Friday evening, which was the completion of seven days of travel, found us in a motel in Destruction Bay, Yukon. I had a bout with a stomach bug and was feeling weak and tired. We had stopped to examine nearly every consecutive outhouse in an approximate 30 mile stretch of the highway; I felt so bad that I even relinquished the driver’s seat for several miles. During those few miles I emptied what little was left in my stomach and felt much better. I blame the sickness on a little generic energy drink that I purchased at Watson Lake. My wife pulled into a gas station to fill up the van and to empty the contents in the trash can; I then jumped back into the driver’s seat. It is not that I didn’t trust my wife to drive but I felt it was my responsibility to get my family safely to Alaska. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I drove for the entire trip; I missed about five miles.
Motel at Destruction Bay, Yukon (Pictures do not do justice to the incredible display of beauty of the mountains glowing in the early morning light)
There are quite a few rest areas along the highway with outhouses and bear-proof trash cans.
We had an excellent night’s rest at Destruction Bay and continued our trek after the sun rose high enough to warm the road. I was concerned about ice because the temperature was 24 F and there was ice coating everything. We had driven through several snow squalls the day prior and I just didn’t want the added stress of slippery roads. By 7:30 the sun had risen over the eastern mountains and we set off for home!
A beautiful scene after a brief snow squall. (Sorry, we were anxious to keep the wheels rolling so we just took a snapshot through the windshield.)
Shortly after Destruction Bay we arrived at the Alaska border. This crossing had the potential to get a little sticky. My wife and I did not have our passports or our birth certificates with us. They were probably at the Sterling AK Post Office because we left before they arrived in the mail and our mail was being forwarded. I needn’t have worried at all. The border agent listened to my story and looked at the printouts I had that proved we had applied for passports. That was all he needed and in a matter of 5 minutes we were through! After a short visit with the US Fish & Game officers we were again rolling in Alaska! We still had many hundreds of miles to go but everyone in the van was very excited to see our new home state at last.
The roads didn’t improve in Alaska, in fact, they were worse. A driver has to remain alert for the many frost heaves and potholes that frequent the highway. These frost heaves are hard for a person who has never experienced them to imagine. With our rig they were even more pronounced because we would get to bouncing as the van went over them and the trailer would then give a few more bounces as it passed over.
We stopped for lunch at Fast Eddies which is a really nice restaurant in Tok, Alaska. We pressed on with satisfied stomachs and a fervent desire to see our new house.
The fun wasn’t over yet. We encountered more mountains and steep grades but these didn’t seem as bad for some reason. Of course, a day couldn’t pass without something frazzling our nerves. On one particular winding downgrade heading into the Mat-Su valley we met a moose. It was an encounter that I was trying to avoid and by God’s grace we survived with nary a scratch. The roadway was somewhat narrow and had a high bank on the right hand shoulder. A moose just plunged over the bank at the precise moment we were near it. I yelled and yanked on the wheel the best I could without wrecking the van and trailer and cringed waiting for the impact. I still have no idea how we missed each other but as we passed I looked in the mirror and the moose had managed to turn on a dime and was now running parallel with us. Despite their clumsy appearance it is evident that moose are nimble and quick. I was trembling a bit after all that excitement and we praised God over and over for saving us.
The day grew very long as we traveled the last leg of the journey. We passed through Anchorage around 9:30 pm and headed down the Seward Highway with a few more hours left to travel. The daylight faded into dusk and then darkness and we were now exhausted which made the last hour seem so very long. We saw another brown bear a few miles after Cooper’s Landing and soon after turned into our new home. We praised God for the miracle of safety and good travel. I felt so often throughout the trip that I was testing Him.
We made it by God’s grace!
So concludes our journey to Alaska.
Our journey of life still continues and that too is only by God’s grace and marvelous provisions. As I write this we have now lived in Alaska for about 3 weeks and are absolutely loving it! We have had many gorgeous days and are settling in to our cozy home nestled in a bunch of pine and birch trees. There have been disappointments and trials as you would expect with any significant move but we feel very, very blessed.
Praise be to God!