Thursday, June 30, 2011

A 36-Hour Driving Binge

Because the trailer slowed us down more than expected, Jake & I felt we had to once again push through and sacrifice another night of sleep.  We drove 1,383 miles from Glasgow, MT to Fort Nelson, British Columbia before crashing at the Bluebell Inn to sleep and shower.  It was obvious that we were much farther north due to the midnight sky.

12:30 a.m. in Fort Nelson, British Columbia
Total Trip Miles:  2820
Driving Time:  56 hours and 29 minutes
Maximum Speed:  75.4 mph

Dinner Time in the Canadian Rockies

Jake & I were pumped when we spotted this grizzly eating by the side of the road.  He took notice of us but continued to eat at first.  He then became a bit protective of his food before deciding to take off into the treeline with a morsel. 

I could hear the bones crunching & the flesh tearing while taking this shot.

He didn't want to leave his dinner.

He decided to take his dinner off into the treeline.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crossing the Border

Jake & I didn't know what to expect before we reached border patrol.  We drove for eons on a narrow, desolate road from Glasgow, MT.  The sun was bright, and the air was dry.  The scenery gave us both the feel that we were heading for the Mexican border instead of our intended destination.  We soon noticed that we weren't seeing others coming or going.  We felt very alone and odd.  Our imaginations began to build an anxiety about crossing the border.  

Though we knew we had nothing to hide, we were concerned that they would tear apart our tightly packed food, gear, and supplies.  We were sure that they would have dogs sniff our boat & truck and that we would be questioned and possibly searched.

So, you can imagine our surprise when we got to the border and saw the building that housed the Canadian border patrol officers.

The little white building was the Canadian border station.

We were in and out of there in about 15-20 minutes.  Two officers processed us, and we're sure one was in training.  They wanted to see our passports and guns.  We were both asked why we were going to Canada and what we were doing with the boat.  That was all.  They searched nothing!  I was happy not to repack like I expecting.

A Canadian border officer took our first picture in Canada.

A Conversation after 2,269 Miles of Driving...

Jake:  I think we should sell the truck and boat once we get off the river and buy plane tickets home.

Susan:  (realizing that he's serious) But what about the title?  We don't have that with us; we can't sell the truck to someone without a title.   (after a few moments of silence)  Wait!  I could call Erin or Karis and tell them where it is.  They could get it and mail it to us.  It would be here after we got off the river!

Last Full Day in the States

On June 27, we traveled 437 miles from Gettysburg, SD to Glasgow, MT. Our original route had to be reconfigured due to the flooding in North Dakota.

The highlights of the day include the northwestern part of South Dakota & southwestern part of North Dakota. The grasslands & rolling hills were stunning with the sun casting dark shadows in odd places. We also absorbed & cherished the awesome views of western Montana.

Total Miles:  1437
Max Speed:  75.4 mph

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1/3 of the Way There!

Jake & I pulled out of town yesterday and blazed a trail from our home to Gettysburg, SD.  We completed 1,000 miles of our 3,000+ miles to Whitehorse in the Yukon.  I can promise you all that we won't be traveling that much in one stretch again (at least not on our journey to the Yukon).  We are worn out and recovering in a tiny motel to catch up on the sleep we lost this past week in our preparations & packing and our overnight driving.   It was not our intent to push through the night, but we found that we preferred the empty highways and cooler temperatures.  Highlights of this first stretch would include finally getting out of Indiana, Illinois, & Iowa; spotting two moose in beautiful Minnesota (I can't wait to spend more time there!); and driving through the rolling Grasslands of South Dakota.

Total Driving Distance:  1,000 miles
Moving Time:  19 hrs & 32 min
Average Moving Speed:  50.9 mph
Max speed:  71.6 mph ( least we don't have to worry about tickets)

Charles City, Iowa

4:30 am...and we're in podunk Charles City, Iowa, & the cashier asks where we're from. We say, "Indiana." And he says, "I'm from Indiana." We ask, "What part?" He days, "Pendleton."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

And...we're off!

Almost Ready!

Jake & I have packed the boat & truck and should leave town shortly.  Once we leave and begin tracking our journey, you can follow us if you use this link.

We would like to thank everyone that helped us make this dream a reality.  We wouldn't be doing this without the help of our friends & family.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Expedition Will Take Us to the Yukon!!

A big thanks goes out to Kent’s Automotive Service Team in Noblesville for getting our repairs done in record time.  The next time you need automotive services, contact Kent’s.  We’ve been going there for over a decade and are always happy with the work and prices.  This unexpected, last-minute repair had us wondering if we were going to make it to Canada.  We told Kent’s our goal:  to get the Expedition to the Yukon & back (over 6,000 miles) on our limited budget.  They were honest and told us what must be fixed to be safe and what could wait until after our return.  Thank you, Kent’s!

And here was our biggest culprit: 

All four rear control arms were crumbling apart; this was the worst of the four.  YIKES!

Now that our Expedition is drivable & safe, we plan to leave tomorrow to begin our journey of 3,193 miles to Whitehorse in the Yukon!


Our YRT Boat Finally Has a Name: The Sundowner.

Jake Putting Her Name On

I ended up taking over on this strip of vinyl while Jake started another one.  It was actually fun...a little difficult with the wood grain.

We ended up beating the rain!

p.s. Yes, I know that a previous post has the name Sundowner in the title.  Actually during that maiden voyage, we had a completely different name for our boat.  
So, I later went back and revised that post once Sundowner became official.

Stalk Us on Our Yukon River Trip Adventure

I’ve added a link to the map that will be created by our SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger to the top right column of our blog under the title “Where Are Jake & Susan?”  This will allow anyone to track our journey from Indiana to Whitehorse and then to Dawson City and finally back to Indiana.  If you click on the link before we leave/begin tracking, you’ll get a message that reads “No Messages to Display.”   Once we depart & begin tracking, you can click on the link as often as you’d like to see where we are & where we’ve been.  I suggest using the satellite view over the map view. 

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the truck will be finished today so that we can begin our adventure tomorrow!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Check Out Our Newest Vinyl

Our website is now on the boat--thanks to Kevin & Brian over at NURPU!  

Mary Kay All the Way!

Because I’m a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, so many have chuckled and asked, “So, are you going to take your Mary Kay?”  If you’re guilty of asking this question, you've already heard my response:  “Of course!”  Now, I will say this before too many of you roll your eyes:  I am not prissy.  I am not a girly girl, but I do love my Mary Kay!  Though I’ve been know to go in search of a reason to get all dolled up, I must admit I prefer my Chacos over pumps, jeans over a skirt, and most certainly a fleece over a sweater. 

Out of those that already know all that about me, a few have asked, “What Mary Kay products are you taking?”  Below you’ll see what I’ve packed for my six-week adventure on the Yukon River; notice that most of the products are sun & skin care products.  But yes, you will see some makeup.  Will I wear makeup every day?  Absolutely not!  Will I wear makeup most days?  Probably not.  I just want my bare essentials in case I get the itch to spruce up a bit.  :) 

p.s.  I’m not the only one taking Mary Kay on the trip.  Jake is partial to his MKMen and the Intense Moisturizing Cream.
Skin Care from left to right:  MKMen Shave Foam, MKMen Face Bar, Intense Moisturizing Cream, trial size Fragrance-Free Satin Hands Set, & an extra trial size Extra Emollient Night Cream

Sun Care from left to right:  MK SPF 30 Sunscreen (love it!), MK After-Sun Replenishing Gel (really love it!), MK Lip Protector Sunscreen SPF 15, & MK Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 20 (Beige 1)

Color:  MK Compact Mini with Compact Eye Applicators & Compact Cheek Brush; MK Mineral Eye Color (Honey Spice, Hazelnut, & Espresso), and MK Mineral Cheek Color (Cherry Blossom); MK NouriShine Lip Gloss (Bronze Bliss); MK Mineral Powder Foundation (Beige 1); MK Ultimate Mascara (Black); and not pictured:  MK Mineral Powder Foundation Brush, MK Eyeliner (Deep Brown), MK Cream Eye Color (Iced Cocoa), & MK Eyesicles Eye Color (Vanilla)

Skin Care from left to right:   MK Facial Cleansing Cloths, trial size Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover, TimeWise Trial Miracle Set (3-in-1 Cleanser, Day Solution, Night Solution, & Age-Fighting Moisturizer), trial size TW Microdermabrasion, & TW Firming Eye Cream 

If you ever have any skin care or beauty needs, please contact me; I would be happy to service you.  

Susan Nieten
Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Food Cache: Nieten vs. London

Nieten’s Food Cache:

Its Contents:

4 boxes of pancake mix, 1 bottle of syrup, 2 jars of honey, 2 large boxes of toaster pastries, 3 cans of corned beef hash, 2 large cans of coffee & a plethora of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew coffee single packs, gobs of Yerba Mate tea, 2 boxes of oatmeal, 2 boxes of corn bread mix, 2 cases of Ramen noodles, 4 jars of chicken bouillon cubes, 1 creamy potato soup packet, 3 packets of French onion soup, 25 packages of instant mashed potatoes, 8 packets of brown gravy mix, 3 boxes of thin spaghetti, 6 packets of pesto, 1 bottle of vegetable oil, 5 sticks of pepperoni, 1 summer sausage, 1 hard salami, 15 jars of peanut butter, 5 bags of trail mix, 6 bags of peanuts, and whatever else we might pick up in Whitehorse before hitting the river.  Oh, and let’s hope the fishing is good!

Jack London’s Food Cache:

photo by Iwona Erskine-Kellie

London’s contents included “200 pounds of bacon, 800 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of corn meal, 150 pounds of beans, 75 pounds of sugar, 75 pounds of coffee…”  (Skunkfilms, Inc.).

Okay, so I got to give this one to Jack London; he has us beat in every way. His cache is definitely bear proof, whereas ours will be pretty much bear proof.  But 200 pounds of bacon?  Who can compete with that? Granted, these were his rations for the winter of 1897 that were to help him survive and prosper in the great Klondike Gold Rush.  Though he didn’t strike it rich with gold, his experiences in the Yukon lead him to write many stories that will forever stake a claim in treasured works of American literature.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Sundowner's Maiden Voyage

Though our boat has floated in the pond behind our house a couple of times, we consider today to be our maiden voyage of our Yukon River Trip boat--The Sundowner.  We are with Justin & Alli Shurr from Shurr Adventures (& our Gretel, too!) on Lake Monroe down in Southern Indiana in Hoosier National Forest.

 Justin Holding onto The Sundowner on Lake Monroe in HNF

Gretel Always Likes to Know What Jake Is Doing

 Justin Taking His Turn at Paddling

Alli Paddling on Lake Monroe in Hoosier National Forest


Susan Taking the Oars


Gretel Loves the Water & Loves Being at the Bow of Any Boat


A Beautiful Sunset on Lake Monroe in Hoosier National Forest

The YRT Boat Makes Its Debut on the Interstate!

1st time on the Interstate with the boat: we're heading down to Lake Monroe to see how she does on an overnight trip. The drive to & from Canada may prove to be a bigger adventure than the river itself!!