Friday, March 26, 2010

Bearology 101

Today's Alaskan lesson: If you are going hiking, bring a gun. Bonus lesson: Bear Spray is essentially a fire extinguisher of pepper spray.

This is really scary to me since I have never been anywhere near a gun, let alone ever imagined carrying a firearm into the woods while HIKING! I used to teach bear safety in Girl Scouts, but think I will bone up on my bear skills before hiking out at Ward Cove. I knew I was moving to a major hunting/fishing location, but both totally creep me out. I have never done either, and am practically having a panic attack thinking about it. However, in deciding to move here, I decided that I would push past my fears and embrace living in the Last Frontier.

Popsicles and 47 degrees

While sitting in the Safeway parking lot yesterday, I watched a man in his early 20's hurry into the store and return in a few minutes eating a lime popsicle and holding the open box and nothing else. Apparently he needed his fix in the balmy 47 degrees. Let's break out the flip flops and beach wear :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring, where are you?

The sun was out yesterday and this morning, and now the rain has returned. Some of the trees around here seem to finally budding a little. I am finally back in the land of (roughly) 4 seasons, and am chomping at the bit for spring to arrive. I am anxious for the trees to leaf out and the promised wildflowers to arrive... I guess I will have to wait a bit longer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cultural Differences

I did not think it would be such a big difference moving up here. Sure, it's remote. But it's still America after all. Wrong... it's almost as if I have moved to a foreign country how different things are. Or is it that I have never lived out in the country, and this area is really more like rural areas in the -48? Interesting thoughts.

People here are reallllllly friendly. Even friendlier than those in my Wisconsin hometown. Everywhere I go, people want to chat. It's funny, PK and I have wanted to move to a small town for some time, and here we are, and it's exactly what I hoped for. Friendly, inviting people, community and all that.

This is a really small town full of character and activity, even in off season. We went to the American Legion for a St. Patrick's Day party. All-you-can-eat corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. With the Guinness flowing and the Irish band (Paddy's Leather Breeches, who we heard again tonight), we could have been in Ireland. And then there was a changing of the guard when the Irish band finished playing and the bagpipers entered playing at full volume. Very neat.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The obligatory weather post

There is a saying here that there are three types of weather: "Has rained, is raining, will rain". And this is not an exaggeration. It rains on average 160 inches per year, but only 25 or so of that is snow. Winter 09/10 has been very mild. Well, until we got here. We woke up our first morning here to 3 inches of the cold white stuff. Apparently it was the first snow since November. Lucky us. And then there are the 50 mph winds blowing the rain sideways (which was our 2nd day here). Since then, we have seen mostly mid 30's to low 50's. It rains everyday at least a little, and when the sun comes out, people literally run outside to soak up some vitamin D. It has snowed a couple times, and a couple days we actually had quite a bit of sunshine, but all in all, the rain is not too bad. Ask me again in a year :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tongass Outfitters

Went to Tongass Outfitters today and bought serious and expensive rain gear and fleece fishing gloves.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 6: Prince Rupert, B.C. to Ketchikan, AK

Finally here we are at on the last leg of our long journey to the "Last Frontier". We took a nice hike with Andrea and the dogs, and then said goodbye and went to the ferry terminal. We rode the ferry to Ketchikan, which is supposed to be a 5 hour trek. However, we had HUGE swells, and the boat was rocking from side to side, which the captain said were the worst waves he had ever seen out here. Just my luck. I got pretty darn queasy, but it was a good trip overall. We got in Ketchikan kind of late, and did not get to the Gilmore Hotel until almost 11 pm. We are FINALLY here!!!

Some pics of today's adventure are here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 5: Smithers, B.C. to Prince Rupert, B.C.

Smithers (home of the Smithereens) was a beautiful place surrounded by high mountain peaks all around, but it is nothing compared to the drive from Smithers to Prince Rupert. We saw a number of eagles, birds of all kinds and lots of snow on the ground :) Cold, but we lucked out weather-wise. Prince Rupert is an amazing small town on the coast. It was grey and snowy when we got there. We went to Cow Bay to have lunch at Cowpuccino cafe and read a good book.

We stayed at a brand new Bed and Breakfast called Tall Trees. Andrea, the proprietor, has three dogs that I fell in love with. PK and I hung out with her all night,having dinner, chatting and watching Iron Chef. The Inn is very welcoming, charming, and made me feel instantly at home. I hope to keep in touch with Andrea.

Today's pics are here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 4: Quesnel, B.C. to Smithers, B.C.

We took our time leaving Quesnel this morning, because today's drive was to be very easy compared to the last few days... and it was. But when we got to Smithers at 4 pm, nothing was open!! It is a bummer since today we had time to hang out and experience an AMAZING place. They say the mountains (The Seven Sisters) are like being in Switzerland, and I can see why. For the first time in a long time, we have a view from our hotel room. We look out over Hwy 16, towards a giant mountain. It's a bummer we came here on a Sunday in off-season, because there is so much to do and see here. Maybe we will come back sometime when the weather is better.

Pics from today are here... Click Here

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 3: Bellevue, WA to Quesnel, B.C.

Today was a much easier driving day than yesterday. Getting through the Canadian border was much easier than I imagined, seeing as our poor SUV is literally crammed full of our belongings and I was scared we would get searched. If you were to open any rear door a catastrophe would ensue. But the guard was really cool, even asking PK questions about TSA regulations for his upcoming holiday in Mexico!!! The initial drive in Canada was amazing, through incredible mountains. Even though we had to cover 500 miles today, most of the time I could drive 100 km/hr on cruise control and made it here to Quesnel, B.C. by 6:30 p.m.

The hotel is surely a let down from the last two nights, but it's decent (part of the Sandman Hotel chain) and reasonably priced. There are not so many options in this part of the country.

We went to a hotel/casino tonight that looks like a riverboat!!! Really freaking cool. It is like a mini Las Vegas casino hotel. We hit the 2 cent slots but did not win anything. Playing is the fun part anyhow.

Anyway, some of today's pics are here: Click here

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 2: Redding, CA to Bellevue, WA

So here we are on day 2 of our Great Alaskan Adventure. We drove upwards of 10 hours today, and words have cease making sense, so here's a link to some of the amazing things I saw today, like Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, not to mention the beautiful scenery and two states I have never visited before. Here are a few pics from today's looooooonnnnnnggggggg drive. Click Here

On an unrelated note, I met the doppelganger of my sister and her husband tonight, very bizarre indeed. The Hotel Sierra Bellevue is tonight's resting spot, which has far exceeded my expectations. Wendi the bartender was a hoot, and we had yummy Henry Weinhart(?) beers and a couple shots of Jack Daniels, which is making me sleepy, so I must go..... more to come.

Trip Day 1: Los Angeles, CA to Anderson, CA

Yesterday was the first of our long, long drive to Prince Rupert, B.C. We drove 530ish miles, and stayed at a fantastic eco-friendly hotel called Gaia Shasta Hotel. A few pics are posted on Flickr, the link is here: Click Here

This area of Northern California has been on my radar for some time, and I would love to come back to visit the National Parks/Monuments such as Mt. Shasta and Lassen. Even though we are driving 8-10 hours each day, the natural beauty of this great state helps relax me and clear my senses. Dinner at Gaia was phenomenal (The Woodside Grill), and we even took a dip in the outdoor hot tub. Very relaxing and amazing hotel. Had to get up early again the next day--- rinse and repeat.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Woe is me (or why it is good to downsize)

We are T-minus 33 hours and counting. PK and I have been tag-teaming the sort, pack and errand duties for the last week or so, and today was his turn while I went to work for the second to last time. He ran a dry run to see if everything we are taking will fit in our Kia Sorento, and it does, but by a miniscule margin. We have purged almost everything we own. Save a few boxes which were shipped today, everything we are bring to Alaska fits in the back of our truck.

I am excited, but I don't think it will seem completely real until we are driving I-5 towards Northern California. I guess that's it for now... 'nite!