Friday, April 17, 2009

A little country

While sitting in my office today trying to figure out yet another convoluted federal pollution control statute and its accompanying regulations, Waylon Jennings decided to make an appearance. Or, more precisely, Pandora's algorithm decided I wanted to hear some classic Waylon Jennings. "Damn," I thought, "not in Wyoming any more."

I've been in Anchorage for over two weeks now. Both The Wife and I have a fair number of friends here. One of my undergraduate roommates lives here; a coworker from my time in Southeast Alaska lives near here; a few of The Wife's college friends live in the area. I have a great job--and The Wife likely does too. There's nothing wrong with the fishing--at least in the fall. The skiing ain't bad. Anchorage will treat us well.

However, . . . nobody ever rides their horse down Main Street. There are no cows. A rye at the LB with my good friends is a long ways away. Nobody claims the local coffee shop as their primary domicile for tax purposes. Yes, for those in Lander, I'm talking about Juan. Sagebrush? What is that?

Two days ago while walking Karta I had to turn around because a moose was in the way. She (the moose) seemed nice enough and Karta was eager to be friends, but I figured there's no need to push things. Three days ago while commuting to work, I had to slow down because a moose was on the on-ramp. There's been a mild, yet persistent, volcanic eruption for months. And a 4.6 earthquake last week. The Wife is 3,000 miles away.

Yup, not in Wyoming any more.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A long drive north

The Wife and I made the drive up to Anchorage from Lander a bit ago. Our trip took us through Billings, Great Falls and nearly to Calgary on the First Day. With snow falling over night, we decided to stay on the main highways on the second day, driving through Calgary, around Edmonton and into Dawson Creek, British Columbia. We had great weather and dry roads for the rest of the trip, completing our journey in five days.

The Alaska Highway officially begins in Dawson Creek. Dawson Creek is a small town that can't seem to decide if it wants to be a tourist destination or just another oil/gas boom town. While I'm sure it gets inundated with motor homes in the summer, it was pretty quiet while we were there.

Since I've let too much time go by since our trip, I'll keep this short on the narrative and long on the pictures... Not far into our third day we spotted our first caribou:The highlight of the trip for Karta:
We worked our way through Stone Mountain Provincial Park and came across these stone sheep. The little bugger sure was cute:
Moving along, we eventually made it to Laird River Hot Springs. We had heard about these springs from various friends who had made the trip. Our original plan was just to take a look at the springs and move on, but Karta promptly dropped her ball in the springs "forcing" The Wife to go for a swim to retrieve it.
We got to see our first wood bison:
We spent the third night in Watson Lake, Yukon. Let me tell you, we should have just kept on driving--or better yet, just stayed the night at Laird Creek Hot Springs.
The Wife and I had a friendly wager on how many moose we might see. I bet 17 and The Wife went with 20. While at one point it looked like The Wife was a sure lock to win, the sightings slowed toward the end of the trip and I sneaked away with the win.
After touring around Whitehorse for a bit, our fourth and final night was just over the border in Tok, Alaska. This place boasts the highest number of hotel rooms and campground spots per capita of anywhere in the U.S. Since it was the off season, there were plenty of vacancies.

Excited to be in Alaska and realizing we had nearly no pictures of us, we posed for this shot (no Karta did not take it):
As expected, the drive was beautiful: