Animals: 1 lynx, 1 moose
Debbie flew up from Rapid City to drive part of the way to Oklahoma with me. We got out of Fairbanks 5 hours later than planned – surprise, surprise. I was not about to embark on this journey without having everything comfortably ready. Since I only had 5 weeks’ notice for this internship and it was just before the big race, everything was kind of haywire from the day I found out until the morning we left. We hit the road toward Whitehorse, but knew that we wouldn’t make it there today. I was running on 11 hours of sleep total over 3 nights, and Debbie is a morning person so both of us knew we wouldn’t last driving too late. After driving 30 miles, I had to pass over the wheel and pass out on what might possibly have been my shortest adrenaline rush from excitement of getting on the road. Debbie kept driving to Tok, then I took over again so I’d be driving my own vehicle across the Canadian border. The border is always fun to cross, but I’ve found it helps to be nice to the guards.
Good looking young border guard: “Where are you going to?”
Me: “Norman, Oklahoma!”
Good looking young border guard: “What for?”
Me: “To go tornado chasing.”
Border guard busts out a big grin (bet he hasn’t heard that one before): “Wow. That’s cool”
A few more questions and he let us in. Not a mile past the border, all of a sudden a vicious snow squall popped out of NOWHERE. It stopped then we got right back into another one. During the non-snowstorm part, there was a fuzzball that looked like a dog at first glance but I quickly identified it as a LYNX! My first lynx, cool! The lynx ran too fast for us to get any photos of it. We saw a moose a bit later on, which Debbie was excited about, but I kind of take for granted on road nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing moose, but not in the road or when skiing down a hill with little ability to stop. That night, we landed ourselves an awesome old mining gravel pad away from sight of the road and set up camp in the moonlight near the mountains. It was 34 degrees F when we stopped and likely dropped another 8 degrees by morning. Our sleep was very poor since the wind was whipping our tent around. But when you wake up with a view like we had and warm sun in the tent, the living is good.We drove south to find the snow!