Lens-Artists #100: Long and Winding Road

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.

Mile Zero
Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway! in Dawson Creek, BC

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.

Gravel section of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon
The Alaska HIghway in the Yukon

We drove slowly and enjoyed the wildlife and magnificent views.

Moose on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway
Alaska Highway

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.

Thank you to Tina for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Long and Winding Road

Relics of the 1890’s Gold Rush

We saw many relics from the Gold Rush of the 1890’s on our 2013 journey through Canada and Alaska.

Dredge # 4
Dredge # 4 in Dawson City, Yukon Territory
Gold Mining Equipment in Chicken, Alaska
Gold Mining Equipment in Chicken, Alaska
Gold Dredge 8 in Fairbanks, Alaska
Gold Dredge 8 in Fairbanks, Alaska
Gold Mining Relics in Fairbanks, Alaska
Gold Mining Relics in Fairbanks, Alaska

We’re not wandering at the moment. These are just a few photos representing relics of the 1890’s Gold Rush in Canada and Alaska.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Favorite Canadian Memories

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.

We saw lots of wildlife as we drove through British Columbia on the Alaska Highway before arriving in Alaska for the first time.

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.

Our journey back to the lower 48 took us along the Cassier Highway through British Columbia.

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.


Traveling South through Yukon, British Columbia, and a side trip to Hyder, Alaska

Today is Day 90 of our great adventure, Tuesday, August 13, 2013. It’s been a week since my last post from Tok, Alaska.

Our journey from Tok to the Yukon border on the Alaska Highway was uneventful. When we stopped at the border crossing in the Yukon we handed the border agent our passports and his first question was “Are you heading home to Georgia?” He had not even opened our passports but he knew we were from Georgia when he saw our Georgia G license plate on the front of the truck! He is a fan of American college football and he and Henry talked football for a minute. Of course he asked the required questions and we were on our way.

Sunrise at Burwash Landing
Sunrise at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory

As soon as we got past customs the road was terrible. We waited for a pilot car to take us several miles through a construction zone and the rest of the way was full of potholes and frost heaves. It took almost four hours to travel the less than hundred miles from Beaver Creek to Burwash Landing, our stop for the night. Our campsite was right on the lake and Blondie even got to go swimming. I woke up in time to take some sunrise pictures before we continued on down  the road.

We enjoyed watching a Bald Eagle in our campground in Teslin, Yukon Territory before we turned south onto the Cassiar Highway into British Columbia. Although the Cassiar is paved, it is narrow, winding, and full of pot holes and frost heaves. The first part of the road had no lines painted on it and no shoulders. The going was slow but beautiful. Our one wildlife sighting was a red fox on the side of the road.

After a restful night in Dease Lake, BC our next stop was Stewart, BC and Hyder, Alaska. To reach Stewart and Hyder we turned off of the Cassiar Highway onto the Glacier Highway for the forty mile drive down to Stewart and Hyder. It was one of the most beautiful drives we have been on and we saw two bears along the road.

After setting up camp in Stewart, we drove the three miles into Hyder, Alaska. We drove through town where there are a few stores, most of them closed, a hotel, bar and restaurant, an RV park, and some houses. Just on the other side of Hyder we were in the Tongass National Forest where there is a nice bear viewing platform on Fish Creek. The salmon are running through the creek to spawn and bears are frequently seen going after the fish. As soon as we got there we saw a black bear in the creek.

The next morning we went to the creek early to watch for bears at Fish Creek. We missed three grizzlies and a black bear that were there earlier. The most excitement we had was watching a wolf go after fish. After about two hours we decided to take the 17 mile drive on a gravel road to see Salmon Glacier. We reached an overlook where we looked down for a spectacular view of the glacier. After stopping again at the bear viewing platform with no sign of a bear we returned to the campground to get ready for the rest of our trip.

We stopped to look at Bear Glacier after we left Stewart
We stopped to look at Bear Glacier after we left Stewart

Early the next morning we were on the road again. We stopped at an overlook on the way out of Stewart for a close look at Bear Glacier.

We turned off of the Cassiar Highway onto the Yellowhead Highway. The road is good and we traveled through several towns before stopping in Houston for the night. We went out to a pizza restaurant for dinner and called it a day.

The going is slow on most of the roads we have been on since we first got to Alberta in June. We have been averaging about 45 miles an hour most days so the going is slow. It’s even slower on some of the mountain roads.

We are on roads now where we will be able to make some time. If all goes as planned we will be in Washington state on Thursday.

Day 40: Gold Fever in Dawson City, Yukon

Day 40: June 24, 2012 in Dawson City, Yukon

Blondie and I started the day with a walk along the Yukon River.

In Dawson City it’s all about the gold. To learn more about the gold rush history and see where gold was first discovered here we drove along Bonanza Creek Road to take a walk on the Discovery Claim trail. Descriptive signs and old gold mining equipment line the trail beside Bonanza Creek where gold was discovered in 1896.

What better way to celebrate my birthday than to pan for a little gold? I learned how to pan for gold from a very patient teacher at Claim 33.

A drive to the top of Dome Road for a view of the city and the Yukon River was our next adventure of the day. The road is steep and narrow with many sharp turns. Bicyclists were also making the trek up the hill. When we got to the top to look around, they went down the mountain on one of the narrow trails.

At the Robert Service Cabin. He wrote several books of poems including "The Cremation of Sam McGee"
At the Robert Service Cabin. He wrote several books of poems including “The Cremation of Sam McGee”

Next, a stop at the Robert Service Cabin was in order. Robert Service is a famous poet who lived for a time in the Yukon. My brother Joe gave us a book with a collection of his poems for Christmas and we have been reading it as we have been traveling. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is one of our favorites. Click on the link to read the poem.

Jack London, author of “The Call of the Wild” also lived in Dawson City.

After visiting with our neighbors from BC in the campground for a little while, we had a birthday dinner at Sourdough Joe’s. Ice cream for dessert was perfect after a hard day of being a tourist so we walked next door to an ice cream shop. Henry had on a Tybee Island Pirate Fest t-shirt and as we were standing in line to order a young man behind us commented that he had been to Tybee Island. Of course we started talking to him and asked him where he was from. When he replied “Nova Scotia” we asked what brought him to Dawson City on the other side of the continent from his home. He told us he was working at a small gold mine in Dawson City. The idea that someone from Nova Scotia who was working in Dawson City had actually been to Tybee Island just blew me away.