Book Reviews

The Milepost, 2012, 64th edition, Valencia, Kris, Editor, 8 1/2×11, 784 pages, $29.95 paperback ($34.95 Canadian). Digital Edition Free with book. ISBN: 978-1-8921542-9-3

Reviewed by: Susan Frissell, Ph.D., Publisher, www.womenwithwheels.com

This may be the biggest book you’ve ever read. It is also, by far, the most comprehensive and invaluable tome when navigating the Alaska Highway. When traveling throughout Alaska and northwestern Canada, The Milepost, a much-needed Bible since 1949, is the book to have under your arm-or car seat.

In its 64th edition, The Milepost is the “essential guide” for Alaska travelers, since 1949. This edition is edited by Kris Valencia, and with nearly 700 color photos and 100 maps to edit, her job is a big one. According to Valencia, “traveling the Alaska Highway is worth the price, and the memories are worth the mileage.”

This reviewer can attest to that. Taking off on my big adventure in 1972, a friend and I traveled from Chicago, IL to Fairbanks, AK and back. With dozens of stops along the way-and only one flat tire-we drove 28,500 miles in 28 days.  At that time, the famous Highway was not all paved; much of it gravel. Now, the Highway is paved, all    miles of it, which probably means the trip is a little faster.

Covering some 14,000 miles of road, The Milepost lists detailed descriptions of all the communities along the way, a mile-by-mile log of all Northern routes and attractions in both Alaska and northwestern Canada. When traveling the Alaska Highway, we found the mile-by-mile logs extremely helpful; particularly, when in need of a fuel stop and/or eating establishment. We had our camping sites scheduled ahead of time, which helped, but referred to Milepost time after time when searching for suggestions about where to stop and/or eat.  I have kept my original Milepost, which in the 1970s was a considerably smaller version.

As I did when traveling in Alaska, The Milepost recommends all travelers carefully plan their itineraries ahead of time. For instance, if you are traveling in a good size RV, you will find there are extended parking areas available most everywhere along the way.  Travelers can also combine road travel with the Alaska state ferry system and the Alaska Railroad. We tried booking the Ferry before we left town and even at that time, there was no more room available. In 2012, I suspect this is more of a problem, due to far more travelers to Alaska.

Readers and travelers needn’t purchase The Milepost only if they are planning a trip to Alaska. On the contrary, for the armchair traveler alike, The Milepost is just great fun to read and peruse. There is so much contained in this travel planner, it is great reading. You will learn a lot.

Available in bookstores, The Milepost can also be purchased online at http://shop.themilepost.com and amazon.com. Or call 1-800-726-4707. And if you are interested in blogging your travels to the great state of Alaska, go to www.themilepost.com.

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