Along the Way

We took the same way back — the Alaska Highway to the Cassiar south to the Yellowhead Highway, then south on the Cariboo Highway to the US/Canadian border. Bob put in some serious miles each day — sometimes over 400 — and we were at the crossing within a week of leaving Denali.

It gave us time to see some things a second time and reflect on our amazing journey. Of course, the most amazing things are those not caught on camera. I like to say, when I go anywhere without my camera, “We’re going to see something amazing today,” because that’s sort of the Murphy’s Law for us photobugs.

Even so, I snap away when I can at the oddities that strike us… In no particular order, here are some from the last several months.

Fellow RVers will appreciate the compact practicality of not only leaving your truck camper behind, but not having to take it off the truck:

Spotted in Hope, BC

Spotted in Hope, BC

Packing is usually tricky, but the owners of this car seem to have figured out what the rest of us haven’t:

Display in the Visitors Center in Williams Lake, BC

Display in the Visitors Center in Williams Lake, BC

I like collecting names of businesses (like the Basshole Bar and Grill in Lakehead, CA) and mottos (like JB Lawn Company’s “We Keep Growin’ a ‘Lawn'” near Salem, OR). Signs are fun, too…

Spotted in Quesnel, BC

Spotted in Quesnel, BC

…although it’s surprising how many businesses pick a pretty font but neglect to think about whether anybody can actually read their sign from the road. By the time we figured out this was a cafe, we were past it (didn’t look like it was open, anyway):

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We saw so many closed roadhouses and businesses it was a good thing we weren’t keeping count:

Spotted along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory

Spotted along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory

How fast could you tell if your rig would fit under this bridge? Think fast! You’re going to be under it soon!

Bridge at Teslin, Yukon Territory

Bridge at Teslin, Yukon Territory

And why don’t more cities put recycling bins around town so you can toss plastic bottles and shopping bags, aluminum cans, and other items into them instead of stuffing them into garbage cans?

 Spotted in Whitehorse, YT

Spotted in Whitehorse, YT

And how about a recycling station for used oil and anti-freeze, like this one?

Spotted in Seward, AK

Spotted in Seward, AK

It’s good to look up. Sometimes the clouds are doing amazing things we’d miss if we didn’t gaze at them now and then:

Spotted over Whitehorse, YT

Spotted over Whitehorse, YT

Just don’t look up for so long you miss those critical orange flags along the road, marking where bad pavement lurks. (If only they were in the right places… we were sure they left them after some places were repaired and didn’t mark places that needed them… but hey… something’s better than nothing, right?)

Spotted along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory

Spotted along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory

Of course, extra flags and signs always help:

Spotted along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory

Spotted along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon Territory

Accuracy didn’t count with this pilot vehicle, either. (Car?? Really?!?)

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We got really good at estimating how far away a vehicle was and which direction it was headed by looking at the dust it kicked up:

Taken along the Taylor Highway south of Chicken, AK

Taken along the Taylor Highway south of Chicken, AK

If only we could have driven the RV and truck under this waterfall, we might have gotten at least a little of the dirt off:

Taken along the Richardson Highway north of Valdez, AK

Taken along the Richardson Highway north of Valdez, AK

Coastal communities get it: not only do they make life jackets available for free to ensure children use them on the water, but people respect the initiative enough not to steal them:

Spotted in Valdez, AK

Spotted in Valdez, AK

Isn’t “Rent-A-Can” a better name than “porta-potty”?!? We think so, too.

Spotted in Anchorage, AK

Spotted in Anchorage, AK

We don’t even want to know what this sign is advertising….

Spotted outside Palmer, AK

Spotted outside Palmer, AK

…but got a kick out of this place…

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…that had this sign in front of it:

Spotted outside Palmer, AK

Spotted outside Palmer, AK

(Brings alive the old saying “One person’s junk is another’s treasure,” doesn’t it?)

Much is different in Alaska — everyone who’s been there, even to visit, would agree. But counting? Maybe it’s me, but no matter how long I stared at this sign, I couldn’t figure out how the eight numbers for “Seats Available” matched the seven days of the week:

Spotted in the small boat harbor in Homer, AK

Spotted in the small boat harbor in Homer, AK

RVers have seen so many drivers like this one we probably should be used to them… you know what I’m talking about: the people who tail you so close you pull over to let them pass — just so they can slow down in front of you. Here’s just one violator.

Spotted along the Parks Highway, AK

Spotted along the Parks Highway, AK

And what’s up with this guy? Does he think if he’s not looking at that caribou it won’t suddenly decide to come after him?!? He hasn’t heard the old adage: “Closest one to the wild animal is the first one gored.”

Spotted in Denali National Park, AK

Spotted in Denali National Park, AK

Were we the only ones scratching our heads about the idea of “subdivisions” in rural areas? A series of signs pointing to “subdivisions” lined the Alaska Highway east of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. We just want to know, subdivisions of what? At least give us a hint.

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I’ve written about the need some people must have to leave their mark on the world, even if it’s with rocks on a hillside. No matter how many places we pass like this one, I’ll never understand it.

Spotted along the Alaska Highway between Teslin and Watson Lake, Yukon Territory

Spotted along the Alaska Highway between Teslin and Watson Lake, Yukon Territory

Those of us who grew up in the Midwest and frequent the West aren’t surprised to see cattle guards on the front of tractor-trailer rigs. Maybe they just look bigger and stronger up here, but this looks more like a moose guard, don’t you think?

Spotted at the Cassiar and Alaska Highway intersection in Yukon Territory

Spotted at the Cassiar and Alaska Highway intersection in Yukon Territory

Sometimes we just see something that begs a photo, even if it is on the fly from the side window:

 Spotted along the Yellowhead Highway, British Columbia

Spotted along the Yellowhead Highway, British Columbia

A series of train tunnels across the Fraser River:

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Spotted along the Cariboo Highway, British Columbia

I missed centering this photo as we passed the sign, but you get the gist….

Spotted at Jackass Summit on the Cariboo Highway, BC

Spotted at Jackass Summit on the Cariboo Highway, BC

Hoo boy. And after those fabulously empty two-lane highways (yes, I’m thinking of the Cassiar Highway… the Tok Cut-Off… even the Parks Highway in some sections), this mass of traffic was not welcome. Nope. Not one bit.

Taken along I-5 in Washington state

Taken along I-5 in Washington state

It was late August 2013, and our Alaska-BC-YT adventure had come to an end.

But wait! There’s more! Watch for future posts on some things we learned that might help you if you’re planning a trip to the land of the midnight sun, including why we opted to drive solo rather than take a cruise or travel with a caravan.

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About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Attractions, Cool Experience, Interesting Stories, On the Road and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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