The historical Alcan Highway was built in 1942 during World War II. Due to the perils of shipping goods from the USA to Alaska, the solution was to build this connecting highway. It is known as the greatest engineering feat of the 20th century. Men worked in freezing weather at seventy to ninety degrees below zero. Millions of tourists drive this incredibly scenic route through the months of May to September each year. Open to civilian traffic since 1942, with many improvements, the Alcan Highway adventure includes encounters with wild moose, black bear, wolf, and goats. Marge Hoyle has had a passion for travel and she has visited every state in the USA, she lived in Korea for years, and since her 20’s she wanted to travel on the Alcan Highway. Her son Mike helped make her dream come true as they loaded up a car and set out for Alaska from California. This is Marge and her son Mike on her first trip to Chapala, Mexico in 2016.On May 12, 2017 Michael flew to Sacramento for Mother’s day. Mother Marge was full of zip and excitement as her dream of traveling on the Alcan Highway was coming true. Margie and Michael enjoyed a wonderful family reunion at Paula’s ranch for Mother’s day. The thrill of the upcoming Alcan trek was shared with the entire Hoyle clan. The first journal entry by Marge was on May 20th. “Michael and I are on our way to my great adventure. Having a good time so far. Spent the first night in Grant’s Pass with my son Tom and had a good dinner and breakfast with him, then on to the Stephen Smith’s home for the second night, ready now to have one of Sister Smith’s fabulous breakfasts and then on to points north. So excited for God’s great creation that we have been driving through. And that we will see as the days go by. No pictures yet, keep forgetting to unpack my camera, got it in my purse today so hopefully will get started on some pictures today. Prayers welcome and invited!” Driving in their rented car away from friends in the beautiful state of Washington, Marge sent me this message “We are in Squamish British Columbia in a hotel for the night. It is the queen’s birthday so all rooms are full. We got the last room in a local hotel.
We may take a walk and take a picture of the hotel, if not tonight then tomorrow before we drive away. Love and best wishes. ” Back on the road, making great memories as they navigate, got this update: “We have a room tonight in Prince George British Columbia so we are getting there a bit at a time. Some of the loveliest scenery I have ever seen. ” The written updates provoke Barb to google the whereabouts and participate in the JOY! Barb encouraged her sweet mother-in-law “Your verbal updates are a treasure and I will scan your postcards to memorialize your bucket list venture. Sleep well, more amazing vistas tomorrow. Keep us posted.” On Sunday May 21st Marge and Mike landed in Dawson Creek for the night. Marge wrote “it is all I dreamed it would be and more. In fact it blows our minds! We did not expect an agricultural center in the middle of the Rocky Mountains! There is a huge valley right down the middle of the Rockies and all kinds of farming and ranching. Huge farms plowed ready for planting reminds me of fields I’ve seen in Iowa and Nebraska. I am so grateful to God for allowing me to take this trip and showing me such wonders.” Prince George, with a population of 74,003, is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is the “Northern Capital” of BC. After Marge posted that on Facebook, she received over 60 likes from her family and friends around the globe! Barb answered with a private message “I’m truly happy for both of you. Send postcards so we will have hand held memories of this unforgettable ‘Mother-Son Road Trip” On Monday May 22nd their wanderlust continued. Marge woke up in Dawson Creek at the gateway of the Alcan pinching herself I’m sure! I can only imagine Marge’s excitement. Dawson Creek is a city in northeastern British Columbia, Canada. The municipality of 15 square miles with the population of 11,583 in 2011. Dawson Creek derives its name from the creek of the same name that runs through the community. No wonder she insisted to take the wheel! Marge gleefully shared “Yes an unforgettable trip! I drove most of the day today. We are in Fort Nelson, still in BC. this is the longest state (province) I’ve ever seen. We stop early daily as it is hard to really enjoy as you begin to get tired. Staying at Super 8 Motels and finding them really nice. We get into the Yukon tomorrow. May 22nd, Marge and Mike were featured in a local paper with this picture.Herein is what was printed. “Yesterday we had the pleasure of visiting with Marge Hoyle and hearing her amazing story! Marge says “As a young girl in school I read and studied about the Alcan highway, the uses and trials of building the highway. For 75 years I’ve dreamed of driving the Alcan highway. Now at 83 years of age my oldest son (Michael) is taking me to Alaska via the now named Alaska highway.” Marge told us that she has always dreamed to drive the highway herself, so Michael will be handing the reigns over to her and she will be driving over the historic Kiskatinaw Bridge. Have a safe trip Marge and Michael we hope to see you again soon! Marge wrote “This was a grand day. Saturday I drove far too long and finally had to stop and stretch my legs for a while. The scenery continues to blow our minds as it is far different than we ever expected. There has been 3 days of holidays but we have mailed cards anyway so when they arrive you will get a hand full all at once. They will be mailed out tomorrow. Take care and be safe while Mike is gone. ” A fresh Facebook story told on May 22 “Tons of snow but none on the highway, mostly high in the mountains, but occasionally a patch along the side of the road. Today almost ran into 2 huge moose. I sped up to go in front of them but I worry that a truck coming from the other direction may have hit one or both as he hit the ditch and stirred up lots of dust so I could not see what really happened, but I prayed for him and that the truck driver did not flip in that gravel. The dust was too thick and I could not see any thing else and no place to turn around and go check on him….Wish we could have gotten pictures of the moose today. They were huge, both female.” Michael is the eldest of Margie’s kids and as such, before the adventure began, Mike had reservations about his mom’s stamina, icy road conditions, and sleep accommodations. With the exuberant updates from Margie, she validates her stamina, the perfect weather and comfortable beds. I know that my husband Mike prefers to make phone calls rather than emails, and since phone communications to Mexico from BC are limited, I received his first written word “Lovely lady, we are in Fort Nelson BC and off for Watson lake tomorrow. Mom drove all the way today. Love you.” The stunning beauty of God’s creation mixed in with His blessing of health, endurance and safety, allows both passengers to be stimulated by the grandeur of every mile of exquisite scenery. I can see Marge, hands on the wheel, bursting with zeal, driving the Alcan at age 84. She is such an inspiration! One scripture that describes Marge to me is “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in Your name all day long; they exult in Your righteousness.” Marge and Mike are being rewarded for their faith. Indeed the spirit of adventure never tires, it seeks and finds God in all beauty! Fort Nelson is a community in northeast British Columbia, Canada within the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality. The elevation is 1,345′ with a population of 3,902 as of 2011.
The force of attraction between God and man, is His gravitational pull of us towards Himself through His creation. As Yahweh created and preserves all things, Creation can be seen as His robe of glory. “Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.” Psalm 36:6
Tuesday May 23rd update from Marge “Oh what a day! We saw so many animals. First off two bears, then a third bear, then a fourth bear! Three Reindeer, (we think as they had small fuzzy horns and not racks yet) two baby moose, two white tail deer, three mountain goats, all within the first hour and 45 minutes out of Fort Nelson. Oh how thrilling to see wild animals in the wild and last but not least a herd of Buffalo, 6 babies, one of which was calmly having lunch and 14 adults, a few miles later we saw a huge old bull buffalo laying beside the road as if he was just resting himself. This has been a thrilling day for me. It was a long hard day as two towns we had thought of spending the night, Watson Lake and Teslin were just too small and did not have adequate facilities to stay in. So Michael drove nearly 600 miles today and made it here in Whitehorse by 4:45, took us 15 minutes to find the motel recommended by the Super 8 people in Fort Nelson but it is not nearly as good as a super 8. Our Whitehorse motel does not offer breakfast, a microwave, or a refrigerator, only a coffee pot. So breakfast will be coffee and a muffin! But nothing can change the wonderful day I have had. We had sunshine, rain and always the wind! The weather has been so warm, we estimate about mid 60s to top 70s. Mostly cloudy and sun later in the day. Saw lots of snow high in the mountains, huge lakes and wide rivers, slow rivers and fast running rivers, frozen rivers and frozen lakes. Huge lakes frozen over with snow on top of many of them. Oh so much snow in both Yukon and British Columbia, but thankfully none on the road. Our poor car is so dirty and no car washes in sight, maybe in Fairbanks we are thinking. So thankful to be in a motel and ready to rest up for another day.” Whitehorse is the capital of northwest Canada’s Yukon territory. To the south are the basalt cliffs of Miles Canyon, site of a former gold rush town. From the canyon, the Yukon River Loop Trail winds north past the Whitehorse Fishway fish ladder toward the S.S. Klondike, a restored sternwheeler that once plied the Yukon River. North, the Takhini Hot Pools’ mineral springs offer views of the northern lights in winter. Population 23,276 as of 2011. The May 24th update: “We are in Tok, Alaska for the night, in a rather nice motel but a bit old fashioned, reminds me of the ones on Rt 66 when I was a child and traveled with my parents. We got here around 5 pm and had been eating sandwiches each night as it was easier and we got to bed earlier, but tonight we decided to go for a hot meal and what do you think we found but a pizza! Brought it back to the room and ate, went on line and now just about ready to shut things down and go to bed. Alaska continues to amaze us at what it is as much as what it is not. Certainly it is not what we expected. There is very little snow, but many lakes and rivers are frozen over. We saw one today that was frozen in its waves! The temp is nice, started out this am at 56 degrees and got up to 60 later in the day. We saw three elk just outside of Whitehorse, then several ground squirrels and a porcupine. Not much in the way of animals but further reading and inquiry has led us to realize the animals we thought yesterday to be reindeer in very fact are caribou. Long trip today, probably a bit over 600 miles. So nice to be in Alaska and use US postage and miles rather than Kilometers. Goodnight to all, more tomorrow. ” The population of Tok, Alaska was 1,258 at the 2010 census. WOW 600 miles per day is like driving from Lodi to Baja, Calif! (608 miles)
We arrived in Fairbanks about 4 pm and had dinner with good friends of mine from my days in Korea. We went to a Korean restaurant and had wonderful Korean food. It was a great day on the road,saw moose and lots of rabbits and squirrels, something like a chipmunk, but different coloring so not sure what it was. There was some rain. And we had one time where God really was with Michael when a guy stopped on the highway to
make an illegal left turn, right in our lane at about 55 mile an hour, but Michael was able to get the car stopped just in time. That has been our only time to nearly hit or get hit. A wonderful trip. This morning the motel ice machine was broken so we came on up the highway, stopped to get gas and asked about ice. The guy said bring in your ice chest and we’ll put ice in it for you. When we started to leave I ask Michael did you pay for the Ice, the guy looked at Michael and said Ice, did you see any ice? I didn’t see any ice, so we just said thanks and left on our way. It has been a great trip. Just learned that I cannot post any pictures because I did not bring my camera cord with me. So sad, but will post when I get home. Good church tonight with the Apostolic’s of Fairbanks.” Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska with a population of 32,469 as of 2014.
Marge also wrote “It has rained most of the night which was sunny and bright when we went to bed or at least when we closed the curtains on our room windows at 10 pm! It was raining when we got out of church. We will spend another day here and meet the other friends at 3 pm. Go to church with them tonight and leave tomorrow morning for Denali and Anchorage and parts south. They had a really good breakfast, free here in the motel.Forecast is for rain in the near future. So our activities today may be somewhat curtailed.” Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, is in the south-central part of the state on the Cook Inlet. It’s known for its cultural sites, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which displays traditional crafts, indigenous stage dances. The Population of Anchorage was 301,010 as of 2014. Here’s a couple of dancing Grizzly bears at the Denali State Park. On May 27, 2017 we visited Margie’s friend Holly McClurg in Wasilla, Alaska.
Tonight we are in Dease Lake, BC. Last two nights we spent in Whitehorse, Yukon. We decided it had been a long day driving from Wasilla to Whitehorse so we would stay over another day and find some adventure to do. I had been hoping to show Skagway to Michael and it just hadn’t happened. But it is only a short ways from Whitehorse so we went down there and rode the narrow gauge train up to the White Pass summit. It was wonderful.
Three and half hours on the train with some of the most amazing scenery you ever saw in your life. Glaciers, deep mountain lakes, hairpin curves of the track, it was fantastic. My batteries quit in my camera so many things I could not get. We left Whitehorse at 7:40 this morning. We drove to Rancheria and stopped for gas. The sign said pump the gas then come in and report how much u pumped! I was shocked. I went in while
Michael filled the car. I said to the lady “You sure are trusting about the gas.” She just looked at me and said I guess we are! We got stopped for about 30 minutes for road construction the longest wait we have had yet. We saw a marmot and many porcupine along the road. There was a brown bear mama and a cub along the highway near Good Hope Lake on hwy 37 and just before we got to Dease Lake for the night we saw two large black bears feeding along the highway. I got pictures of them as they did not try to run away. May 30, 2017 This update is it for now, I’m tired and want to sleep.
May 31, 2017 we are in Prince George tonight, again, in the same inn but a much nicer room this time at the same price as before. Kitchenette and two desk with two chairs,great. We saw so many black bears that I almost lost count. Some we could get pictures of and some we could not. We stopped at an A&W and had a root beer float, reminiscing about dad and his love for root beer floats. We had a great day traveling on hwy 37 and hwy 16. They are really good highways and we made good time except for when it rained. The rain was off and on nearly all day and the forecast for tomorrow is more rain in Prince George. So we are thinking of sleeping in and going out for breakfast and then have a leisure day resting, reading, FaceBooking and so on. See you tomorrow! June 1, 2017 we are still in Prince George tonight. Had a great night sleep, went out for breakfast and then came back to the room. Michael went to wash the car and I took my hair down and shampooed it, put up pin curls (yes I am still old fashioned that way) and
had a leisure day in the room. He brought in apple turnovers for lunch and I made coffee, then later around four he went out for pizza and we had dinner. It has rained off and on all day, for awhile our driveway behind the motel was flooded but they must have a good drainage system for soon it was gone, rained very hard for a while, thunder and lightening and very small pellets of hail. It reminded me of my childhood when we often had spring storms and I loved it. I read and Michael worked on Facebook and other things on his tablet. It has been a good restful day. We will leave early tomorrow morning and probably be near the US border by time to turn in for the night, at least we think so, will all depend on the rain , highway construction and so on. Sure hope to see more animals tomorrow, but in the rain they don’t seem to come out much. Hope to make Camas WA Saturday night, have plans to meet friends for lunch or dinner or what ever when we get there. Can use my phone again when we get to WA. Have missed it up here. See you tomorrow I hope, if we find wi-fi! —- June 3, 2017 Hello
from Tacoma, had a lovely drive but a long one from Prince George, by time we started looking for a motel and could not find one, then got closer to the border and decided to look after the border, but it is so hard on our isolated freeways to see what is available, got into the Seattle area and decided to drive on past all that city and it’s morning traffic. Tacoma may not be much better but we decided to stop any way as we were so tired. We can sleep late and still make Vancouver and Camas tomorrow. UPDATE: I see my last report was from Tacoma, sorry about that, didn’t mean to leave everyone hanging. We got to Camas about 11:30 at the Smith’s home. We spent a nice lunch with both Bro and Sister Smith and then back to their home for some needed rest and catching up on sleep. On Sunday June 4, 2017 Michael and I both spoke at Christian Life of Camas WA. We met Heather at 7pm on the 3rd of June at Shari’s for some coffee and pie. Had a good visit with her and catching up on our lives since last we met. She posted a picture of us together so maybe most people already knew we met her for a bit. Stayed til Shari’s closed and we were about to be thrown out! After saying hello to many friends in the church, we left with the Smiths for Yakima WA as they also pastor that church. It is about a three hour drive through the lovely Yakima valley where the best apples in the world are raised. We stopped for lunch and traveled on to arrive at the church around 5 p.m., where Michael and I both spoke again. The service starts at 5 so we didn’t have time to greet the many friends there until after the service when we went out to a restaurant, Miners, and had some good fellowship with most of the church going along. Later we left for Camas and arrived at the Smiths home at 12:30, a killer drive, I don’t know how they do it week after week, month after month and year after year for several years now. Only the strength and grace of God keeps them going. We left Camas at 9:45 the next day and arrived in Grants Pass, Or. at 2 pm. We napped
and rested until Tom came to have dinner with us. We went to Taprock, which is a really nice place on the Rogue River and has wonderful halibut dishes, then to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream for dessert! June 6, 2017 we left Grants Pass at 10 am after having breakfast with Tom. We saw a lovely doe standing on the side of the highway near the 4310 ft summit of Mt Ashland, very dangerous for her, sure hope she got safely on the other side of the highway as that was where she was looking. We arrived back in Lodi at 3:50 pm 21 days after we left on our marvelous journey of a life time! UPDATED THOUGHTS June 9, 2017 There are many unforgettable highlights to my trip. One of them was visiting the small town of Carcross, YK two times! I had visited it first when I took the Alaskan cruise with friends from our Galt church a few years ago. We rented a car and drove up to Carcross at that time. It was a thrill to drive there again, in fact two times as we went through on the way to Skagway and then back again the same day. It has grown and changed a bit but gave me such a sense of pleasure to see it again.
Most of the journal entries were copy and pasted from Marge Hoyle’s updates on Facebook. The majority of pictures were gleaned off the internet. Originally posted in March 0f 2017 – reposted on Oct 3, 2022 for Marge’s 89th birthday as a sweet reminder of her dream come true.
3 thoughts on “Alcan Adventure”
So beautifully written. I almost felt like I was there. What a precious trip for a mother and son duo. It makes me long for something like this, Barbara your also an inspiration, your love is so beautiful! I’m so glad that this trip was all that Aunt Marge dreamt of. What a blessing 💞
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Thanks Donna, Mike was so glad to share his mothers joy. As I have never been to Alaska or Canada, we plan to fly to Seattle, meet up with Heather, then take a cruise along the Pacific Coast, have lunch with Marge and Paula, then onto Canada. We have taken many short trips to various beaches in Mexico, but I so delight in wearing layers and having rosy cheeks in cold weather. Blessing to you!
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I wish I could go on a trip like that, could certainly use it! Very detailed article and lovely images. Glad to find your blog!