Sunday, March 31, 2013

Whalefest T-shirt

We bought a Whalefest T-shirt.

We might not want to wear this in the lower '48.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sorry our last two blogs did not load. That is what happens when your are on the road and have poor Internet reception.

But we did make the 4,300 mile trip from the Whittier ferry almost down to the Mexican border in 7 days. That was over 600 miles per day.

The weather got bad at Dawson Creek with snow, slush, and even poorer visibility. We discovered that ABS breaks can make a horrible sound for a real long time before they stop you. But they did eventually work and there were no cars in the middle of the intersection by the time we got there!

We did have one MAJOR problem: the electric outlet to our espresso maker died outside of Whitehorse and there was NO expresso to be found till Edmonton. The good thing was that the Canadian McDonalds even have little cups for God's special survival gear! Americans should learn from them.

Well ...... The snow disappeared as we crossed the border to the US and the speed limits were 75 mph. That is where we "upped" our  average speed.

Thought you might be interested in gas prices.

The $ 6.40 per gallon of gasoline went back down to 4.80 in Edmonton.

As we crossed into Montana ( which by the way has NO sales taxes) prices went down to as low as $ 3.06 per gallon. Yes, that number is correct. They stayed low in Wyoming where we paid 3.19 and  3.29.

The moment we crossed the border to Colorado they rose to a minimum of 3.59 they stayed about the same in New Mexico and Texas, where we paid up to 3.79. But we did pass a station which wanted 3.99!

We are also conerned about the cost of diesel because that is what we will be driving bac instead of a regular gas car. We noticed that in Canada diesel is as little as 5 cents more per gallon than gas. But in the Us it is at least 40 cents more and as much as 99 cents more per gallon. There goes the savings of  diesel ' s greater mpg!

We will return to AK starting the day after Easter and plan a more leisurely trip of up to 4 weeks. We see I the Internet that temps have risen often to almost 40 during the day along those northern Canadian towns. And that is what the locals told us we would see..... Great weather for traveling. Lets just hope there is no ice on the roads!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Taking a little rest from a long car ride

When you cross from the Yukon Territory to British Columbia on AK Highway trip,
you will be near Watson Lake.
You won't be half way through your trip.
You'll be nearly 1,000 miles form Anchorage, AK
and 1,500 miles form the Montana border.

For those who must know all,
what is officially called the Alaska Highway is nearly 1,400 miles long
and it actually doesn't begin till Dawson Creek, Canada.
That's another 1,000 miles north of  Montana, on regular Canadian roads.
So the trip form the US to Anchorage, is about 2,500 miles total.

By Watson Lake you will be ready to look at other things besides the view off the road.
You won't find a theater or a mall to walk around.
But you will find the "Signpost Forest".

We recommend you get out of your car and stretch your legs as you look around.

You can find car license plates form any state and many countries.

And... if you happen to have been a teenage "street sign kleptomaniac" ,
here is chance to bring your signs out of hiding in your garage,
and proudly hang them up for others to see!

Donating them here might prevent some embarrassing questions form your kids as to how you got them years ago in the first place.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Going down the road ( or....what you will soon forget)

Here's our plan for travelling the AK Highway:
just cruise along under the March sun,
500 miles, hopefully in 10 hours per day.

But as you'd expect, there will be challenges:

No, those are not pork rinds we put in a Coke bottle to pass away hours of boredom.
It is a frozen Coke left in the car. And this is why:

It's -20 degrees.
Fortunately, it is in Centigrade.
In Fahrenheit, it can look a lot more "warm and toasty".
 (and........ for those who must know, 0 degree F is -18 C)

Then there is the question of your speed.
In the rough roads of the Yukon, speed limits can be 60 kph.
Not too bad you say.
Well, that's in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour.
That's only 36 MPH.
Makes you think you'll never reach your 500 miles today.
But they'll speed up and you'll learn to calculate the 6X multiplication tables real quick:
70 is 42, 80 is 48, 90 is 64, etc, etc,etc.
And when you get past Dawson Creek,
you can speed right along at 100 kph.....yes, at 62 miles per hour!
....if the road were not covered with slushy snow!

And , as you'd expect,visibility can be affected....

Those are two 18 wheelers just in front of you;
one heading towards you and one away.

And as they pass, the spraying snow will make them disappear.

Yes, there is a "cloaked"  18 wheeler the distance of one telephone pole ahead of you.

But in the end, you will drive at least 400 miles, even if it is a long long day.

And you'll be happy to pay over $ 100 Canadian per night in a motel you might pass by in the lower 48.

And yes, you'll be happy to pay big bucks for your gas,
'cause you might not pass another car for up to an hour, or two.

So while $ 1.13 per liter seemed a little high in Whitehorse, Yukon, you'll find an open station at the Toad River for 1.60 and will gladly fill her up! $ 6.40 Canadian $ per gallon that is.

But, look at the good side: when you reach the US border,
you will appreciate just how cheap $ 3.09 US dollar per gallon can seem!

And in the end, you will proudly say:
"Yes,  I  traveled the Alaskan Highway in Winter!"

and you will show off your wonderful pics
and forget all the stuff above.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Travelling the AK Highway in winter

Some people might think this is crazy,
but we decided to drive the Alaska Highway in winter.

So, at the beginning of March we got on the ferry to Whittier ,
to start a 4,500 mile road trip to South Texas.

There's much animal life to see, particularly in Alaska. 
Lots of moose early in the morning, but it was too early to photograph. 

As the sun came up to caribou came out. I think was 6 herds before we got to the Canadian border.

The moment we got to the Canadian border, all wildlife disappeared. 
I think I know the reason. 
It's right here in this picture.

I think the Alaska highway department puts salt on the roads to melt the ice & snow 
and that's the reason that wildlife lick it up.

Anyway, we think we'll show what we see traveling down the road,
whenever we get Internet access on our nightly stops in sites of civilization, Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon with a total of 28,000 out of the total  34,000 people in the entire Province. That is less than 0.1 person per square kilometer. 
And that means....not too many cars to meet on the road!

Lets hope for a safe and happy Road Trip !


Saturday, March 9, 2013

A late February walk

Every day is a good day to take a little walk.

So, if you get a lunch break, leave your worries behind,
 whereever you are,  and go for a little stroll.

It's amazing, how much green you'll see
..... all year long.

And, any movement you see is likely to make you think
....... it's a Leprechaun, hiding behind that tree!

'cause after all,
it's close to St Patrick's Day !


Thursday, March 7, 2013


Cormorants are quite common around Mill Bay about this time of the year.

They love to stand on the rocks and, particularly if it's sunny, spread their wings to catch
the rays. It's really a sight to see a bunch on a rock, all with their wings spread open!

This was a few weeks ago, when it was not particularly "warm".
Only one felt like spreading his wings that day.

 ... and keep them open for a long time.

Here is what the reference below says about this habit and their waterproof feathers:

After fishing, cormorants go ashore, and are frequently seen holding their wings out in the sun. All cormorants have preen gland secretions that are used ostensibly to keep the feathers waterproof. Some sources[1] state that cormorants have waterproof feathers while others say that they have water permeable feathers.[2][3] Still others suggests that the outer plumage absorbs water but does not permit it to penetrate the layer of air next to the skin.[4] The wing drying action is seen even in the flightless cormorant but commonly in the Antarctic shags[5] and red-legged cormorants. Alternate functions suggested for the spread-wing posture include that it aids thermoregulation,[6] digestion, balances the bird or indicates presence of fish. A detailed study of the Great Cormorant concludes that it is without doubt[7] to dry the plumage.[8][9]
Cormorants are colonial nesters, using trees, rocky islets, or cliffs. The eggs are a chalky-blue colour. There is usually one brood a year. The young are fed through regurgitation. They typically have deep, ungainly bills, showing a greater resemblance to those of the pelicans', to which they are related, than is obvious in the adults.

If you want to know more, check out:

I don't know if it was the light, but I don't remember the bills of some of them looking so bright as they did this year. And, no, I do not know if they gray beaked ones are the male or female.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The eagles' conclave

I passed by Mission Lake Saturday and saw a bunch of eagles standing on the lake ice.

It seemed strange. We rarely see them like that.

I noticed there was a whole in the ice. Were they fishing through the ice hole?
Doubt it. They are not sea birds.
So I figured they found  some bait left by an ice fisherman,
or maybe caught some unlucky mammal crossing the ice.

Then I noticed, there were two groups; three birds were off form the rest .
Were they outcasts?

I decided to walk around and watch.
Any way, one of the juveniles flies over to the big group.

And what a rokus his arrival caused !

Made me think he came in saying,
"You know, one mammal isn't enough to feed all of us.
So I'm going to take all I can..... and to heck with  your pecking order!"


Sunday, March 3, 2013

A sunny day

Sunday was rainy all day. But Saturday was just gorgeous.

Here's a pic of a few days earlier in the week....

when the breaking clouds let us peek at the blue, blue sky....

and eventually let the ocean water turn bright blue.
Meanwhile, the intense light reflecting off the snow and clouds
created a glare in the distance.

Who ever said you don't need sunglasses in Kodiak?