Monday, October 29, 2007

AK Adventure-10/29/07

Hello to all who are still viewing the blog. We have finally figured out how to show off the rest of the pictures Pam took during our trek to Alaska. Our blog site is simply loaded to full to provide you with any further pictures on the site. Therefore, Kodak Gallery, or Ofoto, is the only feasible way we can figure out how to do this. If we do not have your e-mail address we will need it. Please send your address to in order to see more pictures. You should know by now if you are in my address book. If you are, you do not need to send your address.
We will be sending out an e-mail containing a couple of photo albums. You must register with a user name and password in order to view them. However, you only need to do this once. And, as our life progresses here in Alaska, we can use this site to supply you with pictures we gather along the way. Again, you will still only need to register once.
Look for an e-mail from us with photo albums in it. That's the one you'll need. In the future, when you see an album from us, you'll know what it is.
In the meantime, our life here is simply chaotic. We're still hanging out in the RV, but have begun the job search. What the job search reveals will dictate where we search for a permanent address. It will either be north of Anchorage, or in the city itself. This may work itself out in a few days, and we'll let you know. The moose are everywhere. In fact, Matt and Kim have a 2 year old daughter. A few days ago a bull moose found his way into their front yard. Matt came around the corner of the RV to see his baby daughter petting the moose on the nose......BIG PROBLEM! The moose, however, was very patient and cooperative, sensing the innocence of this child, thus allowing her to continue unthreatened. Matt and Kim have an icy, downhill driveway. Pam and I walked out of their house last night to find the car had slid down the ice, halfway down the hill. We still don't know what stopped it from sliding all the way across the street and into the neighbors house. Ah, and here's a good one. Pam and I both had to take the Alaska driver's test to secure our new driver's licenses. I passed the first time....Pam didn't. As I was taking my test I could hear her voice behind me say 'I failed?'. I knew right away I had something I could hang over her head. She had to take it again the next day, and she called me on the phone to say she had failed again. Me, being the smart and learned husband, elected not to tease her this time, for this could have spelled the end of me. What was once funny, is no longer. On the third day, she passed, and all of a sudden everything became funny again. Interesting how that works out. In all honesty, the questions were very much out of the ordinary, and most people fail the AK test before passing it. Especially those of us coming from the Lower 48. There was an unusual amount of questions on the test which dealt with drunk driving. This was likey by design. We did get some bad news today from Sahara's new Vet. For those of you who don't know, Sahara is the first of our two beloved dogs (but don't tell Sahara I just referred to her as a dog). As many of you know, she was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and has since gone completely blind. She has now been diagnosed with Cushion's Disease (a brain tumor). It originated in the pituitary gland, so it is not cancerous, as is the case with tumors that originate in the adrenal gland. Good news and bad news. It could have been worse, but her lifespan will still be significantly effected. I won't go into details about her prognosis.
Well, that's it for now. Look for more in your e-mail.
Bob and Pam Johnson

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Unbelieveable beauty everywhere you look :-)

What a blessing it is, and was to have this privilege to drive to Alaska!!

Look both ways before you cross!!

Deer? Moose? Caribou? Antelope?

More art work from God!!


This is what you get when you run your pie hole!!

Now it is time for my side of the story...
I just wanted to show you what happens when you question the driver of the RV about how close you are to the signs in downtown Billings and when you shout STOP!STOP! when there is a bull moose in the distance by the edge of the road!! I will always get the last laugh... Bob made an excellant bug catcher taped to the front of the RV. We did get a lot of stares but, you always get what you ask for!!!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

AK Adventure-10/17/07

We did it. We rolled into Anchorage last night around 5PM (9PM Eastern). As soon as we arrived we went directly to U-Haul to get rid of the trailer. We then drove the car to a manual car wash to eliminate much of the grim that built up on Pam's car. From there it was on to Matt and Kim Lowe's house where we were greated with an exceptionally delicious dinner. The RV is parked in their driveway just like Cousin Eddy's in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. That's our new home until we figure out what we're going to do from here. For the next few days we are going to unload the rest of the car, reorganize the RV, and store what we don't need in Matt and Kim's garage. On Friday of this week I have one last follow up interview with a potential employer in Palmer, Alaska. If I get this job we will likely try to relocate to that area soon, but we're just not sure yet. Everything is up in the air this week, but we did actually make it here. What a remarkable journey it has been so far, and one without problems. It's around 50 degrees here, and partly cloudy. The first thing we did this morning was head to Starbucks. We made it about 50 feet out of the driveway and were greeted by two big moose. It was as if they were welcoming us to our new home. The drive to Starbucks was accompanied by a beautiful sunlit view of a magnificant mountain range. Actually, neither one of us can believe it yet.....we just relocated to the great state of Alaska. It has not sunk in yet.
It will be a tough winter for us, given we have to get acquainted with our new surroundings. But, we are encouraging any and all visitors who want to come and see us next summer. By then we will have been long since settled in.
We have figured out the problem with providing you with pictures via our blog site. It can't handle the amount of pictures we have to share with you. So, we're trying to figure out another way to get them to you. Give us a little time. Right now we're strung out from the road and just want to relax and do nothing for a couple of days, including thinking. All we're looking forward to tonight is dinner at Humpy's and the baseball game on TV.
Much, much more to come.
Bob and Pam

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

AK Adventure-10/16/07

Here we go folks. It's 11am in Glenallen, Alaska and we're preparing for our final assault on Anchorage. We plugged in to the side of a building last night to get our electric for the evening. We even had an opportunity to shower and clean up this morning. A luxury we've had only two other times within our journey, and this counted our soak in the Liard Hot Springs. You can imagine how good it felt. However, the facility itself was less than luxurious. The building we plugged in to was an old showering and locker facility which was used during the pipeline installation in the 70's. It's a very long and narrow building, with narrow hallways leading to vacant office rooms, and men's and ladies locker rooms. The sign on the men's room said 'Men's Room, Please Do Not Change Signs'. So, at some point, someone changed the men's sign with the women's sign. Also, the women's room requires a key, which leads you to think of all kinds of bad things. It did make me feel better though, knowing Pam had some security while she cleaned up. This was a very unique, portable building, providing us with an equally unique experience. Pam discovered Cousin It in the ladies room. A huge black hairball glob of accumulated soapy and grimy festering stuff in the corner of the room. I wanted a picture of it, but Pam feels a mental image of our reader's would be more appropriate. When we get into Anchorage today we intend on dumping the trailer off at U-Haul, reducing the amount of boxes in the car to make it safe to drive, visibility-wise, shower off the car at a car wash, and proceed on to Matt and Kim Lowe's where we'll plan our next move. By the way, we have no idea what our next move is going to be. That's what is making this journey so strange. We just don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. Lends a certain amount of flair and discomfort with this whole thing. Yet, this is exactly what we had expected. Hopefully when we plug into an actual hard line internet connection, it will allow us to provide you with the photos everyone has been waiting for. You will get them.
More to come.
Again, we can't say this enough, we miss you all very, very much.
Bob and Pam

Monday, October 15, 2007

AK Adventure-10/15/07

We finally rolled over the Alaska state boarder last night, and we mean rolled over. The frost heaves from Haines Junction, Yukon and on were incredible maddening. You could not go faster than 30 mph. After crossing, we elected to continue on to Tok, Alaska where we spent the night in an RV camp. We had enough daylight left after we crossed, and no reason to stick around there. However, the roads were very icy and nighttime travel was difficult. Today we made it only to Glenallen where we are spending the last of our travel nights. Tomorrow we will make our final descent in the Anchorage bowl where we will decide what to do next. The first thing we need to do is dump this trailer. After that, we'll offload the car enough to drive it with good enough visibiliy, take the car to a car wash, for it is filthy, and then move on to see some friends of ours, AND FIND A PLACE TO WATCH A BASEBALL GAME. The trip is almost over, which is a bad thing. We'll actually have to grow up, find jobs, and find a home. One more thing we won't ever do again....back the RV up with a trailer on it, in the middle of the night, in a very tight space, on a snow covered country road, with no road lights, with a tired and frustrated driver behind the wheel (guess which one of us), after driving all day, with one dog that has to go pee, and another that has to play baseball, and another traveler asking why the driver is so frustrated. That we'll never do again.
When we get into Anchorage we are going to try to get on an actual internet line (instead of wireless attempts), in order to get the rest of the photos out on the blog site. Pam has done and extremely impressive job at taking most all of the pictures on this trip, but you didn't hear me say that. Hopefully we'll be able to supply you with another hundred or so photos that you will definately want to see.
More to come tomorrow, and thanks to everyone for following along. It's not over yet, but we hope you've enjoyed it to this point.
We miss our friends and family very, very much.
Bob and Pam

Sunday, October 14, 2007

AK Adventure-10/14/07

Hello All.
Updating pictures has been a problem. Farther south, closer to the American boarder, it was much easier. However, the farther north we get, the more impossible it becomes. We can still provide text updates, but the photos, of which we have an additional 70 or so to share with you so far, may have to wait until we reach Anchorage.
We left Whitehorse, Yukon Territory around 5:30 last night and headed towards Haines Junction on Highway 1. Our goal was to make it before nightfall, and we barely succeeded. Good thing, given the size of the elk herd we came upon. If you hit an elk out here, you don't just hit one. You hit an entire herd. We had to split Whitehorse before we could get a t-shirt that said 'Yukon' on it. The Canadians were driving us crazy. At a gas station, I had one, then two, then three attendents helping me figure out why the pump wouldn't work. None of them, collectively, could figure it out. I finally went inside, asked the inside attendent to reset the pump, and came back out to find these same three experienced attendents still trying to solve the puzzle. Now, I know some of you are Canadians, or have Canadian blood. I have Canadian blood. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but come on! When we left Whitehorse we were immediately confronted with 90 miles of frost heaves. We don't have it totally figures out yet, but we think frost heaves are created when the permanently frozen ground and tundra terrain collide with pavement and the friction that traffic naturally causes. It creates hoopdedoos in the road that are impossible to navigate without going extremely slow. But, the 1990 Ford 460 CruiseMaster by Georgie Boy that gets 7 miles per gallon has again performed flawlessly.
For those of you who were wondering when Cousin Eddy was going to show up on this trip, he appeared last night in the RV campground we stayed at. For those of you who don't know who Cousin Eddy he, he's the RV traveling bum/brother-in-law of Clark Griswalk in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I went outside last night to go pee outside the motor home and was visited by a neighboring RVer. He was dressed in pants, a shirt, and a coat as he walked his dog. I was peeing next to the RV in my bright tighty whities and my hiking shoes on, and that's it. Also, there was a flood lamp on the back of the building next to us that was shining right on me. I made my wife very proud.
When we woke on the morning of the 14th we found ourselves right on the edge of the Wrangell St. Elias mountain range. We were right on the eastern edge of it in Haines Junction. As we traveled on, we ended up spending a bunch of time in Kluene Lake, which is a spectacular place with an even better view. We wish we could get our pictures on this site. Not far down the road we ran across a beautiful, healthy gray wolf walking down the road right towards us. That was a sight. Honestly, the more time we spend out here on our way to our destination, the less we care about actually reaching our destination.
We hope to cross the Alaskan boarder yet today, and then make our way into the Anchorage bowl. Targeted arrival day is Tuesday, but we'll see how it goes, and we'll keep updating you.
We love and miss you all.
Bob and Pam

Saturday, October 13, 2007

AK Adventure-10/13/07

I present to you yet another text installment to Bob and Pam's excellent Alaskan Adventure.
We left Liard Hot Springs en route to a small town called Rancheria, just to the west of Watson Lake on highway 97. One more thing before I take you from Liard Hot Springs. When we first approached and entered the springs, we encountered two gentlemen sitting together...close together. As they spoke, one said, 'I prefer the company of gay men.' The other responded, 'Yes, I agree, they are so much more responsive to my needs,' Well then. Pam's first reaction was to look around and say, 'Hey Honey, there's a nice looking couple, let's go talk to them.' My response was more like 'Wow, look at the time.'
We made it to Rancheria on 10/12, in the Yukon Territory about 100 miles west of Watson Lake. Lots of wildlife again today, including a huge herd of buffalo, containing at least 70 or 80 head. For those of you who thirst for continuous knowledge, we now know where buffalo chips come from. The picture containing the answer to this age old question is included, and should be self evident.
We did come up on a black wolf sprinting away from a dead buffalo on the side of the road as our RV approached. We waited around for awhile, hoping he would reappear. However, he could probably smell us or our dogs, and there was to much traffic for him to have the courage to show himself.
Later on down the road I noticed a boulder the size of a small house sitting on the right side of the road in a little clearing. On the left side of the road is a cliff itself. Got to wonder, how did that boulder get on the right side of the road. We quietly and gingerly move through the path zone.
We are now making our way hopefully through Whitehorse and on to Haines Junction. Travel leaving Rancheria is very slow today due to a snowstorm coming through last night. Out of the gate this morning was trecherous, especially on those steep downhill grades. Not doing anything special today in terms of time. We did have to stop in Whitehorse. How can one pass through the capital of the Yukon Territory (population 25,000) and not stop to buy a t-shirt that says 'Whitehorse, Yukon Territory'? That's where this update is coming from also, for signals have been impossible. Pam is now going to do her best to include some photos. Keep in mind, these photos are for the last couple of days, so you'll have to match them up with previous updates if you want to know where they were taken. For your further information, I believe we are on highway 1 now, but don't quote me on that. Honestly, I really don't know where we are right now. But, we hope to find out soon.
More to come, hopefully tomorrow. Enjoy the photos.
Bob and Pam

Friday, October 12, 2007

AK Adventure-10/11/07

One word describes today's route....WEEEEEEEE! Twisty, turny, switchbacks on the Alcan highway. Lots and lots of wildlife today. A beautiful fox, caribou herds crossing the road right in front of us, big horn sheep, all right on the road. Because you have to move to slowly on this highway, you can cruise right up next to them without disturbing them into fleeing. And the scenery, spectacular.
Had our first emergency today. I bought an Ultimate Outdoorsman Super Dooper Tough Guy Survival Knife by Mattel before the trip and finally had a chance to use it. While doing so, I shoved it into my left hand thumb. When I looked at the wound, it looked like I hit a vein. A big squirt of blood shot out and my palm quickly filled with a pool of blood. I was out the door in an instant, and spilled no blood in the RV. When I got outside there was blood covering both of my hands, and Pam got her first look at it. Her first comment was 'it's not bad, just go in to the store and get some ice on it'. Her insides told her 'oh no, this is bad, he'll need stitches, what are we going to do out here in the middle of nowhere'. Luckily we were parked in front of a small roadside cafe. I went inside for some help and there just so happened to be a lady there trained in first aid. The other lady helping me suggested she could stitch it up with a needle and some thread. One look at her and I suggested she not do that. She appeared to have put on her own tattoos....with a branding iron....out in back of the cafe. My suggestion...if you ever decide to jam an Ultimate Outdoorsman Super Dooper Tough Guy Survival Knife by Mattel blade into your thumb, do it in front of a small roadside cafe on Highway 97 in Toad River northern British Columbia just west of Fort Nelson...AND ASK FOR A LADY NAMED LOIS!
I appreciate Lois very much. All Pam's fault though. She allowed me to run in the house with a sharp object in my hands.
Pam had a great idea today. If there is such a thing as BigFoot, we appear to be in his kind of country. She suggests we get a BigFoot costume (from where I don't know), and hide in the forest the next time we're passing through (when this will be I also don't know). Hide in the forest, and when a tourist car comes by, run out to the side of the road, stare down the oncoming vehicle, and then run back into he cover of the forest. At times, run out to the side of the road, take a picture of the oncoming tourist, then run back into the tree line. We can just imagine a tourist stopping at the next point of civilization, running in and saying, 'You're not going to believe this, but I think I just saw BigFoot, and I think he took my picture!'
I love my wife.
We stayed the night in Liard Hot Springs tonight, the 11th. Remarkable, natural hot springs as hot as any health club hot tub, and all natural.
Enjoy the photos.
Bob and Pam

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

AK Adventure-10/10/07

Logged another good day today, making it from Chetwynd (just south of Dawson Creek) all the way to Fort Nelson, all on Highway 97. By now though we have switched over to the Alcan (Alaskan/Canadian Highway). This is the world reknowned first road built to connect Alaska to Canada. It is a very rough road, complete with bad road tar, bumps, and those pesky steep downhill grades (here we go again with the dirty underwear, up on two wheels things - just kidding). McKinley has decided over the last couple of days to be joined at the hip with whoever is in the passenger seat. Where you go, she goes. What you do, she does. She's getting impatient. Got a new driving tip for anyone anticipating travels through this country. If a really huge moose pops out to cross the road, don't say, 'STOP, STOP' to your wife who is driving. You'll quickly find out just how good your brakes really are. Unneccessary, given moose travel slowly. If you do this, you just might find yourself duct-taped to the windshield of your RV like I did. Tomorrow we are traveling only to Liard Hot Springs, about 5 to 6 hours west of Fort Nelson. One other point of interest. In these northern Canadian towns, which are much like the Lowell's and Ionia's we are all familiar with, people have control of the roads. Street signals or not, people just cross the road whenever they want to, and the cars actually stop. Some of the stopped drivers even wave at the pedestrians. Nice change, given if you did this at home you'd be run over with no questions asked, not to mention the recipient of certain hand gestures. From now until we reach Alaska we'll be traveling west along the boarder of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. Can you believe it....the Yukon Territory! On to Whitehorse, then we'll be able to smell Alaska.
Hoping all is well with everyone. We love you, and we miss you.
Bob and Pam

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

AK Adventure-10/9/07

Got another late start today. We tried to pull out of Prince George, British Columbia this morning, but we had trailer problems. The brakes had failed. So, we called the U-Haul hotline and followed protocal. The rules are, you must call the hotline who will authorize the vehicle be taken into a repair facility. The repair facility we took it to said they could not fix it. Then we had to call the hotline again to get authorization to take the trailer to a U-Haul dealer to have it swapped for a new one. When we arrived, we had to unload the car on the trailer in order to drive it off the trailer, have the replacement put on the RV, and reload the vehicle, and everything in it. When we decided to do this trip we knew things could, and would, go wrong. You shouldn't make an attempt such as this without a flexible attitude. Things will go wrong, and they did. However, it really was not that big of a deal.
Pam drove the RV today. It's one thing to get comfortable with driving an RV across country towing a trailer with a car on it. It's another thing getting comfortable with your wife driving an RV across country towing a trailer with a car on it, while you are in the passenger seat. Had to pull over and address my underwear again.
Saw three black bears today. We pulled over to let the dogs go pee and there was one about 50 yards down the road.
As we get closer to Alaska, gas gets less and less available. So much so that, given the capacity of the vehicle we are driving, relative to available gas, we had to purchase two portable gas cans to take with us as we expect the RV tank to not be enough to get us through certain sections. We stopped in and bought two gas tanks from a gas station operated by some asian individuals. The total cost of the two cans.....$67 DOLLARS. They spoke to each other in an asian language as they rung me up, and I could swear they said, 'Suckers' underneath their breaths.
That's all for today. We leave the Dawson Creek area tomorrow and do not know where we will be stopping from there.
Love to everyone.
Bob and Pam

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dad, you really should drive to Alaska. See what your are missing?

We are truely blessed to be on this journey!!

Give the Glory to God for these photos, he is in control

Our new RV driver

This is what happens when a wife and husband travel across country with dog, and they get bored. McKinley is not only the butt end of a joke, but she is also our new driver, while high on dirty socks.

All God's Art Work!!

Try to locate the black and white photo of the avalanche coming down from the left mountain face running just on top of the two tourist snow buggies. Great shot, Pam.

AK Adventure-10/8/07

Got another late start today, although our intentions were good. McKinley was up all night last night puking (on our rugs that we placed down over yours Tammy, for just such an emergency). McKinley also let out a very impressive fart last night. Her timing was impecible. She farted just as the furnace blower came on, which her butt was positioned right up next to. All we could say was 'Oh My God' as we filed out of the RV in evacuation form. Then, as we were laughing uncontrollably, my dainty wife farts. We've got to get rid of that chili. Sorry, Mike and Tammy, but I beliece the wallpaper inside your motor home has both peeled away a bit, as well as discolored.
As you will see in photos, the view has become incredible. Pam took some black and whites that I think are remarkable. We did see a gray fox and two baby black bears today. We have to be careful tonight in our campground, for there is a mother and three cubs roaming the area. By the way, we are in Prince George tonight, having made it around 380 miles today from Lake Louise. We stopped at a rest area and as McKinley was standing on the dashboard two bus loads of asian tourists exited their buses. They all gathered around the front of the bus, all 50 of them, and stared at McKinley. They weren't looking at the beautiful mountain range we had stopped to view....they were more interested in the doggie in the window. They were waving at her, taking her picture, and smiling and pointing. We tried to get away from them by putting the RV in Drive, but they would not move. They were both mezmorized and enchanted with McKinley. Lots and lots of foreigners in Alberta/British Columbia. This is one majical trip people. The beauty is remarkable.
Missing home very much today.
Bob and Pam

Sunday, October 7, 2007

AK Adventure-10/7/07

Another late start today out of Ft. Steel, British Columbia. If you want to know where we are we're on Highway 93 which we picked up just north of Missoula, Montana. That will take us at least halfway through British Columbia, although we are now in Alberta, Canada. 93 goes all over the place.
The dogs played hard this morning before we hit the road. They needed it. McKinley needed to run after a baseball for about a half hour, and Sahara just plain needed an attitude adjustment. She was very cranky yesterday, and what the Princess wants, the Princess gets. You will notice the farther we get the prettier the scenery gets, and the uglier and uglier Pam and I get. One shower so far. By the way, Happy Thanksgiving. We couldn't figure out why people kept wishing each other Happy Thanksgiving. As it turns out, today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. We came across a sign that warned of Big Horn Sheep. As Pam kept looking up, I spotted one. 'Where?' she said, as she kept looking up into the mountains. It was walking right down the middle of the road in downtown Ronian (spelling may be incorrect). Pictures will identify. Also in this town was a series of very cool Christian sculptures. One of the crucifixion is included.
We had to stop today in Lake Louise. Just needed a break.
More to come at our next able internet connection location. Very slow going from here on out.
Bob and Pam

AK Adventure-10/6/07

Today is the 7th, and I'm updating for two days due to sparse connection capabilities.
Starting to see a lot of steep downhills now, and some with snow on them. One thing we did learn very quickly. When reaching the bottom of a steep mountain, you can actually get your 28 foot RV on two wheels for a couple of seconds. The weight of the trailer with the car on it drops the RV down to all four again quickly. :)
Of all of the times Pam and I have been tourists ourselves, driving behind RV's waiting for a chance to get around them, we are now the ones people want to get around....complete with horns and hand gestures. This makes us realize more and more that we need to slow down, for we are moving to a part of the country where we cannot bring our hurry-up lifestyles we are so used to. We need to slow down and blend in. This is the only way we will fit in to the area we are moving to. We did reach a couple of milestones today.....we are well over halfway, and we've crossed the Canadian boarder. As we crossed the boarder we realized that we are no longer members of the lower 48. As you will see in a couple of photos, this is truly the land where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play. Makes us want to get out of our vehicle, sit on a bail, and chew on a weed....sittin there on that sack of seeds. The Polson area was beautiful, and it totally reminded of us our honeymoon place Lake Tahoe. When we did cross the boarder the boarder patrol gave us no problems at all, but he was about to. Sahara and McKinley kept barking at him, and he was going to get a little more investigative unless we were able to calm them down. They are really looking at this RV as their home, and they are willing to protect it. That's good, because it is our home. We made it to Ft. Steel, British Columbia where we stayed the night. Very nice 65 degree weather, and dry. Pam made her turkey chili in the RV tonight. Took about a half hour to take effect. Pam's chili in an RV isn't necessarily the best idea. But, as long as both of us were eating it, no finger pointing. I think the chili had a reverse effect on the likely repelled them instead of attracting them.
That's it for today.
We miss you all very much, and love you equally. The only hard part of the trip so far is we're missing the baseball playoffs. We should be able to catch the second half of the postseason when we get to Anchorage.
Bob and Pam

Friday, October 5, 2007

pics from 10/4 and 10/5