Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun in snow at Watson Lake

At Watson Lake in the Yukon while the Alaska highway was being constructed a homesick Marine nailed a sign of his hometown onto a post and this was followed by many more over the years, as you can see if you watch the video. (Click on the arrow in the middle of the screen then click on the arrow below the screen and wait for the video to load)

Phil and Tina

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Encounters of the Alaskian Kind!!!!!

A few photos of animanls we have seen over the past week.
Beavers are elusive as they are generally avtive it night but this gave quite a display for us as it swam up the river mid morning

This is the first lot of animals we saw on our trip to Alaska. Here are some young Caribou. They are of the elk family, notice the white on the chest of the animals. Some of the information we read says that the Caribou actually migrate and you can see several thousand travelling together. Thats what we will keep our eyes out for.
We were glad we saw these big guys in the day light. There were 40 or so grazing just beside the road. They really paid no attention to the cars going by. There wernt that many cars I suppose either. There are signs to watch for these guys in the night as they are so hard to see.
I think moose must go down as being the ugliest animals I have seen. They are much bigger than I thought. Three of them were grazing by the road, 2 were quite timid but this one stayed for some photos.
This mother was with her baby just as we were coming out of North Pole after visiting Santas house. She was on the main road and running in between the cars but as you can see quite close to the cars. They can be very dangerous but she seemed more anxious to get her young one of the road than agressive.

We have been in Fairbanks for 3 nights now. It has been an interesting town with lots of character in the form of old buildings, old gold mine and interesting places to just look through. We are on our way to Anchorage over the next few days. We fly out next Tuesday. Alaska is an amazing rugged place and it will be sad to have to leave such an amazing country. It does remind me of outback Australia a little as in the rustic accommodation, the "interesting" places to eat and the people with an interesting yarn. (that is Australian for yack, chin wag. (Just interpreting for our Canadian friends.) ha ha) A lot of things are closed including whole towns so that has been a challenge to find something open. What an amazing trip we have had so far.

Till next time See ya Later mate!!

Phil and Tina

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Historic Curved Bridge Alaska Hwy (Historic Mile 21)

Just north of Dawson Creek (mile 0) is this classic and unusual Timber Bridge, built in 1942-43 by civil contractors after the US Army engineers had carved the initial Pioneer Road for a supply line to Alaska for military Traffic.
It is constructed of 500,000 board feet (1180 cubic meters) of creosoted (a timber preservative) British Columbia Fir, and is the only original timber bridge still in use.
it is unusual in that it is curved, 9 degree's in its 534 feet (162 meters)
Although it is still in use, a new bridge was constructed in 1978 as load limit was 25 ton, heavier gross loads were increasing, and it was especially inconvenient for the expanding Oil and Gas industries.
in the photo below Tina is looking over the edge as I take the pic.

On the way to Alaska

We past through the town of Grand Prairie, in Alberta (a couple of hours below Dawson Creek) and something seemed wrong with this Gigantic sundial, it took a few minutes as to what it was, it was facing the wrong direction (well it was for me, someone from the southern hemisphere that is)
The BIGGEST is alive and well over here as it is in Australia, just a few K's up the road from the BIG sundial is the town of Beaverlodge with the BIG Beaver.
This sign gave us a chuckle
BIG and I mean BIG piles of trees at Louisiana Pacific pulp and paper mill on the northern side of Dawson Creek
Nearby the pulp mill is this Grain Elevator as the Canadians call them, (Silo for Aussies), I have not been inside any over here but I guess it is of similar construction of the one at Fielders Flour Mill Tamworth (New South Wales Australia) where I worked in the late 70's early 80's. The silo in Tamworth was 4x2's (2x4's for the North Americans) on there flat, nailed on top of each other, and had 6 or 8 internal bins if my memory serves me correctly. This style of construction was replaced with steel or concrete in the 50's and 60's.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

North to Alaska

We are on our back to Oz, via Dawson Creek (B) Watson Lake (C) Whitehorse (D) where we are at the moment, and we are planning to go to Fairbanks (E) and then onto Anchorage (F) a few deviations along the way are anticipated if road conditions allow. The traveling conditions have been great so far with beautiful weather and good roads, though we were pleased we were in Whitehorse as the weather changed from cool overcast to heavy snow in about 15 minutes last night as we were looking for accommodation. This morning it is a lovely clear sky and about -11 with a wind chill to about -17,and we hope the roads are clear to continue to Alaska (our $750 Chev Corsica is going great so far)

After travelling about 600km to Dawson Creek we finally start on the Alaska Highway. It is signposted every 1 mile and we have a travel book that gives us a mile by mile description. e.g. dumpster on the northbound side at milepost 127.

Actually it is very informative and we would have missed a lot of history if we wernt reading the book. Phils description of heavy snow to me (and the locals) was classed as a blizzard.

As you can see this photo is the rocky mountains again. I suggest you lay on your bed, or the floor to get the best vantage point. Note the car down the bottom. Phil climbed up this mountains to get some overall views of the mountains. I had to sit and mind the car!!!! We travelled most of the last two days through the Rockies. Just unbelievable scenery.

We are going through towns of only a few to a couple of hundred people. Who knows where we will be tonight so am unsure of an Internet connection. Hopefully we will put a daily or two daily update for you. Note: It is spring -11 with a wind chill of -17.

See ya Phil and Tina

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some More Ice Road Photos

Hi from Canada again,

After all the enquires about the ice roads I thought I would post some more Photos. We were amazed at the response Macca had on the radio show after Phil had spoken to him. Folk have been interested in our adventures in Canada and it has been fun doing the blogs.
The first photo is of the ice roads. Phil could give you thickness of the ice and tell you facts etc but I just think "You must be crazy to drive on that slippery ice." He did enjoy the driving and the opportunity to do something he has never done before. Anything with an element of risk is what he enjoys, ( thats why he married me. ha ha)

I can tell you some facts about the above photo. This guys is digging a hole to see how deep the ice is. If the ice is too thin they put a large hose into the hole and pump up the water to flood the ice. As you have gathered by the photo it is somewhat cold, so the water freezes and creates a thinker layer. Hope that is right if not Phil could help you out with the details.
I just thought this was an awesome photo of a sunset. Phil saw the Northern Lights also while he was up there on the ice. He couldn't get any photos though as you cant stop on the ice and also still sorting out the new camera to get the best effects.
What a great photo of an inukshuk. These are usually found beside rivers or in rocky places made by kids or tourists etc. The inuit folk used to bury fresh meat etc under these for the next folk who came along. One arm is always longer to point the direction in which the first folk set out. It is one of the symbols of the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. It is a great symbol of friendship and community spirit I feel. I wonder who built this one on the ice roads or was it a rock one made at another time and has just been covered in snow now.???
This last photo shows a lump of ice that has come up through the ice road. The water underneath is still moving and the ice does move as well. Also a good photo of Phils glasses and Toque.
On the 14th April Phil and I are going on a road trip to Alaska. Which will be interesting in our old car. After our 2 weeks holiday we then will be flying home arriving in Perth on the 1st May.
So sorry Cedar we don't get to see you this trip. We did try to get down to you guys, would have been fun. Maybe you might have a reason to be in Oz later on in the year????

We are spending some time with Kylie and Selwyn (poor Selwyn is being introduced to all the McIntosh boys next week all in one go!!! Then the week after he will meet us for the first time.)

We are then going to the central coast to await the arrival of our 2nd Grandson who is due the end of May. Phil and I will be looking for work and somewhere to live. It will be nice to be "home" but that comes with a sadness to leave our friends here. I have already had a few tears at leaving them. Maybe there lives will go back to being "Normal" when we aren't around to entertain, help, answer questions, teach a whole new language to and just love us.
Well next time we write we will be in Alaska. We are busy packing and spending time with our friends between now and then
Love to you all
Phil and Tina