Saturday, August 7, 2010

Impressions on The Alaskan Hwy

We did not know what to expect form the Alaskan Hwy. It is a road of legends which usually end with “and I survived….” so we really could not figure out what kind of road it is that you just “survive”. What we found, I am sure, is a far cry better than the road of 30 years past. I can only imagine (and shudder to think) of what THAT road would have been.

Today’s Alaskan Hwy was very "’do-able’. The road itself was pretty smooth and we were able to average 60-65 miles/hr on most stretches. There were many areas of gravel where road repairs were, but these were not too bad to travel. The only bad stretch was about 100 miles of road just south of the Alaskan border.

What WAS very different on this road, from the other road that we have traveled, was the feeling of remoteness. It only really occurs to you what has been missing when you get on the outskirts of a town of any size (themselves few and far between). Then you begin to see electric lines, intersecting roads, the occasional billboard, maybe a street sign or a subdivision sign – and realize that you haven’t seen these for 100 + miles.

The Alaskan Hwy is open spaces and changing landscapes and miles and miles of rolling, curving road. Few intersecting roads at all. No electric lines except when coming into a town. The few stores or campgrounds between services have their own generators. And rest stops----I’d just say that they are not what we are used to - really just a pull off the road with a couple of pit toilets! But these toilets were usually pretty clean, altogether not an awful thing…..particularly when you really NEED to go……

Traffic on the road was not that heavy. Mostly campers. vans, RV’s, trailers, and the odd car now and then. There were also the not frequent, but steady presence of bicyclists- biking and camping along the way. (We thought of Tracy - he’d love it!)

The people that we have met along the way are friendly and eager to swap stories. There are some interesting people who live – or visit- this area. The ones who live here look, for the most part, like very “hearty” souls. One would have to be……..

We have driven the Alaskan Hwy end to end – and are now headed to Denali NP ……………

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