Our first stint on the Alaskan Highway went well. Seth drove about 280 miles from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, sometimes down grades as severe as 10%. At the tops of those hills, the roadway dipped so low it disappeared like rollercoaster tracks, and the rivers, lakes and massive rock faces spread out over the valleys.
The Alcan draws the extreme to it, whether they prefer traveling by force of a 17-ton careening bus, or by more trying means: their own legs. We shook our fists in triumph at a biker as he humped up a large hill we were coasting down. He saw us and shook back. Later we saw another guy doing not so well as the rain had started, and I asked Seth if we should stop. Seth said, “If he’s out here alone on his bike, he’s doing it for real.” I guess those guys know how to throw out a thumb if need be.
The road wasn’t always so treacherous. We’d travel for stretches down long, nearly straight highways lined with thick forest. At one point a rain cloud looming on our right finally overtook us, but the sun was still cutting underneath the stormfront from the left, casting the roadway in severe shadows flickering in the rain and trees. Taylor said the whole scene, when paired with the most brilliant double rainbow we’ve ever seen, was “Awesome!” The trees flew behind the rainbow which I could trace almost all the way to the ground.
This morning we woke up in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. This little town’s primary economy seems to come from travelers stopping here on route to the Yukon Territory and Alaska or the lower provinces. Last night, our first stop in town was Boston Pizza to look for oil. For a minute there, we thought this trip down the remote Alaskan Highway was going to be too easy. But last night we discovered that our favorite Canada oil source doesn’t have a grease receptacle here in the nether regions. Furthermore, there’s nowhere else to get grease around here. Our trip still may be easy, but now we know we stocked up on oil for a reason, carting over 220 gallons reserve to add to our 100 gallon tank capacity. Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory, has a handful of restaurants we know and trust, so hopefully we’ll have some luck there.
When we came into town, we did find a few things: RVs and semis parked wherever along the roadside, rollicking drunk young people, some reeling down the street clasping their beer bottles and cups of vodka spiked Kool-Ade or whatever, and an unlocked wi-fi signal streaming from a hotel with an adjacent bar. All night, we parked out front of the hotel and borrowed the internet while the boisterous exhortations of boozers carried into our windows as they were bounced out of the bar and into the streets. And these drunkards were clearly Canadian: “Eh Bouncer?! You a *%@$er aren’tcha’ eh!”
“So much for a sleepy little town,” Seth said as we searched for an unlocked door into the hotel, so we could borrow a bathroom.Show on map