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Archive

The View from Our Doorway

by Xiao

Traveling down in Alaska, we reached Seward, a charming little town 126 miles south of Anchorage. Known as the ‘Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park’, the amazing view to us are just daily life to the locals. Glaciers and countless wildlife are just around the corner. We camped at the Seward Waterfront Park, right on the beach. Sailing boats, fishing boats, big and small, pass by our window when we cooked. From time to time, a silver salmon jumps out of water right in front of you. Puffins and sea otters are floating in the bay. Yes, we are visitors, in the living room of wildlife.

Chasing the Midnight Sun – Dalton Highway Drive to the Arctic Ocean

by Xiao

As we drive north, we constantly find ourselves losing track of time, not because of the time zones, but because of the longer and longer daytime. When we expect sun to set, it is hard to believe the sun is still shining at midnight. It was great, we thought. When it is dark, you do not see much on the road, but now, we get the quieter traffic, and the nice surprise of wildlife from time to time, rabbits, moose, bears, you name it. It was peachy until we realized one problem, we had to fool our bodies into thinking it is dark to get to sleep. I had one week of similar experience when I visited Russia, when I got only two hours of darkness each night. I was having fever for couple of days, so the day light did not help, I was miserable. But I will take the sun even if I get less sleep. When I was in northern Minnesota during winter, our shifts robbed me of sunlight for weeks, getting up in cold darkness and returning in the same cold darkness, I have to say, it was depressing. So we were on our way, chasing the midnight sun on Dalton highway.

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We Made It

by Xiao

Well, this is not done by us.

On our journey to Alaska, in some regions, especially the remote ones, this kind of rock art appear from time to time on a slope by the side of road. Mostly, they are names or initials, even couple of ads. Sometimes you will see a heart declaring love. This one is by the Alaska highway, just after the US-Canada border.

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War in the Northern Woods – Our Killing Spree

by Xiao

It was a war of vengeance on mosquitoes. We had been in Canada for couple of days, the swelling on both of my legs had not gone down yet (2-3 bites on each leg and I had a fully swollen left calf and right ankle, both painful and itchy like crazy at the same time), I was awaken from the buzzing of mosquitoes time after time one night. Half asleep, I switched on the lights, blinded myself first, then tried to keep my eyes in focus to search for the annoying devils. I did manage to kill couple of them during first half of the night, but failed later. So I tried to suffocate myself under the cover for the rest of the evening. Woke up tired and with itchy arm and fingers, it is now personal, and I declared war on the pests!

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Lake of Little Fishes

by Xiao

After two major state parks, we moved on into Canada. Decided we should push on for Alaska, we were staying only a day or two in each stop. c took me to the famous Lake Louise on this stop. Maybe I am jaded from all the natural beauty. Yes, it is a pretty little lake, with the mountains, retreating glacier around and the rich typical glacier lake color. But somehow it feels that something is lacking.

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Far Away, Yet Close to the Heart – BBC Series: Wild China

by Xiao

When we are out searching for beauty elsewhere, often we forget beauty lies where we were from. When you think you know everything about a place, it just take a fresh pair of eyes to discover the surprising beauty. BBC is producing a series on the natural and cultural beauty of China: Wild China. I watched it on YouTube, even though it is not the HD version, I was still amazed pleasantly… Here is the link to one of my favorite episodes: Shangri-la. Other episodes can be found there too. You can watch it on BBC 2 if you are in UK.

Rockhound Collection – South Dakota

by Xiao

I like rocks, but I am not a serious rock collector or rockhound. I still remember couple of years ago when I was in MN for a meeting. I bought a bunch of rocks. When I was pulling out rock after rock out of my laptop bag to show to my colleagues, the facial expression on their faces was great. Guess I am weird. :p But a unique rock earns my respect. In the Badlands and Black Hills area, we started our journey as rockhounds. Below are some of our example finds with pictures, I will keep adding them, so stay tuned.

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Been There, Done That

by Xiao

Even though we would prefer to think that we are not the average tourists, but more of explorers, traveling across America with our Airstream. The truth is that we are tourists. As we drive along the road, our eyes are drawn to beautiful nature, the bill board signs, the out of ordinaries; when we stop somewhere, we would read about the area, ask the locals about what to do, where to go. Yes, we are tourists. In South Dakota, we have done our fair share. Besides that we hiked in badlands, acted as rockhounds, went to Mt. Rushmore, took a short tour to the famous Jewel Cave; we also paid a visit to Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, and Deadwood.

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Fairburn Agate Beds

by admin

The state gem of South Dakota and a highly prized find among rock hunters, Fairburn agates get their name from the town near which they are most commonly found. The Fairburn agate beds are located about 12miles East of the town of Fairburn, SD (I give GSP coordinates at the end of this post). Xiao is “into” rock hunting so we thought we would pay the agate beds a visit.

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The St Croix River

by admin

One of the reasons we chose this life was to do more outdoor stuff. However, I have found that so much time is taken with arriving and looking around, that by the time you feel like you have the gist of the place its time to move on again. Well, I made a real effort to organize a two day trip down the St Croix River in a tandem kayak.

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