Alaska to New York: Day 2 – June 2018

We woke up and crossed the border into Canada early with excitement and an anticipation of difficulties when entering another country. This could not be further from the truth. The Canadian boarder guards were polite, efficient and encouraging towards the road ahead. We crossed at Port Alcan and took the southern route down into the Yukon.

I have heard many horror stories of vehicles being torn through and inspected with a fine tooth comb for hours on end. Fortunately we were passed through with ease and here’s how we did it.

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First; we do not have a new fancy set up with a shiny new travel trailer and matching truck. Our Dutchman is a 92 that looks like it has been well traveled, and this is why I expected bit of boarder hassle. It’s hard to tell from the picture but the whole truck has been keyed front to back. I’m thinking the previous owner did something they should not have. Our truck was purchased at a deal because of the negative aesthetics of having a not so pretty paint job, but she runs great and gets super gas mileage which is more important to us on this venture than keeping up with the Joneses. Even though the outside of our setup was less than desired our inside was clean, remodeled and very homey. We made it obvious that we live (happily) in our trailer and not just piled in and dwelling an escapees lifestyle, running from the law or past poor choices. What I mean, is in this day and age, profiling is an issue so we beat the stereotypes by being neat and organized. Although not so much in the below photo of the doggos enjoying their home.

Second; we are young, so again we beat the preconceived stigmas of how people see millennials by having our paperwork in order and being responsible. Our registration, passports and licenses are all current. We are traveling with pets and their paperwork was also up to date. Canada requires current travel licenses, vaccinations and rabies papers for pets and we made sure this was all up to their standards as well. The boarder guards were astonished and thrown back by the fact that we are Alaskans and we weren’t traveling with firearms, so that made the crossing easygoing also.

Cut and split wood is a definite no-no crossing into Canada. They will make you ditch all of it.

After crossing the Dawson Range we ended our second day in Teslin, mile 804 on the alcan. We camped by Morley Bay on Teslin Lake which seemed to go on for infinity in each direction. Tomorrow we conqure the Cassiar Mountains.

I will get into the nature and wildlife in a separate dedicated post. This one was mainly about addressing the boarder.

I welcome any comments, questions and criticism as I am new to blogging and want to provide the best I can for any readers. And as always photos by me and Hillary Brown except the Canadian pic at the top. I took that from the interwebs because in my excitement crossing the border I forgot to snap one.

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Alaska to New York : Day 1 – late June 2018

The day finally came in late June. I packed up, geared up and headed south leaving Fairbanks Ak in my rear view mirror.

My name is Curt and my spouse is Hillary and along with our two canine kids; Rok and Rory, we have hit the open road with the idea that we would travel to New York and then see where life can take us.

The weather was beautiful for a change in interior Ak when we left and this was a good sign as the last few years had been mostly rain and foul, unexpected weather. The rain and a current shift in economic hardships have prompted Hillary and me to leave Ak and seek better career prospects elsewhere. Being born and raised in Ak, leaving was not a decision we came to lightly. But it is not easy for a couple of young artists to make a living here. We also fancy ourselves as travelers in contrast to vacationers, so making the big move south seemed fun and life-affirming.

We pass the pipeline crossing the Nenana River in Delta mid day and reach the Ak – Canada border by evening where we camp for the night ready to leave our home state tomorrow. I prepare by trying unsuccessfully to kill the remainder of my weed before boarder crossing. Ak is green legal but Canada at this point is still frowning on the canabis so I abide by the law and leave my half smoke bag at a truck stop for some very lucky commuter.

Photos by Hillary Brown and myself.

Mother Earth hates me…and She should.

Materialistic self loathing

Me working on other people’s stuff

This has been chilling in my Drafts tab for a while now and needs to be let out in order for me to proceed. This is just a bit of my cynicism that I have recently let go of and killed, (with malice) like a deranged, addicted monkey off my back.

I have sold my soul for the aesthetics, long ago, I do not now remember when. I wake up every day and give away my humanity to an employer that cares only for their bottom line. These days the bottom line is most often made and taken from the backs, blood, sweat and tears of those that make the bottom line even possible. Maybe this is as things have always been.

Us, me, you, we, them.

I need off this consumer ride like I need air to breath. The fight to five’o clock is kicken my ass and turning me into a Paper-Man. All so I can save enough scratch to go buy more stuff, while maybe paying bills just so I can have a box to sit in and think of all the cool new shit I should go buy, which ¬†will then make me just barely happy enough to repeat this cycle till I die.

my box with stuff watching a box sell me more stuff

Having traveled briefly when I was younger, and again when I was a little older but younger than I feel now. I was amazed to find that the majority of people globally do not identify themselves as their jobs like we Americans tend to do. I am not my low paying over-worked position. I am so much more. I am what I could be.

Mrs Checkout selling stuff

You are not So-and-So the barista, or Such-and-Such the machanic. Unless you want to be. You are the gravity-well of influence you affect on those people and things around you. This can be good and bad, but always subjective to the scope of reasoning we are capable of understanding at any given moment, in any given place. We strive for the good, but ultimatly most like myself fall victime to the short lived desires of those given moments and places.

My give-a-fuck list is changing. I will be who I think I can be, not who others precieve me to be. And I am beging to love me again. Rememeber when you where a child and the thought of not loving yourself never entered your mind. I covet that feeling now. Because the things I carry, are of my choosing and I am starting to choose with more wisdom. Middle-age had to have some benifites besides cheaper auto insurance, right?

A study of my place among stuff

Photos and painting by me.

May 13 2018-U.S.S. Arctic Island

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I live on an Arctic Island.

This is day two in my blogging experience. I do not yet feel that I have found my footing beneath the thaw of winter on these keys.

Spring is upon me and I am almost ready to leave Alaska. My Arctic Island in the deep interior has had me isolated and land-locked for as long as i can remember. Ice builds and erodes around me like impenetrable diamond yet I hammer away with my eye on the prize. The open Road.

Freedom

I am probably two weeks away from quitting my job as an automotive painter and claiming the full-time title of traveling artist. My goals are few but singularly driven. Leave Alaska and join society. I was raised to co-exist with my environment, even in as inhospitable a climate as Alaska. Yet as I age, I notice the divide that is growing between people here, as if we all inhabit an arctic island and my humanity is starting to reject this co-habitation. Only recently has my isolated island been visited and now occupied by entities like Amazon, Chili’s,Walmart and Starbucks. I thought at first that these were the things i was lacking living in the arctic. I was wrong.The cold and erratic weather forces everyone indoors for the majority of the year here in Fairbanks and this creates isolation based behaviors known as ‘cabin fever’. Depression, anxiety and addiction run higher here than most places due to the cold and dark days. To escape this island, my ship is a Dutchman.¬†img_0078

Now I can turn to art.

May 12, 2018 The Dawn

The journey from Alaska to anywhere and everywhere.

It has begun. The idea that I could throw away my nine-to-five existence and become a nomad has finally started. Soon I will leave Alaska and become the road. My spouse and I have planned and prepared for what seems like years now. This all started with an idea that once we graduated from college, we could live outside the boring, consumer path that is laid out for most Americans, and instead live free as modern Gypsy’s. I see my peers strive for this cookie-cutter path like docile, domesticated pets, nipping for small snacks and scraps like the scraps are gold. Paths like; Get the job, spouse, kid, house and toys and you are a great American. The white picket fence is not for me. I can not help but to disagree with this life plan. Every fiber of my being wishes to travel and to experience the world. I want to immerse myself in cultures that are not my own. I want to appropriate, absorb and become mesmerized by the ideas of others.

If i had a boat I would explore the globe. Instead I have a truck and travel trailer, so I will explore America and wherever that takes me. The modern term for this lifestyle is called Boondocking but i prefer the slang term of gypsy. I am told this is a derogatory term now but to me it means freedom. My freedom comes when i can drive away from Fairbanks Alaska with the notion that i might never live in a cold, arctic environment again, and this thought makes me both excited and happy.

I currently live in a ‘dry’ cabin in the woods of Alaska on the outskirts of town. Dry means there is electricity but no running water or indoor bathroom or shower. I haul water in seven gallon blue jugs for cooking and cleaning and I shower at the local university campus in the student activity center. I am an alumni with UAF so I have never been hassled by staff members for using student facilities. Or the student staffers do not care who I am and I am cool with either. As soon as I am able I will shed this cabin in the woods like releasing a burden. I am in need of breakfast so i will end for now.