Our journey to Hayward began the afternoon of July 1 as we departed Juneau on the ferry for Skagway. A number of our wonderful friends came out to the ferry terminal to see us off. It is bittersweet to be leaving Alaska, our home since 1975, but we're looking forward to new adventures in the Midwest.
We're in Watson Lake, Yukon tonight. We arrived about 8:00 p.m Alaska time after leaving Skagway just before 10 a.m. Neither of us slept very well last night so we slept in this morning. Making it up White Pass was a slow haul, averaging 15-20 mph on the steepest sections. It was raining in Skagway and at the pass but the weather improved as we got further from the coast. Mike drove the truck the first part of the day and I took over in the afternoon. I was a bit nervous about driving such a big rig pulling a trailer but it was easier than I thought and now I feel comfortable with it.
The truck is an automatic but has three gears in addition to "Drive." There is a fuel economy indicator gauge that shows when you should shift to a lower gear to get the best mileage. When you're driving on anything other than flat terrain you have to constantly shift between "drive" and the three gears. At this point we're averaging only a little better than 5 mpg. Sure hope that improves as the terrain flattens out.
We're staying at the Airforce Lodge tonight, a restored barracks from WWII. Michael, the German fellow who owns the place, is really nice. He told us that the original barracks was in such bad shape that he got it for free. It was cut in half and moved from its airport location and is the only surviving building from the military installation that was once here. He has completely restored it and has done a beautiful job.