Our story of driving thru Canada during covid times and closed borders….
At the Fountain Tire in Grande Prairie we ended up swapped out all 4 trailer tires and the spare for four upgraded 10 ply Radar tires. We had one very bad tire that was bulging in the middle and losing tread and was about to have a blow out. Luck was really on our side as we were about to leave civilization and start the Alcan where you can encounter the real bumps in the road called frost heaves. Once we had a sandwich for lunch and refueled all vehicles we continued our journey up the Alcan. Thanks again to Chris and the gang at Fountain Tire who helped us out. We highly recommend them if you are experinceing tire issues if you are in the Grande Prairie, Alberta area.
The rest of that day was uneventful except for the few rude people in Dawson Creek, BC. Up to this point we had zero issues with Canadian residents while transiting North. As we stopped at Mile 0 to take our obligatory selfie as well as tighten down the lugs on my four new tires a car drove by and yelled at us to “GO HOME”. With that all four of us in unison yelled back “WE ARE”. It wasn’t a polite exchange by either party. Transiting during covid times is stressful and dangerous. Not due to covid but the long hours spent on the road to follow the rules and get thru as quickly as possibly. The unwelcome greeting to the Alcan was unnecessary and not like any other Canadian citizen interaction we had. For those who are opposed to travelers transiting thru, know they have a valid reason and have been granted access to cross Canada. Your unwelcome salutations are just another level of stress not needed when trying to obey the rules. We have said it many times. One of the best things of RVing to Alaska is Canada and well we must remember we are neighbors and we should always show neighborly love in good times and in bad.
All in all that Saturday May day we drove 530 miles and did make our goal of staying in Fort Nelson BC for the evening. The office was closed at Triple G’s but paying by cash in their drop box was easy enough. We were able to get a good nights rest as the following day we would be crossing the Northern BC Rocky Mountains and another 500 mile day under our tires. As for wildlife we saw deer, elk, antelope and one black bear as we left civilization and headed north to Fort Nelson.
Sunday was Mothers Day and we left Fort Nelson in the rain and first stop was the Testa River Lodge for some of the best cinnamon buns in Canada. Gail and Ben run a great lodge and I highly recommend the stop at their little lodge in the mountains. Gail had emailed us the day before and asked us to stop in so we did. Thank you Gail for the cinnamon buns. Next we crossed the Rockies and the scenery and wildlife didn’t disappoint. We saw several black bear, tons of bison, some Big Horn sheep and even some caribou. The weather improved and we had a nice drive. We also fueled in Contact Creek just before Watson Lake to save some $$$ since we are a 3 vehicle caravan (guaranteed lower fuel prices than Watson and the owner was super nice.) We rolled into Watson Lake around 5:30pm and checked in to their Covid check station. Simple enough and soon we were back on our way. We decided to cut short our drive 60 miles short of our planned stop at Johnson’s Crossing and stayed in a rest area right before leaving BC for the final time. (BC dog legs back into BC for a good run after Watson Lake). The rest area was quiet and we shared it with another semi overnight.
Monday morning the 10th of May we got an early start to make up for the 60 miles we didn’t drive the day before. We stopped for fuel in Whitehorse and we again stopped for lunch at a rest area at the south end of Kluane Lake. The little rest at the lake was nice because after Destruction Bay the roads got bad. Like 20-25 miles per hour is really good bad. The roads are always bad in this stretch and we were lucky if we could go 40mph. At some point it was so bad Spirit our husky got car sick. After a brief stop to clean up after her and transfering Spirit from the motorhome to the truck in hopes she would do better with me we continued our way to the border. It was a slow go. We finally made it to Beaver Creek around 5pm. We stopped in Beaver Creek for few more drops of fuel to get me to Tok and I didn’t want to fill my tank… just wanted to get enough to get me to Tok where prices were more reasonable. We then stopped at the Canadian customs office and turned in our Visa documents, our car hangers and our third Covid test boxes (that we didn’t have to take since we were leaving Canada) and said goodbye to Canada. Hopefully next time we see her things will be more back to normal and we can stay awhile and travel her right… slowly that is.
It was another 18 miles between no mans land to the actual Alaska/Canada border and the obligatory stop for pictures at the Welcome to Alaska sign. After quickly and easily clearingUS customs we continued on the last 100 miles into Tok. It is also obligatory for our family to stop for dinner at Fast Eddy’s. Pizza and fried mushrooms are always our favorite when we stop here. After dinner we fueled up at the Three Bears Shell station where our friend Tracy was working as we wanted to say hi and give big hugs and then we continued on to the Sourdough Campground for a well deserved good nights rest. In all we transited Canada in 76 hours. Not how I recommend doing it but in Covid times just thankful we were allowed through. Our final morning on the 11th of May we headed out for the final 300 miles to home in Houston, Alaska. After six full days of driving 2765 miles from Washington to Alaska… in Palmer just 35 miles from home we blew a serpentine belt and was stuck on the side of the road off the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. We couldn’t ask for a better place to have a breakdown than in the middle of civilization in the City of Palmer and only 35 miles from home. Gary called a mobile mechanic and within 30 minutes he was on site changing out a new belt for us. With good planning and a spare belt we had bought 2 years ago for a just in case moment like this one. The mechanic also found that wires on the clutch fan were also tore loose but he got it all fixed. If you find yourself needing a mobile mechanic in the Palmer area we highly recommend IMS Mobile Repair! He was reasonable and got us back on the road within a couple of hours of calling him. We can’t thank him enough for coming out to our rescue after our 6 days of driving to Alaska. God works in mysterious ways and our guardian angels worked overtime to oversee us home safe and sound to begin our next chapter in life at home in Alaska!!!!