Click for 29 pics in Picasa. Fantastic drive from Valdez to Tok in Alaska. We saw moose and grizzly bears along the way. It’s great to see bears from the safety of the coach, but we didn’t accept the invitation to step “off the bus and into the food chain”. Bears can be a real danger if you are bicycling or hiking, and there are lots of signs advising what to do if you find yoursel in the company of a bear. One of the locals told us he had a bear in his house after the bear figured out how to open the sliding door. Bears have been seen trying car door handles. Smart critters but unless you put yourself in the wrong situation (like handling cute little cubs), they will leave you alone if you leave them alone. Particularly after they have learnt to associate people with unpleasant bear spray.
We saw caches where early settlers kept their provisions safe from everything from bears to small varmints. The frontier code was that you could use these emergency supplies if you needed them, but you had to replace what you used.
We crossed the world’s longest undefended border, between Canada and the US, many times. The border is undefended in a military sense, but each time we crossed we had to go through customs and immigration formalities.
And we photographed a quaint little church, made from a converted quonset hut, and helped it keeps its record as the most photographed church in the Yukon.
There are many stories about how Tok (Pronounced Toke) got its name. We like the story that when they were surveying to build the road now called the Tok Cut-off, the surveyor marked the T intersection for the new road to join the highway with “T?”. The superintendant wrote OK over the question mark, and that was the name that ended up on the map. Maybe.