Friday, September 30, 2011

Alaska Highway House

   This little museum has  exhibits detailing the many problems the US Army encountered during the construction of the Alaska Highway. If you have time watch the movie which includes interviews with some of the soldiers who worked on the road along with old films and still photographs of the construction.

   The museum is all accessible.

   Parking is available at the visitor center a few blocks away. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in pretty good condition. Museum
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Dawson Creek Station Museum

     Dawson Creek’s original railway station now houses the visitor center and two museums – a natural history gallery and the railroad offices which includes the station master’s living quarters. The natural history gallery was closed because of construction so we could only visit the railroad office.

  Everything is accessible except for the upstairs bedrooms.

  The parking lot is large enough for all RVs. This is where the mile 0 marker of the Alaska Highway is located. Museum

Kiskatinaw River Bridge


 Take a short bypass of the Alaska Highway to drive along part of the original highway and over this historic bridge. It’s very unusual ,made all of wood including the deck and curving to complete the turn required by the path of the road. There’s  a small campground along the river that was closed when we visited.  Park
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fort St. John North Peace Museum

  Fort St. John  started as a fur trading post and grew into a city during the 1930s depression when farmers from drought ridden areas migrated west. More growth came when oil and gas were discovered. Besides covering this early history the museum also has an interesting exhibit about a little known bit of Canadian history – the labor camp interment of over 5,000 Ukrainian immigrants during WWI.

   The museum is fairly accessible with a ramp at the entrance and easy to see exhibits. There are a few tight spots where a wheelchair may not fit.

   The parking area is large enough for RVs.  Museum
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sign Post Forest

   As of last count there are almost 50,000 signs attached to hundreds of post. Some signs have been “borrowed” from hometowns but there also many old license plates and homemade signs on various materials including plywood, frying pans, tee shirts, and even toilet seats.

  Most of the rows between the signs are not accessible due to the uneven rocky terrain but it’s possible to view all around the edges from your vehicle plus there’s a short section of boardwalk at the visitor information center. The center has a ramp.

  Plenty of room for RV parking.  Forest
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Yukon Quest


  The Yukon Quest is a  1,600 km ( over 1,000 miles) dog sled race between Whitehorse ,Yukon and Fairbanks , Alaska. The start and finish lines switch between the two cities every year. Visitors to the offices in Whitehorse can pick up literature about the race and purchase stickers, badges and posters.

  Our reason for stopping in was for a short visit with a new RVing friend , Sue  of Sue's RV Adventures.  She grew up in the Yukon and has recently , along with her husband , moved back to the area.  They’ve taken many RV trips through British Columbia , the Yukon and Alaska. Sue has a great website with wonderful photographs and detailed descriptions of the sights along the major highways. Check out her website if you’re planning a visit or if you just want to see the beautiful scenery.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yukon River Campground

   This is a fairly large provincial park – many pull through sites with good spacing between the sites  and many with river views and river access. It’s very convenient to Dawson City but on the opposite side of the Yukon River so to visit you must take the ferry which runs continuously during the summer.

   The ground is packed sandy soil so rolling is easy. The tables do not have overhangs. The vault toilets are not accessible.  Campground
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Dawson City Museum

  Free ebook from Amazon - The Great Gold Rush

  The museum focuses mainly on the gold rush but also covers a little about First Nations people and the region’s geology. Look for the mannequins in the displays – the faces are casts of local people with an accompanying story about their life in Dawson City. An interesting  movie, made in 1957, is shown in the theater.The annex next door houses train engines and other large equipment.

  The boardwalk sidewalk has a step up from the street – no ramp. A wheelchair lift could be deployed to sit directly on the boardwalk. The wheelchair entrance is in the back of the building with a good ramp to the door. The theater has movable seating. The annex building has a step at the entrance-no ramp.

  Parking is available along the street.  Museum
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Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre

    The center tells the story of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in . Dawson City was their salmon fishing ground until the gold rush forced them to move a few miles away.

    A long gravel walkway leads to the entrance. All the displays are accessible. There are a few spaces in the back row of the movie theater where wheelchairs will fit.

    Parking for short RVs is available in front of the museum. Longer RVs can be parked along the street.  Centre
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Diamond Tooth Gerties

  There’s an admission charge to enter the casino and dance hall but since Gerties is a non profit  organization all of the ticket and gambling proceeds are invested back into the community. The admission tickets are good for entire summer season. There are three shows a night – a mixture of singing, comedy, and dancing.The slot machines are older reel type, pennies to quarters. Also black jack, poker tables, and roulette.

   There’s a good ramp to the entrance door and the seating for the shows and the slot machines are accessible but there’s a large step up from the street to the boardwalk. It might be possible to pull up close to the boardwalk and extend a wheelchair lift directly onto the boardwalk.

   Parking is across the street in a lot large enough for all RVs.  Dance Hall
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Dawson City Visitor Information Centre and Walking Tour

    Dawson City hasn’t become a completely pristine tourist town which makes it a pretty cool place to visit – lots of year round locals, falling down buildings, dirt and gravel streets,  and boardwalk sidewalks plus all of the usual touristy restaurants, bars, gift shops, and hotels.

  The visitor center has a few history displays, three short movies (worth watching), and stacks of brochures. Pick up a walking tour map.

   There’s a ramp at the entrance door without a landing at the top. The door opens out so entering is awkward. The displays and movies are all accessible.  The city and the walking tour are very poor for accessibility. The boardwalks have steps or high drops down to the streets. Many of the shops have steps at the entrances. Unless you have help, driving along the walking tour route is probably the best option.

The parking lot is large enough for most RVs plus there are numerous lots and street parking around town. Visitor Center
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken Creek RV Park Dry Camping

   If you fill your tank at Gold Panner Gift Shop you can stay for free in the dry camping area which is just a rough dirt lot where some old equipment is stored. Our main reason for staying was the free WiFi which is relatively fast if you park in the right spot.

  Chicken is an old gold mining town founded in the late 1800s.  There are still small mining operations along the Chicken Creek but the old buildings can only be seen by taking a guided tour. The new Chicken consists of a small clump  of RV parks, gas stations, restaurants, hotels and gift shops.  Camping
64.06626, -141.99365

Friday, September 16, 2011

Worthington Glacier State Recreation Site

   Another roadside glacier – this one has an accessible paved loop trail with interpretive signs and viewpoints along the way.  A little rock scrambling will take you to the glacier edge.

  The parking lot has long RV spaces. Glacier
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit

   This is part of the Valdez museum but it is located in a separate building a few blocks away. Both museums are included in the admission price. Old Valdez takes a look at the town before the earthquake. Most of the floor space is dedicated to display cases with models of all of the old town buildings and other structures.  There’s also a movie about Valdez that concentrates on the earthquake and the aftermath.

   The entrance to the museum has a ramp without a landing and a door that opens outward so entering is awkward. Most wheelchair users with need some help. The exhibits and movie are accessible but the town display cases are at eye level for people in wheelchairs so it’s impossible to view everything.

   A large lot with long RV spaces is located across the street. Good curb cuts to the museum.  Old Valdez
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Valdez Museum

  The exhibits in this small museum cover the history of the Valdez area from the first humans, through the gold rush, the 1964 earthquake and the continuing research into the affects of the oil spill.

  The museum is fairly accessible although the entrance door is a bit heavy and threshold is a little high.

  The parking lot is large enough for most RVs but if you’re towing parking on the street would probably be easier.   Museum
61.12931, -146.35482

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Matanuska Glacier Viewpoint

   There isn’t any public access to the glacier but the viewpoint has a large parking lot with long RV spaces, a paved overlook with railings, interpretive signs, and  accessible vault toilets.

   There’s also a mile long trail along a moraine (not accessible because of steep slopes and loose gravel) and a tent only campground.   Viewpoint
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Potter Marsh Boardwalk

   Potter Marsh is an accidental wetlands created when the railroad embankment caused a partial damming of three creeks. It’s supposedly a very good birding area. We didn’t see much wildlife but we’re not birders so we probably missed a lot. It’s a beautiful area but a little noisy because of the traffic along Seward Highway.

   The boardwalk is in good condition-all accessible. Do not take the ramp  leading to a gravel path that goes back to the parking lot. It has steps at the end without a ramp. The entire boardwalk out and back is about a mile long.

    The parking lot has long RV spaces.  Marsh
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center

   Most of the center is taken up by classes and labs for school groups but there’s also a very interesting section that tells the story of the  Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge– what it was like when the native people were the only human inhabitants, how it changed when the Russian fur traders arrived, the damage caused by WWII and the ongoing work to bring it back to it’s original state.

  The center is all accessible. The trail that goes to the slough and beach is not accessible due to loose gravel and a poorly maintained boardwalk.

 Update - this is in the comments but I copied it here so that everyone will see it. Thanks Marianne!

  Thank you for your review of Islands & Ocean and our trail. As I write this a contractor is replacing the failed sections of the trail with metal grating that will be sturdier and provide an accessible experience along the slough.

Marianne Aplin
Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

  The parking lot has long RV spaces.   Center
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pratt Museum

     There are three floors of exhibits in this small museum. The ground floor focuses on  local history with exhibits combining story boards, artifacts, artwork, recordings, and films. One floor down is devoted to sea life with aquariums and stuffed birds. The basement contains more artwork, films and a display about the Valdez oil spill. There are also exhibits outside –a small garden, a homesteader’s cabin, and a forest trail.

  Most of the museum is accessible but some of the exhibits have booklets which are attached to the tops of display cases and can not be removed for easy viewing. There are no ramps or elevators inside the museum. Each floor can be seen by exiting the building and entering through a different door which must be unlocked by the museum personnel. We didn’t have time to see the outside exhibits.

  RV parking is available in the back of the museum parking lot.  Museum
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homer Spit Trail

   The trail starts at the northern end of the spit and follows the east side of the roadway as far as the Fishing Hole City Campground. There are plans  to extend it to the end of the spit.

    It’s four miles one way, wide and very smooth with some long gentle dips.  Trail
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Castaway RV Park

   This is one of the tiniest RV parks that we’ve seen. There are about ten sites. A 30’ RV might fit but it’d be tight maneuvering into place. We would have stayed at the city camping areas but since the sun hasn’t been out much for our solar panels and we haven’t been driving very long distances to help charge the house batteries we decided we should give our poor batteries a good charging. The price is good – right across the street it’s over $70.00! (they’re closed for the season so we couldn’t have stayed there even if we had wanted too) The last time that we had electrical hookups was in the middle of May.

  The office doesn't have a ramp. The ground is hard packed sandy dirt with some muddy potholes. There may not be enough room between the sites to deploy a wheelchair lift.

  The park doesn’t have a website. The picture below is part of one of the city camping areas.  City Camping
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seward Library–1964 Earthquake Movie

   The library shows this short documentary during the summer once a day at 2:00. It’s shown in the basement where they also have a very large selection of used books for sale.

  The handicapped entrance is in the back of the building accessed by a ramp. If you are with someone have them go down and open the door from the inside. The librarian was busy and forgot that we were waiting for her to open the door.  There’s plenty of room for wheelchairs both in the movie room and the book sale aisles.

  A new library with a museum is in the plans so this information will most likely be outdated in a year or two.  Movie
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