Regions within the Region
One of our northern areas (Nunavut) isn't even accessible by road. You have to fly in and if you do fly in, there are roads in and around the communities ... and that's it! The others, Alaska, Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories all have roads that take you beyond the Arctic Circle. Some of their roads are excellent paved highways, some are paved but full of pot holes and frost heaves, some are hard packed gravel, some are ice-roads only drivable in the winter, some require a ferry ride to get you from one side of a big river to the other, some are awful ... but there are many miles of them and all offer beautiful scenery along the way. For the adventurous, intrepid traveller, it's a must-see. (NB: If you're planning a trip up this way, consider getting The Milepost: Alaska Travel Planner. It covers this whole area in great detail and includes BC and Alberta.)
Further south along the Pacific coast are British Columbia (BC), Washington and Oregon. Roads here are exciting! Follow the coastlines, listen to the ocean pounding onto the shore, drive through the mountains, travel alongside the rivers and canyons, spend time in the valleys and on the plateaus, stop at a winery or at a roadside stand for fresh picked produce. It's easy to spend lots of time here exploring, enjoying, relaxing. This is the only region where you will find seriously congested freeways but you can set your GPS to avoid them. It may take a whole lot longer to get where you're going but you're in your RT - you've got time.
Travelling in the Rockies and the foothills is just like what you'd expect - mountain roads with lots of corners and elevation changes. This region includes Idaho, western Alberta, western Montana and Wyoming. There are tight turns and switchbacks on some of the less travelled byways - motorcyclists' heaven - but the main highways are excellent, easy, comfortable driving for the most part. Be sure to stop along the way to take in the grandeur and majesty of the mountain peaks, the glaciers in the distance, the luxuriant valleys, steep walled canyons, rushing rivers and sparkling lakes. Come prepared for spectacular views all along the way. Take the time to enjoy!
Prairie roads take you through big, wide, rolling - sometimes flat - landscapes. It's easy to get mellow driving along a secondary road ... and by all means set your GPS to avoid highways ... while you marvel at the enormity of the fields under cultivation, the variation in colour, the astounding number of lakes, ponds and wetlands, the size and texture of the clouds against a gorgeous blue sky, the prairie wind that's fighting with you or pushing you along. Roads are sometimes wide with wide shoulders, sometimes narrow with no shoulders, sometimes winding their way down to a gulley or river bottom and then back up again. There are lots of roads and if you miss a turn-off, chances are there's another way to get where you're going - or you could end up somewhere else just as nice. Who cares if you're in Alberta, Montana, Saskatchewan or Manitoba. It's all good! So turn on some music, learn a new song as you roll along, and smile.
Note to Region 8 members: Will you help build these galleries? Let's show off a little. Send a few photos (no more than 6 or so to start with) to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information: Location (quite specific), month/year the photo was taken and a short caption as to why it's special if there's a need to explain. There are a lot of areas not represented. Thanks!