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.