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    New Orleans Bound

    December 10th, 2016

    With just a week left before the Christmas break at work, I am looking forward to getting out with my camera again. I already have the place picked out, New Orleans. I have been through New Orleans many times, but I have never really stayed long. About ten years ago I went to visit the World War II Museum and loved it. It has since grown tremendously and that is the main reason I am going back. I want to see the museum and how it has changed.

    In addition to that, I want to photograph a bit of the city. I only plan to spend two nights there, but I hope to see some of the French Quarter and a few of the major landmarks. Plus I want to go to Cafe Du Monde since I have never been there either.

    I am excited about seeing the city and visiting some of the landmarks. It will be a nice to get out and try to find some nice shots of the city too. I recently found a few shots from Nashville (like the one in this post) I really liked that I took several years ago. I love photos of city skylines and I am going to try and find a spot where I can take one of New Orleans too.

    Finally nice to have something ahead.

    Till next time

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    Possible Summer Trip: Road Tripping Route 66

    December 4th, 2016

    It has been awhile since I last posted. In fact I noticed I never finished writing about my drive down the ALCAN last summer. I still have my notes and photos somewhere, so perhaps that will be a goal for the next few weeks. But what got me back on here today was a documentary I am watching. It is a biking documentary about people riding the Trans-American Trail. Now don’t get the idea that this is what I am planning, because I’m not. But it has me missing the road, and there is one road I really want to drive. That would be Route 66.

    So as I sit here watching these guys and girls ride their bikes across America, it makes me want to get back out there and road trip. I got to see an amazing part of the USA last summer driving from Alaska to Texas, then over to Arizona, and finally to Florida. This summer I want to do something a big shorter than the one that took me 13,000 miles across the US and Canada, and I’ve always dreamed of driving Route 66.

    A few years ago I got on the Route 66 kick when I read Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America’s Main Street by Rick Antonson. It was a great read and really made me want to make the road trip myself. I also watched a few TV shows that documented people taking road trips along the route.

    So here I am thinking and planning. I hope to see if I can do it with the time I have, and to see just how much it will cost me. There are a few things I would love to do along the way as well. First of all, I want to stay in a wigwam. There are a few places along the road where you can, but I think the one I really want to stay at is in New Mexico. Secondly, I want to see some baseball in small towns. There are a few minor league teams along the way and to me that adds to the experience. Other than that I want to eat and stay at as many mom and pop places and drive as much as I can on the old road limiting my time on the interstate.

    So we shall see what happens, but this may be the big summer trip I start planning.

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    Couch to 5k Day One

    August 20th, 2016

    So many times I have started working out to only stop. Something happens and I quit going to the gym or walking or whatever. So who knows how this will turn out, but here goes nothing.

    After talking to some of the people at my graduate school we created a Facebook group for those of us that are wanting to lose weight and get healthy. Someone posted about an app called Couch to 5k. I was intrigued and after doing some research bought it ($1.99).

    It takes you through a nine week process to get you in shape to run a 5k. That has been a goal of mine for a long time, and after having just turned 40 I really want to get healthier. So today was my first run.

    There are three runs each week. Here is what I did for Day 1.

    Day 1 8/20/16:

    The first run consisted of a five minute warm up walk followed by a series of walks and runs. The intervals are one and a half minute walks followed by one minute jogs. Perhaps I needed to do a brisker walk or faster jog. I did everything on a treadmill today at the gym after lifting weights. My walks were at 3.0 and my jogs were at 4.5. I am hoping I will be able to go a big quicker. My ultimate goal is to run a 5k in under 30 minutes.

    Today’s workout wasn’t that bad. The last few minutes of jogging was harder than the first but not impossible, even for me and I am way overweight. I will probably take tomorrow off, but I am not certain of that yet. Today was my second day in a row to work out and I know I need to take days to rest.

    The one thing I have already realized is I need to stretch more before I run. I also probably should stretch afterwards.

    I am not only trying to be able to run a 5k but I am hoping to lose a significant amount of weight. I won’t get into what I weigh and how much I want to lose, but I am going to keep track of it all.

    I will report back later as it goes along. Probably won’t bore you with a daily post, but at the very least one to show how each week progresses.

    Wish me luck.

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    ALCAN Highway Day 5 – to Dawson Creek

    May 28th, 2016

    So my time along the ALCAN Highway has come to a close, but not the end of my journey. I had a great time on the Alaska Highway. I met some incredible people and saw some amazing scenery. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a good road trip.

    My last day on the ALCAN was a short one. I drove quite a long ways on the day before and only had a few short miles from Fort St. John to Dawson Creek and the end of the ALCAN. However, it was not without its beauty. Almost immediately after leaving Fort St. John, which is a city I really like by the way, I was seeing wildlife. To me that was one of the highlights of the drive, the wildlife. I love animals and seeing them in their natural habitat, or as close to it as I can come being on a road in a car, is always something that is fun.

    Once I arrived in Dawson Creek I immediately felt a sadness come over me. I set out to drive the Alaska Highway and when it was over I felt like there should be more even though it was 1,422 miles. Luckily for me there is a lot in front of me still to come.

    Over the coming weeks I will be going through and stopping in places like Banff National Park, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and possibly more. I still have not decided which route to take after leaving Yellowstone. It will depend on how tired I am of driving.

    I started out the journey down the ALCAN in Delta Junction. I actually went out of my way to start there instead of in Tok which is 100 miles or so down the road from mile one. I wanted to look back and say I drove the entire road, and I did.

    One thing I recommend for anyone driving the ALCAN is to stop at both Mile 0 and Mile 1,422 and take your photo at the mile markers. They are both located at visitor’s centers, and make quite the keepsake.

    In the end I went onto Grande Prairie. It wasn’t a long drive on the day, but it got me a little closer to where I was going to stay the next night, and it gave me time to do some homework I needed to do. I’m actually working on my master’s degree and I am taking a class right now that requires weekly readings and posts. So this might be the shortest drive I do on the entire trip.

    ALCAN Highway Road Conditions:

    Like just about every other day on the ALCAN, the roads were quite good. There was a small amount of construction but the roads in Alberta seem to be well taken care of, which is a stark contrast to some of the road in the Yukon. However, the road is much more traveled with the towns dotted along the road unlike the isolated places along parts of the road in the Yukon.

    Day 5 Totals:

    Miles –  129 miles (1,818 total)
    Cups of Coffee –2
    Trips to Tim Horton – 1
    Moose – 1

    Below are a few photos I took today. To see more check out my Flickr Page.


    At Mile 1,422 of the ALCAN Highway


    Mile 0 of ALCAN Highway


    Mile 0 Marker ALCAN Highway


    Mile 0 Selfie ALCAN Highway

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    Review: Wanderer’s Inn – Haines Junction, Yukon

    May 26th, 2016

    I wanted to take a moment to talk about one of the places I have stayed so far on my trip from Alaska to Texas along the ALCAN Highway. My first night in Canada after leaving Delta Junction, I stopped off in Haines Junction. I had found a few places through the Milepost (which I can’t recommend enough for those traveling down the ALCAN).

    The one I went with was the Wanderer’s Inn. It was the first hostel I had stayed in and I was looking forward to the experience. Well I am here to tell you it did not disappoint. I loved it. The hosts were fantastic. They showed up quick to check me in (they live 2 minutes away). The place was clean and comfortable.

    Upstairs there is a room with bunk beds and a private room for families. There was also a common area where you could just hang out and relax. Outside they had what they called a wall tent, and this is where I stayed. It was comfortable, quiet, and the hosts set up a heater for me which made the tent comfortable. There were four beds in the tent but I was the only one staying that night.

    The views from the porch are amazing as you stare directly at the mountains. There is also a fire pit area, and the hosts came back that night after dinner to make a fire. We sat around for awhile just chatting and enjoying the fire. They were really helpful. They gave me ideas on where to stop, stay, and even where it would be cheaper to fill up with gas.

    I could not recommend this place more. Plus it is walking distance to a good restaurant, Frosty’s. If you are going to be near Haines Junction and need a place to stay, I say head to the Wanderer’s Inn. It was a good value and a comfortable place to stay.

    You can check out photos, prices, and much more info here at

    Image courtesy Wanderer’s Inn

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    ALCAN Highway Day 4 – to Fort St. John

    May 26th, 2016

    Day 4 of driving the Alaska Highway, or the ALCAN, finally brought me some of the wildlife I had been wanting to see. I left Watson Lake early in the day with the goal of making it all the way to Fort St. John if I was up to it. Almost immediately, at least within 10 minutes of starting, I was seeing wildlife. Apparently there are herds of buffalo in the area because I was seeing them all along the highway. All told I saw seven on the day, but that wasn’t all.

    I saw all sorts of animals today. At one point I saw a black bear, saw three on the day, two buffalo, a fox, and a lot of different birds that I don’t know what they were within a 15 minute span. This was one thing I had been , to see since leaving the village, but had little luck partly due to the rainy weather I think.

    The weather cooperated for most of the drive. There were times with some rain off and on, but most of the day was a beautiful drive. Coming through the mountain passes I saw what appeared to be rather fresh snow in the trees at one point. My car told me it was 34 degrees outside and it was drizzling at the time, but there was fresh snow in the trees which made for a pretty drive even in the rain.

    ALCAN Highway Road Conditions:

    The road for the most part between Watson Lake and Fort St. John is good road. There are, like most areas here, portions where there is construction and thus it is not paved. But those sections are not long or common. Again any dip or problem in the road is generally well marked. I had no issues at all.

    Day 4 Totals:

    Miles – 555 miles (1,688 total)
    Cups of Coffee – 1
    Trips to Tim Horton – 1
    Buffalo – 7
    Bears – 3
    Fox – 1
    I also saw an Elk but it appared to be dead on the side of the road near a curve. I imagine it was hit by a car.
    Times stopped to take a photo – Only a few today

    Below are a few photos I took today. To see more check out my Flickr Page.

    Drive to Fort St. John

    Drive to Fort St. John

    Buffalo on the ALCAN Highway

    Buffalo on the ALCAN Highway

    Black Bear on the ALCAN Highway

    Black Bear on the ALCAN Highway

    Muncho Lake on the ALCAN Highway

    Muncho Lake on the ALCAN Highway

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    ALCAN Highway Day 3 – to Watson Lake

    May 24th, 2016

    Day 3 of my drive from Alaska to Texas took me further down the ALCAN Highway. Today I went from Haines Junction to Watson Lake. It was a rather uneventful day, which I will mark down as a plus when traveling this far.

    I loved Haines Junction. It was simply gorgeous. Overall the Yukon in particular has been amazing. I have only touched the surface of British Columbia, then I was quickly back into the Yukon stopping at Watson Lake.

    The drive down to Teslin Lake was gorgeous. The lake itself was also quite amazing. The ALCAN follows the lake for a few miles along the northern side of the lake in the Yukon. I stopped at one overlook/rest area to take some photos. Here is the panoramic I made.

    Teslin Lake Panorama Day 3

    For the most part the drive was pleasant. Around the last two hours there were spots of rain, but nothing heavy. However, the last hour or so of the drive into Watson Lake was fairly bland.  Despite quite a few areas where I saw moose or elk warning signs, I did not see any animals today.

    ALCAN Highway Road Conditions:

    For the most part the drive from Haines Junction to Watson Lake is on good road. There were some stretches, only one more than a few miles, that were gravel. However, the roads are very well marked. Anytime there is a rough patch it is clearly marked with a sign before and orange flags at the spot. The speed limit for most of the road is 100 kph (62 mph). It will slow down to 70 kph (43 mph) or 50 kph (31 mph) when you enter a small town along the way.

    Day 3 Totals:

    Miles – 367 miles (1,133 total)
    Cups of Coffee – 2
    Bathroom stops – 2
    Moose – 0
    Bears – 0
    Caribou – 0
    Times stopped to take a photo – Only a few today

    Below are a few photos I took today. To see more check out my Flickr Page.

    Alaska to Texas Day 3-14

    Teslin Lake, Yukon Territory

    Alaska to Texas Day 3-3

    The Road to Watson Lake

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    ALCAN Highway Day 2 – to Haines Junction

    May 24th, 2016

    So I had my first day on the actual ALCAN Highway yesterday. For the most part it was an uneventful day. The weather for most of the day was terrible. It was gloomy and rainy most of the day, so there was little to see for most of the day.

    However, about the time I got to Destruction Bay, or maybe a little before, it cleared up and I got to see the beauty of the Yukon. Once I came across Kluane Lake I was blown away. It is a huge lake, and come to find out the largest in completely in the Yukon.

    The lake provides some spectacular views. When I was riding by there were low hanging clouds surrounding the lake and the mountains. It was amazing and a much needed break from the rainy, gloomy day I had before.  You can see a few of my photos of the lake below, but as always they simply don’t do it justice.

    Kluane Lake Panorama Day 2

    Kluane Lake

    Haines Junction:

    I stopped in Haines Junction for the night after traveling about 400 miles. I was ready to stop and found a nice little hostel off the highway. I had found it through the Milepost, which has been such a valuable resource. I loved this place. The hosts were fantastic, fun, informative, and extremely welcoming. It is called the Wanderer’s Inn and I will do a further write up on it when I have time, but I highly recommend it.

    The small town is situated in an amazing place. There are some great little eateries. I recommend Frosty’s for lunch or dinner and the Village Bakery for breakfast. I am actually sitting at the Bakery enjoying breakfast before leaving town. They have a wide assortment of baked goods. The coffee is really good, and from the looks of it they have some great sandwiches for lunch/dinner. You can check out more information on it here.

    ALCAN Highway Road Conditions:

    Once I crossed the border into Canada there was a distinguishable difference in road quality. The Canadian side for most of the way from the border to Destruction Bay was terrible. Many parts of it were gravel making travel quite slow. However, once I got to Kluane Lake the roads cleared up and it was an easy beautiful drive into Haines Junction.

    Day 2 Totals:

    Miles – 400 miles (766 total)
    Cups of Coffee – 3
    Bathroom stops – 2
    Moose – 0
    Bears – 0
    Caribou – 0
    Times stopped to take a photo – Lost Count

    Below are a few photos I took today. To see more check out my Flickr Page.

    Alaska to Texas Day 2-10

    Kluane Lake

    Alaska to Texas Day 2-1

    The road to Haines Junction

    Alaska to Texas Day 2-2

    Kluane Lake

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    ALCAN Highway Day 1 – to Delta Junction

    May 22nd, 2016

    I haven’t written anything in awhile, but I plan to change that with my trip down the ALCAN Highway. I will go back and write about my experiences in the village in Alaska, but right now I want to tell you about my long road trip home. I’m driving from Anchorage to Texas and doing the entire Alaska-Canadaian Highway (ALCAN). Today was my trip from Anchorage to the start of the ALCAN in Delta Junction.

    Alaska to Texas ALCAN Highway Day 1:

    The day started off well enough. The rain had passed through town and the early drive was simply amazing. Blue skies, bright white clouds, and contrasting mountains and streams were all along the way. I really liked the Glenn Highway. It was stunning. Along the highway I saw two moose. The first one scared the bejeezus out of me. A huge moose just came sauntering across the highway in front of me. I didn’t come close to hitting it, but it made me slow down and definitely woke me up.

    My plan was to drive to Glennallen and then to take a short detour over the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. There was a park entrance and visitor center just a few miles from where I had to turn to go to Delta Junction. It was a great idea, if I do say so myself.

    I got to the visitor center, looked around, got my passport stamps (I’m hooked and will talk about this in another post), and started to head out back to my car. I was headed to get my camera to go on the short walk around the visitor center when a couple was trying to tell me about a moose on the other side of a building. I crept up slowly and peeked around the corner only to see him peeking back at me.

    It was amazing. In a few short minutes we had half dozen visitors and three park rangers watching the moose. One of the park rangers felt it was the same one he saw the day before near the rangers housing. They thought it was hanging around where people were because it was about to give birth and this way it would stay far enough away from predators. It was huge!

    They are fascinating animals. I got to see three today, and even though the last one was in the woods I got a few decent photos.

    I’d love to go back to Wrangell St. Elias one day. There is a ghost town and village inside the park where the old Kennecott Copper Mine was years ago. I didn’t have enough time today though since it is a four hour drive to the mine from the visitors center. I have a feeling I will be back to Alaska one day though.

    Other than moose, I got to see the Matanuska Glacier on the side of the Glenn Highway. I didn’t even realize there was one on the highway but glad I got to see it. So far just getting to the ALCAN Highway has been quite an experience.

    I’m spending the night at the Hillcrest Bed & Breakfast here in Delta Junction. So far so good. I will review it later on after the stay.

    Road Conditions:

    For the most part the roads were in great shape. Occasionally I would come across a short piece of the road that was marked as rough, and each time it would be. By rough it was humps and bumps that make going the speed limit feel like you are riding a roller coaster. Other than that there were short stretches, usually 50 feet or less, of gravel. Each were marked ahead of time allowing me time to slow down. Overall I was really pleased with the road conditions. From everything I’ve read tomorrow will be where I see the worst part of the highway. We shall see.

    Day 1 Totals:

    Miles – 366 miles
    Cups of Coffee – 1
    Bathroom stops – 2
    Moose – 3
    Bears – 0
    Caribou – 0
    Times stopped to take a photo – Lost Count

    Below are a few photos I took today. To see more check out my Flickr Page.

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    Six Weeks in Alaska, So Far So Good

    September 21st, 2015

    I have been in Alaska for about 6 weeks now, and so far things are going pretty well. For the most part I have been extremely overwhelmed with the amount of prep I have. I have six different classes to prepare for each day. The planning time that takes is crazy long. I am still working on a system that works well for me and the students. It is just going to take time, but I am enjoying the job.

    I enjoy the job because of two things. First of all, the students are, for the most part, pretty awesome. Kids will be kids and they are no different here than anywhere else. There are some that just don’t really want to be at school and that is understandable. But mostly the kids are amazing. They make my day interesting. No two are ever the same. The second part that makes my job fun is what I teach. I taught ESL for three years in South Korea, and while that was fun, ESL was not my favorite thing. However, I love history. I get to teach some great stuff every day and I love it.

    It makes a huge difference when you do something you love. I can’t imagine teaching another subject and liking it near as much as I do history. Not only do I get to teach something I love, but I’m learning all the time.

    I hope to start writing more in order to give me an excuse to get out and use my camera more. I have a few posts in the works and hope to some day soon get out on the river.

    Till next time,