This post is coming to you from Fairbanks, AK where we are the newest Cheechakos (or Canadian/Alaskan newcomers)! Our travels through Canada went off without a hitch, but I sure did miss reliable cell service and wi-fi.
We were your typical tourists: camera and baby clumsily in hand, an overweight dog on a retractable leash, and a dirty Subaru with out-of-state plates. The back seat became our diaper change-station, the front seat, our refrigerator. We lived in that car for up to 14 hours a day. Margot was patient, even when I wouldn’t let her crawl on the floor of at least two off-putting hotels. She was content to roll around in her pack ‘n play or hang out in the slightly cleaner beds for a energy-burning nightcap.
The Watson Lake Sign Forest was a fun tourist destination. We weaved up and down the aisles, looking for artifacts from our respective hometowns. Isaac was a little more successful than I was, oddly enough.
Then there was the beautiful Whitehorse, YT; a beautiful Canadian city with friendly locals and great food. We strolled along the river front, poked around in gift shops and ate BBQ Salmon at the famous Klondike Rib and Salmon BBQ on their very last weekend of the season. Many northern businesses shut down for the winter months, presumably because of the lower number of travelers passing through. And little did we know, the Yukon Territory, with an area the size of Germany, Austria and Switzerland combined, only has a population of about 36K, most of which (26K) live in the Whitehorse metro area. My high school was bigger than nearly all of their towns. Mind-boggling!
On the road beyond Whitehorse, we traversed a long and tough stretch of road construction. The muddy terrain left our car and trailer caked in mire. As it’s dried it’s found its way on virtually every piece of clothing I’ve worn in the last week. Thankfully we’re in our new home in Fairbanks, where I can cook and clean, but not sit, eat, or sleep on any furniture. It should arrive in a couple of weeks at the latest.
Upon entering Alaska, the change in scenery was obvious; if only for the smoother stretch of highway. The cab noise from the gravel of the western Yukon roadway overwhelmed any music or conversation we might have otherwise had. With less road noise, we were able to pick up the conversation again, pointing out when we saw Caribou, Moose or even a lone Grizzly Bear.
From Western Canada to Eastern Alaska, snow capped mountains jutted into the sky, blending seamlessly with the clouds. Peaks dwarfing the familiar Mt. Rainier continued along the entire journey into Tok, AK where we stopped for our last meal on the road. We had sandwiches and Margot had lemon.
Now we’re here in Fairbanks, in our wonderfully oversized home on Fort Wainwright. It’s just as new as the house we bought last year down in Olympia, but twice the size. My laundry room is the size of the kitchen I had when Isaac and I got married (that house was impossibly tiny, by the way). Talk about an upgrade!
And while I had the foresight to bring my kitchen goods, I forgot to bring a strainer and baking sheets, making most of my go-to meals more difficult to prepare. I also overlooked bringing even folding chairs to sit on.
Even without chairs, we’re sitting pretty.