The folks on the highway

Tanker driver Dale
One of the best things about travelling the Alaska Highway is the people you meet. The highway is home to truckers, retirees and hotel owners. Their stories are many and just a glimpse into their lives seems as exotic as the wildlife we've seen along the way. Of all my experiences so far my favourite was undoubtedly 15 minutes spent in the Double G Services at Muncho Lake, BC.
Highway residents - stone sheep
Dale the trucker was the only customer when we wandered into this rustic spot at lunchtime. The smell of fresh bread and coffee filled the place and soon more truckers appeared for the lunch special - chicken noodle soup. They didn't seem to mind having an audience and I sat with a smile on my face listening to their conversation. The subject was the wildlife they have seen on the road.

Gentlemen of the highway - the truckers 
There were stories of grizzly bear mothers and babies and how one driver was too wary to slow down to take a picture, sightings of bobcats and the rarely spotted lynx from their cabs and the stupid tourists who get out of their cars to photograph bears. We nodded sagely and felt humbled to get a little glimpse into their world.
Dale driving his tanker on the highway
Dale was happy to pose for a photograph with his truck. He's been delivering gas to Alaska and is on his way home now to Washington state. He tells me his tanker is brand new and this is his first time on the road in it. I tell him it looks very shiny. (is this the right thing to say?) He bemoans the fact he really needs a moose bumper and then drives onto the highway and is gone.

Citizens of the road.
Earlier I chatted to the owner of Gypsy (a pomeranian) and a Yorkshire terrier named Roxy. These tiny characters were running about in the window of a giant RV. Their owner says they are from California and are off to Alaska for the first time. The dogs love travelling apparently and peer down at me from their perch.

The conversations of these travellers were still in my head when we stopped down the road at Summit Lake with its surprising two-tone green ice - the highest section (elevation 2271 ft) of the highway between Alaska and Dawson Creek. The lakes here are a vivid blue-green due to the glacial silt in the water. Even the ice it seems maintains the colour.
Customer Marc hangs up his hat

At Toad River Lodge, roughly our half way point at 480 miles from Whitehorse, we ate toad burgers - a hot dog/bison burger combo. We gaze at the baseball cap collection which covers the entire ceiling. A welcome stop along the road before we too jump in our vehicles and continue heading south with the truckers and the tourists.

For more on the Alaska Highway, the Yukon and Northern British Columbia.
Read:  A Moose Called Dandelion
If you want to know more about the Alaska Highway try these links.
Tourism Dawson Creek
PBS - great history of the Alaska Highway
The Milepost - tons of info here


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