Looks like I accidentally skipped the last three years of my life. Whoops. But I’m back. I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to write a blog and I concluded, I don’t. To write a blog about myself seems swarthed in pretension. However, my grandma just absolutely cannot get the time difference right (6 in Alaska, 10 in Atlanta I say…6 in Atlanta, 10 in Alaska she repeats studiously) and there are those of my relatives (hey, Aunt Margaret Anne!) that are convinced this [Alaskan sled dog kennel job] is an internet scam. This is to confirm that my head has not been lopped off by some crazy Alaskan. Yet, at least. Crossing fingers. And while I just had my first ever caribou steak that Mike killed this winter and I’m feeling chatty, don’t get comfortable. I’m no pen-pal and I must stand on the left end of the couch with my computer in the window to get wifi at a zooming speed that puts the migration of slugs into perspective.
Below are excerpts of the two week, ~6,700 mile road trip to Alaska taken from the journal I kept.
Day 2: Drove up the side of Iowa/Nebraska. Continued to Sioux Falls, SD and stopped at Sansa’s Gourmet Mediterranean. I swear I ordered something called shish tawok and mom got falafel which she ate after she blessed the food saying, “Plz let us get out of here.” Finally after going north for half the day we turned left across SD. Detoured Badlands. Saw ape man! Took great selfies! Then I got sick! I ate a Philly cheese steak, in bed, at nine, from Tally’s Silver Spoon in Rapid City.
Day 3: Woke up to the alarm of whatever schmuck before us in the hotel set it at, 4:30. Got Starbucks because mom is millionaire in Starbucks gift cards; forgot to use gift card. Drove to Custer State Park. Saw: bison, w. meadowlark, N. flicker, RWBB, pronghorn, wild burros, Kestrel, multiple selfies taken from our truck with bison and antelope. Pretty gusty. Been getting around 18 mpg but dropped down to 15 across SD. Continue to listen to serial podcasts about girl murdered by ex-boyfriend, too late to turn back now. Arrive at Billings, MT. Find mom boots at Al’s bootery to impress all her teacher friends. Zimmerman Park to see Rimrocks. Also a bit breezy. Also Montana has no sales tax? Also, this thumps us. Specially mom.
Day 5: Snowshoed in Glacier NP. Mom nearly slid down mountain (only a slight exaggeration). Seven hours with Greg, poor guy. Dinner at Moose’s *pride of Kalispell* *a must eat* and also a saloon with a non ergonomic swinging door and peanuts that you have to pay for.
Day 6: Dropped mom off on way to Boise. Drove through Bitteroot Mtn along Lochsa or Middle Fork River through Kooskia the most beautiful town I’d never want to live in. 22 mpg! Arrived in Boise at midnight.
Day 7: Promptly garbled three Krispy Kreme donuts whole. Recounted with Jen all great Z ranch memories. Netflixed like champs. Met Jens friend for dinner at Fork farm to table restaurant. Donut/trout combo not to be trifled with, almost lost it in bathroom but neutralized it with 2.5 icecream sandwiches later on as we fell asleep discussing different Tinder tactics.
Day 9: Picked up Zach at 10. Drove to Pacific Coast, Cannon Beach. Looked at a big rock. Here begins my love affair with halibut. Met friends at Interurban where Zach made me tell story about eating Rocky Mtn Oysters to all his city friends that I just met.
Day 10:Picked Dad up. Went on whale watching tour near Vancouver then killed world’s cheesiest enchilada, no picture evidence but tiny rivers of cheese everywhere. Flood of cheese. New Orleans.Think Katrina. Katrina of cheese. Stopped at Canadian customs. Oooooo Canada! Can no longer determine mpg’s because everything is liters and kilometers and that is just outside the bounds of my college education.
Day 13: FN-Whitehorse. Passed a small herd of elk on outside of town. Brilliant sun lighting prairie field on fire. A young male pops over the barbed wire fence, lifting his nose up into air perhaps gesturing, “Look at me, I’m bad.” The species-transcendent charming male bravado every girl is conditioned to (it varies by region; in mississippi- look at all my guns). Naturally, Dad was eating his cranberry muffin through these infinite few seconds and we were past them before I could slow down so nobody could really appreciate the poor guy as the rest of the herd hardly lifted their heads from snuffling along the ground.
Saw: Old male Stone sheep on cliff overlooking highway.Clan of caribou in road. Iphone family portrait of what could be my actual family any time we’re all together.Wood bison. Black bear. Liard River hot springs. Trumpeter swans. The rivers are striking jade green and beautiful.
Day 14: WH-Tok, Alaska! Saw: Trumpeter Swans, Dall’s sheep and the backside of a moose as he disappeared in the brush.
Day 15: Tok-Anchorage. Through Alaska Range. Most surreal. Towards Seward, cannot begin to process this landscape. Mountains everywhere. Listened to George and Hank and Willie and Waylon and Conway Twitty, Paw’s old music as Dad said. Wonder how big of a laugh he’d get if he saw me now! Saw Dad off on his flight with a hug and a wave! Tomorrow I drive to Cantwell to start a 5 month internship working for Wolf’s Den Kennels.
Lastly, a thanks to the East Coweta School System for planning mom’s spring break the same time as my trip, my parents for understanding and joining, the trusty yota that toted me across the country without a hitch, gas stations with top notch coffee selections, everybody, the United States, the universe (trying to cover all my bases here). Just know if we have had a conversation in the past three months I am probably thankful for you.