Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our trip south

Our drive south from North Pole, Alaska to Fort Dodge, Iowa was an adventure! We had a great time together seeing so much of Canada and the USA. The trip took us nine days, 3,603 miles, and $1961.42 in gas. The trailer we pulled could accommodate 10,000 lbs and we packed it to the max. Unfortunately the jeep wouldn't fit (Brian said thinking it might "was a fantasy"), so we left it with Brian's dad for the time being. We camped about half the time, finding hotels that would accommodate Mattie and Dawson the other half. We were only turned away from two or three hotels the entire trip. We decided to keep a journal throughout the trip, documenting interesting happenings and critter sightings. Here are photos with some corresponding entries.

Brian and the pups pose the day before we left.

Here's Brian closing up the trailer the morning we embarked.

June 10, 2008: Day 1
7:08am: And we're off! Got up @ 5:30am...went to bed @ 1:30am. Brian's cell phone is missing.
7:15am: Discovered Brian's cell phone is at Nate & Tammy's. Contemplated driving into Fairbanks. Decided not to and just carry on with Hope's phone. Hungry...
7:51am: Have bagels and coffee. We're off!
1:21pm: Stopped to have lunch with Mom and Dad @ Fast Eddies' in Tok, Alaska. Had a great time. Yum! Mom made cupcakes for us to take. (We ended up living on cupcakes for the rest of the day due to a lack of snacks. Thank goodness we had them!)

1:55pm: Stopped @ a campgound outside of Tok to give the pups a walk and some water. Mattie waited patiently for Brian to return from the outhouse.
5:41pm: Arrive at the Canada customs. We got puppy treats for Mattie and Dawson, but Brian had to go inside the office to complete his gun paperwork.

Mattie and Dawson slept most of the time, but they occassionally got up to see where we were. He's a nice photo of Dawson. You may notice that he has a choke collar on. He minds well and is a love of a dog, but Mattie pulls any other collar that we put on him. Makes him look like a tough dog, doesn't it?

7:02pm: Saw grizzly bear! 9:02pm: Made camp at Congdon Campground which was at the end of a very bright rainbow. Very sleepy. Apparently there are bears here. Drove 433 miles today.

Brian makes camp for the night.

A good shot of the truck and trailer the morning of Day 2.

Nice views were aplenty throughout Canada.

Day 3, pups ask, "Are we there yet?"

June 12, 2008: Day 3

6:50am: Stayed last night in a hotel @ Watson Lake, Canada. Stopped for snacks this morning and swung thought the Sign Post Forest. Very cool. Truck smells like dogs. Coffee ho!

8:15am: Buffalo! Careful!

Buffalo walking down the road right after Watson Lake. Brian was nervous that he would charge the truck. He just gave us a dirty look instead. He was only about two feet away from the truck. I didn't use the zoom in this shot.

10:26am: Moose!

12:18pm: Stopped for lunch at Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake. Tasty lunch and a great view!

12:20pm: Goat! Found out that my car (the Equinox) is already in Fort Dodge, IA. Only took 2 weeks. Brian's making up a song called "Driving to the mountains, gonna burn me a lot of fuel" to the theme of "Peaches."

1:32pm: "Spirits are high," says Brian.

1:53pm: Check engine light came on.

2:10pm: Stopped to let truck cool down and see what the problem is. Brian's checking the oil level adn some other stuff. Hopefully light will go off.

2:35pm: Light is out! Low transmission fluid was the problem.

June 13, 2008: Day 4

6:51am: Off! Pups got us up after spending the night at Pink Mountain Campground, so we're hitting the road kinda early.

7:36am: Small pup fight breaks out in the back. Mattie and Dawson need a break. They're probably hungry.

8:30am: Listening to Stephen King's "Duma Key" on cd. (By the way...this book lasted until the day before we arrived in Fort Dodge...18 cds.)

2:47pm: Really, really needed a bathroom. Not enough rest areas in Canada! Found a very nice outhouse in the nick of time. Feeling much better and the pups had a run. Now having lunch and decided where to stop tonight.

6:09pm: Stopped @ a Quality Inn in Whitecourt, Canada. We munched on pizza and drank some beer. With bellys full we are going to look at the maps and see which way we should go tomorrow. Hope the check engine light shuts off! (It had been coming on periodically.) Clean room. Rock! Dawson puked, so our room isn't quite as clean. (He ate and drank too fast.)

June 14, 2008: Day 5

9:00am: Woke up around 7:30am. Had a good night sleep except for Mattie barking a bit at people in the hall of the hotel. Very comfy sleep. Dogs slept in front of the air conditioner and loved it.

9:17am: Stopped @ the Chevy dealer in town to check on the engine light that keeps coming on. Brian talked to one of the mechanics who said he thought it was an O2 sensor issue and that it could wait until we got to Fort Dodge. We're showered and ready to hit the road!

2:41om: Passed historic telephone museum...decided not to stop, but will stop for a puppy break. (Took a good shot of the truck and trailer.)

3:34pm: Made it to Saskatchewan!

9:30pm: Decided to stop at Blackstrap Campground by Dunbar, SK. The campgound is good. The dogs ran around and had a good time.It is raining on us right now so we may wake up early to get out of here! Tomorrow we shoot for the US! Yah! Having fun together. This trip has been a blessing and is a nice kickoff to our new adventure in Iowa! Hope the tent is waterproof. Good night.

June 15, 2008: Day 6

9:08am: Actually slept really late. Leaving a very pleasant campgound. Bright, sunny skies this morning. Pups did some running around and are happy. Now off to get some coffee. Our goal today- Lower 48! One low- our shoes are wet from the rain last night and setting up the tent.

12:38pm: Check engine light came on. :(

1:10pm: Realized the 4wheel drive has been on since we left the campgound. Oops.

4:40pm: Stopped @ the boarder. Brian had to open the trailer. No treats for the pups, but we're back in the United States!

4:45pm: We are officially in the middle of nowhere. Wow. Not much in North Dakota.

Just a photos of a cool barn in North Dakota. It seems that they don't tear down old structures here...they just build new ones.

June 16, 2008: Day 7

8:12am: Crossed the Missouri River. Looked really high. Hope we don't run into any flooding.

11:53am: Entering South Dakota!

4:45pm: Stopped @ Wall Drug. Looked at Will James prints, rode a jackalope and a covered wagon, and Brian flirted with a floosy. Bought a Black Hills Gold ring and some ice cream. Pups waited in teh car and are ready to run around. We're going to take 240 through the Badlands.

5:00pm: Badlands ho!

6:39pm: Out of the Badlands. Tired. Looking for hotel.

10:15pm: Found hotel. It's the Best Western. Dogs ate. Brian and Hope ate. It was good! Very hungry. Really enjoyed walking with Hope through Wall Drug and driving through the Badlands. Beautiful! Almost there!!!

June 16, 2008: Day 8

10:14am: Ahead of schedule. Got to sleep in and take our time getting ready this morning. Beautiful day!

11:09am: Pit stop for pups and Brian. Nice bathrooms. Dawson is very hugable.

3:02pm: Check engine light comes on. Blah.

June 17, 2008: Day 9

10:11am: Stayed in a very nice hotel last night in Albert Lea, Minnesota after checking into a very skanky Motel 8 and leaving. Brian was a trooper and even got our money back. It was really bad. Pups were good. Watched "World's Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel. Think we need cable in our new house.

10:26am: Entering Iowa!

12:51pm: Arrived in Fort Dodge!!!

9:26pm: In hotel in Fort Dodge. Talked to a lot of people today. Looks like we will close on our house tomorrow morning! Yay yay! Sick of camping and hotels. We looksed at furniture today and have some of our choices in mind. Will purchase them tomorrow.

June 18, 2008: Day 10

6:30pm. In our new house! Celebrated with a beer that we brought from Alaska. So glad to be home! :)


jenrust said...

I absolutely loved your journal and the pictures that went with it! So glad you shared it with us! Also thankful you made it to Iowa safe and sound! Congrats on the new house. Can't wait to see more pictures! Love you guys!


April said...

Sounds like an adventure!! I was singing Brian's song to the right tune even before I read what it was to. haha

I hope you are getting settled in and I can't wait to see pictures.

Mom & Dad said...

Jennifer said it for all of us. Patsy and I enjoyed the journal and pictures. Glad you made it safe. We look forward to seeing you in July.

Mom and Dad

Mom & Dad said...

Jennifer said it for all of us. Patsy and I enjoyed the journal and pictures. Glad you made it safe. We look forward to seeing you in July.

Mom and Dad

ginny said...

Hope & Brian... Glad you made it down there safe and sound. There was a day or two where Charlie and I were biting our nails when they were talking about the rising flood waters.

You trip sounded remarkably stress free and fun. I'm glad you're at your new home and life is working out perfectly for you guys. Miss you tons and I can't wait to see you in July.

Keep bloggin'!

P.S. Wrangler says hi to Mattie and Dawson!