07-Alaska Trip

Alaska Trip: Day 5 – Juno, iPod issues, the Border Patrol, the Road, the Lights


Jeremy taking some picturesWe got into Juno at 4:30am. Jeremy took Kyleigh out but I wasn’t feeling well at all, so I stayed in bed. My sleep was broken by a phone call from Jeremy – he wanted me to bring out a camera – “if you are coming out” he said. I wasn’t. Then I heard the agitation in his voice, but it wasn’t about the camera – it was about his iPod.IPod - Diag Mode

The iPod:

Well, yesterday I used a program called WinAmp to load songs to his iPod – songs he owned and wanted on his mp3 player – but because he wasn’t able to get to his desktop computer (its on the back of a truck on its way to his new home) he wasn’t able to load the songs that he purchased. I have iTunes on my laptop – but for those of you that own an iPod, you know that you cannot load songs to an iPod unless it only syncs with your iTunes. When you plug it into a second computer, it asks if you want to delete all songs on the iPod and sync with the new computer. If you say no – you cannot load new songs. This is Apple Computer’s best attempt to stop illegal song stealing. Anyway, WinAmp (freely available from allows you to sync any mp3 player with any computer – And it doesn’t mess up your iTunes account or you iPod. At least, that’s what I read online when I installed it.

Jeremy’s agitation was about his iPod – which was now in a diagnostic mode that he had never seen before – neither had I. “um… Dale – my iPod isn’t working. Its on some sort of a diagnostic screen and nothing works – I told you not to mess it up”. All the while, I’m half asleep and fully congested. “Ok, when you get back in I’ll take a look.” I don’t think that comforted him at all. When he finally brought it in, it was a matter of selecting the reset option, which brought it up into normal operation. I don’t know what put it in the diag mode, but I’m convinced that it was a fluke and the WinAmp upload was not the cause. In any case, all is well now and he has those additional songs.

The Boarder:

Welcome to AlaskaAfter we left Juno, it was a few short hours before we were at Haynes – our final port. Jeremy and I drove off the boat, took a few pictures, and hit the road. It was maybe an hour before the boarder, we stopped to put together a trailer hitch and off load some of the cargo we had in the cars – like gas cans. We filled up both cars and the cans – if you get stranded in the middle of nowhere at 30 below zero – your ‘running’ car is your only hope – I’ve seen Ice Road Truckers.

We started up the road a full hour after most of the ferry caravan traffic had gone ahead. We weren’t going to rush – this is a one time trip. We stopped to get pictures of the mountains, the scenery, and my favorite – Bald Eagles. Not one or two – dozens. It was amazing. Then we hit the boarder – where we caught up with the entire ferry caravan.Bald Eagles

Although I’m not exactly sure what the real story is, the rumor was that the woman at the front of the line had a marijuana conviction from when she was 19. We sat there for a few hours – which wouldn’t have been so bad except we lost the only day light we had left.

The Road:

Amazing AlaskaAfter we left the boarder, it was all road all night. There was a bright moon and no city lights, so the landscape was light up pretty well, and it was beautiful! At times it was even overwhelming. Jeremy and I both had two way radios so that we could signal each other when we needed to. There was one point where the view was so large and open with valleys and hills and mountains that I felt very small in comparison – Jeremy called me at that moment and said “how can anyone see this and not believe in God!” I agreed – Creation screams of its Creator.

Jeremy and I stopped at a dinner in Haynes Juncture where most of the ferry caravaners had decided to stay the night. We might have done the same, but despit the fact that it was pitch black outside, it was only 5pm and we both felt like we could push through. We ate at a dinner famous for its burgers, but they were sold out of burgers. It was nice to see familiar faces from the ferry and we enjoyed the company. After dinner, we hit the road and heading on to Tok, AK.

The Lights:

After about an hour or so of driving, we noticed a circle of light around the moon. I later learned this is due to ice crystals in the air that are under 20 microns (I have no idea when, how that happens) but the air was full of them and the moon reflects off them – so we see a perfect circle around the moon. What made this so impressive was that there was another circle of light over our heads and it intersected the circle around the moon and where they touched, they were almost as bright as the moon itself. Then as if this light show wasn’t enough to show off God’s artistic side, I noticed a pale green light rolling through the sky – it was dim, but it was there. We got back in the cars and headed down the road, but quickly pulled back over when that pale green light, popped on like someone flipped a switch. Northern Lights - I did not take this pictureIt was now a bright green light rolling back and forth, stretching itself across the sky as it went, slowly reaching from one side to the other like an animal waking after a long slumber, stretching its arms out as wide as it could. That went on for about thirty minutes, but it was about 30 degrees below zero, so we got back in our cars and headed down the road, catching a glimpse every other turn of the road or so of this majestic light show.

We finally reached Tok at about midnight. We checked into the hotel and plugged in the cars and grabbed some sleep.

07-Alaska Trip

Alaska Trip: Day 4 – Quick Ports, Sinus Infection

The BoatToday we had three port stops – each for very short time frames (less than an hour); just enough time for Jeremy to take Kyleigh for a walk. The first stop was Ketchekin – we grabbed some groceries so we could avoid paying the boat prices for food and we also grabbed breakfast from a local restaurant to go. Grocery StoreThe second stop (Petersburg) had nothing open or within walking distance, the third port (Wrangle) had a small restaurant, which we didn’t have time to eat at but some of our new friends from the boat did risk eating at. After walking with Jeremy and Kyleigh for a while, I decided to stop into the restaurant to talk to John, Jeremy and Hailey – which turned out to almost cost me big! They were waiting to pay the check and when they finished we noticed there weren’t any cars left pulling onto the boat – we had lost track of the time and the boat doesn’t wait for people due to port costs – so we ran to the peer, where we were told that boarding was closed! As it turns out the peer staff does have a sense of humor and was pulling our chains.

On DeckOther than the peer stops, we spent much of the day setting on the observation deck – occasionally stepping out on the deck to grab a few pictures but getting back inside quickly because it was getting very cold. My sinuses started kicking in fierce – I developed a sinus headache that rated an 8 on a 1 to 10 and my nose was completely clogged so I spent most of the day breathing through my mouth – which is miserable.