By Ron Dalby
Driving to Alaska means you have to first drive through a large part of Canada, a real treat. However, Canada is a separate country with differing customs, and, for about 40 years now, uses the kilometers of the metric system instead of the miles that Americans are so familiar with.
The basic thing to remember is that kilometers are shorter than miles so there are more of them. The ratio is approximately 100 kilometers equals 60 miles.
Decades ago my father taught me a fairly simple way to figure things out in my head. His words were, “Multiply the number of kilometers by six and drop the last digit.” For example, if a sign indicates your destination is 350 kilometers away, multiplying by six yields 2,100. Drop the last digit and you have 210 miles, a figure that is correct within a kilometer or two. Or if a speed limit sign in a school zone says 30 KPH, this formula will yield 18 MPH.
Ron Dalby is the author of Guide to the Alaska Highway.