A bit of a "warning" (for lack of a better thing to call it)—this link is a bit . . . grim.  –Whilst not without humor–and maybe even some genuine adventure–this journey was . . . abominable.

       . . . And I suppose a second "caveat" is that–whilst every attempt at accuracy was made (I remember pouring over a road atlas, in Barnes n' Noble. . . .)–I'm not . . . 100% sure—that everything is in its correct order.

      I did my best.

      It took me a long time to actually get going on this one.  This is not in the least bit unusual.  Having done this sort of trip before—one KNOWS how difficult it is, and has–naturally–trouble getting going on it.  (I have seen this before, 'n stuff.)

:p :P

      However . . . this one was even worse.  I think(/know) it was because . . . there were just TOO many unknowns, 'n stuff.  I had never towed anything for any significant distance(s) before; I didn't know if the Impreza even could, 'n stuff; I didn't know HOW anyone could survive this b***** in wintertime, 'n stuff.  (In fact, I had been told that attempting to travel the Alaska Highway in wintertime, was suicide.)

(. . . .)

      A bit of "pre-trip revelry. . . ." (no pics)

      The final bit of preparations, were both frenzied, and hideous—we finally finished, with the tying on of stuff on the roof, at seven in the morning.  Then we got started.  It doesn't really matter—on this type of trip—day, night. . . .  Things just go "'round and 'round. . . ."

      Strangely enough, I didn't enter this bit—until the rest of the page(s) was(/were) completely done: When I left for the *final* time, I wanted to go out, exactly as I had gone in—around and about the Founder's Buidling.  So, I sat there . . . and just let it sink in.  I was escaping uaf.  (!!!!) Raised double "middle appendages," "a mooner," and even "**** YOU, uaf!!!!" were all recommended.  However, I sat there for a bit, and then just left.  Maybe I quoted the final lines of [the movie] "Papillion."  I honestly can't remember.  (. . . .)

      The important part was/is leaving.

      In the way of provisions, we left with 3 pumpkin pies.  They were on sale, or something.  (It was later quipped, that Mr. Bubbles' purpose on this mission was "emergency rations.")

:) ;)


      Worth mentioning. . . .


      For the first two days of the trip, or so, "Bubbles" seemed . . . really calm.  :) ;) :) ;) Well, as it turns out, Laura managed to give him 4x the recommended dose of doggie downers. . . .

:) ;) ;) ;)


(Photo courtesy of Laura Stripp)

      The trip did not start well—not only were we working 'til around seven in the morning, getting some final things mounted on the roof (as mentioned above, 'n stuff), the Impreza burned almost a quarter tank—in the first 21 miles.  (!!!!) Then she "mellowed out"—and started doin' great.  :) :) :) :) I've noticed "Dela" (my nickname for the Impreza :) ) ~to be like that. . . .  –Miserable mileage after "short hopping" around town—then Fantastic mileage the rest of the way. . . .

      As previously mentioned, I was uncertain about towing—but after an hour, or so, it was all "old hat."

      :) :)

      Not much to mention on the way out of Alaska—I know the road pretty good to that point, and nothing really of note happened.  The Canadian Customs agent didn't mess with us—although he really seemed to have wanted to..  I've noticed that about Canadian authorities: They don't seem to mess with ya'—unless you're actually doing something wrong.  (For an American, this is SO WEIRD.  (!!)) Maybe this is due to the fact that–Canada being a socialist country–there aren't so many peeps tryin' to work off their frustrations of not having any control, growing up in their respective trailer parks.

      After passing into C-eh?-D-eh?-N-eh? ( :) ;) ), the Alcan [Highway] plays . . . a nasty trick on one—mileage signs, go from something like 1421, to something like 1722.  This is because Canada, uses some faggoty french unit, called the ki . . . ki . . . ki, ki-lom-et-er—but they do go faster. . . .  (I suppose, this is all part of the "psychological torture of the Far North.."  :P ;)

      Some ways into Canada, we saw this MOUNTAIN.  It's top was in the clouds.  It was the first thing I saw worth taking a picture of—the rest of what I saw was just an unending ribbon of scarred ice, in a wind-torn wasteland.

      (Sadly, my camera was in a bag in the back.  (. . . .))

      At this point, we got STUCK in a rest area—I mean, shoveling (I actually had the foresight, to have my snow shovel, readily available, in the back of the trailer.  (!! (!!)) :) ;) ), burnt clutch, potential DAMAGE to the transfer case or fluidic coupler-type stuck.  This was in a scenic rest area, that sort of jutted out, as a rounded ended peninsula, into a vast–completely frozen–lake.

      It was getting dark, it was very cold. . . .  At one point, we even tried to (temporarily–until we could get help) abandon the trailer (but I couldn't get it disconnected).

      At one point, I got us moving—only to turn too quickly, into a patch of uncertain ground, getting stuck again.  FINALLY, we got moving, for real—slowly building up momentum, on the slippery, uphill way out.  "Are you sure we have everything—'cause I'm not stoppin' for anything!"  I never thought I be pulling out onto the Alaska Highway, in wintertime, without even slowing down. . . .

      Shortly after this, we entered a scenario, that would've fit into a B-rated horror movie . . . 25 miles of up, Up, UP!! —BOULDERS in gullies, on either side, articulated lorries SWARMING down the other side. . . .  All this–in total darkness–on an ice-covered, dirt road. . . .

      Later. . . .

      At one point, the road was completely covered with wavy, blowing snow.  When I turned on the high beams, it looked like the entire road, was covered with serpents.  It made quite an impression. . . .

      At some point, I started to have control issues—that is, I had trouble maintaining control, when going over 30 miles per hour.  "Fortunately," the grade was soo steep, that this was not much of a problem. . . .

      I then passed a sign for "Teetering Rock"—THAT was why I wasn't able find it in The Milepost. . . .  (!!) (I had been looking [for it], for . . . some time (but I had been looking [for it] under the wrong name). . . .)  This was a bit 'fore Steamboat.

      I then made my way, into what I think is the town of Steamboat.  There, I met a young lady—who was like an ANGEL.  She, brought to my attention, the amount of ice, built up in the wheel-wells, etc.  "There's more ice on this thing—than trucks coming in from the bush!"  So, we broke off ice, ice, ice. . . .  Control returned.

      This young lady wanted something—did she want thanks (I offered profusely)? –To acknowledge that she saved me from . . . grief? –A tip?  Or, was she even, um . . . "interested" in me, somehow? –I have no idea. . . .


Sometimes I HATE being autistic.


      Then we entered a region of BEAUTIFUL . . . plants.  –I don't mean "happy trees" ( :) ;) )—I mean . . . beautiful industrial plants.  (Only Canadians, could manage that.  (!)) Then, I started hearing this mystical, angelic music—no . . . seriously.  Here, I had hit something—and one of the safety chains, was banging along on the road.  It sounded . . . beautiful.

      :) ;)

      Then we entered a region of 48 MILES of uphill grades—not steep, just up, and up, and UP. . . .  It was extraordinary.  I joked about ending up on the moon.

      :) ;)

      Now "Dela"–my nickname for the Impreza–normally gets very good gas mileage.  However . . . that is unladen.  Towing well over half her weight, a kayak and 10-speed bike on the roof. . . .  –You get the idea.  This made travel, on a highway, with unbelievably low "population densities" (and that's probably a . . . very polite way of saying it :) ;) ) . . . a little dicey.

      So, there we were—traveling on and on, trusting in The Milepost. . . .  (If we'd run out of gas. . . .)

      (!!!!)

      We were heading on to a place called, aptly enough, Destruction Bay.  We stopped at this tiny little bar/gas station—and, by the Grace of God, the fuel portion was still open (The bar portion was still doing raging business—after all, a wintertime Canadian has got to have priorities, eh?  :) ;) ).  There, I met one of the two really cool people I was to meet on the Alaska Highway, this chick.  We talked about an Eastern Canadian town, that–amazingly enough–we both were familiar with: Penetanguishene—but that's a whole other part of my life.  I wondered, for a moment, if she half-fancied me.  (?)

      Later, I got up at rest area (I had just HAD to have a rest.  (. . . .)).  I realized that something wrong, and took stock: I was John Koenig, Commander of Moonbase Alpha.  (Maya was there, too.)

      At some point, after this, we stopped at a sort of rest area.  I left "Dela" idling, and took Mr. Bubbles out for a W-A-L-K.  At one point, I looked up, and. . . .

      I saw something like a giant, with an arm coming down.  [It was . . . ] AMAZING.

      I got back to the car, and was not sure (just what I was seeing)—[and] had Laura look too.  Across the road, there was smoke high, smoke low—and nary a sign–or smell–on the other [our] side of the road.  –*TITANICALLY* spooky smoke.  (Laura complained–emphatically–about how cold it was, in the car. . . .)

–SPOOKY!!

      Seriously, it was one of the creepiest things, I have ever seen.  –And these "fingers of smoke," would periodically "reach" down—to a lower sort of thermocline/different flow. . . .  As I mentioned above, I had somebody else look, too—to even be sure of [just] what I was seein'. . . .

      Well, John Koenig drove us one hour closer to Whitehorse(the captial of the Yukon Territory)—however. . . .

      Whitehorse—the capital of the Yukon Territory (no pics)

      On the way into Teslin, I saw this AMAZING "fireball meteor"—only the second I have ever seen in my entire life. . . .


      Motel in Teslin


      I've always liked Teslin—and a woman there may've saved my life, or–at least, a fair whack of my sanity. . . .

      Originally, we had planned on "soldiering on," to Edmonton.  When we asked a woman, at the counter of a motel there, how far it was, she told us it was 1,700 miles. . . .  (Being in Canada, we made absolutely sure—we were dealing with the right units. . . .)  Now, I don't think this was/is strictly true . . . but business is business. . . .

      When we got to the motel room, we brought in ALL of Mr. Bubbles' toys—all three milk crates worth.  :p ;) Him taking out all his toys, and playing with them—was quite a sight.  The thing I REALLY wish I could've gotten on "film," though, was when he discovered—that he could jump back and forth between the beds (This was his first motel room.).  –The sheer look of unfettered JOY on his face, sailing between the beds, was something I'm really sorry I wasn't able to capture, and share.

      :) ;)

      Teslin. Later, I took Mr. B O-U-T.  As I was walking back in–it was bitterly cold–I saw it—Sirius in the sky, twinkling as it had when I was young. . . .

      Teslin.

      When getting into a shower in the Far North (or perhaps any motel, for that matter :p ), one has to be content, with only coming out cleaner, than one went in.  This hotel was no exception.  However, there was this really cool tub thingie:

      1/14/12 Saturday



      (I find it ironic–that I go on a trip like this–and this first thing I take a picture of, is a glorified soap dish.  Go figure.

      :p ;)


      The World-Famous Watson Lake Sign Post Forest


      Every time I come through this region–including the very first–I make a point at stopping at Watson Lake's "Sign Post Forest"—and I recommend that you do too.  :) ;)

      1/14/12 Saturday









      And here's Da' Squeaks!!



      :) ;)

      Buffalo - Dudes: (!!)

      1/14/12 Saturday



      I think, shortly after I took the above picture, we had an "adventure," of another sort.  A trucker, all too familiar to the conditions of the Far North, decided that it would be a GOOD idea, to pass me coming up on a blind turn.  (Those of you, living in . . . more densely populated climes, might find this sort of thinking . . . a bit touched.  However, in the Far North. . . .)

      Well, as it turns out, an articulated lorry was coming the other way, only initially out of view around the corner.  So, the next thing I know, I'm looking in the rear-view mirror, watching this truck sliding back and forth on the snow, about seven feet to either side of the Impreza, desperately trying to slow down.  (For this entire trip, I was impressed—with articulated lorry drivers' reticence, at runnin' me over 'n stuff.)


      The Whirlpool


      It wasn't a really good idea to stop–I was tired; I didn't have the proper footwear; it was WINTER (and thus, FROZEN)–but I really wanted to visit "The Whirlpool"—which I hadn't seen since my first time through here—over 11 years ago. . . .

      Laura was upset (time)—and, Mr. Bubbles INSISTED, on going with his Daddy. . . .

      "The Whirlpool"—not much of a "going concern" . . . in WINTER:

      1/14/12 Saturday



      And the view downstream. . . .



      When I got back to the beginning of the trail, I saw some mounds of dirt, sorta' lost back in the forest.  Something jogged in my memory, and I realized that I had (both mentally, and in physical reality) come upon a past directive to my future self—to find out WHAT these mounds are, and what made them—mining?

      No chance of that now—I was pushing both frostbite, and exhaustion.  Sigh. . . . –NOT the future I had hoped for.  (. . . .)

      And here is a build-up of culm bank coal ("crack coal"—bituminous (and thus, lower grade)—"(Eastern) Pennsylvania pride," showin', even now. . . . (of course) :p ;) ).  It took the people of Carbon Creek, over a century to build this up.  (~Nothing, compared to the ones we 'ave in Pennsylvania. . . .  :) ;) –But still, very impressive.)

      (Still) 1/14/12 Saturday



On to more MADNESS!