Day 13: June 28, 2016
Forty-Nine Down

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I got a fairly early start and was rewarded with motion at roadside about thirty kilometers from Destruction Bay. I quickly stopped and hurriedly snapped a picture. Mamma Grizzly now stepped out and led her family across the road. I pulled to the side of the road they had just vacated and eased on by. When Mamma neared being even with me I again pulled forward and when she came even a second time I forced myself to leave.

I had been told I might see grizzlies and I certainly hoped I would but I was quite pleasantly surprised to have my first sighting be this mother and cubs. Thrilling is probably the right word. At no time did I ever take my eyes off of the big bear and the car was never turned off or out of gear. I always had at least the width of the road between us. Yeah, thrilling is just about right.

There was little chance of topping the grizzly sighting so why not go straight to construction and rain. I reached this red light some fifty kilometers after leaving the bears. The pilot truck appeared after about ten minutes then spent a few minutes refueling from the waiting tanker. It had been sprinkling when I reached the stop and that became a steady rain about the time we started moving. In addition to the rain, this zone was a little odd. We followed the pilot truck for nearly eight kilometers. Somewhere well short of that another pilot truck, with a caravan in tow, passed us in the other direction. Lots of serious looking work was going on for quite some distance after the pilot truck pulled off.

I had effectively become the pilot vehicle and I blew it. At one point I pulled to the left to pass a roller and, since that's where the widest and smoothest surface was, stayed there. I was still there when we encountered a grader and oncoming traffic. We were all moving quite slowly so there was no real danger of a head on collision but it was awkward. Fortunately the guy behind me was thinking clearer than I was and drove through the dirt to pass the grader on the right which is where I should have been. I followed and all was well.

I made one last stop before leaving Canada. Here's the billboard, bikes, and bar at Buckshot Betty's.

There's a little park at the international border where lots of photographs are taken. The border is marked by a line on a bench as well as one on an obelisk. Two lines. No waiting. I guess I was actually on US soil as soon as I pulled into the park but it took passing through customs to make it official.

I had more or less planned on spending the night in Tok, Alaska, but so did everyone else driving from Canada. I stopped at the Visitor's Center then worked the phone from my car. After calling three filled motels, I found a room in Delta Junction and moved on.

There's some mighty straight road between Tok and Delta Junction.

That straight road is part of the final miles of the Alaska Highway which officially ends in Delta Junction near some giant mosquitoes. There's even a tall marker to indicate it and for me to look silly in front of.

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