Sunday, August 22, 2010


just returned from a roadtrip north. far, far north! was a great adventure with beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife sightings. i'll just get started today with the pre road pictures. above is the official start of the dalton highway. it starts above fairbanks so we all met up monday in fairbanks at the rivers edge campground. sue had flown in, scott and jacqui had driven up the day before to visit family. tanya and i left anchorage by 10am and julie and maria were behind us in anchorage.
this picture is tuesday morning on the drive between fairbanks and the dalton start. we all got together about 8pm in fairbanks. had sunny skies there though the drive up was anything but sunny. it poured pretty much the entire drive north and we were finding it hard to believe that fairbanks was sunny and warm.
we all went out to dinner for a last meal and we were able to shower in the morning. the campground is right on the chena river that runs through town so it was nice to be on the river for the night.
we all got a chance to re-organize our cars for the long drive and figure out if there were any last minute needs. fred meyer was near the campground.
passed this sign for a city with a population of 1....seems a bit odd. must be kinda lonely to be in a city all by yourself? we also stopped by a cute town called joy. more on that tomorrow.
we stopped tuesday morning for a blossom tennis ball chase. actually we stopped often, lots of pictures and all. we quickly established the train. my car was always first, julie and maria's rig next and then scott and jacqui brought up the rear. the order was never discussed but there it was. i was looking in my rearview mirror the entire trip making sure the 3 cars stayed close and watching for big trucks. they have the right of way on the dalton highway and i wanted to stay on thier good side. it's a long road and lots of bad stuff can happen. they would be our support in an emergency whether they wanted to or not. they were pretty much all that was out there. we never saw any sort of police or government vehicle out there on the road, just us, the truckers and a few other folks driving the road like us or out for a caribou hunt.
look how clean all the cars look. we have our extra gas on top of the car and also full spares on rims. would also recommend a bottle of windex, paper towels and windsheild wiper fluid. we stopped on occasion to clear the mud off the taillights and such.
we stopped by at julies to check the progress and give her some of tanya's food to load. they were obviously not quite ready to go. this is maria.
rio had no idea what she was in for on this one.
i took out one of the back seats and put the other back seat down for blossom. we put a load in front of the back seat and then spread blankets on it so blossom had the top bunk and rio had a dog bed on the bottom bunk. i think they rode quite comfortably in the element. of course, blossom occasionally attempted to sneak into the front seat. i used bungee cords to try and keep stuff from flying forward when the brakes were applied. it worked. i also tossed in some electrical tape and duct tape. the duct tape is still on my car. gotta call and get an extra oil change tomorrow and make sure all is okay. i needed to apply the duct tape at some point and will have to repair that...more on that later though.
tanya and i listened to music and chatted on the drive up. the rain prevented any views of the big mountain. seems it's been awhile since tanya has been north. she hadn't seen how changed the little town just north of denali national park is. princess cruises has totally taken it over. so odd to be in the middle of nowhere and suddenly have sidewalks and street lights and such. so bizarre. i guess that is what the tourists want. sadly, i think it makes them feel safe and secure in our wilderness. has the opposite effect on me i guess.
we stopped briefly in nenana as tanya had never driven in. it's actually a very cute little alaskan place. no princess takeover yet. :-)
the tripod is put out on the river each year and a contest is held. this has happened for years and years. i've yet to enter, but perhaps this year i shall. each person who enters guesses the time the ice will go out and the tripod will move. that is the nenana ice classic.

this is scott and jacqui getting organized at the campsite.
sue and tanya. sue flew in from san francisco where she currently lives. she was so excited to be back in alaska. it's been a few years since she joined hte annual trip.
maria, scott, julie at tent, sue and tanya. settling in for the night.
nice river sunsets...
seems like today was a lazy day, but i did laundry dishes, hosed the car, went to the grocery, attempted to mow the jungle...and have been loading loads of photo's onto the computer. no idea how many there are, but i'll load them and then put them on dvd's i guess.
i'm sleepy and i still have to make dinner. i know it's almost 11pm. for all the food we all packed we ate hardly any. loads of driving and noone wanted to really stop so we all seemed to just snack on the road.
julie shows off her mosquito jacket. we were all jealous. lucky for all of us, this time of year appears to be a great time to hit the dalton. the usually brutal mosquito swarms were fairly quiet and we enjoyed a mostly bug free journey.
we all settle into the new 6 man tent for the night. the pups actually did quite well, stayed on thier beds or mine for the most part. blossom gave morning wags and lovins everyday though. they both still seem pretty tired like i do post trip.
we did walk the bog, but that was it today.
blossom loved having company.
loved this shot of rio. such a cutie. she really did well overall on the trip. not as crazy as in the past. i had to leave them in the car in deadhorse for the 2+ hour tour. all was well when i returned. more on that later too.
well, more tomorrow. i really have to get myself fed and fold laundry and all that. no poems yet.

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