04 September 2013

Day 17

Juneau, AK to Haines, AK to Tok, AK

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4

Sleep was not good. 

The campsite? Perfect. The blow-up mattress? Super comfortable. The temperature? Just right- upper to mid-50's. The problem? Rain. And a teensy rain fly. 

We had put our trust in the Weather Channel app, assuring us of of 0% chance of rain the entire night. You have wronged us, Weather Channel app.

Also, we were a little freaked out being out of our element. As we lay down for a good night's rest yesterday, Hubs suggests, "I can see how this would be a good time to have a weapon." Gee, thanks for that, Dear. Images of the bear warning signs and proximity to strangers and the walls of our night's accommodations slicing like butter if met by claw, knife, tree brach or wind or slight breath flashed through my mind. 

"Are we the only ones here in a tent?"


"I think so."

Enter my uneasy questioning about every potential quandary and Hubs probably being VERY sorry he said anything. Seriously though, if he's nervous, I'm nervous, amiright ladies? He's supposed to be the big strong un-shaken confident protective oak of a man with his wife and chiweenie tucked under the shelter of his bicep of which no bear or bum can defeat, or even dare try. Or he's at least supposed to act like when we are INTHEMIDDLEOFTHEFREAKINGUNKNOWNWOODWITHRECENTWILDLIFESIGHTING. 

I know this all sounds hours of thought-through fear, but, in truth, it went on for about 2.8 minutes before exhaustion won over worry.

We woke several times throughout the night, so we were not surprised at 4am by our alarm and a steady downpour. The entire tent and everything in it was soaked. The edges of the blow-up mattress and all sheets and blankets were dripping wet. After Hubs flailed around, fighting off several consistent calf cramps trying to pull his watery boots in a tent barely his body length, we designated one bag and threw everything in it to dry out later. Jessie is in there somewhere, I guess. (Joking. She slept like a tiny rock in between us last night. Dry as a pinky bone, she was transferred from the comfort of her snuggled camp-sleep to the comfort of her blanketed kennel-sleep, none the wiser to our plight. Needless to say, she was no help.) Raincoats adorned and headlamps on, we threw the mattress and tent in a corner of the trunk and any other items into floorboards.

We are damp, unshowered, and exhausted. Our hair and teeth unbrushed. Hubs is quiet, hungry, and wet from the knee down. have mats in my hair that makes me consider whether going full dreadlocks might be easier than combing it out and scared to walk to the bathroom in the rainy dark by myself. Or, maybe, simply smart enough not to because thats how scary movies start, duh. 

After hurriedly loading into the shelter of our car and shutting the doors, the sound of the drops dulled on the window. We sat silent for a second, until Hubs turned to me and said,"Happy Anniversary."

In our tired, disshelved giggles, we knew that the last hours of little lives was just part of it. It's already funny, thank goodness. Our stuff will dry or get thrown away, and we don't care. But our trip kind of wouldn't been complete without a hitch. The trip to Juneau proved unexpected and unplanned and this was just the cherry on top.

We got in line for the Ferry from Juneau to Haines and boarded our last ship, the Taku. We slept most the way in the viewing area. We were not alone in this. We looked homeless. We were not alone in this either. However, we are actually homeless. I am uncertain if we are alone in this or not.
View from the Ferry
If we had a dollar for every salt-and-pepper braid or bun and every long, full, white, facial fur we encountered from the beginning of our ferry journey, we'd be able to buy a fancy airstream so we can ditch the tent and camp like real Alaskans apparently. Hubs has beard-envy.
Just One in a Sea of Salty, Wintery Locks

"I just have the little man beard. It just needs to get 5 inches longer and white."

We disembarked our journey on the Alaskan Marine Highway System for good at Haines, AK. Even tinier than Juneau, we did find a grocery for supplies and a deli for lunch and coffee. We topped off at $4.68 a gallon. Hubs asked guys at the gas station for directions. They discussed gas stations along the route, saying the next stop would be at Haines Junction, but it would be expensive. Ummm...MORE expensive? There is another one, they informed him, soon after crossing back over into Alaska, but it being closed is highly-probable. Also, these rugged Alaskan fellas added, “Don't veer off any- be careful” as Hubs walked back to the car. 
Canadian Border Patrol and Customs

The border customs was a breeze. We crossed the Canadian border and entered the most beautiful countryside we have yet experienced. In British Columbia and through Yukon Territory, the mountains and trees are taller, the air is crisper, the water clearer, the colors deeper.
Haines Junction
Pickhandle Lake

We almost couldn't enjoy it for all the dips, potholes, cracks, gravel, and dirt that was the uneven Canadian road. We were on this single street the entire time. The paved portions had such valleys and hills, we had to slow to 20 mph. We experienced the nauseous ache of being beat by roller coasters all day. But hey, it was cheaper with a better view. And a longer ride. About 7.5 hours longer. I didn't count, but I'm guessing I could record the number of cars we passed on both hands. 

As soon as we passed the U.S. border station, we merged onto that smooth black asphalt we never knew we would miss so much. "Thank you, Capitalism. This is what Freedom feels like", quipped Hubs.

We did stop to top off our quarter of a tank at Haines Junction. It was $22.78 to fill up 15.942 liters. My "convert units" app tells me this is the equivalent of 4.21 gallons. If my math is correct, that put us at $5.41 per gallon.

We drove all day and stopped to stay 90 miles after re-entering Alaska.

It didn't get dark until after 9:30pm and dropped about 14 degrees in a few hours. We actually went way farther north than seems necessary, except for the fact that Alaska has three highways, and this one is literally the only road that can connect you from the southeastern slice of the state navigated by the Marine Highway System to the rest of it. 

We stopped in Tok, AK. Tok, AK is at mile marker 1,313. Young's Motel was recommended by the border patrol officer. "Newer beds. And go to Fast Eddy's for food." Sounds delish. Unfortunately, Young’s Motel, the office of which resided inside of Fast Eddy’s restaurant, had no vacancies. The town was taken over by visiting hunters. They informed us of the one place in town (using that work loosely) that had a room.

We will begin our descent in Anchorage tomorrow.

If you we're awaiting a romantic 3rd Anniversary tale, you're gonna be awaiting some more.

The idea of a thing sometimes seems more romantic than it is until you look back to find all your dreams might not have come true like you thought, but the daily endeavors, the unavoided dirt, the weathered disappointment, the decision to love and forgive each other after knowing the things you didn't know before and maybe wish you didn't know IS the romance. The normal living that isn't portrayed in movies or before wedding days, when the endearing has long become annoying. The unconditional care of compromise, the surrender for the sake of another, the daily decision to devote, and the continual failing at all of these things. I am blessed to be IN love with my best friend, but the choice to be love to each other better today and grow old together tomorrow is better.

In this life, it’s easy to focus on what you miss. I sometimes wish we had had an engagement. I sometimes (REALLY) wish we could completely redo our wedding day. I sometimes wish we could have spent our first anniversary together. I feel jipped when we miss yet another life event. But would I trade for any of that if it meant not sitting in the Snowshoe motel in my filthy two-day old clothes cleaning the camp off our rain-soaked blow-up mattress while Jessie obnoxiously plays fetch with herself and Hubs brings in our luggage before devouring a peanut-butter, honey, and cheese nip sandwich while watching Jimmy Kimmel? Not a chance.
Snowshoe Motel
Tonight's preparation for arriving tomorrow at JBER.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. I'd do it all again. Here's to as many as God gives us and to His purpose in us to prevail over our wishes for ourselves. You're my favorite.

No comments:

Post a Comment