Summer 2013

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Boreal Boulevard The Alaska Highway rolls on in all its Canadian splendour Story and photography by Kerry Banks Mile 918 (DAY 1) Whitehorse, POP: 35,944 The 2,232-kilometre Alaska Highway, stretching from Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. to Delta Junction, Alaska, holds magnetic allure for road trippers not only because it bisects vast tracts of unspoiled wilderness, but because of its historic legacy. Due to time constraints, our convoy is driving just two-thirds of its distance and in reverse order to the heroic 1942 effort that fuelled its construction, ending at Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, B.C. But equipped with The Milepost, the 800-plus-page bible of attractions and services en route (each designated by a mile-marker indicating its distance from Mile 0), it will still take six days for a crazy cavalcade like ours. Expect the unexpected on the Alaska Highway, like this vintage Bentley. 28 W e s t w o r l d p28-32-49_Alaska.indd 28 >> As you have likely heard, journalists tend to be an idiosyncratic lot, and our motley crew of six from across Canada and Europe is still sizing up each other's quirks the morning of departure in Whitehorse, sussing out who has the loosest screws and jockeying for position and seatmates. After introductions are made it quickly becomes apparent none of us can pronounce our German colleague's three-letter name. "It's Ole," he repeats, in an umlaut-heavy purr. "Ahhh." We all nod. "Ollie. We'll call you Ollie, okay?" Ole rolls his eyes. And we're off. Leaving the dusty, windblown streets of Whitehorse, we barrel eastward through a corridor of hulking, brown mountains so immense they create their own weather systems. A storm is chasing us, and the light breaking through the clouds is yellowish and ethereal, carrying equal portents of menace and magic. Up ahead the rain-spattered asphalt curls through the hills like a slick, black serpent. It's easy to lose the abil- Summer 2013 13-04-18 1:32 PM

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