Monday, July 2, 2007


On Thursday, two of our guests were supposed to go with their tour group down the Alaska highway, through Beaver Creek, through Whitehorse, and on into Skagway. Well, the man had a medical emergency and so they ended up missing their motorcoach. Doctors here in Fairbanks cleared him to travel and so I had the opportunity on Friday to drive him and his wife from Fairbanks to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Usually, that's a two day trip. The first day is from Fairbanks into Beaver Creek. The second day is from Beaver Creek into Whitehorse. We were going to attempt to make it in one day. It's 600 miles - over the Alaska highway. That makes it about a 12 to 14 hour trip, depending on the condition of the road and how often you stop. So my guests and I set off at about 11:45 am on Friday. We arrived in Whitehorse at 2:00 am Saturday morning. They had to be up at 6:00 to put their bags out and catch their tour to Skagway to get on their cruise ship. They were really nice people and we had a great time. By the end, I was DEAD exhausted! I went to sleep around 3:00 am and woke up around 11:45 am. I slept in a BED (I've been on an air mattress) in the basement where it was somewhat dark. I slept better than I've slept in a really long time! I headed back for Fairbanks around 2:30 pm and got in at 4:00 am. These pictures are pictures I took along the way.

I thought it was cool how the clouds were sitting down on the mountains.

This is Kluane (pronounced Clue-on-knee) Lake. I understand it's icy cold and extremely deep. On one of the mountains that border the lake, you can see mountain goats. The mountain is really steep (think sheer drop down the side of a cliff) and it's impressive to see how they just casually lope around on something I'd be afraid to ski down. I didn't get a picture because you need binoculars to see them and so if I had tried to take a picture, all you would have seen would have been a mountain.

This is the Alaska highway. They're doing a lot of construction and there are vast stretches of road that are dirt and gravel and potholes and washboard (you know - like my abs). The road can be brutal to your car. If you drive this highway, you want a tire changing kit and a spare tire. Or two.

He was just hanging out on the road like "I have no fear. Just try to take me out. I dare you."

These are the Canadian Rockies. Yeah, they're freakin' awesome and so dang beautiful. Again with the tears and the beauty.

This is my commute. Yeah. I love life.

Some people wake up to traffic jams and smog. The Alaskans and Canadians wake up to this.

Proof - Wal-Mart is actually everywhere. Thank goodness. I had stuff I had to pick up.

Whitehorse! We made it! It's a cute little gold rush era town. They do a show here called the "Frantic Follies" that our passengers watch because, while Whitehorse is a charming place, there's not a heck of a lot to do.

The main street in Whitehorse.

Whitehorse is located down on the banks of the Yukon River. It's surrounded by hills and mountains and is a quiet little town. The people are friendly, the air is clean, and most important, they have Tim Horton's which has sour cream doughnuts that are really, really good.

Okay. So, parking meters in DC and New York - I get that. Parking meters in Whitehorse? Seriously, everything is located within a three block radius. Plus, visitors (you know, the one's who would actually have to use the parking meters) can get a three-day parking pass to encourage them to stay in Whitehorse. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of the meter?

Around 10:00 pm we were driving along the highway. We had passed about seven moose on our journey and suddenly, we came upon these guys. There were three of them. We just got pictures of two. They were small - probably still cubs - but the mother was no where to be seen. They were really cute! I've only seen bears one other time in Alaska. Bear sightings along the highway like this are rare. I know people that have lived here for years and have never seen a bear. Of course (seriously) these also tend to be people who don't get out a lot. If you travel, you're going to see bears sooner or later, I think.

They were actually a lot closer than my camera makes them look. They were probably 20 feet from the sprinter (the vehicle we were driving).

This is glass on the dashboard. Just keep reading...

This is the sprinter. This is what I drove to and from Whitehorse.

Remember what I said about the road construction? Well, we were in one of the road construction areas going about 20 miles an hour since it was all potholes and washboard when a guy pulling a trailer comes flying from the opposite direction like he's in the Indy 500. I look back at him and think, he's going WAY too fast when I hear a crack and then my passengers ask me if I'm okay.

I look up and see this in my windshield. I look down and I have glass in my lap, all over the steering wheel, and all over my hands and arms. We pulled over and I brushed the glass off myself, the seat, the steering wheel, and anything else it had covered. The worst part is that the crack was right exactly where I looked out the windshield. I ended up driving by leaning to the right. I drove from Beaver Creek to Whitehorse and then Whitehorse back to Fairbanks with that crack in the windshield.

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