Please beware of buffalo on the highway as you travel north.
They often lay right on the driving lanes.
Bison are very large and can do considerable damage to a tractor-trailer unit. Reduce your speed and be vigilant!
—sign on the door of Liard Hotsprings Lodge, mile 477.8
MY DAD DROVE THE ALCAN for the first time in 1947. He and his friend Omar “Mac” Macdonald showed up at the Blueberry crossing in a Lincoln Zephyr. Then the drive was regarded more as a trek than a trip and the Canadian government wanted you to be carrying twenty gallons of water and forty gallons of fuel and four spare tires and extra fan belts and food and who knows what else. Dad and Mac had twenty gallons of gas, four cases of beer and two boxes of cheese crackers. The Mountie looked at that, looked at them and said, “Shit, boys, if anybody makes it you will,” and waved them through.
The drive isn’t anywhere near as challenging today. For one thing, the road’s paved all the way, except where they’re working on it, and they’re always working on it somewhere. For another thing, during the summertime at least there is no chance of being stranded anywhere without another car coming along in five minutes, or more likely an RV.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.