Driving the Alaska Highway

Greetings from Columbia Falls, Montana.  Last night we reentered the United States after eight days in Canada and arrived at the lavishly-decorated and Scottie dog-inhabited home of Jess’s uncle Jim and aunt Bobbi.  I’m writing this post from their back porch as I make note of the lack of road signs and adjust to life outside the car.

The majority of our past week was spent traveling the Alaska Highway — the 1,422 mile road that connects Dawson Creek, British Columbia with Delta Junction, Alaska.  In the spring we traveled this road to reach Alaska.  This time, armed with knowledge from the trip north, we changed our travel style to save money, opting for cooler meals and roadside camping, rather than patronizing the ghastly expensive businesses along the way.  The Alaska Highway is profoundly beautiful, but those views don’t come without a price.  One gas station wanted $1.66/litre, which after factoring in conversion rates and credit card fees, came out to around $7 per gallon!

Alas, even on a budget, some things are worth paying for.  Much like the drive up, the drive down featured life-list scenery, nonstop sunshine and Serengeti-caliber wildlife.  In one 30-minute stretch we saw eight bears!  Also rampant: caribou, buffalo, raptors and stone sheep.  Jess and I took turns driving, averaging about seven hours per day in the car.  At night we camped aside lakes and rivers and cooked dinner over the fire in total privacy… at least from humans.

***

Today is day 9 of the 20-day trip back to Raleigh.  We spent the past three days in Banff and Jasper National Parks, two unbelievable places I’ll share here soon.

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