Driving to Alaska: Day 10

Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada – Fairbanks, Alaska, United States of America

April 24, 2019

I learn when I wake that we never actually stopped for sleep last night. Ethan is a determined mad man. We’ll arrive in Fairbanks two days earlier than projected due to our rapid progress

There isn’t enough cellphone reception to find out where we are and that feels nightmare-ish. Without the blip on a GPS map promising our progress, who’s to say we’re really moving at all and not stuck in some lifetime of a Schrodinger’s cat situation: simultaneously on our adventure and not on our adventure forever.

Such sweet relief floods when we finally reach the Alaskan boarder.

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For hours after the only proof we had of where exactly on the atlas we were, we wonder, how are we seriously still not there yet?

I never imagined my first thought upon seeing Mt. Denali would be, “I do not care about this dumb mountain, there is no way in hell I’m stopping the car to take a picture.”

I’d just sworn to Ethan that I’d drive us into a tree if he corrected something about my driving one more time. I hated every caribou we passed. I was so hungry for any fast-food meal and a Starbucks coffee. I would’ve never made it on the Oregon trail; that, I now realize.

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I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more crazy. Not having the ability to see exactly where I am in the world plays games with my mind. Of course, it’s easy to know we’re heading in the right direction; there’s only one road. I would’ve loved to be able to watch the minutes of our journey count down on a screen in front of me.

I feel similarly, arriving to Fairbanks, to how I felt nearing the finish line of my first half-marathon, years ago. Except, instead of cheering crowds at the end, there was nothing. And instead of snacks and drinks being put into my hands and a medal being strung around my neck, there was nothing. It is anticlimactic.

The Alaska-Canada Highway of dirt and gravel roads, where no other cars seemed to exist, quickly becomes a largely average city road with plenty of regular townsfolk surrounding us as they meander through their daily routines.

We are so hungry and grouchy and tired. I don’t know how many hours Ethan has been awake at this point. I’ve always reveled at the things that seem argument-worthy to us in times of serious stress or exhaustion. Approaching our hotel, we have a quick but awesomely heated debate on what type of food we should eat for dinner. We settle on the most anti-Alaskan food we could’ve thought of: KFC.

Arriving to our destination wasn’t grand. It wasn’t dramatic. I couldn’t have forced tears of joy or relief or whatever if I’d tried. It was just reality. So I can’t end this travel journal with revelations or sage wisdom I gained immediately by touching the soil of Alaska because that’s not what happened. Right now, I’m eating a fried chicken leg and some mashed potatoes at a pet friendly Comfort Inn on the rough side of town in Fairbanks. But when the time comes to learn what Alaska has to teach me: I’m ready. I’m excited.

I’m here.

Day 10 Mileage Total: 698

Total Trip Mileage: 4094

Liv – Authentically


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