As some of you may know, Derek Hinckley and I recently drove all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Greenwood. We left Fairbanks on June 29th and drove until July 3rd, stopping pretty much only for gas, food, bathroom breaks, and sleep. On the way, we traveled through Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. When all totaled up, we drove 4,000 miles, spent over 70 hours on the road, and traveled through 4 different time zones!
Derek and I all packed and ready to leave Fairbanks, Alaska
Obligatory pic when entering a new state/province/territory
The first two and a half days of our trip were dedicated to conquering the Alaska-Canadian Highway (or the ALCAN). When I heard that we would spend a fair amount of our time on this highway, I was pumped. It would be great to travel through the Canadian Rockies and the forests of Alaska on a nice thoroughfare. Alas, the term “highway” was a misnomer, as the ALCAN was actually a winding, two lane road that occasionally turned into gravel (only when we were in Canada, mind you). This ALCAN offered some amazing views of nature in an untouched form that I had never previously seen. The road wound around mountains whose peaks were topped with snow, through forests of pine and spruce trees that stretched for miles, and past lakes that were clear and too cold for me to dare to touch.
A giant sign forest in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.
Over 60,000 license plates, road signs, and more to see.
There are signs from every state, including Mississippi!
Driving the ALCAN seemed like a trip back in time. We had no cell phone service (I didn’t charge my phone for 3 days straight) and didn’t see a McDonald’s or Wal-Mart once. The little towns that dot the ALCAN often comprise of simply a restaurant/diner that also pumps gas and has basic grocery needs. Nearly every time we entered a new town, we stopped to fill up gas, as you were never sure how far the next gas station would be. Fortunately, we made the trip without any incidents, although we did pull off once to fill up from the gas can that Derek brought along to ensure that we made it to the next town.
Lots of views of snow capped mountains!
Stopped to take a selfie on Muncho Lake in British Columbia.
Might try to fly one of these back to MS!
Once we got off the ALCAN, we entered what Derek called “civilization.” We drove through rural, southern Canada, stretching from western British Columbia to southeastern Saskatchewan. Most of the land was dedicated to farming, and we saw acre upon acre of canola fields, which were easily distinguished due to their yellow hue. Our trip brought us through Edmonton, Alberta, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Regina, Saskatchewan. These are three of the twenty largest Canadian cities, but what I found interesting was that their highways didn’t avoid the cities, as we had to go through stop-and-go traffic to get through each one.
A canola field in southern Canada. That's smoke from a forest fire in the sky.
We entered back into the US through Portal, North Dakota where our US border patrol officer informed us that he had been stationed in Hattiesburg and let us through without much hassle! When we got back in the States, we could smell home. After filling up and grabbing a coke, we drove to Fargo, spent the night, and then made the trip from Fargo to Greenwood in one straight shot. Overall, it was a great experience and a good way to get to see the continent!