© 2019 by LEIGH GUEST.

ALASKA

May 8, 2016

 

Well that was one hell of a drive! It took 6 days to drive from Sacramento, CA to Homer, AK. I drove 3,200 miles by myself through some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever experienced. The first day I tackled Northern California, Oregon and Washington and slept at a rest stop in Bellingham just before the Canadian border. Day 1 was fun and exciting and the thrill of being back in a country where I could drive on the right side of the road without worrying about killing someone in a head on collision was fabulous. I had done most of this drive before touring in 2015 but had not been further north than Seattle in Washington state before so driving up through Bellingham was new and exciting. The mountains there are beautiful and the sunset I got to watch while I cooked potatoes and beans on my camp stove was stunning!

Day 2 I crossed into Canada. The Canadian border authorites almost didn't let me in because, in their oppinion, I was too poor to enter their country (fair enough considering I did only have 600 dollars to my name.) As I sat in immigration contemplating a plan B incase my Alaskan adventures were cut down by the massive country between Alaska and the lower 48, the guy sitting next to me got busted for trying to smuggle drugs across the border...Bad for him, not so bad for me. The immigration officer shoed me over the border to get me out of the way so that they could focus on their new, bigger problem. I was in Canada!! The first day I drove about 13 hours. I was in small cities and towns the whole first half of the day but got into more rural areas as the day progressed. 

By day 3 I started to notice that I was out in the middle of f*cking nowhere and that perhaps doing this drive on my own may not have been the smartest idea. I probably checked my oil 6 times that day becasue I was so worried about breaking down on the side of the road. My cell phone was useless and I saw more bears than gas stations. I also started to notice all the delightful signs and billboards for different missing girls that had vanished along this so called "highway of tears". Perhaps I should have done a little research before I hopped in my car and started driving to Alaska? Who even does this? Was a little uneasy sleeping that night at a pullout along the highway but nestled my car in between to RVs that looked like they housed nice families (at least I hopped). By day 3 I started to notice the long daylight of the north this time of year. It was also beginning to get chillier. I woke up on day 4 with ice on my windows. Thank god for my sub zero sleeping bag!

Day 4 was a bit of a relief because I knew I only had one long day of driving and I would be in Alaska. I still kept seeing signs for missing women and was very cautious about stopping for gas at any and every opportunity I saw (there were gas stations every few hours). While I was eating lunch at a rest stop I had an overwhelming feeling I was going to meet someone who was going to keep me safe the rest of the drive so I wouldn't have to be alone. Later that day when I was pumping gas a, old southern gentleman named Larry, who was on the pump next to me, struck up a conversation with me and I knew this was the guy I was supposed to meet. He mentioened he was going to camp out in the next pullout with his dog and said if I wanted to join him for some more conversation I was more then welcome. He didn't put any pressure on me and drove off before me to put the ball in my court. My heart told me this man was here then and there to finish the drive with me so I followed him to our home for the evening. Larry and I ended up becoming wonderful friends and caravanned the rest of the way to Alaska. 

As we got to the Alaskan highway on day 5 the mountains grew taller and taller and I saw my first glaciers. There were bright rainbows and moose and I was overwhelemed with joy. I was driving to Alaska! I was doing what many people only dream of. When we crossed the boarder I had tears coming out of my eyes. At Last, Alaska!!! Everything was larger than life and there was life and color everywhere. Larry and I had pizzas and beer together at a restaurant in Tok, AK. We camped again together that night and then parted ways at his home in Glenalan. 

The last day and a half it took me to get to Homer was the best. I was seeing the last frontier and hey! my cell phone worked again (not to mention there were no more missing girls staring at me in billboards). The kenai penninsula was lush green and the rivers were raging aqua blue. 

Homer is at the end of the road, the furthest west you can drive in North America. it sits on the Kachemak bay where the mountians meet the sea. I made it! More to come, Alaska, you amaze me!!

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