Dawson Creek, British Columbia, is mile 0 of the 1523-mile (2456-km) Alaska Highway, which ends in Fairbanks, Alaska. The highway was built by Canadians and Americans in just nine months during World War II to provide a land route to Alaska in order to try to better defend the Aleutian Islands from Japanese invasion. In 1948 the highway was opened to the public, and for years after that the dirt and gravel road provided plenty of adventure to those who attempted to travel it.
These days the entire highway is paved, and services are found frequently enough that it is not even necessary to fuel up at every opportunity. Despite the relative ease with which the highway is now traveled, it is still a beautiful route through sparsely populated areas of the sub-Arctic. There is plenty of traffic on the highway in the summer, about half of it consisting of recreational vehicles from every state and province. Only late at night, when the sun was finally setting, did the road feel lonely and empty.