Friday, July 9, 2010

Done

We made it home. We are exhausted. 6095 miles in 14 days.

Vancouver

Man... I almost forgot how awesome this city is. Vancouver is super cool.
The weather is perfect and you can tell Vancouver is really enjoying it
today.

We've stopped in at the Yaletown Brewing Co for lunch and beers. Certainly
the best Canadian beer of the trip!

After this back to Seattle and the conclusion of the trip.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Heading down the Sea to Sky Hwy

This is it! The last night! Today we started the drive down the Sea to Sky
hwy towards Vancouver. Certainly one of the cooler drives othe whole trip.
We stopped at the Nairn Falls campground just outside of Whistler.

We decided to make the hike (about 2mi) to the falls from the camp, but
didn't realize that it actually gets dark here, so we had quite the
nightime hike (no flashlights) back to camp.

Right now we are celebrating the last night with steaks, jiffy pop, and a
canadian version of a west coast pale ale.

We are kings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Made it to camp!

Made it to our camp for the night at Lake Tyhee Regional Park. At CA$25,
this is our most expensive camping night of the trip! Con artists here!

Fire is going, and dinner will be soon. Although it's 10:30pm it's still
not dark, but this is the closest to it that we've seen in a long time.
It's like a really long twilight or dusk.

Tomorrow through Prince George, then see how far south we can go. We are
still debating if we can go thru Vancouver or not. Depends on where we end
up.

Time for dinner! Cheers!

Drove the Cassiar Hwy

Seems like we've been driving forever today. We made the long long drive
down the Cassiar, stopping for lunch by a river just south of Dease Lake.
The hwy was really nice, much more scenic then the route we took up. It was
a cell dead zone the whole way though, so this is the first chance I've had
today to connect.

Tonight we'll be camping just outside of Smithers, BC. We think we'll be
getting into camp around 9:30ish, then setting up a fire to cook some
dinner.

We have high hopes that we might actually have a sunset tonight! I'm
excited to see the night again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

At the Continental Divide

We made it to our camp, we're at the lodge at the Continental Divide. This place is really awesome, but the mosquitos are crazy here so we are hiding in the tent.

This place is a good deal, includes free firewood, showers, and wifi for $15 a night!

Today was a big haul, doing about 550 miles, and we lost an hour because of the time change going over the border into Canada, so it looks like we are going to hit the sack early tonight.

Onward to the Cassiar highway tomorrow!

Back in Canada

After a very restful sleep at a small lakeside freebie campsite near the
Canada border, we hit the road this morning and made the 350 mile drive to
Whitehorse, Yukon. We decided to make our first fast food meal of the trip
at an A&W, since they are everywhere in Canada, and we know we'll be
getting to our next camp rather late tonight as we have another 200 miles
to go!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Matanuska Glacier

Heading out of Anchorage on our way home we stopped by Matanuska Glacier. They let you climb out over the glacier, unsupervised! Really freaking walking around here hearing the melt and looking down through ice. And totally awesome!

Officially on the way home

From here on - we're headed home! After getting supplies in Anchorage, we couldn't resist stopping in at the Moose's Tooth for one more beer and some super tasty salmon spread.

After this we'll hit the road, find the glacier, then see how far we can drive tonight.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

South of Anchorage

We had an awesome day today, after leaving our freebie plush hotel (and last of the trip) in Anchorage, we headed south towards Seward.

On the way in we stopped at the Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. There's a nice easy hike from the visitor center to the edge of the glacier. The glacier was awesome up close, but we're told you can get even closer to the Matanuska Glacier, so we are going to try that tomorrow.

Seward was totally insane with 4th of July festivities. We had planned on trying to camp there but there was no way to even drive into town, let alone find a campsite.

Instead we headed back up the highway and ended up at the Quartz Creek campground which is between Quartz Creek and Kenai Lake. We did some fishing on the lake and I caught a nice rainbow trout.

Right now we're grilling sausages and drinking Alaskan beers.

Happy 4th of July!

Finally in Anchorage!

Today we packed up all of our wet gear after plenty of overnight rain and made the short trip to Wasilla for a nice breakfast at Mat-su Family Restaurant that totally hit the spot.

Then on to Anchorage for another free hotel points stay (our last hotel of the trip). We went out for some great beers and pizza at Moose's Tooth Brewing. Just finished up a load of laundry and soaking my mosquito-chewed legs in calamine. Tomorrow we take off for Seward for Fourth festivities and the Exit Glacier.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Another epic day

So we left Fairbanks and rolled into Denali National Park where I got to see the biggest mountains I've ever come across. Unfortunately Mt. McKinley was in a cloud so we didn't get to really see it.

We drove into the park as far as you can go, to the Savage River trail head. After hiking in a ways looking for the stream we found out about from a guy at the visitor's center, we stopped for some photos. Unfortunately, Jeff mistook a pile of loose shale for a solid step and did a somersault down the hillside. To his credit, he ended the fall by digging his hand (holding an Alaskan Brewing Amber beer) into the ground like an ice axe.

This sorta ended our hike as Jeff had to add several bandages to his hand. But on the way out, a park ranger pointed us to the stream that had seen good fishing. Ever the trooper, Jeff led the way to the stream, where I managed to snag my second fish ever (thanks again for the poles Christian! Rapala wins again. And I, uh, owe you one lure, so far). It was a little grayling, but who cares, I was having a great time.

We left and after an amazing drive south through the mountains (finally getting to see what I imagined Alaska looking like) we set up camp at Trapper Creek. Then we left for a 60 mile round trip to Talkeetna for dinner at the West Rib Cafe and Pub. We hadn't eaten lunch so Jeff's salmon sandwich and my bacon cheeseburger went quick (seriously one of the best burgers I've ever had. If you ever come here splurge and get the "fat ass sauce" which is sour cream, minced bacon and jalapeƱo, and secret spices).

As we finished up, a guy came over to ask me if my 24 Hours of Lemons t-shirt was a random purchase or if I actually raced. This turned into a half-hour discussion about our Lemons team and how he and the president of his Alaskan car race club want to adopt the Lemons rules for an Alaska series. Really a great day all around.

So back to camp now. We are heading to Wasilla tomorrow to see the view of Russia and then finally get to Anchorage!

Alaskan traffic jam

Only in Alaska can you have a dead stop traffic backup on an unpaved road.

Can only head South from here

It's 9:00am Friday morning and after refilling on ice, beer, and water (the essentials!) we're back on the road. We had a very restful two free nights at the Holiday Inn Express in Fairbanks. Our next destination is Denali National Park to see what we can see of Mt McKinley.

Last night while washing the Jeep (which looks surprisingly clean right now) we met a family on their 20th wedding anniversary doing an Alaskan Road Trip. You can see their adventures at: http://celebrating20.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We have crossed the Arctic Circle

From Sour Toes (seriously I will post about that tonight) to Cold Feet, we made a 10 hour roundtrip from Fairbanks into the Arctic Circle to have a beer at the saloon in Coldfoot, AK. You travel along the Dalton Highway (of Ice Road Trucker fame) which is a sometimes paved/potholed but mostly dirt/gravel road.

We stopped at the Arctic Circle line and traded picture-taking duties with a couple from Minnesota driving a truck and towing matching Triumph Scrambler bikes.

The road is traveled year-round by semi-trucks hauling goods and gas from Fairbanks to the North Slope. I was passed while driving the speed limit (50 mph) by a tanker truck. Later on I learned an important Dalton Highway lesson when I failed to pull over as far as possible and slow down for an oncoming truck that kicked a rock into our windshield. One inch higher and it would have cleared the Jeep; instead a 4" crack split two ways and eventually went all the way across.

Jeff drove the return leg which involved lots of rain and mud, and a near-miss on running out of gas (I put 19.6 gallons into the 20 gallon tank when we coasted into the first station back in civilization. Entirely my fault).

So now we are at the Silver Gulch brewery enjoying some drunk annoying loud ladies and IPAs with no hops (seriously, the far north has NO IDEA what they are doing with beer). My beer cheese soup is here, so I am gone.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Merry Christmas in June!

We made a stop in at North Pole, Alaska. It had everything! We saw the pole, reindeer, and even hung out with Santa. Apparently he likes to go fishing out of Oceanside and knows the Miramar pyramid.

Making new friends

So we gotta tell you about our camping neighbors in Dawson. Espen and Malin are from Norway. They have a sweet custom built 2004 Nissan Patrol (Australian version) that they had shipped to Florida. They drove from there to Alaska and are now going head south all the way to South America. It's an amazing trip that they are doing and we were in awe of their stories so far.

Last night we dragged them out for some of the night life in Dawson, an we had a great time at the casino and the local bars.

Check out their website to see their adventures:
http://www.unurban.no/
We're excited to watch their adventures as they continue south!

One of the real delights of our trip so far has been meeting all of the cool and crazy people along the way. Yukon Dave in Whitehorse, Espen and Malin last night... And I still have to explain about Calgary Bob and Capt Mark, but that will be another post.

Who will we meet in Alaska??

Made it to Alaska!

The top of the world highway was awesome. The Canada side was not bad at
all, it was a nicely graded gravel road, but the US side was a not very
well maintained dirt road. We were doing a good 60mph in Canada and had to
drop down to 30-40ish once we crossed the border checkpoint. Anyway, we
made it!

The other photo is at Chicken, AK where we stopped for a tasty lunch.
That's basically the entire town right there in the photo.

We're in Delta Junction right now gassing up and on our way to Fairbanks!

Leaving Dawson

Time to drive the top of the world highway.

Last night was epic. Photo of the can-can show at Diamond Tooth Gertie's.

I'll tell you about the 'toe' later.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dawson

Wow. Dawson is pretty cool. For you video game fans, its basically like
walking around in Blackwater from RDR but there are cars instead of horses.

Ben and I have stopped into the restaurant in the Downtown Hotel and then
plan to visit the local saloons and the see the show at Diamond Tooth
Gertie's casino. Should be a very interesting night!

We also met some awesome neighbors tonight at our campsite. We'll talk
about them more later but they are doing our dream road trip - the
Trans-America highway!

Made it to Dawson!

Just outside of town we took the detour to see Dredge #4, the largest
dredger in the north america... It was HUGE!! I can't imagine what it was
like when it was a rock eating and rock pooping monster.

And of course nothing I love better then abandoned vehicles in the middle
of nowhere!

Tonight we will explore Dawson

Road work in the Yukon

We're on highway 2 between Carmacks and Dawson. As usual around here, lots
of roadwork going on in the long gravel stretches. We waited here in the
middle of nowhere for about half an hour before the 'follow me' truck led
us down the road.

The plan for the rest of today is get in some fishing on our way to Dawson,
then roll into town to check out the crazy nightlife.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's a quarter to midnight

And it's totally light out...

Crazy up here's.

Yukon needs beer lessons

Tried 2 different IPAs tonight. Worst ever.

Yukon Brewing Company Ice Fog IPA - deep amber color, no hops smell or
taste at all, tasted like a stale Killian's red
(Yukon Brewing Co's slogan is 'Beer worth freezing for')

Alexander Keith's IPA - pale yellow, kind of smells like poop, again no
hops at all. Nothing Ale about it, its like Heinekin stopped caring.

Ben tried...

Rickard's Red - probably the best we had, but not good. Way too sweet.

Kokanee (in the bottle) - A basic Canadian lager. It's actually good, and
delivers on what it advertises.

... Good thing we have Hale's Mongoose IPA from Seattle waiting for us at
camp!

Oh yeah... It's 11pm and totally light out. Sunset is no where in sight.

100 miles to Whitehorse

It's really nice out here. The scenery has been awesome to see as we roll
on by.

Its almost 8pm and its totally daylight out.

When we went to bed at the camp last night at 11:30 it was still totally
light out. It's crazy having these loooong days. I wouldn't want to be here
in the winter.

Signpost Forrest at Watson Lake, Yukon

We made it to the Yukon!! Our first stop was at the famous Signpost
Forrest. There are a TON of signs here. Just by chance, we found a Poway
sign!

So the original plan was to drive north from here and camp at Ross River.
However, the drive today has been a bit longer then expected and we've been
told the drive there takes six hours or longer thru a rough and tumble
road. So now we are thinking we'll head west toward Whitehorse and find a
place to camp near there.

So far roadtrip animal totals are:
5 bears
2 cariboo
5 mooses
2 dead mooses
and
1 HUGE herd of buffalo!

Just to reassure everyone, we are totally safe and everything is going
well!

Time to hit the road!

Lunch at Muncho Lake

Totally perfect lunchtime have sandwiches and a beer while sitting on a
dock at Muncho Lake.

Our makeshift bear box was succesful!

Successful at attracting some attention from somebody. Fortunately Jeff
was smart and put the duct-taped cooler on top of the food bin. They got
ahold of Jeff's bathroom bag, ate the strap off then gave up.

Camping was good though. Got one bite at the lake, but then the fish wised
up to our game. We are back on the road and still killing stowaway
mosquitos. Next stop Fort Nelson for some gas.

Oh and thanks for the radar detector scott! Working like a charm.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chetwynd - the Chainsaw Sculpture Capital of the World

Stopped for a while in Chetwynd to make some sandwiches and check out the
chainsaw sculptures. We had our first roadside bear sighting today!

Passing thru the Canadian Rockies

Awesome drive thru BC so far as we travel north from Prince George.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tim Horton's and Hale's Mongoose IPA helped us with a little channeling of Bob and Doug on our first night in Canada. Hey we earned it. We watched people run a long ways today.

Saying Howdy to Cariboo Sam

A quick stop in Cache Creek for lunch and gas.
Cell service has been a lot spottier then expected. We're not sure how
often we'll be able to update but we will try our best!