This week Tina has chosen “The Long and Winding Road” as our challenge. During our travels we have driven on so many long and winding roads I wasn’t sure which ones to include.
As I thought about how to approach this challenge, my mind kept going back to our 2013 RV trip to Alaska. There were many long and winding roads during our journey but I decided to focus on just one.
Exactly seven years ago today we were in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada at the start of the Alaska Highway (also called the AlCan). Before returning home we would travel on every mile of this long and winding road.
The United States military began construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 to provide an overland route to Alaska. The approximately 1400 mile road from Dawson Creek, BC to Delta Junction, Alaska was completed in 8 months and 12 days.
As you can see from the photo above, like many other travelers, we posed for a picture at the famous sign marking the beginning of the Alaska Highway. (The actual location of mile marker 0 is in downtown Dawson Creek, BC). There’s more about our stay in Dawson Creek at Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.
Part of the road was paved, part was gravel, and part was under construction. There were frost heaves and pot holes, some marked with signs and some not. Sometimes we would go for miles without seeing another vehicle. We stopped at pull outs for breaks and never had a problem finding campgrounds or diesel fuel.
We drove slowly and enjoyed the wildlife and magnificent views.
As I worked on this post I thought of how empty this road must be this summer with the U.S./Canadian border still closed. I remember the campgrounds, restaurants, and stores we stopped at along the way in Canada and Alaska. These businesses have a short season and depend on summer travelers to make it through the rest of the year. I hope that they will be able to make it until next year when hopefully people will be traveling again.
I am so grateful we made this trip when we did. I still dream of returning to Alaska. Next time we will not be towing our fifth wheel along the Alaska Highway. Instead, I see airplanes and ships in our future.
Five years ago this week we were on the road to Alaska from Georgia. Once we crossed the border into Canada, I spent every day looking for wildlife. There were many “WOW” wildlife sightings in both Canada and Alaska.
I’ve been thinking about posting some of my favorite wildlife photos from the trip and today I finally got the boost I needed to put it all together. When my friend Ingrid at Live, Laugh RV posted that the theme for her very first Wednesday photo inspiration was wildlife, I immediately started going though the thousands of photos from the trip.
If you would like to participate or see other posts inspired by Ingrid, click on over to Ingrid’s post Wandering Wednesday.
Here are just a few of my favorite wildlife photos from our Canada and Alaska adventure.
I recently posted our Favorite Alaska Memories so now it is time to post our favorite memories of traveling through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. We spent 23 nights in Canada and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and friendly Canadian people.
We started our travels in Canada by spending almost a week in Alberta in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
Elk by the side of the road in Banff National Park
Elk on the Bow Valley Parkway
Peyto Lake is a much deeper turquoise than the other lakes along the parkway
Elk near our campsite in Jasper
We saw lots of wildlife as we drove through British Columbia on the Alaska Highway before arriving in Alaska for the first time.
Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway! in Dawson Creek, BC
Stone Sheep on the Alaska Highway
Caribou on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway
Bison herd with calves near Liard River Hotsprings
After a week in Alaska we drove through Canada to Dawson City, Yukon and across the Top of the World Highway before returning to Alaska.
Black Bear beside the road in British Columbia
Panning for gold in Dawson City, Yukon
View on the Top of the World Highway
Our journey back to the lower 48 took us along the Cassier Highway through British Columbia.
Sunrise at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory
Salmon Glacier in British Columbia about 17 miles past Hyder, Alaska
Bear Glacier near Stewart, BC
For a map of our entire journey be sure to check out Our Route. And for a list of all the campgrounds where we stayed check out our Campground List.
Day 91: Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Williams Lake, BC to Oroville, Washington, USA. River Oaks RV Park Site 43. 393 miles traveled. One of our longest driving days since leaving home.
Our last night in British Columbia was in Williams Lake where we stayed at Stampede RV Park next to the rodeo grounds.
As we drove south we left the snow peaked mountains behind as we began to see more and more farmland and ranches. In one area we passed by the Painted Hills which reminded me of the Painted Desert. The road was good and even though there were still steep grades and curvy roads as we descended into and out of valleys we were making really good time. At some point along the way we decided we were going to cross the border in Washington.
We were driving on Highway 97 which runs right beside Okanagan Lake for many, many miles. There are several provincial parks along the lake and we could see boaters in the beautiful blue water. We passed several beaches full of swimmers trying to cool off in the 90 degree weather.
And then we entered Kelowna which is nothing but big box stores and chain restaurants for miles with stoplights at every intersection. It was bumper to bumper traffic and we wondered where all these people were coming from on a Wednesday afternoon. There were many big homes and condos high up on the hills overlooking the lake.
Finally we were past Kelowna and started to move along at a good pace again. In the town of Penticton a canal runs through town right beside the highway. The canal was full of people in rafts floating down the canal in colorful rafts of every size and description. As I rolled down the window to take some pictures these people waved as me as we went by.
After that we began to see fruit stands selling the famous Okanagan Valley peaches, cherries, and other produce grown in the valley. Orchards and vineyards grew in fields as far as the eye could see. We must have passed about 50 wineries all offering wine tasting.
Finally, about 5:00 we reached the American border in Oroville, Washington and went through customs. Everyone in an RV had to pull over to be inspected so we waited our turn and soon were on our way. I looked at my phone and had cell service so I called an RV park in Oroville and we got a site for 2 nights.
Our first day back in the states was filled with resting, doing laundry, and going to the grocery store. Once the chores were done we went to the Okanogan Winery shop in Oroville where I bought some delicious Chardonnay and Pino Grigio. We went to dinner at Trino’s, a very popular Mexican restaurant in town.
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