I needed a break after serving as dean of the veterinary college at Cornell University, so I climbed into a Jeep with my dog, Beau and headed north and west. Two weeks later, we arrived in Alaska.
Our wheels never touched the interstate as we traveled the secondary roads across Ontario and the northern states. We crossed Lake Michigan by ferry and visited numerous small towns and interesting sites that "just happened" along the way. We crossed North Dakota, then traversed the Canadian prairies before reaching the Alaska Highway in northen British Columbia.
We slept in motels many nights, but also in fields and beside streams when we arrived at towns too late to obtain dog-friendly accommodations. Beau basked in the late summer twilights of the Yukon, and met canine and human friends along the journey.
Travelling through the Canadian Rockies and the Yukon's Kluane range, we saw caribou, bear, mountain goats, moose and bison. The natural beauty of the Canadian Arctic was spectacular and brought to mind the Robert Service poems that popularized this country during the gold rush.
As Beau turns 14-years-old this week, we have many fond memories of times together. But none as wonderful as our 10,049 mile trip in fall 2007.