There was only one way out by car from Anchorage so we knew our itinerary for a couple hundred miles worth. We pondered traveling to Fairbanks and drive across a portion of the Denali National Park. We pondered driving up to Prudoe Bay, just to say we'd been as far North in the United States as the road could take us. We pondered about just driving the exact way we came. We pondered driving to Haines Alaska and catching a Ferry all the way down the inside passage to Bellingham Washington. We pondered every possible way we could think of.
We couldn't decide. So we figured we'd best start driving and at the very least, get to the first "Y" in the road and make a decision at that point. I told you. We run on spontaneity. With darkness still in charge and rain misting down upon us, we began our journey home. The highway out of Anchorage was quite active at this time of night but everything got quiet almost instantly once outside of Anchorage. We passed Fort Richardson, Chugiak, Eklutna. We wereheaded towards Palmer and suddenly barricades started to show up and a flashing sign said the Glen Highway was closed. Shoot! Where do we go now? Follow the detour signs! In the dark. In the rain. We got lost. We took off on Highway 3 which took us towards Wasilla. We searched for more detour signs, but found none. We came to Wasilla, pulled off the quiet highway and got out the iPhone and the Alaska map to find a way back over to the Glen Highway. It was confusing. Nobody was around and everything was closed. It was about 2 a.m. and we were in Wasilla, Alaska... lost. We were burning up time and we were anxious to figure out which way to go.
Finally we located a dark wild road and took off down it in hopes it would lead us where we wanted it to. I kept asking Darren, "Are you sure this is right? It feels so wrong, we've been on this road forever. We're not that far from that highway we want."
Apparently directions are not my thing. Really, I think Darren was just lucky. Eventually we made it to the Glen Highway and continued our solitary drive in the rainy darkness. The road went back and forth in classic "S" shapes. Cliff on one side, mountain on the other. I knew the view was beautiful along here as we'd driven this during the daylight on our way in. I knew there were beautiful lakes along this stretch with raging massive mountains reaching for the sky. We drove pass the small town of Sutton and drove another 15 miles. Darren pulled off the road. It was near 3:30 a.m by this time and Darren was exhausted and I knew I couldn't drive. I'd been dozing off as it was. Darren let Kenai out and took her for a walk down to the raging
river he could hear. It was a little creepy sitting in the dark truck all alone for 10 minutes. Your imagination likes to think of every possible bad thing when you're a little spooked. Here we are along a dark, desolate road, stopped, along a river that surely is swarming with fish and where there are fish, there are bear and to my left was a thick forest of trees.... It was a relief when Darren and Kenai came back to
the truck. We put the seats back, pulled light fleece blankets over us and went to sleep.
We woke up about 9 a.m. to the occasional car or truck passing by. It was Sunday and still very quiet outside. I was surprised we'd slept that long but then again we knew that we wanted the drive down to be a little more leisurely and perhaps after two weeks we were more tired than we thought we really were. We got up and I took Kenai down to the river this time. Surprisingly it was a little more civilized feeling than my mind had led me to believe a few
hours earlier in the darkness. There were a couple travel trailers on the other side of the river with four wheelers sitting outside their doors. Kenai ran around for a few minutes, we didn't see any bears, got back to the truck and headed out again.
From Wasilla we had the option to go to Fairbanks from there on Highway 3 but had decided to head towards Tok instead. We arrived in Tok, Alaska shortly. We knew this was the last spot for cell phone coverage for a while depending upon which way we went so we made a call to our folks, warned them of the lack of cell phone coverage, fueled up and headed for the Canadian Border. We drove along the awful stretch of neglected highway, fingers crossed that we didn't
bust another lug bolt on the wheel and then finally reached the Canadian Border building. We passed through with much more ease than on our journey up. I don't think they had any internet connection there so it wasn't so official feeling with barcode scanners and what not. The questions were much shorter and we were on our way quickly. By this time we had decided that Haines Alaska was to be our next stop. We had really started to fantasize about taking the ferry all the way down and Haines would be our last place to do this from. We also had heard that Haines Alaska was a place to see before you die...we didn't need much more convincing so we went for it.
From Tok we went the same way we had come. The first "town" was Beaver Creek and then
Kluane Lake and then the town of Haines Junction was to follow. We stopped somewhere to let Kenai get a drink along a little lake that had a little decrepit dock and friendly bread loving ducks. By the time we got to Haines Junction it was about 10 p.m. at least. The sun was setting. It was surprising how much faster night was coming compared to two weeks earlier. The
daylight begins to disappear rapidly. Haines Junction was a town with no fuel that I could find both when we were driving in and now, driving out. There were gas stations but all were abandoned looking. So we continued on for Haines. We stopped along the way to let Kenai out
at a little lake with a tiny dock. Darkness again crept in with authority as it was still raining. As we began our trek towards Haines the fog thickened greatly. We were driving over mountains as far as we could tell. All you could see was the stretch of 20 feet of road in front of you and for the most part, all you could tell was you were alone and maybe driving through the sky. There was nothing on either side of us through much of this drive. I wondered what the view was like. I'm sure it was amazing. As the fuel gauge approached "E" and as the fog thickened I stayed more awake. Even though there were relatively no cars on this segment of road there were several porcupine encounters. Porcupines? WTF! Amidst the fog and darkness and rain were porcupines crossing the road
. Go figure. It was eerie. We thought for sure that if we were to run over a crazed road crossing porcupine that a flat tire would be a for sure thing.
One poked his head out here, another was crossing the other half of the road and the third, with some special-ops type movie style vehicle maneuvers hit our differential and we felt a solid thud under the floor boards of our truck. Luckily the larger that I envisioned porcupine missed our back tires. Phew!
We approached the U.S./Canadian Border yet again. The only way to Haines by car from Anchorage or anywhere in Alaska is by crossing back into Canada and then back into the U.S. By this time it was about two or three a.m. and the U.S. border patrol was a sight for sore sleepy eyes. We had been driving straight since Tok Alaska. The Border Patrol informed us that if one were trying to go from the U.S. to Canada at this time of night that they'd be out of luck because the Canadian Border was only open certain times but that the U.S. Border is open 24
hours, thank god. Our truck fuel gauge was literally on E at this point. We were still about an hour from Haines and the Border Patrol informed us that all the gas stations would be closed until until around 8 a.m. We didn't want to wait that long because we wanted to be on the Ferry out of Haines if possible. I knew the Ferry Station would open early, probably six so we drove for a little and found a spot to pull off the road to get a couple hours of sleep.
The town of Haines is next. Thanks for reading.