North to the Yukon – Epilogue

Written Tuesday, 7/19/16 on an airplane between Chicago, IL and Lincoln, NE.

Flying over Chicago

Flying over Chicago

I’ve allegedly been home from this long trip for four days now, but I’ve only spent two nights in my own bed. Second day off the bike and I was on my way to the airport to take care of family business back east.  And in another couple days the Dear Wife and I will be off to visit our eldest and his lovely fiance in Vancouver, BC.

Reading this, you might conclude I like to travel. And that would be true. But my family means a lot to me as well.

Many years ago my wife and I were talking about this; we came to the conclusion that I don’t want to get away, I want to go to.

I’ve always wanted to go, from the time I was a first grader and took the city bus in Denmark’s second largest city to visit my dad at his office for lunch without telling anyone what I was doing. (Hey, Mom gave me money to get a hot dog, she didn’t say it had to be from the stand half a block away…)

When I was fourteen, I rode on RAGBRAI (then known as SAGBRAI for the Second Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) without anyone along to supervise me. (To be fair, my parents had good friends who were also on the ride, but I emphatically was not riding with them…)

16 mm film from the Des Moines Register of the 1974 SAGBRAI

In college I used to hitchhike from Ames, Iowa where I was a student at Iowa State up to visit my married older sister in Minneapolis. And when my brother and I came out of the Rockies from backpacking for a week, we discovered the bus we had tickets for didn’t start running till ski season, so we had to hitchhike back across the continental divide to Denver.

A couple of years ago I had the fantastic opportunity to go to China for about 10 days as a representative of my university. Never have I had such a feeling of being someplace different than when I was walking around a city where old men write poetry on the sidewalk with water using a giant brush.

Calligraphy in Water

This gentleman was painting calligraphy using water on the stone walkway along the Mall of the World on a hot summer morning. Not long after he had created the characters, they were evaporating back into the air. I wish I knew what he was saying.

I come by this wanderlust honestly.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, my Grandpa Arndt homesteaded near Williston, North Dakota from 1905-1911. He took the train from Minnesota up to near the Canadian border, bought a team of horses and a wagon, and took it out onto the unplowed buffalo grass prairie to establish a farm. (Thanks to my older sister for the description.) And my Grandpa Juul left home in Denmark at age 18 and moved to Minnesota where he got started working in the business of draining swampy fields so you could grow crops or hay on them. That eventually grew into a full fledged construction company.

Of all my adventures, the two weeks Howard and I spent riding motorcycles up through northwest Canada and up to southern Alaska has to rank up there toward the top. Riding the hundred miles or so of dirt roads was especially exciting, taking us to a whole new area of the mountains were the paved roads don’t go.

The figure-8 route Howard and I rode this summer.

The figure-8 route Howard and I rode this summer.

It has certainly been “a trip of a lifetime,” but it was not “the trip trip of a lifetime.” I have had so many trips of a lifetime, and always hope there’s another great trip in my future .. and another great chance to come home.

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North to the Yukon – Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

pokemonThe whole time Howard and I were traveling up north, I did my best to stay away from the news.  After all, this was vacation in rather remote places.  I had no desire to have the news of shootings, protests, and ugly politics intrude.

One rather whimsical bit of news, however, was inescapable – the massive success of the phone-based augmented reality game Pokémon Go. You all know about Pokémon, yes? Strange little creatures that started out as a Japanese trading card game in the 1990s that grew into a popular series of video games on both portable and console systems. The pocket monsters were also made into  popular animated TV series and movie series.

Pokémon had such a big influence on popular culture that 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain quoted from a song from the movie  Pokémon 2000 in his campaign:

In the fifth edition of my textbook Mass Communication: Living in a Media World, I even write about a pet fish named Grayson who played the Pokémon Red game using sensor array that detected where he was swimming in his tank.

The goal of all these games and shows was for the player, a Pokémon trainer, to try to catch, train and evolve as many Pokémon as possible under the slogan “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” With the new Pokémon Go augmented reality game, would-be trainers can travel around in the real world, finding and catching animated Pokémon with their Apple and Android phones in a sort of electronic/real life-hybrid scavenger hunt..

As I mentioned earlier, this new game has been insanely popular, with many of my allegedly adult friends chasing around outside trying to find the next little monster.  While we were in Prince George, British Columbia, when the desk clerk at our hotel got off work at 11 p.m., he pulled out his giant Samsung phone and headed out into the northern Canadian twilight to try to catch a few.

So… What does all this have to do with my trip north? I have actually been participating in a couple of long-distance motorcycle-based scavenger hunts on this trip – scavenger hunts that actually started before this trip and will extend on for much of the rest of the year.

The first of these is an Iron Butt Association National Parks Tour.  The goal is to collect national park passport stamps from at least 50 parks located in at least 25 different states and provinces over the course of a year. I completed one of these back in 2011-2012, and I’ve been working on another one this year.  For example, among many others, I picked up a stamp at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota:

Entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Unit in North Dakota

Entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park – North Unit in North Dakota

And also from the Canadian Fort Battleford National Historic Site in Saskatchewan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fort Battleford National Historic Site

The second of my scavenger hunts is the Team Strange 2016 Strange Election Grand Tour. The goal for this one is to take a photo of your bike and your tour flag in front of the Welcome sign for as many US states as possible. You use a red flag if you think the state will go Republican in the upcoming presidential election, and a blue flag if you think the state will go Democratic.

Me and my red tour flag entering South Dakota.

Me and my red tour flag entering South Dakota.

When the grand tour is scored after the election, you will earn points for every state you called correctly.  Each state is worth the number of electoral votes it has times the number of square miles for the state.

I’ve gone to a number of states this year and am scheduled to go to several more. So I should do reasonably well, especially with Alaska in my quiver.  Not a very big number of electoral votes, but lots and lots of square miles.

Except….

I got all the way to Hyder, Alaska and forget to take pictures with my Strange Election Grand Tour flags.

Sigh.

Didn’t catch ’em all.

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North to the Yukon, Day 12 – Grandpa’s Homestead (almost)

I’m in Bismarck, North Dakota tonight.  Back in the United States after a fantastic trip “up north” to Canada.  One of the main goals for today was to visit the land my Grandpa Arndt homesteaded back between 1905 and 1911 in extreme northwest North Dakota.  And I achieved that goal…. mostly:

map_homestead

It appears to me looking at my track that Howard and I ended up several miles south of where we were supposed to be.

I wasn’t trusting the directions my GPS was producing, and so I had created a sheet of paper with directions written out.  But that fell apart quickly when a supposed road we were were to take south ended up being a couple of dirt tracks covered  with grass.  Howard, of course, thought we should go down the road – Howard always thinks we should follow the dirt “road.” But I sent us back to the highway and followed the GPS’s suspect directions.

Looking back at the track now, I can see we were definitely too far south,  But I don’t really feel too bad about it. We got to the right general area, and we still had a lot of traveling to do today.

Here I am, somewhere near where my dad's dad homesteaded in the early 1900s.

Here I am, somewhere near where my dad’s dad’s homesteaded in the early 1900s.

Our second scheduled stop for the day was the northern unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  It’s a gorgeous area of badlands filled with bison, big horn sheep, and other wild critters.  After collecting our National Parks Stamp, we followed the scenic road about halfway through the park, where we stopped to take pictures.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Unit)

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Unit)

Unfortunately, the storm clouds that had been chasing us since lunch in Williston, ND were starting to catch up, and so we decided the wisest course of action was to get back to traveling south and east – away from the storms.

This ended up being a really good call.  We kept getting short bouts of rain dropping on us, but we managed to avoid a couple of pretty serious storm cells that would have been a mess to have been in. (No, I don’t have pictures – we kept moving!)

Tomorrow, Howard and I will be collecting several more National Park Stamps and returning to Kearney.  I probably won’t have a final post for a day or two after that, but expect an epilog early next week sometime.

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North to the Yukon, Day 11 – Pictures from a Trip II

It’s late, and we’ve had a long day today and a busy day ahead, so I’m going to keep this one simple with a few more pictures from a trip.

Bright yellow fields of rapeseed plants used to produce canola oil are everywhere in Alberta.

Bright yellow fields of rapeseed plants used to produce canola oil are everywhere in Alberta.

All over Alberta we’ve seen mile after mile of bright yellow fields. I got curious and did a little research on what they were.  These are fields of what used to be known as rapeseed, and they are used to press what is now known as canola oil.

The prettiest area we encountered today had fields of bright purple clover interspersed with the yellow canola fields. Sorry – wasn’t a good place to stop for a photo.

Canadian province flags at Fort Battleford.

Canadian province flags at Fort Battleford.

We stopped at Fort Battleford National Historic Site in Saskatchewan today to collect a national parks stamp (more on that another day), and while we were there we saw this lovely line of Canadian province flags that had been put up a few days before for a new citizens signing in ceremony held at the site.  What a lovely place to hold the ceremony!

The boardwalk in Stewart, BC.

The boardwalk in Stewart, BC.

And finally, one last photo from our time in Stewart, BC.  This boardwalk goes out over a beautiful marsh area near the harbor for Stewart/Hyder.  It gives you a dry way to walk through a big public park that would otherwise be quite soggy.

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North to the Yukon, Day 10 – Heading Home

Today was a pleasant, uneventful last day in mountain country.  We left Prince George, BC at 8 this morning, and cut back across British Columbia and Alberta, completing our northern loop.

The Spotwalla satellite track of our loop through northwest Canada and southern Alaska.

The Spotwalla satellite track of our loop through northwest Canada and southern Alaska.

If you squint when you look at the little map, you can see that we followed a mountain valley back to Jasper, then cut across the middle of the park, and then continued on to the city of Edmonton.

Low clouds, rain showers, and a damp chill followed us much of the way, but that’s what we’ve come to expect.

low clouds from a gas stop.

Low clouds from a gas stop.

RalphatTHWe stopped for lunch at Tim Horton’s at the town of Jasper.  We’d had dinner in Jasper on our way north last week. So nice to have a fast food place with good soup and croissants for lunch!  If only the biggest fast food chain in the US would serve that.  And honey crullers!

We saw a giant super cell thunderstorm off in the distance, and saw a big enough flash of lightening that both Howard and I remarked on it over dinner tonight.  Fortunately, though we continued to go through scattered showers, we did not have to deal with storms. Once we left Jasper and the nearby town of Hinton  (outside of which we saw both bighorn sheep and a giant elk!) we were clearly back into the central plains of North America, and I’m afraid it will be the prairie for the rest of the trip.

By the time we reached Edmonton, the skies had cleared and it was almost hot out.

Let me finish up this decidedly unphilosophical post by giving a shout-out to Howard’s sister, Susannah.  She very generously gave us Marriott points to pay for our hotels anytime we were able to find a Marriott property.  Up north, they were decidedly not available.  But tonight we are in a comfortable Courtyard hotel, and I will soon go down to take advantage of the whirlpool.

Thank you, Susannah!

 

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North to the Yukon, Day 9 – It’s a mountaintop, not a bucket list

The bikes are ready and waiting in the damp morning to start heading south and east toward home.

The bikes are ready and waiting in the damp morning to start heading south and east toward home.

Howard and I have now completed Day One of the long haul back home to Nebraska and Texas. Today’s ride was excellent – we even saw some moose, and tomorrow’s ride takes us back through Jasper National Park. But there can be no denying that we are headed back toward the end of vacation and the return to the routine of regular life.

It’s popular to call big trips like this “bucket list” items – that is, things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.”

I hate that expression for a host of reasons:

  • It implies that you have to hurry up and do lots of things before you die.
  • It implies that you can do things once, check them off your list, and be done with them.  Like they are a responsibility.
  • It implies that for many things, doing them once is all you need to do.

For me, I much prefer the term “mountaintop experience.” That captures the idea that something is special, maybe even unique. But not that you can’t go back there.  And it says that it is a big part of living, not a preparation for death.

This trip to the Yukon, southern Alaska, and the Canadian (and American) Rockies has been both a literal and figurative mountaintop experience. The literal part is pretty easy – we’ve been up, down, around and over mountains almost constantly for the last week. But it’s also been a metaphorical mountaintop as well. It’s been a chance to soak in the beauty of the world; to see how small so many things are when compared to things that are so big; to be able see, hear, feel and smell things at a level we don’t normally get to.  And it’s been a chance to go to places most people only dream of going because it’s just too far to go.

The most important reason for this not being a bucket list trip, however, is because this isn’t something I’m checking off.  It will be something that stays with me for a long time to come.  I still think about a backpacking trip I took with my older brother more than 35 years ago. It’s still with me. And I hope that I haven’t left these beautiful areas behind forever.  I want to come back to see the mainland of Alaska, and Canada’s Northwest Territories, and…. It’s not a check box, it’s an introduction.

So, no, this has not been a bucket list vacation for me.  But I have certainly been to the mountaintop.

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North to the Yukon, Day 8 – ALASKA!

All along, I’ve billed this as a trip to the Canadian Rockies more than a trip to Alaska. But today we really did go to the southernmost part of Alaska accessible by road.  It’s a good deal south of the Yukon where made our northernmost turn around – more than 400 miles south and west of Watson Lake, YT.

We’ve been staying two nights in Stewart, British Columbia, which is just across the border from Hyder – our only two-night stay of the trip.  So reasonably bright and early this morning, we headed over the border into Hyder.  There’s no border control/customs for entering the US there, apparently because there is no place to go other than Hyder and the Salmon River Glacier once you get there.  The road to Hyder literally doesn’t go anywhere else.

Welcome to Hyder, Alaska.

Welcome to Hyder, Alaska.

We had plans to visit three places in Alaska (in Alaska!). The first of these was the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area – That’s another name for the local Bears and Eagles All-You-Can-Eat Salmon Buffet. While the board walk for humans and streams for animals and fish were all beautiful, the salmon had yet to arrive, so we saw none of the top-level predators about.

The boardwalk for viewing the bears at the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area.

The boardwalk for viewing the bears at the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area.

As the salmon hadn't arrived yet, we saw neither bears nor eagles,but it was still beautiful.

As the salmon hadn’t arrived yet, we saw neither bears nor eagles,but it was still beautiful.

From there, we headed up the road to see our second destination in Alaska – the Salmon River Glacier.  This is about 35 kilometers of fairly good dirt road rising from near sea level up to more than 3,000 feet.

This was the view through my windshield on the way up the road to the Salmon River Glacier viewing areas.

This was the view through my windshield on the way up the road to the Salmon River Glacier viewing areas.

Here's the Salmon River itself.

Here’s the Salmon River itself.

I'm not certain, but I believe from the sequence on my camera that this should be the thumb of the glacier. Our first really good view of this impressive river of ice.

I’m not certain, but I believe from the sequence on my camera that this should be the thumb of the glacier. Our first really good view of this impressive river of ice.

We knew when we set out this morning that there was a good chance we wouldn’t get to see much at the top with the clouds hanging low over the mountains. And the view into the valley didn’t give us a lot of hope.

While the clouds in the valley as we headed up the mountain were dramatic, they made us wonder if there would be anything to see at the top.

While the clouds in the valley as we headed up the mountain were dramatic, they made us wonder if there would be anything to see at the top.

When we finally reach the top, dealing with huge amounts of dust, work trucks going to install high tension electrical wires in the area beyond the overlook, and a generally rocky, bumpy road, this is what we see:

Where's the giant glacier?  It's hiding there in the clouds.  We knew when we set out this morning that there was a good chance we wouldn't get to see much at the top with the clouds hanging low over the mountains.

Where’s the giant glacier? It’s hiding there in the clouds. 

But then…

But then the clouds would clear for a few seconds giving us a peek at this field of ice, and then, just as quickly, the clouds would close back in.  Then a bit later, they would open up again for another peek.  You had to be attentive, but if you were, the rewards were great.

But then the clouds would clear for a few seconds giving us a peek at this field of ice, and then, just as quickly, the clouds would close back in. A bit later, they would open up again for another peek. You had to be attentive, but if you were, there was an amazing view.

On the ride down, my comfort level with riding on dirt roads continued to grow, though I confess a certain level of nervousness the first few kilometers riding on the valley side of the road rather than the mountain side.

When we reach the pavement, Howard and I scoot past the Bear Salmon Buffet, and headed over to the Seafood Express Bus, our third destination.

This is the legendary Seafood Express Bus serving fresh caught local seafood.

This is the legendary Seafood Express Bus serving fresh caught local seafood.

SeafoodExpressSignThis is a long-standing Hyder institution that is on every motorcyclist’s list of places to visit when they get to Hyder.  It’s run by a family where the husband and son are commercial fishermen, and wife/mom runs the bus as sort of non-moving food truck. There actually is a bit of indoor seating to be had, along with a clean restroom featuring a purple toilet.

But the real pleasure is to sit outside and talk with your fellow travelers while dining on smoked salmon spread served with soda crackers (absolutely amazing!), fish sandwiches, or halibut and chips, among other items.

It’s not a place to go if you are in a hurry. As the bus rules state:

  1. NO WORRY
  2. NO HURRY
  3. RELAX
  4. ENJOY!

Given the tiny kitchen, mom can only cook one or two meals at a time. So relax, don’t worry, talk to the other folks at your table, and have some great food in an unbelievable setting.  Howard and I had lunch with a group of Harley riders up from Corpus Christie, Texas and had fun conversation along with our fish.

From there, it was back to the Portland Canal that is a fjord that goes all the way out to the Pacific Ocean, and is Canada’s northernmost ice-free port.

It's not hard to imagine getting on a boat and heading out to the Pacific Ocean from here.  The breeze there even feels like it's coming from the sea.

It’s not hard to imagine getting on a boat and heading out to the Pacific Ocean from here. The breeze there even feels like it’s coming from the sea.

Then it’s back to the Canadian border where the pleasant, but emphatic border agents make sure you are not planning any misbehavior during your visit to the land of the maple leaf flag. (We actually crossed back into Canada on the road to the glacier overlook, but while there was a sign noting the border, there’s no official crossing.  What are you going to do? Pull out a paraglider and fly on into the country?)

And with that, Howard and I are back in Stewart, BC, getting our bikes fueled up and ready to be packed in the morning for the long, long ride home.

We still have some beautiful roads to ride, we still have some national parks to visit, and we still have to ride through my grandfather’s homestead in northwest North Dakota, but the biggest part of our adventure has come to a close.

We’ve been North to the Yukon and South to Alaska, and now we head south and east back toward Nebraska and Texas, which is still more than 2,300 miles for me, and close to 3,200 for Howard.

But don’t worry, there will still be blog posts over the days to come, so don’t go away.

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North to the Yukon, Day 7 – Pictures from a Trip

Getting started.

Getting started.

Pictures from a Trip by Tim Rumsey is one of my favorite novels – it’s a bittersweet story about two brothers who spend a summer dinosaur hunting in Wyoming. And anytime I look at photos from a trip, I think about that book.

Today’s entry is a collection of pictures from my trip, along with just a little text from Howard’s and my time following much of the British Columbia Great Northern Circle Route – taking the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek, BC, up to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, and then taking the Stewart-Cassiar  Highway back south.  We then split off that route to go spend a full day at Stewart, BC and Hyder, Alaska.

So without further ado, lets get started.

I believe I've mentioned that it has rained almost everyday on this trip.  I'm not sure which of the three days on the loop this was, but could be any of them.

I believe I’ve mentioned that it has rained almost everyday on this trip. I’m not sure which of the three days on the loop this was, but could be any of them.

We had a great lunch of soup and homemade bread after a chilly and wet morning of riding on our second day on the Alaska Highway. Travelers, the Toad River Lodge is your friend.

We had a great lunch of soup and homemade bread after a chilly and wet morning of riding on our second day on the Alaska Highway. Travelers, the Toad River Lodge is your friend.

We met Alex from France mid-afternoon as we were on our way to Watson Lake, YT. He was spending five months traveling around the US and Canada, trying to see as much as possible. On this day, he was riding with Paul from Australia (not pictured).  Always fun to talk with other travelers, especially those on long journeys.

We met Alex from France mid-afternoon as we were on our way to Watson Lake, YT. He was spending five months traveling around the US and Canada, trying to see as much as possible. On this day, he was riding with Paul from Australia (not pictured). Always fun to talk with other travelers, especially those on long journeys.

Road construction has been a consistent fact of life on this trip, and here Howard and I are waiting for the pilot car to lead is through a particularly messy section of road work.  Any time we've had a pilot car, all the motorcyclists have been waived to the front of the line.

Road construction has been a consistent fact of life on this trip, and here Howard and I are waiting for the pilot car to lead is through a particularly messy section of road work. Any time we’ve had a pilot car, all the motorcyclists have been waived to the front of the line.

We've seen lots of animals, including buffalo...

We’ve seen lots of animals, including buffalo… (Photo by Howard Koontz)

And several bears, though we don't have photos of many of them.  Stopping to take pictures of bears is not the smartest thing to do on a motorcycle.

And several bears, though we don’t have photos of many of them. Stopping to take pictures of bears is not the smartest thing to do on a motorcycle. (Photo by Howard Koontz)

After two days of going mostly north on the Alaska Highway, we were ready to head south to Alaska on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.

After two days of going mostly north on the Alaska Highway, we were ready to head south to Alaska on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.

Dease Lake, if I'm not mistaken.  One of many gorgeous lakes along the way.

Dease Lake, if I’m not mistaken. One of many gorgeous lakes along the way.

And finally, the view from Stewart, British Columbia, which will be our base for the next day. This is the only place on the trip where we spend two nights in the same place.

And finally, the view from Stewart, British Columbia, which will be our base for the next day. This is the only place on the trip where we spend two nights in the same place.

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North to the Yukon, Day 6 – We Arrive

For the last week, more or less, Howard and I have been headed north and west for more than 2,500 miles. And today we arrived at our northernmost destination – Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.

Our bikes at the Welcome to Yukon sign.

Our bikes at the Welcome to Yukon sign.

If you look at the trace left by my SPOT satellite tracker, you can see just how far we’e gone (and Howard’s gone close to a thousand miles further):

Our trip so far.

Our trip so far.

So, you might ask, why is the Yukon a territory and not a province?  Because while it is somewhat bigger than California, it only has about 35,000 people in it – That’s like a town roughly the size of Kearney with all the university students on campus.

Watson Lake feels like the remote place that it is.  There are two places you can get hot food in town – Kathy’s Cafe and the truck stop. Everything is rustic.  The hotel we are staying in tonight is a recommissioned World War II air corp barracks.  It’s clean and comfortable (and pretty cheap by local standards), but the bathrooms and showers are down the hall from your room, reminding you that it really did use to be a bunk house.

Howard and I spent a fair amount of time at the main tourist attraction for Watson Lake – The Signpost Forest.  This is a collection of thousands of signs posted by visitors since the first one was put up by a lonely Army man who was missing home as he worked on the Alaska Highway back in 1942. Our host at the Air Force Lodge, Mike, describes the forest as “the world’s largest collection of stolen property” – which has some truth to it, but is not the whole story.  There are many stolen street and city signs, but far more that people have made by hand so that they can leave a lasting memento of their visit.

The Sign Forest is an almost endless collection of signs dating back to 1942.

The Sign Forest is an almost endless collection of signs dating back to 1942.

Of course, just because we have made it to the Yukon does not mean we are ready to head home yet.  In the morning we head south toward our westernmost destination – Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska.  So in the morning we leave the Alaska Highway and head south on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. Yes, at this point we are headed south to Alaska. To be fair, we are not going up to the mainland Alaska; instead, we are headed to the little spit of Alaska that extends hundreds of miles down the Canadian coastline.

But that’s a story for another day.

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North to the Yukon, Day 5 – Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway Milepost Zero

Updated

I woke up at 4 this morning, which would be 6 a.m. back home and my usual wake-up time.  I took a look out the window, and it was clearly getting light out, though I don’t think it ever really got dark last night. We’re really up north now.

4 am out my hotel window in Dawson Creek

4 am out my hotel window in Dawson Creek

Another bit of evidence? While my phone apps still have weather data and forecasts up here, we’re now past the area where there is weather radar coverage.  Even the Canadian weather page online doesn’t provide weather radar this far north.

Dawson Creek looks like you are on the frontier, but it is still a pretty town.

There’s a nice looking art gallery and interesting public art.

DCArtGallery

Gallery and visitors center near the Milepost Zero sign.

 

LampPostDC

Fun decorations on some of the lamp posts.

There are actually two Milepost Zero markers in town for the Alaska Highway – the one that’s actually at the site of the original Milepost Zero, and another one a block or two away more in the downtown area.  No, I don’t understand, either.

 

AlaskaHighwayMonument

The “other” Milepost Zero.

And here’s the one everyone takes their picture in front of, including us!

Howard and Ralph at the Milepost Zero in Dawson Creek.

Howard and Ralph at the Milepost Zero in Dawson Creek.

The Alaska Highway was built following the attack on Pearl Harbor as the United States decided it needed a better way to connect Alaska to the mainland.

The history of Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway.

The history of Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway.

Today it has lots of truck traffic headed north, along with a lot of tourists, many on motorcycles – Like us!  But as for now, we are on our way north!

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