The Wrangells from Lake Louise

The Wrangells  from Lake Louise

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 3

Day 3 Alan and I got up at the crack of dawn stuffed some old pizza in our faces and headed out of Colorado Springs on interstate 25, heading to Nampa Idaho and Grandpa and Grandma. First stop Kaladi Brothers in Denver.
The first thing that I noticed was Denver is a big place when you come from a little town like Anchorage. They had fancy things like stop lights at the on ramps to the interstate, warning signs all over and tow trucks parked in the median. Unfortunately, the next thing I noticed was all the smog in the air; it looked like there was a fire some where in the city, another culture shock for me. Alan being the coffee connoisseur that he is had to stop at his all time favorite coffee shop, Kaladi Brothers. Lucky for him they have one near the University of Colorado; unfortunately, for him there’s not another one for 4000 thousand miles after that. First we went the wrong way so we had to turn around with the U-Haul and the trailer behind us I was glad that Alan was driving, Denver is way too big for me. I was glad to be back on the interstate leaving that city. On the way through Colorado we saw a few deer and coyotes.
We headed north on interstate 25 till we got to Cheyenne, Wyoming then turned west on interstate 80. We remembered the guy at the rental shop saying that he made it 400 miles on a tank of gas so we thought that we could make it to at least 300 miles. That guy must have been going down hill with an empty truck in neutral for 400 miles. We turned on to interstate 80 with half a talk thinking that we could make it to Laramie. We did not think that there would be fifty- mile- per hour winds and steep hills. We watched the gas gage go down quick, we were afraid that we were going to run out of gas. After going through miles and miles of nothing we passed a sign that said Buford population 1, we hoped that one person would be nice a enough to drive us to the gas station. But luckily was saw a station coming up we pulled in running on fumes. The trip meter said that we made it 170 miles on that tank of gas with mileage like that there’s no way we could drive through Canada. I guess the one person in Buford works at the gas station. He was a nice guy, when we told him that we were headed for Alaska he said that he went up there last year and was hoping to drive his bike up there next year. After that we decided that we better stop at a half tank and refill. Through Wyoming we saw lot of antelope and coyotes.
When we got to Utah and turned north on interstate 84. We saw elk and dear all over, they were like rabbits. Those little white tail sure where cute not much bigger than a Sitka Black tail here in Alaska. The elk went nearly as numerous but they where much bigger. The drive through Devil’s slide was gorgeous. The red rocked canyons wall were brilliant in the sunset I wished we could have stayed there to take more pictures.
We crossed over into Idaho and some time after the sunset we made it to interstate 86. Just a short two hours from grandpa’s house in Nampa. About this time I came up on a chain of four tractor trailers towing triples going only about thirty miles per hour. It was scary to watch from behind the middle trailer would start to sway then the end trailer would rock so bad that it looked like it was going to tip. Luckily we were on a four lane rode so I had some time to pass. Unfortunately, that U-Haul, loaded to the brim, towing the soccer mom van was gutless. It went zero to 60 in fifteen minutes if you were pointed down hill. I waited for a long flat stretch then changed lanes. I put the pedal to floor and gave it all it had. Alan looked up from his game and said he would pray then put his head down and got vary quiet. The U-Hall reached 95 MPH the wind noise was so loud that I couldn’t hear the radio and the Karen’s van was swing back and forth like one of those trailers then they faded into darkness in my mirrors and it was safe to slow down. We stopped up the road at Glenn’s Ferry for gas. We took Joe’s credit card inside just as they were closing. Alan handed it to the casher; she asked for his id, he handed it to her. She looked at Joe’s credit card then looked at Alan’s ID. She turned the credit card over then handed Alan’s ID back to him said thank you then rang up the sale. This is a bad thing; first off Alan is not Joe she looked at the ID she should have seen that. The next problem is that Joe did not sign his card when she saw that she should have asked some questions but she did not. No wonder ID theft is so prevalent. When we got closer to Boise, Alan called his wife and asked her to map quest the directions to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house. She did a flawless job and by ten thirty we were sitting at their counter eating warm soup.

Day 2

Day 2 We woke up early the next day. Though we did not go to bed until two AM, the house had such thin walls that the noise woke us up at eight thirty. Kevin was a nice guy he gave us free range of his kitchen to make breakfast. Joe told us that we had to pickup the U-Haul at six. Until then he would go to the storage unit to see all the stuff we had to pack. This was news to me, as I thought that he would have it all ready to go.
We decided in the mean time that we would go to Garden of the Gods. The park was really beautiful with all the rocks sticking up. I wished that we had more time to explore the trails and take photos. Unfortunately, we drove through quickly stopped for some pictures and left.
Alan wanted to go to the storage unit to see how much we had to move. I was relieved to see that it was not as much as we have at my house. I was expecting more stuff. We all agreed that it could go in the seventeen foot van that Joe rented, but it would be tight.
We went from there to the place that Joe rented the U-haul so that we could get an idea of what we had to do later in the day. Luckily the owner had it ready and waiting to go. Joe was not ready though, he thought that he could rent it on his debit card. Unfortunately, the max you can spend on a debit card at one time is only three hundred dollars. So we had to leave and go to the bank so that he could rent it with cash. While we waited for Joe to do the paper work we talked with the people who worked there. We asked them if we could have chains for the tires and spares in case we get a flat, all they said was you get a 1-800 number. We also asked how far the U-Hall could go on one tank of gas as we were going through the Yukon in the winter once again they referred us to the 1-800 number, but he did say that he got 400 miles on a tank. Since Joe is getting financially reimbursed for the move by the military the weight of the van was needed; unloaded. So we had to go to the closest scale and have it weighed. That involved a thirty minute trip each way down the freeway. I guess the closest the total weight is to 9000 lbs the more you get back for the move. Then after we found the scales and filled up the gas tank, off we went to load it.
It was now three O’clock and we were ahead of schedule. It was a good thing because we had to pack the U- Haul like a jigsaw puzzle. Then after we had the U-Haul filled to the max we crammed the rest of the things into his mini-van that we were towing on a car hauler. The whole process took a long time, we had to load the van in the dark, by the time we were through it was after eight thirty, the time the storage unit closed. After we were through loading it we had to go back to the scales to have it re-weighed.
Alan and I were planning to leave early the next morning for Idaho. We thought that the best idea was to order out some pizza then go to bed. By the time the pizza got there and we finished eating it was after eleven O’ clock. We hoped to be on the road by five am the next day, it was like going form one long day to the next.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day 1

Joe called to tell us that he would be back from Iraq by the 15 of February. Alan and I got on the internet and purchased some tickets right away. We called Joe several times to confirm the plans. He told us that he would have the U -Hall full and ready to go when we got there.
Day 1. Alan and I left Anchorage on February 25 bound for Seattle where we were supposed to have a one hour layover. We walked off the plane and went straight to the assigned gate for the next flight. We bought some food, called our wives, then sat for a while and relaxed when we noticed that there was no one else around. We went to the counter and asked, they told us that the gate had changed from N1 to B9 and was delayed from six to eight o’clock. So off we went to find the new gate. We had to go down stairs then take a tram to the far side of the air port. It seemed like we rode on there for a long time. When we got off we still had to walk for a while before we got to the B gates. We still had an hour to sit and wait for our flight. While sitting uncomfortably in the airport chairs I had the chance to ponder what a culture shock it was for me. Being from a small town, I had no idea that there was an airport big enough to need a train to take you to the other side. We had a good flight from there to Denver. After we landed we picked up our luggage then went to find Joe.
We walked outside in front of the luggage pickup and waited. Joe wasn’t there like he said so we called him on the cell phone he said that he was lost and could not find where to pick passengers up at. We asked him which door he was in front of; he said he was in front of 404 that was one level above us. He was afraid that he would have to drive clear around the block in order to come in on the lower level so we thought that we would walk to him. We found the elevator went up a level out the door and there he was! Was it nice to see him after a year or so long. Unfortunately, we still had to drive for a few hours to get to Colorado Springs. So we stopped at Denny’s. Inside the restaurant it looked just like the one in Anchorage we felt like we were on Northern Lights in our own town. After we were through Joe took us to a friend’s house to stay while we were there. He told us that his friend was gone on a job for a while and hadn’t planned to come back, so he had sold all his furnishings. He said that the job didn’t work out so he moved back in and since there was no furnishing we would have to be very quiet. We thought we understood. After were introduced to his friend Kevin we went straight to bed. Alan asked me if I would like to sleep to music. I said, ok. He put on some soft music and turned it down to what I thought was quiet. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door, Kevin said that he could not sleep with that on. We thought he must have amazing hearing. The next morning though we found out what Joe was trying to tell us, as we could here the cat move and each step that was made in the house.

Three men in a Cab

Three Men in a Cab

We were all at my parent’s house for the Christmas party in December when my brother, Joe called from Iraq. He was excited to tell us that he was being released from the military and would be moving back to Alaska by the end of February. Alan, my older brother told him that he would go down to Colorado Springs, where Joe was stationed, to help him drive back. I thought that this sounded like an opportunity with my brothers so I said that I would go too. Over the next couple months my older brother and I made plans to go down to help him.
The plan was that we would go down the last week of February. His friends would help him load a U -Hall before we got there. Alan and I would pick up the U- Hall and drive from Colorado Springs to my Grandparents in Nampa, Idaho. We would wait there while Joe would go to St. Gorge, Utah, reunite with his wife and kids then drive them up to Nampa, Idaho. The next day we would drive from there to Seattle where we would rent a hotel for the night. The next day his wife and kids would fly to Anchorage and Joe was to take his SUV to the ship yard and have it shipped to Anchorage. Then we would start the Road trip to Alaska. Some of the things went as planned, some of them did not, but over all it was a good trip. Here’s how it went.