Headed home with Pops

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Well I’ve not been really busy at work as you may have thought. I actually took a bit of time off for some good old adventuring.
The Monday I left was a busy day I slept in a bit and then was going all day at work and home getting ready for my trip. I hoped to leave work a bit early but ended up getting out a bit late. Heath and I gathered up the girls, I gathered the last of my stuff and we headed toward the airport. We were early for my flight but the plan was to get close to the airport then get some dinner and take our time. We had a tough time picking out a dinner spot and ended up at a Golden Corral 10 min from the airport. It was giant and I was able to eat a giant plate of salad and vegetables before stuffing my face with cheep steak and pies.

Then the girls dropped me at the airport and we said our goodbyes. I waited a bit then flew to Minneapolis. Then I walked just about a mile between gates, waited a bit and flew to anchorage. The first flight was an hour on a tiny plane and I had a whole row to myself. The second flight was 6 hours and I was between a normal sized but very tall man and a normal height but very large man. It was a cramped and very hot 6 hours and I did treat myself to a terribly overpriced cold beer when the opportunity presented itself.  At 1am Alaska time / 4am KC time I arrived and Pops and Annie picked me up. They had cold pizza and beer and we hung out and I cooled off and stretched back out. Around 2am we went to bed. My body was not sure what was going on and I got up at 9am KC time but 6am Alaska time. I rolled around and dozed in and out until 7:30 and then got up, got dressed and went for a run. It was 36F out and I was not sure how warm I needed to dress and overdid it a bit. I also picked a bad route on very busy streets in the middle of morning rush hour and it was crazy foggy out. So foggy every bush or tree looked like it could be a moose. On the way back I swung by a wildlife preserve I remembered and it was empty and awesome.

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Last time we were here it was mating season or something and you could not get down near the marsh but this time I was able to wonder around a bit.

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Then I headed home to ditch some sweaty clothes and drink some coffee. Pops was now up and getting ready and doing some packing. After my shower and 2nd cup of coffee we ran some errands, took his dog to play fetch at the park and went out for breakfast. We went to a great dinner run by 2 Russian sisters and I had a skillet loaded with goodness. Then we came back to the house and I helped pack some fishing gear and tools and pops went through a bunch of paperwork and bedroom stuff. We also made plans for our trip and got ready. In the afternoon we ran some more errands and more fetch with the dog then came back home again.

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I worked (bloggegd) on the computer a bit and had an Alaskan Ale. We took the dog out for a 3rd time and then Annie came home and we all headed to Moose Tooth for some pizza and beer.

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We started off w/ two 4 beer samplers and a pizza called Santa’s little helper.

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There were some really good beers, my favorite was a pumpernickel beer and the pizza was the best. Ours had sliced, steak, pepperoni, cilantro, mushrooms and maybe more on it. I think it was the best pizza I’ve had.

We headed out and saw a moose off the road just before pulling into the neighborhood we hopped out and followed it out of some trees and into some green space between houses.

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He was giant and didn’t seem to mind us at all just walked along at a leasurely pace but his legs were so long he easily got away from us.

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I was full and low on sleep and used to a different time zone so ready for bed when we got home. Pops had a little mini barrel of homemade whiskey so we all had a few shots and tried it out. We had planed for just one shot but it was so good we had two. Then I was really ready for bed and crashed out no problem.

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I woke up at 5am and rolled around for a bit trying to get another hour of sleep but it was not happening so I played on my phone a bit and then took a shower and got my stuff all packed up and ready. I went for a little walk to look for animals but none were around. Then pops and I started packing the 4 runner with all his stuff. It looked like too much stuff to fit and it was but he left a few things and we really squeezed hard and got everything else in.

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Then we got coffee, told Annie and Charger bye and got going. We drove around town a bit getting gas, airing up the tires and grabbing McMuffins before we really got going. We drove north and east for 5 or 6 hours before getting to Tok. It was a beautiful drive but the best part was seeing this caribou running along the road.

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He stayed on the road for a bit just jogging back and forth.

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For lunch we stopped at Fast Eddies in Tok and I got a burger and Pops got a deli sandwich. Both were served on big fluffy hoagie rolls that had been baked fresh that morning and they were really good.

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After lunch I drove and 90 miles later we were out of the US and into Canada. Crossing the border was really uneventful but 20 miles later we got to customs.

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The guy who checked us in was really serious and not friendly at all but he let us through. We stopped for gas right away and the pumps were ancient, didn’t take cards and were in liters and Canadian dollars. The lady said it was about US $5 per gallon but some math in our heads said it was more then that.

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We gradually got more and more into the mountains

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and then to a giant lake called Kluane.

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We got to drive alongside it for a long time as the sun set.

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We hit the golden hour of photography and then came to a little pull out near Destruction Bay and started shooting then Pop spotted a brown bear.

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I grabbed the zoom lens and we got to watch him eat.

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He didn’t seem concerned with us but didn’t care for us either and worked his way away. We drove on and it got darker and darker. A bit after 8 we got to Hanes Junction. We made a loop of the town then picked a hotel. Once we were all paid up they told us wifi was out and where to find dinner. We got bad Chinese at hotel/bar/Chinese place up the road and they sold us a 6 pack of local beer and then we got into our room and ready for bed.

From this point on I mostly stopped taking notes and I don’t really remember what happened when.

The next day was bad weather, it was raining then turning to ice, we had a good breakfast

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But another customer went off the road right after leaving the restaurant/gas station. It stayed a bit foggy but it warmed up and turned to rain and then even that dried up. We saw some elk and wild horses.

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As it got close to evening the weather got bad again. The temp dropped to freezing, the roads were just mud and the fog was crazy thick. I think I saw another bear right off the road at one point but we eventually made it to a hotel and got some dinner and talked to a crazy native guy who was really hard to understand but every other word was an f bomb.

The next day we had a really short easy drive to Whitehorse.

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We took the rest of the day off in the capital of the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse. I really liked this town. We spent the day wondering around the downtown.

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Doing some hiking.

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and checking out an old steamboat.

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Then we were pretty thirsty so got a drink.

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We went to Yukon Brewing.

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We did the 45 minute tour and I really liked it.

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They were a fairly small operation but made sevearl beers and were even experimenting with some whiskey and vodca.

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One cool thing was the bottle cleaner.

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They collect all the recycled bottles from their competitors and then clean them out and refiill them. They only need to buy new bottles for like 2% of their beer. The end is always the best and we did a tasting.

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They gave us a lot of samples of a lot of beers and I really enjoyed all of them. That went so well we decided to hit up the other brewery in town.

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I thought the last one was a small operation but this was tiny, a guy, his wife and a brewer. They were open 4 days a week for 4 hours and they just filled small and large growlers. Sometimes they have 4 beers but that day they only had 3.

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We tried all 3 and got small growlers of the spruce tip and smoked porter. They were both great and pretty unique. For the spruce, they had snuck a truckload of spruce tips into Canada and brewed with them.

Then we rushed back to the hotel and got settled in.

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One of the best bars in town was connected to the hotel so we went in and convinced them to put one of the 10 tvs on the Royals game instead of the Oilers hockey game. The bar was packed with fans in jerseys and had good food and beer.

The next morning we drove on getting an early start and going a long way. We stopped in Watson Lake for lunch but mostly just drove.

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It was fairly nice out and we shared the road with a lot of bison.

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Also the Elk were out.

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It was a long drive but we made it to Fort Nelson BC at the end of the day. The next day was another long one we drove on through Dawson Creek and into Edmonton. We saw less and less wild animals and more farms of bison and elk and then onto farmland. Edmonton was big and it was late when we got in so we found a hotel and then got some dinner right away.

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And a drink.

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or two

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Both the drinks and the food were just okay. The next day we decided to take it easy and just went a few hours south to Calgary and then call it a day.

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We went right for the brewery and got there 10 minutes before it opened.

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Once they let us in we had to use the bathroom right away and then pick out some beers.

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We decided on these 8.

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Once they glasses were empty we went to find a hotel.

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It was sunday and the day was filled with football and baseball. We had our growlers to drink and laundry to do so we spent the afternoon in the hotel.

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When the Royals game came on we could not get it in our room so walked 20 minutes to a little downtown area. The first bar, Original Joe’s brewed some of their own beer and it was good.

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The food was also good..

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We asked 3 times for the royals game but they got the channels wrong and then figured out they could not play it. So we tried out another bar, it was a really cool Irish pub full of sports fans and lots of beers. We could have watched the game there but it was already over. Then we walked back to the hotel.

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On the way back we kept seeing big fat bright bunnies in peoples yards. At first we thought it odd that so many people had these pets but then we found out they were wild and we saw them all over the place.

Once back I spent the rest of the evening in the pool and hot tub.

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In the morning we got another early start, loaded up with gas and hit the road.

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We we done with the farms of wild animals and got into crops and cows.

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Then we got stuck at the border a bit.

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There was a long line of cars and it moved a bit slow but they let us back in no problem.  We didn’t go far into Montana though before we did have a problem.

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First the low tire pressure light came on, we stopped to fill it and found a big screw in it. Luckily there was a little shop down the road and they got right after it.

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I ran down the street for a burger but that guy patched and plugged the tire and had it ready to go when I got back. We drove through Montana and into Wyoming and stopped at Sheridan for the night.

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The town was really cool and the hotel was great. We walked down the street a bit for dinner and beers.

We started off with some rocky mountain oysters.

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Then giant plates of food.

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After we were stuffed we walked around the corner to a brewery.

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I ordered a sampler and Pops said he was done for the day. The sampler turned out to be giant.

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I was uncomfortably full but got them all down. They were just okay. I did some more hot tub and pool until I was ready for bed. In the morning we got going early and cut east across South Dakota and down a Siox Falls to Vermillion. It was a small college town and we actually got in before dark so I went for a run “downtown”. I checked out the bars and restaurants and then Pops and I went to eat at my pick.

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It looked cool but was bad service. Burgers were pretty good. We both spent the rest of the evening in the hot tub talking with a Polaris salesman. In the morning we got going and blasted our way south. About 5 hrs later we got to our house. We unpacked and got things ready for dinner and the Royals game.

 

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