Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back in Washington

Long story short, it was a long 4 day drive south, a little longer than usual, because we made a detour to Jasper or Banff in Alberta Canada. Gas is a killer! Below is a quick map of our route this time (green line). And here are some gas prices we encountered along the way:
Ella was VERY excited to leave, because we told her we were first going to Grandma's house, and then on to Nana & Papa's house. The whole first day Ella said "Where's Grandma's house? I want to go to Grandma's house!" By the end of the 2nd day, she finally began saying "I don't want to go to Grandma's house! Grandma's house too far..."

We traded off drivers to make the trip not feel as long. We all got our turn!

For the first time ever, I believe, we actually saw a
Canadian Mountie (aka COP) on the Alaska highway.
The towns are few and far between, and the traffic is extremely minimal.
With wide open spaces like this (almost the entire way), it is hard to just go the speed limit:

So, now that we're talking about firsts...
Jared got HIS very first speeding ticket ever!
He got caught going 130. YIKES!!
In Kilometers, that is. Hahaha...
Basically he got caught going 80 in a 60.
Seriously...only 60 mph on a long, straight, traffic-less road?!
And for hundreds and hundreds of miles?!!! Pu-lease!
Jared says it's $196 well spent. After all, we've done the trip 12 times now.

We also took the opportunity to stop briefly at Liard Hot Springs, a favorite for most travelers on the Alaska highway. To be honest, when we've passed through in the past, there has typically been a ton of snow. So, we have never spent much time there.
However, Ella enjoyed an impromptu swim session in her underwear:
The wildlife along the highway wasn't bad this year! We didn't stop to see any bears (I spotted one just as we drove by), but we saw some herds of bison and elk.
Look over Ella's shoulder...We were very excited to spot our first sign of "civilization" again. We saw a "normal" housing development in Grand Prairie, just South of Dawson Creek. Believe me, this is not "normal" housing (whatsoever) in Northern Canada or Alaska. Not even close!

And then our camera died, just as we entered Jasper and Banff National Park in Alberta.
GREAT timing. Hahahaa.... It was beautiful! Oh well...
Time to order a new camera.

We're now in Quincy (central Washington) visiting Jared's parents this week. feels SO good to get out of that car!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Saying Goodbye...

Ella enjoyed her last days at "Little Dippers Learning Center" in 2008.
Here is Ella (Snow White) with her friends Iraida and Shae (Dorthy):
Maiya cut her first tooth this past week, and now pulls herself to a standing position on everything she can get her hands on!

Meanwhile, we slaved away at the store.
We got 3/4 of the way through doing a full inventory of our store, when I realized that I hadn't done it correctly in the computer system. We had to start all over (For anyone that's worked retail before...that BITES). It was a long day, and needless to say, we left a day (or two) later than we had originally hoped! We were able to enjoy a few late September "warm" days in the mid-60's! What a treat!

Our store is on the right (with the yellow sign that says "North Star Treasures"):
Taking care of business before locking up the doors for the winter:

After several days, and luckily no tears, we finally got out of town on Wednesday just after noon.
Ella took some photos from the rear seat...

And I took a few photos from the front seat. I love the beauty of this land...
We are now in Watson lake, Yukon for the night. The weather has been fairly clear (by "clear" I mean not SNOWING or RAINING). We still haven't seen blue skies, and are very excited to see the skies clear up in the next few days! Wohooo!!