Just got a call from Bob. He's somewhere west of Cleveland, apparently at some kind of party with relatives. He said the drive is a bit lonely. I'm sure after two days next to me he's going to long for these solo days again.
This seems like a good time to share the route with everyone. I couldn't get it to draw the route if I included Tuktoyaktuk, I guess Google doesn't acknowledge any route there by land. Here's a link to the map, with markers at our hotels: http://g.co/maps/gcay6
Our schedule works out something like this (this is a long one, kids):
Wednesday Feb 22: Meet up in Kirkland for car inspections and driver's meetings. That would suck incredibly if we traveled all the way there only to find out we didn't pass inspection. Assuming all goes well, we'll spend the night at the luxurious Baymont Inn & Suites.
Thursday Feb 23: We take off! Departing Kirkland at 8am, we make our way to Quesnel, BC. Lodging at the Sandman Inn, complete with whirpool, 24hr Denny's room service, and the all-important bar. Daily miles: 490; Total miles: 490.
Friday Feb 24: Our first race day! We head over to the Gold Pan Raceway to do a slalom course. This will be my first time driving on a race track, so that's kind of cool. After racing, we continue on to New Hazelton, BC, where we will stay at the Robber's Roost. Ah, this is the kind of lodging I expect on these trips, although it's a little disappointing they're modern enough to have a website. Daily miles: 410; Total miles: 900.
Saturday Feb 25: Things start to get desolate here. On our way to the Yukon, we will first stop for lunch in Dease Lake, BC, the last stop before the really barren stretches of road begin. According to Wiki things are looking up there since the closing of the asbestos mine! They have a school AND a pub! We overnight in Whitehorse, YT at the appropriately named Yukon Inn. Amazingly they have a fancy flash animation to open the page and not a single link after that. Nice. Daily miles: 735; Total miles: 1635.
Sunday Feb 26: After what will assuredly be a restful night at the Yukon Inn, we encounter race day number 2, the Yukon Slalom. Then we head ever-further north to Dawson City. Don't let the name confuse you, it's really a town. And it's not actually named Dawson City, but The Town of the City of Dawson. I wish I was making this up. Formerly the capital of the Yukon, during the Gold Rush 40,000 lived there. Now, 1300 people and some idiots in a MINI call it home. Lodging at the Eldorado Hotel, where they seem to be really proud of their bar. Daily miles: 370; Total miles: 2005.
Monday Feb 27: This is the big one, the real reason to do this trip. Today we cross the Arctic Circle! For some reason, the drive to Tuktoyaktuk is optional. Quite frankly I don't know why you wouldn't go. Who doesn't want to drive on the Arctic Ocean?! We also drive on the famed Dempster Highway and the Ice Road, actually the frozen Mackenzie River. After we've had our fun in Tuk, we head back to the Mackenzie Hotel in Inuvik for the night. I was pretty disappointed to see how nice this hotel was, what with it's gym, cable tv, and fancy restaurant. They have Prime Rib Fridays, Sunday Brunch, and Scotch Tuesdays, and we're staying on a Monday. Brilliant planning, guys. Daily miles: 715; Total miles: 2720.
Tuesday Feb 28: Not much new here. On the longest day of the trip, we retrace our steps and return to Whitehorse. Daily miles: 770; Total miles: 3490.
Wednesday Feb 29: Ah Leap Year! We celebrate by leaping back into the good ole USA. We overnight at Young's Hotel, part of Fast Eddy's restaurant in Tok (pronounced TOW-k), AK. This fine establishment is home to such glowing reviews as "Better than nothing....I guess," "Just about everything is greasy," and "Expectations left unmet." I won't even address the people that commented on the "pizza" there. So happy I packed all that dehydrated food. Daily miles: 410; Total miles: 3900.
Thursday March 1: By this time I'm sure Bob and I will be ready to kill each other and our clothes could stand on their own. But we must soldier on! We face our third and final slalom course and end the day in Valdez, AK, of Exxon Valdez fame. After we enjoy a few refreshments at the Steep & Deep Bar, we can rest our weary heads at the Valdez Harbor Inn. Daily miles: 270; Total miles 4170.
Friday March 2: VICTORY! All our hard work pays off as we pull into Anchorage and celebrate our awesome accomplishment. We will be treated to a banquet a the Snow Goose Restaurant and brewing company (noticing a theme here?). When we've had our fill, we will stagger back to the Clarion Suites and enjoy what will probably be the best sleep of our lives. Daily miles: 320; Total miles: 4490.