OUR ROUTE: Entry #2--Dawson Creek, Yukon, to Saturna Island, British Columbia:
Note: this is for those of you who are map-crazy and want to follow our whereabouts on your own….it was exhausting just reading it ourselves!
Leaving Jasper National Park, we headed East on Canada 16 to Hinton (1 night) and then went Northwest on HWY 40 the “Scenic Route to Alaska”. This was the start of most locals referring to the highways we were taking by their given name instead of their actual numbers. We will include the given names whenever possible. We took HWY 40 to HWY 43 in Grand Prairie, and we continued on HWY 43 up to Dawson Creek (1 night).
The Al-Can officially starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia (BC)-Mile 0. We went N on HWY 97 to Liard Hot Springs, BC (2 nights), then continued on HWY 97 to Teslin, Yukon—Yay!!!! (2 nights). The Al-Can changes to Rt 1 at Watson Lake, BC. We continued on RT 1 to Whitehorse (3 nights). We left the Al-Can here and turned North on the Klondike Highway ( Rt 2) to Dawson City, Yukon (1 night). At Dawson City we crossed the Yukon River on a ferry and took the Top of the World Highway (Rt 9) to the US border at Poker Creek, Alaska. This leads you into the first real town in Alaska, Chicken (population 7). We then followed the Taylor Highway (Rt 5) South to Tok, Alaska where we turned South on Rt 1, the Tok Cut-off, to Glennallen. At Glennallen we turned Southeast on Rt 4 to Rt 10, the McCarthy Highway, to Chitina, (that was a long day).We stayed in Chitina 5 nights.
Then we had to voyage to Anchorage (for 2 nights) on Rt 1, the Glenn Highway, to get the big Beluga fixed –that’s our car--not Chris, and on to Cooper Landing and the Kenai Peninsula (1 South again) for 2 nights. Then to the end of HWY 1 at Homer (2 nights) before backtracking back to RT 9 South to Seward for 5 nights (ahhh). From Seward we drove North on RT 9 to RT 1 to Anchorage where we turned onto RT 3, the George Parks Highway, to Talkeetna (1 night) en route to Denali National Park.
By now we were feeling the crunch of time since our ferry from Haines South was only in one week. We were in Denali for 2 nights only, then continued North on the Parks HWY to Fairbanks for 1 night. We headed Southeast on RT 2, the Al-Can HWY, to Delta Junction (1 night) where we turned South on RT 4, the Richardson Highway, to Glennallen. We returned to Chitina via the McCarthy HWY for a few final nights. We took a one day trip to Valdez which is at the end of RT 4. Phew!
We left Chitina all geared up for the ferry down in Haines that would take us out of Alaska. It took us 2 days to get there (Rt 10 West—RT 4 North—RT 1 North—Rt 2 South (Al-Can) to the Canada border. Then Canada RT 1 to Haines Junction, Yukon where we turned due South on Canada Rt.3 to the US border. Here the Highway becomes RT 7 which ends at Haines, Alaska. We spent the first night of this trip out in a very remote provincial campground somewhere in the Yukon (Lake Creek Campground). We arrived in Haines on fumes and went the last 49 miles on the reserve tank with the Empty light very bright (mostly down hill luckily).
Then we took the Alaska Marine Highway south from Haines for 48 hours of ferry transport. It stopped at Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, and Ketchican before we got off in Prince Rupert, Canada. From Prince Rupert we drove north on RT 16 to Terrace (2 nights) and then had three long days of driving to Vancouver…..the first to Burns Lake, the second to Lac La Hache, and the third day down the impossible Rt 99 via Whistler and 14% grades that went on for miles. Our wheels were smoking so badly at one point that we had to dump all the water in the car on them and then go to the streams and fill up again (8 gallons later it still stunk, but the brakes were luke warm). Finally we pulled into the huge metropolis of Vancouver around 11:30 pm. We met my folks and scooted to the ferry with them over to Saturna, one of the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the coast (SE of Vancouver Island). And that is where we sit, quite contented and peaceful!
And now, without deadlines imposed by ferry schedules (the Alaska Marine Highway ferries fill up fast and you have to make your reservation weeks in advance), the Roving Ruges will be moving much slower!