Saturday, January 31, 2009


Today Brent, Ches and I went exploring. We drove around Delta and while we covered a lot of ground, we didn't manage to see any wildlife. Not a bit. We did see a lot of moose tracks but no moose. I was really hoping to get some pics of one. Just one. Not so much.

During our travels we ventured into Delta Meat and Sausage Company. They sell anything and everything. Beef, pork, buffalo, caribou (reindeer), yak and elk. All of the exotic meats that they sell are raised on farms in the Delta Junction area, however, you can also haul in your own animals to have them slaughtered (sorry) or processed. We came home with some buffalo burger and a buffalo steak. Brent REALLY wanted to try some reindeer steak, but decided to try the buffalo instead. One reindeer steak was $20. It seems a little crazy, it does, but we're here to try new things so I think that will be next. The only thing I'm not keen on trying is yak. I have no real desire.

Tomorrow is Super Bowl sunday and since we still don't have network channels I think I'll make up some nice buffalo burgers and we'll watch a movie or two. We checked out Nanci's Castle, a big yellow movie renting castle, in town for some new movies. At the moment we're watching Appaloosa. It's not riveting, but for a Western it's pretty good stuff.

Ches was happy to get out and see a little more than the inside of this house. While we were at Delta Meat we picked her up a nice roasted bone so she's been busying herself with that all afternoon.

We also wandered out for a nice walk in the woods behind the house. At 4:30 it was -19 degrees and by 6:30 it was -30 degrees. Needless to say it's mighty chilly and our little heater is working overtime tonight.

In other news Kathy, our landlord, invited me to go to the next Mom's Night Out. I laughed and asked her if it mattered that I wasn't a mom, and she said no. So I readily accepted. Frankly, I can't wait. She said that they meet once a month or so, so I'm hoping that it's sooner rather than later.

Well, the homemade pizza is done, and I'd better get back to the movie. There seems to be a lot of people dying in my absence.

Have a happy day! I'll post a couple pics of the mountains tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Here Comes the Weekend

So, it's been a pretty uneventful day. Brent got home earlier today which was so nice. It's just nice to have someone to talk to, and the ability to leave. We didn't do much, but we did take a drive in the daylight and explored some new roads and areas. Tomorrow we're hoping to do more of that, and I'll actually have to remember to bring the camera and see what we can catch a glimpse of.

Other than that we're just planning to lay low this weekend and just try to see things, and get familiar. If it's warm enough we may try to get to the state park for a walk. Ches could use some exercise besides a leashed walk, and chasing the ball in the living room. All in all, she's happy and content to just be cuddled and be with us. Which is nice.

I think once things actually just start to fall into place for us we'll truly love it. There is a festival coming up in late February and early March in Fairbanks that we're hoping to get to. Just to get out and start exploring a little further from home. We'll also have to get to North Pole and take some photos of the 100 ft Santa.

So, hoping you have a great weekend. Stay warm, and I hope your favorite team wins the Super Bowl! Happy day!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Long Day

It has been a long day. Not for me, necessarily, other than I've been alone all day. But Brent worked a 14.5 hour shift. The worst part? He can't call on the missile field so I had no idea if he was okay, and when I tried to call his phone there was no answer. I was getting really worried when he called to let me know that he'd be home in 45 minutes. That was about 35 minutes ago. Now that I know this is a possibility I probably won't be so worried next time. I hope. Anyway, I managed to have a pretty good day and Ches and I got a really good walk in today. Above is a picture of the road we walk. I zoomed in so you can see the mountains, but we walk down to the yellow sign and back. Anyway, it was a chilly but beautiful day.
These are the mountains to the East. There is actually a whole range but unless I zoom in you can't really see them and it make for uninteresting bumps. So, I zoomed. The forefront is land that has been cleared for hayfields. Very interesting.
If you look very closely you can see that these are Army choppers. They flew over the house and shook us top to bottom. Ches was napping and woke up barking at all the commotion. Very cool, and it added an interesting little tidbit to our day.

This is just a picture of the morning sky. I thought it was pretty. Ches was pottying and since most of you probably don't want to see a picture of that, I decided to snap the sky instead. Now, if we could just catch some of the wildlife that keeps leaving tracks around the house!
Have a happy day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Collaborative Update

This is a very rare occasion. Brent and I are updating the blog together. Generally I update after he goes to bed, because as I'm trying to type he's tickling my feet with a pen. He's always up to something "helpful".

Brent's day included 2 hours of Confidentiality Training. So, obviously we can't talk about that. He has pretty good days, and is getting to know the other people in his department. He's also completed computer security training, and drinks multiple cups of coffee per day. In his spare time he likes to do a little online shopping, and yes, people he KNOWS that I'm including that information.

Another "cool" part of his day was entry into a missile silo. He was there to do thermal imaging for a monthly inspection checking all electrical and electronic components of the missiles and the silos.

Also noted is that he sees two moose every day. They like to feed on the base. And he saw them yet again today. :)

Ches and I had a slightly less exciting day. We walked and played and then made a trip into town to the grocery store. I only went to pick up a "few" things and managed to spend entirely too much money. However, if you take into consideration that we spend zip, zilch, nada on eating out, then it's A-OK.

It's a balmy -19 degrees, and this morning we had a bit of sun. Most days are gray and cold, but I'm still in love with the scenery. Hoping you are all warm and happy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Bad Day

Okay, so they can't all be great, right? I just had a challenging day. Nothing serious, but nothing was working out, going my way today. I was frustrated, called my mom & dad for support, and Dad took the time to point out all my grammatical errors. Um, thanks Dad! lol. In his defense, there are a lot of them, and I would correct them, but this stinky little mini is so overly sensitive that I'm afraid it will delete everything. I promise that's not an excuse, just an explanation. And Dad, deal with it. :0)

So, other than that, the day wasn't a complete loss. I took Ches out for a walk and introduced her to the landlords horses. She was excited and nervous, and once we were up at the fence she turned her head and wouldn't face the horse. The young horse was VERY excited and interested in Ches, but nothing doing.

Today was snowy and cold. It's about to grow much colder. MUCH COLDER. We're supposed to hit -40 by the weekend, and I'm thinking our Fairbanks trip may not happen and I think I'm going to start doing some serious online shopping. There could be worse things. lol.

I'm hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. I'm sure it will. I certainly can't have two crappy days in a row. Can I?

Happy days to all!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Perfect Sunday Evening & Aurora Borealis

Brent and I decided to walk back along the shelter belt yesterday afternoon. In the midst of watching Ches bob and weave amongst the mini evergreens and the crispy snow, Brent managed to catch this beautiful sunset through the trees.
This is the cleared path where we were walking. The owners cleared this area for a new field and kept the logs for building there new home. It's beautiful to just have peace and quiet and see all the new things there are to see.
The cows were very, very interested in Ches. They followed us all along the fence line. At times they'd kick up their heels to catch her interest. She didn't really care that they were there. But they're cute and we enjoy them.
This photo captures the mountain view from the field' It's amazing how bright and crisp yesterday was. Some days you can barely see the mountain from our front porch.
In other exciting news we had our first Northern Lights experience this morning. It started about 1 a.m. as I was laying restless and sleepless on the couch. It ranged between grays and whites, but it was magnificent. I could watch the lights wax and wane behind a large cloud bank. At 4:45 when Brent got up to go to work, we watched them for a bit from the front porch, and by this point it was spread out across the entire sky. A beautiful sight. I cannot wait for more sightings.
Ches and I had a visitor today. Ches was going a little crazy banana on the couch, so I walked to the living room to see what was up. As I was chatting away with Kristie I noticed a table draped down in my window. A squirrel had decided to come and take a look around to see what he could scavenge up. I shooed him and sent him on his way.
All in all, a perfect Sunday afternoon, and a happy Monday. What a way to start the week!
Stay Warm!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

Good Morning faithful readers!

Today is another overcast day in the Northland. It's cold, but the wind has died down which is great. I thought we might lose the roof a couple times in the last few days. I think our goal for the day is just to lay low and relax.

We'll probably wander out for a walk or two, and perhaps I'll snap some pictures if there is anything exciting out there. Hopefully we'll be able to catch 0ur little Ptarmigan family out and about. Only time will tell.

As you may have noticed our internet at home came on Friday and we have been searching and surfiing and catching up on life. It is definitely something to keep me up to date, and I cannot wait to start job searching now that I'm connected. WOOHOO. My little vacation has been find, but I cannot wait to start using my brain and generating an income. I'm sure Brent will be pretty happy that too.

Later today I'm going to make a big pot of WildRice and Ham soup, and relax, relax, relax.

Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


This is our home sweet home. It's quaint and the totes out front don't help the hillbilly appeal but our storage shed still holds the belongings of the former tenants, so we're waiting patiently. Or not-so-patiently.
So, a lot of people have been asking for photos of Alaska and where we live. So, today we ventured out a little and snapped a few pics. Nothing uber exciting, but it will give you a feel for where we are. This is the road that leads to our house. It's the Tanana Loop Ext. and it's beautiful coming and going. This is going towards town. As you can see, the roads aren't that fabulous right now, but good enough to get out.

This is the view from our front porch. It is actually a hay field but it's nice that I can look out and see the sun shining. It's not all that exciting right now, but I'm looking forward to the summer and the smell of fresh cut hay.

This is the driveway. Our house sits to the right. This is the road that Ches and I walk up and down. We also venture out on Tanana Loop, and go about 1/2 mile in each direction. As I said before, I don't wander too far from home. So we go a few times a day.

This is the shop that burned last weekend. It's on the back corner. This is where our landlords live temporarily. They'll be building in the summer.
This is the chicken coop and pole shed. The bus is the wood stove/furnace to keep the chickens warm. Everything is repurposed on the farm. It lies about 100 feet from our front door.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is normal?

Hello All!
Well, life is starting to seem somewhat normal. Brent is feeling very positive about his new job, and is feeling that this is somewhere he can see himself settling in and growing. He’s very excited about all the benefits that this job offers, and so far his only regret is that he didn’t do it sooner. That’s a very positive sign. I’m very excited for him.

Brent is working long days. It’s an interesting schedule where he works 11.5 days M-Th and then an 8 hour day on Friday for 7 weeks, then off for 2 weeks. It will be interesting to see how it all goes. He is working his first full week next week as he had Monday off for Martin Luther King day.

I keep talking about making our home “homey” and he keeps telling me that the plastic tote holding our TV is fine. I DON’T THINK SO. We’ll see who wins this one. Oy. Boys. Whether or not we’ll be here permanently is not the issue, it’s my home for the present and that’s what I’m going to focus on. Brent is a very all or nothing person, so it doesn’t really surprise me.

It’s definitely grown colder here. The temp today was about 5 degrees. And it was windy. However, on Ft. Greely the winds were upwards of 55 mph. Seeing that it’s just over 10 miles away makes it hard to believe that they could be about 30 mph stronger than they were here. However, as you leave Delta Junction to head towards our home you cross “the ridge”. Apparently wind patterns, weather patterns can differ drastically on one side of the ridge than the other. I thought that was an interesting tidbit.

Ches and I are trying to be a little more brave in our excursions. Each day we go just a teeny bit further one way or the other. I’m deathly afraid of coming upon some sort of animal, and I’m not sure how justified that is. I’m assuming that during the winter I’m fairly safe since bears are hibernating, but I’m still leery. We’ll see what the weather is like this weekend and if all of us can get out and get a feel for how safe I am wandering away from home.
Stay Warm!

What is normal?

Hello All!
Well, life is starting to seem somewhat normal. Brent is feeling very positive about his new job, and is feeling that this is somewhere he can see himself settling in and growing. He’s very excited about all the benefits that this job offers, and so far his only regret is that he didn’t do it sooner. That’s a very positive sign. I’m very excited for him.

Brent is working long days. It’s an interesting schedule where he works 11.5 days M-Th and then an 8 hour day on Friday for 7 weeks, then off for 2 weeks. It will be interesting to see how it all goes. He is working his first full week next week as he had Monday off for Martin Luther King day.

I keep talking about making our home “homey” and he keeps telling me that the plastic tote holding our TV is fine. I DON’T THINK SO. We’ll see who wins this one. Oy. Boys. Whether or not we’ll be here permanently is not the issue, it’s my home for the present and that’s what I’m going to focus on. Brent is a very all or nothing person, so it doesn’t really surprise me.

It’s definitely grown colder here. The temp today was about 5 degrees. And it was windy. However, on Ft. Greely the winds were upwards of 55 mph. Seeing that it’s just over 10 miles away makes it hard to believe that they could be about 30 mph stronger than they were here. However, as you leave Delta Junction to head towards our home you cross “the ridge”. Apparently wind patterns, weather patterns can differ drastically on one side of the ridge than the other. I thought that was an interesting tidbit.

Ches and I are trying to be a little more brave in our excursions. Each day we go just a teeny bit further one way or the other. I’m deathly afraid of coming upon some sort of animal, and I’m not sure how justified that is. I’m assuming that during the winter I’m fairly safe since bears are hibernating, but I’m still leery. We’ll see what the weather is like this weekend and if all of us can get out and get a feel for how safe I am wandering away from home.
Stay Warm!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Delta Junction

Delta Junction, Alaska
Population 900. Many of you have asked me for a description of Delta. I will try my best to paint you a picture of our new home.
The first thing you’ll notice about Delta Junction is that it is spread out. There are shops, homes and businesses nestled in the trees for miles. There is no main street per se, but the bulk of the businesses lie along the Richardson Hwy.
We have a grocery store, called the food cache. It’s a nice store that houses a deli for lunches, a bakery with some yummy cakes and pastries, and a fair amount of choices for the average shopper.
There is a cute little coffee shop (drive up only) called Jitter Junction. It’s delightful. They have a great selection of coffees, lattes and espresso drinks and some sweet treats too. I have to say that I still miss Starbucks and Caribou but this is a nice little treat.
Delta is home to a sporting goods store, a coop, The Hard Wok Café, Pizza Bella, and a handful of other restaraunts. They have a very nice library, which offers wireless internet and computers in addition to the books, periodicals and movie selections.
About the only thing you cannot find in Delta would an electronics store. There is a Laundromat, or two, and a very pricey Thrift Store housed in one of those Laundromats. I am looking forward to checking out a couple of the local touristy shops, and our local Wells Fargo Bank. We also have a Mt. McKinley bank and couple of quilt shops.
We have driven past, but not entered, the Delta Clinic. I have read that this is a general practice clinic for colds/flus and nothing to serious. There is also a vet clinic for Ches, and the most exciting is probably the State Park that lies on the Eastern edge of town. Delta houses a very nice high school and elementary school, as well as an ice rink. The middle school in on the Fort Greely base.
The visitors center is closed for the season, but it located in the center of town, where the remnants of The Farmers Market are as well. Northern Lights Ice Cream is also here, and they were very excited about Christmas.
There are various churches. Some of them larger, some of them very, very small. I have to spend some time at the library checking some of them out. There is a Delta Junction Lutheran church, however, that’s all I know about it. There is a Baptist, Russian orthodox, Free Church, and many others that don’t pertain to us.
It’s a quaint town. Most people here are friendly, laid back, and they definitely know when you’re new in town. People seem to be very happy to be here. High speed internet is hard to come by, and wireless is pretty much useless. Some people have been waiting for high speed internet service for over 2 years. Luckily, we were line jumpers and they’ve granted us access.
Everyone here (that we’ve met) hunts and fishes for the majority of their meat. This could be an issue for me since I don’t eat most fish or wild meats. I’ve decided to expand my mind, and try to eat more of whatever Brent finds to eat. We’ll see how that works out.
In my opinion rent is very reasonable. We’ll see what utilities run on the first billing. Internet is fairly expensive, but only minimally more than we were paying in Minnesota.
Most people here also trap, cross country ski, ride snowmobiles and atv’s. Winter lasts for a full 6 months, and summer is short at 3 months. It’s a small town. I’m looking forward to learning more about the area, the town and the people.
I have been invited to join the quilters guild, which I’m not sure about yet. I also noticed that there is a book club, which since I’ve read 10 books in the last 11 days would probably be a pretty good fit for me. So, perhaps I’ll check that out next month.
Our landlords/neighbors are great. They stop in every few days to see if we need anything. I had some reservations at first, but they are all gone. All gone.
So, hopefully soon I can get out and snap some shots of the town and give you a little better idea of where we are. I also know that a lot of you want to see our home. I promise that once it’s homey I’ll post some pics. You know me, it can’t go on unfinished, darn it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello God...It's me...Karla

Family and Friends,
I’m sorry it’s been a while. It’s been quite an adjustment to our new home, new surroundings.
We have been settling in as much as possible. I haven’t been able to get to Fairbanks to shop, and we still don’t have internet at home. It will be possible, so I’m trying to be patient. Mike from ACS called last night to say that he hadn’t had time to get to it yesterday, which I thought was thoughtful. Very thoughtful indeed.
Today the sky is the most miraculous shade of gray. I know that seems like a contradiction, but it’s beautiful. And it’s snowing. What a surprise! What a nice day to be planted on the couch catching up on cooking shows and laundry.
Friday was Brent’s first day of work. He was disappointed, simply because no one was there and he didn’t really get any real answers. He wasn’t able to meet any of the guys he’d be working with, so it was okay. He got frisked more than he was hoping for. He said the guard kept apologizing, which I find comical in itself.
Saturday we woke late, it’s nice to sleep in. In the early afternoon we decided to run to Fairbanks and buy some things that we need. I had just gotten out of the shower and Brent noticed that the neighbors (landlords) shed was on fire. Now, they live in a travel trailer inside the shed while they’re building their home next door. I picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1 and received an “all circuits are busy” message. Are you kidding me? We grabbed the cell phone and jumped in the car to run over and check if anyone was inside, as they have 5 year old boy. Brent opened the door but it was filled with smoke, he hollered and hollered. I kept trying to call emergency services on my phone, but we had no signal.
We ran home again, and dialed to receive the same maddening message, then ran next door to the neighbors to see if they had phone service, but no one answered. We decided to drive into town, we headed to the neighbors at the top of the driveway, and they had no phone service, or cell service either. So into town we went.
Once in town we didn’t know where to go. So, we ran to the library. The poor girl was so confused, but seriously, these people don’t get excited about much. We tried calling their as well, only to discover that the entire area had no cell or home phone service. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We asked someone where to find the fire department, which was across town, so off we went. No one answered. Finally someone drove up, so we waved him down to discover that someone had managed to reach 9-1-1 and that they were on their way.
So, we headed home and thankfully they were able to put out the fire, and it didn’t damage their trailer inside. Thank goodness. It turns out the neighbor (that didn’t answer) ran to the church where the landlords were having a birthday party for their 5 year old son.
I have to admit that after this incident I was really bummed and deflated about the whole idea of living here. Discouraging doesn’t really even cover it, if someone had had a life threatening accident they would have likely been dead. Now that’s morbid I know, but I felt helpless and alone. Not a great feeling.
Sunday we had a good, but lazy day. We decided against going to Fairbanks because Brent had Monday off for Martin Luther King day, and we decided to go then. So we lounged and played with Ches. We searched for the Ptarmigan that live in the woods, and under our house. We’ve seen them a time or two, and it’s fun to step outside and listen to them call. We ended up losing power about 10:30 p.m. and it was off until 5:00 a.m. Let’s just say it’s fortunate that we could cuddle together for warmth. It got darn cold in here. My faith that everything would work out here was really beginning to waiver.
Monday we got dressed and were headed to Fairbanks only to discover that their was black ice and high winds on the Richardson Hwy. Seeing that the drive and roads are new to us, and it’s a windy mountain road we decided to stay home. We rattled about the house, took Ches into the woods behind us to hunt away, and took a lovely walk down the Tanana Loop road. This is one time I was hoping NOT to see a moose.
We like living here. It will be nice once we have time to do some furnishing and true settling in, I think it will be comfy. Our modem is here, and we should be able to connect at home soon, one problem is that I had to order an external cd drive, so once that gets here we’ll be ready to roll. I cannot wait. It drives me mad not having internet service here.
This morning when I stepped out to potty Ches I heard 2 owls calling to each other. The one was about 10 feet away and then other must haven been back on the fence line somewhere. Very cool, but eerie.
Brent’s now at his second day of work, and I’m hoping that today goes smoother, and that he gets a real idea of what his days will be like. He’ll have to decide his schedule and such, and hopefully they’ll find a chair for him somewhere.
So, for now I’m going to sign off. I know that a lot of you keep asking for pics of the house, but right now there’s really nothing to show, so I’ll take pics when things start coming together. I promise!!
Have a warm, happy day!
Love, Karla & Brent

Friday, January 16, 2009


So, we found out today that we will indeed have DSL. I'm sure this will make some people very, very unhappy. Some have been waiting for nearly 2 years, and we swoop in and get it. I'm not complaining though. WOOT!

Brent started his new job. It will be very, very different. That's all I have to say about that.

Other than that, we're good. I need to run to the store before it closes (eek) and then home to make dinner. I'll be in touch!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

12 Hours to go

Tomorrow marks the beginning. Brent's new beginning. I could not be happier for him, and he's truly excited. Ready to start the day, and find out what lies ahead.

Today we had a great, relaxing day. Trying to figure out how everything will fall into place, and confident that it will, in time. We relaxed, hung out, checked out more books, and waited for the fated call of whether or not we'll have high speed internet. Something, anything. PUHLEASE.

In exciting news we watched a Ptarmigan waddle his way through melting snow to find some seeds, berries, whatever they eat in the wood behind our house. And it reached a BALMY 45 degrees. 45 degrees. Awesome. We lost a lot of snow, and it was a warm day. I even went out in my short sleeves. Who knew?? lol.

Hoping that tomorrow brings only more good things our way. Hoping you are all well, and warm, I know that good ole Minnesota is getting our snap of cold from last week, warm up and we'll talk to you soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I'm hoping that I'll be back with daily posts next week. We don't know if we can get DSL yet. EEK. Since that's how I was planning to work and go to school this could be a potential problem. I'm really, really hoping we can get it.

We're settling in and exploring the area. Each day we find another place. Yesterday we stumbled on a great little coffee place, who need Starbucks!?! And today we're going to check out the local thrift store for treasures. :)

It's 25 degrees ABOVE zero today. We're getting about 6 hours of daylight. The sun rises about 10 a.m. and is dark about 4 p.m.

Other than that we're busy unpacking and settling in. Hopefully I'll have some pics for you soon!

Stay Warm!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Settling In

This part will temporarily have to be documented sans photos. I'm all pictured out. Seriously. But soon enough when our home is beginning to look like a home, I'll post pics. With all the white it's hard to pick out the sky from the filed from the road.

We arrived in Delta Junction, AK about noon on Saturday. We filled out our lease, got our keys, dropped off Ches and some of our stuff and headed straight to Fairbanks. Well, straight isn't accurate, we headed DIRECTLY to Fairbanks.

It was a beautiful drive and the roads were good. I drove there to give Brent a little time to rest and relax. Immediately when we entered Fairbanks we encountered ice fog. It's thick and inpenetratable and really hard to see in. Add to that a new town, complete exhaustion and I experienced a total breakdown. I actually had to leave one store because it was absolutely so overwhelming. Folks, when I can't shop, you KNOW we have problems!! lol.

We managed to get groceries, and some necessities and then we managed to find our way out and home. We were exhausted. I think we both slept about 11 hours on Saturday night.

Sunday we laid around in pj's all day. I unpacked and thawed out our belongings. Brent hauled them to the porch and then I hauled them in and such from there. So far all we've lost in some nail polish, and I can handle that. Our dishes survived!! I thought we wouldn't have a single one left. I broke out the pots and pans a made a nice hot beef stew complete with homemade biscuits.

Today (Monday) we are hoping to hook up some phone, tv and internet. We need to switch over the electric, and then we're going to nap, nap, nap. It's warming up here in Alaska. DJ is -5 today. The rumor is tomorrow will reach 25 above!! Holy Buckets!!

We'll be back with pics and town information soon!!!

And you thought you'd seen cold. Ha!

Friday morning we left Whitehorse at 7 a.m. It was still dark. Pitch black, the roads were awful, and since we had just gotten a dusting of snow, visibility was at about 0. Okay, it was zero. But we headed off with Adam & Jennifer in the lead for a while. We quickly switched over though. When we departed it was -25 degrees, this photo was taken at about 9:00 a.m. And yes, that's the moon.

The roads were fair, for some of the drive, and bad for other parts. This is what they looked like for most of the morning. At least we had beautiful scenery to keep our minds off the roads.

As you can see we were up and down and wound around. I guess that's what moutain travel entails. I had no idea how exhausting this trip would be.

This is the Boutillier Summit in the Yukon Territory. It was much more beautiful in person, it's amazing how the mountains just never seem to stop and continue to rise up and greet us. I will admit, we were both aching for a little bit of flat land near this point in the trip. Second highest point on the trip between Whitehorse and Summit.

Here we are at Kluane Lake in Kluane National Park. It's located in the Yukon Territory, and is the largest lake in the YT. The Kluane Lake area was the site of a short-lived gold rush in the early 1900s.

Sheeps Head Mtn in Kluane National Park is where we stumbled upon bridge construction in January. It was beautiful as the road ran between Sheeps Head Mountain and Kluane Lake. Gorgeous.

This is a photo of the World's Largest Gold Pan in Burwash Landing, YT. I am tempted to drive back here to check out the burlwood trees they are famous for. In summer, of course. This is where the road began to get very interesting. The tales are true. The Alaska Highway does indeed bounce from pavement to gravel along the way. Also trying are the frost boils that heave the roads, pavement and gravel alike, for about 100 miles of the journey. This was the hardest part of the day, very wearing on nerves and patience.

White River in the Yukon Territory.

This is the road in the area of Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory. The items along the roadside are an experiment they are doing along the Hwy to try to relieve some of the frost boils and pitching of the road. From the condition of the roads here, I'd have to venture a guess to say they aren't working.
In preparing for the border crossing I missed a pic of the Welcome to Alaska sign. We managed to corss the US border without incident and from there the roads became much more tolerable, even clear in some spots. I took over driving this last portion, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. We saw a moose, and soem caribou yearlings who kicked up their heals in excitement at seeing us. Truly hilarious.
We reached Tok, Alaska just as the sun was falling behind the trees. It was so cold my nostrils, eye lashes and hair were frozen. When we stopped the motel owner told us that the temp was -63 degrees. Without wind chill, that's actual temperature folks. I never need to see that kind of cold again. Completely unbearable.
When we reached the motel we learned that Jennifer & Adam were having brake issues and as it turns out their brake lines were frozen. I wouldn't have wanted to travel that highway with frozen brakes. We celebrated our arrival and survival with dinner and a couple of beers. Trust me, if I was the bender type I would have tied one on.
The photo above is of Ches in her blankie. We had the thermometer turned up to 90 but the room stayed at about 63 degrees. FRIGID. What a nice Welcome to Alaska!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

We're Here!

Hello Everyone!

We've reached Alaska. We're spending the night inTok. We are happy to be here finally. We'll see our new home tomorrow, then a trip to Fairbanks for a bed and supplies.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In and Out, In and Out

We left Watson Lake at 7:30 a.m. It was dark. Pitch black but we were on our way anyway. Our accomodations were very rustic, but clean and warm, and I guess that's all we can ask for at this point in the game. Certainly no reason to complain. The above photo is the 2nd pic of the day. It was taken about 9:00 a.m. The first photo was just too dark. Bummer.

The roads today weren't necessarily better, however the turns weren't nearly as sharp, and the hills weren't nearly as steep, up or down. All in all, today was a better day. However, 2 days of straight through driving has been hard on Brent and his back. He's threatening to make me drive some tomorrow. We'll see who wins.
This photo is taken of the sunrise about 9:30 a.m. It was absolutely gorgeous. Definitely made the 6:00 a.m. wake up call worth it. We continued to travel with Adam & Jennifer as it is a relief and a joy for all of us. We have a very similar travel style which makes it that much easier.

Today was fairly uneventful in the way of animal life. We did, however, manage to see one little gray fox who had buried himself in a bison track. He was hard to see so I didn't get a pic of him. All you could really see were his ears and face. However, the views continued to be marvelous. The pink sheen on the left of the picture is the sun starting to peak over the horizon.

Before we left we received great gifts of crossword puzzles, word games, word searches, Mad Libs, etc. However, way too many hours in the car leaves you searching for something new and exciting. As members of the Brain Trust know crossword puzzles aren't my strength, so I'm leaving those for "later". Ha! I decided it would be a great idea to write a poem. So I submitted 3 words, then Brent, then I, and you get the point. Unfortunately he was feeling snarky, so we can't publish our creation. However, I thought this might be a good place for him to live in his mood (above pic). In seriousness though, he's done a great job getting us through the mountains, and I cannot complain.
This was a very, very long bridge we had to cross today. It seemed never ending, and after the bridge collapse in Minnesota a year ago, I wasn't overly excited to cross the jallopy. We managed to survive. How? I'll never know.

Since the driving has been so hard on the guys we decided to stop for lunch in Teslin, Yukon Territory today. It was nice to actually eat a meal on the road, we haven't been stopping for lunches as we packed a cooler to eat along the way. Ches decided to take over my nice, warm heated seat. I can't blame her. She's been an absolute trooper. Such a good girl.
The Alaska Highway travels in and out of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory for a portion of today's journey so you'll have to forgive me if I sound confused. We'd see a sign welcoming us to one province or the other and finally I just stopped paying attention. Eek.

This is a photo of our descent into Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. We are spending the night here and then heading to Tok, Alaska. WOOT!! Finally. We're planning to travel on to Delta Junction on Saturday a.m. I cannot wait to actually see our new home, and just be able to put our stuff in one place and not have to haul it in and out anymore.
Thanks for following along...I hope you're enjoying the ride! By the way, feel free to comment. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Entering Yukon

This is the kind of craziness that goes on. We were traveling along in our lane and a big ole truck goes barreling by at a speed that some would call crazy.

This is the first pass of the day. While we were driving it I could hardly look. What you don't see if the massive drop off over the cliff. The photo was taken about 45 minutes before sunrise, but it was light enough to see where we were going.
This is one of the herd's of bison that we saw along the roadside today. In addition to the bison, we saw 3 lynx, caribou, elk, and moose. In terms of wildlife and scenery it was the best day, hands down. The road was another story.

This is one of the many bridges that we crossed. The first one was really scary, but they were actually some of the best roads of the day. Leaving the bridges was sometimes the scary part.

Ches continues to be the perfect traveller. She's started her arm rest antics, but I had to scold her today when she was nudging Brent to pet her while he was trying to navigate the craptacular roads.

We drove around 330 miles at about 40-45 mph. Brent drove the entire day, so he is pretty wiped out. We did travel with the couple we met in Fort Nelson last night. They are relocating to Anchorage from Evergreen, CO. We traveled tandemly today and plan to tomorrow as well. It's nice to know that we aren't alone on the road.

This is a good example of what the roads were like for the good portion of the trip. Brent has a blister from gripping the steering wheel. I'm really hoping tomorrow is a better day.
The high temp for the day was -21. Not so bad all in all, except when the gas pump broke in Muncho Lake and they had to partially dismantle the pump to get it to work. This is also where we paid $5.73/gallon for gas. And a Diet Pepsi cost us $4.75. OUCH! I also had to use the men's room that was so cold I could barely go. Yikes.
We're spending the night in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. We are planning to travel to White Horse tomorrow, I hope the roads cooperate.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The real experience begins

Before we even started out the most common phrase we heard was "what an experience". It has been a journey to the experience until now. I dare say that neither of us really knew what we were getting into. I dare say I would have sold or shipped everything and hopped a plane. The journey to Alaska has been emotional, but fairly easy, until today.

We left Dawson Creek, British Columbia at 9:15 a.m. just before sunrise. We had a nice, semi-leisurely morning. At breakfast Brent was chatting with a local on his way to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory who was putting chains on his truck. Brent decided that we didn't need to put ours on yet, but would if, or when, we needed them.

Two miles out of Dawson Creek we saw our first moose of the day. I, however, had not had enough caffeine yet, so I missed a great photo op despite the fact that my camera was literally in my hand. Grrrr.

Shortly before entering Fort St. John we crossed the bridge in the above photo. I normally am a good sport about heights, I don't like them, but if I feel safe I can handle it. I didn't feel safe. It could have something to do with the fact that the bridge seemed like it was 10 miles long, although in actuality it was only 1/2 mile long, I literally got nauseated. The picture does nothing to show the depth of the drop. Nothing.

Long gone are the nice flat roads that I was claiming to be "boring" just a couple days ago. The roads turned to true mountain roads as we entered the Northern Rockies of Canada early on in the day. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. But the roads are good in some spots, not so good in other spots. Slow going and smart driving was the name of today's game.

We stopped to give Ches a potty break at mile marker 148 on the Alaska Highway. As you can see it was named Suicide Hill at the time the road was put in. It received its name for being the most treacherous hill on the road. I'm really happy that they waited to tell us until we reached the top! In early days travelers received the warning "Prepare to meet they maker" before they headed to the top. Happily we made it up, and down, the hill without incident.

Later in the day as I took over driving the last 60 miles of the day we saw a HUGE moose. S/He lumbered across the road in front of us before trudging through the ditch, as s/he came to tree line s/he became panicked and started to trot before barging through the trees. It was a great sight and I hope we can share it with you all soon.

All in all it was pretty stressful day. Due to the altitude we traveled in and out of snow. A lot of powdery white stuff causing white out conditions for portions of the trip. Other parts we had sun, and we entered the ditch at one point. Luckily Brent was quick thinking and managed to get us out of the snow and out of the middle of the road just as a semi came barreling over the hills. It was scary enough to make me cry for a just a second.

Tonight we are relaxing in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. We checked in early and have been trying to relax despite a water issue. That seems to be corrected now so I'm hoping for a hot bath and a warm bed before we hit the real mountains tomorrow.

On a fun note we ran into a couple from Denver on their way to Anchorage. They're moving as well, and are driving because of their dog. I thought it was neat coincidence, and it's nice to know that there are fellow crazy people out there.

So, if you're the praying kind...please pray for continued safe travels for us. God is good.

More pictures

This is the view of the road outside of Saskatoon by about 2.5 hours. Not quite to Edmonton. It's was blustery but clear roads. And that's all that I can ask for.

I know, I're sick of signs. But it's exciting. I think we're heading the right way...I hope...
This is the road we have traveled the most until this point. That will change now that we're on the Alaska Hwy. But all in all a nice road, except for the 20 miles that we bump, bumped along...Oy.

This is the sign at the edge of Grande Prairie. I wish I could have seen a chuckwagon race... Seriously, Grande Prairie is a very nice town, I wish we could have spent some time here.

Pictures as promised

For those of you worried about Ches, here she is. We didn't dump her off anywhere. She travels like a wunderkind and is happy to just be along. She usually curls up with her pillow and her baby in the backseat, but when she is feeling like she's not getting enough love she pops through and sleeps on the armrest between us.

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This is the very unique, but pretty egg at the park in Vegreville. I didn't notice it until we were pulling out of the park. I'm glad we didn't miss it!

For all you hockey fans...Wayne Gretzky Drive in Edmonton. Enjoy!

We've seen a lot of big trucks with window stickers. This one gave me a giggle so I thought I'd share it with you. I think it's a great life lesson, if all else fails. Show some skin! lol.

These are those tall spindly evergreens I was talking about. It's fun to see the various shapes and curves. I'm used to seeing thicker, fatter evergreens. But these take little turns and bends as they grow tall.