Heading South, Heading North

5 July 2014      4.30 PM      83 F    Sunny

Day 3 of the dash to Manitoba had a bit of a slow start, as there is a 2 hour time difference between Alaska and some place east of Fort St John, and I needed to speak to my bank to finally get the situation resolved. Eventually, I managed to convince them that I was indeed in Canada on holiday and that I had a need to have access to my money and that I was still planning on buying frivolous things such as fuel and food. So, it seems American banks regard Canada as a hot bed of fraud and deception.

Happy that I now could pay for things, I set off from Grande Prairie, which seems to grow in size at an amazing rate between each visit, and headed east towards Edmonton and greater traffic. The next 2 days are just a blur of vehicles and towns, gas stations and food stops. It was a relief to pull into Rossburn, Manitoba and find my B&B and have a very relaxing evening, followed by an early night.  The next morning I headed over to meet up with Jeff & Susan at Seppala Kennels and to meet my new dogs as well as revisit all my favourites from previous trips. Time there always seems to fly by, throw in a vet trip for the dogs making the return journey to Alaska, a feeding, and hours of chat, suddenly it was late evening and the day was over. One of things that I am incredibly happy we don’t have to deal with in Alaska are ticks. On my return to the B&B, whilst prepping for my shower, I had to pull a couple of ticks off the back of my neck and another couple off my shin. As well as making me shudder, it also made me slightly paranoid. The slightest itch had me frantically searching for an offending creepy-crawly.  Ugh…………….

Returning to Seppala Kennels the next morning, it was time to load the new dogs, and say farewell once again to Jeff & Susan. It is hard to watch as they also say goodbye to the dogs that they have raised and cared for, the only consolation I can offer, is the reassurance that the dogs will be loved and cherished by us.

JJB gets one final farewell kiss from Nikola of Seppala
JJB gets one final farewell kiss from Nikola of Seppala

Jeff & Susan and the incomparable Sedna
Jeff & Susan and the incomparable Sedna

With the goodbyes said, it was time once again to head north, and deal with thousands of miles of road that lay ahead. As I have said before, travelling with dogs is always interesting, with new dogs it is also slightly concerning. There is always the worry that equipment malfunction could lead to disaster, and it makes me very cautious at each and every stop. I got into a nice routine, and we all very quickly got into the swing of things. Except Katya, who like her brother Yuri on his trip north, decided that she preferred to stay in her box rather than come out for a rest break. With pleasant early summer weather, it was still cool enough that I wasn’t concerned about the dogs getting hot, but I still enjoyed the warmth when we stopped and had some time to get to know each other and bask in the gentle sun.
Finding a shady spot for the dogs
Finding a shady spot for the dogs

Katya decides she would rather stay in her box.
Katya decides she would rather stay in her box.

I have always been amazed at how quickly the dogs adapt to their new routines and circumstances. Aside for Katya’s reluctance to emerge fro the safety of her cocoon, the only one who had anything to say about her new surroundings was Sedna. She decided that everything was good and all was well with the world, if she was out of the truck and on the picket line, or was in the truck and we were driving. However, if the truck was stopped and she was left in her box, then the complaints were loud and vociferous. Not a good combination if the driver is trying to get some sleep – and I can’t imagine that anyone parked within earshot would have been too impressed either. This protesting meant I actually contrived to get much further north than I was planning, before becoming so tired that I managed to get some sleep despite the digging and screaming. The upside to the long drive meant I was that much closer to home, and to quieter roads with better scenery.
Heading north.
Heading north.

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