Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dawson Creek to Jasper, and then Home

We spent the night at the George Dawson Inn in Dawson Creek. Doug's face was really starting to feel itchy and he wanted to shave, so he had me preserve his mountain man looks for posterity.

The next day we headed east. We were definitely back in civilization: lots of cars, trucks and radio stations to be found. I had no idea that the oil industry was so big in Alberta. There were wide loads constantly moving up and down the highways there, every one with one-ton pickups as lead and trail cars.

We all stopped in Grand Cache for the start of the Alcan's last TSD section. There is a great visitor information center there.

After a tricky (12 speed changes, including a 4 mph one!) TSD, we started our final transit into Jasper National Park. The park is beautiful, and reminds me in many ways of Yellowstone.

At one point, a trucker was not satisfied with our 10 over the limit speed and passed four of us in a row!

We arrived at the Jasper Inn about 3 in the afternoon, and after some souvenir shopping, retired to the Inn's hot-tub, (hot!) and then the steam room, (even hotter!) After an impromptu champagne spray, courtesy of the Sirius Rally Team, we all headed to the awards banquet.

As a precautionary measure, the organizers had arranged a no-host, cash bar for our celebratory needs. Dinner was included with the entry fee, and was one of the nicer meals we had along the way, I especially dug the salmon!

Team D handed out some special awards to various teams, including one to Doug and I for pulling one of there comrades out of a snow bank. We are now the proud owners of a dash-to hula girl, and two "Team D" stickers.

After the banquet, we stayed up until midnight swapping .jpg and .avi files, which made the morning seem earlier than normal when it came. Doug had filled up the night before, so after planting some carrots and oranges on one of the Mitsu vehicles to aid them in crossing the border, we were on the road.

Doug drove us to Kamloops, and I took us across the border to Sumas, where we got (relatively,) cheap diesel. I drove us through Seattle, and thank god for HOV lanes. Doug took over south of Tacoma and brought us home.

750 miles, 13 hours, including 1 fuel and 2 food stops. I don't want to do that every day. But it got us home in time to read to our kids before bed!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I really appreciate it. It was nice to wake up in the morning to all of your nice comments!

I especially want to thank Kricket and Joy for letting us go, and Frank and Delphine for the mode of transport! We were probably the most comfortable competitors on the Alcan. Thank you Dad, Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bob, Papa Art and Clare, and Mom and Peter! Thank you Abby for the "I love you so much Daddy!" when I got home.

I'll leave you with a couple pictures, compliments of the Sirius Rally Team, that I really liked, but didn't post up earlier.

Some Subaru owner, who shall remain nameless (though we have him on video!) modified our "Subaru Recovery Vehicle" sticker.

Doug and I parked above the frozen MacKenzie


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We're on our way home now... About 150 miles north of Seattle.

We finished 2nd in our class, and 12th overall out of 24 entries.

Looking forward to being home!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It may be a little while before updates. We enjoyed the hot tub and needed a beer to cool off. At the finish banquet now.



We have reached the finish in Jasper!!  It has been an incredible trip.  More later.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Liard Hotsprings to Dawson Creek

When I signed on for this adventure, I didn't think that I'd end up sleeping in a for-real log cabin. Overall, it wasn't so bad. The worst part was smacking my head on the loft beam a few times. I finished loading up the truck while Doug went to order us some food in the Lodge.

After a quick breakfast we got out on the road headed east: Destination, Ft. Nelson, 190 miles away. When we passed by Muncho Lake, it seemed very familiar to me, and it took me a few miles to figure out why: Dad and I got stopped there for some road construction for the better part of an hour in August of 2000.

While on the drive, some eagle-eyed, (or should I say wolf-eyed,) Alcan competitor spotted a wolf walking along the frozen river, some ways off. About five cars, ours included, pulled off to look. Doug had a pair of binoculars, which was nice! I've never seen a wolf in the wild before.

We arrived in Ft. Nelson about an hour and a half before our TSD, and were able to get diesel at the pump, and a root beer float at the A & W. Stevan and Kristin found an open wireless connection that allowed Doug to get a quick blog off, and allow us to get some Doo Wops updates off of Special Stage.

Our TSD went pretty well. We were a little rushed at the start, but only picked up 14 points on the whole leg.

From Ft. Nelson to Dawson Creek, traffic got heavier and heavier. Many, many wide-loads of oilfield equipment moving up and down the highway. Just east of Dawson Creek, we had our 2nd to last TSD of the event. We're starting to get this down, only 6 points over 4 controls, giving us 20 points for the day. I think we've fallen to 12th place over all, and hopefully we'll hang on to finish in the top half.

We drove the last 15 or so miles into town with a RCMP following us. We were obeying the speed limit, but it is always unnerving to have a cop follow you. We reached the start of the Alaska Highway, and Keltie, from the Dawson Creek Visitor's Center took our picture, and gave us congratulatory letter from the mayor and an Alaska Highway pin.

Tomorrow: The last TSD, and Jasper, AB.


Last night, we stayed in Liard River Lodge. When we walked in, all of the receipts for all Alcaners were on the desk. I noticed that they all cost $140 per night... except for ours which was $81. I thought something seemed funny- especially when the girl at the desk had to ask someone else where the "P.S. Cabin" was?? That's funny... everyone else was staying in this nice lodge, like with shower and bathrooms and stuff.

We learned later that P.S. may stand for "Picatosica Succumbo".... latin for "No Plumbing". Yeah, we were in some backwoods cabin with a wood stove and plywood floor. More later.

Can anyone else figure out what P.S. might have stood for?

Photo: I liked this bumper sticker.

Photo: Inside of the P.S. cabin.

Photo: Liard hot spring. Bill, two "Team Bubba" guys, and Jeff Zurschmeide

Dan's Internet

24 Feb Blog - I wrote this last night on the way to Liard Hot Springs, but we never found internet. Now, I'm sitting next to some guy's house in Fort Nelson, BC to send this before the next TSD.

Day's summary
Today started with a TSD. The Long Lake TSD was actually a repeat from the last time we were in Whitehorse. We should have had it nailed, but something weird was going on either with our ODO or the stopwatch. We never did diagnose what it was. BIll would say "You're 8 second late", so I'd floor it for a few seconds to keep up. .2 miles later he'd say "You're 11 seconds early"... I'd stand on the brakes and .2 miles later, he'd tell me I was late again. My response each time "Impossible!!" No way were we getting that far off in such a short distance. So, something was goofy. We'll wait for the scores to see how badly we did. It was cold this morning, around -4F, so my theory is that our cheapy stopwatches weren't working very well due to the cold.

The Ice Race was also on the same course as last time on Schwatka lake. I ran the first two runs- the hope was that the ice would be in better shape for the first two runs and I could turn in a more competitive time. Bill also ran one run and then decided we'd rather head back to the hotel than make another run on the deteriorating (traction-wise) ice. It was still a blast! I took some video and caught two cars with "interesting" lines through the finish. See videos. We haven't seen any times for the ice race so we have no idea how we did.

Photo: Bill's feet on the ice course. Looks like it's cracking!

As I write this, we're transiting about 400 miles to Liard River Hot Springs, where we will stay for the night. We're hoping to arrive early enough to spend a little time in the actual hot springs. We're also hoping to have internet access. You'll be the first to know if we do.

Photo: Sign forest we past on the way. This place had thousands of signs!

Last night, BIll caught Stevan Arychuk redhanded as he defaced our "Subaru Recovery Vehicle" decal, making it look like "Subary Wannabe Vehicle". Ha! In response, both Arychuk's and the Team Sirius WRX found a string of Kokannee cans tied to their cars in the morning (though not before driving for a while with them attached!). Yes, we've degenerated to high school pranks. Don't worry. There's an 11pm reading of "War and Peace" later tonight after the math quiz bowl to brighten things up a bit. We've also been playing "Guess the element" over the radio for hours. Did you know that the symbol for Tungsten is "W"? Which seems like a good time to mention that Bill actually said "I sure would like a periodic table of the elements for my wall!". Really. I couldn't make something like that up. So, add it to your shopping list for next year.