Touring Alaska

On the road from Fairbanks, Alaska

August 15

The Alaskan Adventure - 80 Days - 6,510 Miles

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Heading southeast from Fairbanks will take us into the area of several major fires. It is something we have been hoping would go away. But there are still 97 active fires in Alaska and it does not look like they will be out for one or two more months. 5.1 million acres have burned so far this year. That's larger than the state of New Jersey.
Just 12 days ago the fire consumed 4.7 million acres. It grew by 400 thousand acres in just 12 days.

When we left Fairbanks we were not sure if we were heading to Dawson City, Yukon, or to Haines, Alaska. We want to see them both but we will make that decision based on the fire situation. Tok, Alaska, is where we will have to decide. Which ever road has less smoke at that time we will take. It hasn't rained in this part of Alaska for months.

We stopped at the visitors center in Tok to get the latest fire information. They gave us a map of the area with the active major fires located. The 3 major fires on the Taylor highway going to Dawson have jumped the highway and one is giving the fire fighters a very hard time. The road is still open, but we may have to be escorted due to the dense smoke. Also, 45 miles of the Taylor highway is not paved.

The Alaska Highway also has a fire about to touch the highway about halfway to the Haines Junction where we turn off for Haines. We decided to continue on to Haines.

The Alaskan Pipeline.
When we were in Valdez it rained the day we wanted to visit the pipeline.
So we decided to stop and look the big pipe over at this time.
The pipe is 4 feet inside diameter and the oil flows at 7 miles per hour.
I'll let Zac figure out how much that is in gallons per hour.

The pipeline is crossing the Nanana River.
The pipeline was designed to withstand earthquakes. Notice all of the wires which are meant to keep the pipe from moving.

The end of the Alaska Highway.
It started in Dawson Creek and ends here in Delta Junction.

We are still about 150 miles from the nearest fire. We still did not get to Tok and the fires are after Tok.
The smoke is starting to build. We are following a white motorhome which is about 100 yards ahead, it is just inside of the smoke and we can no longer see it.

This is how they mark the dips in the highway.
When you see the white line on the right start to wiggle you know that the road has some bad dips and you better slow up. It was hard to go over 45 MPH in this area. Many times we had to slow to 25 MPH for dips and 10 MPH for the unpaved sections which turned into washboards.

The Gardiner Fire has broken over that ridge.
The main fire is still on the other side of the ridge. But it is now only about 500 yards from the highway.
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