Fresh Intel: southbound on the Alcan through Canada

In Alcan Highway, Destination, Trip Report by scott

Johnny B. drove south on the Alcan through Canada last month. This story is more about the border crossing, though. Nice pictures!

The border crossing at Beaver Creek, BC

This Just In from Johnny B. “Driving South on the Alcan”

I needed to get my truck with cab over camper to Utah. For at least a month before the journey, the question remained the same… would my trip be considered ‘essential’ allowing me to cross the Canadian border at Beaver Creek, Yukon.

In preparation I brought a statement that shows I have a place to stay in Utah besides my camper. The second letter was from a work partner that stated that I was going to be doing a bit of work in the not to distant future. And the third was a document from my doctor stating that I was tested negative to Covid 19 a few days prior to this trip.

Alcan Pass. Hangs on your rear view mirror.

The drive from Homer to the border was spectacular. The fall colors were the perfect thing to distract me from the ever-present questions…. will they let me in? Will they allow me to drive through the Yukon, British Columbia and possible Alberta to Washington, Idaho or Montana?

Very official papers.

When I got to the border I was the second vehicle in what soon became a line of almost thirty. It was an even mix of semis, large RVs and small autos. Over to the side where they usually stack everyone’s campfire wood (Canada doesn’t allow campfire wood from the states) were five RVs and obvious U.S. travelers waiting in their vehicles. I sat there for about thirty minutes watching the two guards walk back and forth between the office and the vehicles off to the side.

Now it was my turn.

Where are you going?  Utah

Where is your home? Utah   gulp… not really

Why isn’t your wife with you? She’s taking care of our grandkids in Utah.

How long do plan on staying in Canada?  Three maybe four nights.

I thought, oh come on…ask me the easy questions. No I don’t have any firearms. No I don’t have any cannabis. No I don’t have more than $10,000 cash. And no I don’t have any firewood. My camper is filled with food so I don’t have to stop anywhere except for gas.

Free-range camping.

I was prepared for all of the above. Then…

When do you plan to be back in Alaska?  Um, think quick, I’m not a snow birder. They turn snow birders back.  I hesitated then explained, I’m not going back till there’s a vaccine.  gulp…not really

That was the question I hadn’t anticipated and that is the question I assume that gets people sent back every time during this Fall of the pandemic. If you’re going to be back in the spring as snow-birders do, your trip is not ‘essential.’ 

Ok. What border are you going to cross? We only have five open on the west. Damn, another question I wasn’t prepared for. I explained that I was going to choose when I got to Prince George and looked at the weather. He explained that I have to decide NOW so that they can produce my travel document. He said, Montana? Idaho? Washington?  I blew it thinking that Idaho would be the fastest to Utah directly south from Prince George. Ha. I was totally wrong. Look at a map which I wasn’t given time to do. The criss-crossing of mountains and small roads make the Idaho crossings very indirect.

Idaho it is.

I was directed to pull over to the side and wait for an agent to see me.  The second of the two agents came to me about 15 minutes later. I asked him if I could change my border for crossing and he said no. The documents were made.

I was given a ‘pass’ that said Alaska in Transit which I was to keep on my windshield and another official gold-embossed document that I had to sign and hand to an agent at the Kings Gate border above Idaho.

He said, you have five days. If you can do it in less time and are caught vacationing you may be arrested.

I was on my way.

I traveled non-stop but the Idaho mishap caused an extra 6 to 8 hours of driving. When I got to the Kings Gate border I parked, went in and handed over the two documents that I was given. The border guard checked my name off the list and Canada was in the past.

Bye-bye Canada!

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