Distance: 7725 miles
Hi guys, I'm in Beaver Creek @ 1202 Motor Inn (shout out! They kindly gave me Internet access as well as a great breakfast) just in the inside border of Canada on PR 1 a.k.a. the Alaskan Highway. Yesterday after I left Anchorage, I took Glenn Highway (SR 1) towards Tok. I decided, after the last couple of days of minimal highway driving, that I would make yesterday and today, driving days. I'm trying to get to the Puget Sound area on Wednesday to meet up with Patty's sister and family. (Patty - if you'd be so kind and give me her address, that would be super duper helpful). At this point it might be Thursday. I'll know better tomorrow.
The drive was beautiful and it was cool seeing the Alaskan Range rise up majestically to the south of me. I do have a small rant and it may have to do with mountains. I use Sirius satellite radio and in Alaska the reception has been sucky. Really really sucky. I'm guessing that Sirius does not market in Alaska. I'm not sure where the satellite is located but it must be
Frozen Slana River
Off of SR 1 @ Wrangler-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
close to the horizon and obviously it is somewhere to the south and obviously the signal must be line of sight because I keep losing the signal. Do you know how annoying it is to have the radio cutout just as Sherlock Holmes, on the Radio Classics channel, is getting to the denouement? I still don't know who killed the professor in the study! The reception get's worse as I went north. When I was on the Dalton Highway towards Prudhoe Bay I had no service despite being on flat plains occasionally. OK, I'm done ranting. It was very small rant. Not a Dennis Miller rant.
The good thing about the route I took to get back to Canada is that I have never been on it. Unfortunately once I got to Tok in the early evening I ended up back on the Alaskan Highway. I'm staying on SR 2, now PR 1 all the way to Watson Lake. I'm not sure what the distance is but it is well over 500 miles. If I recall correctly, this was the drive that was the most boring with just trees and more trees. You'd think that if I had to
Frozen Slana River
Further up the highway.
repeat a route that it would be something cool. But noooooo.
So after I left Tok (and filling up), I headed towards the border looking for a camping site. I decided to get close to the border before camping so as usual I find no camping sites. I ended up finding an overgrown logging trial and bravely ventured into the darkening forest. I drove for a bit, going down one overgrown trail after another thinking "hey! that looks good!" The multiple turns almost was my undoing. I'll get to that later.
I found a good site with plenty of deadfall laying about. So I built a fire and stood up camp. I had a cup of chicken noodle soup (instant) and enjoyed the fire for awhile before retiring. I'm only a little nervous about bears and moose at this point.
I wake up at 6AM with PeeWee's Big Adventure round 2. It was so frigging loud! I don't know what these sounds are but I have a few observations:
The animals have to be huge.
They are milling about my campsite deciding what to do with me.
One animal sounds disturbingly close to a
Camp off of the Alaskan Highway
30 miles or so from the Candian border.
velociraptor from Jurassic Park. You know, the barking.
So I decided I'd use the cars chirping remote locking noise to scare them away. Big mistake. As soon as I chirp the car, I hear a snort and what wounded like a hoof stomp. Uh ow, did I just challenge a moose? I chirp the car a couple more times to see if I can startle whatever it is (cringing the entire time). I'm afraid to use the car alarm at this point (that was always my plan if I hea a bear). I figured that if a chirp challenges a moose, a car alarm would enrage a grizzly. So I chirp. And chirp. And for good measure I chirp again. I listened intently for sounds of fleeing. None. Only the jungle ruckus with the occasional velociraptor honking thrown in. Well crap. I guess I'm getting up (I was really hoping for at least another hour). I bravely grab my bear spray and start talking loudly to the wood spirits about how I'm getting up and that I'm just passing through so please don't eat me. I unzip the tent ready to see a moose or deer (please no bear).
My moose brother seeing me off
This was between the Alaskan and Canadian Ports of Entry, a no hunting zone.
Nothing. I don't even see a bird in the trees. Well obviously the spirits heard me. Thank you oh denizens of the forest.
I made like a bear, packed up camp and headed east on SR 2. Oh wait, wait. I forget the best part. After packing up and getting in the car, I couldn't find the way out. I drove down so called excuses for trails trying to find the exit; the entire time hoping I don't get bogged down someplace. I refuse to look at my car closely (even now). I'm afraid some of those scraping branches did more then just scrape. If I was smart, instead of driving around I would have just followed my car tracks back to the road. But I wasn't. By the time I realized that, I had hopelessly compromised the trails. After an hour or so I finally found the highway. It wasn't the original entrance to the forest but just an opening to the shoulder of the road. Of course the shoulder is at the top of a 30 degree up incline. No sweat I'll just put it in four wheel drive and mount that puppy. Uhhhhhh, I don't have 4 wheel drive. I did not want to go back into the woods (the wood spirits mercifully letting me go) so I did what anyone would do, I gunned the engine and tried to get enough speed to mount the berm and get on the road. I must of looked cool, barreling out of nowhere and broaching the road like a whale jumping out of the water. I don't think I went airborne. But wouldn't that be cool if I did a Duke's of Hazard? The awesome thing was I didn't bottom out! I was figuring I'd leave half my exhaust system behind. Good ole Blue got me through another challenge. I need to buy her a really nice wash when I get back (it's getting bad, especially the inside).
My second time through the border check point was uneventful. I was hoping for a little drama so I'd have material for the blog but no such luck. Though the checker-outer dude looked at me askance when I couldn't remember where I entered Canada the first time (I still don't - just somewhere over there by the Rockies).
As I mentioned today is going to be a driving day. I want to at least get on PR 37 (Cassiar Highway). The fun continues.
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