Alaska Highway – Concluding Thoughts

by Robert Bush: October 1, 2023






Quick geography quiz:  Which is the longer drive:  Los Angeles to New York City or Los Angeles to Anchorage?  How about from Bend Oregon to those two cities?

I would have thought that it was a longer drive across the United States to NYC.  The truth is the LA to NYC drive is 600 miles shorter than the drive from LA to Anchorage and the drive from Bend to NYC or to Anchorage is about the same.

That answers part of the question I posed at the beginning of the trip:  Will our trip up the ALCAN be a great adventure or just a long drive?  The answer is that it was both.  We drove over 7000 miles in 45 days.  That’s a long drive.  There were long stretches through southern British Columbia that were just long and not particularly interesting.

On the other hand, the long drive took us to a remarkable part of the world.  People talk about Alaska being “the last wilderness” but words cannot really convey the feeling of a vast area of glaciers, mountains, forests, and extreme temperatures in Alaska, and northern British Columbia and the Yukon.

The following images did not make it into previous emails and hopefully help illustrate why the drive was worth it.


Gravel Lake on the Klondike Highway south of Dawson City in he Yukon Territory




Grewingk Glacier across the Kachemak Bay from Homer



Harbor Seals resting on rocks in Kenai Fjords National Park


Loons at Little Grizzly Lake along the Glenn Highway/Tok Cutoff between Tok and Anchorage


Dawson City General Store


Totem Poles in the Gitxsan Nation in Kispiox on the Yellowhead Highway in Northwest British Columbia.  These poles were part of a 1975 David Attenborough documentary.  Some are 150 years old.



Harbor seal on floatng ice from the Aialik Glacier on Resurrection Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park



We were lucky to travel with good friends for part of our journey.  Louis and Candy from Victor, Idaho, Julie from Bend and Dave from Bend, and Paul and Lindsay from Moab.   Many thanks to them for helping make this trip one to remember.




He is a good friend and traveling companion, and would rather travel about than anything he can imagine.  If he occurs at length in this account, it is because he contributed much to the trip.  A dog is a bond between strangers.  Many conversations en route began with ‘What degree of dog is that?'”

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Zeke was our friend and companion on this trip. Every day he met friends and introduced us to people.  He kept us company on rainy days and encouraged us with his excitement at every stop.  He never complained.  He served as a therapy dog for many travelers who had left their dogs behind and needed a “dog fix.”  In Skagway, where there were thousands of cruise ship passengers who were missing their dogs, he was petted by literally hundreds of people – as a few pictures below illustrate.







Thanks for following along




These maps may provide some idea of where we traveled.  The map on the right traces our general path up the ALCAN and then southeast toward Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and the Stewart area.  The Cassiar Highway roughly runs parallel to and west of  the ALCAN.  The point that is furthest to the northeast is Watson City.  The map on the right includes names of many of the places that we visited.  Purring this together in one map was beyond my technical capabilities.  One of the things it does show is how little of the area we actually visited.  It is a huge area.