Sunday, July 18, 2010

At Least the Snickers Pie Was Free

Hello again blog-readers!

Our last couple of days have been spent right outside of Denali National Park in Healy, Alaska. We pulled into town around 3:00 pm on Thursday and headed straight for the diner down the road. "Rosie's" was just what we needed after a long drive in the rain. Delicious homemade food, real old-fashioned malts, and lots of town gossip. The most exciting thing we heard was from a group of 4 teenagers (yes, we were eaves-dropping!).

It turns out this group of teenagers decided they were going to drive down the Stampede Trail and attempt to take the same route Chris McCandless did in 1994 before he starved to death. (For those of you unsure of this story - read the book "Into the Wild" or you can watch the movie that came out a few years ago.) Anyway, they got stuck for about 12 hours and search and rescue had to go and get them after family members called them in missing. The funniest part was when we read about the story on later. See Story Here.

Our second day in Healy we decided to take a White-Water Rafting trip. Although I have been several times in Oregon, I have never gone in this cold of water. Plus, KC had never been at all, so we were pretty excited. Rafting in Alaska consists of Gortex Dry-Suits and LOTS of lessons about what to do if you fall in. :) Overall, the rafting was fun but definitely not as exciting as Oregon rapids. I think we only had three Class 3 rapids and one Class 4.

Yesterday we decided to trek into Denali National Park. Guests are only allowed to drive personal vehicles 15 miles down the 90 mile park road. So, KC and I decided to take one of the shuttles deep into the park. It is an 8-hour round trip shuttle ride - if you don't get off your bus and go hiking. Our end point was mile 66 on the park road (it would have been 13 hours to go to the end of the road!!!)

We did stop several times for wildlife, and we were lucky enough to see Moose, Grizzly Bears, Caribou, and Dall Sheep. At one point there was a Wolf that everyone else could see too - but we are a little blind. :) At mile 66 is the Eielson Visitor's Center with a stunning view of Mt. McKinley. Well, stunning if there is no cloud cover. They say there is a 30% chance of seeing the Mountain. Unfortunately for us, the most we saw was the base, but we did get to see lots of wildlife.
Last night we tried to be fun young people, and we headed into town to listen to a bluegrass band playing at one of the local bars. We arrived at 9pm thinking it would be starting soon, and we felt really pathetic when they told us it wouldn't start until at least 11pm. We even considered going straight home, but we decided to stick it out and have a couple of beers while we waited. We only made it until 10:45pm. I think the waitress felt bad for us, cause she gave us the Snickers Pie for free. :)
Today we decided to check out some of the local geocaches. For those of you unsure of what geocaching is, check out this WEBSITE. It's really fun and KC and I have seen lots of scenic places we might otherwise have missed if we weren't geocaching. After that, we went back to the park and checked out the Sled-Dog Demonstration. If you know KC at all, you realize he has a bit of an obsession with Sled Dog Teams.

Rounding out the day, we drove around Healy a bit and took the dogs for a bike ride down the Stampede Trail. Just started raining again as well. For all of you in a heat wave....just least it is not still raining.

Love you and miss you all!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fortunately the Truck Has Good Breaks!

Last you heard from us, Jennifer and I were in Dawson City, at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon rivers. On our second day in Dawson City we drove the truck down to the city's waterfront and rode our bikes back to the campground. We then carried the kayaks to the Klondike river and floated down the Klondike to the Yukon and then to the truck. It was a wonderful day to be on the water with temps in the low 70's and a fast flowing current to take us where we wanted to go.

We left Dawson City and drove the "Top of the World Highway." After taking a two minute ferry ride over the Yukon river, the road became mostly gravel with spectacular views of the surrounding territory. We did have one slightly terrifying event occur on this leg of the trip. One of the bikes, while bouncing around in the back of the truck, unplugged the brakes for the trailer. Unfortunately, I didn't catch this until applying the brakes about halfway down the hill careening towards a sharp hairpin turn. I stepped hard on the brakes and was able to slow the truck enough to get around the corner. I stopped at the bottom of the hill. It was the first time I ever actually saw truck brakes smoke. We got the problem fixed and headed towards the boarder. After Jen successfully smuggled half a lime through customs, we were back home in America (because everyone knows Canada is NOT America).

We spent the night in Tok. Tok has plenty of hotels and RV parks but has absolutely nothing to do. Jen made us a smoked salmon and cream cheese crackers and we sat back to enjoy an episode of Sienfeld. On the very last bite of cracker, Jen gagged, got up, and ran into the bathroom. It turns out a fish bone was lodged in the hangy bally thingy in the back of her throat. She was successfully able to pull it out but succeeded in making herself throw up.

We are now in Fairbanks. Yesterday we decided to find a couple of geocaches. Our first one was on the edge of a graveyard. We got within 30 feet of our destination when the caretaker approached us. He asked if there was any grave in particular he could help us find. Jen nonchalantly replied, "We are just trying to get a feel for the history of the town." He then continued to tell us about one crazy day when a couple of women came to the cemetery looking for "Treasure." He told us all about geocaching and how people kept disturbing the resting souls trying to find a piece of paper to put their name on it with their GPSes. Needless to say, Jennifer and I looked at a few graves and then wandered off without ever finding our cache.

Today we loaded up the dogs and went into a local mushing store. Jennifer bought Fenway a warm dog coat to keep Fenway toasty on those long, cold winter days in Chefornak. I purchased Aipaq a mushing harness. When we returned to the trailer, I quickly harnessed up my dog and ran a line between her and my bike. She slowly walked around the campground pulling me behind her unsure of what to make of the ridiculous contraption she was strapped into. After giving her a chance to rest Jennifer rode her bike in front of me and Aipaq ran at a lightening pace trying to catch up. Hopefully after a few more rides she will learn to pull with all her heart (and strength).

That's the news from our trip so far. Until next time!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Spectacular Kayaking Dog!

Good Evening to all of our lovely blog-readers!

After we left the comforts of Whitehorse we spent a night in the Tatchun Lake Government Campground. Beautiful site, very close to the water, free firewood (woo hoo), and we only had about 20 teenagers at some sort of summer camp in the site next to us. :)

As soon as KC could fill up the Kayaks (and I could get a nap) we headed out onto the lake for a paddle. It was by far the nicest day we had, I think it reached the low 70's. I felt so bad about leaving Fenway in the trailer after a long drive, so I decided to take her with us. Surprisingly enough, she had an awesome time and never fell in once. :) Take a look!

We are now in Dawson City - the former capital of the Yukon. It was a long day of driving so we haven't done much exploring yet, but we will keep you updated when something exciting happens. KC has plans for us to Kayak down the Klondike River into the Yukon River wish us luck.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Golf, Snow, and Drunk Bob, these are a few of our favorite things...

Greetings from Whitehorse, Capital of the Yukon Territory! When we last were online, we were sitting at the Mile 0 Campground in Dawson Creek. We are now 884 miles down the road. It has been an exciting week of travels, adventures, snow (we'll get to that), and our favorite, Drunk Bob!

After departing the Mile 0 Campground, we had a long 10 mile drive before arriving at a golf course/RV park where we played a round of golf and spent the night. I had one of those games where everything went right and loved the course. Jen's opinion of the course is a little different then mine.

The next night we stayed at Bucking Horse River Campground, our first Provincial Park. Provincial Parks offer no services except those wonderful smelling outhouses everyone loves. I have to say there are some wonderful aspects of "roughing it" in a 30 foot 5th wheel, having our own bathroom is one of them. While at the campground we ran the raging river twice in our kayaks and we hiked to Sikhani Chief Falls.

The following day we drove to Summit Lake, another Provincial Park. We arrived in a storming monsoon rain and a tropical 42 degrees. The following day started out sunny but by the afternoon started to cloud up. We went inside to warm up, which unfortunately caused us to miss the grizzly bear that reportedly wandered through the campground. By that evening, it was pouring down rain again. The next morning, while eating breakfast Jen looked out the window and exclaimed, "I think it is snowing!" As we broke camp, the truck's thermometer read 36 degrees and it was in fact snowing. Happy July 1st, or Canada day!

After two days of driving, we stopped at the Continental Divide Roadhouse and RV Campground. After Jen scratched her laundry itch, and I washed Aipaq (she had started to smell a little like dog), we decided to go to the campground pub for a quick beer before dinner. We walked into a small, quaint, room with a dog laying on the floor next to the bar. Jennifer and I pulled up a couple of bar stools next to a loud, camo covered patron named Bob. Before our butts hit the seat, Bob had purchased our first round. After finishing our beers and talking to Drunk Bob about fishing, Jennifer and I tried to leave. Instead, Drunk Bob ordered us another round. The night quickly disintegrated into a trivia game where Jen and Bob took turns betting on each other's trivia questions. The stakes were a buck a question, although Jennifer lacked money so she used paper coasters instead. The game seemed a little one sided as every time Jen would ask a difficult question Bob would answer with, "You don't want me to answer that, you'll lose your dollar." Five free beers and a shot of fireball later, Jennifer and I decided it was time for dinner and left before another round could arrive.
We are now sitting in Whitehorse where we have spent the last couple of days sight-seeing and reprovisioning for the next leg of our trip, the Top of the World Highway. Jennifer and I hope everything is going well for everyone who is following our trip.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Labatt Blue Must Have a High Alcohol Content

Today's destination: Dawson Creek - Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. For all of those Pacey fans out there....I am still on the look out and hoping for a sighting soon. :) On our journey today, we hit mile 1000 of our trip thus far. WOOT WOOT!

We are staying at the Mile 0 RV Park this evening - though it is actually at Mile Point 1.5. I think it's worth a discount at least. :)

KC and I decided to enjoy one of the only rain-free nights since we started, and we went out on the town. After cruising down the main street, we almost gave up when we saw it. A big, fabulous, Swiss Chateau type building reminiscent of the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Aptly named, Flanygans. :)

A couple games of pool and a few pints of Labatt Blue later, KC is thankful that I am the designated driver this evening. We think Canada beer might be a little stronger than the beer we normally drink?

Tomorrow we are staying at a golf course / RV park about 10 miles up the highway. Looking forward to our 11:30am tee-time. Wish you all were here!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tim Horton is My New Best Friend

Since we last left off, Wifi hot spots have been few and far between, so we will attempt to catch you up on all of our happenings over the last 5 days.

After leaving Hope, we set our sights on Williams Lake, 5 hours away. The Williams Lake Stampede Campground was our home for the next 3 days, and we were able to enjoy the locals setting up for the "famous" Williams Lake Stampede - check it out July 1st - 4th, 2010 (this is a paid advertisement) :)

Day 1 - Williams Lake: We went Mountain Biking down what was described as an "easy" gravel road. Jen was petrified the whole way, due to her unreasonable fear of biking on gravel roads. (Yes, I admit is ridiculous - but I was going a decent speed most of the time) :). The highlight of the scenic bike ride was meandering past the Sewage Treatment Lagoon....not part of the description in the tour book.

Next, we went Kayaking on Williams Lake, and KC attempted to tan his pasty white Alaska skin. Luckily no one fell in, and KC had fun chasing some geese around the reeds.

Day 2 - Tim Horton's becomes the new Starbucks in the eyes of Jen. Searching for a Wifi signal brought us to Canada's favorite coffee & doughnut shop - Tim Horton's. Yes, I know that the coffee is all instantly made with the press of a button, but that French Vanilla "Cappucino" as they call it, is addictive stuff. Plans to take in several tins of it to Alaska are in the works.

We rounded out our trip to Williams Lake with a jaunt over to the local Par 3 golf course where we played a quick 11 (?!?) holes. It felt like we were playing in an old cow pasture.....and it probably was at one time....but it was very entertaining and challenging at the same time.

Morning of Day 3 in Williams Lake we decided to pick up camp and head to Barkerville - home of the 1861 gold rush. Definitely a touristy destination, but we were told it was not to miss.

In our Milepost (thanks Grandma and Grandpa Tyo), we found a campground advertised as free, just had to drive down an active logging road. Campsite was very close to a beautiful creek, very secluded, and the right price. Too bad it was mosquito infested. Poor Fenway almost got carried away by a swarm of them.

Barkerville was a fun place to visit, but probably only once. It is a town set in the 1860's, when the gold rush was in its prime. We saw a show in the theater, ate in China Town at an authentic Chinese restaurant, got homemade fudge at the Confectionary, and posed in front of the stagecoach. (See the cute picture).

We decided to take a short drive today to Prince George, British Columbia. Jen was twitching over the laundry, we were out of water, KC had filled up the Black Water tank, and of course we needed internet to post another blog for all of our fans. Grocery shopping is the exciting activity for this evening (we hear they have a Wal-Mart - woo hoo!). We will post again soon with more fun tales of life on the road.

(This picture is the cast of the play we saw in Barkerville....really entertaining and funny.)


KC & Jen

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Anniversary

In honor of our first anniversary as a ridiculously happy couple (I know, blech) - K.C. and I decided to spend the beautiful day outside exploring Hope.

We began our adventures exploring some of the local geo-caches, and we have come to the conclusion that Canadian geo-cachers are much trickier in their hiding techniques. After 2 hours we only found one. Pathetic really, but we will blame it on the Canadians and the metric system. Who needs it anyway. :)

Golf seemed to be a better decision at this point, so after making a 5:00 tee time, we took a quick lunch break - just in time for the rain. Has anyone notified Mother Nature that it is June already? Luckily, it only drizzled for the first couple of holes. Then, we were lucky enough to get to play surrounded by what we think must have been woodchucks. Very cute, a little squeaky and loud, and they don't like it when K.C. aims his shots at them. :)

After our stellar (or was it stinky) 9 holes, we ended up at a cute little bistro for what we hoped would be a delicious meal. 2 hours later, we left with a complimentary appetizer, dessert, and I only had to send my lamb back once. :) Not quite what we had planned for our special dinner, but it definitely was an experience.

Heading to bed soon to be on our way tomorrow morning. Next destination: Williams Lake. By the way, after seeing several gas stations posting prices at 102.9 per liter (what?!?!)....we finally figured out that it is 102.9 odd way to show the prices, but for those that are curious, it works out to be about $3.89 per gallon.

Aipaq and Fenway send their love, as do K.C. and I.