Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dawson City and How I Kissed a Dead Man's Toe!


Both Barb and I feel as though we are on the tail end of our Alaskan adventure as Fairbanks was the point where we start a more southeasterly route back towards the lower 48. We have been in in Canada and Alaska for over 3-1/2 months and have less than 3 weeks before we hit Montana. That said, we are both fighting the urge to speed up our pace south as we are looking forward to seeing our daughter and her family in Salt Lake, pick up our 5th wheel, sell the camper and start our next adventure. We do this all the time, feel the need to speed up, hurry up and get home (wherever home is). The good thing is that we recognize this in ourselves and each other and resist it as there is still so much to see and do on our way back down!
Leaving Fairbanks we drove through North Pole where we stopped and talked to Santa and told him how good our grandchildren Dylan, Kendall and Lily were this year.


 
Then on to Delta Junction, the end of the Alaskan Highway

 
We ended the day in Tok where we did nothing more than fill up at the Chevron, use their free dump, fill up with water and spent the night in their parking lot. We had explored the town on the way up so we did not feel the need to doing any more. We did of course have to take a picture of the angry incinerator barrel to taunt our friends Steve and Linda who had a “run in” with this barrel the week before……
 
Then it was off to Chicken, our most northerly stop on our journey. The road to Chicken is very rough. Gravel, with ruts and potholes most of the way. In fact it is like this well beyond Chicken and does not really start to get better until you get to the Yukon. Average speeds with our camper were about 40-45 mph, trailers and class A’s were going slower than that. Along the way we stopped by a roadside pullout to pick blueberries. We had seen cars pulled and figured that was what they were doing so we spent 20 minutes picking and filled up a rubber quart size container of blueberries!
 

Blueberries and Cranberries
 
Berry picking Barbie!
Chicken is a very interesting little town consisting of a couple of fuel stations, restaurants and gift shops. With a population of 23 in the summer and 7 in the off season this town has no power service so everything is run on generators. For those of you who don’t know how the town got its name….it was reportedly named Chicken after no one could agree how to spell Ptarmigan. Well, let’s just say they embraced that name and made the most of it…..

An old dredge
We had another chance encounter when we arrived when we met up with friends Ben and Jo who happened to be in town at the same time we were. They were headed in the opposite direction on their way to see Lee and Trace as well as Bill and Kelly. We had first met Ben and Jo in Florida and then again last winter in Arizona. Both are traveling nurses who live on the road taking contracts in hospitals for months at a time before moving on to their next location.
After catching up with Ben and Jo we headed down the road, crossed the border into Yukon and following the Klondike Loop and Top of the World Highway (TOTWH). This is an absolutely beautiful drive with most of it being high up on the mountains overlooking the valleyed landscape below. We spent the night on a roadside pullout about 30 miles before Dawson City with not another vehicle going by after the border closed at 9:00pm.

Daisy on "Top of the World"

 
When traveling the TOTWH there is only one way into Dawson City via a small ferry that takes you across the Yukon river. This free ferry holds anywhere from one large RV or truck to 6 smaller vehicles. Coming from this direction that early in the morning we pulled right up with no waiting but Faye and Dave who were traveling from Dawson City towards Fairbanks last week reported some people waiting as long as 6 hours in line to get across.


 
Dawson City appears to mainly a tourist town and was a lot bigger than we expected. One thing we learned right away is that it is mainly a night town as most restaurants and bars did not open until 4:00 or later and many businesses were closed on Mondays. So we toured the town walking through the numerous gift shops, did some window peeking and took advantage of the free Wi-Fi at the Visitors Center to post our Fairbanks blog. Before we knew it it was 6:00 and time to hit the town!


 
Our first stop was Klondike Kates for dinner. This is a cute little restaurant with typical Yukon prices, we each had an appetizer (bbq poutine and chicken wings) and water for $40. Then it was off to Diamond Tooth Gerties (opens at 7:00) for the 8:30 Cancan show.  The show itself is $12 each but you get a card and go for as many times as you want during your stay. It is an interesting and funny show with a lot of audience interaction. If you are in the front few tables there is a good chance you will be singing or even dancing up on stage! Luckily we were seated at the bar (go figure) and out of range of the performers. This is good entertainment and well worth it if you are in town.
 


 
After the show we headed down to Sourdough Saloon in the Downtown Hotel home of the infamous Sour Toe Cocktail! What’s a Sour Toe Cocktail you ask? Well, let me tell you….it is a shot of booze with a dehydrated human toe in it! The link above gives a little more of the history behind this drink.

For those of you who really know me, you know I can be somewhat of a germaphobe so you could say I was a little more than hesitant to do the Sour Toe. But I had been spouting my mouth off about how I was going to do it and even have a bet with my son-in-law who said I would not follow through. Arriving at the Sourdough there were instructions on how to do the Sour Toe. First you had to order a shot from the bar that has to be a minimum of 80 proof (probably to kill any germs). Then you go over to a table at the side of the bar where the toe is displayed on salt. The modern day Capt. Dick records your name and explains the rules. There are only a couple of rules; 1) The toe must touch your lips, 2) You cannot throw up 3) You cannot let the toe go past your lips.
You would not think the last rule was even necessary but it is. There have been cases where drunken partakers have actually swallowed the toe! There is a $2,500 fine for anyone who swallows the toe. In fact this is the 7th toe since they started this drink in 1973.

First let me tell you the toe is downright gross looking….
Gross!

Am I really going to do this??
 "Capt. Dick" puts the toe in my glass, I try not to look or think about it and down the shot while trying not to open my mouth too much. The toe hits my lips as I tip the glass upside down and I am done. Not so bad after all!
I think I am going to puke!
 I receive my fancy certificate and we head back to the camper.


We were planning on spending 4 days in Dawson City and Barb got behind the wheel to find us a spot  for the night. Next thing I knew we were an hour outside Dawson City heading for our next stop! So much for slowing down!!!!!

26 comments:

  1. Glad you got to connect with Jo and Ben....and eeeewwww on the toe, but a great story!!

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    1. What a coincidence that we were in Chicken at the same time, it was great seeing them!

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  2. Ok, I'm can't get past the toe!! Or that you actually did it!!! It looks more like an umbilical cord. How do you know you're getting a fresh toe and not a thrown-up one (7 times swallowed?). You'd have to pay me to do that! I see some fun games in our future in Arizona this winter!

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    1. Stop! Now you are making me want to throw up all over again! I can't believe that anyone ever swallowed one!

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  3. I can't believe you did that. If I ever sneeze on your taco, you better not say anything.

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  4. OMG ..ok I am totally for adventure, but that toe thing was just gross. I mean who originally said ..hey lets put a toe in this drink. Barb I would seriously make him disinfect before kissing him...or maybe just no more kissing :P

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    1. I tried not to look at it and just focus on swallowing the shot. I think the alcohol would kill anything right?

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  5. Congrats Jim! Now I'm not alone in the Sourtoe Coctail experience. When I tipped my drink back the dam toe stuck to the bottom of the glass so I had to tap it to get it to my lips! 😳
    Safe travels!

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    1. I was afraid of that happening but figured this toe was so big that there was no way it would stick to the bottom of the glass.

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  6. LOL!!! Now where will we get a toe to be used in Q this winter. Don't get in a hurry, everything will still be down here when you arrive to the lower 48.

    Dave & Diane

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    1. I am sure we can find an old miner that would be willing to donate one to the cause!

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  7. Fresh picked blueberries...yum:) Glad you didn't have to share with any furry friends. What a fun evening working your way through town with food, drink, and theater. That whole toe thing is just wrong...gross. Good you won the bet:) Safe travels as you point south:)

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    1. Had some blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning as a matter of fact! Delicious!

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  8. Yuk, yuk. The toe is ok but the booze yuk. In Seward now headed for Homer tomorrow.
    Check our blog we captured Denali and the Ruth glacier. Safe travels.
    Bob and Lorraine

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    1. You will really like Homer, we had a great time in that area. Make sure you check out the Salty Dawg!

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  9. It is interesting to learn things about yourself. We catch ourselves speeding up at the end of long times away from the grandkids. Thanks for the great writing about your trip to Alaska. We can't wait to go.

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    1. You will enjoy it up here. The bugs are not nearly as bad as we thought they would be but it is raining a lot more in the past few weeks than it had been in quite a while.

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  10. Jim, you are a brave soul for doing the Sour Toe! Yuck! I love you and Barb's adventures.

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    1. I am not sure if it is bravery or stupidity but it is all part of the adventure!

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  11. Nope couldn't have done it though some of us talked about it. Good job and congratulations.

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    1. I am surprised that Mike and Dave did not do it!!!

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  12. Jim,

    You do not look like a toe man, but to each his own!
    Glad you enjoyed DC as we did, great little town with a lot of spunk!
    We too are fighting the urge to speed up as we are 10 days from the border and are looking forward to planting some roots for a few months, but sad nonetheless our trip is almost over.
    Safe travels,

    Les and Sue Young

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  13. Good for you doing the "sour toe"! Ray and I are the same as Barb. Once you are headed "home" it is hard to slow down. Sounds like you have had a wonderful adventure. Hope to see you guys back down south this winter.

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  14. Thanks for the share, love reading your blog.

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  15. I will be traveling to Alaska in 2017 and I want to do some salmon fishing. Can you give me your opinion on the type of flyrod, line, etc. that I need?

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