Tuesday, July 31, 2012

South Korea, Seoul

I've been in Seoul for the last couple of days. I think this is the largest city I have ever spent any time in. The streets are amazingly clean, but the air has been bothering me quite a bit. It's like a really bad allergy day in NM. It actually burned my throat and eyes a bit at first. I guess I am just not cut out for city life. Though, I guess that's been established for a while now.

Day 1 - Seoul:
The view of Seoul from a tower on hill near the center. 
Jonathan has been in Korea for about five years.
He is one of my inspirations behind this trip, so it's fitting I can start it visiting him here. 
Not sure what a Pocari is, but this seems like a strange thing to sell at the top of hill on a hot summer day. 
The hill we climbed. It turns out there is a tram up it.
Green tea shaved ice with a scoop of green tea ice cream on top.
It was pretty good, though the red bean paste is a bit strange.
I also tried some with made with black tea, but it wasn't as good. 
Sunset in Seoul.
A bit later in the evening. 

Day 2 - Gyeongbokgung Palace:
I wasn't feeling very good and only took a few pictures...
The front court

The Korean museum of air conditioning.

Actually the museum of folk culture and it had some nice exhibits, I just really appreciate AC when I am not feeling well. 

Day 3: Out sick. I spent today resting, catching up on email and writing a blog post... Highlight of the day 17 Mb download and 11 Mb upload speeds in a coffee shop! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

On my way!

I had a two day stop in Seattle Washington on my way out of America. I was originally planning to rent a car and drive over to Wenatchee to visit my aunt there, but car rentals were too expensive and I still had a lot of planning that I needed to do. So, I spent most of wednesday working on planning in a coffee shop and my aunt and cousin came out to visit me for supper. In the end it was probably a good thing cars were expensive. It turns out one really should not wait until the last day before trying to deal with things like changing cellphone service and auto insurance. Oh well it's done. I guess I know for next time?

Mt Rainier flying into SEA-TAC on a nearly clear day.

Couch surfing at the comfort inn... Thank you Droege family. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Some pictures from Yellow Stone. I've decided that after this I will never try to see 4 National parks in 4 days again. There just wasn't time to see enough of any of them. The next time I drive to AK I think I will just stop at one place for a few days and then go back to driving straight through... I don't remember what each of these hot springs is called, but they give a bit of a feel for some what was there. 

Lower falls on the Yellowstone River.

Old Faithful 1.

Old Faithful 2.

Old Faithful 3.


So, I have a few spare minutes of high speed internet in the Seattle airport... 

I didn't take as many pictures driving across Canada this time. I think I may have been starting to burn out on driving. Here are a few highlights.
Ferry crossing of the Yukon River at Dawson City. I'd never driven this route before and it did add a few miles. But, the top of the world highway is a really nice drive and should be included on one side of any round trip drive to Alaska
Canadian water slide - Yes, that's insulation around it. 
The first of a string of five lakes near Jasper.
It's a beautiful hiking area. I am going back to Jasper someday.
The road between Jasper and Banff.
The Canadian Rockies.
The Columbia Ice Field - The Athabaskan side.
Lake Moraine.
Hey, we just drove that!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The other side of hitchhiking

Why pick up hitchhikers? You never know who you might pick up.

A few miles outside of Dawson City we saw a hitchhiker headed south. It took us a few minutes to rearrange the car enough for another person, but Hendrik turned out to be one of the more interesting hitchhikers I've stopped for. He came from France to travel Canada and Alaska for a year. He had just finished stashing food and supplies along the route for a 500+ km hike across the Yukon territory with a couple of friends. Most of their trek will be without any trail at all, cutting through the endless forest, following the route of miners during the Klondike gold rush. My own trip doesn't seem quite as wild now, but it was seven hour conversation on the way to Whitehorse. 

Hendrik and me at a rest area in the Yukon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Signs you've been in AK a while:

You get to Glacier National Park and think "dang it's hot out".

You drive through Montana and think "this really nice place, but it's a bit crowded".

Friday, July 6, 2012

Headed South

I'm headed into Canada via the top of the world highway in the "morning". The plan almost fell apart tonight when I changed the oil in Corrie's car. It seems the guys at the "Great Canadian Oil Change" shop cross threaded the drain plug for the oil pan during the "10 minute oil change" they did on the drive up. It wouldn't hold 15 ft-lbs of torque. A bit below the 29 ft-lbs the manual called for. With some help from my dad and a friend of his who had the right tools we managed to rethread it and install an insert without taking the pan off the car. I guess we'll call it the "four hour oil change". I'm glad we decided to change it a little early and just do it at my dad's house. If we had done in Canada we probably would have left the shop with a loose plug and then left our oil all over some nice Canadian highway... 

It's kind of troubling that those two little thread of Aluminum were all that's been holding the oil plug in the pan since Prince George BC...

The "planned" route back to NM...
We've manage to make a 3600 mile drive a third longer... 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Getting there IS the fun

For a long time my minimum requirements for a drive to be a road trip have been "it must be at least six hours and you must cross state lines". After driving 1800 miles without leaving the state, I may rethink that definition. It was definitely a trip. I don't have the words to describe it. Here are a few captions and 35k words worth of pictures...

The Denali Highway. They need a sign "Warning amazing mountain scenery next 140 miles" right about here.

AK Range next 10 pictures.

This is an awesome place for a road


It wasn't really this dark, but it was an amazing sunset.

Summit Lake sunset

The Alyeska Pipeline

The pipeline is still an amazing feat of engineering 35 years later.

Chena Hot Springs, AK. 100% of the resorts electricity comes from geothermal power.

We had a moose in the campsite. 

20 miles north of Fairbanks the brake caliper started sticking.

Replacing the second brake caliper in a carwash parking lot across from the Napa.
I was cheering up a bit by this point. 

What everyone makes the Dalton Highway sound like (this is a side trail)

What most of the the highway actually does look like
There was even a lot of pavement, which no one ever mentions.
It's really a nice road for all but about 50 miles.

The bridge over the Yukon

Corrie making supper while we wait for a pilot car at midnight.

Camped out in Brooks Range.

We must be getting close.

Melinda at work in the Deadhorse aiport.

In AK road trips sometimes require an airplane...

The Arctic Ocean

The Deadhorse coffee shop.

The edge of "town"

Heading back into the Brooks range

Someone read too much Calvin and Hobbes...