By Neil Moore,
Metroland Media/Wheelstalk.com -
Bison are great hairy beasts that can weigh nearly a ton.
Which would have been unnerving had we been driving Mercedes-Benz’s smallest car – the tiny smart fortwo.
But we were piloting the company’s largest vehicle, the Sprinter cargo van, and passing herds of them flanking both sides of the Alaska Highway. All the while snapping away with our cameras as they foraged and wandered about, some crossing in front of us.
Our convoy of journalists had just left the Northern Rockies Lodge at scenic Muncho Lake – upon which we briefly mimicked the “Ice Road Truckers” – and then began the day’s 712 km trek to Whitehorse. British Columbia’s largest land animal was our first main attraction.
Another was the weather.
At the lodge, our Sprinter’s temperature display read a balmy -5C. Five minutes down the road that had dropped to minus 20. One of our guides explained this as a temperature inversion – a weather phenomena that revisited throughout our trip.
As with Day 2, much of the natural scenery was breathtaking, punctuated by a few attractions along the way.
One of these was the Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake, Yukon. It was started in 1942 by a homesick U.S. Army G.I., working on the Alaska Highway. He erected a sign that gave the distance and direction to his hometown, and soon others followed his lead. Today there are more than 72,000 of these.
From there, the highway is somewhat of a tease, dipping several times into BC before turning northwest to Whitehorse.
I hear it is a picturesque town, but after a very long day of driving, we arrived after dusk – no surprise.
Other than iced-over roads, the only challenge for the day was a punctured tire, as one of our vehicles picked up a rusty spike. Fortunately, the team from Mercedes-Benz replaced the wheel like a NASCAR pit crew, and we were on our way in a few minutes.
Good thing, as the CAA might have taken a while…