Photos courtesy of Steve Simmons
Christiansburg residents Norman Epperly (left) and Steve Simmons stand in front of a local directional sign they placed this summer at Watson Lake, Alaska. The town is home to thousands of directional signs from places near and far.Marty Gordon

Contributing writer


Christiansburg’s Steve Simmons retired earlier this year, and the first thing he wanted to do was make a trip north of the border.

He, along with friend Norman Epperly, jumped on their motorcycles this summer and started the trek to the Canadian frontier and Alaska.

The trip included a stop in Seward, Canada, where Simmons’ mother grew up.

“I had never been there and thought it would be great to learn more about where she was from. I wanted to go to see where she was born,” he said.

The trip had been on his bucket list for a long time, and admittedly retirement just sped it up.

They were on the bikes for nearly three weeks—seven days up and 11 back. The end result was a 10,242 miles round trip.

When they reached Alaska, the two had a special mission. At a small community of 790, they placed a Christiansburg sign stating “3,242 miles,” where it joined hundreds of other signs placed there by visitors.

The location has become known as Watson Lake and has received recognition as a Yukon historic site. A forest at that location consists of signs and not trees.

The idea dates back to 1942 when a soldier from Illinois added his hometown’s sign to a…

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