Cruising the Cassiar Highway (Mukluk Annie's closed in Teslin)

Dease Lake Travel Blog

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Mukluk Chuck- retiring to Arizona

8.19.08

No gas in Carcross this morning.  Although the truck was “on the way,” we confirmed that Tagish, up an “excellent road” had gas pumps and so we headed out.  Fortunately, all that was accurate.  It is smart, as my Lazy Daze friend, Joan, says to “drive on the top half of the tank.”   Roads here are so desolate that we even fill up at ¾ tanks to be safe.  And we filled our extra gas tanks, that we’d emptied for the ferry (although you can store the gas tanks in the “paint room” on the ferry, along with your loose propane canisters), just to be safe.

 

We were excited to go again through Teslin, where the artist we met in Inuvik was from and to see the bridge that she painted (and we have on a postcard she gave us).

Two weeks of summer remaining- sign of the Fireweed
 

 

We stopped at Mukluk Annie’s to try to make it to the famous salmon bake.  Closed!  We were so disappointed! 

 

As we drove through the empty parking lot, we saw one man:  Mr. Mukluk Annie (we’d met Annie during breakfast our first time through town).  (Note:  This is Mukluk Chuck, I later learned).  He said they’d closed 2 days ago and were retiring, heading to Arizona (Lake Havasu).  They are giving the business to their 7 kids.  They’ll return when he’s certain that there’ll be no snow to shovel, but he’s just going to “twiddle my thumbs” if the kids decide to resume the business.

Famous Teslin bridge
  We assume that the place closed because it is mid-August (Note:  It was due to close for the season Aug. 21, so we would have made it in time), and thus end-of-season (although most places are open until September) and it made us sad.  There was so much energy and fun there with the visitors in July, the excitement of heading up the Alaska Highway on a great Alaska Exploration, and now just silence.

 

He kindly let us use their free dump station (he pays $600 a month for it) and fill our water.  (None of the Provincial campgrounds up here have station or water - if they do have water, they recommend boiling it!).  So we were grateful.  I took a picture of the gorgeous pink Fireweed plants beside the water- their top was blooming while the bottom petals were folded.  Two weeks until winter in that symbol.

 

Mukluk Annie’s has the most creative marketing I’ve ever seen (free RV parking, free car wash and 8 pm houseboat ride with purchased Salmon Bake dinner, etc) and it works!!  Stopping at Mukluk Annie’s is a basic requirement along the Alaska Highway.

The end of a classic
  I sure hope their kids continue this Alaskan classic.

 

The Cassier (Highway 37) has indeed been a beautiful road headed south through British Columbia.  It’s nearly as desolate as the Dempster though.  I’ve yet to find the forewarned “scary” parts on the drive, but we’re only part of the way down it.  It is definitely not a “Top-of-the-World Hwy” type road so far.  There are a few parts of gravel (i.e. mud) sections, but only about 20 miles a pop (3 times, I believe along the route). 

 

Speaking of Top-of-the-World Highway, I could not BELIEVE this:  Two reliable sources confirmed that the Visitor’s Center (in Whitehorse?) was trying to send people up to Dawson City and TOW Highway instead of up the more western Alaska Highway route because of road repairs.

Heading down the Cassier Hwy
  While there was some construction going on that took time to get through, the TOW Highway is not a route to take lightly!  It is a long gravel road across the tops of mountains, requiring careful concentration, steely nerves, and dry roads.  Plus, that is much longer distance to travel to Tok.  There are so few roads here that it’s really important to understand what your route entails.

 

We have 200 miles to go before we reach the road that we’d take to Prince Rupert.  We will be in Prince Rupert before we were scheduled to depart from Skagway! (Lord willing)

 

We were so excited about possibly seeing bears on the Cassiar, as it apparently has even more wildlife than the Alaska Highway.

Lonely Cassier
  Sure enough, a bear ran out in front of us - I emergency braked and the bear turning around just in time!  He then lumbered across the road behind us.  Whew!  That would have been TERRIBLE to hit a poor bear!  We would have cried.  We also saw a moose from a distance, but it was gone by the time we got there.

 

Speaking of the Dempster Highway (way back), a nice family here in our Lion’s Club campground (just south of Dease Lake-$10) is from Inuvik!  They left Inuvik for B.C. on 7/15 and we arrived on 7/16.  We’re sure we passed on the Dempster.  They know Ruby and Jas, our friends from the pool there and I asked her to please tell Ruby to email me, that I miss her!  (She was so much fun.)  We just loved Inuvik and the people there.

 

Gasoline in Canada is very pricey:  $1.54 per liter (x 3.8= gallons) and after filling up numerous times today, Bank of You-Know-Where put ANOTHER block on my Visa/debit card!  They did that both times in Eagle Plains on the Dempster Hwy - I think I was very clear when I told them to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.  Regardless of that, and the fact that I've given them my itinerary prior to the trip and during the last conversation, they still blocked it.  Most places in Canada don't accept AmEx, so I'll have to straighten that out again.  At least this place took AmEx and it was less than the $181 Dempster tank filling cost. 

 

We’re backed up to another gorgeous river tonight.  There’s a path from our campsite down 15’ to the river.  I can hear it now as I type.  It is wide, glacier blue, and shallow but very fast.  I wouldn’t want to cross it!

 

Note from 8.17.09:  Sadly Mukluk Annie's remains closed after the 2008 season, confirmed by 2009 RV'ers online. 

Here's my blog about our visit there in July 2008:  http://tinyurl.com/pvta9r

Here's an article about this classic place.  Interesting that they were planning to retire to Arizona:  http://www.yukon-news.com/news/5426/

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Mukluk Chuck- retiring to Arizona
Mukluk Chuck- retiring to Arizona
Two weeks of summer remaining- sig…
Two weeks of summer remaining- si…
Famous Teslin bridge
Famous Teslin bridge
The end of a classic
The end of a classic
Heading down the Cassier Hwy
Heading down the Cassier Hwy
Lonely Cassier
Lonely Cassier
Dease Lake
photo by: silan