A Trip to the FAR North Country

Saturday, July 17, was a "free" day, in that there were no scheduled activities, so we packed our lunch, loaded Bob and Jo Lynch into the Yukon with us, and headed out on a 400 mile day trip visit to the Arctic Circle, something we had wanted to do since our last Alaska trip in the early 80's.

We had heard many stories about how bad the road is, the problems with the truckers, lack of services, etc., but it was just something we had to try.  The first 85 miles of road -- The Elliott Highway -- is paved and would present no problem.  The last 115 miles -- The Dalton Highway, or Pipeline Haul Road, would be the challenge.  We figured on a 10 hour round trip.

Except for a 10 mile stretch of the road where the smoke from the wildfires was really bad (apparently it was burning as close as 15 miles to the highway), the drive was pretty uneventful.  The smoke did obscure a lot of what should have been very pretty views.  We actually did the drive in 11 hours.

We are glad we did the trip now, as they are starting to pave the Dalton.  The next time we get back (and we WILL be back) there will probably be gift shops and hotels at the Arctic Circle, with tour buses parked everywhere!

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Gravel Road

Pretty much like the 1,200 plus miles we drove to get to Alaska in 1981.

Construction Stop, Alaska Style

The lady was passing out dog biscuits to dogs in waiting vehicles.

Smoke

It was pretty thick just south of the Yukon River bridge.

Yukon River Bridge

And it was pretty thick at the bridge as well.

Deluxe Accomodations

Open all year, this stop at the Yukon River bridge is undoubtedly a welcome sight in the winter.

At the Sign

Documenting the adventure.

Proof Positive

The GPS confirms that we made it -- with a little bit to spare.

Dirty Car

And this was only half way!

Yukon Bridge

Heading south. The smoke had lifted somewhat, providing better visibility. That's the pipeline on the left.