North to Alaska: Driving through British Columbia and The Yukon

So, I guess at this point I should probably just out and say it.  The names Payje and Justin aren’t going to be as synonymous with the names Lewis and Clark as I had originally anticipated they would.  The truth is, BC, and even the Yukon, really aren’t all that remote.  Google maps is deceiving in this regard.  Google the Yukon, click click click, zoom zoom zoom, it just doesn’t look like there’s much there.  But I guess it’s just hiding.  The long stretch of the  legendary Alcan Highway that by all accounts appears to be primitive and draped in solitude?  Not so much.  It was a lot like driving through Colorado.  $5.50/gallon gas pumps were scattered across the country every few miles it seemed.  And, holy moly, there were even cities.  Yes, real cities with real Wal Marts and real McDonalds.  It was just crazy.  Even the roads there were better maintained than they were when we got into Alaska.

The closest we got to empty was when we had to drive about 175 miles between gas stations, and I was definitely sweating on that one.  It was a long haul.  We knew it was going to be a while, but we had just filled up pretty recently so we decided it would be just fine.

That was a long 175 miles.

Long because I was driving, and I watched the dial on the gas gauge slowly (well it actually seemed like really quickly to me) drop lower and lower.  Long because my thoughts inevitably kept wandering to what in the world we would do if we ran out of gas.  It would have been a major headache, I can tell you that much.  It’s not like there was heavy commuter traffic in the area.  The likelihood of someone coming along who was like “oh sure I’ll take the two of you un-showered nomads a zillion miles to a gas station” and then finding someone ELSE who would maintain the same bright attitude?  Well, you never know, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

When we finally rolled in to the Bell II Lodge, I could have wept for joy.  We made it.  Halleluja.  I was so pleased as punch that not only did I not make a single disgruntled comment about paying 75.00 to fill up the tank, I actually took a picture of the gas pump.  Like we had made a new friend.

Other than that (not so) dramatic turn of events, things went swimmingly.  Well marked road signs led us to places where we could pretend we were conquering new territory.  Bears, cariboo, moose, deer, antelopes, bunnies, porcupines and elk frolicked across the road often.  Canada was fun.

But I will leave you with this bit of advice, and know that it is a serious one.  That country has terrible ketchup.


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  1. This made me laugh out loud! And, to me 175 miles between gas stations seems pretty remote.

    I’ll wager that there are off road places that are as they were centuries ago. You’ve just got to get out there an look for them. Happy travels.

  2. Ania says:

    Hi Payje! Glad you made it there safe and sound! I have to say the pictures look amazing and you’re so lucky to be were you are! It does seem to me like a lifetime adventure! Make the most of it and don’t stop taking photos :) I’ve been thinking of you lately and when Zoe grabbed my phone (that I had to block because of her messing with apps ) she somehow dialed your number! Hope to talk soon! Hugs, A.

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