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Old 08-04-2013, 05:40 PM   #51
REDeYeS88
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

so where exactly in Oregon are/were you at?
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:01 PM   #52
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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so where exactly in Oregon are/were you at?
I wrote that up this morning from Burns. I'm currently in Medford after driving a leisurely route of lots of country and unpaved roads. I went through Crater Lake Park, but there was smoke everywhere, so I didn't stay very long. My plan right now is to wake up early tomorrow, and swing back up to Crater Lake hoping for a clear morning/afternoon. If it's still smokey, I'll start heading north again up to Portland to visit a friend.

It's pretty smokey in Medford. The hotel I'm in has signs on the doors asking to please close them immediately to reduce the amount of smoke that gets inside. I have a friend who lives in Grants Pass that I'm going to try to get a drink with tonight if he hasn't been kicked out of his house by the fires. They are supposed to be primarily between Grants Pass and Roseburg.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:36 PM   #53
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Cool thread. Not sure how long you're in Portland, but if you're interested in some river sailing (20' - 27' keel boats) let me know. Should be going out a few times at least over the next week.
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Old 08-10-2013, 02:37 PM   #54
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Cool thread. Not sure how long you're in Portland, but if you're interested in some river sailing (20' - 27' keel boats) let me know. Should be going out a few times at least over the next week.
Saw that a little too late, or I would have taken you up on it. Thanks for the offer.


Woke up today in Chilliwack, British Columbia after crossing the border yesterday. My plan for today is to either head north up the Caribou Highway (CA-97) changing from the Trans-Canada Highway to the Caribou Highway at Cache Creek and stop for the night probably at Williams Lake, or to veer more easterly and stay on CA-5 to come up through the mountains and Kamloops. Either way ends up at Prince George.

I was thinking of pushing all the way on to Prince George, but that's a bit of a hike and would probably be more fun to go through during the following afternoon. This allows easy going, and it makes it more likely I'll write up another update tonight because I won't be super tired.

From Prince George, the smart thing to do is to go northwest up CA-7, which means I'll probably instead go north up CA-97 in order to start the Al-Can highway at its beginning point over in Dawson Creek. If I've come this far, seems silly to pick it up after I enter the Yukon when I could just drive the entire thing.







Drive thru corn! Sweet!


The Chilliwack Fair starts today, I think there's a pie contest starting now.
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:26 AM   #55
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Red Rocks Amphitheatre looks amazing. Def a place I will visit in my lifetime.

Start heading east and meet up with me for a pint in Ottawa!
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Old 08-11-2013, 01:03 PM   #56
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

After the wedding, my schedule was completely freed up other than making it to the top of Alaska before the end of August. I have a lot of family in the Denver area, so I started to visit family as well as explore Denver.

One of the first things I did was head over to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in the northeast part of Denver, because I love wildlife refuges. They have bison there:



but I didn't see one. I saw a deer and a bunch of prairie dogs. It was pretty disappointing, I wouldn't recommend going there.

There's also a place west of Denver called Elk Meadow Park:



Those little brown things in the center of the photo are indeed elk.

While I was out there, I also checked out Mt. Evans after heading out 70 toward Idaho Springs:



They claim North America's highest auto road. We'll see about that in Alaska.. They also have a really nice lake up there called Echo Lake. The water is crystal clear.

Driving up in the Rockies affords some incredible views with nice clear air:



There is also devastation from the fires of the last few years:



Both of those last two were from a drive through Pike National Forest, southwest of Denver.

I also made my way down to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs:



which is basically a bunch of enormous rocks that you walk through. Some are the size of large buildings. My iPhone wasn't really up to the task of capturing them effectively. Most of my photos just look like photos of rocks with no real good scale in them. It's an interesting place, but I'd need a real camera to do it justice. They are pretty strict about keeping you off the rocks if you don't know what you're doing:



I did manage to snap this sweet shadow-selfie after climbing up on one of the rocks that you are allowed on without climbing gear:



Some family were headed out to Mt Princeton Hot Springs and invited me along. I hadn't realized that the Rockies had large sections of open plains up between the peaks:



That looks super flat, right? Yet it's up amongst the peaks.

The hot springs place is just kind of nestled up in the mountains:



with a few different geothermal springs to enjoy. They also have a river running through the property, so you can jump in the river to cool off if the hot springs get too hot.

We also took a drive further up in the mountains on that trip:



which was the CRV's first test of non-paved roads. It worked out pretty well. Not all the roads we found were available:



We found a old cemetery up in the mountains with some interesting headstones. This was my favorite:



You could read bits of the writing, but not much. It had been there a while.

We also decided to drive up to a ghost town named St Elmo, which required more dirt roads:



which got pretty rough at times:



but the CRV handled things just fine.

St Elmo itself wasn't interesting enough to take any good photos of, just a bunch of really old buildings and some tourist trap stuff. I did find a building to take a photo of on the way up to the peak, though:



This was some kind of mining building that had fallen into disrepair, then actually fallen down the mountain. Or slid, I suppose. I don't know how long it's been like that but I assume one day it's going to be blocking that road. Good thing I got to see it now and get a photo!




That's it for this update.

Right now I'm in Valemount, British Columbia. Drove up from Chilliwack, BC yesterday. Also saw a bear yesterday. Will see about making it to Dawson Creek, British Columbia today. That's where the ALCAN highway begins. From there I'll take that all the way up to Fairbanks, then the Dalton up to the Arctic Ocean.


Bonus photo of the bear from yesterday:



There was a car behind me so I couldn't stop, hence the poor quality. Also, I did not want to be eaten by the bear.
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Old 08-11-2013, 01:19 PM   #57
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Start heading east and meet up with me for a pint in Ottawa!
Wrong direction, but thanks anyway!



Also, I'd like to give a shout out to Canadians for their awesome money. They have bears, beavers, ducks, and caribou on their coins. Far better than the random buildings and garbage that is on U.S. coins. The folding money is pretty sweet, too.

Last edited by chopstick; 08-11-2013 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:21 PM   #58
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Very cool trip report. Thanks.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:59 AM   #59
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I just moved to Colorado. Now that my apartment is all set up, I need to go check out the sites. Thanks for the update. It's entertaining.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:25 AM   #60
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Eventually it was time to leave Colorado behind. I still had 4 unvisited states to visit, and time was a-wastin'. I decided to knock out the Dakotas first and headed north.

My plan was to head due north up into Wyoming, cut east into South Dakota at Custer State Park, head up into North Dakota via a stop in Deadwood, then loop back down through Montana and Wyoming back to Denver before heading west. That's pretty much what happened.

First thing I saw in Wyoming was this:



That's actually a trike. It's tough to see because of the angle, and looks like a little convertible, but no, it's a trike. I don't know that I've seen a trike with a roll bar before. Assuming that's even a roll bar. She was moving, too. Had to have been going at least 65mph.

They say it's "big sky" country up there, which I didn't really understand until I was actually there. It looked like it was photoshopped:




Wyoming was without other events, other than seeing this:




Funny because it was a week or two before Sturgis. I'm surprised they were still trying to get 50 cents on the dollar for the 2012 gear. I'd think they'd be at least 75% off at that point.

Eventually made it up to Custer and saw some bison:




as well as some sweet trees:




and a sign that I hadn't seen before:




took me a second to figure out what the heck that meant, then I was there and it made a lot more sense. For those who don't get it, there is an underpass ahead that you end up taking which loops around under the road you were just on.

There were some deer walking around, despite the sign referring to other wildlife:




Eventually I headed a little more off-road:




and found some cool vantage points:



You can see the dirt road I came up on the lower left, and the paved road down through the bottom right and middle. Very glad I had a vehicle with decent ground clearance to come up that. The view from there was incredible. I took a bunch of photos, but not many came out well as it was really overcast for the most part. That's one of the few clear ones. You could see for miles and miles. Really majestic scenery, too.

I eventually made my way to Needles Highway, which looks about what you'd expect it to look like with enormous rocks jutting up in the sky:




Here's how you thread the needle:




Of course, when I found out that there were 6 tunnels in the park, I made sure to go through all of them:






I did drive by Mount Rushmore, but that's the kind of thing that bores me, so I didn't stop and only took a lazy shot out the window as I zipped past:




This seemed like a good place to stop for dinner:




Here's the view from the roof of the place Wild Bill was supposedly shot and killed at:




I had dinner there. Lots of folks walking around in period garb and fake gunfights happening. Very touristy place, but not in an irritating way.

After leaving Deadwood, I made it up to North Dakota for the night, just barely:



There is not much up there in North Dakota. Lots of hay.

After visiting both Dakotas, I had chopped my remaining states to visit list in half. Just down to Idaho and Hawaii at that point. I hung a left and headed over to Montana, which I hadn't been to in a long time. Contrary to some old tales, they have an actual speed limit and it isn't "reasonable", it's 70mph. They also have skies that give neighbor Wyoming a run for its money:




The clouds just looked fake. Where do clouds look like that, other than the intro credits to The Simpsons?


That's my update for today. Slowly but surely catching up to where I actually am. Currently that's Fort Nelson, British Columbia in Canada.


Bonus photo from today:



Yep, I'm on it. Also had my first vehicle damage. A semi kicked up a rock and put a crack in the windshield. It started off about an inch then over an hour or two it grew to just over a foot. It's not impairing visibility yet. I looked into getting it replaced here in Fort Nelson but it would take two days to get the new windshield shipped up here so I think I'll probably just deal with it and head on to Whitehorse, where I should be in about two days. They will likely have CRV windshields there and I won't lose two days of time that way. If the crack stops growing I may just let it ride until Fairbanks and re-evaluate then. Need to make it up to the Arctic Ocean before it gets too cold!
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:17 AM   #61
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great thread, I've really enjoyed reading/seeing it. It makes me regretful the way I drove from ATL to Whistler. Should've slowed down, taken less interstates, and enjoyed some scenario. Maybe I'll take a redo this winter and try your style. GL and keep the updates coming!
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:14 PM   #62
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Amazing stuff, thanks
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:21 PM   #63
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

subscribing for obvious reasons

well done
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #64
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great thread, chops. Bonus points for Chilliwack where I got my Canadian guide licence all those years ago.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #65
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Awesome thread and great pictures.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:26 PM   #66
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

if you find yourself driving back down through canada to the states, try to take a route that takes you through the canadian rockies. east from whistler on 99 to 97 to 1 will run through pemberton, lillooet, and in to kamloops. take 5 north out of kamloops and then 16 east to jasper. 93 southeast towards banff with a stop in lake louise and then back to 1 east to calgary. take every highway pullout/scenic stop that you see. absolutely fantastic country up there.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:59 AM   #67
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Originally Posted by chopstick View Post
They claim North America's highest auto road. We'll see about that in Alaska.
14,260' is going to be tough to beat, that's way up there. For some perspective/useless trivia, the FAA doesn't even allow planes above 14k unless they're pressurized or the pilots are using oxygen.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:16 PM   #68
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

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Originally Posted by TooCuriousso1 View Post
Great thread, I've really enjoyed reading/seeing it. It makes me regretful the way I drove from ATL to Whistler. Should've slowed down, taken less interstates, and enjoyed some scenario. Maybe I'll take a redo this winter and try your style. GL and keep the updates coming!
Certainly go for the do-over. Some friends and family keep asking me if I'm making good time, and my stock response is that I'm making the best kind of time - leisurely. I'm deliberately going slow and I still feel like I'm rushing.

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Amazing stuff, thanks
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subscribing for obvious reasons
well done
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Great thread, chops. Bonus points for Chilliwack where I got my Canadian guide licence all those years ago.
Quote:
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Awesome thread and great pictures.
Thanks guys, glad you are enjoying it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ReDeYES88 View Post
if you find yourself driving back down through canada to the states, try to take a route that takes you through the canadian rockies. east from whistler on 99 to 97 to 1 will run through pemberton, lillooet, and in to kamloops. take 5 north out of kamloops and then 16 east to jasper. 93 southeast towards banff with a stop in lake louise and then back to 1 east to calgary. take every highway pullout/scenic stop that you see. absolutely fantastic country up there.
I went through a good chunk of the Canadian Rockies, including Kamloops and Jasper. I took 5 up from Kamloops, then cut east through Mt Robson park, heading east on 16 to Jasper. I then looped back up 40 toward Grand Prairie to make it over to Dawson Creek to kick off the Alaska Highway.

When I first came around a mountain curve and saw Mt Robson, my jaw literally dropped. Now that's an impressive sight. Photos to come.



Quote:
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14,260' is going to be tough to beat, that's way up there. For some perspective/useless trivia, the FAA doesn't even allow planes above 14k unless they're pressurized or the pilots are using oxygen.
I think the claim they made will hold up after researching the Alaska Highway and the Dalton Highway a few more times. I figured the Dalton would get pretty high going over the Brooks Range, but that doesn't look to be so.


Right now I'm in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Over halfway down the Alaska Highway. My windshield has a pretty big crack in it thanks to a semi kicking up some rocks at me, and I saw a wolverine last night. Yes, an actual wolverine, not the movie. He did not eat me.

Thanks for letting me know you guys are enjoying this, makes it much easier to find the energy to write the trip segments up and do the photo stuff.

I'll probably be at Fairbanks in a couple of days, may hang out there a day or two, then up the Dalton to the Arctic Ocean, then down to Anchorage to sell the CRV, then on to Hawaii for some period of time. Then probably back to St Thomas, unless I find a sweet sailboat crewing opportunity somewhere beforehand. I probably qualify as competent crew with two blue water passages and 3k nm under my belt, so we'll see what I can find.
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:26 AM   #69
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Yea keep it up, need more pics!
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:04 AM   #70
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Inspirational thread.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:08 AM   #71
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

When we last left off, I was headed into Montana after looping up through the Dakotas from Denver. Montana photoshops their clouds, too:




As planned, I was staying off the interstates, which was great because it made it easier to check out Medicine Rocks State Park in Montana:




I was the only person there when I showed up. They make it easy to pay the fee with a self-pay station, assuming you are the honest sort, which I am:




The medicine rocks themselves are enormous sandstone rocks that are slowly eroded over time by the wind, resulting in some pretty cool shapes:




There are probably around 50 large ones there:




many of which have been defaced with idiots carving their initials or names into them, since sandstone is so soft. One of the carvings was "Jim Blob was here". Yes, Jim Blob, not Jim Bob. Make of that what you will.

Eventually some other folks showed up and started climbing on the rocks, which you are not supposed to do because they are so easy to damage. I left to find some lunch. Lucky for me, the town of Ekalaka (population:322) was close by, as was RB's home cooking:




I was a little amused by the trash can outside of the restaurant:




can't say I've seen that particular instruction before.


Since I was heading south, I was able to stop by Devil's Tower as well:



I walked all the way around the base, which takes about 30-40 minutes. Definitely worth it. Saw a few folks climbing it as well, which you need to register to do:




They had a lot of prairie dogs there:




Eventually I made it back down to Denver, where I did a loop up in and around Rocky Mountain National Park with my cousin. There were some sweet mountains to drive:




We headed north up out of Boulder into Lyons, then up to Estes Park. From there we took 34 west just after the sun set through RMNP until we got down near Lake Granby where we stayed the night. There were moose in the area:




When I saw that sign, I thought of possession in the way that bad ghosts and evil spirits possess people and started laughing.

From there we headed up to and through the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge, which was not very interesting. The small town of Rand that we passed through on the way up to ANWR was, though. They have a yacht club:




And doors that open with antlers instead of handles:




We then took 14 east (Poudre Canyon) back toward Fort Collins, with a stop up at Red Feather Lakes. We also stopped to see The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at the Shambhala Mountain Center:



The SMC seems pretty cool. I am considering going there at the end of the summer to volunteer to help take down the temporary housing that they set up for the summer influx. We'll see if I'm on a sailboat or not by then.

Here is the Stupa's house:




We found a pretty nifty carving in a boulder up near RFL:




and eventually headed back down to Denver after finishing up the loop.



I'm currently in Tok, Alaska, having crossed the border in the early evening after leaving Whitehorse, Yukon Territory late this morning. Tomorrow I'll head up to Fairbanks, then the Dalton Highway up to the Arctic Ocean.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:34 PM   #72
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Booked my Arctic Ocean shuttle for early next week.

From the website:

Quote:
Arctic Ocean Shuttle by Deadhorse Camp

The Arctic Ocean lies 500 miles north of Fairbanks beyond the end of the Dalton Highway --- the northern terminus of the Pan American Highway. To reach the shore, travelers must cross a portion of the controlled-access Prudhoe Bay Oilfield. Travelers are only allowed into this security sensitive area by joining an organized, pre-scheduled shuttle.

Deadhorse Camp operates several shuttles per day between late-May and early-September. Shuttles depart from the Camp at 9am and 3pm (some variations occur) and reservations ABSOLUTELY need to be made in advance. Advanced reservations are critical because the names of each shuttle participant must be submitted to BP Alaska Security 24 hours in advance of the scheduled shuttle departure time.

The entire shuttle takes about 1.5 hours from time of departure from the camp to return.Photographs can be taken from onboard the tour vehicle during the traverse to the beach. At the shoreline guests are allowed to take photos and touch the water (in rare circumstances, for safety reasons, guests are not allowed out at the shore).

Thank you very much for your interest! We look forward to seeing you in Deadhorse!

let us go go go!
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:36 PM   #73
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great thread! Keep the updates coming.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:55 PM   #74
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Chopstick,

Nice thread. Wish I'd seen it sooner, would've invited you for a beer while in Denver. Next time you're in the area.

For the Dalton part of your trip, hope you see lots of wildlife...but not too closely. Once you're up there, there is nothing to do. Just a company town. It's pretty cool to go to the end of the road. Wade into the Arctic Ocean, but other than that, there's no reason to hang out.

Make sure to pack plenty of extra food/drink for the Dalton trip, just in case. It's a pretty good adventure. Not a bad idea, if you have the extra room, to look into getting a full-size spare mounted and packed on the CRV.

Hope it's still summer enough for you to experience the midnight sun. It disoriented me, never setting like that.

Looking forward to the next installments. Thanks again for the report.
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:42 AM   #75
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Thanks, guys. I'm in Fairbanks now, having finished the Alcan/Alaska Highway earlier today at Delta Junction. Tomorrow I'll slowly head up the line that marks the Arctic Circle, and make camp there for the night after exploring the area. On Sunday I'll go further up the Dalton to the Coldfoot/Wiseman area, and stay there for the night. On Monday I'll arrive at Prudhoe Bay, and on Tuesday morning, I'll be dipping a toe in the Arctic. If after, say Monday, I don't update the thread within the following two weeks, send up the St Bernards with the little kegs around their necks.


golddog - Going to the end of the road is exactly what I'm looking forward to. The journey is the destination on this trip.

I've got extra food and water packed. I also have not one but two full size spares, both mounted. I swapped out the generic Michelins that were on the car when I bought it for some super badass BF Goodrich All-Terrains when I went through Seattle. Not so great on fuel efficiency, but they are 6-ply instead of 1-ply, give me an extra inch of ground clearance (9" -> 10"), have tread about .75" thick, and just look generally awesome.

I've experienced the midnight sun before, it's a bit late for that now but we'll see what happens. The sun set a little after 10pm last night in Tok. Right now it's almost 9pm and still super bright out in Fairbanks.

I'll see if I can write up one more installment before I take off tomorrow morning.
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