The weird, wonderful and strange things of the Alaska Highway

There are a lot of interesting things to see on the Alaska Highway, lots of wildlife and plenty of interesting people.  There is also an incredible amount of nothingness and then out of the nothing you will see something new, strange or slightly terrifying.

This collection of pictures and descriptions are some of the more interesting things we saw along the road from Calgary to Fairbanks and back again.  Most of these images are from the Alaska Highway but there are a few from before or after which are described as so. I will create a future post on the wildlife and scenery but for now lets stick with the more unusual sights.

There are far better sources of history than me but a quick bit of information about the Alaska Highway may add some background to some of these pictures.  The Alaska Highway was built during 1942-43 from Dawson Creek, BC to Fairbanks, Alaska by the US Army to keep Alaska supplied and protected from the Japanese during World War 2.

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The beginning of the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, BC.
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This section of the Alaska highway has been changed to a quicker route but you can still take a detour to drive over this wooden bridge.
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Possibly the biggest beaver in the world.

 

This restaurant claims to have the worlds largest collection of hats. Toad River BC. Also does good chips (french fries).

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The Yukon is amazing and scary.  It is vast and there is barely anybody there.  The roads are quite bad in places, bring a few spare wheels and tires if you have the means.

Signpost forest in Watson Lake.  It was quite huge and had signs from all over the world.

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In Alaska and the Yukon expect this a lot. Its ok, gives you a break from driving and a chance to look around.  At one such stop there was a black bear right by us so we just watched him eating grass and dandelions while we waited.
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Fairbanks, Alaska is know for its giant vegetables, particularly cabbages.
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Prize rabbits at the state fair.
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Prize rabbits at the state fair.

 

When the US built the Alaska Highway, they had to build camps along the way for the men and machines.  We visited one such camp that is now a state park.  You can still see all sorts of things left behind.  These items (mostly cans and bottles) have been in or slightly above the ground since the early 1940’s.  Some were in remarkably good shape still.

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These ones even still have what looks like Orange Soda in them.  Not sure its still drinkable!

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Old road stop that has closed down.  Many of these have closed down because cars have much more range on a tank of fuel and need to stop at less petrol stations now.

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Driving the Alaska highway allows you to become a professional at changing the wheels on a Dodge mini van.

Another section of the Alaska highway we drove is the original route of the road but it was decided that it was too close to the ocean so too vulnerable to a naval attack. This runs from northern BC to the Yellowhead highway, it is called the Cassiar highway.  When we joined it there were forest fire warnings but no closures so we carried on.  The smoke got so thick at points that it was hard to breathe.  They probably should have closed the road. It made for some amazing skies and views.  Scary and sad though.

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This man traveled up from Arizona all the way to the Arctic circle with his dog Smacks.  Smacks is so called because he smacks his lips when he eats.  Very friendly man and dog.  This reminds me that I am terrible at remembering peoples names but always remember their dogs name.

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This garbage door was damaged by bears trying to get in. We camped right by this.

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Not on the Alaska Highway but the stupidity of this woman in Jasper was amazing.  This Elk was huge and she walked right up to it with her phone.  When I suggested she gets back in her car, she did not meet my suggestion enthusiastically.  Well Darwin’s theory prevails.
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Most people will get to see Bison on the Alaska Highway. They are both huge and often in the way.
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A highly recommended side trip is to Valdez in Alaska. This poor bear was most likely bitten by a bigger bear. Valdez is beautiful and there is a lot to see including Salmon, Whales, Porpoises, Stellers Sea Lions, Harbour Seals and Sea Otters.  Also bears if you are lucky.
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Rare two headed Sandhill Crane.
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Junkyard Raven.

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Beware of the Bears.
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A curious roadside Black Bear.
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Strange trees in BC.

 

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