Well, we made it to our first destination. Let me tell you, the top of the world is still so far away. This trip north has been amazing. I left home two weeks ago and have driven 4,700km to reach Whitehorse. For reference, Whitehorse is in the Yukon Territory, about 350km northeast of Juneau, Alaska.
Last year I traveled a fair amount of western Canada, but went no where near this far north. The views have been impressive, however I will not make light of the amount of time it takes to drive such a short distance.
The road conditions are fair, in fact somewhat better than I had anticipated to experience. The speed limits are minimal; yet realistic for high wind areas, pot holes, and wildly steep & tight turns.
Fun fact, the Canadians must not mind the grade of the roads being quite dramatic. There seems to be a trend of 10% down-hill grades, stretching half a dozen klicks or more. All I can say is that having an exhaust brake came in really handy.
The wildlife is prominent here, and my heart just melts over the moose in particular. I’ve spotted quite a few on the side of the road, and also watched a young moose stroll into a metal building, you know, just looking around.
Moose are just the coolest. Second to that, the hefty round black bear and the beaver have been pretty entertaining to spot along the way.
The Yukon forest is so incredibly dense. Everything is green, but too dark of a green to photograph well. When you look across a valley it looks like grass in the distance, when in reality it is actually a 40ft tall solid patch of trees, that seem go on as far as the eye can see. The view doesn’t change, or so it hasn’t changed in three days. The only variation is the sky. We’ve had hail storms, it has rained like crazy, and we had a few moments of blue sky.
Most lakes in the Yukon are still frozen, and just starting to break up. It is very apparent which lakes are from glacier run off, based on the vibrant emerald blue color. Also, the Yukon river is huge. My goodness that is a sight to see.
The most wild change I have seen this week are the extra long days. The sun seriously just lingers. 18 hours of daylight is wild. I can’t imagine what the summer solstice is going to be like. Honestly, I could poke my own eyeballs out and I would still know it was light outside. I am sure I will get used to it, but something just feels odd about sleeping with the lights on.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve received quite a few questions about my travels, I suppose I will share as it might be of entertainment value to you. And to be clear, I have laughed really hard at some of these. But in all sincerity, I get that these topics may not be common knowledge.
A statement I have heard from a few camp hosts upon arrival to a campground goes as so, “Welcome. The showers are just down yonder”, (and I am over here thinking, “but sir, I have a shower. Isn’t that apparent by my freshly washed hair?” I suppose not)
Now this has also been a frequently asked question from people I know. They really want to know how will we shower during the weeks along the road? So let me tell you, the Bigfoot 3000 series camper has a huge shower for an RV set up.
I don’t expect many people to know much about a cab over camper, but honestly folks, you’ve been missing out if you don’t know about the truck camper scene. Modern day campers can have dry bath set ups, full wall slides, etc. The only camper I’ve seen bigger than ours belonged to our best friend, and let me tell you, that Okanagan put our rig to shame. Full time living can commence in a rig that big.
Anyhow, if you have a large enough truck, the options are endless. Needless to say, each day I get a premium shower, cook full meals, and live a totally normal life, it just so happens to be in the bed of the truck rather than being towed behind it.
Friends have also been asking why we didn’t take our travel trailer instead. A few reasons why are simply that a 10k pound (loaded weight) 30 foot trailer with a huge slide-out and a Restoration Hardware sofa are truly unnecessary in Alaska. The road conditions are a bit much and it’s really a pain to tow that big of a setup across the country in poor weather. If we brought the trailer, we wouldn’t be able to tow the Samurai for adventuring, and to be honest, we have plenty of space in the camper.
In addition to that, we will be living in our trailer as we build our house in Montana. God forbid something happen to my house along the road. (Insert shrug here) Funny but true, I need that thing waiting at home for me.
The best question/statement I have received, “How can you drive to Alaska? It’s an island.” Now this has been presented as both a question and a statement.
Hand to heart people, we need to have a serious talk. Without exaggerating I have heard this from two dozen people. I’ve given the statement some thought, you know, in an attempt to try to reason with it. All that I can come up with is that on some maps Alaska appears near Hawaii, I assume this is in an attempt to capture the United States on one sheet of paper. Am I wrong?
Now, I’ve given the talk to each one of these folks, explained how you can drive there, how you can also ferry there, and even more serious questions arose from my attempts to clarify the confusion.
You mean to tell me that Alaska is owned by the United States of America? Yes people. It’s ours. And you have to trek through another country to get there? Yes, yes, yes.
At one point I tried explaining that Canada is affiliated with the United Kingdom, and that Queen Elizabeth is on their currency. …..and I lost my audience.
The confusion accompanied by the unreasonable fear that I may never make it through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, based on the fact that I am a foreigner, was all too much for anyone to handle. I must be crazy.
Next, explaining that you can in-fact take a firearm into Canada, with proper paperwork, caused a riot in and of itself.
Now hear me out, I am only gently poking fun at the people who asked me these questions but want to ensure than I set the story straight. You can indeed drive to Alaska, and Canada is a great place to visit along the way. Check out a map and you’ll see. (and please, don’t forget to teach your children geography, they will thank you one day)
For now, I am off to explore the Yukon and have as much fun as I can before work starts in 10 days.
Cheers to getting lost, and getting dirty.