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Showing posts from 2014

New Beginnings

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As many of you know, I am moving on and creating a new blog.  It is finally up and running and I'd love it if you'd stop by and check it out! You can find it here…

The Middle(tons) of Nowhere 


This is our new beginning.  Cody, Specks, and myself are living in our most isolated destination yet. Life is full of new adventures.  Join us on one! 

The End of My Alaskan Adventure

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Well, I suppose this is the end.  I've kept this blog for two years and chronicled our life and adventures living in Alaska.  It was an incredible experience that I wouldn't trade for the world. To close out this blog I just wanted to show you some of my favorite parts of Alaska. Here it goes...

1.) The view from my front porch.  There was nothing more peaceful that waking up, walking outside with a coffee, listening to the eagles, and watching the sunrise.



2.) The people. We met some truly incredible friends in Alaska and they ultimately turned in to family.  These people helped us out whenever they could and kept us sane.  We love them all so much!



3.) The outdoor recreation.  I loved getting to go exploring whenever I wanted.  Juneau had thousands of trail miles to explore and I tried to make the most of it every chance I got.




With every end, there is a new beginning though. Cody, Specks, and I are heading to our new home in Michigan tomorrow.  I start teaching in two weeks…

Driving The ALCAN: The End

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Temperature: 90°F-80°F
Weather: Warm, Stormy
Mileage: 2,441 miles
Lodging: Various

Our last days of driving were LONG.  We were no longer on the actual ALCAN and were having to navigate through lots of cities, towns, and even some teeny mountain villages.  If anyone is interested in our actual route, feel free to message me or leave a comment and I can post it. 



Anyway, we entered the US at the Babb, MT border site. It was incredible scenic! If you are entering in the western US this isn't a bad place to do it.  We had very short lines and great views.  Cody and I must have looked very non-suspicious too because the border patrol wasn't concerned with asking us many questions.  There were also some super scenic little towns lining the border that were worth stopping at to snap some fun pictures. 





As the trip went on we cruised through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and then headed into Michigan's UP.  The UP (Upper Peninsula) was probably one of my favorite places that we d…

Driving The ALCAN: British Columbia and Dawson Creek, BC

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Temperature: 70°F-60°F
Weather: Sunny, Warm
Mileage: 281miles
Lodging: The George Dawson Inn

The next leg of our trek took us through a chunk of British Columbia and we eventually ended our day in Dawson Creek, BC.  Dawson Creek is also known as "Mile 0" of the Alaska (ALCAN) Highway.  Somehow, this fact slipped my mind and I didn't get a picture of the famous mile-marker! Doh! 


I did manage to snap some other great pictures though! The scenery really started to change once we got farther into British Columbia.  Our day started out with HUGE mountains, those gradually changed into rolling hills and farmland though.  I wouldn't say that this part of our trip was the most scenic by any means.  It was a very easy and stress-free leg of the trip though.  Towns and amenities were much more frequent, which gave us a little bit of peace.  The terrain was also incredibly easy, as most of it was relatively flat.  



Dawson Creek was a nice little town to stay in for the night.  I cou…

Driving the ALCAN: Yukon and British Columbia

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Temperature: 60°F-40°F

Weather: Scattered Showers, Cool
Mileage: 590miles
Lodging: Ramada Inn Fort Nelson, BC

We began to move from the Yukon Territory into British Columbia as our trip progressed.  The transition area between these two territories was beautiful.  The days we spent in this area were my favorite in terms of scenery and wildlife viewing.  We saw grizzlies, elk, moose, bison, and caribou.  The moose was my favorite animal to see on our trip.  They are so statuesque.  We saw our first moose, an adult male, just bathing himself in a roadside pool.  We were able to pull over and watch him splash around for quite some time.


A little further down the road we saw a sign warning us of wildlife on the road.  Within minutes we were at a standstill, stuck in a traffic jam of bison! There was an entire herd of bison on the road in more than one spot.  These huge animals would do some serious damage to cars so this stretch of road had to be driven very cautiously.  Safety is key on the…

Driving The ALCAN: Yukon Territory

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Temperature: 80°F-40°F Weather: Sunny, Breezy 
Mileage: 244miles + mileage from ferry ride
Lodging: Wolf Creek Campground

Our first official day of driving had us traveling from Haines, AK to Whitehorse, YT.  It was beautiful!


We crossed the Canadian Border just outside of Haines.  I was worried about crossing the border, as I hadn't ever done it (at least not in the last ten years).  The border at Haines was EASY though.  It was just one officer checking passports.  We waited less than two minutes, behind the only other car on the road.  The officer was super kind to Specks, offering him a pat on the head and some kind words.


Once over the border we were cruising through the Yukon Territory, heading towards Whitehorse. The drive was great.  There were hardly any other cars on the road so we could stop whenever we saw something beautiful or scenic.  We saw a couple of grizzlies on our first day on the road, which was mighty surprising.  They were just loping across the road, unconcer…

Driving The ALCAN: Ferrying A Car

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Hey, folks! I am checking in from a little over halfway into our trip.  I am currently planted in Montana for a day of much needed rest.  I want to recap each part of our trip through pictures, stories, and tips.  Driving the ALCAN isn't something that most people do in their lifetime.  However, it is something very typical of people moving to/from Alaska.  So, here a little bit of our story from Day One

The first day of our trip started off with a 3:30am wakeup call.  Cody and I had to be at the ferry terminal by 5:00am in order to load our car onto the car deck of the boat.  The ferry was an important part of our trip because it is the only way to transport a car in/out of Juneau.  We had decided to ferry ourselves to Haines, AK.  Haines is a small community north of Juneau that is connected to the road system via the Haines Highway.  

Since the trip was only a few hours we parked our car and Specks (pets are required to stay in your car) below deck and headed up to the solariu…

Vegetarian Camping Meals

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Our upcoming trip has required lots of planning.  One of the major planning aspects to a road trip, especially one lasting two weeks, is the meal planning.  Cody and I used lots of websites, personal experiences, and information passed on from other travelers to plan our meals.  This took some extra planning on my part due to my vegetarian lifestyle.  Many "easy" camp meals include meat.  We used these three links to help do a lot of our planning (link 1link 2link 3).  Check them out! You can also check out my list below.  Anything in italics is something that is NOT vegetarian and specifically packed for Cody. Feel free to throw in any "no-cook" suggestions! We still have one day before we depart on our ALCAN Highway adventure!



Breakfast Meals ·Cereal ·Almond Milk ·Poptarts/Breakfast Bars ·Granola Lunch Meals ·Bread ·Cheese Slices ·Salad Mix ·Peanut Butter ·Jelly Dinner Meals ·MRE’s ·Turkey/Salmon Jerky ·Instant Soup Mix ·Crackers/ Pita and Hummus Snacks ·Oranges ·Apples ·Mixed Nu…

Moving & Shipping To Alaska

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Shipping in Alaska, particularly when moving, can be daunting.  If you are one the lucky Alaskans who lives off of the road system you will find yourself with limited options.  Personally, I've pursued two of these crazy moving options and thought that I would share my opinions on each.

1.) SELL EVERYTHING! The first time that Cody and I moved from Illinois to Alaska we sold (basically) all of our belongings. If it didn't fit in our car, we got rid of it.  This ended up being a great option for a couple of recent college grads.  We didn't have any "nice" or expensive stuff to begin with so selling all of our crummy college furniture was great.  It also made us some good moving money to put towards buying new stuff when we reached our destination.  In the short-term this was probably the cheaper option.  We did have sink quite a bit of money into household items down the road though. We also had to ship our car (via ferry) and that cost over $1,000 so the costs ad…

Illinoisans in Alaska

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The last month has been filled with exciting visitors! Cody's parents visited us earlier in the month and my mom just left our house a few days ago.  It has been a busy and family-filled time here in Juneau.


Cody's parents and his little brother visited Alaska for the very first time!  They had a blast going to visit Mendenhall Glacier, hiking around town, zip-lining, and checking out the local cuisine. Cody's brother and I even climbed a mountain together one day!  Unfortunately, the weather was terrible the entire time they were in town.  Rainy and cold every day.  They were troopers though and ended up having a really fun time. It was so much fun to show them our home.




My mom and her boyfriend Mark were in town for a fun visit a few weeks after Cody's family.  It was so much fun! We did a super cool hike up into the alpine meadows of a local mountain, ate fresh crab, relaxed on the beach, and celebrated the 4th of July with a big group of friends. It was such a cool…

Beaver Island, MI

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Cody and I have officially decided on a location for next year…we're moving to Beaver Island!

I am guessing that some most of you are wondering where in the world Beaver Island is located. It's a fair question.  I spent a significant portion of my life in Michigan and I've never been there.  But, when a job opening for a primary school teacher popped up in my search, I applied.  Then, I interviewed and was offered the job only a couple of hours later. Cody and I had to decide relatively quickly, in the end it seemed to be the best fit for both of our lifestyles and our relationship. Oh, wait, you were wondering where Beaver Island was…
Yup, it's in the middle of Lake Michigan…not even close to being on the road system.  I realize that this probably seems a little bit kooky to some people.  I mean, we're moving from one isolated community to another one. But, we are super excited about Beaver Island.  Here are some fun facts…

1.) The island boasts about 650 year rou…

We're Moving To…Michigan!

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The cat is out of the bag!! It's official folks. Our ferry tickets are purchased, our trip planning has begun, and the wait is finally over.  Now to pack up our house...


Honestly, I received some seriously incredible job offers from schools here in Alaska, but I just couldn't bring myself to take any of them.  I love Alaska and everything about it.  However, Alaska was always MY adventure.  When I first met Cody he was in the process of moving to Florida.  He changed his plans and decided to stay local to be with me, fast forward eight months and I had accepted a job in Alaska.  While he has loved Alaska, it has put many aspects of his life on hold. He had to give up music (he was a touring musician when we met) and college.  Both of these he will be immersing himself in as soon as we get to Michigan.  So, we will be moving so that he can get back on track and we can be closer to our family. I think it is going to be the best thing for both of us.


We will be living in the Saug…