20151103

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Very chill day.  Hung out with the kids, and flew the quadcopter with Mattias.  Sushi with Karin, and Maia today for lunch.  NOM’d some “St Albert” rolls (Unagi, AK salmon, with a dragon roll Base)  Got to see a Edmonton (EDM) vs Pit hockey game at a Canadian bar.

Project N.A.M.B (A2A/P2P) planing is in progress.  Tire info gathering tomorrow.

Posted on November 4th 2015 in Posts

20151101-02

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Been a little slow to update.  Going back 2 days of memory is more difficult than I thought.  The drive from Whitehorse to Fort Nelson was uneventful, with not much to share (based on memory)  Our stay in Fort Nelson was interesting.  The hotel, was the same as my trip North, and given it was Sunday the bar next door was closed.  There was also a new front desk person, and I’m a little sad I didn’t get to say hello to Gogeet (sp) again.  Navigating the silly service roads that were as big as the main road at night, and everything covered in snow was a little challenging, for me at least.  We stopped in at a small pub that was opened, and watched the final of the Women’s Master curling championship over a pint.  Back to the room, and began dumping the days files.

Yesterday was the 2nd half of the Yukon and into BC.  It’s funny how nothing looked the same, either based on direction, new snow, or having to slow down a bit from the snow.  The day was FULL of animals. (images in a bit)  A rough recap would be 30+ buffalo or bison, 3 different heard of reindeer, a wolf/coyote (not sure) and more lying “Caution Moose” signs than we could get pictures of since there weren’t any real ones to see.  Toad River was prolly 3x what I remember in size, and thrice as beautiful.

Begin road drama:
The night before my tire pressure light came on, and we tossed some air in it, and reset the sensor.  a couple hours into the next day it popped on again.  We stopped at ~5 gas stations that didn’t offer air.  Fine, proceed to Fort St. Johns, bit low, but we were just killing time at the smaller places.  We pull into a small tire shop, and realized just how low the tire was.  We ask the Worker there, what his availability was, as I was just going pay to have it swapped off.  He said it would be a wait as he had 2 jobs in front of us.  We asked if they minded if we made the swap in their parking lot, and he had no issues.  It was about -12*C, and the parking lot was completely covered in snow.  We get the jack under the car, and begin lifting.  Once we were about ready to undo the lugs, the whole car began shifting ~5″ in our direction, as the jack began falling through the snow, trapping itself under the car, and road.  Two nice gentleman offered us their jack to get ours out.  We got the jack out, and I scrounged for something to put under the jack.  WOOT, a 2×2 log was found, and the tire was off.
As we continued to Fort St. Johns, the next hehBIGheh city, on a two lane, going both directions road, I see something ahead.  There are oncoming cars, and people in front and behind us.  I decide straddling the object was my best bet.  It was that, tire it (no more spares) or over a cliff.  Once I got closer to the object I can clearly see it’s a truck tow hitch sticking out of the ground.  3xCLUNK’s under the car, a F*CK out of my mouth, and Mickey audibly made a noise.  We pulled over at first chance to inspect the damage.  Shredded, torn metal hanging about 1.5″ from the ground is spotted in the back.  No visual leaking oil, and the car still felt fine.  We continue to SFJ, and stop for gas, and hit up a tire shop.  They said 30-90 minutes before we could even be looked at.  We press forward to Dawson’s Creek in hopes of better luck
Arrive Dawson’s Creek, and Mickey found a tiny little shop in town with the Googles.  We pull in, and NAPA is posted all over the building with 2 garage bay doors (Goodish sign right).  Walk inside, and begin talking to the clerk who tells us that body shop is a different entity to them.  Cross doors into the car bays, and it looks like a gas station body shop.  This Canadian Cooter looking old man puts the car on the lift, and the 3 of us start looking at the under side.  Torn heat shield over the muffler, that he bangs into place with a little ol 2lbs hammer.  There is more shielding along the side of my upgraded straight pipe, passed the downpipe.  Looks pretty nasty, but nothing to worry about with functionality of the vehicle.  The skid plate (mount under the downpipe) of 3/4″ forged aluminum, had a nice, almost finger sized hole punch clean taken out of it.  OOF.. still mostly cosmetic if you will, and nothing to affect the car.  Exhaust 100% intact, and I nearly cry from the stress of the unknown, and relief from the news.  Tipped the guy, and we’re on our way.  Just outside of town the road clears enough to actually see it for the first time in days, peddle down!
Alberta was a BALMY 0*C , also the first time in 9 or so days I’d seen warmer temps.  Yes, this now feels down right comfortable at this point.

Posted on November 3rd 2015 in Posts

20151031

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Today was bitter sweet.  I get to begin the next part of my adventure, but had to say goodbye to Kenny, and his family.  It’s been at least a decade since I saw him last, and it was like nothing had ever changed.  Some great old memories were shared from back when we lived in Warrenton.  Got to geek out with my Mentor for a couple days, and meet his new family and friends.

It took me a while to get my snow feet on for driving in something other than VA’s winters.  As I mentioned it was pretty socked in yesterday.  And all the animals were no shows for 11 hours straight.

Customs was more or less a breeze.  Some odd questions:  How much money is on you? Me: 10  CDN Mickey: ~100 US.  RCMP: Do you have access to additional funds?  *Snicker* yes.  Do you plan on selling anything or attempting to gain employment?  *My head* yer dollar is worth bupkiss, heh NO.

In Destruction Bay, we fueled up, and picked up some “bacon flavored pork jerky” which turned out to be, dehydrated Canadian Ham.  Not terrible but not great.

We stayed at the Westmark in Whitehorse again.  Shout out to Paul, nice seeing you again, and Justin for taking care of us.

Posted on November 2nd 2015 in Posts

Return Day2 Update 1

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Made it sage and sound to Whitehorse last night. Very late start, as we wanted to hit North Pole again, and it didn’t open till 10am. It’s pretty much been snowing since Thursday, and has been a little hairy at times. Early start this morning in hopes of making Fort Nelson before to much nightfall. 2nd half of the Yukon today, and I really hope the clouds lift a little, been pretty socked in for views last few days

Posted on November 1st 2015 in Posts

Prudhoe Trek

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The day started out nice and early 0700 and began the drive.  Oddly enough the only animals we saw on the entire Dalton Highway were Ptarmigan bird in the middle of the road.  They were either frozen to the road, or just super dumb, not sure which.  I’ve coined them the Alaskan Dodo bird.  Kenny was skilled enough to miss the multiple groups of em.

As the road became worse and worse I remembered a word I’d made up while driving the Yukon.  Bout the time my fitbit hit 10K steps from the sheer bouncing around, I passed a truck with Asplundh on the side of it.  During our drive, I’ve made “ooof aslpundha” (meaning: My ass hurts) stick, and it’s been shouted when bouncing around the Datlton and beyond by all of us.  I was sitting in the jump seat of the truck since I have no legs, and my left butt cheek still hasn’t recovered.

The 3 of us (Kenny, Mickey, and I) all previously worked together in the late 90’s.  We caught up, shared stories, and learned some interesting facts we all had in common despite the time having passed with little contact.

Atigun pass met up to all its hype, and dangerousness.  Kenny skillfully used his over powered CB to announce our intent to climb blind passes, steep hills, and passing the plethora of farm equipment, oil tankers, plows, etc.

The AK pipeline spans 800miles, as I’ve mentioned, and we saw 500miles of it’s glory.  There are parts of it where the outside metal is nice and shiny, as we continued further north, this wasn’t the case.

The changes in scenery from virtually nothing but spruce forests to tundra, and nothing but snow, and pipeline, was pretty dramatic.  Kenny’s job (geological society), and his wife R-E (geologist) allowed him to school Mickey and I on the different types of mountains and how they were formed.

Once we got up to Deadhorse, we were all pretty fried, and elected to stay in a construction workers hostel for lack of a better term.  It looked like extra long, 3 double wide trailers put together.  However, we had beds, satellite TV, and communal dorm style bathrooms heh.

We woke up early again, and drove through Prudhoe Bay (FYI wikipedia is wrong, its (pr) prood-oh .  The land is owned or granted to BP and Shell, so it’s actually quite industrial, and 5 minutes of driving and you’ve seen everything there is to see.  Square container looking building, oil stacks, and lots and lots of equipment.

We also learned that there is ZERO power in Prudhoe.  Natural gas is a by product of oil drilling, which they have/do in excess.  Electricity is generated, and ~32 times cheaper than in Fairbanks.  We we saw a couple random burn off pipes, that just shot a constant flame into the air.  Who knew this was such an educational trip?

On the way back Kenny found his man bladder, and we stopped for lunch and fuel only.  Again Atigun wasn’t messing around, and we got back earlier than expected, and recapped stories, while we packed, and had some celebratory beverages.

Posted on November 1st 2015 in Posts

Return Day1 Update 1

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Made it back from Prudhoe Bay last night.  Excellent time thanks to KWoods!  The return trip to Edmonton begins today.  Holla Holla from the road!

Posted on October 31st 2015 in Posts

20151029 update 2

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We have arrived in deadhorse aka prudhoe bay. More to come later

Posted on October 29th 2015 in Posts

20151029

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A bit late, but we’re off!

Posted on October 29th 2015 in Posts

20151028 Update 2

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So the packing has begun for our trip to Prudhoe Bay (proo-ho) tomorrow.  Mickey arrives at FIA @00:15.  We’re getting an early start tomorrow, and it’ll certainly be dark for the first few hours.  Items I’ve observed/helped Kenny pack:

10 gallons fuel (there is nothing past Coldfoot, which is 254miles in of 500)
5 gallons water
Shotgun and shells for bears
Tent
Wind blocking tarp
Satellite Phone
Full spare tire
Some emergency box, we hope to never open

In addition we each have a plastic bin, mine contains:
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Change of clothes in case I get wet
Basic toiletries, including my Tattoo cream
Food for 48 hours
My JetBoil
My Camera’s (mounted in the Car)
Winter Jacket, Pants, Gloves

Sure, I have read what’s in the “MilePost 2015” about the Dalton Highway, but I still don’t know what to expect.  Have to admit I’ma tad nervous.

Special shout out to The Marlin for taking care of us this week; as well as Griff Rogers, for a Happy Birfday tomorrow (since I won’t be calling anyone for 2 days)

Apparently there is a “last spruce tree” at some point during the trip before the official tundra begins.  It’s supposedly commemorated with a plaque, but time and tourists have taken it’s toll, so photo pending I guess.

Kenny seems very excited about the whole thing, and R-E (his wife) is sad she hasn’t been to “The Slope” as they call it here, in quite a while.

Into the Tundra we go…….

Posted on October 29th 2015 in Posts

20151028 update 1

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DSC00685

Posted on October 28th 2015 in Posts