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1000 Americans: Joe Carlson, Joy, Alaska

August 16, 2008 by  
Filed under 1000 Americans, Friendly people

Joe Carlsson and one of his many granddaughters

Joe Carlson is a wonderful person. Joe and Nancy have adopted about 15 children, which supplemented their 8 ‘homemade’ (their own description) ones. They raised all 23 kids in their homestead, which they built from scratch. He is an entertaining person, which comes in very handy when the tourbuses come in. The sale of souvenirs is his main income, so when the large buses stop in front and a few dozen of mostly grey-haired pensioners on an Alaska tour come in, he switches on his salespitch. he greets all people in their home language, talks about the store, about Alaska, gives away free coffee and sell the souvenirs. 10 minutes later everybody is gone and he switches back to his relaxed mode.

They are a great family and their story is extraordinarily. When you are in the area of Fairbanks, do go up to mile 49,5 and visit Joe and listen to their history. Get a free coffee and a cheap delicious muffin and see what you can build up if you have determination and a free spirit.

Day 10-13: 21-24th july 2008; Days of hell on the Dalton; from B-day to back to Fairbanks!

July 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Alaska, North America, Trip reports

21st July, a long and tough B-day party!

I went to sleep at the Arctic circle age 37 and woke up being 38, great place for a b-day. The road that Ivana had spotted had a name, which is always bad news. It was called the ‘Beaver Slide’ which could be pleasant in different contexts, but in our case it meant 3km of steep uphill cycling at a 10% grade. The asphalt had ended, so we were back on mud and gravel and the returning rain made it even more difficult.

The rain and hills did not stop all day but still we were in a good mood. Just when we thought we had enough hills, we entered the area which was called ‘The Rollercoaster’ and it deserved its name. We had been warned beforehand by some people as the big trucks cannot slow down on these hills and cannot avoid us well. In order to get up the next hill, they have to go full speed down, else they will not make it.

_MG_0088-Harry-rollercoasterWell, on a fully loaded bike you cannot go down at full speed as you will break it, so we usually start braking at about 50km (30mi)/hrs speeds when on the mud and gravel as there are potholes everywhere. This means that we cannot make it back uphill, and many times we had to get off the bike and push it up.

Just when I was pushing my bike on part of the Rollercoaster, called the Sand Hill, I noticed something moving on the side of the road and I stopped pushing. A large dark brown shape swiftly crossed the muddy road, some 20 meters/70 feet in front of us. Read more