Alcan Highway Stories -
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March on the Alcan Highway
It was March, 1966, when my husband and I left the big city to go somewhere that scared me to death. Destination: Anchorage, Alaska via something called …
Traveled so many times I Can't Remember How Many
My family's first trip on the Alcan was in 1961-62. I was 8-9. Mom, dad, brother (5 years older), and me. We were moving to Alaska! My dad …
What I learned driving the Alcan Highway 7 times.
During college and grad school years I had occasion to drive the Alcan seven times. My first trip was in 1967 from Tacoma to Anchorage. My father …
No Ordinary Canary
At age 11, I traveled the Alaska Highway from Wyoming to Anchorage with my father, my mother, my sister and two brothers — not to mention a dog, a captured …
Alcan Trip with a White Cat, Pink Tail
My family moved to Anchorage in February 1966 when I was 13 in 2 station wagons, a camping trailer, 4 kids a dog and two cats. Both cats were great …
The Alcan Highway Experience
Back in the day, it was one heck of a drive. It was a narrow, gravel covered dirt road that wound through the Canadian wilderness like it had been laid …
What Happened to Sergeant Preston?
Driving the Alcan highway back in the day included many unexpected experiences . This was one of them - Growing up, all kids have images in their …
The Alcan Highway in 1952 Not rated yet
In the summer of 52, my dad and I drove our 1952 Desoto to L. A. for the VFW convention. When we got to Whitehorse, the road was 2 feet deep in mud. …
My Mother Drove the Alcan Highway Twice Not rated yet
My mother first drove from Dayton, Ohio to Anchorage in 1951. My parents met and married in Alaska when my father came to Anchorage. They had to move …
Born of Ice, (Excerpt from my book, Chiseled, A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine Not rated yet
THE TERRAIN CHANGED AGAIN FROM THE tundra and the black edge of a frozen river to the sudden iridescence of turquoise walls. The tires lost traction and …
Bridges (Excerpt from my book, Chiseled, A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine) Not rated yet
WE LOST THE ROAD AT THE HIGHEST POINT ON the Alaska Highway. Fluffy, white snow camouflaged a varnish of ice up Steamboat Mountain as the Ford snorted …
On the highway, 1947
The early days on the Alcan in 1947
Photos below, courtesy of Erik Park
Erik's mom traveled the Alaska Highway with her family in 1947 from Boulder, Colorado, and the next year she graduated from Anchorage High School in 1948
On the Alcan in 1951
Photo below, courtesy of Nick Daggart
While the Alcan Highway is still a long trip today, it's now a much easier drive than it was when the road was nothing more than a barely two lane gravel-covered dirt road that curved around all over the place.
It's all paved now, and traveling it's 2,000 plus miles isn't much like it was "back in the day."
Gravel pelted your car
As cars and trucks passed you on the other side, gravel flying in the air caused many a broken headlight and cracked thousands of windshields.
Flat tires were a common, everyday hazard.
But looking at the early day Alcan travelers in the photos above, you can see that the difficulties and trials encountered in the highway's early days, did not keep those pilgrims from their goal of reaching Alaska.
The rough road that greeted travelers when the road first opened, was much different than today's modern, paved highway. But it's still a long journey.
Check out the free movie below
A movie about the Alcan highway
Because the Alcan was constructed during World War II, a movie was produced about the highway's construction titled "Alaska Highway."
The movie starred Richard Arlen and Jean Parker.
You can watch the entire movie right here. Just turn up the sound, sit back and enjoy Hollywood's version of the highway.
Construction of the highway
Construction of this incredible road began during World War II because the United States needed to be connected to Alaska.
The only way to do that was by building a highway through Canada.
As you might imagine, construction of the highway was incredibly difficult.
Then, in 1942, the Alaska Canadian Highway was completed.
But the highway didn't open to the public until around 1947.
A small bridge takes you over a creek. The highway travels over creeks, rivers and around countless lakes.
Thousands and thousands of travelers have stopped to rest at the Watson Lake "Sign Post Forest" to contribute to this fascinating rest stop along the Alcan.
If you really take the time to look, you'll spot lots of interesting signs and license plate from all over the world.
For years, the Alcan was just a barely two lane dirt road.
In the summer it was dusty, and when it rained it turned into a slick slim. In the winter it was covered in ice and snow.
Today, the highway is more like a very long Sunday drive. It's paved and there are lots of places where you can pull over and get gas for your car, get breakfast, lunch or dinner and stay for the night.
On the Canadian side, the highway officially begins in Dawson Creek.
The Alaska Highway, also known as the Alaska Canadian Highway, or the "Alcan", actually begins in Dawson Creek, Canada and ends at Delta Junction, Alaska.
It's an incredibly scenic drive through beautiful forests, valleys and over majestic mountains.
The road also passes by huge, crystal clear lakes and follows along swift moving rivers.
There are also plenty of towns, lodges and beautiful places to spend the night in your RV.
When you take the drive today, try to imagine when it was just a thin, two lane, gravel-covered dirt road. Then try to imagine how difficult it was for the many thousands who drove the highway back in the day.
Back then, service stations, auto repair, restaurants and lodges weren't as plentiful as they are today. So when you had a breakdown out in the middle of who knows where, you were totally at the mercy of others who were driving the road. Fortunately, drivers would stop to offer assistance.
Yesterday and today, the highway was and is an incredible journey.
Adults, who as children, took the journey with their parents back in the day, still recall the amazing road trip and have stories to tell.
Did you drive the Alcan Highway?
Post your story so we can share your experiences.
To learn more, visit the Alaska Highway House right now