A few miles outside Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, the road went to hell. Apparently, it’s easier for the road folks, rather than actually fix the road, to just put little red flags alongside these gullies, potholes, and gravel pits and then buy some stock in alignment shops, axle repairs, and auto glass.
The scenery from Haines to Tok (rhymes with smoke), Alaska may have been phenomenal. However, I couldn’t take my eyes off the road for even a second because of the dangerous conditions.
Here’s how it was at first: Say “UHHHHHHHHHHHHH” while bobbing your head up and down real fast. Yep. That’s how it felt over the washboard phase of this.
Next it was potholes. I was literally turning left and right to weave, slalom style, through the potholes. Max speed 5mph.
Then, the road started undulating in deep, wide dips in the road that would send your stomach up into your throat like on some of those Kentucky backcountry roads that seem to launch your vehicle. Now, imagine it happening every 20 feet!
Last big change, potholes in the BOTTOM of the deep dips that you couldn’t see until you were into the gully. Wow!
People were doing a good job of avoiding most of the problems – motorcyclists were having a nightmare. One 5th-wheel camper apparently didn’t believe the signs and slow down – the trailer was off the road and down into some rocks. It had split at the seams and there were a bunch of people down there trying to salvage their belongings.
Anyone traveling this section of the road at night was really taking a chance. With good visibility, I still couldn’t avoid all the problems.
After 50 miles, there was a new sign that said “Dangerous Highway Ahead”. AHEAD??? Are you kidding?
Sure enough, 5 minutes later, a large truck with a trailer full of construction equipment rolled by and tossed a rock into Big Red’s windshield, giving me a nice half-dollar sized ding.
In all, it was about a hundred miles of nasty road before hitting the U.S. border and blessedly flat and well-paved roads. I wanted to get out and kiss the blacktop.
I know that when the road was first done, they merely graded the road and then packed the dirt hard. Maybe some occasional gravel. It wouldn’t have taken any time at all to tear up a dirt road with all those big Army trucks rolling through.
I guess I just tasted a little bit of what it must have been like back then before all this new-fangled pavement stuff.
Today’s Travel: 314 miles
Total Travel To Date: 5963 miles