Fairbanks, Alaska, milepost 1523, the end of the Alaska Highway
Tuesday, June 26, 1973
And that was the end of the Alaska Highway, at least for several weeks.
It was, however, a day of car issues. We had an eventless morning, but, upon stopping at “a place that was real pretty” where my father took yet more photos I don’t have access to now, we went in the trailer to eat lunch, and when we came out, the windshield was cracked diagonally almost from one corner to the other. Apparently the screen on the front of the car had not protected us from all the rocks, because upon examination it turned out that a chip, from heat from sitting in the sun for an hour while we were stopped, had expanded into a crack.
And then when we arrived in Fairbanks around noon, one of the first things my father did was drive to Sears to buy new shock absorbers (actually, I remember them being called leaves for something, but my diary calls them shock absorbers) for the car. I can still remember the expression on Daddy’s face when the guy at the catalog desk told him it would take three weeks for them to be shipped in from Outside, as Alaskans refer to the rest of the U.S. We left there and went to Penneys, which apparently had them in stock.
After that we stopped at the sign that tells you you’re at the end of the Alaska Highway.
This is the old post, which is the one I remember (most of the hits on Google images are of a post I don’t recognize). Another of the photos my mother has on her family room wall is one of me standing by this post, in my bright yellow cardigan (more about which below), my cat’s eye glasses, and my shag haircut. I’m kind of glad I don’t have a copy of that photo. I might have felt duty-bound to post it. I was extremely camera-shy as a teenager with good reason (I still sort of am), and that photo is about one of three that my father managed to get me to pose for on the entire trip. As I recall, his argument was that no one would believe I’d ever made it that far without photographic proof.
And the sweater… One of the things my mother did every year before we’d take off on our annual camping trip was to buy me a cardigan in either stop sign red or yield sign yellow. She started doing this when I was very small (I think the first picture of me in a red cardigan was when I was four), because the bright colors made it easier to keep track of me out in the middle of nowhere. The last time I let her get away with it was on this trip. After that, I deemed myself to be far too old for such things, and besides, red and yellow were so not my colors.
Anyway. I digress again. After we visited the sign, we visited the visitor center next to it, which was housed in a log cabin with a sod roof.
Mostly to ask about a campground, which they were happy to direct us to. We settled in, and my father set about getting ready to install his brand new shock absorbers or leaves or whatever they were.