Monday, March 30, 2009

Good morning Mr. Snowplow!

We woke up to 2" of snow this morning, and it was beautiful! Now in Montana, you might see a snow plow out on the county roads by this afternoon and chances are your own personal lane or street wouldn't get plowed unless the snow stuck around for a week or more. But in Alaska.....the snow plow was right outside my door at 9:45 a.m.! And I live on a little small side street quite a ways off a major road. These people take their snow removal seriously!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

No Big Deal

This is the view off our front deck.

So I was listening to the radio a few days ago as I was cleaning up the kitchen when something caught my attention. They started off the broadcast talking about Mt. Redoubt (volcano) and how it had gone off the night before and again that morning. They talked about how we might see some ash, but other than that it shouldn't really affect us. Okay. Then they moved on to the avalanche out on Seward highway, not that far from where we live, and how it might "disrupt" traffic for a few hours while they got it cleaned up. It struck me as funny how nonchalant they were about what would be considered "natural disasters" in the lower 48. Just another day in Alaska, no big deal, the volcano is blowing up, there's avalanches, oh and "have a good day!" It must really take a lot to get people excited up here.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

"It's a bird, it's a plane...."

I had to chuckle this morning as I went out for my first run in Alaska at about 7:30 a.m. My neighbors were probably watching out their windows, with hot coffee in hand, going "What the hell is that, a big ball of fleece rolling down the street?" I was suited up from head to toe in preparation for freezing cold and looked like the Michelin tire man, but determined to start running again. Alas, it turned out to be quite nice and I ended up shedding most of my layers. Hopefully I resembled a more human figure on my return trip home and my neighbors could finally quit laughing and drink their coffee :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Poor little squirrel...

Ahhh, another tropical day in Alaska....NOT! It's been nice and sunny, getting up to about 35 or 40 degrees, but today is cold and windy. Finally got my DSL up and running, after much conversation with the tech people at the phone company, arghh! Finally back to work. Finally on the track to some semblance of sanity!!

Beanie has worn out her welcome already. Our neighbor came over today and asked that we please keep her on a leash as she was growling and snapping at them in their own yard and killed one of their favorite squirrels. I swear, if it's not one thing it's another. So, I'll make a batch of apology cookies to take over and Beanie will be on a leash line until we get some kind of dog run up. Fortunately, she seems to love it here as she keeps peeing on my carpet! (A sign that she intends to stay, lol).

I have some great pictures to post, but just haven't gotten to the laptop yet to do it, so I'll try to get on that in the next day or two. Missing all of you more each day, talk to you soon!


Friday, March 20, 2009

It's burning my retinas!

Hello all!  We're here and in our house in Wasilla.  Not completely unpacked yet, but hacking away at it a little at a time.  Dustin starts work in Anchorage on Monday driving dump truck.  The boys are in school at Cottonwood Creek Elementary and today was their first day.  They both said they really enjoyed it and their teachers seemed very nice when I met them this morning.

The sun is soooooo bright!  You wouldn't believe it would be that much different, but it truly is. Our house has beautiful big windows that lets the sun in during the afternoon and we can completely shut off the heat because it gets so hot in there.  

Not much else to report for now, but I'll get on again later with an update.  My DSL gets hooked up on Tuesday (Grandma Doris has been letting me use her computer since we got here :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Holy Buffalo Batman!

Hello everyone! Not as much to write today as I didn't have as much time to observe. The roads were quite a bit more challenging, but the scenery was definitely more rewarding. We drove through some incredibly beautiful country and my only real observation was that the people who drive these roads on a regular basis, are completely nuts. They drive like twice the speed limit on roads that make me nervous (and for those of you who know how I drive, that is saying a lot!).

The buffalo in the pictures are literally right on the road. People up here call them "Alaskan Highway Speedbumps". They are not scared of people at all and just wander down the road. There were a lot of them all over the sides of the road and in fact, they plow special trails for them next to the highway so that hopefully they'll use those instead of the highway!

Also, for those of you worried about global warming, take a drive through northern British Columbia and the Yukon. That should set your mind at ease :-) Check out our pics from today (Austin was on photography duty).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Julie's Top 10

What an interesting day. We made really good time and distance, all the way from Airdrie (outside Calgary), to Grand Prairie (about 350 miles). Not much of a drive scenery-wise, but happily uneventful. During all this uneventful driving time, I had a lot of chances to observe my surroundings and come up with a Top 10 list for the day...
  1. The trees this far north look like cocktail toothpicks, the ones you get in a sandwich, with the little colored wrapping on the top.

  2. They have all these "Litter Barrel Ahead" signs and stops, but NOWHERE to go to the bathroom. They don't care if you pee your pants for 350 miles, but make sure you don't litter!

  3. The scenery is very monochromatic...white snow, black trees, gray sky. I felt like I was in an Ansel Adams portrait.

  4. Roadkill has a whole different meaning up here. I thought I saw a dead woolly mammoth on the side of the road, but Dustin assures me it was a moose.

  5. Noah is worried that we're trying to ensure the back of his head is permanently flat (yes, he told me that!)

  6. My side mirror took one for the team when a semi-truck chucked a rock at it and broke off a huge piece of the back and top. Bastards. (The rocks, not the trucks).

  7. Austin and Connor wondered why in the cartoons only girls (including animals) have eyelashes. How observant they are! I've never thought about this before. Nor have I had this much time to think about this before......hmmmm.

  8. I have to wear my sunglasses all the time regardless of whether or not the sun is out, so I don't go snowblind! Oh well, it makes me feel that I'm somewhat cooler than I actually am (no pun intended).

  9. We ate at the neatest place today called Sasquatch Crossing, and let me assure you, if Sasquatch exists, this is definitely where he is hiding out. There is NOTHING but trees and snow for as far as you can see and beyond (and that is a long frickin' way, let me tell you!)

  10. Finally, we're over half-way there! And we haven't killed each other yet!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"The Middle of Nowhere"

1. Dustin building the trailer with his "apprentice" Austin doing the measuring.
2. The view from the car somewhere between Whitecort and Grand Prairie (the middle of nowhere).
3. Connor, navigator/co-pilot and all-around good guy.
Yeah, they do have Wi-Fi in our motel! And the adventure continues. Today went much better. We got started a little earlier, about 8:45 a.m., and enjoyed good roads all the way to Grand Prairie. We went through a little snow, but nothing us Montanans haven't seen before, yeeeee-haw :)

Connor was riding with me this afternoon, acting as my navigator/co-pilot (check out the pictures!!), fiddling with his headset and looking at the map. He looks up at me and declares in the most dead-pan manner, "Mom, I've looked at the map and we are in the middle of nowhere." I laughed so hard I almost peed myself! He had no idea how right he was too.

We are finally getting into some pretty country, at least what I consider pretty, with trees and some variation in elevation (driving through the prairie puts me to sleep). More snow up here, but not enough to be scary yet.

Probably 2-3 days of travel left depending on road conditions, etc. Hoping to make it to Watson Lake tomorrow. Don't forget, check out the pictures (that is, if I can figure out how to put them on here :-)


Friday, March 13, 2009

A couple more things...

That's how bad it's been, my last post said it was March 12th, and it's actually....Friday the 13th! Ahhhh! Figures.

So, my only moment of real sadness so far, the sign that said Leaving Montana right before the border. I almost cried, almost.

Austin says that A&W is the perfect food.

Connor says he can't wait to get to our Alaskan house because he's sick of riding in the car.

Noah says, "sitting in the car seat for this long every day is getting old!"

Mac says Beanie hogs all the room in the back of the car.

Beanie says Mac is a butt-kisser.

Dustin says that driving the trailer in the wind, the city and in Canada is harder than he expected.

Julie says.....good night everybody!
Well, here it is, March 12th, and our (mis)adventure has definitely begun. We left Stevensville on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., dropped off some stuff at the ranch and spent the night in Kalispell. The hotel was nice and had a pool so the boys were ecstactic. We again realized the difficulties of getting 3 boys, 2 dogs and ourselves ready, fed, out the door and on the "open road" (as Austin now calls it), in the morning. We managed to make it to Columbia Falls for lunch!

From there we managed to make it to the border, but only after suffering through multiple "potty stops" and a baby that would not stop crying (i.e. screeching at the top of his lungs) from approximately Browning to Shelby!

Our border experience was.....interesting. We were there an hour and a half and I'm sure we talked to every border official there. We had to talk to immigration, travel, the cashier, commercial and then the inspection agent. Dustin and I were so afraid they were going to take the trailer apart and we'd be there forever packing it back up. But alas, we finally left there and made it to Lethbridge for the night. Yup, that's approximately 250 miles of travel in 1 day, not a great start when you're going a total distance of 3,000+ miles.

We managed to get dinner, find a motel (that allows pets) and get into bed by 10:30 p.m. Lets just say the hotel was definitely not a 5-star. And the wind blows hard in Alberta! All the time!

This morning we took off from Lethbridge with aspirations of making it to "at least" Edmonton. But it was not meant to be. We took the scenic detour through Calgary and just as we were about out of the most confusing and congested city ever, Dustin got pulled over by a cop!

I was sitting at McDonald's and saw the policeman turn on his lights, but didn't see where he actually stopped at. So I sat there and waited for a bit figuring Dustin would get a ticket and come back for us. I waited for 45 minutes. Then I started to panic. "What if he got taken in?" "How would I find him?" "Would I have to continue on without him?" We drove around looking for him. Then I tried calling the Calgary police station (traffic division), they don't work on Fridays! Finally, I decided I would get a hotel for the night so I called Dustin's cell phone to leave him a message. And he answered! Needless to say, we met up and got the hell out of Calgary!! By then it was 5:30 p.m.

So, we're camped in Airdrie (right outside Calgary) for the night at a very nice Holiday Inn. We're ordering takeout. The boys are playing in the pool (with a waterslide) and I'm going to do laundry and read my People magazine. I know! Friday night and I still haven't finished it!

At any rate, we're alive and hoping to get well past Edmonton tomorrow, but don't hold your breath!

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law states that if something can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst time. Well, if you don't believe in it, you should!

The last couple days have been wild and crazy! First, the wiring went haywire on our trailer (that we're using to take all our stuff). That meant we couldn't move some stuff, or build the sides, or load anything! Arghh! Thankfully, Boppa Jim (my dad) came to the rescue. Yesterday we got the wiring working, today Dustin got the sides on and tomorrow he'll finish it and we can start loading. So we're leaving a day later than originally planned, but that's not bad.

My house is total chaos with boxes everywhere, but it's starting to come together. I keep reminding myself, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming!" Well, have to go pull dinner out of the microwave and pack some more boxes. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

T-7 and counting

OMG, I'm a blogger! It almost sounds illegal, only it's not done naked (I guess it could be, but I assure you I'M NOT!)

At any rate, the plan is to leave on Sunday, March 8th, for ALASKA!! I've been busy packing and Dustin comes home on Tuesday. We've found a house and it sounds like Dust has a job. Lots to do in the next week, but with the ever-growing pile of lists I'm working on, it shouldn't be a problem.

Well, I can't wait to start posting some pictures of the drive and our new home. Hope you all check in every now and then so we can keep you posted on our big adventure.