurent (fried halibut - very good) overlooking a small harbor full of fishing boats. Got back to Deep Creek and the sun was shinning. Tonight we had a hamburger cookout with Betty & Billy friends. We saw a beautiful sunset over the water tonight about 11:30 pm. It was really cold out tonight. There were about 12 eagles that live up in the tress on the mt. ot Rinilchick that we watched.
Tuesday July 19
Sunny & cool this morning, only 144 miles to Fairbanks (we been 6,613 miles so far). Got to the K-Mart Parking lot were everyone camps free, but today they had signs up no more free parking so we went nxt door to the Sears parking lot. We went to the Post office, Pennigs, rode down the water front, went to the grocery store, got some pictures developed at K-Mart and went to an amusement park and restored village of early Alaskan homes, called Alaskan Land Park. It was quite nice. There must of been 0 old homes restored with plaques on them telling who lived there & where they got then, and now they had gift shopes in most of them.
Wed. July 20
Drove 227 miles to day to Tok Alaska. Everyone mus start here & leave Alaska from here. So you meet the same people who have been here before and are going home or just arriving. Its' a very interesting place. Everyone we meet is so friendly. Morris can actually talk for hours with fellow campers. Thats the first thing he does after we get to a place & get hooked up. Its' fun to compare experiences with the others who aare on their way up. We got up this morning at 6:30 AM to get David to the train station where he will go to Anchorage. He has a car rented there where he will spend the next 10 days taking in the Kemia Penisula & area. Tonight we ate at the Famous Fast Eddty's Resturant. We really haven't eaten out that much. Most nights we get hooked up and we just cook in the motor home. Of course, many, many nights we are camping in the middle of nowhere and there are not restaurants near by.
Thurs. July 21,
We did our laundry, went to the Tok gift shipe, and Morris & Billy got the rigs washed and serviced before we left. We left Tok at noon and drive 198 miles across the Top of the World highway to Dawson City. It was a terrible gravel road most of the way but it was worth it. At times we had to go 10 miles an hour! The scenery was breathtaking. I bet you could see 200 miles away in every direction. Halfway up we came to a place (famous!) called Chicken. It was just a small place in the middle of nowhere where hurdres of rigs stop fo a break, food, expensive gas, souverners, drinks & you could camp there free of charge. It was hot, dusty, about 1/2 hour & wen ton to Dawson City (very slow, lots of rigs & dusty gravel roads all the way.) But beautiful scenery. When we got to the edge of Dawson City we had to get in line to get the one & only one ferry across the Yukon River. It only took 4-6 rigs (according to the hour long each one was). We had to wait 1 hr & 45 minutes before we got one. But everyone in line was friendly and no one seem to mind the long wait. We finally got across, it was about 9pm by this time ad there were no vacancies in any of the RV parks. So we found a small restaurant that was letting people pak in the parking lot for $5.00. We ere eating supper at 10:00 pm! and got to be about midnight (still light out!)
Friday, July 22
Very warm & sunny today. After breakfest we went into Dawson City to sight see and shop. It is a very nice, old minning town with lots and lots of nice gift shops, hotels, and ol dhistorical buildings. We had lunch in a very nice cafe in one of the hotels. It was very hot in the camper so Morris was ready to leave (about 3:00 pm). Later on down the road we couldn't reach Betty and Billy on the Radio so we pulled off and waited a few minutes and when they didn't come we turned around to find them. We met them down the road and found out that when Billy went around a curve & put on breakes, Betty was up and she fell and hit her head on something. Se cuta a gash about 2-3 inches on the back of her head and it bled a good deal. We had to take a side gravel road down to a town called May, where they had clinic and they stiched her up. We spent the night there and we had supper around 9 m. Betty slept all nighyt for about the next 4 days & night.
Must close up for now. Will write again soon.
Love & kisses to everyone
Barbara & Morris
Thursday Aug. 4, 1994
Dear Family and Friends,
We are in Edmonton, Cnada waiting for Morris to get back from the garage where he has to get the tail pipe fixed & the fron end aligned. Then we are going to the "Worlds Largest Mall" and spend the rest of the day.
Well, I left off on July so I'll begin this letter on Sat. July 16.
Had a nice beautiful dirve to Denaili National Park. Several times we saw Mt. McKinley in the far distance (probably 100 miles away). Mt McKinley is over 22,000 ft tall & completely covered with snow. We arrived at the Vistors Center where there were hundreds of vistors signing up for the shuttle bus rides. We got reservations for Monday monring. We found a vacant parking spot along the river (free); the camp rounds were full and a 2 day waiting period. After supper I showed Daved all of our pictures we had taken so far. David & Billy took a hike up the mountain after supper. It nice having David here, he's so interested in everything.
Sunday July 17
We go up and wnt to a darling little Baptist Church. After church we ate lunch at the Box Car Cafe in th every old historical Healey hotel. Stopped at Pt & Wendell's Bed & Breakfast & gift ship where we bought ice worms for $1.000 a piece ($3.00 everywhere else). We had met Pat a chuch this monrning. After that we shopped & looked aournd the famous Princess Hotel. We ate supper that the famous NcJubke Steakhouse and Salmon Bake. We played cards tonight & David took a long hike.
Mondy July 18
We took the 9:30 tour bus though Denali National Park. We had to take our own lunch & drinks, rain gear, jackets, etc. for we'd be gone all day and there are no facilities ecept for portable toilets along the way. We had very good driver who talked to us all along the way and stopped for us to take pictures. We saw moose, grizley bears, an eagle, a herd of dall sheep, caribou, a family f partmigan (the state bird) and marmonts. IN all it was a very good trip. The only thing Mt McKinley was converd with clouds from the mountain. About 30 miles on our way back, someone look out the back window & the clouds had lifted & we all jumped out & tried to get pictures of it. I imagine we were 60-75 miles from the actual mountain. No cars or private vechicles are allowd on this road, but there was a tour bus about every 10 minutes. It was a greate trip and we all really enjoyed it. We got back at 6:00 pm - a great day, sunny & cool. Tonight we met some neighbors of Jim & Sue's, Larry & Betty Tannon.
Sunday July 3
Very cold & windy & cloudy all day. Wyndall bought a cam corder along and has taken 3 videos (so far) and Betty's friends had a converter so we got to watch them. They are so good. We talked ab long time to Al Fords (Betty's friend) about his fishing. They are catching 80-130 lb halbuts and having them frozen & shipped back home. They figure it costs about $6.00 a lb to do this. One man we met took out a chair & put in a small freezer in his motor home! Tonight we took a long ride over a terrible gravel road look for bear or moose. We finally saw 2 eagles and one moose. 11:00 pm the sun is still out & voery cold.
Monday July 4
We're still at Deep Creek. The men had reservations to go deep sea fishing for halbut but it was canceled due to high windows & rain. It rained most of the day. The sun came out for an hour or so & then it rained again. There is a old couple camped right in fron of us that has fire going on the beachand they kept it going for 3 days now & they sit right though the rain & keep that fire going! We had a lazy day, eating, sleeping, talking, and playing cards. Betty made vegetable soup for all of us. We (6 of us) played cards till amost midnight. Well I'll close this one for now & go to bed. We miss all of you & love you. Continue to pray for us.
Love, Barbara & Morrs, MOn & Dad, Grandma & Grandpa
On the back of the above letter which my sister sent me:
Larry & Julie
We all are fine down here. Mark is staying busy in the fencing business. I have been babysitting kids over the summer. Zack's baseball team one 2nd place which Mark coached. Coral will go to the 2nd grade and katie 1st, Zack 7th.
It sounds like Mom & Dad are having a great time. Mom has sent some other letters bu I haven't gotten around to copying them, Sorry. David should be back on the 31st can't wait to hear about his adventures. Mom & Dad are heading back, they are in Canada and should be at Brenda's around August 15 the home around Sept. 1st. Can't wait to see them too the kids miss them a lot.
Love Ya, Beth