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The Scotts, their two children and their in-laws are taking the entire month of July to drive to Alaska from West Virginia. They have a loose itinerary but are planning to travel north to Michigan and then head west and enter Canada through Washington state. From there, they will travel through British Columbia and the Yukon before reaching their final destination in Fairbanks, Alaska. After that, they plan on taking in all the sights and maybe even driving on to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.
Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.
Wow! We have seen SO much wildlife...caribou, elk, moose, bison, goats and bears....LOTS of bears. We stopped to get our photo taken with a "Welcome to Yukon" sign and here you can see Sidney ringing her bear bell. Luckily, we took that photo because later, when we were walking to a much nicer welcome sign, we noticed a big black bear about 60 yards from where we stood. Right out in the open near a rest stop. So pretty!
Our first night in Alaska and, boy, it is chilly! makes you feel like you really are here. We stopped at a nice little motel and got a great night's sleep. The best deli in town is right at the IGA - try the chicken curry soup. There is even a nice little coffee/espresso shop in the same plaza. Be sure to check out the gift shop across the street. There is a HUGE moose on display and lots of choices and the prices are really reasonable. We look forward to staying in this little town on our return trip.
Our most breathtaking spot was at Lake Kluane. We turned a curve and suddenly there was a massive turquoise lake with beautiful mountains in the background. The kids even got their feet wet but the water is glacier COLD!
Watson Lake is home of the famous sign post forest. Travelers from far and wide have stopped to add their quirky signs to this landmark. We saw signs from as far away as Japan and New Zealand. We even found a license plate from friends of ours who had traveled here a few years ago.
Our first night in Canada we decided to stay in a little town called Hope. Nestled in between snow capped mountains, this little town has no shortage of scenic views. This town is famous for being the location of several Hollywood films, most notably "First Blood". Here is the bridge which was featured in the movie, which was scheduled for demolition the next day. Luckily, we were in town for a big festival, "Rambo Bridge: The Final Take", celebrating the bridge. Here is Ryan with this landmark.
Quick stop for a gas fill up in Toad River led us to talk to many interesting folks at different points in our travels. This is a great place to refuel, grab a cinnamon bun and take a few photos. You just might even make a few new friends along the way!
ALASKA!!!! We have finally made it. We are excited to be in the last wilderness frontier. We are ready to begin a new chapter of our exciting adventure!
Jasper, Alberta - we heard from locals that the stretch of road between Jasper and Banff was the place to see the most impressive scenery Canada has to offer. Upon arriving at the park we quickly agreed that the locals were right. We observed quite a lot of wildlife including two grizzly bears. This one was just a few yards from our vehicle.
After a long 16 hours on the Alcan Highway, we decided that a refreshing stop at Liard Hot Springs was definitely in order. A quick walk down the boardwalk (be careful and watch for bears and moose) you can enjoy this natural wonder. With water temps ranging from about 98-120 degrees, you can find a comfortable spot for almost anyone. This spot also has washrooms, changing rooms, and picnic areas. It was just the thing we needed to continue our journey.
Banff National Park. YOU MUST SEE THIS PLACE! Quite possibly, the prettiest and most diverse scenery we have driven through in such a short span. We went from blue sunny skies at the start of the park and in the middle, near the Columbia Icefield, we had 39 degrees and SNOW. We thought a July snowstorm was pretty cool. No pun intended. The ice-blue glaciers and streams are visually stunning as well. Well worth the drive! Just a heads up for fellow travelers, make sure to gas up when you can as gas stations are few and faw between on this highway.
We reached the Arctic Circle today. We had to rent a special vehicle equipped for the rough conditions of the Dalton Highway. You may be familiar with this particular highway as it is featured on the show "Ice Road Truckers". Here we are 115 miles onto the highway at this cool (haha) destination.
Fairbanks, Alaska! Today we went to Pioneer Park and took a train ride. This park is a wealth of information and history about the heritage of this area. We have to mention Yvonne, front desk attendant at the Regency Fairbanks, who went out of her way to accommodate our family. Her service was amazing and it felt nice to have such warm hospitality after such a long trek. Everyone is so welcoming here and we are having a great time!
It's Christmas in July! We stopped in North Pole, Alaska to visit Santa, of course! The whole town is decorated in holiday themes - even the lampposts are candy striped. Make sure to visit Santa's house and see the man himself. Our kids LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this!
Our our way to the Dalton Highway we stopped at Yukon Trading Post. If you make it to the Arctic Circle, be sure to stop here and get a free personalized certificate commemorating your journey. This trading post also provides gifts, snacks, delicious lemon poppy muffins and gold wrapped moose poop. Be sure to ask the owners for the story that goes with it =)
A must stop in Seattle is the Pike Place market. Home to the first Starbucks store as well as many shops and fresh market vendors. We had fish and chips and even got fresh Rainier cherries. A fun way to spend the afternoon. Here is a photo of Ryan in front of the famous sign at the Market.
CHICAGO! We even spotted the former Sears Tower.
Stopped for the afternoon in Jamestown, North Dakota, which is home of the world's largest buffalo. Also on-site are a museum and a street of old buildings set up from years in the past. There is a historical church, school, saloon, and jail - just to name a few. Pony rides are available for kids for a few dollars a pop and there are plenty of gift shops to peruse as well.
Today we went to Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument. This is the spot which marked Custer's Last Stand. The monument is well laid out and you can easily take a self-guided tour (both walking or driving through the battlefield) or you can take a guided ranger tour to learn even more about this historical battle. A great way to spend the day!
Quick stop at Notre Dame Stadium!
We are the Scott Family from Fayetteville, WV. Our trip to Alaska will begin on July 2. Please check back soon for more updates! =)
Here we are beginning our trip to ALASKA!
Our featured stop today was in Point Pleasant, WV. This riverfront town near the WV/Ohio border is quite charming. Filled with little shops and cafes it is a great place to stop along your route. Be sure to look for the historic Lowe Hotel and take a walk along the riverfront and check out the beautiful murals as well. This town however is best known for being the "home of the Mothman". There is a statue in the town square and even a museum devoted to this bit of folklore - or fact, however you choose to believe ;)
Our whole crew in front of the Beartooth Mountains in Big Timber, MT.
Here we are after meeting up with our Wyoming family. Old Faithful is awesome to see after driving through the beautiful scenery of Yellowstone National Park. We saw elk and bison roaming free on our way into the park.
Mount Rainer -wow, what a vastly impressive sight. We arrived at Mount Rainier National Park in the early afternoon and it was a gorgeous sunny day. We had a perfect view of the summit. 17 feet of snow was still melting on the sides of the mountain drive up. The kids even got to play in the snow! If you are even close to this area, make SURE you stop (or at least glimpse) this massive beauty.
A quick pit stop in Livingston, Montana led us to a great little place to eat. Mark's In and Out had great all American eats across from a small picnic area where we could let the kids play. Before leaving we tried Wilkinson's Ice cream which is made locally. The huckleberry flavor was the best! Here is a snapshot of Paryss and her cousin Jay waiting to order lunch.
We HAD to stop and take a few photos overlooking the North Dakota badlands. However, photos simply do not do this amazing scenery justice. Here are John and Judy posing for a snapshot against this breathtaking backdrop.
If you are ever in Montana on the 4th of July then head to Laurel. This small town of about 6,000 people puts on "the best fireworks display in Montana". Prepare for a very patriotic and awesome display that lasts about an hour. Yep, that's right....an HOUR! We had never seen anything quite like this and it was a perfect way to spend our holiday. Here is Sidney with some of her family.
If you are ever near Billings, Montana and you get a sweet tooth, make sure to check out CandyTown USA - Montana's largest candy store. Wall to wall shelves of every kind of sugary confection you can think of...and even a few you couldn't dream up....chocolate covered crickets, anyone? We recommend the handmade fudge and chocolates. Delish! Here is a snapshot of Zane and his cousin Elijah getting ready to choose some goodies.