Alaska Highway is a pretty pretentious name for an European, who is still way in Canada, at mile 0, more than 1000 kilometers from Alaska. But I am soon to find out that the naming is not just marketing and tourist traps. In fact it has very little to do with that, the road fully deserves it’s name.
Alaska Highway was build by the Americans during the WWII in a record time of 8 months. And we are talking about more than 1500 miles of road, crossing some very harsh terrain and weather. I personally think that this must be one of the greatest feats of engineering. But why did the do it? Well, the answer was simple. Fear. Hmm OK, a more polite answer would be “military strategic decision”. But still the fact was that they were afraid of an Nippon invasion of Alaska. And Alaska was not linked to the lower 48 states. So, what was not possible during 20 years of peace time (the idea initially originated in the 1920ies) was possible in just 8 months by the effort of more than 10 000 men.
Another interesting thing I found was that the Canadian Government didn’t pitched in with funds or manpower at that time. The only help it provided was granting Americans the right to build on Canadian soil, as long as the Canadian part of the road will become theirs after the war. And the majority of the highway is on Canadian soil…
Even though the Alaskan part was paved since 1960, the road was completely paved only in 1992. So now it is practicable by any kind of vehicle.
But enough “wikipedia style” info! We are here to enjoy the road and the views. And indeed we are… Mountains in the background Yey!! And that feeling of wilderness. It is something that you cannot really experience in much of crowded, overpopulated Europe. But here, we have it with us for some days now. Every where you look, just forests. Some of them probably never walked by man.
The weather smiles on us. We have blue skies and some white clouds here and there.
“Be careful, things change fast in the great North-West” a friend told us. And we were soon to experience it first hand. In case you were wondering how is it for us, here is the “movie” named “here comes the rain while riding a motorcycle”.
Somewhere in a corner, a little “problem” appears.
Hmm, maybe it will go away. Or maybe we will change direction and get past it?
Oh, it is clear, nothing will change, we are heading straight for it!
Time for rain gear to come on:
I am peaceful. Honestly!
And we are ready to proceed!
Gunnar is good to go!
The visibility is reduced and the road is slippery. So we proceed with caution.
Last picture before tucking the camera away from rain
We are not the only ones who “suffer”.
In the rain and uphill. Uhhh…
And no matter how hard it pours, never lose hope and be on the look out for that breakout
Not after long, the rain is just a memory. The road is dry, the sky shines with blue and I am only to twist the right wrist and the engine growls beneath me, accelerating happily. Ah, how I love the V2 engine.
But let’s not get carried away. The road changes as quickly as the weather. From the straight lines above to something with a.. twist.
Andreea giggles in her helmet: “What happened with them? The road is not straight! I guess the Americans leased this part to the Europeans to construct!” !
We would find out that in fact the road was made intentionally so twisty so that it would be harder to bomb. I am still and idealist and believe that it was made like that so it will embrace the environment!
We also meet the Northern Rockies!
And lakes with blue waters
So blue that some of us are considering taking a bath
And quickly chance their mind after testing the water temperature
Whit our bathing suits still not used, we move on and check the signs.
Hmm let’s see, what do we have here? “Curvy road ahead” OK, this we like. Then there is the “maximum height 5.2 m”. No problem, Gunnar is not that tall. Oh and what is this sign in the foreground? I know, for sure it means “Motorcyclists dancing samba ahead”!
And samba we danced on the iron floor of this bridge. At lest it was not wet.
Eh, but this story is getting lengthy and we should stop soon. So we fire up our mp3 player with one of the songs suggested on the Music Box
, and we ride on, until next time!
Next time we get to see a “Signs forest”, we meet all kinds of wildlife and we reach Whitehorse. Stay tuned!
Written from Gulliver’s Bookstore, surrounded by books and chocolate.
The route covered during this post is from Dawson Creek to Watson Lake: