Whew! The next time we go to the store we better take a map. Here’s a summary of what happened on the way.
We had some impressions and expectations of Alaska when we started out on this journey. They came from many sources, current and dated. It’s safe to say nearly all were wrong.
We made intentional stops at Tok, Chicken, Fairbanks, Denali Park, Anchorage, Kenai, Homer, Ninilchik, Seward, Glacier View and Valdez. None were alike. They varied from old to new, small to large, mountainous to seacoast, remote to bustling.
The highways in Alaska are in very good condition. They rival some of the best highways we’ve seen in the lower 48. Highway construction and maintenance is well managed and on par with the rest of the country. The horror stories we heard about the highways must have been about the Alcan Highway in Canada ... it wasn’t as bad there as we heard, but close.
There’s so much to take in up here: the geography, terrain, wildlife, weather, Russian cultural influence, First Nation heritage, economy, extended daylight, and the lifestyle. I hope we observed with reverence and didn’t offend.
We went as far north as Fairbanks and as far west and south as possible by car.
We drove 12,036 miles (10,886 miles towing) and got 14.6 mpg on this trip.
The total for the past 9 years is 92,054 miles driven (76,445 miles of towing) and 360 trailer set-ups.
The Dodge Durango (V-6) got better gas mileage than on any trip with the Chevy Trailblazer (V-8) and had absolutely no problem with mountain towing.
We experienced something quite unexpected when we came out of Canada … we call it WWS (Wilderness Withdrawal Syndrome). We felt like we were leaving a serene retreat and being jolted by a raucous world. Guess that means we really enjoyed our journey to the Last Frontier.
Special Sights & Experiences
* Driving through a snowstorm between Ft. St. John and Ft. Nelson, BC
* Crossing Summit Pass on the Alcan
* Denali National Park
* Lake Hood float plane base in Anchorage
* Columbia Glacier and Wildlife cruise out of Valdez
* The hike to Montgomery Glacier
* The Cassiar Highway
* Seeing totem poles in Teslin, YT and Hazelton, BC
* Fraser Canyon north of Hope, BC
* Etc., etc., etc.
The Milepost (it’s useful in AK, AB, BC, YT and NT)
Mosquito repellent (though we only used it a few times)
Northern Lights Coupon Book
* We missed the midnight baseball game in Fairbanks.
* We should have taken the 12 hour Kantishna Experience Tour at Denali.
* TPMS monitor stopped displaying trailer tire pressures.
* Fresh water tank developed a slow leak.
* Rear Fantastic Fan frame leaked during heavy rain.
* A/C ran, but wouldn’t cool.
* Replaced a few internal rivets.
* Replaced a fuse in the rear Fantastic Fan.
* A few small stone chips on the car hood
Our Next Trip
We may go somewhere later this year or early next. No decision yet.