Another Lovely Day on the Homestead

TGIF!  Let me catch ya’ll up.

Tuesday we had our water delivered.  Just water we hadn’t set up anything else for us to be able to use it.

Wednesday we went back to Kenai and purchased our wood burning stove, water heater, plumbing supplies from Home Depot , vodka, a few odds and ends at Fred Meyers and then Walmart.

Yesterday morning I went and had my hair done at Hair by Holly.  I trust hair stylists again.  She did an amazing job and was not grossed out by the state of my hair.  She happily washed it and trimmed it up.  Then later, Dad and I worked on the water house and getting everything piped correctly to move the water and have pressure.  I cut insulation and attached it to the inside walls of the water house and Dad rigged up the electricity, pressure tank, and pump.

Then, I tripped over a log and busted my butt, err, whole body.  I’m bruised, sore and slightly cut up.  Turns out I’m not in my twenties anymore.  Recovery time will be a week with how my bad knee feels, it got the brunt of the fall.

On the bright side, I got my first hot shower since Saturday.  It was wonderful!

Todays goals are to run the water and electricity into the house.  We would like to be moved into our house by the end of this weekend.

Wish us luck!  I am sick of living in the camper!

Homestead Miracles!

Today we have power and internet!  It’s a miracle!  Tomorrow there will be water!

We are one step closer to moving into the main house.  Tomorrow Dad is going back to Kenai to pick up our wood burning stove, water heater, propane wall heater, and a few odds and ends we forgot to get yesterday.  It’s happening people!

I can’t wait to take a real and free shower I might add tomorrow!  Real showers cost $7.50 for 30 min.  I was able to manage the time although I had to skip shaving just to blow dry my hair.  Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang!  The water people will be here sometime tomorrow and fill our big tank up and Dad’s gonna connect it to the camper temporary.

We should be moving into the house at this point in about four days!  I miss my bed and privacy.  All that I have now is a curtain for privacy, soon it will be a whole floor!  My bedroom has breathtaking views of the mountains, glaciers, and the bay!  I get to wake to that view every morning.  My room has an oversized bench that I can add cushions on it and sit up against one of the large windows and be able to read and enjoy moose crossing the property.

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be able to move here to Alaska.  It’s always been a dream of mine and now it’s a reality.  Follow your dreams everyone if you believe and work hard they will come true!

Bob’s Version: Homestead – Day Three and Four

Homestead-Days Three and Four
Day Three-Got up a little late. Both us still seem to be bus-lagged. Went to McDonalds for coffee and a biscuit before departing for the city of Kenai about 85 miles up Hwy 1. There we found both the largest Walmart I have ever seen and the Largest Home Depot I’ve ever seen. The Walmart is least 2 blocks long and over a block wide. Looking down the main aisle you see people at the other end who look about two feet tall. The place was so large that we spent most of our time just wandering and looking.
Day Four-Still have no WIFI, water or electricity. These people are even more lackadaisical than the lower 48 utility workers. Tomorrow seems to be an Alaskan mantra. Now on the other hand, I have always wanted what I want NOW!!! My middle initial P is not an abbreviation for patience.
Went to the laundromat/personal shower station today. Washing was $11 per load and showering cost us $7.50 each. With the drying at $.25 per 2 minutes we dropped about $45 for washing our clothes and ourselves. RIDICULOUS! This is a great incentive to get the electrical service reconnected to the house. The previous owner, not doubt handicapped by some self induced mental illness, tore the laundry room off the house. In doing so he ripped off the entire electrical panel and where the service entrance wire has gone is a mystery for the ages. In addition, he ripped every piece of 3/4″ sheetrock off the walls. I’d never seen 3/4″ sheetrock in my life. Plus the idiot was up under the house with small jacks trying to level the floors.
One bright spot: I stopped at a garage sale and found about 150′ of 100 amp copper wire for $20. The stuff up here is over $3 per foot. Same sale found enough used triple wall vent to install the gas water on the lower floor where it belongs and two heavy duty roller fishing rods for $10 each. Can’t fish or hunt anyway because you have to be a resident for a year before you can buy a fishing license. Non-resident licenses are hundreds of dollars per person.
Everything in Homer is 25-40% more expensive than in Kenai. Only explanation is that they are extremely greedy and ripping of the tourists or they’re paying a lot of extra freight for the extra 85 miles. I guess that is the reality of life in the Homer lane.

Bob’s Version: Homestead – Day Two

Homestead-Day Two

Having gotten onto our property the last evening, we were up early. Sucked down 12 cups of strong coffee and went to inspect our new home. As we anticipated it was a mess. We paid about the cost of the property sans house. The house was/is a bonus, I think. We have a wonderful view of the bay and the glaciers across the bay.
We spent most of the day running around getting the utilities and other services set.
Can’t seem to get the trailer level. Can’t figure out if it is operator problems or that the darned thing keeps sinking further into the mire. They’ve had a very wet summer this year and the yard, such as it is, it a swamp even though we are over 500 feet above sea level. We’re still ‘bus lagged’ and early to bed seems to be a the norm for now.

Bob’s Version: Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen-Goofed around and slept in. Didn’t start the Homer Run until nearly 11:00. We didn’t realize how slow the traffic would be down the Kenai Peninsula. Covered the 225 miles by 5:00. It was a crawl not a sprint. It kept pizzling down rain until we were about 30 miles from Homer. Suddenly the sky opened up over Homer and the sun broke though. We entered Homer in the brilliance of the beautiful yellow sun.
For those who thought we were crazy for driving a school bus across half of America and then half of Canada, we stopped in front of the Welcome to Homer sign and took pictures.
Most people will take the path of least resistance to avoid doing the hard things. The problem is, if you never do the hard things you aren’t really prepared for real life. You might as well be dead as you are just marking time until they put you six feet under. I’m 73 in a few days and I don’t want to “go quietly into the good night”. It is my plan to go kicking and screaming. If I can coax a 1996 school bus across 4810 miles mountains, potholes and blown tires, all of you can do things that you think are impossible. When I was 25 years old, A business partner and I were trying to arrange telephone lines between five service station for road service. The telephone guy hooked us up after much effort. I was talking with him about the difficulty of the project. His reply was “The difficult we do today the impossible takes just a little longer”. I’ve taken that as a personal mantra and whatever project I take on is automatically classified as difficult not impossible.
Someone asked me why I moved to Alaska and I replied “Because I could”.
Do remember that everyday the Congress is in session you are losing small bits of your God given freedom in the guise of “doing the right thing” or “doing the fair thing’ or some sort of false equity. All men are equal under the law (except if you happen to be a Clinton) but all men are not equal in ability. Ability is in the hands of God. Equality under the law is in the Constitution of the United States of America and that is the only equality that exists in the world.

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Bob’s Version: Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen-Left Beaver Creek at about 7:30 and arrived in Anchorage 13 hours later. The Alaska mountains damned near killed me. I saw a speed limit sign that said 50 mph so I was doing 50 mph when I rounded the corner of the mountain to find myself on a 9% grade. A 9% grade is tantamount to driving off a cliff. The trailer brakes were smoking. Betha the Beast’s brakes were smoking and no matter how hard i jammed down on the brakes she wasn’t stopping and was only barely slowing. I made the 90+ degree turn at the bottom just barely escaping a 200 ft drop through the guardrails and very nearly ending the lives of several people in a small car. I came within inches of going through the guard rail and only a foot or two from hitting those poor people head on. As this was happening, I was pretty sure that this was the end. It is, apparently, true that God does look out for fools and children.
We arrived in Anchorage after thirteen hours of hard driving. The roads were pretty good but dippy until we got to the Tok Cutoff. It made the ALCAN look like a major super highway. The damned road was so bad that I spent most of the time at about 30 mph.
The RV park had no pulll through sites. However, since it was off season they let us park across several sites to accommodate our extreme lengths at no extra charge. The commode problem persists. Thankfully, they had an extremely clean bath house.
When we arrived Summer walked the dogs and met a couple traveling with a camper trailer. They were from Australia. I went over and chatted with them after getting our own trailer connected to the various facilities. Later the husband came over and invited us to dinner. They were about to close up the trailer and put it into storage. This was the ‘clean out the refrigerator’ dinner. They served us broiled salmon and sautéed vegetables, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. It was far more than I could eat and I left a good deal on my plate. Summer and I were very grateful for the dinner. We were both so tired that we’d have probably just opened a can of Campbell’s and called it dinner. It was a nice evening and we retired early.

Bob’s Version: Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen–Left Watson Lake at 7:30 am and arrived Beaver Creek, Yukon at 8:40 pm. Covered 547 miles averaging about 47 miles per hour. Today was a pretty good day. We crossed the Continental Divide and pretty much all day was downhill. The last factory rim failed and shredded a $130 tire. So it wasn’t an all out good day.
Saw glaciers and snow capped peaks along the way. I don’t get to see a whole lot of the scenery unless we’re creeping up some hill. Keeping Berthagreasy side down and from committing suicide by going over some 500 foot cliff is a full time job allowing for few distractions. I did, however, see trees and bushes so bright orange and yellow that they appeared to be on fire.
The roads up to Whitehorse were very good. After Whitehorse they become less good. They aren’t particularly bumpy. They are more like dippy. It appears the Canadians have no concept of level. All road patches are either 1-2 inches above or below the level of the existing road. Result: Dippy or occasionally really dippy. All of the terrible things I’ve heard about the ALCAN are probably related to 10-20 years ago. Today you could bring Grandpa’s behemoth sedan up the ALCAN with little or no trouble.
I have rethought my position on the bus. Had I bought a truck, I’d have been stopping 100 or more times at weigh stations. Losing even more time than we have already. Besides that, I am the only person I know who has ever driven a school bus from Florida to Alaska and it has been an adventure.
Tomorrow we say a fond farewell to the People’s Republic of Canada. Our current camp site is about 20 minutes from the border. Will be truly happy to get back into the US of A. Tomorrow’s stop will be in Anchorage unless something goes totally awry. Its 11:21 or 12:21 or 1:21 on Sunday morning depending upon where you are. Good night.

Bob’s Version: Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen-Left Fort Nelson at 7:30 arrived Watson Lake, Yukon at 6:30. We traveled 318 grueling miles of mostly uphill and more uphill. Eleven hours of adrenaline rushes and abject fear. This took us through the Northern Rocky Mountains. An easy hill would be a 6% grade. We didn’t have any of those. We had four 8% grades over a mile on each and then a 9% grade of almost two miles. On 9% grade Bertha the Beast had, finally, had enough. She was down in granny low and climbing slowly like most grannies do when she just gave out. She stopped about 400 yards short of the summit and would go no further no matter how I whipped her accelerator. I set the park brake, put a chock under the wheels and sent Summer on up to the summit to disconnect the travel trailer and return to pull me the rest of the way up the mountain. Summer returned with Spike (A 4 wheel drive Dodge Ram 3500 Bully Boy dually and black, of course.). Summer backed up to the bus, which was still attached to the 28’ trailer. We put a chain around the bus bumper and her trailer hitch. Spike pulled Bertha the Beast with trailer up the mountain, as if there was no load at all.
During our 11 hour ordeal, we saw one moose, one red fox, several caribou and a whole flock of bison. It was a Canadian safari at 29 miles per hour.

Bob’s Version: Day Twelve

Day Twelve-We filled up the vehicles and then drove a couple miles back to the roundabout so that we could start at MILE 0 of the ALCAN. We left Dawson’s Creek behind and started our trip up the infamous ALCAN. Had been told horror stories about how awful the road was. Well we did 300 miles today and it was no worse that some secondary road in the U.S. There were two hindrances in getting to our primary campsite. One was all the little towns, communities and crossroads where the speed limit dropped to 30 or 40 mph. The other was all the construction. There must have been near twenty sites throughout the day. Again the speed limit was reduced to about 30 and some of them stopped traffic for 20 minutes or more. At one of these we went into the camper and made sandwiches. Finally, at about 3:30 we called it quits and went to our secondary campsite. The primary was still 160 miles up the ALCAN and we’d likely arrive at about Dark:30.
There were some scary moments today. We traversed two 6% grades that went on for over 3 miles and an 8% grade that was only about a mile. On all three the trailer brakes were smoking and on the last I thought I was going to have to get out the fire extinguisher there was so much smoke. I can’t believe that the manufacturer only put brakes on one axle of a 28′ trailer. I paid a good price for the darned thing thinking that I was getting a quality product. Probably, should have walked away when they didn’t have the safety chains installed when I arrived to pick it up. Connie’s maternal grandmother used to say, “A cheap horse is hard to ride”.
1512 miles to our new, ramshackle, “Fun fixer upper” home. These Canadian highway people, apparently, attend the same church as Florida’s hwy people: Our Lady of Constant Construction. Which means that we could be home in 3 days or 5 days depending upon how often we have to sit at a dead stop for 20 minutes or more.
Found out when we arrived in Fort Nelson at the Triple G Hideawy (which you can easily see from the road) that all electrical service to the north is 30 amp instead of 50. Asked why and the reply was that it would cost too much and then she sold me a $45 adapter. I guess selling adaptors is more profitable than serving your customers needs.
A good friend of mine said that I must be a “stubborn man” for taking a school bus to Alaska. To tell the truth I wish I’d bought a 5 ton truck much of the time. However, in spite of regrets and myriad problems both large and small, I am determined to finish what I started.
The commode has unstopped itself again. It’s a mystery without a single clue.
Tonight’s dinner is Roast Chicken, Dressing, French cut green beans and Cranberry sauce. Yum-m-m-m-m
For some pictures go to alaskaorbust.blog

Bob’s Version: Day Eleven

Day Eleven-Cut the day short do some shopping, take some selfies at Mile 0 of the ALCAN highway. Frankly, I don’t see how the ALCAN could be worse than the Canadian roads or for that matter the roads in Missouri, Illinois, N & S Dakota. The saga continues. We had no issues today except the commodes unstops itself and then magically plugs up again. I poured an entire can of Drano down it’s throat. This will either kill the damned thing or unclog what ever is clogged. I’m not a fan of public restrooms. I have assiduously avoided contact with stranger’s bodily fluids for years and this seems a bad time to be exposed to whatever these people have or had.
Bertha the Beast aka School bus has been purring like a kitten all day. Do you know what you find at the top of a Canadian hill? Yep. You guessed it another even bigger hill. Miss Bertha got down to 18 MPH on one of those hills. However, like the beast she is she kept clawing away and got herself over the hump only to find a bigger hump. She climbed them all not with alacrity but with the same determination of the little train that could.
We’re staying at a park that bills itself as Northern Lights RV Park. People seemed nice enough but $3 to wash and $3 to dry seemed a little exorbitant. UNTIL!!! I went into the restroom and found a coin machine for the shower. $1 for 3 minutes. I can barely get the water adjusted and get my hair washed in 3 minutes. I can barely get my hair washed in 3 minutes much less rinsed in 3 minutes, My average shower is closer to 10 minutes. $4 to take a shower? RIDICULOUS!! These are some money grubbing people. Won’t be staying here ever again.
On a lighter note, we had filet mignon and roasted small potatoes for dinner. The four dogs were ecstatic to be freed from the truck, even if it was only to the leash.