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A One-Way Ticket to Alaska (Part 4)

November 2:

Today is the day. We’re heading to the Canadian border!

But we’ve already had a few setbacks…

To bring a pet across the Canadian border, they have to have a health certificate proving they have their vaccines, their age, etc. Well, J.T. was supposed to do that last week and didn’t… The vet hasn’t been able to squeeze us in, so it looks like the puppy is staying. Which is a good thing because there is absolutely no room in the Jeep. Every nook and cranny is filled, and I’m starting to feel a little claustrophobic…

I also left my coat in my sister-in-law’s car, so we had to drive in the opposite direction to go get it. J.T. dropped me off at the store to grab a few things while he went on base to go get it. It’s still soaked from yesterday.

When it was finally time to get on the road, the fog was still so thick that visibility was not great. It looked like something out of a movie.

While driving around, we realized our gas cans weren’t as secure as we hoped, so we stopped at Lowes. We wandered around looking for a basket or a way to rig it better to the spare tire. Then, in the closet organization section, inspiration struck J.T. With a little metal rack, some zip-ties, and our ratchet straps, we locked down our most important resource. He already won’t stop bragging about his genius plan.


We’re about three hours behind schedule… It can only go up from here, right?


On the Road:

Fun fact, when J.T. is nervous, he screams, sings, and does not like anything that could possibly be a distraction. I laugh so loud and uncontrollably.

The fog has been relentless, and we haven’t been able to see the road for most of the drive. I’ve been having to guide J.T.’s right tire because the centerline is covered with snow or ice. We had to drive a couple of miles up next to the edge of a cliff which J.T. was not a fan of. He’s terrified of heights.


It is unbelievably beautiful though.

Brown is replaced with white, blue, and charcoal. Black spruce trees reach toward the heavens only to seem so insignificant compared to the mountainscapes that surround us. Rivers and valleys carved by glaciers are the only things that break up the towers of rock.


It is a balancing act trying to soak up the landscape, but also keeping an eye out for animals, patches of ice, and potholes. My brother didn’t feel comfortable with me driving due to the ice, but there was about forty minutes of clear roads and weather outside of Glennallen for me to get some drive time. Once the roads started to ice over, we pulled over to switch and take a few pictures, of course.


Once the road cleared up again, I drove some more. It’s terrifying, but don’t tell J.T. I said that. As we approached Tok, AK the snow became a constant, masking the mountains. The closer we got, the worse the weather became. Snow flurries rushing toward our windshield were highly disorienting, and the road had become solid white. We had to switch drivers one more time. I couldn’t see past the vortex of snow, and I kept driving on the wrong side of the road.



The sky was dark and we were both fatigued as we pulled into Tok. After a quick stop for gas, we headed over to Fast Eddie’s for dinner, our first real meal of the day. It was nice to stretch our legs and relax into the cushioned booth. My eyes immediately felt heavy as we perused the menu. J.T. was adamant we kept pushing through, but we were another three hours, probably longer because of snow, from the next motel. It was dark and we were both grouchy. After some convincing, we agreed to stay at Young’s Motel.

We inhaled our delicious pizza and headed to our room.


It’s always nerve-wracking walking into a motel for the first time. You never really know what you’re going to see or smell.

I was relieved to walk into the warm and clean room and surprised it didn’t smell like stale cigarette smoke like most motel rooms do.

Did I mention we were in room number 12? My favorite number.


It was 7 pm as we settled in for the night. I made a cup of coffee and tried to finish writing my blog for the day, but my eyelids were too heavy. We talked to our family, and I took a warm shower before crawling into bed. It had been a long day. Far more stressful than either of us were prepared for. I fell asleep to the sound of J.T. watching TV.

He gently nudged me awake sometime later, “Hey, there’s a chance we can see the Northern Lights. Wanna go check?”

So there I was, in nothing but my pajamas and a flannel, looking up at the sky at one in the morning in hopes of seeing something magical.

But the sky was black.

Maybe tomorrow night.

The bottoms of my pjs were damp as I crawled back into bed and drifted to sleep.

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