Canada, the AL-CAN Highway, The Yukon and Near Death

Tuesday, September 30, started off like any other day on this road trip. I got up, got washed and got in my car. The AL-CAN Highway has a rep. A baaaaaaaaaaaaaad rep. It's only partially paved and often VERY dangerous. This day was no different. After I met Aaron on the boat, we decided that the safest way to make through the AL-CAN is if we kinda caravan our way through the Yukon. It was a good idea in theory...then in started to snow. I am getting ahead of myself though. SO the reason why the AL-CAN is so dangerous is that there is NOTHING on the AL-CAN. It's over 200 miles from one gas station to another. Another reason it is so dangerous is that the weather is often VERY cold and snowy -- specially in the fall when the weather is quite unpredictable. Yet the final reason is that the road conditions often are less than desirable -- big dips, unpaved in places, and steep drops off the side that would leave you in a big ditch or off a cliff.

The trip started off well. Got into Canada with little fan fair. My papers were in order and as the last couple days on the boat had been...it was over cast and rainy. Aaron had gotten the road report earlier and everything seemed to be okay on the AL-CAN. However, just after we passed the sign that said YUKON all hell broke loose. It started to snow. Lots of snow. It was just icy at first. So I turned on my 4 wheel drive (the best purchase I have every made to date!) and went a little slower. The conditions worsened and I was in about 8 inches of unplowed and untreated slush. Aaron was from Colorado, so he kept speeding on...but that is a story I will get to in a second. I slowed down considerably. Going about 20 miles an hour, trying to keep my tires in the established tracks. I almost skidded off the road at one point so I just flat out stopped to regain my composure. Aaron continued on. I finally got myself together...fish tailing for over 150 miles...A plow came at one point, so I drove on the wrong side of the road most of the day...right before the plow though -- I saw a set of tire tracks that went in a complete circle...yup...Mr. Colorado later told me he did a 360 on the highway! I took a picture of the road at the safest and best conditions...its in the slide show below. OH what happens when a car comes when you are driving on the wrong side of a half plowed road? You jump the snow mound...and pray that you don't fall of the other side of the road...wait for the truck/car/semi to pass then you hop back to the other side of the road...hoping you don't fall of that side! Fun times...fun times. I finally got to Haines Junction where the road conditions finally started to improve. I saw my first glacier lake and some beautiful mountains.

At the US boarder, the boarder patrol guy thought I was SUPA happy to be in Alaska. I just told him that I was happy to be off the AL-CAN and that it was snowing in the Yukon. I got back into the USA!!! I ended my day in Tok, AK. I was STARVING. Thank GOD my co-workers had given me a bag of food for the trip. There was no where to get food all day. I had been eating pretzels most of the day. Each gas station was only selling gas! The waitress at Fast Eddies (the only place to eat in Tok -- literally and figuratively) said that today was the first snow...that's why the road sucked....I just think it was Alaska hazing me. I had to prove that I was worthy!

Here are the pictures for this day:

Until next post...Savor the Flavor and Drink the Blue Kool-Aide.


Blogger Allison said...

sorry about the hazing...
I was on the edge of my seat reading this!!

6:33:00 AM  

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