Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yes, we're still alive!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We left my sister Annette’s house after her husband Harry insisted on cooking us breakfast (technically second breakfast). He also sent us with sandwiches for lunch AND leftovers from dinner the night before! We did NOT go hungry at their house by any stretch of the imagination. Harry’s cooking is the stuff of poetry! Seriously, it is that good. Rodney and I have only a half dozen or less “memorable eating experiences” in our lives. Harry’s cooking ranks right up there with fresh lobster in Nova Scotia, San Carlos Bay (hole in the wall) in Phoenix, AZ, my Uncle Henk’s cooking and the tiny French restaurant we ran across years ago after camping in Ontario Provincial Park. I kept telling them that if they kept feeding us like that we might not want to leave! I’m still drooling over the food just thinking about it!

Anyway, we did manage to drag ourselves away (with much pain on the part of the kids) and we started off on the second half of the journey. We drove first toward Calgary through driving rain over roads that I wasn’t too keen on driving. In Bassano where my sister lives we had walked over these wet roads that were as slick as could be! They are paved with a gravel that is like tiny smooth river rocks. They are also as slick as river rock when they get wet. I kept thinking of that as we drove along through the heavy rain! The rain finally cleared away as we got near Calgary but the traffic didn’t! Once the heavy rain stopped, the heavy traffic started and stuck with us pretty much all the way to Edmonton.

We stopped along that route in Carstairs to visit a missionary that our church has supported for years. I’ve followed Dan and Deanna Woodard’s ministry for years, met them a few times and kept in touch via email and Facebook more recently. Dan is such an interesting person and always such a joy to talk to! He’s one of those people that just radiates the joy of Christ. It was such a joy to be able to stop in and meet them in person, especially since there was a group from Castile, NY there that week putting a new roof on their house. That roof was such an amazing story in and of itself! Dan had been concerned about the roof for some time and our church had considered going out to help work on it but ended up getting pulled off to another trip. A number of us really had a burden about Dan’s roof and still wanted to help somehow. Meanwhile, we were planning this trip. We had decided that we would try to stop for a day or half a day and at least get Dan and his boys started on the job. As we were making those plans, the group from Castile decided to go up and do it. Just days before they arrived, Carstairs was hit by a freak hail storm that damaged most of the roofs in town as well as siding on many of the houses. Had that roof gone on any sooner, it would have been ruined. God’s timing was impeccable!

Less fun was some of the road kill we saw. Today’s was more disturbing than unusual – a Pyrenees and a horse. Not sure why we don’t expect to see that sort of thing, but we don’t.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We left Whitecourt, Alberta and drove through more amazing scenery. The area gets remote quickly once you leave Edmonton aside from the anomaly of Grand Prairie with it’s 50,000 people. The gas prices started creeping higher and higher the further out we got. British Columbia has TONS of forests and trees through the area we drove and lots more mountainous roads. Oh yeah, STEEP and CURVY! Yikes! Intense driving! We ended up at Pink Mountain, about 140 miles past Dawson Creek, British Columbia, the official start of the Alaskan Highway.

Monday, August 17, 2009.

Today’s drive was AMAZING! It was probably the most amazing scenery I’ve EVER seen in my life! And we thought we’d seen beautiful before! EVERY turn or hill revealed another amazing vista more beautiful than the last. Today’s drive was through the Rockies. We saw moose, caribou, BUFFALO (honest to goodness, real life buffalo) and Stone Sheep. We’ve also seen antelope, mule deer and white tail deer, just not today. The buffalo like to sleep on the road at night. I’ll bet that’s exciting! Those things are MONSTERS! We had gone through one section where they said there were a lot of them and we didn’t see one. We got to another section like that and I said I’d really like to see some, not up close and personal like with a car, but close enough for pictures. Did I ever get that prayer answered! We saw a whole herd right beside the road (not in it). It was AMAZING! We didn’t make it that far mile-wise, but we sure had a full day! We were on the road by 8 am out of Pink Mountain, British Columbia and finally made it to Liard River, BC by about 5 pm. It was intense driving the entire day, much of it over winding gravel roads with some intense up and down grades. And we thought it was bad on Sunday! Every day brings more beauty and worse roads! LOL! It didn’t help that at the bottom of “Suicide Hill” they had us STOP for construction. Who’s bright idea was that? The brakes on the trailer were SMOKING after that one! There wasn’t a moment of relaxation at the wheel all day. We camped at Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park which as the name indicates, is situated on a hot spring. We went up to the spring to soak and relax after the long day of driving. Ummmmm!!! Delightful! I had to stay on the cooler side of the spring, but my skin loved the spring water (just not too much of the heat).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Well, we finally have internet again! Yeah! We made it to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. It was another beautiful drive today with much better roads than yesterday. We made pretty good time today, putting on about 400 miles in 9 hours. In the camp last night there was a bear trap close to our campsite. Oksana and Andrei slept in a tent and Oksana didn’t sleep at all worrying about that bear. Then they got wet too because they didn’t stake out the tent. It was a crabby morning to say the least! We’re drying out now though and everyone is in better spirits knowing that the end of the trip is in sight. We expect to get to camp in about 2 more days. We might even get to Alaska tomorrow depending on the roads. The road is supposed to be gravel and poor a couple hours north of here. We’ll find out tomorrow. We’re all pretty tired at this point. It will be very good to get to camp! I'll try to get some pictures up later, but a shower takes higher priority!

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