Alaska, this one’s on many people’s bucket list. And for good reason. The state is a long distance from the rest of the country. It’s also huge with only two real cities IF you want to count Fairbanks. If you listen to the stereotypes, its pretty inhospitable most of the year for tourism.
First, hav a look at where it is:
The “Lower 48” states are on the right. The blue circle is the area of the North Pole. The first thing we can see is that it’s HUGE compared to the rest of the country, but there’s almost no people. Most of the state is fly in or boat only.
A stroke of luck brought a couple of college students a chance to make some bucks and get to touch Alaska. We received word of the need of a couple of drivers to get a load of household everything from New Hampshire to Wasilla, Alaska. Two drivers originally brought the loaded truck to Salt Lake City, Utah, then I traded off with one of them for the rest of the trip. The truck, an old Ryder rental with an engine swap.
Budget only permitted a handful of rolls of 35mm film. This adventure predates digital anything.
There are not a lot of options when it comes to available routes to get there, especially with a truck like this. We did want to get a chance to see some of the parks on the way, so we tried to route ourselves through Glacier National Park at first. This turned out not to be a good idea with such a big vehicle. We had to turn around and find a more compatible route. We blew a tire in that process and had to limp the vehicle to Great Falls, MT. After that we decided to be much more conservative.
In addition to that, the truck had a solenoid malfunction that had to be repaired on site.
In order to continue, the truck had to be repaired. The nearest was in Great Falls. We found a Great Falls homie who did the job in his barn, where he had fitted to do things with big trucks, out in some beautiful country.
Our first attempt at crossing the border was unsuccessful because of having a gun.
So we took the gun to the nearest gun shop to ship it home. That made the nearest border crossing a different place.
Once across the border it was time to rest. We found a campground and got our first sleep.
Next day we’re back on the road.
We stopped in Banff and planned to do a hike. The only issue was finding a place to park a 10-ton truck. Solution: Go to the cop shop. Sure enough, they had the place.
We got our hike on too.
One of the factors we didn’t know about, plan for (if that’s possible), or want, was the cloud cover. In this part of the world sunny days are premium. There is a phenomena called the 4 o’clock showers all over the Rockies.
We decided to get what we could and headed up the trail anyway in hopes the clouds would lift. They didn’t. This is as much as we could see after getting well on. This is Egypt Lake. We never saw the tops of the mountains at all.
Time to get back to the road. The conditions were not the best.
And more of the same after.