Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Moving to Alaska: Day 11

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
Miles traveled: 588
Total miles traveled: 2571

Believe it or not Whitehorse is quite the buzzing tourist attraction in the summer. Getting a hotel was a bit more challenging than I had anticipated and we ended up staying in a strange little hotel. There was no air conditioning in the rooms and believe it or not it was quite warm. We had a hard time falling asleep partly because of the warmth and partly excitement of our last day on the road.

The hotel did have an interesting display in the lobby.

That is two bull moose racks permanently locked together. There is a photo of the skeletons in at the top of the picture, if you look close. The story goes that one fall a pilot flying over the area saw two bull moose with their antlers locked together. Knowing they wouldn't be able to get them apart he made note of the coordinates figuring he could go back and salvage the meat after nature had taken its course. Then winter came and the weather got bad and the pilot was unable to return to the area. When he finally returned in the spring all that was left were two skeletons. He took the racks and donated them to the hotel as a tourist attraction.

Before we left Whitehorse we went down to a little park in town that runs along the banks of The Yukon River. Let me tell you that is one fast moving river. The banks were such that there was no getting close and to be honest I don't think I would have anyway.

The Sternwheeler Klondike is also on display and we took a few moments to check out the exterior of the ship. Sternwheelers played a huge part in the settlement of inland areas in Canada and Alaska. We didn't do more than look around and snap a picture because we were ready to get on the road! It seemed like there was probably a lot of fun and interesting stuff to do in Whitehorse if you were up for more than passing through, but we weren't so we didn't.

After leaving Whitehorse we pretty much just drove and drove and drove. We stopped briefly in Haines Junction for some gas a snack and continued on our way.

At this point the road started getting pretty rough. There were hundreds of frost heaves and the bumps and potholes in the road made travel slow going.

One of the only stops we made on between Whitehorse and Fairbanks was at Lake Kluane. The scenery was breathtaking and we made sure to take many beautiful pictures including a family picture of all of us sporting our Vandal gear. We also took this opportunity to run and stretch little legs and skip some stones before continuing on the road.


Once you leave Canada near Beaver Creek, Yukon there is about a 13 mile stretch of road between Canadian Border Patrol and United States Border Patrol. I'm honestly not sure which country we were in at this point. We had left Canada but had not entered the United States. It was odd. Some where in this stretch was the official Welcome to Alaska sign. You can't imagine how excited we all were to see this sign. Even though we still had several hours of driving a head of us it was comforting to know we were in Alaska.

The "big" town you come to once you cross into Alaska is Tok. We stopped in Tok long enough to grab some snacks, and caffeinated Mountain Dew which Dan was very excited about, fill up on and then we hit the road. Ok Dan and I also stopped for a silly picture.

The official end of the Al-Can is in Delta Junction, Alaska. This is where the Al-Can meets the Richardson Highway which is the road into Fairbanks. So although we had reached the "end" of the Al-Can we still had another 2 hours on the road. Still the excitement was building as we knew we were about to reach the end of our trip.

At the End of the Al-Can. From Dawson Creek, BC to Delta Junction, AK.

It was just a little windy in Delta... or a lot windy. Dan was seriously worried that he might lose his hat while we were there. Fortunately the hat was not lost and we continued on our way.

Somewhere outside of Delta Junction we were welcomed by two moose crossing the road. A fitting welcome to Alaska if you ask me.

We ended up arriving in my parents driveway in Fairbanks at about 10:30 pm. We unloaded the necessities, let the kids play for a bit, and headed to bed. Dan had a job interview the next morning and needed to be at least mostly coherent for it.

And that's the story of how we got to Alaska. It only took me a year and a half but I finally got the story all told! If you missed any parts of my story I'll put links to days 1-10 at the bottom of this page.

Coming soon I'll post my thoughts and advice for someone wanting to travel the Al-Can.

Moving to Alaska
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10

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