|Caribou with broken antler.|
At Fort St. John, I got an oil change, which set me back a few hours, but was well worth it since there was a tremendous amount of fog on the road and the visibility was 50 yards max. Then I set out on the most intense driving I have ever experienced. Yes the Alcan Highway is incredibly long, wild, and scenic, but it has countless unmarked pot holes, and can be quite rough. But I should not complain since twenty years ago it was all gravel. From Fort St. John to Fort Nelson to Watson Lake to Whitehorse is roughly 850 miles. That was my route yesterday. Today was Whitehorse to the US border and to Fairbanks, Alaska for another 600 miles. AT LAST I could say I had made it to Alaska; a la Etta James. One infuriating tid-bit is that I bought a monthly access plan so that my phone would work in Canada and it never worked past Grande Cache in Alberta.
|Its tough to see, but this is a restaurant with a ceiling covered in 7,800 hats!|
The road: Imagine openness, semi paved roads, a range from flatness to 11% grade, drives through parks and around lakes. Some signs read WIND GUSTS, AVALANCHE COUNTRY, FIRST NATION (reservations), CHAIN on/removal stops, BREAK CHECKS, EMERGENCY RUN OFF SLOPES etc. Then there were loads of game signs, which were accurate. I saw a black bear, about 8 meese (inside family joke), mountain goats, coyotes, foxes, owls, hawks, eagles, and even a pig.
How to: To drive on the Alcan successfully requires caution, but SPEED. When there is open space you FLY. For some of the drive I had to drive at night to gain time since I was told that bad weather was going to roll into Denali and potentially obscure the view tomorrow. So I quickly learned that if I kept up behind an 18-Wheeler, which already drives quickly, that I would be protected from anything in the road and have extra illumination from their lights.
|Me in my previous life|
|Can you tell I am pleased?|