Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where is Everyone Going on the Alaska Highway

          The season has begun on the Alaska Highway. The first part of May we had Alaska to ourselves. One or two RV’s would share the campgrounds with us. Now the big rigs are heading north and the reasons for travel vary.
A Florida couple picked up a new camper in Iowa that is destined for an Alaska camper rental agency. The rental company offers a smoking deal to people that will pick up a new campers and drive it north. They plan to spend three weeks wandering and then deliver a slightly used camper to the rental agency. Everyone wins.
A North Carolina couple is hauling their 5th wheel trailer to Moose Pass, near Seward. They found a summer job caring for three vacation rentals some guy in Anchorage owns. They get a place to park, modest salary and a chance to spend the summer in Alaska. They say there are all sorts of web sites where such jobs are listed.
A Texas couple was heading to Dyea, near Skagway to become campground hosts. Same deal—light work, check people in, do maintenance and spend the summer up north. The irony was, she had no idea where Dyea was. It just sounded like a good idea. 
We met a guy from Vernon, B.C. who is going to work at a gold mine near Dawson City for the summer. Yes, they are still mining gold at Dawson Creek.
The strangest was a young man with a German Sheppard puppy, heading to Valdez to build a log home for some relative. He was driving an old Mercedes with bald tires and wasn’t sure where he was. After a brief discussion I concluded the dog was the smartest of the two.
A German couple was headed north for the third time in a four wheel drive pickup with camper. They will spend most of the summer and favor the back/dirt roads where the crowds (for good reason) are not an issue. When winter comes they will park their rig in Vancouver and return to the motherland.
We have also seen couples from such places as New Zealand, Australia and Spain that have come on over, rented a rig and launched an Alaskan adventure.
This is just a sample. As the season matures there will be more and more, just plain tourists but, for now, the travelers are an interesting mix.

Return of the Night: Up north we enjoyed long daylight hours (hours between sunrise and sunset.) Now, as we head south, darkness has returned. By way of comparison, today Fairbanks will have 18hr 40min of daylight, Dawson Creek 16hr 25min and Bellevue WA just 15hr 10 min. It is noticable. We had to dig out our flashlights in case we needed to go out after dark!

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