[AAA] Unexpected.

15 Aug
I’m not sure entirely what I expected.  As I read through today’s route in the Milepost, it didn’t say anything about more mountains and crazy corners.  I really feel like I read something about it being an easy highway to travel [Hwy 37 north to the Alaska Hwy] with stretches of straight road.  I was a silly midwestern girl to think it would be flat and easy.
More mountains, steep climbs and descents, close corners, and bridges over rivers and creeks named “Devil” and “Old Man.”  [Metal grated and wooden bridges to top it off.]  Around hour ten, the roads deemed center and side lines unnecessary, along with guardrails at many places.  At hour eleven and a half, throw in some gravel stretches and consistent warning signs about livestock and wildlife.  Livestock?  I was in the middle of mountain and forests.  As for wildlife, I saw giant piles of – what should I say? – poo on the road but no large animals to go with it.  The elusive moose still escapes my sight!
I did see a bear!  A fuzzy wuzzy black bear crossed my path right before I turned onto Hwy 37 [so during the easy part of the drive].  I slowed down and watched it walk slowly in front of me.  It was only one, and once off the road, the bear creeped down into the bushes and trees and out of my sight.  I stole no picture – it all happened too fast.  The bear was the reason I only captured crappy photos for the rest of the day – I wasn’t about to get out of my car to snap the perfect shot when I knew there were bears wandering around!  [Paranoid?  Yes.  But reasons for not stopping were also related to drive time and simply that there often were no good places to stop.  Not much of a shoulder to pull onto up in the mountains.]
It was another one of those drives where I simply have no words.  No photo could capture it, though I tried to take mental pictures to save for later.  [Alec Baldwin’s character in Friends also did that.  *click*]  It was [cliche alert!  cliche alert!] breathtaking.  The trees stand so tall on either side of the road; these mountains are different than the rocky [Canadian Rockies] from yesterday.  These mountains are forests – intense, deep forests. It was overcast and rainy nearly all afternoon, casting fog and an eerie cover in front of the mountains.  Photos can’t do it justice.
So I took a video.  [which I’m sure doesn’t do it complete justice either]  No worries about me driving while doing this.  I literally held my phone on top of the steering wheel and kept it there.  [I feel like I need to make sure you understand I was safe about it.  I didn’t watch it; just held it there while also holding the steering wheel.]  By watching a bit or all of the video, perhaps you can pretend like you were my passenger and listening to Mat Kearney with me.  And singing songs about mountain goats and wishing the logging trucks would not drive so fast.  
… but now I can’t get the video to upload right now.  I blame the – um – quaint hotel I’m in at Dease Lake.  [I’ll just say that my room is a “kitchenette” in a hotel geared obviously towards people working temporarily in the area.  I rolled out my sleeping bag on the bed and brought in my own pillow.  The truck outside my window keeps honking, and I have a key key to open my room.] But now I’m tired.  Tired, tired.  Two more twelve hour days of driving and I will arrive in Valdez – I’m stoked.  For now, this picture will have to do.  Goodnight, friends.
  
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