May 11: To Talkeetna, Alaska for DenaliEmail Update From Christi May 9th:
After finishing up some much needed burgers celebrating their successsful Liberty Ridge climb, they headed off to clean up at a quality hotel located conveniently within walking distance of a fabulous sushi restaurant where they later got quite drunk. They awoke late Saturday to run some gear-purchasing errands and then started heading on northward.
They made it as far as Mt Vernon, WA - just south of the border, when they assessed that the van was on her very last legs and couldn't possibly go on. So they found the local pool/karaoke bar and decided to contemplate their next moves after a beer or ten. "Should we get a new van?" "How about we get a BOAT?" Eventually, such talk translated into some rounds of pool translated into turns at the karaoke mic. That's when Tauru called me with no "hello," ...just the raucus sounds of "My Girl" to the tune of ..."I Think This Is My Eleventh Beer." He would later call to pass out in the back of the van at a Walmart parking lot.
Sunday came late and still quite drunk upon waking. They came to their senses about the boat - it was too expensive. But lethargy also prompted the decision of, "what the hell, let's just keep driving." Somehow, they crossed the border and continued. They drove Sunday. They drove Monday.
Tuesday, 3pm - still driving. They were now in White Horse, Yukon and didn't know how the hell their luck turned out so good. Only issue was minor - their muffler suddenly exploded and fell out. But hey, who needs a muffler?
They should, if nothing else happened, be just now crossing the border and entering Canada. Let the good kharma sing on.
From Email Update May 10th:
We have finally made it here! The van is blessed (or possessed), but she has brought us here. Noisy, rattling, clinking, heaving, puffing, etc... The whole ride through Canada was a shock with every mile she continued through.
We made it to Beaver Creek (AK/Canada border town) late yesterday (9pm, but still full of daylight) ...where I took a moment to go look for the drainage pipe that I had slept in when I hitch hiked through 10 years ago. As some of you may know, I was a bum roaming through the world 10 years ago... and I hitched the Alaskan-Canadian HWY on the whim... I passed into Beaver Creek where I was stranded for the night. It started to drizzle, and with no money, I had to spend the night "in the streets.' Well, I found a drainage pipe under the road and crawled into it for the night. An immortal memory! So when I was in B-Creek, I found it. Awesome! 10 years later.. and I haven't changed!
Onward to Alaska. Crossed the border and got beer ...ummm ...welll ...ummm ...that is ...for the road! Of course! Alaska, boon-dogs... gotta drive with a beer in hand! Hell yeah! Woohoo -- we are disciples of Homer. Only thing that sucked about doing this was... having to stop to pee. We saw a moose on the side of the road... well... we peed next to him. It's Alaska! Oh, we did see caribous, meeses(?), buffaloes, deer, wild horses, girls, owls, bald eagles, etc..
We are currently in Talkeetna, the last stop before we get into a small plane on Friday morning to fly onto the glacier for Denali... and start our month long acclimatization and push for the Cassin Ridge. We'll see. Going to take my last bath tomorrow for a month.