(April 1, 2021)
Exactly one week ago we set off on a 13 day journey north, heading for our new home in Alaska.
It’s been a fairly wild week, to be sure. Not insofar as mechanical problems or anything major, just some interesting things.
To start off, we were about 4hrs late in departing, and we were not even close to being packed or having the family home cleaned up. Thank God for family & friends that I could never repay for their efforts and caring.
After the obligatory traffic around Denver (even using E470) we made it to Casper. First road lesson…...these rigs eat fuel under a full load!
Wyoming is a beautiful state, and they know how to maintain roads! Our first night was spent outside Casper. We were all exhausted and hungry, and this was the girls’ first “glamping” experience. A couple very minor water leak issues (dry seals) and one blown fuse were our only mechanical issues.
The next morning while fueling, I was amazed to discover that cashiers and clerks actually do still have faces (they believe in freedom!)
On to Montana!
Mountains and wind made for interesting travels, and of course ate into the pocketbook. A tiny little town called Anaconda with a nearly perfect RV park hosted us for the night. The most epic views possible in the Lower 48 were ours as we traveled through Montana, making our way to Idaho.
Idaho had amazing views, but I was amazed that coming “down” from Montana, the decline never seemed to end. I swear we drove on a 5-7% decline for hours, must’ve been close to the center of the Earth!
Ok, I will be the first to say that the views that greeted me upon entering eastern Washington were NOTHING like any I”d ever imagined or even been told about. This was straight up the same geography as SE Colorado!
As we crossed into the western part of the state heading for the port, the rain came in buckets, sheets, however you want to describe the most falling sky water ever!
Five days and a wake-up in an RV park near the port, waiting for the ferry boarding. Way too many people for this mountain/country boy, but I’ll manage.
For the most part we’ve interacted with and met genuine friendly people (short term RV neighbors have been awesome), and a few complete douchebags, but such is life.
Next time, it’s all about the ferry ride to our new home!
What causes a person to want something? What sparks a want or a dream?
Good questions, right?
When I was really young, I got a book as a gift called the Gnome from Nome. Great little book for a 5 year old.
In 1989, when Discovery Channel was also really young, there was a special aired called Alaska Turns 30. Apparently I loved that program a lot, because I ended up using one of our extremely rare blank VCR tapes to record it. (My baby sister still has the tape at the family home in NM. I was enamored with the visual beauty, the enormity of the state, and the frontier/”newness” of it. It really did stir something almost indescribable in me.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering where the Hell I’m going with all this……
We are 8 days away from making a ginormous move, and making Alaska the new, permanent home of the Wild Barrys clan. Angie and I were talking the other day about what to say to all of you, and I had the idea of composing a little backstory blog.
In several of our previous posts, I’ve told you that I have a huge love and background in the outdoors. My Grandpa and I always used to say that we were born in the wrong era. I think he actually got the better end of the stick, because he was born in an era where he was able to leave home at 13, and rode on horseback to southern Colorado/northern New Mexico.
While we’ve had this in mind for a looooong time, this opportunity really did just kind of pop up on us. Angie got connected with a really great job opportunity (not much in her wheelhouse around here, in smaltown CO, if you catch my drift) & I have a few potentials.
A fairly easy decision to make, but difficult at the same time. A lifetime spent in a relatively small geographical area, a family history literally going back over 100 years here, an awesome job with amazing people…..you get the point.
Now, let’s pack up 3 people, 2 dogs, clothes, books, cooking/kitchen supplies, guns/ammo, fishing gear. Uggghhhh! You learn really quick what is vital and what is a want. How much that is of strictly sentimental value goes? What stays? It was starting that process that made me appreciate minimalists in a whole new way lol.
But, life changes and moves on. You really are going to want to check in and stay up to date with us. Angie has made it clear that we’re going to post and share everything possible with you guys.
Buckle up, something tells me this is going to be an awesome ride.
One of the running themes in our blogs is preparedness. Today I want to share a real life event with you and talk about the importance of a prepared mindset.
I’m not putting anyone on blast, not my point.
Deer season. A perfect time to get out into the woods and fields, reconnect with nature and maybe find yourself again in the process. Even people who have recently moved from more urban areas partake in a time honored tradition.
A call goes out to area entities that there is a lost/stranded hunter. It’s not any kind of desolate area, but rugged terrain. Did I mention that this call for help came in at about 8:30pm? And it’s snowing. Not heavily at first, but anybody around here that has been around awhile knows that early snow storms can get nasty, quickly.
Phone contact is made with the individual. He is able to provide a general area he was hunting in when he became “lost”. Party states he has 2% battery left on his smart phone. Ugggh.
Party is able to tell exactly where he departed from, direction he travelled, even has a very good idea of where he is in the land unit.
Party states he is cold & wet, has no way to get out of the now heavy snow or get warm. Part conveys that he has no food or water supplies.
Long story short, after an approximate 5hr effort, our lost individual is located on a little used access road that is deeply covered in thick, wet snow. Exhausted & near hypothermic, he is brought down off the mountain and is more than a little agitated that it took so long to be “rescued”.
Let’s break this down, you decide where the mistakes were made.
- Individual moved to the very rural area from a dense urban environment, hunting with a group of work buddies.
- Individual broke off from the group, went hunting alone, separate from the others.
- Even though it was Fall in the Rocky Mountains, individual was not dressed/equipped for inclement weather.
- Individual did not have any snacks or water supply.
- Individual did not have map of the area, no compass.
- Individual did have a smart phone (GPS, compass equipped) but the device was low on power.
- Individual did not have any method for making fire, no tools for making a quick shelter.
- Individual did hear the shots of other hunters/searchers looking for him, but had fired off ALL of his ammunition in initial attempts to respond.
My solution synopsis:
If you are going out into the woods with friends, STAY TOGETHER! If, for whatever reason, you are alone, make sure that someone back in civilization knows your itinerary (stick to it).
EDC. Every Day Carry. I’m not necessarily talking about your sidearm and knife. If you are out & about, and there is a possibility you may get stranded or separated from your vehicle/equipment, there are a few basic things you should ALWAYS have with you (knife, ferro rod/lighter, water).
- Knife – a quality knife is a must. However, better something than nothing.
- Ferro rod/lighter/stick matches – a ferro rod is a valuable commodity, but one you need to learn to use. Anyone can learn to use a Bic lighter.
- Water – you can only live 3 days without water.
- Shelter/survival blanket/reflector
Technology is a great thing, but is designed to fail. Most smart phones have functions for GPS/compass, or you can download an app. LEARN HOW TO USE THEM! If you are going to rely on this type of tech, make sure you have the device charged or the means to charge it in the field. (solar chargers are great) A basic nav compass (like $8) never needs charging, and are simple to use.
Follow your animal instincts. Get out of the weather, however you can. This individual actually fell asleep (early stage hypothermia) out in the storm, furthering his heat loss. Learn some basic survival skills (STOP= Stay put, Think, Organize, Plan).
Never use all of your ammunition in attempting to signal others. You might very well need to use it in obtaining food in the event it takes a while to get to you.
Hit me with your thoughts……..
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Tuesday night has become crockpot night in our house. Brandon is on duty and I (Angela) have meetings. So rather than having a super late supper that I have to rush to put together after my meetings, I turn to the crockpot.
I do believe we have found a favorite. At least if you ask Brandon. In fact I believe he even referred to this meal as a spiritual experience. It’s some seriously good stuff y’all! And keto friendly, if that’s your thing.
So without further adieu (because I had lengthy recipe blogs. If I came for the recipe, please just give me the recipe), I give you Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Meatballs.