Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thumbthing Special

I've developed a great respect for thumbs over the past few weeks, since i haven't been able to use mine. I've made a not-so-exhaustive list of things that are impossible to do without a thumb or two.

1. Close a zip loc bag
2. Pull a cherry stem from the cherry, even holding the cherry in your teeth
3. Button your garments, especially pants
4. Fold towels
5. Push the automatic lock button on my car
6. Turn a doorknob
7. Turn on a water faucet that has to be held continuously for the water to continue flowing out.
8. Unscrew the lid from a jar of jelly
9. Turn the pages of the Bible
10. Put papers on a clipboard.

So tomorrow i am getting my thumb fixed. Catch you later!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alaska from the Back of the Bike, Day 8

Monday, June 28
We spent a few hours in Wasilla and Anchorage trying to find a computer virus repair person. Finally gave it up, when several people kept telling us it would take 3 -4 days to clean the hard drive. It only has 7 gigs, for crying out loud. Ipods are bigger than this thing.. I guess my journal will be hand written for the rest of the trip.

Saw a sign along the highway almost to Anchorage that said, “Watch for Moose.” Then started noticing great circular patches of grass that were smushed down by the side of the road, and even in the medians, like a herd of something had been resting there. Later found out that’s where moose are nesting at night.

Loved the ride from Wasilla to Kenai. Finally, it is a sunny after noon! My fav part of the trip was around Turnagain Arm, where salt water flows in and beluga whales are often seen following their food source. We didn’t see any, of course.

Suddenly we are following a river, and the water is a beautiful turquoise color.
This is the Kenai River. Incredible colors.

Got to the Kenai River Raven Inn in Soldotna. We are the only guests here this week. It is a beautiful bed and breakfast. We have a big ol’ garden tub in our room, a private deck, and a view of the river…except you can’t see it very well for the trees. Dick and Stevie, the hosts, are friendly. Dick has lots of good tips for how to spend your time and where to go to see what. He’s the cook, too. Cheese and crackers for dinner, then i think i'll go soak for a while in the tub...glub, glub...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Alaska from the Back of the Bike, Day 7

Sunday, June 27
Been on the road for a week now. Today is Day 7. Rain again. Traveled from Tok to Wasilla.

The trees look like they belong in the Ewok Forest, or something equally Star Warish. Apparently because of the permafrost, the evergreen grow very tall and very skinny, so they just look really really awkward as far as being a real tree goes. They definitely would look more at home in a sci-fi movie.

Passed more glaciers. Cool how they push so much silt down in front of them, nano-inch by nano-inch by nano-inch.

Got to Wasilla early in the day. We’ve been on a Mexican food fast since we left Texas, so when we drove around Wasilla looking for a place to eat, our bike naturally just turned into a random Mexican food restaurant. It was decently good.

Staying at the Inn at Lake Lucille in Wasilla – so nice. Our room has a view of float planes landing on the lake. So tired I lay down and went to sleep at 7, fully clothed and on top of the bedspread, as soon as we unloaded the bike.

Some time during my nap, I heard Duane mumbling something about a computer virus, so I figured we were doomed. Have been using the Dell notebook to journal the trip every night, and he’s been using it to download his Garmin GPS stuff and make reservations for the next night down the road. Woke up at 10 p.m to shower, then slept til 7 a.m. Woke up finally rested. Tomorrow we reach our resting place for a few days -- the Kenai River Raven Inn in Soldotna.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Alaska from the Back of the Bike, Day 6

June 26
Breakfast was yummy! Glad the room had a refrigerator so we could have chocolate milk! Went from Whitehorse to Tok today. Right outside of Whitehorse, guess what we saw walking down the road? A white horse. Is that random or what??? Maybe they named the town after him.

It was a beautiful ride, at first. Ice fields stretched down the mountains like long snowy fingers. Loved the blue sky.

Frost heaves were so bad the road was totally torn up. Duane figured out how to ride over them like skiers going sideways over moguls, and it wasn’t so bad when he could do that – pretty ingenious, huh! My neck hurt by the end of the day, though, from all the jolts and bumps, and holding that heavy motorcycle helment on my head. Frost heaves were originally caused when the Alaska Highway was built and the road crews scraped off the permafrost to build the road. Now it freezes and refreezes all the time causing the road to buckle like crazy.
It was extremly windy and so freezing cold around Kluane Lake -- a big, big lake that the road seemed to follow forever around the shoreline.

Stopped for lunch at the visitors center at Beaver Creek. Talked to Ryan, the forest ranger guy inside, and told him my theory about the lupine and bluebonnets. He had never heard of bluebonnets, and i think he didnt' believe me at first....but pulled something up on his computer, and low and behold….they are of the same lupinus family. Duane is proud of the giant potato chip he found.

Went through U.S. Customs. Sigh. So glad to be “home” again. Tired of figuring out the exchange rate, buying gas by the liter, frost heaves, and never knowing the temperature. If you look really close at the picture of the international border, you can see how it is even cut through the mountains and trees in the distance. Stopped for the night at Youngs Motel and split a pizza and salad at Fast Eddys restaurant. It never gets dark now, the days are over 19 hours long. So we just pull the curtains and go to sleep. Saw our first bald eagle today!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Alaska from the Back of the Bike, Day 5


Left early for Whitehorse, Yukon. Cold and rainy again. Road bumpy with frost heaves and one long stretch of gravel. Ate breakfast at the grocery store, as there is nowhere in Dease Lake to eat and the grocery has a cafe that opens at 7. Heated clothing again. Stopped at Cassiar Mt. Jade Store. Over 90% of worlds jade is mined in the Cassiar Mountains. So I bought a tiny, itsy bitsy little jade star to hang on the Christmas tree as a memory of the trip. It was $30. However, it is simply beautiful.

The road out of Dease Lake was soooo bad. When we finally got to the Junction of the beginning of the Alaska highway, we stopped for gas. There were Johan and Karolina! They had been following us the whole way to make sure we were safe, and they were also just going that way... they saw more bears, but we were so busy concentrating on the road conditions we missed them. aww.

The rest of the day was a mix of cool and rain and sun, but we kept heated jackets on most of the time. Ate a picnic lunch late in the day – it was a buggy lunch. We fought mosquitoes while we sandwiched. Then took a short walk along a boardwalk to Rancheria Falls. Pretty. Keep seeing some flowers that look an awful lot like the Texas Bulebonnet.

Got toWhitehorse and staying in the Skky Inn. Very nice. Dinner at the Klondike Rib & Salmon Barbeque. It is a pretty famous restaurant in these parts, only open part of the year, the wait usually is for hours, and the people line up around the block. We chatted with some friendly people from California while we waited. Duane had ribs and i had a great salad and fish and chips. We ordered Bumbleberry pie al a mode for dessert -- it included apple, rhubarb, blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry. Klondike is a restaurant in a tent, basically. But everything was extraordinarily yummy . Stopped at a grocery store after dinner and got fixin’s for tomorrow’s lunch, as well as chocolate milk and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We saw Royal Canadian Air Force fighter jets land at the airport across the highway from our hotel. Comfy bed...good night!