To the Last Frontier
and Back in an Outback
My wife Cindy and I had always thought it would be really neat to drive on the Alaska Highway, aka the Alcan. We planned to leave on June 1, 2016, right after I retired, so we could experience the Arctic midnight sun. In August of 2015 we bought our new, white Outback and it proved to be just the right vehicle to hold all our stuff, including golf clubs, and handle the rough roads still present in the Arctic. Our Outback performed like a champ, doing everything we asked it to, and doing it all very economically, providing more than 30 miles per gallon!
While most of the Alcan has been improved many times since it was completed in 1942, there are about 100 miles or so of very rough roads in western Yukon. In addition, we negotiated the extreme, nerve-wracking Top of the World Highway, covering most of the distance between the gold rush towns of Dawson City, Yukon, and Chicken, Alaska. Our vehicle provided a really comfortable ride and handled very well on the hairpin turns just outside Chicken. Our Outback was just as awesome on the rest of our trip, all across eastern Alaska and back across western and southern Alberta, Montana and Wyoming.
In addition to taking us to the sights in Fairbanks (such as the Riverboat Discovery and the famous Gold Dredge 8, plus the Midnight Sun [baseball] Game), our Outback took us to Denali National Park, where we flew on a small sightseeing plane to a glacier to view Denali (aka Mount McKinley) up close. We toured Anchorage and nearby Girdwood with its mountain views. We ventured down to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula and took a flight to Katmai National Park and Preserve to walk among the grizzly bears. We then explored Seward, and sailed on a wildlife cruise, which featured breeching orca and humpback whales, growling sea lions and a plethora of sea birds, plus an up-close visit to a glacier. We viewed much of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and its termination at Valdez. We also enjoyed the bald eagles in Haines, and toured Skagway, including its historic buildings. We took a ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad to the top of the White Pass. We topped off this awesome trip with a visit to the glaciers and bears in Hyde followed by a visit to Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, a drive on the Icefields Parkway, and a visit to the Calgary Olympic Park before returning to Colorado.