20120926

States That End in 'aska Part I

I began my journey from North Pole Alaska to Omaha Nebraska on 05SEP2012. Obviously for any move, especially a cross continent move, preparation began months in advance (really about July 2011...). However, that day was when I had everything prepped and loaded into my 2001 Jeep Cherokee ready to hit the road.

My route was planned to take me from North Pole Alaska all the way to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada on Day 1. Beyond that I was flexible. I knew that the line I had drawn along the various highways would require some modifications as the atlas I was using wasn't that greatly detailed on where each highway would lead, especially once I was off the Alaska Highway and started taking the Cassier, Caribou, and Yellowhead Highways in Canada. I had driven along the Alaska Highway in 2004 when I first came to Alaska and had some idea of what to expect, especially east of Tok and south all the way across the border until Destruction Bay; narrow, bumpy, and dangerous two lane roads!

What I didn't expect fully was the scenery in eastern Alaska along the ALCAN highway enroute through and beyond Tok. In 2004 when I first drove into Alaska it was smokey with less than ¼ mile visibility due to some massive forest fires in the area (1,000,000 acres burned); driving out in 2012 I has well over 20 miles of visibility and the mountains were gorgeous. What a way to leave with a grand finale of scenery.

I ended Day 1 in the capital of the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse. I rolled in at about 2 AM and spent until about 3:30 trying to find a hotel room that allowed for my pet as well as having vacancy! Lesson was learned, but didn't really sink in, to find a room earlier in the travel day...

Day 2 began after 9 AM with a walk around the block to get the dog ready for the days drive. My goal was to be out of the Yukon Territory by noon... A goal somewhat achieved, however the trip toward Watson Lake and the junction where the Cassier Highway meets the Alaska Highway dips into British Columbia and back into Yukon... Technically I achieved the goal of leaving the Yukon before noon, if you don't count the curve back into the Yukon... Around 2 PM I cut south on the Cassier Highway and entered the Province of British Columbia for the remainder of my journey through Canada. The first section of road from the junction all the way to the village of Dease Lake was devoid of any centerlines or shoulder, and left me with the impression that I found the wrong road until I almost was run off the road by the first few semi trucks heading Northbound! After Dease Lake the road improved considerably. Should you find yourself on this road, plan for the worst section of it to be this portion. Further south, after going to Bell 2 (no kidding, thats the village name...) I saw more black bear than I could count after the dusk. Yes, more black bear than I could count. Should you need to take a break outside of any form of civilization... Remember, the bear safety rules “If its black fight back” if attacked. Outside of Kitseguecla is the Junction with the Yellowhead Highway, I ended Day 2 at about 1 AM in New Hazleton.

By Day 3 I was bound and determined to end in the United States! Easier said than done sadly... I followed the Yellowhead Highway into Prince George where I picked up the Cariboo Highway South all the way into Vancouver BC where I crossed the border. Just outside of Vancouver is where I found the only equivalent to the American Interstate in Canada... I ended Day 3 at about 2 AM in Lynden WA.

Once back stateside everything got easier with our Interstate system. Nothing terribly exciting beyond finally being able to go to a decent gun store again, and visiting with some friends along the way in Idaho and Wyoming. Honestly, those visits made the trip more fun for me, and made lodging and food arrangements so much easier for a couple nights! It was great to get civilized food for a couple meals!


1 comment:

Robert W Gilcrease said...

Glad you have made it safe and sound.