Not your average travel blog
No punns or associative crying please – although, half expected, the start of the Alaska Highway is not what you’d call a metropolis, nor is it a picturesque country town. Dawson Creek (nothing to do with the TV show) is an oil workers farming town. It’s a hard, industrial boondock, strewn with combine harvesters, tractors, trucks, logging articulates, stacked with snow ploughs waiting for the winter and road signs in the burbs that tell you to chain your tyres. We are now in the north. No time for teenage tears here. It’s time to man up, or go home.
Canada is metric. The first 200 kilometres of KP’s long desired dream (to drive the Alaska highway) is not so much endless pretty scenery, but more farming suburbia, with brown remnants of once operated machinery, now rusting in expansive gravel and dirt yards. Tankers, piles of piping and other hoards of brick-a-brack are sporadic along the roadside as we head west, out into wilder, less populated landscape. Gas stations become gift shops for tourists, selling their own branded merchandise, and they also act as mail pick up posts for truck drivers as they’re so far from “home”. In the warm, dry heat of the north (it’s dry in either summer or the snow covered winter) our windscreen again, has become the last thing that goes through many a bugs mind.
Since 1949, Alaska and neighbouring Canada have had a detailed guide to the remote northern highways – The Milepost. It states, “For many people, the Alaska Highway is a great adventure. For others, it is a long drive”. As we began our tour in Dawson Creek, I wasn’t sure which category I fell into, and during the first few hundred kilometres I’m still in two minds as to whether this was such a good idea. KP on the other hand is as giddy as a schoolboy on Christmas morning. I’ve taken him at his word that this would be a trip of a lifetime, so me being me, I didn’t research the section of the trip that he was so excited about – at all. This however, is adventure and I enjoy seeing what the world is like beyond wherever home is nowadays. Right now though, unless I rapidly become a fan of dust, disused rusty machinery, logging trucks, industrial towns with more gun stores than coffee shops, and expensive gas, I’m not entirely sure what all the fuss is about.
Life is what you make it, and even though I hold the map, there really is only one road west for quite some way. I’ve put my youthful thrills into the hands of an oddly excited pensioner…