Strange and Wonderful


In the more than seven years we have been on the road we have traveled about 170,000 miles; from the Arctic Circle to 1000 miles into Mexico.  In that time and space we have run into a few strange things and many more wonderful ones.  Here are a few we would like to share with you.




The historic Alcan Highway (now called the Alaska Highway) starts here in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada.  The sign is in the parking lot of a shopping center but it is impressive none the less.







This sign marks the end of the Alaska Highway at Delta Junction, Alaska.  The road was originally 1422 miles long.  It was started in March of 1942 and was completed in eight months at a cost of about $115 Million.  Today, with our greater technology and with the help of OSHA and EPA, we could build the road for perhaps $10 Billion and it wouldn't take a day more than 10 years.





Here are a couple of strange people standing on the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway in Alaska.  Their dog sled is parked just to the left.






We were driving along in southwestern Montana, minding our own business, when a pilot decided that this road was a perfect landing strip.  To be fair, he did pick a straight road with little traffic and he was running out of fuel.  He lined the plane up perfectly on the center line of the road and brought it down gently.  The only thing he didn't do quite right was that he forgot to put the landing gear down.  No one was hurt but the plane is a write off and the pilot will forever be remembered for this wheels up landing.





In northern California there is a bird known locally as an Acorn Woodpecker.  He stores the acorns by pecking a hole in a tree and pushing the acorn into  it.  Locals say that they also use wooden houses in the same way.  That's probably why we saw so many houses with aluminum siding.  The woodpeckers must hate that.







In Mexico there are groups of performers called voladores or flyers to us gringos.   The four you see suspended on ropes are actually spinning around the pole as the rope unwinds to lower them toward the ground.  In the meantime, the fifth flyer is dancing on top of the pole playing a flute and banging a drum.  He is dancing rather conservatively and very carefully.  The pole is about 150 feet tall and, at the top, is about one foot in diameter.  There were no safety lines or nets. 





This is a young humpback whale performing for a tour boat out of Valdes, Alaska.  Fortunately, he was very patient with me and repeated the jump until I finally caught the picture just right.  I have long since thrown away the other forty pictures.





In southern Arizona there is a small town called Hope.  On the sign you see a complete description of the town; a gas station, food mart, and an RV park.  That is pretty much all the town contains.





This is the sign you see as you leave town.  The city fathers seem to believe that there is no civilization beyond the city limits.  They may be right.  The next town down the road is named after a fan dancer from the 1930s.





Here is an old prospector we saw in Oregon.  He was panning for gold but he didn't find any.  Funny thing, just the week before, two guys took about $600 from the same stream.  You think maybe he is not looking in the right place?  Strangely, he does look somewhat familiar.





We were looking for the town of Ilwaco and came upon this sign pointing the way.  The only problem is that it looks like the sign is as confused as we were.  It was probably designed by a committee.  






We were traveling across Utah and had stopped for the night in a small campground.  A short time after we arrived, we noticed this fire which was growing rapidly.  We were treated to a rare aerial show with aircraft dumping retardant and water on the fire.  It was about two miles to that ridge you can see in the picture and the fire was just on the other side.  It was apparently a grass fire that was nearly out before dark and only a little smoke could be seen by morning. 






This is a sign by a small city park in Leadville, Colorado.  There were no people in the park when we walked by.  After we saw the sign, we could understand why.  Other than perhaps pogo sticks and hopscotch, every other activity seemed to be prohibited.





Well that is enough excitement for one day.  I will continue this exposition another day.