Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Since we arrived. .

Last few days in a nutshell
Wow! The last few days have been crazy to say the least. Friday when we got here we were told we could have a base house available on March 21. We went to look at the house and came back 10 min later and they were giving our house to someone else! Seriously. So the next available house was on April 8. Not much we could do. Of course they didn’t have rooms available for us and the dogs at the hotel on base. Which meant we either had to kennel the dogs (out of pocket) and stay on base ourselves or get an off base hotel that accepted dogs (out of pocket of course). After all the dogs had been through I really didn’t want to kennel them. So we decided to stay at the only hotel with rooms and see what our options were the next day. Saturday we found a hotel that seemed decent enough with a weekly rate of 425. Crazy, right? A week in Charleston is around 175. We check in. They assume we only have one dog and charge us for only one. Not like we are going to correct them. It’s $10 per day per dog on top of the weekly rate. The room was. .decent. I didn’t take my shoes off and always slept fully clothed. We got groceries and were going to try to make the best of it. Other than sneaking the dogs around and not having internet, it wasn’t terrible.
Monday morning I went to housing and pretty much made them feel bad for me. I hated to do it but we would have put out almost $2000 on a hotel by the end of the stay. Soo, long story short. We moved into our new house on March 22. .the very next day. I was so happy I pretty much cried in that poor lady’s office.  Although we don’t have any of our things yet, we have a house that I feel safe in and is nice so that’s all that matters to me! The dogs are happy and love having their own space.
The house is 3 stories. The bottom is a huge basement which is the laundry room also. It’s about 300 square feet. It came with a washer and dryer so lucky for us we didn’t have to wait for ours and we all have nice clean clothes and blankets! We are going to store stuff down there and also use it as a work out area. It’s heated which is also nice. The 2nd floor has the heated garage which leads into an entry way with a coat closet and a ½ bath.  This entry way is also where the front door is. You go up 3 steps and you are in the dining room/ kitchen area. It’s laminate flooring which is easy to clean.  The kitchen is a decent size and the dining room has a pretty big window . Walk forward a little and you are in the living room. Which has a huge closet. The living room leads to the back yard. We have a cute little porch and then a pretty small back yard. It is all fenced in though so that was a relief. Up stairs in the 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom. The  bed rooms are a decent size and our spare room has the best view in the house. Perfect view of mountains. It’s amazing. Most of the house is carpet which is nice. The dogs loved the steps yesterday. Running up and down them over and over. Today they are hurting and feeling all that exercise!  The outside of the house is out dated. Light brown vinyl siding with dark brown trim. Typical military style. But we have a house and that’s all that matters to me!
We did get a new TV which Justin is excited about. I am ready to get all of our things so I can get everything up and take pictures. I am also going to start looking for a job today. With everything being so expensive here Justin and I couldn’t do much of anything if I didn’t work. It has been nice to have a break but being a grown up means having responsibilities. I am looking forward to everyone coming to visit! I love this place and am glad to call it home for the next 4 years. I can’t wait to show it off to everyone!

Day 11

The last day of our long but very interesting journey.
Day 11 – March 18, 2011
Starting the day: Nancy made us amazing Belgian waffles for breakfast which was a nice start to our day. We left Tok, AK around 7:56am. It was sunny. But a freezing -22 degrees. Yes. That is negative. The coldest we have seen it yet. And from our phones it actually got down to -30 degrees overnight. When Justin opened the door to the cabin steam came rolling in from the huge temp. difference.
The dogs: Were cold. Like everyone else. They didn’t seem to want to go outside because it was so cold. When they finally did they were like high stepping horse trying to keep their paws off of the ice/snow. I think we will need to invest in booties for next winter!
Ending the day: We finally made it to Anchorage, AK around 2:30pm.  It was around 30 degrees which felt super warm to us! The sun was out and it was gorgeous.
Justin drove. .Which I am sure you already figured. Which is kind of funny because a little known fact about my sweet husband is he hates heights. Really hates them. The whole ride this day was on steep mountains and hills which overlooked some of the most gorgeous scenery. Poor Justin didn’t get to see much of it. He has tunnel vision when it comes to heights. Luckily the roads were great or it could have been a very long day. I do appreciate that he drove most of the way in the bad weather. He wanted to make sure that “his 3 girls made it safe and sound to Anchorage.”
Total miles: Who cares! We made it to Anchorage! Haha I was so happy to get here I really didn’t even think to write it down. I think it was somewhere around 300 or so. We will go with that.
Highlights of the day: Umm. .hello?! We made it! And it was a gorgeous ride.  Anchorage seems amazing and I can not wait to start our lives here. Thank you to everyone who called and answered our calls. It was a long trip but we finally got here. I will keep this blog going to update everyone on all the fun stuff we do!

Day 10

Better late than never. .right?

Day 10 – March 17, 2011
Neither Justin or I wore any green. Sad but true. We have been trying to wear the same clothes and just wash them because it’s so much easier than getting into the suitcase every single day. 
Starting the day: We left Whitehorse, YT at 8:11am. It was 24 degrees and sunny. But there was snow on the ground.
The dogs: Had their first elevator ride! Once they got into the elevator they kind of looked around and then tried to jump out. Siren hates it. . like she hates most things. Poor girl. She will never get to broaden her horizons with an attitude like that. Of course our sweet Raven didn’t seem to mind it too much.
Ending the day:  We stopped for the night in Tok, Alaska around 3:28pm. It was 20 degrees but still sunny.
Time spent behind the wheel: Justin. And Siren when she jumped in his seat while he was getting gas. I have a feeling  I wont see the open road for a while. At least until summer!
Total Miles: 399.9 – One of the easier days!
Highlights of the day: We finally got out of Canada. Not that there was anything wrong with Canada. It was just a long speed bump in our road to Alaska. And not to mention they use the metric system which totally confused me. And their Department of Transportation (if they even have one!) sucked. The roads were most of the time bad. I had to use one of those nasty rest areas today. It was horrible. Just as Justin said, a giant hole in the ground. G-ross. For tonight we have a cute little cabin booked. It is really nice and the owners are super sweet.  Nancy and Bill moved from Fairbanks, AK in the 60’s to Tok. Which is pronounced “toke” because word on the street is most of the people here like to participate in extracurricular activities if you know what I mean. I don’t think Nancy and Bill get down like that.  They started this little cabin business and also raise super cute sled puppies. The cabin is gorgeous and is probably the nicest place we have stayed so far.
Tomorrow. .Anchorage!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 9

Today was a pretty easy day. We got up and hit the road for a short trip to Whitehorse, YT. The roads were clear and we made good time today. Although the car is making me crazy, I keep telling myself we will be in Anchorage by the weekend..

Starting the day: We left Watson Lake, YT at 7:52 am. It was 3 degrees. By 8am it was -1. It snowed a little last night. About an inch or so. Nothing too crazy.

The dogs: Are ready to have their own house. Hotels make them crazy I think. Plus they bark at a lot of things which I am scared will get us kicked out. Let's hope they can make it to Alaska without getting us evicted!

Ending the day: We got to Whitehorse, YT at 1:47pm. It was 23 degrees which is like a heat wave for us! It was amazing. Still cold. Don't get me wrong. But better than the past few days.

Total miles: 278.3

Highlights of the day: We saw a lot of moose today. They were in the road a lot. We had to stop a few times for them to move so we could go by. The rest stops along the way are gross and Justin advised I not use them. He said it was just a hole in the ground that went down about 15 feet. Gross.  I will try to add pictures to this post soon!

On a side note, this experience along the Alaskan highway has been an experience. We have seen some amazing things and have enjoyed seeing all of the different sites of the road. But for me it has a little more meaning. Knowing that my grandpa drove this same road about 12 years ago gives it a whole new meaning for me. I am seeing things that he saw and probably commenting on some of the same things that he did. Although he saw it in the summer and I am seeing it in the winter, just knowing that he was on the same road I am on at any given point in the day makes this whole trip a little easier to handle.

We are staying in a small hotel tomorrow so not sure if we will have internet or not. But if everything goes as planned we will be in Anchorage on Friday. I am ready to just be home. And I guess home for me now is Alaska.

Day 8

On to day 8!

Staring the day: We finally got out of that nasty hotel at 7:25am. It had snowed about an inch the night before and it was 1 degree. Suuper cold.

The dogs: Since they are actually doing something I decided to keep this section around. Raven loves the snow. She loves to pounce around in it and try to climb the highest hill of snow. Siren is freezing. Poor girl. But she goes outside and does what she needs to do which is all I ask for.

Ending the day: We stopped a little earlier due to not wanting to drive anymore! ha We stopped in Watson Lake, YT at 3:30pm. It was 7 degrees when we stopped which was like a heat wave after the temps we had seen that day!

Total miles: 325.9

Time spent behind the wheel: Justin. And he will continue to drive until we make it to Alaska. =)

Highlights of the day: The coldest it go this day was -7 degrees. You read that right. .Negative 7! The high for the day? 3 degrees. On the Alaskan Highway you can go hours and not seen anyone! It's the craziest thing. And you can also go hundreds of miles without seeing a bathroom. We stopped once this day. Most of the campground and RV parks are closed. I mean, who in their normal mind wants to come up here and camp out when it's under 10 degrees all the time and tons of snow? But lucky for us there was one open today along our way so we were able to stop. They always have signs on the side of the road of moose and today we saw a buffalo sign. Think like the deer signs in the south. So of course we haven't seen much wildlife so when I saw the buffalo sign I about died laughing. No jokes here people. We saw buffalo. A lot of them. Everywhere. I will post pictures. But the best part was our hotel. It wasn't nice. I cried again. I really need to get it together. But the food from their restaurant was amazing! Probably the best road food we have had this whole time. I had homemade chicken pot pie and Justin had spaghetti. Both were delicious. I was really impressed. And the breakfast was great too. I was very happy with that! Here are some pictures.

Frozen. In person it is a gorgeous blue color.

They were everywhere!

Close up!

Day 7

Finally!  A hotel with an internet connection I actually have the password to and that allows me to upload pictures! The past few days have been pretty crazy but I am happy to say we should be in Anchorage, AK by Friday. I am so happy for that. Let me share with you the past 3 days. .although some of it I do not want to relive.

Day 7 - March 14, 2011

Starting the day: We left Edmonton, AB at 7:28am. By the time we got on the road about 30 min later, the temp had dropped from 28 degrees when we left the hotel to 21 degrees. It was pretty cold and windy.

Major cities we went through: None! And to be honest I am going to remove this section from my blog from now on. We haven't been through a big city in days! We are lucky if the cities we go through have a hotel or a gas station at least! It's pretty rural up this way!

The dogs were: Good. They slept. If they don't start doing something interesting I am going to delete their section from my blog as well. . seriously. They do nothing. Lazy dogs.

Ending the day: We stopped in Fort Nelson, BC at 6:30pm. It was zero degrees. Which seems like it would be pretty bad. No. It gets worse. I will expand on that in the highlights. Although none of it was really a highlight of my day!

Total miles for the day: 660

Time spent behind the wheel: About even. I drove in the morning and Justin took over for the afternoon. Lucky for me because we started hitting areas with more snow and Justin is the better driver (although I will never tell him that!).

Highlights of the day: Let's get the bad stuff out of the way because there really were some cool moments. Let's just say WORST HOTEL EVER!! Want to know how bad it was? I cried. I know I cry at a lot of things and am sometimes over dramatic, or so I am told anyways! , but really. Even Justin thought this place was bad. The other 2 hotels that accepted dogs were booked so we ended up at The Fort Nelson Hotel. The lobby was nice and the overall hotel was nice. But we ended up on a side "motel" building. It was loud, paint was peeling off the walls. I didn't even want the dogs to have to sleep there. They had internet but weren't concerned when the password didn't work for me. I didn't touch much in that room and always wore shoes of some kind. Maybe one day I will look back and laugh but as of right now, it isn't funny at all! But on to the fun stuff. As a kid I would go to the IGA in my grandparents town and always remember what a small little store it was. Well I guess the Canadians like it too because we have seen a few of them since we have been here! There is snow everywhere and a lot of it. Makes everything look so pretty although I am sure the area is much prettier in the summer. We pulled out our new sweet boots that I won't be winning any fashion shows with anytime soon and our big winter coats. We ate lunch at an A&W. They don't put ice in their drinks which Justin thought was weird. But their reasoning is their fountains are set to the perfect temp for sodas and ice just waters down your drink. Justin seemed to disagree! We saw 3 wolves today which are gorgeous animals. And we also saw a few moose which were cool. But I guess since we saw more than one I should call them meese? Ask my grandma. She is a crazy old lady. haha

Here are a few pictures from this day!

Here we go!

It was coold!

Amazing view all day.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Days 5 & 6

It seems like I have been living out of our car. .technically I guess we have. But yesterday was an amazing day! Lets recap.

Starting the day: We left Salt Lake City, UT at 8:11am. It was overcast and 44 degrees. It seemed like everyone at our hotel was leaving to go ski and snowboard. We were leaving to drive. I must admit, I was a little jealous.

Major cities: Not that any of these were that big or anything but we did go through them non the less. Idaho Falls. . Butte, MT. . Helena, MT.

The dogs: Are getting really tired of being in the car. I don't blame them. I am too. But Raven was up most of the day looking out the side window and Siren spent most of the day with her head on the back of my seat.

Ending the day: We arrived in Great Falls, MT around 5:00pm. It was sunny and 50 degrees. Which we later learned was considered a heat wave. Awesome. That's what I have to look forward to!

Total miles for the day: 574    And in case you were wondering, the miles for day 4 was 670.7!

Time spent behind the wheel: I drove in the morning and Justin drove in the afternoon. So it was about even. But there was nothing in any of the states we went through so the 5 hours behind the wheel seemed like 10. Suuper boring driving day. Nothing like New Mexico, that's for sure!

Highlights of the day: Probably the only highlight was that Justin and I met up with some old friends and it was amazing. We were super good friends with Amanda and Rick when we were all stationed in North Carolina. We were all young and new to the military. Justin left for Korea, I stayed in Florence and our dear friends left to spend 4 years in Japan. It had been about 6 years since we were all together and yet it seemed like we picked up right where we left off. That is the one thing I love about the military. We let them know one day before we were going to be in their neck of the woods and were able to meet up. Did I mention that they cooked for us so we had a homecooked meal and we were able to have adult conversations with other people! It was a great night. The only bad part was that we stayed up later than we should have and paid for it on day 6.

I would love to add pictures however Internet in Canada leaves a lot to be desired so I am not even going to put myself through that torture!

DAY 6!

Starting the day: Due to the time change we were a little late getting started this morning. That and the fact that it was freeezing! We left around 8am. It was 36 degrees and WINDY! Whew. . Made it feel much colder than what it was.

Major cities:  Calgary, AB

The dogs: Were Ok. Not much they can do I guess. Luckily we had a shorter day today so they are relaxing in the hotel with us as I type this. They sure do hate when we have to put them back in the car. The worst part is we don't let them eat during the day. Only at night when we stop. But they seem to be doing ok.

Ending the day: We arrived in Edmonton, AB at 4:45pm. It was 35 degrees and sunny. This town is crazy. Weird roads and one way streets. I thought Justin was going to lose his mind. Poor guy. We will get to that. .give me a minute!

Total miles: 497.6

Time spent behind the wheel: So why was Justin going to lose his mind today you may ask. .because he drove the whole way! I don't know how or why he did it but he did it. I took about a 30 minute nap and I was woke up by Justin singing his little heart out. How cute. Guess I will be driving most of the way tomorrow!

Highlights of the day: We went through the border today. For some reason I was so nervous they were going to deny us entry to this country. Don't ask me why but as we were waiting in line I was freaking out. Not sure if it was because we have 2 miniature ponies traveling with us or what but luckily they let us in no problem! I had a nice nap today. There is snow everywhere but the roads as of right now. Justin just announced that Edmonton is expecting snow tomorrow. Looks like we will get out of here early! We have been lucky to find hotels that let us have our dogs. I hope it continues that way until we reach Anchorage. As we walked into the hotel with our dogs, the girl at the attraction desk makes this statement. "Wow. .those sure are large puppies. It's hard to tell who is walking who, eh?". This single statement made my day. I love that everyone says eh. And they have funny accents. I am sure they think the same thing about us though.

Justin and I have tried to map out the rest of our trip since from here on out the places we stay are going to be pretty rural. We are trying to get hotels lined up and our route down to a tee. Looks like we have about 4 more days of driving. The end is near. Thank goodness. I hope I can have Internet access at every hotel we stay at. If not, I will report once we are in Alaska. Love you all!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Days 3 & 4!

We finally had a shorter day today and so I am able to catch up on the past couple days!

Day 3 - March 10, 2011

Starting the day: We left Oklahoma City at 7:23am. It was pretty cold. 36 degrees but sunny. I got up earlier so we weren't rushing to leave and get packed up. Justin was pretty happy about this.

Major Cities we went through: Amarillo, TX . .Albuquerque, NM. .

The dogs were: Good again! Not much new to report on them. They sleep. That's about it.

Ending the day: We got to Flagstaff, AZ around 7:34pm. It was dark but a cool 50 degrees.

Total miles: 859.6 . .let's not talk anymore about that.

Time spent behind the wheel: I drove through the rest of Oklahoma, all of Texas and most of New Mexico. Justin took over and drove for a few hours but I ended up driving the last hour or so of the trip.

Highlights of the day: The day was long. 13 hours in the car was brutal. But we did learn that shopping carts were invented in Oklahoma. And that Justin loves Oklahoma so much that he wants to move there. We will see I guess.  Justin has named our GPS Cherry. She is kind of a pain and yells at me a lot. Plus Justin realized the has a bit of a stammer which is why he thinks that they get along so well. New Mexico might be my new favorite state. It was amazing and the landscape was always changing. When I asked Justin to sum up New Mexico in one word his answer was "sweet". Guess that's what we will go with then. Here are a few pictures from this day.



New Mexico


Ok. Now on to day 4. Today was a pretty good day. We went to bed pretty early last night so we seemed to get caught up on sleep. It helps when the scenery is nice and gives us something to look at and talk about. Today in a recap.

Starting the day: We left Flagstaff, AZ at 7:36am and it was a sunny 26 degrees. Elevation? 7, 550 ft.

Major Cities: Las Vegas, NV . .Salt Lake City, UT

The dogs were: Crazy today! I think they might have been in the car too long yesterday because it didn't seem like they could get comfortable. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Ending the day: We arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah around 6:35pm. It was a chilly 45 degrees but sunny.

Total miles for the day: I am going to guess around 650 or so. I forgot to look and it is way to cold for me to go out there now!

Time spent behind the wheel: I drove a lot today. I just prefer to drive. I hate sitting in the passenger seat. I made it through the rest of Arizona, all of Nevada, Arizona again for about 30 miles and about 40 miles into Utah. Justin drove most the way through Utah.

Highlights of the day: It was a very sad start to our day waking up and seeing the reports of the massive earthquake in Japan. We listened to some of the news reports on the drive today. Just such a horrible event. On a brighter note, Nevada was super hot today. But it was nice. I will never complain about being hot ever again. All this cold weather and my soon to be new home of Alaska has made me appreciate the warmth. As a tribute to our dear friends The Fleishman's, we stopped and ate at Del Taco. It was pretty good. Not going to lie! Utah should be called the windy state. Whew! My hair looked crazy after out little pit stop. Also, Utah has a ton of cops. They are everywhere!

Overall it has been a pretty nice trip. We have seen pretty amazing things and I am excited to see more!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A very long day 3!

As much as I would love to fill everyone in on our amazing day. . It's not happening tonight. After 4 states, 13 hours in the car and over 800 miles I am exhausted. Both physically and mentally. Tomorrow brings Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. I will post about both days tomorrow!
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 2!

Oh man. What a day! It wouldn't have been so bad if we saw the sun sometime before 4pm. Here is a recap of the day.

Staring the day: We left Nashville, TN this morning at 7:55am. Let me say we would have left earlier however I decided that I would like to straighten my hair this morning which of course was not in the plan. And then I spilled the cooler ALL over the car including the passenger front seat which Justin then had to sit in all day. Oops. When we left it was 54 degrees and raining. . Soo gross.

Major cities we went through: Memphis, TN . .Little Rock, AR . .Oklahoma City, OK

The dogs were: Awesome. They slept most of the day but the best part was we went 4.5 hours without stopping and they were fine. The only problem is when we stop for the night, the dogs tend to bark a lot since they aren't used to all the noise. It sucks but luckily no one has said anything yet so we will keep our fingers crossed.

Ending the day: We stopped for the night in Yukon, OK (which is right outside of Oklahoma City). When we stopped it was 50 degrees, sunny (although the sun was setting) and 7:00pm.

Total miles for the day: 695.2 whew!

Time spent behind the wheel: I started out the driving this morning around 8am. I drove through half of Tennessee, all of Arkansas and about 20 miles into Oklahoma. This was a total of about 8 hours. Justin took over and drove for about 3. I really don't mind driving. And I know that once we hit snow and mountains he wont be letting me drive much. Figured I could do most of the driving now.

Highlights of the day: It rained. A lot. All through Tennessee, all through Arkansas and into Oklahoma. It was horrible. Arkansas is pretty long. And boring. Not much there. But Oklahoma is amazing. Maybe has more cows than people. However, we did stop for gas (which we we almost ran out of since Justin kept "forgetting"!) and we ended up stopping at a little country store. We had to pre pay for our gas inside because the gas pump did not have a credit card reader. Something we found super outdated but very interesting. '

I don't want to speak too soon but the drive so far has not been bad. Justin and I try to keep each other company and the dogs have been very good. I am looking forward to heading west a little more and seeing more of this amazing country I call home. It's so interesting for me to see how the landscape changes from state to state. Tomorrow is a new day so rest is needed. A few pictures for your viewing pleasure!

A packed car!

North Carolina Mountains

Siren's favorite spot!

Downtown Nashville


More Oklahoma

Oklahoma City

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 1 of this crazy adventure!

Whoa! What a day. First thing is I think our car is so full we couldn't buy any thing along this trip if we wanted to. We ended up leaving some stuff at my mom's house in order to have room for the dogs. The trip overall has been pretty good. Here are some details:

Starting the trip: We left Florence this morning at 8:43am. It was 45 degrees and sunny which was nice.

Major cities we went through: Columbia, SC. . Ashville, NC. . Knoxville, TN

The dogs were: Really good! We stopped about every 2 hours or so and walked. Probably more than we should have but they don't have much room with all our stuff. They are currently passed out at the bottom of our hotel bed.

Ending the day: Stopped for the night in Nashville, TN at 4:19pm (central time. . Trust me. My body was totally feeling like 5:30!) It was 48 degrees and raining.

Total miles traveled today: About 514

Time spent behind the wheel: I started the trip and drove until we were almost in Tennessee. I made it over mountains and interstate changes. Nothing to major. Justin drove the rest of the way and luckily he was the one that hit the rain and not me!

Highlights of the day: Looking through the atlas we realized there are only 3 states with a lower population than Alaska. . North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. We also realized that Justin doesn't like sharing mountain roads with 18 wheelers! And finally we tried White Castle burgers which by the way are amazing!

I would love to type more but of course the hotel we are staying at has wi fi but it's not working so all this was typed from my phone. Sleep is in my near future. I feel tomorrow is going to be a long one! We love you all.
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