Sunday, July 29, 2012
ALASKA HIGHWAY TRIP WRAP-UP
Thursday, July 26: Heading home today! Before I dig into unpacking, going through mountains of mail and grocery shopping, a few final notes. Spent a couple days in Grand Forks with our gracious hosts. The "check engine light" went on and Gateway Auto Tech in Grand Forks found a valve in the fuel system had failed due to "plastic fatigue." They had to order the part. We enjoyed a nice walk through the Campbell's neighborhood, and Jim took us to dinner one night with a drive to see the deer after dark and a delicious (is there any other kind?) ice cream stop. He also took us though the grounds of L&M Wind Power who makes the huge blades for wind generators all around the world. Grand Forks has really grown and changed since we were here after the huge flood of the Red River several years ago. The Campbells thank Bill Clinton for funding for a lot of the changes. Headed for Rosemount to pick up Daisy, then spent a couple of days with Jill and Corey. It was a nice visit and we took them out for dinner one night to thank them for taking care of Daisy. Scott and Robin were able to join us too; it's been too long between visits with the Hendricksons. So...a few last thoughts. I loved: the mountains, the valleys, the blue-green galcial lakes, the raging rivers, the hot springs, the small towns and their history, the wildlife, the nuvi! (Even when she was wrong, Ron got upset with her not with me!) I have a new respect for: the hardy pioneers that settled the Northwest, those that continue to survive in a tough environment, the First Nation peoples that have risen from brutal treatment and displacement to demand respect and fair treatment, our VW Passat that got us there and back (over 9000 miles!) without a breakdown, and my tireless and safe driver! Ron loved the long drives with no one else on the road, the fabulous vistas on the ridge roads, discovering new places and people, and being on the road with his buddy (m-m-m-m-m, so sweet!) The Milepost Book 2012 states, "For many people, the Alaska Highway is a great adventure. For others, it is a long drive. but whether you fall into the first group or the second, the vastness of wilderness this pioneer road crosses can't fail to impress you. It is truly a marvelous journey across a great expanse of North America. And if you take time to stop and meet the people and see the sights along the way, it can be the trip of a lifetime!" You know which group we're in! All in all, a fabulous trip up the Alcan. Thanks for joining us! SONG OF THE ALCAN PIONEERS--Unknown Soldier, 1942: They gave us a job and we did it; They said that it couldn't be done. They figured that time would forbid it. They licked us before we'd begun. But there she is--eagles above her, The Road--see, she steams in the snow. She's ours, and oh God, how we love her, But now--marching orders, we go. We started with nothing and won her, We diced for her honor with death. We starved, froze and died there upon her, And damned her with agonized breath. Blood-red rode the sun at her setting, Blood-red ran the snow where we lay-- Cold-white are the graves we're forgetting, Cold-white are our ashes today. We leveled the mountains to find her, We climbed from the pit to the sky, We conquered the forests to bind her, We burrowed where mastodons lie. Smooth, straight and true we have fashioned. Cleans she is, living, aglow. The Road--feel her, vibrant, impassioned-- And now--marching orders--we go. Go from the stardust of June night, Go from the beauty we won. Little lost lakes in the moonlight, Snow-steepled spires in the sun. We lend you The Road--we who made it, And bright may your victories burn. We lend you The Road, we who laid it, Until the day we return.