Arrived in Yukon

Yesterday we finally crossed out of British Columbia into the Yukon Territory.  The Yukon!  The word alone makes me think of adventure and far away places.  For the past few days we have been driving up the Alaskan Highway through large tracts of wilderness, with nothing to see on either side of the road but endless forests of lodgepole pine and aspen.  The road cuts a wide swath through the trees, which I suppose is to help motorists from hitting wildlife and to keep the trees from falling all over the road.

In the wildlife department, we've done pretty well.  Our most common spottings have been wild bison.  Who knew?  I thought that the days of wandering buffalo where done and gone, but up here they still travel about as they please.  We stopped in to Dora's Cafe in Fireside, BC yesterday to get some ice cream, and she told us about how one bull had shattered her restaurant window (quite by accident) and how the herd wanders into her RV park every fall, forcing her to shut it down until they decide to move on.  They're easy to spot while driving, which is perhaps why we've seen more of them than anything else.

But we have seen a few black bears, one tiny token caribou, an elk, and a beaver hard at work.  The first day on the Alaskan Highway I spotted a bull moose on the edge of the road, but even though I saw it from such a long ways away, I could not believe it was an actual moose and not a sign or a statue or some other fake-moose-let's-fool-the-tourists, and so I overshot it by a long ways before gasping "Moose!" and turning a sharp U-ey.  Hopefully it's not our last, because we couldn't react quickly enough to take pictures!

This idea that the Alaskan Highway is oh-so treacherous and scary is a big fat myth.  It's a lovely road to drive, with nothing to imply shredded tires or abandoned cars or all the other horror stories I heard before we left.  The scenery lulls me into a sense of hypnosis after a while, with nothing much happening, and then we round the corner someplace to see a massive towering snow-capped mountain and my jaw drops.  I highly recommend the drive.

Well, it's off to Whitehorse now, and since Nathan is being very patient with me right now while I take advantage of this Wi-Fi spot, I'd best wrap it up and move along.  We have to go pan for gold so we can pay for this trip!

Dawson Creek

Yesterday Nathan and I realized that we've only been driving/camping for three days (four today), and we could hardly believe it.  We were in Seattle on Friday, but it seems so long ago!  So now, after a lifetime of travelling, we find ourselves only slightly past the middle of British Columbia in Dawson Creek, which is Nebraska.  Seriously.  Dawson Creek looks a lot like Nebraska, or at least as best I can remember that flat and rolling state.

I'm in a bit of a camping stupor.  We've just broken camp for the morning and are sitting at the picnic table facing the daunting beginning of the Alaskan Highway, and Nathan has just informed me that the next 410 miles are paved.  Fantastic, since I just spent an hour slapping headlight protectors and a grill screen thing on the front of Bosco, all to ease a bit of the damage I'm imagining will ensue after 1500 miles of a solid gravel shower.  If we make it to Anchorage without a busted windshield, I am going to buy myself an ice cream.

Cooking with a propane stove is excellent.  I think I'm getting spoiled.  Spam has also been elevated in my opinion.  Spam is the King of Canned Meats.

This morning a friendly neighbor wandered by the campsite and introduced himself.  I do believe he had spent the entire morning wandering around offering advice to people, because after chatting we me he went over to the next campsite and did the same thing.  He warned me of buffalo on the road ("They're stupid.  They don't move for nothing.") and of the eagles that perch above populated campgrounds, waiting to swoop down and snatch cats and little yip-yip dogs that aren't being watched by their owners.  He told me that he had seen firsthand a tug of war concerning a poodle between an eagle and and RVer.  The eagle won.

Ooooh.... I guess I should probably go.  Much many miles to drive yet.  Yes.

Have Car, Will Travel

Just a quick little post to announce that we are now travelling, TSO and I! I will have to post more later...when I have more time...and am not falling asleep on a couch in Seattle...

Suffice to say, all is well, the car is loaded to the gills, and we will be conquering Canada within the week. Rah!

Yes, no, yes, I'm not posting

Because TSO and I are trying to get ready to go to Alaska and it's so crazy and there is so much stuff to do AAAAAA FREAKOUT!

But we've been also doing some lovely fun stuff together, and at least one of us isn't too lazy to write about it, so go check out the fine and excellent writing at Travelin' Shoes.

Maybe one or both of us will manage posts from the Great White North after we hit the road, which will be - God willing - very soon.

Big Name Comes, Small Town Fawns

Well, it finally happened. The Democratic primary has grown so rampantly out of control that they've gotten desperate, so desperate that they're even campaigning on the Oregon Coast.

But we haven't reached the level of the actual candidates yet. We're only on "spouse level."

Still, it was pretty exciting to hear that Bill Clinton was coming. Has a president current or ex ever visited the coast before? Not in my lifetime. The closest thing was when JFK campaigned here 40 years ago, a fact a learned from the woman standing in front of me in line as we waited to see Clinton. She had also seen JFK. She had been in high school.

The rally, or whatever you want to call it, was a mellow event. A week of raining had finally given way to mild and breezy spring weather, so we coastal type folks were in a merry mood, chatting to each other as we stood in a line that stretched for blocks. Everyone knew everyone. I had driven down from my hometown, but amazingly even I came across a few people that I knew. After about an hour and a half of waiting, they opened up the doors to the middle school gym, and we packed right on in. Amazingly, there was no security check of any kind. Most folks opted for the bleachers, but I choose the floor, so that when Clinton finally came out (on time!!) I was standing only 20 feet from him.

Bill Clinton is remarkably charismatic in person, very easy and relaxed as he speaks. But our crowd was judicious, and there was definitely rationing of applause for only the agreeable points of his speech. I, for my part, was very clappy about the part where Clinton promised more wilderness area designations for Oregon - we fall far short of the acreage of neighboring states - but this is not a welcomed idea for a community build on timber dollars, and so the rest of the gym stayed awkwardly silent. Other clunkers included his proposition that the future of transportation lies with lithium - I think - battery powered cars, ("They're too expensive!!" shouted one woman behind me) and that the lithium -or whatever it was - lies in great abundance in the ground of South America. (And so we are supposed to go dig up the rainforest? Hello?)

Also lacking was his understanding of our Northwest salmon situation, a problem he summed up in a way that very much implied he had been briefed on the plane ride over. "More salmon for everyone!" he said, or something close to it. His analysis of the issue was based along the premise that there are so many salmon just a'swimming on out there in the Pacific, and it's a fight between Alaskan fisherman and Northwestern fisherman to see who can go haul them in, as in, "stop letting Alaska get all the salmon and give them back to Oregon."

Which might work if salmon were whales, or if salmon were oil reserves, or if salmon were stock options. But salmon are salmon, and with a very few exceptions (i.e. ocean dead zones) if you find your local fishery depleted, you can only point the finger at yourself. So when Clinton started with his garbled notion of problem/solution, I wanted to yell, "Get a job!" Or, no, what would the phrase be? "Get a fisheries education or at least a rudimentary grasp on things that every third grader in Oregon already knows!"

Oh well. I suppose it's too much to ask for our local problems to go on the national scene anyway.

Clinton's best moment of the night was the announcement that Hillary would end No Child Left Behind, a line that filled the gym with wild cheering and applause. He followed this by saying, "That's a sure fire winner. I could be in the middle of Idaho 400 miles from the nearest Democrat and get applause from a herd of elk with that one."

After the speech, he came down into the crowd for hand-shaking and signature-signing, and the gym turned into a gigantic mosh pit. With me in the middle. So I got to know some of my South Coast neighbors a little bit more on that day, and isn't that what democracy is all about? Coming together?

Here is a picture of da man:

And here is proof that I was actually there. Or my eye was there, anyway. You have no idea how awkward it was to turn around to take a picture of myself when everyone behind me was so fixated on that big ol' flag. They thought I was a wee bit odd... because I broke eye contact with Clinton - aaaAAAAA!

And I had a warm and fuzzy video to upload, but since Blogger is being dumb about it, I'll have to try to post it later.