20120927

States That End in 'aska Part II

After the travels, I was in for some culture shock. Obviously, first thing was the traffic that a city of over 600,000 people can contain. Sure, its not big to some folks... But hey, the entire borough I lived in only contained 90,000 people (and Alaska had under 700,000 last census); I've been out of the traffic situation for over eight years! I will be spending lots of time developing a comfort zone where people weave in and out of four lanes of Interstate (I-680 and I-80) less than three feet from my front and rear bumpers!

However, that was the least shocking part...

...What angers me most about the area, specifically within Omaha City Limits, is the registration requirements and micro managing of your life that goes on. First and foremost in my mind is the requirement of the City to register all pistols in your possession and that you purchase in city limits. This requires a Purchase Permit from the Douglas County Sheriffs Office ($5, fill out what equates to a BATFE 4473, get a background check and then they hand you the card, see http://www.omahasheriff.org/services/gun-permits ), then you have permission to look at and purchase pistols. However, when you decide on one, you are then required to to go to the Omaha Police Department, fill out another form, and register it with them paying yet another few dollars ($15, see http://opd.ci.omaha.ne.us/services/citizen-services/handgun-registration ). You can however bypass most of this by NOT living in Omaha and getting a Concealed Carry Permit (something I intend to do VERY SOON). Oh and even if you get a CCW, just watch out for all the No Guns Allowed (just come in and rob us) Signs around town. I intend to NOT give ANY of them my business and encourage others to do the same.

Then we get into pets... Pets in Omaha must be registered not through the City like most other cities (to include the capital Lincoln), but through the vehemently anti-hunting and pro-PETA Humane Society, albeit a local chapter (unless of course, local Humane Society chapters have nothing to do with the National organization of the same name... I could be wrong, but the connection is too strong...). While I am all for outsourcing certain functions to save taxpayer dollars, I think its ridiculous in this regard as the Humane Society has become a city government agency instead of a non-governmental agency...

...more on this later, as it has a huge impact on my family as my wife is a Veterinarian and has some rather strong opinions about this organization and the influence they wield in the policy realm that has a direct impact on her and her profession. Needless to say, Humane Society favors Animal Rights over Animal Welfare; meaning that they think your dog has rights just as you do. Wonderful isn't it... Never mind that the majority of the members of the American Veterinary Health Association are in opposition to this animistic spirituality that the Humane Society, PETA, and other pseudo-science groups tout (to include President Obama's Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein). There is a significant difference between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights, and that's going to have to be a blog in and of itself someday.


20120926

States That End in 'aska Part I

I began my journey from North Pole Alaska to Omaha Nebraska on 05SEP2012. Obviously for any move, especially a cross continent move, preparation began months in advance (really about July 2011...). However, that day was when I had everything prepped and loaded into my 2001 Jeep Cherokee ready to hit the road.

My route was planned to take me from North Pole Alaska all the way to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada on Day 1. Beyond that I was flexible. I knew that the line I had drawn along the various highways would require some modifications as the atlas I was using wasn't that greatly detailed on where each highway would lead, especially once I was off the Alaska Highway and started taking the Cassier, Caribou, and Yellowhead Highways in Canada. I had driven along the Alaska Highway in 2004 when I first came to Alaska and had some idea of what to expect, especially east of Tok and south all the way across the border until Destruction Bay; narrow, bumpy, and dangerous two lane roads!

What I didn't expect fully was the scenery in eastern Alaska along the ALCAN highway enroute through and beyond Tok. In 2004 when I first drove into Alaska it was smokey with less than ¼ mile visibility due to some massive forest fires in the area (1,000,000 acres burned); driving out in 2012 I has well over 20 miles of visibility and the mountains were gorgeous. What a way to leave with a grand finale of scenery.

I ended Day 1 in the capital of the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse. I rolled in at about 2 AM and spent until about 3:30 trying to find a hotel room that allowed for my pet as well as having vacancy! Lesson was learned, but didn't really sink in, to find a room earlier in the travel day...

Day 2 began after 9 AM with a walk around the block to get the dog ready for the days drive. My goal was to be out of the Yukon Territory by noon... A goal somewhat achieved, however the trip toward Watson Lake and the junction where the Cassier Highway meets the Alaska Highway dips into British Columbia and back into Yukon... Technically I achieved the goal of leaving the Yukon before noon, if you don't count the curve back into the Yukon... Around 2 PM I cut south on the Cassier Highway and entered the Province of British Columbia for the remainder of my journey through Canada. The first section of road from the junction all the way to the village of Dease Lake was devoid of any centerlines or shoulder, and left me with the impression that I found the wrong road until I almost was run off the road by the first few semi trucks heading Northbound! After Dease Lake the road improved considerably. Should you find yourself on this road, plan for the worst section of it to be this portion. Further south, after going to Bell 2 (no kidding, thats the village name...) I saw more black bear than I could count after the dusk. Yes, more black bear than I could count. Should you need to take a break outside of any form of civilization... Remember, the bear safety rules “If its black fight back” if attacked. Outside of Kitseguecla is the Junction with the Yellowhead Highway, I ended Day 2 at about 1 AM in New Hazleton.

By Day 3 I was bound and determined to end in the United States! Easier said than done sadly... I followed the Yellowhead Highway into Prince George where I picked up the Cariboo Highway South all the way into Vancouver BC where I crossed the border. Just outside of Vancouver is where I found the only equivalent to the American Interstate in Canada... I ended Day 3 at about 2 AM in Lynden WA.

Once back stateside everything got easier with our Interstate system. Nothing terribly exciting beyond finally being able to go to a decent gun store again, and visiting with some friends along the way in Idaho and Wyoming. Honestly, those visits made the trip more fun for me, and made lodging and food arrangements so much easier for a couple nights! It was great to get civilized food for a couple meals!