Top of the World Solitude

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I’m sitting in a Freightliner shop in Prince George waiting for an oil change.  Driving here from the Walmart (where we spent the night) was our first experience with rush hour traffic since May. Now granted, Prince George traffic is not Seattle traffic, but when you are used to seeing maybe 1-2 dozen vehicles on a daily basis, the traffic we experienced this morning was overwhelming.  I’m thinking back to our drive along the Top of the World Highway.  It was only a few weeks ago but feels like a lifetime.  We saw 8 vehicles the entire time we drove the highway.

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We enjoyed the solitude, but even more, the beauty was stunning.  Our timing was perfect, the Autumn colors were on full display.  Driving this highway, you really are on top of the world.  The road follows along the top ridge of the mountains and you can see for miles in any direction.  It’s better than flying over in an airplane !

We made a short stop at Chicken,AK and did the tourist thing, quickly, since we were blessed with beautiful weather, sunny skies and dry roads we wanted to be on our way to catch the fall colors.

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And the road didn’t disappoint.  The colors were so bright sometimes they didn’t look real.  Most of the time the hillsides looked like painted tapestries.  Mother Nature really outdid herself along the highway.

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I found myself asking Jim to pull over every 5 minutes.  When it comes to my photography I have serious issues with self control.  I literally have hundreds of Autumn photos.  Although I did practice a tiny bit of self control, if I hadn’t we would still be driving the Top of the World Highway.

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It was a surprise that this road wasn’t filled with people enjoying the display of color.  I was shocked.  But it was so very nice to not have any traffic and to be able to sit back and enjoy this incredible majesty.

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 Sometimes we would just sit alongside the road in complete silence.  The only sound we could hear was the wing gently whistling by.  Occasionally a little bird would do a little chirpy fly by, but other than that we mostly felt like the last two people left in the world.

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If and when you travel to Alaska and plan on driving this highway, please try and save it for the Fall.  It was September 3rd when we drove it and you can see how everything had already been painted in Autumn beauty.  The highway was scheduled to close on September 14th and we are so happy we changed our plans and headed this way.

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It doesn’t feel like reality, the beauty is so overwhelming.  I felt so grateful to be able to see and appreciate this awesome change of Seasons. It had a way of making me feel like a really tiny piece of this great Universe–a humbling experience.

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Can you imagine standing on the side of the road and looking out on a valley with this explosion of color?  If I tried to paint something like this people would think I was taking liberty with the colors of the Earth.

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It was was a little sad when we came to the customs crossing and the end of our ride through one of the most beautiful Autumns in Alaska.

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The border crossing from Alaska into the Yukon, at Poker Creek, is the furthest international border crossing in North America.  The customs agent at this crossing was just as friendly and welcoming as all the agents we have encountered on this trip.  The ones at the crossings in the middle of nowhere always have more time to chat with us .

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I would say the Top of the World Highway is also larger than life in Autumn!

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Next stop, Dawson City.  We had met a gold miner in Tok who told us to watch out for a sign with a little guy swinging a golf club.  He said turn right at that sign and the road will take you to a beautiful overlook above Dawson.  He thought with our class B we could probably camp there. And he was right!  It was another stunning view. The overlook is off of Top of the World Highway on Sunnydale Rd. Just look for Top of the World Gold Course and you will stumble across the overlook long before you get to the golf course. There are a couple of benches you can sit on while the wind blows all around you, be careful, it’s quite a long drop to the bottom.

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Dawson City from the Overlook
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Another view from the Overlook

Take the free ferry over to Dawson a City and if you arrive early enough try the egg sandwich with fresh green onions and cheese on a buttery croissant at Cheechakos Bakery-yummy.

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We enjoyed more Fall color and awesome scenery outside of Dawson City.  Next stop, who knows?  We have the warm sun on our faces, cool air blowing through our open windows, and nowhere to be but rolling down the road listening to Van Morrison. I wish the same for each and everyone of you. Happy Trails and safe travels…

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