On our recent Alaskan adventure, I rented a vehicle to get around. Living in San Diego the past 20 years I have never really had to drive in icy conditions. I picked up the rental and the family piled in for our trip to Chena Hot Springs in Fairbanks Alaska. The trip took about an hour and fifteen minutes. We made sure that it was daytime when we left. Keep in mind Alaska in the winter only has a few hours of daylight. There is only one way in and one way out to Chena and it's a long 2 lane road and there is NO service at all along the route. At times the road has some crazy turns but nothing like you would get it you were going to Big Bear or another highly elevated ski resort. It was for the most part straight and narrow. We arrived safely and for the next two days we had a great time seeing the Northern Lights, dog sledding, and enjoying the famous hot springs.
On the morning of our departure we had to leave around 5am to catch our train. It was the same road we came in on but the difference was that it was pitch dark and no lights on the road at all. Both sides of the roads at times had embankments that went down into either the woods or the river next to it.
As we made our way down this road in the dark in the middle of the Chena River state park with no cell service and no one around for miles, our car decided to make friends with a patch of black ice. The car started to veer off the road and I couldn’t get control of it. I thought for sure we would end up crashing in the woods on the side of the road or in the river. After over correcting the vehicle a couple times the car starting to fish tail into what seemed like a for sure roll over, at that moment my wife Karon, reached out and grabbed the wheel and gave it a hard turn to the right.. We were able to stop the vehicle right before it went off the road. There we sat in the middle of nowhere with no service shaking and scared of what just happened and even more fearful of the thought of what could have happened. We were also grateful that there was no other vehicles on the road otherwise it would have been a bad scene. After driving the rest of the way at a speed of about 25 MPH, I was happy to return the car and enjoy watching the Uber driver navigate the roads in which they know and drive everyday. God was watching over us that day and I feel extremely blessed to be able to sit here and write this blog about the experience.