The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Carcross to Skagway – Tourist Time–Part 2

As mentioned in my last blog, Skagway is a cruise ship destination and the main drag, Broadway Street, is filled with shopping bag toting tourists until they start heading back to their ships in mid-afternoon. Friday we decided to visit the local museum, cemetery, a nearby waterfall while everyone else shopped.

The Skagway Trail of ‘98 Museum shares Alaska’s first granite building with the local city government offices.  The building was originally built as McCabe College for Women in 1899-1900 and also served as a federal court house from 1901 until statehood in 1959.  Today the museum includes collections of Alaska Native baskets, beadwork, carvings and the expected Gold Rush tools and artifacts.  A video also explained Skagway’s role as a military installation in WWII.  A military memorial sits across the street.
The town’s early characters are buried in the Skagway Cemetery.  Most infamous was Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, the town’s gold rush era con man.  His story is told through documents in the local museum and in the local theatre production, “Days of ‘98”.  (More on that later.)
Just above the cemetery is a trail to Reid’s Falls. The short hike revealed a wonderful waterfall and huge boulders just calling for a photo session.
Our plan to wait for the cruise line crowds to empty out almost backfired on us.  We went to the 2:30 p.m. theatre production of “The Days of ‘98” hoping to miss the crowds.  Well, there were so few attendees they almost cancelled the show.  But, a last minute “rush” got the audience count up to 15 or 20 so it was on with the show.  This musical story of Alaska’s most notorious outlaw and con man, Soapy Smith (see tombstone above) featured cancan dancers, Robert Service poetry reading, ragtime music, and interaction with the audience – including our very own Frank King. (Our traveling friends ahead of us in Alaska also had one of their own in the similar role.)  I think you can guess Frank enjoyed his fame and got a big smooch on the cheek he was proud to show off.  We now have to talk to his agent first.
Bears Lecture
While it couldn’t beat the afternoon’s entertainment, we attended a National Park Service presentation, “Can Bears Co-Exist with Humans?”.  There WAS a test and we can all now tell the difference between a black bear and a brown bear.  So far, we have only seen black bears in our travels, even if some of them were brown…. See the Wildlife report below.
Eating Out
I think we ate out more in Skagway than anywhere else in our travels.  Our first meal was lunch at the Bonanza Bar & Grill and we would rate it as over-priced and only so-so.  But that didn’t stop us.  IMG_3546For dinner we opted for the Skagway Fish Company along the marina just across the parking lot from our RV park.  The guys had the local halibut fish and chips and the gals had batter-fried shrimp baskets.  Frank was also impressed with the French onion soup. Prices for dinner were less than our lunches.
IMG_3595Saturday we scouted out our evening meal earlier in the afternoon when we were at the Klondike Gold Fields.  Located just outside of town on the Klondike Highway, the onsite restaurant and brewery featured a BBQ buffet with the option of one-time through the line with a $14.95 size plate or a larger $17.95 plate.  Surprisingly, the owner encouraged us to go for the smaller plate and said there was plenty of room to stack the baby-backs, beef ribs, vegetarian baked beans, and the salads (wonderful coleslaw, potato or macaroni), and fresh cornbread.  We were the last diners of the night and expected the food to be cold, tired, or limited in quantity.  Far from it!  The homemade BBQ sauce (regular or spicy) got great reviews.  The owner brought out two complimentary baskets of hot, fresh fries, and gave Gloria a sample glass of their homemade root beer. Frank enjoyed his locally brewed beer. Teas, coffee and water were complimentary.  We had seats overlooking the Skagway River and, to top off the atmosphere, felt pens were provided so we could leave our words of wisdom, signatures, or general graffiti anywhere on their wooden walls.  For Alaska travelers following us, give this restaurant a try.
I was going to put the photos of Frank in the wildlife section of this blog but his agent wanted double royalties. So you’ll have to settle for the mama and cub that crossed the road in front of us on our trip out of Skagway.  Two vehicles were stopped in the road on either side of them so by the time we got there, they were already headed back into the bushes.
Yes, that is a brown black bear (see test answers above).
 NEXT:  The Jell-O Itinerary  


E Squared and Mui said...

Thanks for the tour. The one time we were in Skagway was n a cruise ship and we opted to do the train trip ... gorgeous scenery.

Sharon Del Rosario said...

Thanks for the review of places we visited. But our dining experiences weren't as successful as yours. We now know where to eat when we return to Skagway - thanks for the tips. I couldn't find your black/brown bear test questions/answers.

O. B. Sirius said...

Our experience with the Klondike Gold Fields wasn't quite as good as yours -- we got there to find a couple cars in the lot, a sign that said they were open from 10:30 to 4:00, and a sign that said they were closed. We drove around the building, where a guy came out of the kitchen. We asked if they were open, and he told us they couldn't stay open on weekends unless there were tours coming through. We pointed out he had a sign that said they were open until 4, and he snobbishly said, "Well there also should be a sign that we are closed." Very nasty and unfriendly, obviously didn't care if he had our business or not. Highly NOT recommended by us!!!