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Prime Time: Traveling the road to Alaska through others

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Several people have shared with me their adventures about driving the Alcan Highway to Alaska.

Chick Rogstad and her sister Linda Neuenfeldt drove and camped to Alaska and back in 2008. They were on their way home driving across the Yukon; the campgrounds were full, so they pulled about 30 feet off the highway onto a logging road and slept in their car. The temperature was 30 degrees when they got up at 4:45 a.m. to pick up the chairs and supplies they had left out the night before.

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Chick said to Linda, "Wouldn't it be a joke if we locked the keys in the car?"

"No joke, they were," she recalled.

They were about 25 miles from Atlin, a small town, and about 100 from Whitehorse. They were in a dead zone, so the cell phone didn't work. They finally flagged down a passing vehicle and asked if the driver would stop at a station in Atlin and ask someone to come help. They waited for a period of time and flagged down two more cars. One helpful person warned them they were in bear country. Just what they needed to hear.

At 11 a.m., two men in the fourth car stopped and offered them a ride to Atlin. They went to the station in town that had only one person attending, the reason for not sending help. One of the men was able to contact AAA to call for help. The tow truck came from Whitehorse and brought them to the station, where they were able to open the door. The police had been unable to come because of a carnival being held in town.

The two men stayed with them all day and gave them $20 when they left at 6:30 p.m. Chick got their address and returned the money plus another $10. She never heard from the good Samaritans again.

Vicki, her husband and two friends traveled across Canada on the Alcan Highway last summer, doing it the easy way by camping at motels.

They got up each morning and traveled several miles before stopping for breakfast. This day they were traveling from Whitehorse to Fort Nelson. They used the trusty Milepost 2011 as their guide; they had miles between stops, so they headed for Dawson Peaks Resort, which was known for its rhubarb pie.

They pulled into the parking lot and parked next to a pickup loaded with fresh picked rhubarb waiting to be made into pie.

The foursome entered the restaurant, looked around for an empty table and sat down. A man dressed in jeans, apron and T-shirt handed them the menu. The waitress was a young teenage girl. Another woman was moving tables around and setting them up. They asked the young girl if they were expecting a group, and she said they were having a wedding reception there soon. She volunteered that the cook was the justice of the peace and also the local coroner. The couple was having the ceremony on the lakefront.

They ordered breakfast, and as the pie wasn't ready to be cut, they ordered it to go. The woman said she made 10 to 12 pies per day.

As they were eating, a nervous young man entered, wearing a sport coat and tie, accompanied by two older people. Shortly afterward, a young lady in a white blouse and black pants came in with an older couple, who they assumed were the couple to be married and their parents. At the last moment, a lady rushed in carrying a bouquet of wildflowers. Soon, the justice of the peace entered from the kitchen, wearing a sport coat and tie and carrying a Bible. They proceeded down to the lake; Vickie and her group were able to watch the solemn occasion from the restaurant.

They learned the waitress was from the Yukon Territory, about a three-day drive from the restaurant, had been home-schooled and would be going to public school in the fall. Her aunt thought she should get out into the world a bit before going to school.

It's been fun talking to the people who drove the highway before it was black-topped. I'm glad it wasn't me. I love the nice blacktop road.

Life is good.

Muriel Keaveny took an RV trip to Alaska this year with her friends, Neen and Marilyn.

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Pioneer staff reports
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