After spending 54 years from birth to 2008 living in Iowa I was presented with an opportunity to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. My blog is a diary of the adventure to get to Alaska, day to day life in Alaska, as well as facts for loved ones left behind in the Lower 48. Enjoy.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Emotions = Normalcy
I didn't have directions as to how to get to the motel, so called. A nice young man gave me directions which I quickly wrote down as he spoke and I drove...I thought he'd never quit giving directions. All in all he gave me 15 turns to make from my location! He told me to turn on 63rd Avenue, but it skipped from 61st to 65th Avenue. When I realized this problem, I took off into a residential district with a narrow, winding street with vehicles parked on both sides in hopes of returning to 61st Avenue. The blocks were not ordinary blocks - they were more like 12 blocks before the next intersection. Here I am driving my Iowa vehicle and Idaho U-Haul around in this neighborhood at 11 p.m. Fortunately it was a nice neighborhood and no one seemed to notice. Sometimes it's nice to not be noticed.
I finally arrived at the motel and got checked in. The desk clerk asked me if I needed a room similar to Tonya's (2 beds), and I said that it was just me staying, so one bed would be fine. I must have looked quite frazzled, as when I got to my room, it was a suite. Sweet! After getting my room swipe card I went out to the car to get my belongings. I layed down my swipe card and instantly it slipped between the passenger seat and center console. With the car loaded from top to bottom, side to side, there was no way I could move the seat, and no way my fingers would begin to fit down there, too. So, back to the desk to the nice desk clerk for another key card. This time he secured it in the folder and gave me two. Hmmm...one might think he had me pegged as irresponsible?
I was delighted when the desk clerk told me that they had Wi Fi, however my room was at the far end of the building and the WiFi didn't reach that far. So...I took the night off from my blog. I'm still coughing and choking from my bronchitis/virus I had a while back, so stopped at a grocery store and bought some Cough Stop. (All products in Canada are in English and French.) I took it before going to bed and noticed that my mouth felt kind of numb. That gave me the impression that this stuff was really going to work. Well, it did, for about 30 minutes, and I was up choking. So much for that! Maybe it had to do with the fact that it said to take 1 tsp of it and I didn't have any spoon so swigged "some". Perhaps tonight I should gulp my dosage?
When Nathan and I were together earlier in the trip, I told him that this time we can't say we didn't pack something/left it behind, because we literally have 99% of what we own with us. The problem now is where to find it!
Funny note - when the customs guy was inspecting boxes in Nate's vehicle he opened up the box for our shredder which I had labelled SHREDDER AND NATE'S UNDERWEAR. The bottom of the box broke out when Nate carried it to the car, so he put some heavy tape around it. Possibly the customs agent thought the taped box was a tip off by the tape, so he cut through the tape and opened it up. Bet he was disappointed to find SHREDDER AND NATE'S UNDERWEAR in it!
Wednesday when I went through customs it took me less than a minute. The man asked me several questions, took a look at my passport and driver's license and bid me to have a safe trip. Perhaps he thought a woman traveling alone, pulling a U-Haul from Iowa to Alaska isn't worth messing with. More realistically, he probably saw in the computer where I'd been through the border the other day and was approved then, so figured I would be okay to enter Canada again. (The first time I went through the border the man asked me when the last time was that I'd been in Canada, which was probably 7-8 years ago, so I hadn't been through the major scrutiny that I had to endure on Monday.) Tonya said that they had to get out of their vehicle and go into the same building as we did. The customs agent looked at their passports and told them to drive into the big garage. The man felt around in their belongings and told them to be on their way.
I received a phone call today from a couple of "my" gals from work. It was so good to hear their voices, hear their sympathy and words of encouragement. I also received a couple of e-mails from others...everyone is saying how brave I am for going through all this. I have stopped to wonder if they are saying that and thinking how "dumb" I am for going through it all!
We had only a 7 hour drive today, so didn't leave until about 2:30 p.m. Tonya did laundry as they've been on the road a week now and were needing clean clothes (understandable). It actually worked better for me to leave so late. When I leave in the early morning I get sleepy and need to pull over for a rest 2-3 times a day. I am definitely an afternoon/night person, as have no problems staying awake then.
We went to a bank and exchanged some cash for Canadian money and bought gas several more times. Today we drove through about an hour of heavy downpour through the mountains, up and down, curve after curve. I plugged along with the best of them, keeping up. Nothing is gonna stop me from making it to Fairbanks...I've gone through too much to not get there now. Guess my stubbornness is paying off. :-)
We saw a little wildlife on today's drive - a coyote ran across the road in front of Tonya's truck, got to the ditch and turned around and glared at us. I also saw a couple of deer. There were moose "warning" signs many, many places but guess they were too shy to show their faces. Or maybe they were smart and nestled under a pine tree forest nearby rather than out in the downpour like we humans were?
Nate is waiting in Bellingham, Washington (north of Seattle) to see if he can make it on the ferry tomorrow to go to Juneau. He wants to go so badly that even though they asked him to be there are 3 p.m. he told me he's going to be there at 8 a.m. and wait for them to call his name! At this point it is uncertain which of us will make it to Fairbanks first. He will if he has to fly from Juneau to Fairbanks (if they can't get him and the van on the 2nd ferry leg of the trip), I will if he does get on the 2nd ferry, as the ferry trip takes about 5 days if I recall correctly. (Friday-Tuesday)
It's kind of funny that Bob, the BGH president & CEO mentioned to me many months ago (way before I even considered going to Alaska to work) that they have a ferry that one can ride up to Alaska on. Maybe that should have been heeded as a warning? Nate and I considered both of us taking the ferry ride, but when they had only one opening (mid Sept) for the 2008 season, we figured we'd better not do that. That's when we decided to go opposite directions.
At the present time, I am in Ft. St. John, Britsh Columbia, nearly directly straight north several hundred miles from Nathan. I am finally beginning to feel like I'm making progress towards getting there. I ONLY have 26 hours and 1400 more miles and I'll be there!
I'm letting Tonya do the navigating for the trip. She tells me we have a 13 hour day ahead of us tomorrow. It's nice that the sun doesn't set here until about 10:40 p.m., so we can drive late in the day (when I'm more alert) and still see where we're going.
Today I finally began to feel emotions which, I guess, is a good thing. This has been so wearing on me that I had lost my emotions for a few days, maybe even weeks! Emotions = normalcy.