Bill & Jim's Alaska Trip

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July 24
Whitehorse to Skagway

Swing bridge, Carcross

Remains of SS Tutshi

Tutshi's engines

Enclosed water tower

Bove Island

Cantilever bridge

Skagway downtown

Skagway Museum

Steam rotary snowplow

White Pass & Yukon train

MV Veendam

Cruise ships at Skagway

Leaving Whitehorse, we drove south to Carcross. The Visitors' Center is in the old White Pass and Yukon Route railroad station. Adjacent to the station is the original railroad bridge. Erected over navigable waters, the bridge is of the swing type. The kind of bridge pivots 90 degress in the middle, allowing ships to pass on either side. A victim of the railroad's own success (because the trains made the steamships obsolete), the bridge was only opened a few times. It has now been converted to a fixed design and still carries the train.

Also at the Visitors' Center are the remains of the sternwheeler Tutshi (pronounced too-shy). Built in 1917, the Tutshi was considered the finest ship in the White Pass Route fleet. Retired in the 1950's, it was eventually brought to Carcross and restored. In 1990 it was destroyed by an arsonist. The remains have been cleaned up, but left in place as a reminder of what had been.

Driving south towards Skagway, we ascended up into the mountains (and clouds). We saw the beautiful Bove Island on Nares Lake. At the Canadian Customs house, there is a restored White Pass and Yukon RR water tower. This is enclosed in a building so as to prevent freezing the water.

In the spooky mountain fog, we also came across an interesting suspension bridge on the highway. The towers are only on one end of the bridge, and lean over toward the other end of the bridge. The towers are secured with huge cables to solid rock, while the brdge deck is suspended by cables to the towers.

Skagway itself is a town with an interesting past. Now, it is completely overrun with tourists, especially when cruise ships are in dock. While we were there, Holland-America Lines' MV Veendam, Princess' Crown Princess and a third ship were there. The dozens of high-priced jewelry and gift shops were absolutely filled with shoppers! Interestingly, Skagway has a city sales tax, most other cities in Alaska do not (Alaska has no income tax, either).
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