Monday, July 21, 2014

The Alcan

  At Chistochina the couple from Pennsylvania who pulled into the lodge  late last evening showed up at the breakfast table. They were in a rented motor home and couldn’t figure out how to turn on the heat, last night.  They were still cold but we all had a grand time sitting around the table and telling stories of traveling in the north. The Pennsylvanians were headed into Wrangle Saint Elias park, Nesbina I guess, and we were headed to Yukon to ride the roughest snarlyest   highway in the north, the fabled Alcan. I do not know if the ever figured out the heat.

At The Table
They started constructing the Alcan during  WWII so that the  then  territory of Alaska could be defended, or perhaps so that the citizens could retreat into Canada in case of invasion. Either way we owe so much to war, here in the north.

This northern part of the highway  between the border at Port Alcan Alaska  and Destruction Bay Yukon is still under construction. It is the last part to be widened, straitened and raised up out of the swampy ground the original route followed.

 At two sections  of construction we pulled around the motorhomes to wait  for the pilot cars at the head of the line. At the  southern section we were greeted by  soft,  wet  dirt, that the Canadian crews had just put down in order to test our riding skills.  
Other sections were either dusty or just plain rough. Rolling along if you look you can see parts of the original now abandoned road. Some of this roadbed came from the gravel pit I once, quite by accident led the friends I was traveling with on bikes and several very large motorhomes who for some reason followed us up its narrow dead end road.

Bear Flats Lodge  Koidern Yukon

None of the old road is left now, and almost all of the old lodges, are shuttered.

At the Kluane B&B Pauline the proprietor told me that in the 70’s and 80’s travelers were looking for the nostalgia  of the old road, but now a days people only want to want to go as fast as they can, to get to where ever they are going.
Silver City Yukon


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