Tuesday, September 29, 2015

R.A.T. Days 57 - 70: Alaska and back.

Taking advantage of this year's hurricane season to rediscover America. We're calling it the R.A.T. (Rediscover America Tour). While Sanibel sits on dry dock at Safe Cove boatyard in Port Charlotte, Florida, Jimi and I will be traveling 49 of the 50 U.S. States. Along the way we're going to recapture what America's made of, visiting out-of-the-way and well -known places, reconnecting with friends and family and  much more.

Day 57 - September 15th. We drove to Tacoma, Washington; poked around outside the zoo and then got a room to prepare for our flight to Alaska.

Total miles driven: 10,100
 Not sure what was going on with this guy, but he sat on the side of the road in broad daylight and allowed us to drive up right next to him to take him picture.

We followed this dear for a while to get a picture.

Seattle Public Library

Day 58 - September 16th. We flew to Anchorage Alaska. Daniel and his girlfriend, Christina scooped us up from the airport.

Total miles flown: 1445
30 foot camper lent to us by Daniel's boss. 

A full kitchen and bath, dining table and two full size beds. Perfect for the four of us.

Day 59 - September 17th. While Daniel and Christina were at work, Jimi and I settled in our new and temporary home.

Total miles driven: 10,115
Half of a Carabou antler Rich, Christina's dad, found in the wilderness.

Black bear rug shot by Rich.

Grizzly bear shot by Rich, now made in to a rug. 
Remington, the chocolate lab gives you scale on just how large this animal was.

Day 60 - September 18th. Unfortunately, I'd had back pain for a few weeks, however, it escalated over the past few days. When I woke Friday morning the pain was excruciating and more than my body could handle. I suffered experience near vomiting and fainting spells. Jimi said enough was enough and took me to urgent care in Anchorage. The Doctor gave me some mild muscle relaxers and low dosage Vicodin.

Daniel, Christina and Jimi took good care of me and we nice times visiting.

Total miles driven: 10,115
Daniel keeping an eye on me in the camper.

Day 61 - September 19th. Thankful for the weekend. Daniel and Christina took the next week off work and we had 7+ days together. We began preparing for our departure to travel Alaska.

Total miles driven: 10,115 

Day 62 - September 20th. We hit the road. Our first camp was near the Matanuska Glacier.

Total miles driven: 10,209
Daniel attached his GoPro camera to the windshield to capture us on our way.

Simple beautiful!

Day 63 - September 21st. Jimi and Daniel hiked to the Matanuska Glacier while, still caring for me back, I remained in the camper. Christina explored some of the surrounding flatter areas. Then we drove some more.

Total miles driven: 10,317

Target shooting.

Day 64 - September 22nd. We drove towards Fairbanks and camped outside the Chena Hot Springs
There is no shortage of places to pull off into the bush to camp and we enjoyed a homemade campfire nearly every night.

Total miles driven: 10,566
Jimi and Daniel taking Daniel's new shotgun apart.

 Atop the Alaskan pipeline.

Swayback Moose eating the green grass on the side of the road.

Day 65 - September 23rd. We went in to the Chena Hot Springs with temperatures up to 150 degrees. It was devine. Then we drove  to the North Pole to see Santa himself; however, he was out, so we toured the shop, bought a few things and went on our way.
it began snowing just as we were leaving and hours later we heard they were hit is a big snow storm.

Total miles driven: 10,733

 My ears were cold, so I wore my hat.

Jimi was throwing the GoPro in the air while videotaping.

Now Daniel's turn to goof around.

More goofing at the hot springs.

On the lookout for Santa!

The Santa Claus House.

He fits the part of a mountain man.

Santa's sleigh.

A very un-proportional Santa.

Among the coolest address signs we've seen.

Day 66 - September 24th. We drove to and through Denali National Park. Then headed home to Eagle River.

Total miles driven: 11,085
Jimi and Daniel building a fire pit.

Day 67 - September 25th. Safely back in Eagle River it felt surreal that our time was coming to an end. Daniel took us to one of his favorite 4-wheelin spots. Christina and her father, Rich joined us on their 4-wheelers, while we were in Daniel's rather large truck.

Total miles driven: 11,177
 Daniel driving his BIG truck.

 Christina on her 4-wheeler.

A tree fell across the road. It's not problem for Daniel...he just whipped out his chain saw to clear the way. While he was at it, he loaded the back of his truck with firewood.

 Daniel's truck. Mud has become the permanent paint job.

 Keeping warm,

So serious?

Day 68 - September 26th. I couldn't believe it was over and I had to say goodbye to my son. Daniel and Christina dropped us off at the Anchorage airport after giving us a quick tour of where they work and introducing us to their boss who graciously let us borrow his motor home for the duration of our stay.
It was an incredible experience and something I hope we can do again one day.

Total miles flown: 2,890
Total miles driven: 11,192
A display at the Anchorage airport.

Moose at the Anchorage airport.

My family and I traveled through the Anchorage airport when I was a teen; we remember seeing the bear on the left.

Day 69 - September 27th. Driving towards Olympia, Washington we found a large barn full of second hand and antique stuff bursting at the seems. We cannot pass these up. We stopped and Jimi found some cool stuff to add to his collection of other cool stuff.

Total miles driven: 11,200
A 1885 bottle, leather stamping tools, a WW2 knife and vintage license plates from three states. 

Day 70 - September 28th. Most of our day was spent at the library in Olympia. Then we drove a couple of hours to the Rialto Beach in the Olympic National Park.

Total miles driven: 11,520