Last November we spent five days in San Diego so Thane could go to Lego Land, Sea World, and the Wild Animal Park. We started out with the Wild Animal Park the first day, which turned out to be a nice 80 degrees and a great day in the park. The next day we went to Sea World and of course since we got wet on the Atlantis ride the temperature was much cooler than the day before. We watched the Shamu exhibition and Sandi’s favorite Pets Rule Exhibition where all of the trained animals (including dogs, cats, pigs, ducks, and other birds) do a really funny routine, which is amazing considering most of them are adopted strays.
Then after three long awaited days, Thane got his two days at Lego Land. It is really impressive what people can do with unlimited time and unlimited Lego bricks! The re-creations of some of the cities, bridges, and other famous world structures are amazing. Thane got to drive a Lego car on the track and get his Lego Land drivers license and Sandi had to endure far more roller coaster rides than she wanted. After two days of wandering around Lego Land and playing in the hotel pool until late every night we were all ready to get home.
I had to work over Christmas so Sandi and Thane went to Wyoming for a few weeks to visit Sandi’s favorite sister. Around the end of November Sandi’s Grandpa Jim got a little sick and spent about five days in the hospital due to dehydration and lack of eating, which they attributed to mild depression. Since his depression was partially due to lack of company I decided that we should spend a week with him after I got home. We extended Sandi and Thane’s tickets out a week and I booked a ticket to Denver for December 31st.
I flew home from work on the evening of the 29th and got up at 6:00 am to go riding with Clay and Larry at Honolulu Creek before my red-eye flight late Wednesday night. We drove the two hours north and ended up riding for about six hours which consisted more of hacking our way through alder patches than actually riding. I was pretty disappointed that I had just bought a new snowmachine and we didn’t have hardly any snow by the end of December. At least at that point I didn’t know that we wouldn’t get any real amount of snow at home all winter or I might have had a fight with depression myself. After our six hour ride we drove the two hours home where I took a quick shower, packed my bags and then drove two more hours to Anchorage to grab dinner and then catch my flight to Denver.
Our week in Wyoming was nice and quiet. New Years especially; I was in bed by 10:30 on New Years Eve but I guess that’s what happens when you party with a guy who‘s 91. I wasn't complaining however. Sandi’s Dad came over from Maine so Thane got to spend time with both of Sandi’s parents over the holidays. Which was great.
Sandi has for sometime been wanting to take her horse to the Northwest to spend the summer taking riding clinics and eventing, so over the course of our week in Wyoming we decided that this would be a good summer to do it. We started browsing the Internet looking for a horse trailer that had a living quarters big enough for the three of us and would handle all of our gear. Sandi has a friend she met at a clinic in 2009 in Oregon that has a farm on San Juan Island in Washington where we can keep a horse trailer and all of our gear while they do their horse stuff, so we decided this would be where we would base our summer plans out of.
After getting home and heading back to work I started looking for a truck to pull a larger horse trailer as well as a trailer to go with it. I’ve never really bought anything off of Ebay but ended up finding a truck that I liked and making an offer. The problem with living in Alaska is that to buy a truck and especially a horse trailer you usually end up paying premium for them. So I figured I could find a truck anywhere and have it shipped to Washington for cheaper than I could buy it at home and then find a horse trailer in the Northwest later. One limitation was that the only type of truck I was looking for was a Ford F350 with a 7.3 liter Powerstroke diesel engine. Since Ford only made these until 2003 it was a little bit of a challenge finding one in good shape with low miles. I figured with the cost of a new truck these days I could get both a used truck and trailer for the price of a new truck alone. The truck I ended up buying off of Ebay (was located just north of Dallas) is a 2001 F350 crewcab dually and had only 79,000 miles on it. It has an 88 gallon auxiliary fuel tank (which is good to have when driving through Yukon Territory) an auto start and was in really good condition.
By the end of January I had successfully purchased a truck that was waiting to ship to Washington, we were browsing for horse trailers and I was patiently waiting for some snow so I could go play.
A couple of cave creatures
Our young Jedi warrior dueling it out with Darth Vader
Getting splashed on the log ride
Thane the camel jockey
Boy these Bionicles are big!
Skippidy doo da...
One mean dragon
Riding in the early setting sunlight at Honolulu Creek
The snow dust looks like a fog in the sunshine
Our version of crop circles
My friend Steve Hanson at his remote cabin