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Stories of the Road – The Top of the World and Chicken

December 27, 2016
All materials © Henderson Productions/Sue Henderson. All rights reserved

In the summer of 2016, Henderson Productions and Poggio Amorelli B&B set off for a culinary and photographic journey through British Columbia, the Yukon Territory and Alaska.    Stories of the Road is a series of snippets of that journey.   Stay tuned over the coming months for additional stories of this and other journeys.

It was noon when we crossed the Yukon River on a free ferry out of Dawson City and began the Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska.    The first 50 miles or so was packed chip and seal road with a definite periodic washboard effect and a slower tempo.  It travels all along the ridgeline and winds from spectacular view to spectacular view.   The Canadian side was well maintained with even grades and gravel packed tightly.

US Canadian border crossing on the Top of the World Highway

The farthest north border in the hemisphere – population 2.

We stopped at the literal top of the world with multiple cairns and a view of the lime green border crossing station, population 2 – as of this morning.  This is the farthest north border crossing on the continent and closes soon on September 15th.    Manning is normally one month on and one month down “south” but the officer said she’d stay up there all year if they would let her.  Right now it’s just her and the Canadian officer til they close down.

rock piles mark the highest point at the US Canada border with Alaska

Cairns at the highest point on the Top of the World Highway in Yukon Territory, Canada

When you enter Alaska, you join the Taylor Highway which is almost indescribable for the sheer drops and less-then-optimal maintenance.    It’s white knuckle driving in places.    Our friend was driving and his wife’s face as she watched rocks drop off into deep canyons was priceless as were his eyes darting in the rear view mirror as he followed the RV ahead with the theory “I figured if they make a mistake and fall down the mountain, at least I will know what not to do.”

At one point, the vehicle in front was moving closer and closer to the edge and he followed.  As he puts it “not to worry, we have duelies in the back and the inside wheel was handling all the weight”.     Yeah.    I had just woken – probably to a gasp from her.  Let’s say it was hairy.      Two large rigs were approaching on the inside lane causing a tight fit on this gravel, patchy, windy, twisty, mountain road.

Top of the World highway, Alaska

The Taylor Highway winds along the ridgeline with precarious edges – not for the fainthearted

We’re glad we did it.   And glad it’s over.   And have some great stories.

One journeys over the Top of the World and Taylor Highways brought us to Chicken, Alaska.    Quirky, goofy, not terribly attractive with a normal perspective but wildly appreciated and welcoming after the drive.    Virtually nothing to recommend except the feeling that civilization had been reached.

Signs in Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska defies explanation. But you’re surely grateful to see civilization when you get there!

Taylor Highway, Alaska

Bumpy Dirty Taylor Highway on the Alaska side – pretty narrow too!

 

 

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Henderson Productions provides services to the Washington, D.C., Fredericksburg and Richmond, Virginia Metro areas. Services include but are not limited to: corporate photography, product photography, website photography, brochure photography, marketing photography, interior design photography, interior design fine art, fine art sales, photography sales, custom photography shoots. All images on this website are the sole possession of Henderson Productions and may not be used without written permission.
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