Alaska

Odometer:  499,487

What better way to enjoy a crystal clear new windshield than with a sunset like this tonight!  Absolutely incredible.

Of all the road trips I’ve taken over the years, the one that stands out as most memorable would have to be an excursion that my dad, Craig, and I took to Fairbanks, Alaska.  I’d dreamed about doing this for years and finally made it happen in May 2006.  I’ll dedicate this post to the trip that out-distanced every other adventure in my Legend by a long shot.

Armed with the MILEPOST Alaska Travel Guide, I started researching dates, routes, stops, and destinations to see along the famous Alaska Highway.  The Milepost was so incredibly detailed that it left little to wonder about.  I remember a page in particular instructing us to look for moose to our right – and sure enough, right on cue, we spotted the wildlife.  I was an MBA student at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at the time, and had an upcoming couple of weeks off between trimesters so I figured the opportunity was right.  The red line here is our outbound trip; the green is our return.  In all I put about 7,600 miles on my Legend in a matter of about 10 days.  There’s a gigantic write-up here on the Acura Legend forums, but I’ll share a few pictures on the blog.

Our northbound route shows here in red, with the return leg in green.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking (and driving) of this post.  They are in completely random order here.

The Alcan Motor Inn, where we stayed one of the nights.

Tons of wildlife sightings!

This sign means hold on for dear life because the frost heaves in the road are going to get bad.  I put my Acura’s suspension to the test.

The actual start of the Alaska Highway (it was SNOWING!):  Dawson Creek, British Columbia

This is in Grande Prairie, where we first started seeing signs with Alaska as a destination! How exciting.

Haines Junction, Yukon Territory – almost there!


Highway 1 in British Columbia. It went through a series of 6 tunnels.

Sunrise

Muncho Lake, British Columbia (about mile 497 on the Alaska Highway)

Views to die for.

Sheep Mountain, Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory.

I got pretty good at reading the tiny little KPH digits on my speedometer while we rolled through Canada!

Stone Mountain Park

Notice how the road winds along near the cliffside.  Just doesn’t get any better than this!

Sheep on the highway in Stone Mountain Provincial Park!

Late sunset on the Alaska Highway (around 11 p.m.)

Bridge in Teslin, Yukon Territory

Cassiar Highway in British Columbia. There were waterfalls right off the road.

Another pic from the Cassiar Hwy 37 drive – British Columbia, Canada.

Gassing up at Petro Canada in Watson Lake, Yukon.

Also in Watson Lake, the famed “signpost forest.”  I should have taken one to add.

Yukon license plate on a van.

Arrival at the border and getting out of the car to stretch.  At last!

Finally – Delta Junction, Alaska.  We had reached our destination – the end of the Alaska Highway – having traveled on it for the entire 1,422 miles.

The aftermath of my tire after arriving back in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This picture was after we’d rotated it from front left to right rear.

And a very buggy Legend front end, begging for a wash.

This was one of many milestones achieved throughout the trip.

And I couldn’t resist buying a souvenir bumper sticker.  No, I didn’t permanently attach it to my back bumper, but I temporarily put it there for a picture.  It reads:  “I drove the Alaska Highway.  Both ways, dammit!”  Not many vehicles with > 200,000 miles can claim such an accomplishment.

Hope you enjoyed the drive as much as I did.

Now, just about 500 miles remain until the big celebration.  Many have attempted to predict where and when the occasion will happen.  Here’s the answer:  Acura has graciously invited me to the company’s North American headquarters in Torrance, California to complete my Drive to Five there this coming Friday, November 4, 2011!

I will depart on Thursday from Phoenix and have “conserved” ample miles to make the voyage to Los Angeles without going past the 500,000 mark too soon.  It will be a challenge to orchestrate the mileage to align at the perfect time and place, but with as many odometer pictures as I’ve taken over the years, I’m up to it!

Many thanks to the great folks at Honda/Acura for following the blog and offering encouragement along the way!  T minus 3 days and counting.

2 Responses to “Alaska”

  1. Leaving TOMORROW! I’ll zap you a text when I get into town. I know you’re coming in later, but I’ll text you anyways.

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