Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Arrived TOK Alaska

Where in the world is TOM? 

Filled up the Hertz hire car for the first time at Eureka, the pass over the mountain range behind Anchorage. Just above the tree line where it gets regularly below minus sixty in winter.
The recreation vehicle (RV) in the back ground was owned by Merve and Claudia, they had left their children behind in Texas and were going as far North as possible. They said they always travel light.

We had a bit of a celebration at Eureka because from here all the water flows into the Yukon, and we went over lots of water including the Tok River. We will probably paddle over that same water. I was tempted to put a measage in a biodegradable bottle and throw it in the Tok River and pick it up when I paddled past it on the Yukon. But then it would be just a message to myself, so there didn't seem much point.

The Hertz hire car is a Ford Explorer Eddie Baver signature addition, which makes it special. A bit like my Bennet / Epic Oscar Chulapski signature addition paddle. The difference seems to be the paddle has an extra sticker. Oscar is a big boy, so I took off the sticker because it added extra weight.

All I know about Eddie Baver is he had two very noisy children.

The Ford Explorer is a great car and our support vehicle and can fit all five of us in with our gear. One really great thing is, right in the back it has two kids seats. You just press a button and they fold down and disappear, kids and all. I pointed this feature out to Merve and Claudia, they seemed very disapointed that the feature was not in cars 30 years ago.

The only real problem that makes Ford Explorer different from Australia is that, the hand break is a foot break and the driver delegates the steering to the passenger. This is just as well because most of the time the driver is asleep and the passenger has more control from the left hand side of the vehicle and can see straight down the middle of the road. Most cars over here drive on the right hand side of the road.

And the light switches are all upside down (down is off) and marine chanel markers are back to front. You leave green to port or your left hand side going up stream, and of course the water spirals down the toilet pan in an anti clockwise direction. This confused  my first lot of no. 2 s and it blocked the toilet and we had to get the hotel handiman. He explained that he advised most Australian when they come to Alaska to spin sharply on one toe in a clockwise direction, for a minute or so, so all your insides and it contents, understand what hemisphere your are in.

I stopped and had a brief meeting with the committee of the Tok Dog Mushers Association. I have set up an informal sister club arrangement with Lane Cove River Kayakers, where as any time their members are in Sydney for a dog mushers convention, they can come and paddle the club K1 on a Wednesday Night time trial. And the reciprocal arrangements in place are that any time a member of LCRK 's is in Tok in winter for a bit of a marathon down the Tok river and the river is not frozen, the said member or members can have a bit of a bash with a dog sled team round the track for an hour or two.

Whitehorse tomorrow, and into some serious training.

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