On the Road Adventures

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 8 - Valdez to Tok

We left the clouds and fog of Valdez and headed for the smoke in Tok (that rhymes – they pronounce the name of the town “Toke” as in “poke”.) The fires are still burning in the interior between Tok and Fairbanks and you know, it kinda smells like home in the summer. The sun is that sullen red-orange that comes from being filtered through wood smoke. But there were still some beautiful scenes, like the overlook above the Copper River as it snakes and braids itself down to the sea. All these Alaska rivers are running down what was once the bottom of immense glaciers, so they have a whole lot more room to roam than they would if they had carved the canyon out themselves.

While I was doing research for this trip a year or so ago, I ran across a quote from someone saying that the time to leave Alaska for us summer birds is when the fireweed turns white. I figured that meant when it snows on the fireweed, it’s time to go, but I saw a fireweed plant at one of our stops and all of a sudden the saying made sense. All those skinny stems that remain on the stalk as the plant blooms its way toward the top contain the seeds that are on silky parachutes, much like a dandelion. As those open up, the plant turns white! So I guess we are headed in the right direction (but don’t count on seeing our smiling faces all that soon!)

Especially when we get some enforced delays. When we got to Tok and checked in to the RV park, I went around to unhook and ~~GASP!!~~ the window on the driver’s door was gone! Shattered into a pile of really lovely aquamarine crystals. How it happened, we have no idea. It was fine at lunch when Gerry did his walk-around, so some time along the way, something impacted it hard enough to break it into a gazillion pieces. Poor little Toad! Luckily, there is a glass guy here in Tok who is going to Fairbanks on Monday to pick up stock, and he is confident he can fix it, so we’re here until Tuesday. Otherwise, we’d have to tape it up and head to Whitehorse. So I guess we find out what there is to see and do in Tok. I wonder if they have a museum.

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