2020. Alaska 2021. Alaska 2022!! Third times a charm!
I guess we should have brought a sticker to attach to the back of the sign. For those from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, you will probably be familiar with the sticker in the middle of the sign!
A small marker identifies the official boundary.
Which means a photo opportunity – standing in two countries!
Does Canada and the United States take turns cutting the grass on the boundary line?
For those crossing the border into Alaska in a recreation vehicle, be aware that the RV lane has a maximum height clearance of 12 feet, 10 inches. We are exactly 12’ 10”, so we went into the commercial truck lane, which does not have a roof. The border agent had no problem with this, and said he doesn’t want people taking out their sprinkler system! I’m really surprised by this height restriction, given that many RV’s, particularly 5th wheels, are over 13 feet. Due to posted restrictions, I did not take a photograph any closer to the border station.
To the left of the large yellow pole in the photo below, you can see there is a Tiffin gas motorhome in the RV lane. They must not have seen the sign, or did not know how tall they were. We could hear the agents directing them to proceed as slowly as possible through the entrance llane, so they would not damage anything. The truck entrance is not visible in the photo, but is on the far right.
The last stretch of road in the Yukon was the worst section, and that continued on for about 40 miles into the US before we arrived at Tok, Alaska for the night. Due to the permafrost in this area, the road is full of potholes and frost heaves. As temperatures increase, the road conditions decrease, as the ground underneath is moving. It’s a never ending job for the road construction crews.
According to the history of the Alaska Highway, this section of road, which was completed in 1942, completely disappeared in the spring of 1943, and had to be rebuilt.
Over the years both governments have experimented with various methods to build a successful road on the permafrost. On the left side of the highway in the photos below you may see little white markings. These are three foot high vertical metal culverts with “hats”. They were used as an experiment to keep the ground from thawing, which is what causes the frost heaves. They did not work.
This is a close-up that I took as we were driving past.
In the two photos below, is the current “Alaska Highway Permafrost Research Project” funded by the Yukon Highways and Public Works department along with the US Federal Highways Administration. It will be several years before we know the results.
The vent-like structures allow cold air to penetrate the road embankment, in order to minimize the thawing of the permafrost.
Enough about road conditions, time to get on with the travels! After a quick overnight stay in Tok, we headed south to Copper Center for two nights, right along the banks of the very rapid Klutina River. The Sockeye “Red” Salmon were just beginning to appear in the area, so Dan, Al and I all fished from the banks. The locals are more than willing to give lot’s of helpful advice on how to fish for these salmon. Dan and Al were both successful. Me, not even a bite. And I discovered my polka dot boots had a leak!
A road sign you probably won’t see in any other state!
Quote of the Day: “Kids in Alaska don’t know they’re growing up on the Last Frontier. It’s just what they see on the license plates, and it’s something tourists like to say a lot because they’ve never been around so many mountains and moose before.” – Tom Bodett