Day 8: Ambitious Failure

Having slept pretty well in the back of the Jeep I hit the road early knowing I had some miles to cover.  First stop was Salt Lake City Utah. 

In Salt Lake I met an old friend from Mississippi. Where he treated me to a wonderful lunch at a local Thai Restraunt.  It was great talking to him and catching up.  Also good to know he is doing well.
I love the view in Salt Lake and they remind me of Anchorage seeing the mountains just driving down the road.

My next planned stop was supposed to be the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately I failed to make that.  But along the way I saw many beautiful sights.

Like the original Spanish trail.

And the the Mt. Carmel scenic by way.

I ended the day at a pull off on old historic highway 89.

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Day 7 … Dead Battery and Missed check point

Day 7 started out great or so I thought. I was up, ready and in the Jeep before 615 ready to eat up some miles. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to unplug the electric cooler and the Jeep was dead.  With my friend at work I decided to wait until his wife woke up to get a jump and hit the road.  

After playing a few interesting make believe games with their youngest daughter, my friend wife came down and we got the Jeep started and I hit the road.  I will miss my friend and his family they are wonderful people. 

First stop of the day was a view point West of Yakima and it was gorgeous. 

From there I made a rest stop and found this interesting point I thought was beautiful.

Then drove past the Yakima Training area that some of my Army buddies despise so much.

Just southwest of Yakima I drove past two active new wild fires. I wanted to stop and help but they were waving traffic so I continued on my way. I pray all the officers and firefighters working were safe.

Next up were something I personally loved seeing HOPS and vineyards along the road. You could almost smell the hops it was awesome. 

A while later I stopped at the historic Conde B. McCullough and the Upper Perry Arch Bridge.  It was a beautiful single lane bridge.

In Baker City Oregon I stopped for gas and also got dinner at the cafe there.  The portions were immense and the flavor on point. I had Chop steak l, hash browns, 2 eggs, and cornbread.  No room for desert. 

Also, had a wonderful conversation with a man that has done quite a bit of work up in Alaska and knew many of the same places K and I knew. In fact he was working only a few streets away while we lived there. I hope he is able to purchase the land he was looking to  buy in the area.

I ended the night at a rest area about 50 miles out of Twin Falls Idaho missing my camp site because I was just getting to sleepy and wanted to be safe. 

Day 6 … Rest in Seattle

As the title suggests today was a much needed rest day for this road warrior.  

To start off with so stayed with an old college/army buddy of mine and his wonderful family. I have known his wife since college when they were dating and she is a great hostess, wife and mother. Their children are just precious and it was so cool seeing the oldest and middle child who were very young when K and I got married. 

The first thing we did after Breakfast was we headed to a local wilderness park and rode the tram.  The park was Northwest Trek. It was pretty cool and here are a couple of pictures.

The next thing we did was I took a tour of my buddies prefab concrete plant to see what he does for a living now and as a fan of the how it is made show I can honestly say I enjoyed the plant tour.

Lastly after a late lunch we headed back were my buddy and I reminisced and then got our geek on with a little pathfinder character creation. 

Slow day overall stay tuned for the continuation of travel.

Day 5 … Smoke and Dairy

After spending the night in the tent in Calgary I woke up at 430 and began prepping for the day. My first task was to clean the ash off the tent. The smoke over Calgary stayed all night and there was a smattering of ash on the tent and Jeep. 

After that I broke camp, showered, ate breakfast, and hit the road by 0600. On the way out of camp I snappedd a pic of the ski jump tower from the 1988 Calgary winter games. You may remember this as the place the Jamaican Bobsled team made their debut and inspired the movie Cool Runnings.

Before leaving the area I filled a low tire on the Jeep and got rolling. The major sites today were Banff Canadian national park.  This place was gorgeous even with the smoke.  I will definitely be bringing K and the Twins here one day. I wish I would have scheduled time for a hike or two. The number of trails and size of this park is amazing. 

Next stop was the Dutchmens Dairy. I stopped at the advice of a Calgary native who suggested they had the best chocolate milk ever.  Challenge accepted. Well the Chocolate milk was absolutely devine.  Not to sweet or heavy. Loved every drop. But the also make ice cream and K can attest that I will not pass up a good milkshake.  Well worth the stop. 

Bonus stop: right across the street was a farmer’s market. Didn’t get any fruit because it would spoil before getting back to K but I did get some honey comb for snacking. 

There was another really cool thing at the market vinegar.  Lots of cool wine and even beer vinagers.

After here my only goal was make Seattle or more accurately Bonney Lake Washington.  My planned stop included lodging with an old college buddy and one of my groomsmen.

End note: the roads were insane with the number of twists and turns. 

Day 4 … Timezones suck

For Day 4 I woke up a little later than I wanted and ate a hasty breakfast at the Hotel Continental Bar and hit the road.

Leaving Ft. ST. John my next stop would be Calagary in Alberta so I had a bit of a haul to make, but that didn’t dissuade me.  I hit the Dawson Creek fast and only stopped for a couple pictures.

I remember clearly coming through here 4 years ago with K.  I was thrilling to know we were starting the ALCAN that day. Also that was the day we discovered our bank was drained by a hack on our Target Card. Talk about a stress full day.

Out side of Dawson Creek I let Google direct me around traffic and this is what I got. 


The next gas / stretch stop was Beaver Lodge.  Here it was fast in and out. The pump attendant was funny though because he was complaining about having to be at work at 5am.

Who doesn’t love a giant beaver?

Between Beaver Lodge and Calagary their were a few interesting road conditions. 

  1. High winds that batted the trailer like a kitten with yarn.  The Jeep didn’t get off any easier in that wind though. A couple sketchy moments during that wind.
  2. Alberta 43. The condition of this road was horrible most the way. Arms and Kidneys took a massive beating on this road.
  3. Wild Fires: I looked it up and the province had 24 active fires today.  Though none were near the road the sky was hazy and it plane sucked because all you could smell was smoke.

Of course there was one cool highlight. Turns out Google in avoiding the cities took me down some beautiful side highways and the Old Cowboy Trail. 

Now for the reason Timezones Suck. Apparently, the twins had turned auto time set off on the phone. Thus I hit Calgary at 1715 according to the phone and thought woohoo I have time to make the one stop I put Calagary on the destination list for. I wanted to visit The Sentry Box. The Largest gaming store in the world. Thinking I had 45 mins until closing I drove into downtown Calagary with a U-haul and attempted to visit this geek mecha. Unfortunately, it is two timezones different than what my phone said and I am an hour and a half past closing. The only portion open is the card shop.

Now I will say the card game shop portion was beautiful and the two guys working the counter were awesome. It is a shame I only got to see that section. I will not have the chance to see it tomorrow either as the store doesn’t open until 11 and I really need to hit the road and be half way to the next stop before 12.

Road Trip Day 3 … There and Back Again

For Day 3 I got an early start. I woke up at my usual 0430, with no alarm. I packed up filled up and hit the road by 0530.  The first stop today was Watson Lake. Here I stopped to take a quick look at the Sign Post Forest.

I also ate a quick bite of breakfast at Kathy’s Kitchen.  The Traditional Benny(Eggs Benedict) was amazing.

During the drive I saw 6 Black bears, 1 Brown, 2 Foxes, 1 Porcupine, A herd of Bison, two groups of rock sheep and more ground squirrels than I could count. I will put some pictures at the end of the post.

Muncho Lake was beautiful and I would love to Kayak or Canoe the emerald green waters.

One of the most exciting parts of the day was I found the pull off that K and I stopped at 4 years ago to play in the river. Unfortunately, the water was to fast to get in this time. 

About 150km from Fort Nelson I stopped the fillup and ran into some bikers from South Carolina headed up to Fairbanks.

In Fort Nelson I stopped for the first Tim Horton’s of the trip.  Double Double yes please. The stop was needed for a safety fillup and my shoulder hated the mountain driving.

I was supposed to stay at the Charlie Lake RV Park for day 3 but when I arrived there was a lot of mud and more rain expected so I opted to continue to Fort St. John and got a room at the Microtel

Here I will add a quick update on the girls in Texas. They are having a blast and even learning to swim.

As promised here are the wildlife pictures.

Road trip Day 2

Welcome back to the tale of my solo trip out of Alaska. Yesterday I told you of my adventures and misadventures getting out of Fairbanks. Well day 2 began with another bit of bad luck.

After sleeping in a bit (0845) I prepped to get a shower when I noticed the damnable U-Haul had a flat.  So I called roadside assistance and took an awesome hot shower. Knowing I wouldn’t make check out time I spoke with the owner of the Park as I paid for the previous night and offered to pay for another night.  Luckily she was extremely nice and said not to worry about it and take all the time I needed.

So I ate breakfast, broke camp and waited on the repair guy.  

I have to say the views at the RV Park were amazing. 

About noon I removed the freedom top and hit the road topless. Dust and no top was fun.

Half way to the Baby Nugget RV Park I stopped at Johnson’s crossing for a leg stretch and decided to eat a little as the have these amazingly good and big buns (rolls for my southern friends).  I was in luck and the soup of the day was my favorite French onion so I couldn’t pass it up.

I finished this days drive at the baby nugget RV Park part of Nugget City.  The mosquitos were horrible when I arrived.  There really weren’t any views to speak of and the tenting area was small and pitch where you want. Honestly the $20 price tag was a little steep for space available. The sign also advertised WiFi but could get a signal any where that wasn’t secure and passwords were not given with check-in. 

The wolf down eatery had pretty good coffee and a decent Apple turn over.

The day went well though once again slower than I would have liked thanks to the trailer and construction. 

Road trip Day 1

Yesterday was day 1 of my Road trip from Fairbanks, AK to Fayetteville, NC. 

For this leg I went from Fairbanks to the Cottonwood RV Park. Covering 450 miles that with stops to include a nap took 12 hours. 

The day started bad as I was over weight for the Jeep therefore I had to find a trailer.  Luckily the gentleman at the Uhaul in Fairbanks understood my trouble and he called around until we found a one-way available.  So after crossloading and paying for the trailer I hit the road with determination to make the day better.

Just outside Eilson Air Force Base was near disaster #2.  A huge cow moose and two calves ran right in front of me. Luckily I was able to brake hard enough to avoid them. Unlike the F-150 that took one out not 5 minutes earlier. After a quick stop at the Lazy Moose RV park for a Coke and a snack I hit the road in earnest. 

Delta 

Somewhere between Delta and Toc I took a short nap because well why not and besides I was late anyway.  And then hit the road for the last 5 hours of driving. 

At the boarder the Mounties were great. Even with Transporting my handgun there were no issues. I had all my paperwork in order signed, paid the fee and was on my way. Friendliest police ever.
Canada

 

Just past the boarder I saw these beautiful animals. A Sow and 2 cubs.

With no other trouble I made it to Cottonwood RV Park at about midnight where I pitched my tent and sacked out. Stay tuned for day 2.

Twins and Planes Episode 2: The Twins Strike Back

In the last episode I regaled you with the adventures of the twins as we flew to Hawaii.  In this episode the family has finished a wonderful vacation at the Aulani resort.  With little to no sunburn and plenty of beach sand in our shoes, hair and well everywhere we prepare for the flights home.  

On this morning we decided to visit Lanakai Beach to get some pictures of the girls and see one of the arguably most beautiful public beaches I have ever seen. (If any one has a home there please put me in you will to inherit it.)  The girls loved the beach in fact after only 10 minutes they had lost their dresses and diapers and we had naked sand babies running around. They were so happy. Luckily locals and tourists alike couldn’t get enough of the girls and everyone there was good natured about two hyper active naked two year olds.  We spent about two hours soaking up the sun and enjoying our selves before heading back to the resort to prepare for the flight home. One last Dole whip stop and we would head home.

After a rather uneventful and fairly stress free afternoon we headed to the Airport around 4 for our flight. On the bus to the airport the lady seated next to me had the same name as one of our littles and she was loving the energy pouring off the girls.  In the Airport the girls were a little crazy but not to much to handle.  It helped that the after eating a snack there were two little boys that they could play with at the gate.  

The revenge of the twins began on the planes. First, the twins have become the escape artists to rival Houdini and they would not be content to sit in their car seats for more than four minutes at a time. S decided she had to sit next to daddy but E wanted to also of course this flight was full so we had to sit in two different rows and so the twins kept standing up to check on each other and the us.

Flight one: Escape and snacks were the first signs of trouble. As stated before neither girl wanted to sit. Snacks and juice were not enough to contain them. So for the first hour of the flight we had yelling jumping fighting twins. Finally, they fell asleep and we had hope. A hope that died a quick but very smelly messy death. E got sick. I am talking excoraist split pea soup projectile vomit sick.  She covered the back of the seat, the floor, herself and K. Did I mention the guy sitting next K was really nice but drunk as hell. So he doesn’t know what to do I have just woken up to vomit sounds and K’s pleas for help. All while E keeps vomiting. (In retrospect I give her credit I mean who knew she had that much in her.) Finally, after what feels like an hour but was probably 10 minutes her fits if vomit stop and we are left with a child covered in vomit now crying and a strapped to a seat covered in vomit.  K is overwhelmed and has a look of shear exhaustion.  Finally her drunk seat mate switches seats with me as S is a rock and K could use the help.  So we get L cleaned off and in just a diaper when she falls asleep in my arms. Everything, seems to call down so I fall asleep holding her to wake up not 30 minutes later to the most horrendous smell.  L now has diareaha and it has leaked out of her Diaper and doused my shirt.  I take and clean her off and wipe my shirt but it is no good.   The rest of the flight K is in vomit stained clothes and I am in shit stained shirt.

Landing in Anchorage we make a B-Line for the nearest store with clothes. And I think we spend. Almost 150 on t-shirts, leggings, and sweatshirts just to get rid of the smell.  We then clean and change in the nearest restroom where The family restroom is locked and inaccessible.  Luckily they had a play room so we could rest as twins played. L in her brand new adult small T-shirt dress and S in her PJ’s.

Flight 2: was actually not bad being only a 45 minute flight. The girls were decently behaved though we gate checked the remaining carseat as the puke one we unceremoniously left at the arrival gate and never looked back.  The girls were excited to be sitting with out the carseat so keeping the seatbelt on them was near to impossible.

On landing we quickly gathered our bags and left the airport headed home to our beds and some much needed rest.

Twins and Planes Episode 1: We Had Hope

I hate flying.  Now, I  have never enjoyed flying because the seats are uncomfortable and not designed for tall people.  But, my recent trip to Hawaii with the twins have made me hate flying.  This isn’t the first time we have flown together but this trip took the cake.  The funny thing is every started fine for the flight out to Hawaii.  The twins actually got in the car without a fight and we left for the Airport with plenty of time.  Security, actually went quickly and the twins were well behaved, well behaved for them that is.  The first flight was short and uneventful.  The real fun for the travel there began after getting off the plane.  I realized that I lost my headphones and the twins decided that the Airport was the place to play.  Both L and E loved the moving sidewalk and needed to run from K and I no matter what.  Food was not on their agenda as L decided her chicken strips would be better with half a shaker of salt and E decided nothing tasted good.  As we waited for the next flight K and I chased the twins up and down the halls.  The best part of this was L deciding that she had to jump on every black tile she saw.  we made a game of it and had a blast.  The last flight was actually much rougher.  The girls wanted K and I to change seats multiple times and then when they fell asleep we and all was good E began screaming on decent.  In her defense the pressure change was dramatic and painful even for me.