This says "Day 8" but we pulled a surprise on our "Friendly Northern Travel Agent". We had pushed through to Whitehorse on day 6 and hoped to drive all the way to Fairbanks on day 7. Her encouraging note read, "Wow. You guys are almost there. Today you will leave Canada and come back to the United States. There are a lot of hours ahead of you, but your final destination is the goal at the end of TODAY. Keep it up. I can't wait to see you both. I love you. Drive safe."
With this kind of support, how could we go wrong? Right?
Over 2,000 miles through the wilderness of NW Canada was beautiful, thrilling and filled with dangers. No cell service, the rare appearance of other cars on the Alaska Hwy, some rough roads and lots of wild animals. Signs like this one are placed where many generations of animals have patterns of migrating and moving among the tundra. Just because men decided to put in a road does not mean that these patterns will change. We realized it is wise to be particularly alert when a sign is posted.
Besides seeing the caribou this sign warned of, we were pleased to draw up close to observe these stone sheep grazing. What they could possibly be nibbling on besides gravel, we couldn't guess. We thought it might be road salt, but that is not in use here. Hmmmmm.
There was some construction on this bridge and the road was dusty with gravel. This pic is for poor Drew, who was told that the entire AK Hwy was just like this and worried that he may never see his wife again. But look--even guard rails! Hadn't seen those in quite a while.
Groan! We occasionally came upon RV's or slow, heavy tractor-trailers that forced us into the left lane to pass. Lots of blind curves in the road made this a challenge. Once we had successfully passed these slower vehicles, we cheered and high-fived! We certainly NEVER wanted to have to pass them again, so Car Rule #5 was established. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say we had a system for those "necessary" stops that allowed us to be back on the road in about 40 seconds! This was NOT a land of rest areas, mind you.
Once, after finally passing a car and trailer going 40 mph, Hillary mused aloud, "Can you even imagine going on the Alaskan Trail at 40 mph? Just poking along. Husband says to the wife, 'Here we are, only 2,000 miles left. I hope we make it to the next gas station. It's only another 600 miles ahead or so.' "
Does this give you some indication of the laughter we shared day after day?