Monday, January 31, 2005

PS Happens everyday but its always picturesque

Slick sunset over the city...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Mother told you to never look into this...

Sunrise 10:22 A.M.
copyright castillo 2005

PS Before the Sunrises, the city doesn't sleep...

Early morning over Anchorage
copyright castillo 2005

Month's end recap

Hard to believe that the first month of 2005 is practically over... Well actually it is over in some timezones, but it's still kicking strong here for a few more hours. It's been an amazing month I will tell you that much. I think there were more miles traveled in this month than ever previously experienced. Started out in the Mad mad city where the grass was green till it snowed and got all pretty... Then onward up to the 'North" to visit some friends and indulge in that grand group of great people known as the Northland Community - I miss you all... And with the blink of an eye that experience was over and it was out to many miles in the car with a whole new world waiting to be experienced. Some where in that mix Aladin flew in on his magical carpet, singing.... Well maybe not, I just thought it was funny I used the phrase "whole new world" in a sentance, I digress... Although exciting I think I can sustain having some low mileage days for a little while. The low down on Alaska thus far is that it is a pretty cool place. Think I am finally getting used to the time change, it being dark when I wake up and gaining five, FIVE minutes of sunlight a day. Pretty crazy... Granted there are myriads of miles more to be explored, but that may have to wait until additional funds arise and the free time fairy comes around. The good news is there is never a shortage of space to explore...

Another thing is I have been out of school for a really long time... Since December 17, 2004... Longest in school break I have sustained, and although last year I may have been all about it, I will say that I am looking forward to getting back in the classroom. I'll bust out the low down on Alaska Pacific University in the next episode... There is still a sustinence squall going on my digestive tract and I wouldn't want to expose a biased view on that account.... Stay tooned, or tuned its your choice.

Today was met with more of the same, but I got down into the gym to stimulate my anaerobic tastebuds and finished off the evening with some climbing... BOMBER facility, after people drop my label of NEU KID I will take some photos down there and post them, so you too can experience (visually) the slickness that is at our disposal. Northland could learn a thing or many from these folks...

Other than that, I think the previous posts should give a good representation of what's been happening. I have tried my hand with the photo posting, hope it doesn't seem confusing... To find photos you may have to do a little searching, just look for a post with a PS in front of the title. Usually they are listed after the regular post for that day. If it's an issue, let me know. As always feel free to drop me a line anytime. Would love to hear from you, what's been going on in your world, your plans, aspirations, and favourite geology feature...

I hope the ground hog doesn't see it's shadow in your neck of the woods, if your into that, and for others I hope it does.. It'd had better come out of hibernation and see it here, cause we need some more winter in this region...

May your feet carry you well on your journey...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

PS BH doing what he does best...

Billy Harris... Showing someone what carving is all about...
copyright castillo 2005

PS EJ the shot WS didn't want you to see...

Much bigger than that T2, bet I can do a few Loops, blunts, donkeyflips...err airscrews and get some bigger points...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Billy Harris 2nd to none in our hearts...

Billy Harris, the man, the myth the compulsive masterpiece...
copyright castillo 2005

I've had the pleasure to cross paths with Billy on many occasions (few on the Ottawa) and he is definitely one of the funnier more humble people you will meet. His passion towards paddling is contagious and when it comes to acting like a kid he ranks with the best of them. Always making faces, yelling stuff about peoples' mothers, and playing pranks, you gotta watch out for this guy in the eddy. Moreso than that Billy is one of the most approachable paddlers on the river, always willing to lend a hand in helping you understand the latest concept. Make no mistake about it this guy is pure phun. And even if that doesn't convince anyone (SARRS members included) he'll always be number one in my heart... CONGRATS BILLY!!!

For more info on Billy Harris check out:

PS Eric Jackson 2005 Freestyle Champ

"I know you've paddled this boat for the past five months... Let me show you how it really works..."
copyright castillo 2005

As I may have mentioned... In a previous life I have had the oppoturnity to paddle with this world class athlete. Humble guy, good sense of humor, and always living life to the fullest. Everyone is going to have their own opinions, and that's fine. But I would like to say from one person to the next EJ is a fun guy... Tremendous paddler, and a heck of a coach. I have learned things from this guy that have increased my enjoyment of the sport ten fold. His enthusiasm is admirable, humble nature appreciated and apperance in videos comical. Congrats on a job well done. Want to know more about this mug?

A rare image of EJ in a competitor boat... save this one kids it'll sell for hundreds on ebay... wait, I must have been dreaming...

PS Blasting ahead of Corner Wave BH

Got Rainex?
copyright castillo 2005

PS 2005 Worlds Complete

Sorry PVH, sometimes you just gotta throw down and giver...
copyright castillo 2005

For those of you who know me... This should come as no surprise... If my padding obesssion is new to you, then bear with me.

A brief sum up... Worlds is an event that puts all the best paddlers from all over the (yep you got it) world to compete and show who's been working hard having fun, and who's just been workin... This year the World competition was held at the 2004 Sydney games whitewter course in Penrith Austraila. Quite a cool location if one might say. A conveyor belt shuttled participants from the bottom to the top of the course and it was a sweet feature... Doesn't get much better than that. Generally team USA fairs well, but this year our neighbors to the north had a damn good prospect. Local Beachburg resident the one and only Billy Harris. Beachburg Ontario is like the mecca of paddling, rather quite close to it. Located ten minutes or less from the Ottawa river it is a loathed place of residents for many boaters... Yet only a handful are lucky enough to call it thier home...

Anyhow the results are in and (delayed drum roll) the new freestyle world champion is... Eric Jackson...
Coming back from ranking 5th in the prelims he smoked the competition and ended up going through multiple head to head rounds against Billy to reign champ. I congratulate Eric Jackson on his win as well as the rest of the other athletes for their dedication and love for kayaking. This part of our paddling continum makes our h2O obbessed sport's world turn...

Results are as follows:
K1 Men:
1st Eric Jackson -USA
2nd Billy Harris -CANADA
3rd Jay Kincaid - USA

K1 Women:
1st Julta Kaiser -GERMANY
2nd Kristen Poddlack - USA
3rd Fiona Jarvie - GREAT BRITAIN

Additional results can be found at

*None of these photos are from Alaska, or worlds, but I dug them out of an archive from a few years back on a more than memorable trip to the Ottawa River... I've had the pleasure to paddle with both Billy and EJ both fantastic folks... Enjoy- Castillo

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Attempting tele turns

Been an amazing week... Lot of figuring stuff out about the town and what have you. Also getting to apprecaite the five minute per day sunlight gain. Intense eh? But I guess that's what it takes, because months from now there will be a bounty of light.

Tried out the whole classical skiing thing the other day. I have to say my regards go out to those of you whom are proficient in such a sport. I was struggling like a salmon hopping up water falls; and I am sure I looked like it at times. I think the issue was the lack of groomed trails, for 92% of the time we headed out on the non-classic groomed trails, which were icy and at times tough as a mug. Maybe its just me, but I felt like there were no edges on those bad boys causing me to slip all over the place. Austin tried to explain it to me, I was like, "kick zone what?" Any time I attempted forward movement gravity ensured its other plans of taking me off the incline and into the woods... Aside from looking like a rough character, I was glad to be outside, and think that I will stick to skate skiing, that makes a little more sense and to those classic folk out there... You have my utmost respect and I will never degrade that aspect of the sport in any way, shape or form every again...

The weekend rolled around and what better way to spend it than learning how to Telemark ski? Now this was a garuantee for me to spend some quality time on the snow... from continual falling... I actually held my own all right, and it was a blast. We braved the mighty HILL TOP resort which was not for the meek of heart. You get 294 feet of VERT slapped in your face and if the steep slopes don't make you miss your move the snowboarders will. Ok, so the real deal, hilltop is quite a beginner hill, nothing too exciting, but it was a good place t learn. Telemark for those unfamiliar with it is the art of freehealing while riding down the mountain side. I have come no where near mastering that art, but look foward to making progress as the months go by. Hopefully it will assist my push to experience the backcountry. Day was slightly cloudy, but off in the distance rising into the heavens was Mount Denali... or McKinley if you're from this area. That was quite impressive and although the snow wasn't bountiful at this here resort, can't complain about the view on the way down.

Nothing too much more exiciting from today. Lotta calories burned, and feeling quite cashed out to say the least... Saw the movie Ray, (about Ray Charles) the other night. Good movie, definitely one i would recommend. I'd tell you more, but you've gotta get out there see/ rent it for yourself. Yeah so... sleep seems like a good thing about now.

May everything be well up in your neck of the woods. If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing...-Zimbabwe Proverb...

It's your world...Capture it.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Braving the Blog...

So I'm no computer whizz and there's a lot you can do with these machines... But it's modern technology, and some of this photo hosting stuff makes no sense... I have begun to add photos to the Blog, however not in the description where you'd expect to see the photo... That apparently would make too much sense, or maybe I just fell for it.

Anyway the Photo Session has begun, and if you are tired of reading all this mumbo jumbo, look for a post with a PS in front of the title... There you will find a photo and less than whitty comment, or description if I get real creative. Might I just say something about the photos... I LOVE photography, and understand I am no Ansel Adams, so don't expect too much from these shots because I shoot to get the shot not the money... Although one of these some $$$ would be nice. The vast majority of these photos were shot out of a car going 100...Kilometers and hour. Also from some of the descriptions of beautiful, mind blowing scenery, I was driving so I didn't take a picture, that's why I listed a description of the mental image I had to take... Meaning (sorry Mom and Dad) I will probably have to do this journey over so I can get all the desired photos... I can dream can't I?

That's the deal... Stay tuned for future updates... Hope the Barometric Pressure is on the incline for yah!

It's your world... Capture it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

All About Alaksa

Been a week, well almost, in America's last frontier...

This should be the birth of a new chapter in the travel log. I wanted to create a new blog, but that entailed creating a new site, name, and what have you; Something that resembled real work. So I'll just continue to add stuff on this here Northwest Travel log, and if the technology makes sense everything will be archived, meaning registered users who paid their fee... Just kidding, wanted to see if you were still paying attention. The archive should allow access to everything that's there. I am going to break out of my routine of sitting here cataloging photos and getting them up on the blogs, or maybe just figure out the photo album deal. At any rate there will be PHOTOS soon. Once I am 100% all sure where they are I'll pass the word along. That should do it for now. Stay tuned for more exciting news and happenings.

Hope all is well in your timezone.
It's your world... Capture it.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

PS an unintended excursion

Its all worth it when you get to the spot, when you get to the spot its all worth it...
copyright castillo 2005

Sitting low in the city one can look to the east and become mezmorized by the bountiful mountains which seem to be only miles away. Snowcovered and inviting Austin and I decided to take a run out to one of the local ski restorts and get our first taste of Alaskan powder...

Seemed like an easy enough task right? Austin was set to try out his new freestyle skis, and I ready to just get out and ride after staying abstinent in the car for the past 8+ days. Pick up the skis at the shop, tell the guy where we're going (you'd think that if there were any issues he would have said so right?) make the journey out of town and into the hills. Twenty minutes later we arrive in the moutains, to look up at an empty resort... That's right EMPTY. Nothing was running, if the wind wasn't blowing so vigorously you could hear a 2x4 drop. The sun is out and we're feeling good about skiing though, as we have been for the past many days... "Well, it doesn't look that high up..." "Yeah, let's hike it." Suited up, strapped the skis to the backpack and started our ascent.

I had my poles out to provide stability and a sense of motion while ascending. It started out all right... Then the learning experience began to unfold. 1. Alpine ski boots are not good for hiking... 2. There's a reason you see people wearing nothing but polypro in those magazines... 3. I am definitely from the midwest. As we were ascending my heart began beating faster and faster, I was sinking into the snow, at times up to my knees, my breathing rapid; I never in my life was convinced so much that I had emphazima. Wow, you really know you're alive though, I'll tell you that much. Somewhere between here and the summit I realized the heavy overcoat had to go... Stopped took that hoss off, packed it away, looked around, view was becoming more scenic and I more determined. Up, up, up, I had to set goals on how many steps to keep pushing toward the summit. I kept kicking tracks into the side of that hill, had to the steepness was not condusive to strap the skis on, so it was the top or nothing, once you reach the top the only place you can go is down right?

Eventually made it to the summit, a vertical incline of 1100 or so feet from the base, after 45 minutes of resting...errr I mean hiking, and resting, resting and hiking. Something like that. Parched. As the continual incline occured I could feel the sun on my face,warmth, hadn't experienced that for a while. Then the summit arrived. Took off the pack, and liberated the Video Camera, basked in the glory of all those small steps to get to the top. Once on the summit the wind was intense, the polypro layer was no longer sufficient and I had to gear back up. We sat aloof the top of the hill for a while enjoying the vastness of our surroundings. The hike alone was worth it. But the fun part was just around the corner, rather down the incline. Clipped into the skis and rode down the only way I knew how... FASTER THAN.... OK actually I rode down quite conservatively, when you hike infinitely more time than you will spend riding down, you'd better make that one of the longest drawn our rides you've ever experienced. I don't think I have ever made so many turns on a descend, trying to savor the flavor whenever possible. Good ride though, steep gradient, wind packed powder, and a trail that deposited you right at the car... Can't complain with that.

Need for water after that was immense, however the majority of my dihydrogenoxide was frozen in my naglene.... BLAST! Eventually broke that up, and quelled my parched pallet. Endorphins ragin like a fiend, I was ready to rock and roll. But I'll have to save that for another day. All in all a good welcome experience from the 49th state!

Be bountiful in your timezone...
It's your world...Capture it.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Alaskan Arrival

So there you go.... Seven intense days right out the window. Finally made it to Anchorage.
We got in Saturday evening, and absorbed the picturesque view of the sun set casting pinks and violets over the mountains east of the city. On first impression, pretty cool place. I will get the updated travel log up very soon, just wanted to tie up the loose ends of folks thinking we were still out and about.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods...
Back to the photo slogan:
"Its your world, capture it"


Saturday, January 22, 2005

PS Less photos, more driving...

Western sky... We travel onward to Anchorage...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Fresh powder, begging to be ridden...

Powdery Magma...
copyright castillo 2005

PS All natural

Objects in mirror are more massive than they appear...
copyright castillo 2005

PS More miles, more mountains...

All mountains, all day...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Headed the right way, turn around for one last glance...

People look east?
copyright castillo 2005

PS Early morning view after a wrong turn

Buenas Dias... Alaska style...
copyright castillo 2005

Swankalicious Saturday

January 22, 2005

Day Eight

Today had all the makings of a superb adventure... Heard the rustling of other guests at all hours of the morning or the lady next-door who was convinced that she needed to set her car alarm every time she went in and out. Didn't think crime was that bad in Tok... Settle on into the lobby for a continental breakfast. Great meal of oatmeal packages and luke-warm water awaited.... MMMM delicious. With the best of Quaker's oats in my food factory we set out to drive the last leg of our journey into
Anchorage. Jump started some man with a Nissan truck sans block heater. Thanks guy who recommended we get one of those.

Headed out on the highway, (not really looking at the map) and headed the opposite way we came in, seemed like the thing to do. After about 40 miles and the hinting of an amazing sunrise I didn't feel like things were right. That and I kept seeing signs that read
Fairbanks; so I turned on the GPS, and sure enough, we were definitely going in the wrong direction. Way to go Castillo! Headed back the other way and as a result got to stop and catch some swank sunrise shots. (Hopefully I will get my head on right with this software and make it happen so you can see what we saw...) Found the right highway and continued SOUTH into Anchorage.

The forecast for was all mountains all day, and it was damn memorable. While driving I tried to shoot some photos with the small digital camera, we'll see how those turn out, after I get set up in a position to deal with those. Truly a gorgeous drive, each mile lending itself to be the picturesque
Alaska portrayed in so many photos and National Geographic articles. The mountains are so majestic, and being able to see a glacier off the side of the road is a moving experience. You feel so small in comparison, but the largeness around you is so right, the way it was before and hopefully will be after us. It entices your mind to wonder how many folks may never get the opportunity to see this majestic land, and what you can do to help preserve it... not mistakenly exploiting it. There's a fine balancing act, one I don't fully know how to explain.

Back to the traveling. As the day and miles wore on, civilization began to evolve all over the place. Roads better maintained, houses appearing, cities sprawling... You come from nothing (figuratively) and are placed in the middle of something huge. I always find the initial adjustment scary. A real shock if you will; my primordial instinct is to run back into the outskirts and away from it all. However that really wasn't an option for me, seeing as I need to continue being a student in a few days.

Made it into the city limits of
Anchorage, and were blessed to be received by friends of a friend back home. Special thanks to CHERYL & GLEN DAILY, for welcoming us into their home and city. All said and done many miles traveled, as of right now I will invite you to participate in the interactive experience of adding all the mileage up for a grand total, first one to email me the correct response will receive.... well I guess you'll just have to find out for yourself. Total miles traveled: 398

May your feet carry you well on your journey...
It's your world... Capture it.

**This has truly been an amazing journey thus far. I would like to thank so many people for encouraging, believing, allowing, and making this happen. I would love more than anything to hear from all of you to know how things are in your neck of the woods. I will do my best to keep in contact over the next many months, but a friendly reminder never hurts, even if its just to say hey... Best wishes again and make the best of what's around!

Friday, January 21, 2005

PS Plenty where this leads us...

Over yonder is the last frontier...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Some to see a bear would pay a fee...

Moments after I entered the visitor center and felt a moist hot air breathing down my neck... I realized we weren't in the Midwest anymore...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Next stop... Customs

Bienvenido a Alaska!!
copyright castillo 2005

PS Eventually

That's a mountain...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Getting out of Canada...

Yukon expect some incline...
copyright castillo 2005

Frigid Friday

January 21, 2005

Day Seven

Departed the
Yukon in the early morn to find that we were a liter low on the oil... Guess that's to be expected when you are logging some mad miles though. Travel went smoothly, and the Alaskan border began to look more and more impressive. No sun today... Passed through the Canadian customs, which was miles from the border, then arrived to meet our fate with agent Murdock.... Everything was going well, giving him the answers he wanted to hear... He gave us guff for having skis on the car... Then he inquired about the body bag strapped to the top (my snowboard)... "Oh, you got a snowboard in there?, who's the snowboarder?" He questioned. "That'd be me sir," my reply. "You carrying any of that other mandatory snowboarder material with you?" "Excuse me?" "You know, any of that green leafy material, or white powdery, material." I had to hold back my laughter, didn't want to make a scene at the border, so I gave as serious answer as I could. "Sorry, boys but I just had to ask, have a good time in Alaska..." With that over we made our way to Tok, Alaska which is quite possibly one of the coldest places ever...

So when in Tok... We arrive at a gas station and ask about the hostel... "uh, that lady moved away..." "Really...?" On to the visitor center to confirm our reality of the hostel only being open in the summer, which mind you is not on the website, guess we should have called. No harm done, Tok is a hotel laden arena so we were able to find a sweet place, with satellite T.V. And up here Satellite is TNT, Lifetime, The Weather Channel, Discovery Channel, and AMC or something to that effect. But we're here to sleep not to watch T.V. right? Right. Braved out into the cold to walk to the ONE restaurant for dinner, which served you a side of sausage with your vegetarian dinner… just kidding. Probably equivalent to 6+ blocks of walking. In that time frost nip had developed and my brain just commanded me to get inside... Twas cold... Damn Cold, but that's to be expected, and confirms for all of you that thought, "oh, heck you're crazy, heading to
Alaska in the winter, that will be so cold..." As of right now, you get the benefit of the doubt, but I have a feeling the Cook Inlet will prevail and the seasonal temp will have the last laugh. Total miles traveled today: 391

May the wind blow at your back and frost not try to nip off your extremities... Make the best of what's around. Learn something new and share it with someone.

Its your world...Capture it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

PS Watson Lake Stopover

Got snow?
copyright castillo 2005

Tremendous Thursday

January 20, 2005

Day Six

Still rollin strong from that swank experience in the
hot springs. Today was a journey into a new and distant land. The Yukon Territory... Passed through a myriad of mountains and they just keep getting better and better. I keep saying I will get photos up, but I am battling my computer a little bit here, so give me some time. Anyhow, while driving through the mountains, you can get into a trance almost... The perspective of the road and massive geological history in front of you can play some wild tricks with your perceptions. One, they always seem closer than they are, and two when you drive toward mountains, they look like they are moving further away from you... Crazy stuff eh? Gives you an immense appreciation for natural history, and how involved things can be. Ended up in Whitehorse YT, and let me tell you that is a cool town. Very in tune with the organic food ideal, and have a damn cool hostel... If you ever pass through the area I definitely recommend Beez Kneez hostel. You won't be disappointed.

However, if you want to find Mexican food up here that may be another story. After a long day on the road, I was ready to spice up my pallet (spelling?) and endulge in a tastee frenzy of food. Upon meeting some Loonie counter, (banker) I beckoned as to where the Mexican resturant, a.k.a. Sam and Andy's was located... Down the block on the right, twas his reply. "Is the food good?" I questioned. "Well, it's Mexican..." the man replied. So what, if its Mexican it doesn't count as food, or its terrible? I let it slide, and for those of you who know me, you understand what an undertaking that was. So we get to the place and it has all the markings of a delicious meal, and by that I mean I knew we were in for a treat when the brought us sliced tomatoes, with seasonings in a plastic cup as salsa... I was hurt, but swallowed my pride and consumed one of the sorriest attempts of the cuisine I've ever experienced. I'll quit while I am ahead to not sound too much like a remorseful rouge. Maybe the mileage has gotten to me...

Wandered back to the Beez Kneez, through the fridgid cold and made it back at the horribly late hour of 6:40 or something like that. This time zone change has got to stop. I don't know when I am supposed to do anything. It's dark as a mug a lug half the time, and the hours just don't match. At any rate sat around, read, wrote, played guitar and fell into a peaceful sleep... Total miles traveled today: 406

May the weather in your area code be favourable to you and those around you.
It's your world... Capture it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

PS Early morning loggin...

Much space we don't have...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Not at the zoo...somewhere in BC

Cravin Caribou?
copyright castillo 2005

Wandering Wednesday

January 19, 2005

Day Five

Departed Fort
Saint John, BC this morning around eight-ish. Not too surprising it was dark, almost with an eerie feel to it. Darkness engulfed each car and only the light from its headlights illuminated the road ahead. Light snow fell on the highway making travel slightly more interesting than the normal. As we passed out of the city we were in desolate country, saw a few trucks flipped over on the side of the road. An awakening to the fact that as docile as things may seem they can change in a heartbeat. Knock on wood we've made it this far sans incident. We drove on. Down the line you could see an amber glow from the tree tops mimicking what appeared to be a forest fire... This time of year? It turned out to be fire at the top of a stack, from some type of refinery; possibly natural gas. Added a certain mystique to the drive, a desolate mystique. As time wore on so did the scenery...

Another big scenery changing day... Definitely climbed up into some mountains with impressive vistas... The only thing was the flipping freezing temperatures encompassing all that was not inside the car, or under a down jacket with monstrous mittens. Passing through the mountains, which mind you had many FEET of snow the trip turned into a danged safari... Felt like I was riding with Jeff Corwin, or those crazy Kratt brothers. It seemed like every time you saw a sign for an animal, it appeared shortly there after. Today was the brought to you by the discovery channel apparently. Got to see some Caribou,
Buffalo, and Moose, as I recollect, in that order too. Definitely cool. Such big animals, they’re quite impressive.

We ended our day at the famed, Laird Hot Springs... Some where way up there in BC. Imagine walking for a quarter mile through the cold, and snow... ok well on packed snow. Arriving at a crystal clear spring that smelled of sulfur... Hop in that spring and enjoy the 100+ degree water... Truly a rejuvenating experience. We enjoyed the springs with our friend "Jim" whom happened to be about three sheets to the wind when we met him in the diner. He absolutely loved the
hot springs though; it was like heaven for him... Which he mentioned on more than one occasion. We talked of life, his family, us, several times actually... I will spare you the details of our conversation; it was interesting to say the least. Hopping out of the springs was another story, once your hair was wet, it was frozen, making the walk back really sweet. I fought the temptation to break the ice from my frozen hair, instead just let it melt back in the lodge...

That's about as exciting as it got today. Long drive, good long dip in the hot spring. Hope everything is swell in your respective time zone. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Total miles traveled today: 391

It’s your world...Capture it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

PS One last shot for the road...

Parting shot from this picturesque overview..
copyright castillo 2005

PS Converging slopes...

Valuptuous Valley?
copyright castillo 2005

PS Straight up slick...

BC is an acronym for Beautiful Country...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Smooth Sky...

Cool cloud formation in BC...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Darn large those mountains are...

Small road shown actual size...
copyright castillo 2005

PS Entering Columbia of the British

Alberta is quite flat until you reach the border and Head into BC...
copyright castillo 2005

Transverse Tuesday

January 18, 2005

Day Four

Today we bid farewell to our gregarious Edmonton. Got up around 7:45 (in the morning) and headed out on the road by 8:30... Much to my surprise it was still dark out. Wild experience, guess as you head north of the 55th parallel you get less daylight. Life went on as normal though, kids walking to school, mothers ensuring their child does not miss the bus. You're body is ready to roll, but its not quite sure what to do with itself as its still dark. We drove out to Alberta (fine province, really it is, but the roads there are so incredibly dirty its unbelievable) into British Columbia... BC, which can stand for many things, Bring Cash, Be Courteous, Buen Communidad... The possibilities are endless really. But I digress. We arrived in Ft. Saint John just after the sun had set, and it was really cold. Don't know the exact temp, but a waitress told us the day before it had been -25 or -30 degrees Celsius, so I didn't need to kick up the math skills to know it was chilly. Scenery is beginning to change, snow becoming more bountiful, valleys more defined and mountains (LARGE ONES) more visible. I'll work on getting some photos going soon. Total miles traveled today: 469

May the weather be pleasant on the square meter of land you stand on...
It's still your world... and you should still capture it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

PS Canada is Clean

Clean highway...Flat land...
copyright castillo 2005

Melancholy Monday

January 17, 2005
Day Three
An exciting day, let me tell you... And by exciting I mean not so much. Woke up in the same sketch -o- matic hotel we retired in. Re-packed some goodies, and hauled into Edmonton Alberta (Canada no doubt) from Lethbridge Alberta (still Canada). Want to talk about flat country? Because I don't. Yes twas pretty flat all the way through Alberta. But the cool thing is you can drive 110... Kilometers and hour, you don't have to know how to spell, adding an extra u in words such as colour, behaviour, favourite, pretty spiffy eh? No one spells center correctly either, you always end up heading into the town centre... Centre, where the heck is that? Maybe I am still worn out from yesterdays drive, but today offered very little visual stimulation. Arrived in Edmonton and checked into the Hostel there. Pretty cool location and seems like an upbeat city, from what I could tell anyway. Not too much happened, must have been on the road for a while (a whopping three days), that a bread bowl with cauliflower and cheese soup in it, seemed like a delicacy... That'll happen though. I hope you all are eating better than us, surrounded by Tim Hortons and Mounties. Ok, so we haven't seen any Mounties yet, but maybe someday soon. Total kilometeres...errr... I mean miles traveled today: 329

Hope all is well in your realm of the world.
May your feet carry you well on your journey...
It's your world...Capture it.

PS Eastern Montana

Not going anywhere for a while?
copyright castillo 2005

PS Now Leaving North Dakota

More Bad Lands for your less
copyright castillo 2005

PS North Dakta Chilly

Entering the Bad Lands... North Dakota Style...
copyright castillo 2005

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Superfluous Sunday

January 16, 2005
Day Two

Woke up nice and early, looked outside and admired the sunshine, too bad it was elusive to the fact that the temperature was -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Next time someone talks about being I may be less sympathetic than any previous life... There are many things on the agenda for today, passing out of this vastly flat state, heading into Montana over the mountains and through the woods to Grandmother's friends house. We passed through the flat lands of Montana and are able to really appreciate the BIG SKY aspect of this state...

As the day wore on it became apparent that we were in the land of real cowboys, long continuously straight roads, hamburger farms, and a hint of
Rockies... At times the land was so incredibly flat, and ranch infested, I wouldn't doubt there being more cattle than people. Eventually mountains started appearing in the distance, FINALLY some SCENERY, other than seeing the BAD LANDS earlier this morning... Might I say they were quite bad... ass that is, really a cool sight to see, very cold, camera stopped working, but I suppose that will happen from time to time.

Weather reports, and travel conditions were updated later in the afternoon, leaving us with a few choices for routes... We could continue west, drive into Whitefish MT, have a place to stay, and continue on the next day, or we could bag the mountain pass and head north towards the border and into
Canada... The choice was made to go for the mountain pass and head for the free meal, and hospitality in Whitefish, where we were informed a pot roast would await our arrival. There are few things one should understand about Montana and the concept of driving through it. First the speed limit is 70 MPH on roads that would generally be 55... Then their whole concept of labeling bends in the road, does not occur until you are reaching the horizon line, or shortly there after. The "recommended speed" on these turns is generally 20+ mph faster than you would want to drive on a good day. However this 'good' day had turned to night, with heavy wind, and snow blowing over the road. The surroundings were white, roads were white, and my knuckles clutching the steering wheel were white. At times I was going 30+ miles less than the recommended speed, wondering how this would affect the future of my mental health.

Eventually we got off one of the twistiest roads I have ever driven, in possibly some of the crappiest conditions ever to arrive at a windy city, if I recollect correctly was called Browning MT. Stepped into the gas station to ask about driving Mariah's pass through
Glacier National Park... "Well, how big is yer vehicle?" "Just don't drive too fast, and you'll be fine," was the response I got... Not something I really wanted to hear after an immensely stressful drive. It became apparent we were going to have to make a decision. To pass or not to pass, what would happen if we tried to brave on into a night mountain pass, or more importantly what about actually having to eat that pot roast? The choice became easy, it was better to not risk our lives or digestive tracts and push more miles and cross the border to Canada...

We arrived somewhere before
midnight, and were the only vehicle heading into the country at that time. Standard questions and seemingly flawless experience... Until they asked us to park the vehicle and step into the building. While driving through we were given a yellow piece of paper noting all the "stuff" we had in the vehicle. Parked the car, and head into the building... Lady at immigration was not happy to be disturbed from her romance novel. "Where's the yellow piece of paper?" "Oh, must've left it in the car," my reply. "I can't help you until I have that," - lady. So I go back to the car, (starting to freak out, because the last thing I want to do is be scattered brained at the border), grab the paper, head back in. Give her my ID and birth certificate. "Where is your boy's money?" -questioned the rogue. "Right here in my wallet," my only response. "I need to see all of it!" demanded Rogue. Austin and I empty out our pockets... "Seventy Six dollars is what you have for 5 days in Canada?" distraughtly retorted Rogue. "Well we have credit cards, check cards too," our reply. "I have no way of verifying the amount of money on that..." she claimed. "F!" I thought to myself, we are going to get held up because there is no way to verify the amount of credit/ money in the account... LAME! Austin cracked out a receipt that satisfied the interrogator's needs and we were off. Not exactly the humbling experience I was expecting. But I guess if you are a sketchy person from the states, the last thing those Canooks want is you trying to make bank from their fellow country men. That being said, I had to keep all my smart comments to myself... What I really wanted to say, when she asked, "You're expecting to make it through Canada on 76 dollars American, 10 Canadian, and 10 pesos?" - Lady... "Well, not if your country has pawn shops..."

Ok, so a little more detail than you bargained for, and in the end not that funny. I'll work on that, to an extent. The next few should be shorter and more to the point, but we've traveled a lot today, and its wearing on me. Total miles traveled today: 733

May the weather be warmer where you are, and people slightly more friendly. Until next time, make the best of what's around.
It's your world... Capture it.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Splendid Saturday

It all begins today...
January 15, 2005

Day One

Just less than -9 degrees fahrenheit sans wind, hopefully we will drive through the cold front. We departed
Ashland Wisconsin around 10:00 A.M. and I drove the first part of the journey for as many hours as I can remember... Actually drove until sun down, which occurred around 4:00 P.M. just crossing the border into Fargo North Dakota. Want to talk about an exciting state? Definitely pretty flat through out that... We kept driving until the hunger within beckoned, quick dinner stop and then continued travel to Dickenson North Dakota. Couldn't say if it were a swell city one way or the other, as we arrived in the dark. Temperature dropped to -26 degrees fahrenheit. Solid traveling day. Total miles traveled: 651
Estimated Arrival in
Anchorage: Friday January 21, 2005

That'll do it for the first report unless I remember anything else. Hope all is well in your neck of woods...
It’s your world...Capture it.

First Day Out

First day is in the bag...
Departed Ashland this morning with a balmy temperature of -9... Good times. Traveled through Minnesota, sorry Kochevar, missed your shortcut, but we kicked it in record time. Made it to North Dakota by Sunset and cruised through the evening to Dickenson, where it is -12, but with the wind -35... Cold no matter how you slice it. Warmer temps are in the forcast and looking forward to heading into Montana and the mountains tomorrow... Best wishes for your neck of the woods...
Its your world... Explore it!