We crossed into the State of Montana while we were still in Yellowstone National Park. That shows you how big the park is. There were wildfires through the State and visibility was highly reduced in some places due to smoke. Montana is beautiful with high mountain passes and very scenic landscape. We loved it there and the 80mph speed limit was a plus too.
We briefly crossed into Idaho which had a French sounding city called Coeur d’Alene named after a native American tribe. Soon after we crossed into Spokane, Washington which to my surprise was a flat Savannah-like, dusty grassland. I don’t know why but I’ve always thought of Washington State as a green and rainy kinda place. I was so wrong.
Seattle was next on our itinerary. Crazy traffic, cyclists everywhere, many bodies of water, bridges, ferries and islands best describe this city. We were able to get the car on a 30 minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. What great hidden gem so close to the big city. The view of Seattle from this island was amazing. Luckily it wasn’t raining while we were there. We also had the car serviced here ready for the final leg of the journey.
We had to cross into Canada to start our final push to Alaska. The thing is when Canada customs learn that you are military, they want to search your car for guns. Luckily they had already searched the car the last time we crossed into Canada enroute to Montreal. They quickly let us go this time round. We went into Vancouver and headed for the Capilano suspension bridge.
It was an interesting experience hanging on a suspended bridge with at least other fifty people swinging side to side while carrying a baby.. quite a balancing act I tell you.
From Vancouver we headed towards Calgary stopping in Smoky Kamloops due to wildfires and the most beautiful part of Canada in my opinion: Banff and Lake Louise. The small town on the base of the mountains and the nearby lake are so scenic, words cannot begin to do justice to this place.
We took a break in Calgary, Alberta for a few days.. it was such a welcome do-nothing-but-eat-and-sleep kinda break. After two days we headed towards Grand Prairie via Edmonton. This was the last city in civilization before we hit the bunduz of Canada.
We hit the the start of the Alaska highway at Dawson Creek and we were truly in the wild wild west of Canada. Hundreds and hundreds of miles a day before we got to these cities in the middle of nowhere: Fort Nelson, Watson Lake, Haines Junction. The accommodation options in these towns was only slightly better than the lodgings we have in rural Kenya. A bed, shower, a small TV and…. heater. I guess due to the harsh winters. No breakfast, air conditioning.. basic being the key word. Fuel was being sold in remote lodges in litres. Between $1.20-$1.40 a litre. It was expensive. Along the way we stopped asst the famous Liard hotsprings in British Columbia too.
Food was limited and we survived on what little lodge cafes and gas station delis had. There were so many recreational vehicles (RVs) on the Alaska highway. So many people, mainly retirees make trip every year. But we saw bears, bison, mountain sheep even though they looked like goats. Those sheep can climb rocks.. wow!!
We finally made it to the Alaska-Canada border after 2.5 weeks on the road. They say it’s either winter or the road construction season. We were held up on numerous occasions as we had to wait for escort vehicles through construction zones. Rural Alaska is very remote with only a gas station, motel and restaurant in some places.
We headed to Fairbanks for a well deserved second break. While there we took a trip to the Denali park where we saw some grizzly bears and Caribou. It was surreal to see them feeding in the distance.
After a few more days of rest we headed into Anchorage, our home for the next couple of years. We had covered 8,700 miles or 14,000 kilometres. The trip of our lives. The car had performed amazingly well and the wife and young feels had been such great sports for such a long trip. We’ll do it again at the end of our tour God willing.