Friday, April 30, 2010

Steese Highway

For the first leg of my Alaskan Summer travels, I've decided to drive the Steese Highway from Fairbanks to Circle and back.

The Steese Highway is a highway in the Interior region of the U.S. state of Alaska that extends 161 miles (259 km) from Fairbanks to Circle, a town on the Yukon River about 50 miles (80 km) south of the Arctic Circle. The highway was completed in 1927 and is named for U.S. Army General James G. Steese, a former president of the Alaska Road Commission. It is paved for about the first 60 miles (97 km) and around the town of Central and gravel for the remainder, much of it narrow and winding. (From Wikipedia)

There are several factors for me in choosing the Steese. First is that it is one of the few roads in Alaska that I have not yet driven, and thus an area that I have not seen. Second, most folks around here say that it is really pretty and that getting to the mighty Yukon River is a treat. Third, and perhaps most important, is that it's a nearby road in case the weather turns lousy and I have to beat a hasty retreat.

That last factor may sound a bit silly after wintering here, but it's not really. Since both my truck and camper have been "de-winterized" I'm not well set up for really cold weather anymore. Plus, when the roads are frozen in winter they are far more passable than when they are muddy in spring. (Keep in mind that more military campaigns have failed miserably due to mud rather than snow!)

I've been told that it's pretty early yet to be embarking on Alaskan Summer travel, but my "Road Rig" is all ready to go and I'm going a bit stir crazy waiting here at the Express in Fairbanks. So, as soon as the current bit of nasty weather we're having clears up I'm going to get after it!

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