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I think I got a little homesick after having been south for four months for the winter, then arriving home for only one month, and then leaving for our Alaska adventure for another four months. So getting back home, of course, meant lots of maintenance, cleaning and projects.
And there was something else. Our dog loved traveling with us. All the new smells, new places, and people fussing over how handsome he was. And he was! But at home, he was definitely in HIS kingdom. He was able to go outside off leash and check out our large yard, chase bunnies and squirrels, and relax. He also protected us from any service workers and deliveries that came to the house. He loved being near us. He loved the spaciousness and freedom of his home. It was a good place for him to be.
But after two months at home, sadly, it was time to say good bye to each other. We found him in the kitchen one morning, unable to move except for his head. We rushed him to the emergency animal hospital but things were not looking good. He was nearly 14 and had mobility, vision, and hearing problems for some time. But this complication did not look fixable. We had to let him go. It was so very difficult to say good bye. But I know that we gave him the most wonderful life a dog could ever have. I mill miss him dearly! He was my constant companion for 6 1/2 years, sometimes wonderful, other times a challenge, but always my protector and friend. I believe that my rescue dog rescued me!
We were able to have two wonderful holidays with the family at our house. And that gave me great pleasure. And then it became time to run from the crazy Wisconsin winters. And plan more traveling. And in my heart, I can’t wait to have another beautiful dog to spoil in the future. Although, I know that another dog will never ever really be able to replace Coda.
Oma provided her reflections in the last post, but I thought I would add a few notes on other topics.
The roads were not nearly as bad as I expected. Most sections were as good or better than many of the two-lane highways we drive in the lower 48. Some sections required slowing down by 10-15 mph, although traffic was usually light and through sections that had potholes, it was often possible to use both lanes, weave between them and maintain our speed.
The worst paved roads I remember were a short (several mile) stretch of the Tok cut-off in Alaska that required us to slow to around 35 mph for frost heaves and a portion of the Icefields Parkway in southern Canada that had many huge heaves that were more like 5 mph speed bumps.
Gravel/dirt roads are a whole other thing. We mostly avoided them this trip, with the exception of our Dawson Creek to Tok drive (stopping at Chicken) via the Top of the World and Taylor Highways. The Canada portion wasn’t bad, but once we were in Alaska and past the beautiful pavement that runs about ten miles after customs, our average speed was perhaps 25 mph on very rough road. Non-paved roads in northern Canada and Alaska can be highly variable depending on recent weather and recent road work (or lack there-of).
We spent 4 months in a Winnebago View class C motorhome driving from Wisconsin to Fairbanks, Alaska and back with our 80+ lb. dog, and 16 lb. cat. We specifically bought this motorhome to ensure easier travel and yet be roomy enough and comfortable for our large senior dog. He was very unsure in the beginning, but we kept making little changes to make him comfortable and he was so happy to be with us.