Sometimes racing across Alaska in an RV and a Mini Cooper means exactly what it sounds like.
It’s a race against the clock. With 12 days down, the Alaska Roadtrippin’ team left Eagle bound for Delta Junction and it needed to be there with time to spare for the 5 p.m. live broadcast.
The team left Eagle around 7:30 a.m. We pooled our guesses as to when we would reach Delta Junction. Marti said 3:10 p.m.; I said 3:15. Somehow Tracy nailed it on the head and guessed 3:06 p.m. I was driving and could have totally done something to avoid this outcome and I let it happen. It’s my own fault.
The drive from Eagle to Delta Junction meant retracing our road as far back as Tok. We then headed north along the Alaska Highway pushing the legal speed limit. I set the cruise control and took the foot off the accelerator.
We passed through a number of microclimates driving the 275 miles from the eastern borders of Alaska to a portion of the interior. It’s not uncommon, but the experience is worth noting if for no other reason than a measure of Alaska’s enormity. The mileage we drove today barely registers on Alaska’s map, but it took us nearly seven-and-a-half hours to get there. The first three hours were driving on some of Alaska’s windiest dirt roads.
Driving just about anywhere in Alaska, though, one is nearly always guaranteed an entertaining trip and this one was no exception.
An assortment of caribou and ptarmigans made appearances through the Eagle and Chicken areas. An occasional moose stood too long in the road from time to time.
We drove along the eastern base of The Alaskan Range and experienced at least three separate climate changes along the way. From Eagle to Tok, the weather stayed warm with clear skies. From Tok the skies grew darker as we drew closer to cloud cover. By the time we reached Deltana, it was like passing through a curtain of precipitation all the way to Delta Junction. Just before reaching our destination, we again passed through the curtain, and it was dry on the other side.
It’s a shame we couldn’t stay in Delta Junction longer. The same could be said for every stop we’ve made on this tour. As it was we made it to Delta Junction right after 3 p.m. and immediately began acting like tourists.
The people who we did manage meet in Delta Junction welcomed us to their town the best they could under such short notice.
There was BJ Sloan, owner and operate of the Buffalo Center Drive-in, a family owned and operated burger joint since 2001. Prior to BJ’s father John purchasing the Drive-in, the restaurant had been known as Big Top since the late 1970s. BJ recommended the halibut sandwich or a milkshake made with ice cream from Alaska’s own Northern Lights Dairy.
There were also Gordon and Sherry Decker of Diamond Willow Inn, the hotel we’d stay for the evening. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the accommodations.
We were moving at break-neck speeds, but I knew this wouldn’t be the last time I’d make a stop in Delta Junction. I’m glad I did, too. I’ll know where to go next time.
Pictures, video and interviews were being happening in a ravenous attempt to absorb as much information as possible about the city. And just like that it was 10:30 p.m. and we were getting up to leave for North Pole at 6:45 a.m.