Down the road…


I can now cross driving the AlCan off my bucket list , since we just completed a trip from Alaska to Portland and back! It was a long haul – about 5,500 miles – but it went pretty smoothly and we saw lots of beautiful scenery. There was a plethora of wildlife along the route as well, including black bears, grizzlies, caribou, bison, elk, porcupines, beaver, mountain goats, deer, fox, ermine, swans, geese, hawks, rabbits and moose.






We didn’t stop at every attraction along the way, but we did hit a few of the fun ones:
The Hell’s Gate Airtram on the Fraser River was closed when we came through, but we did get to see the trams move across the canyon as they did safety checks on the equipment.

We picnicked at the 108 Mile House Heritage site before I wandered the 13 historical buildings from the old 108 Mile Ranch and 105 Mile Roadhouse. The Clydesdale barn was my favorite. I seriously considered digging up some of those amazing white and purple iris, but figured that would be frowned upon by the caretakers.





The world’s longest wooden tress pedestrian bridge and a huge gold pan in Quesnel.


We missed the numerous chainsaw carvings in Chetwynd on the way down due to traveling at night, but enjoyed seeing them as we passed through during daylight hours on the way back.

Milepost 0 of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, which dates back to the 1940’s.

Crossing the Canadian Rockies and hugging the blue-green Muncho Lake were two of the most scenic areas of the whole trip.

We wandered the Signpost Forest in Watson Lake, B.C., where we added our own sign to the over 75,000 already there!






We watched the world largest weathervane, a Douglas-DC 3 move with the breeze in Whitehorse.

Our Lady of the Way Catholic Church was created in 1954 out of a quanset hut previously used by the US Army during construction of the Alaska Highway. Today it’s the most photographed church in the Yukon.

The main reason for the trip was to pick up my 1955 F-100, which we trailered from Virginia to Portland last fall. We also loaded up several family heirloom items of my husband’s while at his mom’s house including a grandfather clock, plane models and a set of china with glassware.


Of course I took the opportunity to shop at retailers we don’t have in Alaska while there, with a pilgrimage to Home Goods, World Market and Marshalls. Posts on the treasures I found at each, along with a few others will be coming soon. Additionally, I enjoyed a session with personal shopper at Macy’s, which I will share in another post.

Because we live in Alaska, our visits with family are few, so making the most of them is important. Before leaving, I made sure to squeeze in some family portraits with the hubs and his mom.




We were certainly the most unique rig on the road, resembling the Clampits on the trip back with the tarpped grandfather clock sticking up in the back and the cab of the 55 packed to the roof.

But even with that, we still had many admirers along the way. Someone would ask about the F-100 every time we stopped, even when it was for road construction and we chuckled watching folks stop what they were doing to watch us go by. One guy stared so hard he fell off the bike he was riding!

All said and done, it was a wonderful experience full of fun memories.

From Sea to Shining Sea

As promised, here’s the photos from our trip across country.  As a photographer at heart, I naturally started snapping while in the air.  The first sights were Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood as my connecting flight took off from Portland, OR.



While in Virginia we were waylaid with the tunnel closures due to terrorist threats and decided to check out the historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Norfolk.  There were several revolutionary war tombstones, some that time has since almost over grown and a cannon ball in the side of the church from a British ship!  Although the church caretaker informed us that the cannon ball actually bounced off the wall when fired and was later inserted into the wall for historical reenactments.  He also said that every so often it falls back out of the wall and they have to plaster it back in!  I love getting the inside scoop on cool stories like that!

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We were also able to tour the inside of the church where we found impressive stained glass windows, and this amazing hand-carved wood organ!



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After leaving VA we drove through West Virginia, where we spotted this rig on the turnpike.  I’m fairly certain they were repos, but the fact that they left the car trunk and truck windows open for the haul was astonishing!


We also spotted this cool double bridge amidst the construction (hence the orange in the margin) during one heck of a rain storm in Charleston.


And somewhere in western West Virginia this rig snuck up on us and flew by.  I barely had time to collect my senses and grab my camera to get a shot.  That eagle statue is actually on a towed trailer which was also decorated.  I’ve searched the internet for info on what spurred this strange creation, but wasn’t able to find anything in particular.


While in Kentucky we spotted this 9/11 tribute ‘window art’ on a car at the gas station we happened to stop at.  I thought it was pretty darn cool.


I snapped this photo somewhere in Kansas after a guy at a rest stop offered $10,000 for the truck.  He claimed he’d been following us for about a half hour scoping the truck out and trying to keep up with us!  Obviously we declined the offer.  There’s much more sentimental value in that hunk of metal than almost any offer could cover.


After that, Kansas was long and flat. Fields, sky and windmills for HUNDREDS of miles!


Along with the occasional batch of sunflowers of course!


I didn’t get any shots of Colorado as we entered, since it was already dark by then, but I did get several shots of the region as we made our way from Denver to Durango.  This is the Colorado I remember.



We stopped for gas in one of many small towns we passed through and I spotted these flags on the hillside.  It screamed small-town America to me, and I loved it!


While at that stop I saw a pretty Australian Shepard sitting on a truck bed, patiently waiting for her owner to return from inside. I went over to take her picture as she sat, but once she saw me come close she immediately wanted attention and a few pats on the head.  I was hooked.  Who wouldn’t be with that face?  I finally got her to back up enough to get this shot just before her owner returned.


In Durango, we stayed with my husband’s aunt on her ranch, which held a wealth of wonderful photo ops around the rustic barn, nearby river and house which dates back to the 1800s!















Inside, the house was a treasure trove of antiques and historical finds, like this 1950’s stove and fiesta ware!


And I nearly swooned at all this green glass!


We spotted this cool old church in the historic section of Durango, but didn’t have time to explore.


We also saw this cool rig, which I’m sure see’s lots of action come winter!


Back on the road, we headed out of Colorado and into Utah.  More fields, sky and miles of very little.


I did enjoy these two Indian statues at a gas station we stopped at.  I’m not sure why they were there, but they were pretty large!

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Quickly the fields gave way to sagebrush.


Which then led to very colorful mountains in unique formations as we approached Moab.






And then on the side of the road was THIS!


We’d discussed going to see the famous arch in Moab, but I knew it would be a several hour detour to do so and not an entirely fun one with our large rig.  So when we spotted this arch literally on the side of the highway I was delighted.  Luckily the hubby let me spend 10-15 minutes snapping a few different angles.


And just to give you a little perspective on size, here’s some hikers that were climbing while we were there.


Just down the road from the arch we spotted this little “Hole in the Rock”.  It looked like an interesting tourist stop, but we were on a mission to cover miles so I just snapped a quick shot as we went by.


Just past Moab we stopped again for gas at a station right next to THIS!  I was literally giddy!


I can’t say what I wouldn’t have given to have a model to use this background!


Just think of the possibilities for themed sessions here!


As I made my way back to the truck I spotted these wig wams.  I’m sure they’re not traditional or authentic, but they were still pretty cool.


And as I shot the sights the mob apparently pulled in…We never did figure out who this group really was, but they sure did look suspicious driving all black Lexus and Audi’s individually.  Only two cars had a passenger, and everyone in the group was a young male – although they did have different state tags and the drivers were different ethnicities.   Whoever they were, they sure got a LOT of attention!


From there it was more desert landscapes.  While they hold a beauty all their own they still aren’t my favorite.  It just can’t compete with the splendor of the changing seasons.


This rock formation and upside down flag were high above what I think was a coal plant in nowhere Utah.  I wondered who had climbed up there to install the flag pole and what their significance was for hanging the flag incorrectly.  Perhaps in protest of the coal?  Maybe on accident?  I’ll never know.


We spotted this train heading into a tunnel below us as we rounded a curve, so the hubby made a pit stop when a large shoulder was available soon after so I could get a better shot.



And I decided to do a close-up of these rail road irons that were sitting where we pulled off.62

Several hundred miles later we entered the Columbia Gorge, where we paused along the river briefly.


I ventured down the little trail there to get this final shot of the dam and locks just up river.


We pulled into Portland a little while later and were then busy with unloading the truck and several appointments for things we can’t get up here in Alaska.  Apparently we were so busy that I didn’t take any more pictures!  So that’s our trip across the country in a nut-shell.  Watch my photography website, Jenna D’ Photography for the portraits I created during sessions for several family members and friends!  There’s going to be some great ones! 🙂

I’mmm Baaccckkk!

Sorry I’ve been MIA recently.  The hubs and I were on a cross-country road trip to pick up my my 1955 F-100 from Virginia!  It’s now in my mother-in-law’s garage in Washington until the spring when we’ll head back down south to pick it up and put it on the ferry to Alaska.  We had originally planned to complete the whole transport in one trip, but the ferry schedule was not feasible, so we had to come up with a plan B.

55 TruckWe definitely got a lot of attention hauling my ’55.  It was pretty common for people to tailgate us, then pass slowly as they checked out the truck and throw us a thumbs up before speeding on down the road.  And just about every time we stopped someone asked what year the truck was or what we were doing with it.  We even had an offer for $10,000 in a mid-west rest stop!  Of course I didn’t accept, since the truck holds more sentimental value of time spent with my dad restoring it from the junk yard mess it was when we first bought it.  My husband really enjoyed throwing people for a loop by pointing out that the truck was mine and not his!

Beyond moving the truck closer to Alaska the trip was a means to visit family and friends across the country.  We spent a few days with my family in Virginia where we watched my nephew play in a few baseball games before heading to Denver to visit our good friends.  We got to town just as the biblical rains paused for a day, before resuming the following day increasing the already swollen rivers.  Luckily, our friends live in Morrison, in the mountains south of Denver so they didn’t have any major damage like Boulder did.


Our last night in Denver we had dinner with my husband’s cousin and her family – who I did a quick portrait session for (watch for a post about that on my Jenna D’ Photography site!)


After Denver, we headed to Durango, CO where we visited my husband’s aunt’s ranch.  I was supposed to do a family session for her daughter’s family but we were unable to coordinate all six kids schedules to allow everyone to participate.  So instead, I did a few pictures of the younger kids as they introduced me to the horses and of the two kitties who call the ranch home.


I also took photos of the needlepoint projects his aunt has done to create a portfolio of her work.  We were only there for about 18 hours, but it was good to visit and meet more of my hubby’s extended family.  From there, we headed to Portland.  We learned that the storms had hit Durango just after we left, washing out the road to the ranch we had been at and causing boulders to crash down the mountainside, knocking my husband’s cousin’s truck off the road!  Everyone was alright, but it sure was a scary few hours!  We spent the last two days of our trip with my mother-in-law just across the river from Portland.  Once the truck was settled in her garage, I got in a little antiquing and shopping before meeting up with an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in over a decade for dinner.  It was fun to catch up and chat about how we had both changed.

Of course I took LOTS of pictures along the way, which I’ll be editing to share in a post later this week.  There’s just too many to sort through tonight.  Now that we’re home and unpacked it’s back to work and a normal routine.  We checked in on the house right after picking up our fur babies from doggie day camp.  Unfortunately, there hasn’t been as much progress as hoped.  The exterior was being painted when we arrived, including the front door – only in the wrong color!  The foreman arrived while we were there so I pointed that out and reminded him that I’d tried to give him the color I wanted before leaving, but he’d said to hold off.  Now that he has the right paint number & name it should be repainted tomorrow.  The roofing material is on-site, but has not been installed yet.  The electrical has been done, although we’re going to need a diagram to figure out what switch goes to what light before moving in!  The local power company still has to run the line to the house to finish the electrical inspection, but the crew should begin insulation on Monday, followed by drywall.  They can’t mud and tape until the electrical inspection is complete, so we’ll see if there is a delay there.  Here’s the latest picture of the progress.


Stay tuned this week for new posts!  I promise I’ll be back to my normal weekly routine now. 🙂