Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 8 in more detail

One of the things this trip has taught us is that things have different meanings depending on who you're talking to. Remember last night's kitchenette? This is the kitchenette in the hotel in Whitehorse - a single-unit combination of a two-burner stove, sink, and fridge. Cool.

The hotel in Whitehorse was probably the funniest one we stayed in. They didn't mean for it to be, it just worked out that way. The floor was so creaky we tried to stay still as much as we could so we wouldn't disturb the tenants below us, and the bed James used was like a teeter totter. The stairs leading up were slat stairs, and they bothered Tate, so she wouldn't climb them and had to be carried up. And she's heavy. But probably the funniest thing was that this morning, Jim got up to let Tate out to potty. He got dressed, opened the door in his grogginess, and simply let Tate out. Shouts of distress brought Jim to full consciousness and he grabbed her harness and caught up with her down the balcony. Fortunately, she stayed upstairs and hadn't gone far, and was trying to go into other rooms for little visits.

Also in Whitehorse is the World's Largest Weather Vane. It was down for some sort of improvements to the airport the day we were there, so you'll have to click on the link to see it put together. It's a real WW2 plane on a swivel that points its nose into the wind.

The wildlife adventure didn't stop yesterday. We saw a small group of six wild horses (seriously!) by the roadside, more moose, and six elk in the picture below. We also saw our first eagle of the trip, loons, tons of prairie dogs and hares. Our two-day wildlife total is now up to 83, not counting any of the animals smaller than Tate.

You know what that line is in the forest? That's the border between the US and Canada. No kidding. Sort of like in the cartoons. The US is on the left, and Canada on the right.

While all three of us have had a surprisingly pleasant trip through the Alcan, the last couple hundred miles or so lived up to the hype. Extensive construction barred the way and slowed traffic to a crawl, when we could go at all. Pilot cars would drive one queue of cars through the construction zone, then make a U-turn and lead the waiting cars back down it in the other direction, so that we would know how fast we could go and when to change lanes. It was tedious, dusty, and frustrating. It was also dangerous to the vehicles. This is Jim's second windshield damage of the trip, thanks to a passing semi who threw a rock right into the windshield in front of Jim. We're thankful it didn't go on through the glass.

This is our first glimpse of how close we were to the border and getting out of Canada. With the exception of the Rockies, I'm not in any hurry to come back into Canada, eh.

Pretty view from one of the construction areas. I already forgot the name of this lake.


Y'know, after all the hurry we went through to get Tate back into the US before her vet papers expired, I couldn't get the border agent to even look at them. As before, he wanted to know what was marked "fragile" in the back of the car (the antique violins), gently scolded us for forgetting to sign our passports, and waved us on through. Hm. Another non-event after all the hype.

So, here we are, back in the States. Aaaaaah. We left the Alcan in Tok, Alaska (rhymes with 'oak') where we had dinner and Jim found out that the smoke in the air was coming from a wildfire in Fairbanks, 230 miles away. The air smells like burnt chocolate chip cookies, in a bad way. Now we're in the Caribou Hotel ("We Caribout You") in Glennallen, Alaska. We'll be stopping in Anchorage for a while to get an estimate on a new windshield and maybe trade my CR-V for a rental car so the dealership can check it over after the long trip. We should be in our own house by bedtime, though. Yahoo!

1 comment:

  1. Jim (of the wild ride variety)July 9, 2009 at 12:52:00 PM CDT

    Canada was nice. The only problem was the stretch between Whitehorse and the border, which was tedious. The great thing about Canada was the shower head which poured BUCKETS of water on your head per second. It was like showering under Niagara Falls. The other great thing was the loads and loads of wildlife. The not great thing was spending a fortune to top off a tank of gas.