Sunday, August 17, 2014


Last Saturday, we didn’t have a night show, and we all had Sunday off, so the gals and I went camping!

Mike was kind enough to lend us his camping equipment, and even though it was drizzling and a lot of rain was predicted for the weekend, the four of us packed up and headed up to Lower Dewey Lake. We rarely have a free night/day all together, so we were determined to make the most of it! Tess and Meridith had been camping twice already, but Steph and I hadn’t had the chance yet.

 We hiked up the trail. We’d all done that hike several times, since Lower Dewey Lake is where the trails to many of the other destinations begin, but it is definitely harder with big packs on! Regardless, we made it to Lower Lake in good time, despite a continuous drizzle, and set up camp on a convenient little island with a great view of the lake.

Once we got the tent and bedrolls set up, and our friend Kristi came up and joined us, Tess and Meridith and I worked to get a fire going. All the wood was damp, as were the coals in the firepit, but after a while we kindled a pretty great blaze!

After that we just hung out, listened to some of Kristi’s jams, cooked up some hot dogs and buns and topped them with grilled/smoked peppers/onions/leftover mac and cheese, drank some beer, and toasted up some pretty darn perfect s’mores. The rain came and went a bit, but we never really minded. Honestly, there was nowhere I would rather have been during those hours!

Eventually we turned in – the four of us in one tent, Kristi in her own little tent – and got the best sleep we could manage! I never sleep too well on the ground, but it was so nice to be out in the wild (and snuggled up to my homies!) that I had a good night anyway J

In the morning it was raining harder, and the edges of the tent were pretty wet and our shoes were pretty soggy, but we ate some peanut butter-banana sandwiches, valiantly packed up, and headed down the mountain.

Having a hot shower felt pretty great!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In which Steph and I have unexpected adventures in the Yukon

About a week and a half ago, Steph and I had the day off together again. The day before, the Jons were able to get ahold of Sourdough Rentals for us, so we could rent a car to go to Whitehorse!

While we were in the rental office, waiting for Steve to hear back by phone from the owner about what our rental options were, an older man walked into the office. Eighty if he was a day, long white beard, crooked cane, big bone earrings, hat covered in little medals. He proceeded to chat with Steve and us, and it seemed at first that he knew Steve, although it eventually became clear that Steve didn’t actually know him, but that he had just been by earlier that day as well. Weird! The guy was from New Zealand and was here to surprise a friend in Anchorage whom he hasn’t seen in 24 years – the friend doesn’t know he’s coming!

Anyway, when Steve got the owner on the phone, the old man overheard that Steph and I were planning to go to Whitehorse on Thursday and asked if he could get a ride. He “doesn’t need to go back, only to Whitehorse, not back,” and could “chip in for petrol” and “could really use a ride.” Steph and I were pretty uncomfortable with that, and made up an excuse about having a full car. But this guy was very persistent! We could “stop by his hotel room in the morning” to pick him up! In fact, even as we were leaving and telling him that he would probably have to find another ride, he was still saying, “see you in the morning”! Weird.

Well, Steph and I got the car (a minivan, which was all they had left) Thursday morning without incident and headed out to Whitehorse, without the old guy. The minivan’s speedometer didn’t work, so I never knew how fast I was driving, but, you know, feelin’ out the road and all that. Made it across the border, made it to Carcross (about two hours from Skagway and an hour from Whitehorse), switched drivers, and got back on the road… only to blow a tire a few minutes later! Actually, what happened was that without either of us hearing the tire bust or driving over anything unusual, suddenly Steph lost control of the wheel. Hilarious panic!Sho shouts, “what are you doing?!?” and hilarious panic!Steph temporarily genuinely thinks she’s swerving the car around herself and shouts, “I don’t know!!” but we have the wherewithal to pull over and get out and check the tires, and sure enough one is flat.

Keep in mind that we are in Canada, in the mountains and the desert, and have no phone service – and even if we did, you can’t call AAA from Canada. So we went around to the back of the car and found the spare tire…

…but no jack, and no wrench.

Of course.

We thought were weren’t too far out of Carcross, so we proceeded to walk back along the highway towards town. We walked for about an hour – it turned out we were about three miles past the town, and finally, footsore and hungry, we turned into a gas station on the edge of town. We explained our situation to the two men behind the counter…

…who, rather than trying to help us, proceeded to laugh at us for not having a jack and for how much our situation sucked.

Thanks, jerks.

Steph finally said, “well, can you please direct us to someone who can help us?!?” and one guy said in a totally rude tone of voice, “there’s a police station around the corner. That’s their job.”

So we found the police station, walked in, and explained our situation to the lady behind the counter. Who was lovely. She was sympathetic, kind, and helpful above and beyond the call of duty! She got us coffee, and even called Sourdough Rentals for us to ask where we should get the tire changed once we got to Whitehorse and to tell them that they better give us a deal when we got back! She also called in the police officer on duty, Dan, to help us with the tire situation. Dan was also very sweet (and, uh, hot :p), and not only drove us back to the car, with the proper tools, but changed the tire for us, much faster than either of us could have!

We have a thank-you note in the mail to the RCMP Carcross Deployment J

Well, we got back on the road – me driving, because Steph was a bit freaked out still – and made it to Whitehorse with no further incidents. We were famished, so we stopped for sushi first thing, then walked over to a tattoo/piercing/music shop so Steph could get her cartilage pierced.

The piercing went smoothly, although Steph was a bit faint after. But as she was sitting in the chair recovering, and I was holding her hand, guess who walks in???


White-beard old guy.

There are four people in this room, and Steph and I are two of them. We are just frozen in shock. But he walks past us with, hilariously, zero sign of recognition, and sits down to get a tattoo!

Anyway, that was my favorite part of this story.

We left the shop, drove to the tire place to get the tire changed, and did a little Walmart-ing to kill the time. Actually, the tire change took longer than expected, since it turned out that the van had four different tires in four different sizes, so it was a bit of a struggle for them to match the new one! Oh, Skagway.

Once that was taken care of, we headed out of Whitehorse. However, about 20 miles out of Whitehorse there’s a right turn onto the Klondike Highway, to get back to Skagway. But Steph had never driven it before, and I wasn’t really paying attention or remembering that there was a turn, and it was hard to see and poorly signed. So we missed the turn without even knowing we missed it. Ten or fifteen minutes later, we found ourselves crossing a beautiful lake on a cute bridge, and we both commented on how lovely it was – only to look at each other in alarm as we realized that we had never seen it before!

We were pretty perplexed as to how we had taken a wrong turn when we had been going straight the entire time! We decided to turn around, which was the right choice, but it also was a relief that Steph’s phone had one bar of service, so I turned on her data roaming and looked up where we were to be sure. Sure enough, we were on the Alaska Highway, which would have taken us all the way down through B.C.

We made the turn on the way back and made it back to Skagway uneventfully. But really, getting briefly lost was the final ingredient to make the day just ridiculous! Good thing we like each other, and had a good time all day anyway J

Oh, Alaska.

Next up: Camping! In the rain!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In which Alex comes to visit!

Alex came to visit August 1st through 4th. It was pretty great to see him, and I had most of two days off while he was here! He arrived on a Friday afternoon, and I showed him around town and bought him some ice cream at my favorite Skagway establishment: The Kone Kompany (except I still hate those freaking arbitrary Ks!). I’m over halfway through my second ten-stamp card for a free cone!

I had to take my leave of him that evening to do a show, but on Saturday morning after breakfast at the Station with the gals we took the hike up to Lower Lake. It was a beautiful day – he brought good weather with him, I swear, since it was rainy and cold before and after he left but sunny every day of his visit! We got a bit lost somehow – I’m still not sure how, actually – but retraced our steps and ended up making the whole Lower Lake Loop, which I had also hiked with my parents when they were in town. We ate lunch at a little picnic table back towards the start of the loop, then headed down and eventually grabbed dinner at BrewCo before he came to see my evening show. He enjoyed the show a lot!

On Sunday, we had planned to take the train to Fraser Falls and get off to hike to Loughton Glacier, but he didn’t have his passport (both of our faulty memories were to blame!), so we scrapped the plan. In the end, we grabbed sandwiches to go from Glacier Smoothie (I can’t get enough of their turkey pesto sandwich) and cupcakes from Sugar Mama’s, and walked out to Smuggler’s Cove, where we lay in the sun, read, talked, climbed around on rocks, and picnicked, all for about three hours. That evening we went to the Red Onion for $10 pizza-and-beer night with Meridith and Steph, which was also pretty great!

On Monday Alex had most of the day before he caught the ferry in the late afternoon, but I had a four-show day. So while I worked, he went to Lower Reid Falls and climbed around, ate at FishCo, then went back to Yakutania Point and bouldered over to Smuggler’s, before coming home to shower! Fortunately, I got off work early enough to walk him to the ferry. Bye, Alex! See you in a couple months! J