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Great Alaska Adventure Wrap-Up

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What a Great Ride!


With M back home in the garage, Bob and Lisa rested up a bit from the final days of hard driving, the mail opened, the mountains of laundry started, and a significant dent made in the unpacking, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on the totality of our Great Alaska Adventure.

Let's begin with some stats:
Trip Duration: 78 DaysStart Date: 7/28/17End Date: 10/13/17
Total Miles Driven: 9,179 Starting Mileage: 17,372Ending Mileage: 26,551Ferry Miles: About 800-- where M got to ride.
46 Stops for GasCheapest Premium Gas: Laramie, WY at the start of the trip--$2.599Most Expensive Gas: Whitehorse, YT Canada-- $1.98 Canadian/Litre--  That's $7.50/gallon Canadian, or about $6 US / gallon.Cheapest Gas in Alaska: Palmer at $2.769
Average MPG-- 27-- not bad, considering all those horrid roads in Canada.
We stayed in 27 different placesThe Best: The gorgeous house in Gig Harbor closely followed by the caboose in SequimThe Worst: Definitely the Super 8 in Fort, St. John YT, …

Day 78: Ogden, UT to Conifer CO

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Home Sweet Home!

Today we completed the final leg of our journey, uneventfully-- it being Friday the 13th notwithstanding.

We left Ogden, UT bright and early, and decided on a route of I-80 through Wyoming, then a scenic back roads drive (to avoid Denver traffic) starting near Saratoga Wyoming and hopping back onto I-70 in Dillon, CO for a bit, and then taking the back roads home through Evergreen.

It was a long day, but not without some fun along the way.  We stopped for lunch at the Moose Creek Cafe in Walden, CO-- a place Bob knew well from his travels between power plants.



While I was in the ladies room, Bob apparently decided to catch up with an old friend.


Other than gas for M, and to switch off driving-- Bob took the first and last leg, and I took the middle--lunch was our only stop.  But, we still didn't make it home until dark.  Since our whole day was driving, this video (excuse the 6+ minute length) gives you a feel for the trip from beginning to end.





A couple of things you m…

Day 77: Ontario, OR to Ogden, UT

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Driving, Driving, Driving...
Today was a beautiful day for a drive-- bright, sunny, and not a hint of rain or snow anywhere along our path.  That was a good thing, as we pretty much spent the whole day driving except for short stops to feed ourselves and/or M.

We split the fun work today with Bob taking the first leg, and me taking the second.  We began the day in Ontario, but quickly left Oregon for Idaho-- within the first 10 minutes of driving.  We then learned that the speed limit on I-84 in Idaho is 80 mph-- and Bob and M were pleased.

We did run into quite a bit of construction, but as you can see from the main picture in Idaho (and Utah too) you are forced to slow down to all of 70 mph to protect those construction workers.




You'll have noticed from the video that the drive was pretty boring, with large expanses of open space and mountains in the background. (We love those mountains-- as they mean home!)  

We also noticed that Idaho and Utah look pretty much the same and we stil…

Day 76: Astoria, OR to Ontario, OR

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Cars, Airplanes, and Snow!

As we checked out of our hotel in Astoria, OR this morning we watched our last ship go by.


Then we hit the road, bright and early.  The drive to Ontario was about 500 miles and was supposed to take a bit over 7 hours.  If all had gone as planned, we'd have arrived around 6PM while it was still light and we had plenty of time to grab dinner and relax before our next leg tomorrow.

Not long after we left Astoria, we came across this giant Weyerhauser papermill in Longview, OR.



Here's how the rest of the trip went:





You'll probably have noticed that part of the trip took place in the dark, and part of it included driving through snow.  Clearly the best laid plans can go awry, as ours did-- thanks to mother nature, arbitrary variances in time, and car museums.

As we were driving along we saw an innocent brown sign advertising an airplane & automobile museum.  Sure we thought, we aren't on a tight schedule we can stop for this.  Well, 12 acres of exhi…

Day 75: Astoria Again

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Boats, Boats, and More Boats

Today was a big day for boats, or more accurately ships.  In the morning we watched the Pacific Logger head under the bridge and up the river.


The Pacific Logger flies the Hong Kong flag, was built in 2000, is 580 feet long and has a gross tonnage of 19, 717.  It began it's journey in Japan, and is presumably heading up the Columbia to pick up a load of wood that is headed back to the far East.

How do we know all this?  Bob got that ship traffic schedule from the front desk last night AND this morning, and augmented it with very detailed information from Marine Traffic website.

After the Pacific Logger show was over we headed over to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The museum is largely dedicated to material about the Columbia River Bar, one of the most dangerous passages in the world-- from storms that brought down ships to the Coast Guard Heroes that saved them.





The museum contained a replica of a Coast Guard vessel, and here I am standing on the kid …

Day 74: Around Astoria

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A Column, a Cannery, and a Castle (well a big old house)


We woke to a beautiful day in Astoria, OR today and once again spent the morning looking at the boats go by out our window.  They were still lined up in the harbor, and I guess waiting their turn to head under the bridge and out to sea.

Our first stop today was a local glass studio where we picked up a couple of Christmas ornaments (one in Hokie orange and maroon of course), and a nice drinking glass.  We have stopped at several glass studios on our journey, but this one was definitely the best—the owner and chief artist was right there and we had a nice chat.  The glass shop was in a re-purposed car alignment shop that was just perfect fr glass blowing, since with the garage doors it, the ventilation was excellent. 
Our next stop was the Astoria Column.  This 125 foot tower contains 164 steps—which we dutifully climbed to reach the viewing tower at the top.  



You could see the entire town from the top, as well as the full waterway …