"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our friend and companion: "The Milepost"

During World War II, in an effort to protect our country from Japanese invasion, the Army started a massive building program to cut a road through the wilderness from Canada to Fairbanks. The stories of its history are fascinating and the severe conditions caused problems like engines and gears freezing. I heard that mosquitoes carried off some of the soldiers.

Later on, the US and Canada joined forces again and reworked the entire rough "passage" into an actual road--the one that made our trip possible. I so appreciate all the efforts and even the lives lost in this huge undertaking.
Except for the lack of guard rails on treacherous curves, potholes that almost knocked our teeth out and frost heaves that could have sent us airborne, we covered over 2,000 wilderness miles intact and without a tire change. Pretty good, I'd say.

When we look at our route, a map is hardly needed for navigation since there are very few options of routes to take. Just a few looping detours for extra interest once in a rare while.
(And we weren't up for any of those on this trip.)
So, back in Montana we put away the maps and hauled out this book.
"The Milepost" is a AAA tour book on steroids.
You may notice that the date of this book is 2008, the 60th edition. Well, except for some areas of road construction and new evidences of forest fires, we didn't see where the contents could have changed much in 3 years.

Within these pages are comments of almost every mile of road through Alaska, Alberta, NW British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. Some of the reading is safety-oriented--warnings of dangerous curves, high moose population, flooding, steep grades, etc. and some is just interesting--offering histories and facts of areas and unique places to stop.
("The Milepost" is the reason we went in search of the dinosaur fossils...)
These 800 pages (yep!!) are updated annually by editors who travel these routes slowly and carefully, noted ANY new thing of interest.
Now that's a job I could pass up! Thanks, anyway.

The information in our tattered "Milepost" proved worthwhile since the Alaska Highway baffled our GPS. Please note how it identified the name of the highway we were traveling:
And since, at this particular time, there were no rivers, lakes, towns or intersecting roads in the vicinity, the space around the purple "highlighted route" was totally blank.
Thank goodness for the enhancement of our great book as we counted mile/kilometer
markers along the way.


  1. We love the milepost. So happy you do too. But I wonder if you should keep it in Texas so you have it the next time you plan a spontaneous trip to Alaska. Ha ha

  2. I wonder why you didn't get my comment from before. I said I was glad you had the mile post. It is the best. But this time you should hold on to it for your next spontaneous drive to alaska, ha ha.