Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Alcan Highway (Dawson Creek)

*** This a 4 part series on our trip along the Alcan Highway. We took over 1,000 pictures. Hey, my Dad use to work at Kodak. It is all about the Kodak moments. All the observations are mine. Believe me, all the opinions are mine.

quote from the Alaska Highway House exhibit

What so special about the Alcan Highway? It was built in Canada by the United States military and civilians in response to bombing of Pearl Harbor.The Alaska-Canada Highway or Alcan Highway starts at Dawson Creek and officially ends at Fairbanks. It is 1,523 miles. There were 11,000 US troops used in the construction along with thousands of civilians. 133 bridges were constructed and over 8,000 culverts installed.The original highway was built in roughly in 8 months, 12 days. It is considered one of those civil engineering marvels. The conditions to build the road were less than desirable extreme heat and cold, mud, many rivers to cross, lack of equipment, mosquitoes etc.

On the 4th of July we were in Dawson Creek. The information center was serving Hot Dogs and cupcakes for the 4th of July. I thought that was cool. The information center is located in the train station along with a small museum and video on the Alcan Highway. It is definitely worth a stop. We also visited the art gallery. In the hallway at the gallery, there are some awesome pictures of the building of the highway. In addition we stopped at the Alaska Highway House in Dawson Creek and watched a great video on the Alcan Highway. Their exhibit on the construction of the highway is top notch. There were so many reason that the Alcan Highway was hard to build. Parts of the road went through muskeg which is essentially mud so the engineers built corduroy roads. There was an example of this at the Alaska Highway House and Pappy also had a picture of this too. Basically they had to build a wooden road across the mud. Pappy next to the corduroy road exhibit

Below is the terms of employment for civilians:

This is no picnic

Working and living conditions are as difficult as those encountered on any job done in the United States or foreign country. Men hired for this job will be required to live and work under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Temperatures will range from 90 above to 70 below. Men will have to fight swamps, rivers, ice and gnats will not only be annoying but will cause bodily harm. If you are not prepared to work under these conditions do not apply.

(found on the monument located at Fort Nelson, Fort Nelson Heritage Museum)

Throughout our journey we were constantly on the look out for the history of the Alcan history. There are some historic markers still left or re erected during the 25th and 50th anniversary of the highway along with panels describing the history of the Alcan Highway. Without a doubt the Alcan Highway has been improved over time so we actively tried to travel what was left of the old highway by taking detours. The road today is completely paved though maintenance is on-going. We went through several sections that had construction going on.

We especially liked going over Kiskatinaw Bridge. The Kiskatinaw bridge is the a timber bridge that curves nine degrees and is original to the Highway. The only original bridge that still exists. It is just outside Dawson Creek. At the Alaska Highway House, there is a model of the bridge.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Linky love

Haven't done one of these in a long time. It is the middle of summer and I figure you need some amusement.

Catalog Living - funny look at catalogs- the catty comments on catalog pages crack me up.

Educating Alice and the post on Museum books and the Chicago Science Museum intriguing contest/job offer to live within the museum for a month.

Frugal Family Fun - I so want to make these bubble wands that make these huge bubbles

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's post on Incourage on hospitality was very timely and well put.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Real water bed

Thought this was too funny not to share. In honor of a certain someone's birthday , I am hoping this will make you laugh.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back to School with the Crew

It is the middle of Summer for us. The natives are very restless so we took them back to school. Well back to school to play on the playground with the Adventure Van Crew. We were in the lovely town of Bellingham and checked out a school playground. I believe this was North Shore. I thought the various teeter totters were cool. The Princess of Quite A Lot is desperate to learn the Monkey Bars. There were some there that were just the right size(low) She managed to get across 4 or 5 bars. It won't be long before she has mastered the bars. I can tell.
It didn't hurt that we bribed them with donuts and Slurpee's because we are "cool" Moms. Or at the very least we are cool in our own minds.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lollipops and Rainbows

I love the laid backed summer days when your neighbor shows up with a lovely bouquet of Hydrangea's freshly cut from her garden. I think they look like giant purple lollipops.

Or getting to do art with the Princess of Quite A lot. There is something so therapeutic about glitter. Boys don't do glitter.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventure Van Rides Again

Bones, Chuckles, Princess of Quite A Lot
The first trip of the Adventure Van this summer was to Semiahmoo this past week. Going to the beach is a favorite of the adventure crew. Beach and sun and you can't go wrong. You never know what you will find on the beach. We watched a seagull drop a starfish evidently he got away with one of the legs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Subway Star Wars

Another funny improv from Improv Anywhere, it gave me a good laugh. Just had to share because the Star Wars nuts here thought it was hilarious.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old People are Slippery and other tales

bumper sticker on a vehicle at the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum

Any trip with the two man wrecking crew would not be complete without a few adventures or tales. There were so many incredible moments during the trip and just darn wacky moments too. This post is about the wacky in case you were wondering.

At Fort St John, we stayed at Super 8. This Super 8 has a water slide. The Giant Man Child and #1 Son had been going down. I even went down and I am glad there is no photographic proof. Pappy somehow decided that he needed to go down too. I personally didn't think it was a great idea but who I am to tell 89 year old what he can or can not do. The Giant Man Child helped him up the stairs and showed him how to slow down by holding against the sides. They wanted me to catch him. Well he went really fast down the slide and flew by my outstretched hands and landed face down at the lower end of the pool. My first thought was this was going to end badly. He was fine once I helped him up. It just proves that old people are slippery. He decided against a repeat performance. I think we were a little bit relieved about that.

Upon arriving in Prince George, Pappy decided that we should go to Cariboo Restaurant. He was dying to have Cariboo. He was so disappointed to arrive and find that they can't serve wild game. He wanted some Cariboo. Darn it! He picked that restaurant because it had Cariboo in it's name so they must serve Cariboo.

There was the woman in Chetwynd that thought we stole her room It took us over 4o minutes to check in because this lady thought we stole her room with double beds. She didn't believe we had reservations. According to Nonna and the Giant Man Child, the desk clerk handled this well. The lady( I use that term very loosely) was offered another room free with a single bed so she would have 2 rooms. The motel was totally booked due to a refinery turn around. She was traveling with her husband and they evidently wanted to share room and not a bed. She just kept arguing endlessly. She was at the desk 30 minutes later as we were going to to dinner. We seriously thought she might slash our tires.

We decided we must be totally not understandable to the average Canadian. Almost every dinner we ordered at a restaurant arrived wrong. Usually it was Nonna that got the wrong meal. It started to get comical but we never starved. I am living proof of that.

I have to say we wouldn't be able to take our trip if our kids weren't great car travelers. Overall they were outstanding. BUT Chuckles can talk a blue streak especially when he gets tired. We started giving him Tootsie pops to shut him up but apparently he has some special skill that allows him to talk with one of those in his mouth. One time, that I am not proud of, I told him TO SHUT UP! We also told them to shut the sound off on the electronic devices so then Chuckles would proceed to hum the star wars theme song with the game - annoying especially since he was seated behind me. At some point, I preferred the electronic sound.

This trip couldn't be complete without a bathroom tale. In between Ft St John and Fort Nelson there is only one real rest area. I decided about 8 miles outside of Fort Nelson and about 200 miles from the nearest rest area. I couldn't wait another moment. It was an emergency so my hubby graciously (snort) pulled over. I went into the woods and several things crossed my mind: a. ) relief b.) I still know how to do this without ruining my pants c.) I hope I hid myself well enough as I have a loud blue shirt on. I don't think the passing motorists need any shock and awe if you know what I mean d.) I hear rustling in the woods. We had seen bear on a previous day right off the highway e.) I vow to never drink that much Pop again. f.) fat woman running out of the woods.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1,000 Reasons

There were 1,000 reason not to take this trip but one good reason to go - Pappy.

We have been on a 10 day vacation to travel the Alcan Highway in Canada. Pappy helped to build the Alcan Highway during WWII as part of the 341st Engineer Battalion. He operated mostly a DC-8 CAT that cleared the trees out of the way. In honor of Pappy's upcoming 90th birthday, we decided to travel the part he help build- Fort St John to Fort Nelson.

Pappy on a Cat 1942

This multi generation trip was a huge undertaking a 10 day trip with four adults and two children that would take us up through Britsh Columbia, Canada and through the towns of Prince George, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St John, Fort Nelson, Liard Hot Springs and all the way back to Prince George by car. We figured we traveled roughly about 1/3 of the Alcan Highway.

Pappy 2010 beside a CAT that was similar to one he used in 1942 at Fort Nelson Heritage Museum

It was a genuine opportunity to get know history of this time period with someone who had been there. How cool was it for someone to tell us that he was there when a explosion leveled 1 city block minus 1 building in Dawson Creek. A rock rolled right by him. Or that he missed the makeshift boat that sank on Charlie Lake because he was late. I think we all are all thankful for that. Or how he buried his CAT but was able to escape in the nick of time. I learned so much about this time period and my kids really soaked it up too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I am here

Somewhere near Hudson's Hope, BC
I believe NOR KAM is Canadian for " I Got to Pee." Just Kidding! I am back from a 10 day vacation. I am going to bore you with ALL the details/adventures in later posts but I just had to have one Honey Pot Photo. It isn't a funny one but I owe it to you dear readers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Front Door Vignette

I have to say my front door entry way is looking really good this year. However, don't look at the rest of the yard. I was gifted some great plants this year. I also refilled my incredible patio plant stand. See my post from last year and this one too. This also know as a tipsy pot.
I stuck with purple and white flowers. I got my flowers from Van Wingerden Nursery. We affectionately call the nursery Van Winger Dingers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Give a Child


Give a child a screw driver and the task of taking screws at of some boards and you won't see them all day. In fact, they even recruit their friends to help.
Big E with Screw Driver

I have promised a place for a fort behind our hot tub if my kids clean out the area. Well, the first day out of school they made incredible progress. I don't They broke down the old dog pen enclosure fence and cleared all the thistles out. I am pretty sure it involved almost every kid in the neighborhood. So far we haven't made it as far as constructing a fort but we did have our little tent set there for an afternoon. Anyone have any low skill labor intensive jobs for the two man wrecking crew and friends? They work for Popsicles.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting the Pretty Back

Hey I need to get the pretty back real bad if you know what I mean. I grew up in the era of Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. I love Molly Ringwald. She was my favorite actress. of my long long forgotten teen years. I just read her book "Getting the Pretty Back." I really enjoyed it. It made me like Molly Ringwald all over again According to the front cover it is about Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick. I found it a easy read and just overall enjoyable. You feel like Molly is your really good girlfriend. I love her style of writing. I want her to be my best girlfriend. Seriously, I also want to look as good as Molly at 40.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What fifty cents will get you?

Mrs Epi had a wonderful score of these chairs for 50 cents apiece. She was looting aka thrifting at the Restore. The Restore can be a wonderful place to pick up building supplies and other oddities. You never know what you are going to find.
I cleaned them up with ArmourAll and they look pretty good up against my thrifted desk. My son's have been using a rather uncomfortable stool and pulling up a dining chair. It wasn't working.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thrift Adventures

Are you brave enough to wear this leotard? In our many thrift wanderings, Mrs Epi and I were in the vintage section at Value Village and found this lovely rather large leotard. Hey, we need our entertainment. Ms Smarty Pants has been begging me to post this picture. I guessing the previous owner of this leotard was either part Amazon Woman or Xena Warrior Princess. Neither should probably be wearing a leotard.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We be Jamming

We went and picked strawberries at Boxx Berry Farm. It is the end of the strawberry season. This is the first time we picked these. We ended up picking about 15lbs. I had no intention of picking that many. I wanted to pick enough for 1 batch of freezer jam and enough to go over some vanilla ice cream. **Note to self - picking strawberries goes incredibly fast. it was a good thing that most of this was ending up as jam. Children needed a little more instruction in picking not so ripe strawberries. I ended up slicing and flash freezing two cookie sheets full of strawberries. I cut some up for over ice cream that night. I made two batches of Jam. I made 2 batches of Jam gone bad now know as strawberry sauce for ice cream **Note to self -don't multi task while making jam. You can't Mc Gyver jam. IT won't set up. I ended up giving a bowl of strawberries to Mrs Respiratory Therapist and family because I just couldn't cut up another strawberry.***********BIG NOTE TO SELF - don't' do this the day you are packing for a big trip.