Road report: Driving the Alaska Highway during lockdown (w/art!)

In Uncategorized by scott

Driving the “Icefield Parkway” between Banff and Jasper

Editor’s note: Lots of folks are asking about driving the Alaska Highway during the COVID-19 border closure. Our correspondent, Homer’s very own “Johnny B”, made the trek last week. Here is his report. –Scott

Driving to Alaska was quite the adventure.  I have done the Alcan and the Cassiar Highway many times over the years. Usually I like to stretch it out and take a bit of time. Because of Covid-19 I planned on doing it quickly.  Here are some highlights….

At the border in the morning the young, ear-ringed Canadian border guard asked:

“Where do you live?
How long will you be in Canada?
Do you have any alcohol or drugs?
Any firearms?
Do you have any flu symptoms?
Welcome to Canada.”

Went into Calgary. 1 in 25 people had masks on.

HOLD UP, eh?

To help people know 2 meters for social distancing, they have a “Canadian nice” sticker everywhere on the ground. It reads,”Hold Up!”

The Banff and Jasper National Parks were such a pleasure to drive being one of , maybe, 20 vehicles.  All attractions were closed.

100 K east of Prince George Second night

Major problem with truck 35 K away from Prince George.

Called AAA – no problem.  45 mins. later a tow truck arrived

The driver exclaimed that because of Covid-19 I couldn’t ride with him back to Prince George.  I asked if I should hitch hike.  I begged.  He said ok but wear your mask and gloves.  OK

New transmission pressure line installed. Back on road 4 hours later.

On the Cassiar Highway

Smithers, BC  sign on movie theater marquee. “I love the smell of Quarantine in the morning.”

Cassiar Highway lunch spot.

Got a speeding ticket in New Hazelton, BC….. RCMP was not wearing a mask. He wouldn’t let me talk him out of it either.

The Canadians are clear: NO VISITORS.

Sign on the highway at entrance to First Nation Community.  Hand painted in big red letter, “No! Visitors”

Many professionally printed signs also. “Closed to visitors Due to Covid 19 Residents Only.”

A common theme on the highway. “No Visitors”

Cassiar Highway…. about 30 vehicles coming south as I traveled north for the close to 500 miles.  Some communities used large garbage bins to block people from coming in.

Welcome to the Yukon. Now move along!

Entering Yukon I had to sign a declaration that I was not stopping.  If I did stop I would have to self-isolate for 14 days.

When I got to Whitehorse, I drove past the Covid 19 information tent because it didn’t say I HAD to stop.  I drove down into Whitehorse and was followed by a volunteer citizen.  When I stopped, he got out and told me that I had to get out of town.  I explained that I always get gas down here. He said you need to go back up to the highway and get it there. And NO stores or anything.

I got gas and left Whitehorse.

Yukon sunset

U.S border.

“Where do you live?
Do you have any alcohol or drugs?
Any firearms?
Here is a flyer about Covid 19
You may continue on.”

Palmer Fred Meyer’s and Anchorage Costco….glad to see so many masks.

I’m home in Homer now. Readying my Homer Roundhouse (homerroundhouse.com) for Alaskan guests.

Final Wildlife Count Canada Only:

1 brown bear
8 moose
34 black bear
7 opossum (spell:)
9 sheep
1 elk
2 coyotes

…and one Blue Moose turd factory.

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