Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oddities and Animals

Readers, beware. Some content may be offensive to the following: PETA members, vegans, and cute animal lovers. This special posting is dedicated to the countless creatures who have lost their lives and now permanently reside in Madison, Wisconsin. Though it is a tragedy, we must honor their memories with a photo homage.

Yes, it's real. An all-inclusive taxidermy museum located in the basement of a secret reputable business. By far one of the weirdest things I've ever seen... but also, the best.

We got the tip from a friend in Minnesota, a Wisconsin native.


They had it all. Albino squirells, chipmunks stripping, bodiless mounted heads of large beasts. Their faces frozen in an eternal expression of sadness... or buried in the mouth of a frosted mug.

I'm not going to say I'm a fan of killing cute critters, but this was just something we had to see. Well worth the detour.

Another stop on the way to Chicago was this amazing sculpture park, made entirely of recycled junk by an artist known as "Dr. Evermor." Strange rusty beings lined the side of highway, beckoning even the most hurried passer-bys.

Such beautiful junk, looming high overhead. A symphony of rusted brass orchestra peacocks sat alongside his masterwork, "The Forevertron." Free to the public, and reminiscent of City of Lost Children.

Once we arrived in the great city of Chicago, our gracious host JR took us to the local zoo (also free to the public). There we saw lions, camels, bears, oh, and chimps brutally murdering an innocent fluffy bunny.

Right in front of our eyes, the brutal mob of five swollen-butt chimps proceeded to spot a stray wandering bunny, chase it against a log, catch it, snap its neck, hoot with glee, murder it, then torture the pitiful corpse. It's nature, and it's real. Welcome to the jungle. Or the zoo.

P.S. We love Chicago!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Great Plains Pics

Wyoming Ponies

Our Great Nation's Monument

Jewel Cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Rachel's Cousin Kathy & Her Family

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That's some liquid hot Boo Boo

We haven't talked in a while. Currently we're in Minneapolis and about to depart for Chicago tomorrow. For those that thought we were living permanently in a shack in Alaska, let me catch you up. We took a 4 day ferry from Haines, AK to Seattle. After taking gunther into a specialist, we finally caught a break and he had the rotten thing fixed in about an hour. Elated with the clean bill of health, we took off east in hopes of making up for lost time and getting through The Great Plains before serious weather.

We made the most out of the frantic pace by stopping in rugged Montana for a visit with the Rachel's cousins, the Tomlinsons. We drove through of the most serene landscapes of the trip in the Shoshone mountains of Wyoming, full of ponies. We spelunked in a big cave full of gems in the Black Hills. And finally, we patriotically gazed at Mt Rushmore...which is basically the only reason to ever go through South Dakota.

But of all the stops, nothing compared to Yellowstone Nat'l Park. Regardless of the Old Faithful hype, it's a genuine spectacle of geothermal activity and the most unique nature I have yet to see in this country. We froze our butts off in the snow at each stop just to get a few more glipses at divine art being continually sculpted in nature. Oh and the tatonka are preety rad too. Here are a few photos since I'm really not sure how to describe the place. Enjoy. - JJ

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wild Beasts of the Wild Wilderness

On our very last day in Alaska I wanted to take one more shot at fishing. We had gone countless times, without a whopper salmon of success. When the alarm went off at 8am, Joe refused to get up. So I took the canoe out solo, without much hope in my heart.

Then I got a bite. A really, really, strong fish was tugging at my line. I tried to reel him in, then my heart started pounding when he got near the surface because this guy was HUUUGE. There I was, floating in the canoe, literally being pulled around in circles. This went on for about ten minutes. Some guys on the docks nearby started laughing and watching, me not knowing what to do as I spun around. Finally I managed to paddle over to the docks with one hand, where a fisherman helped me net the salmon. Success! My very first fish! I paddled away and plotted on slipping the fish next to sleepy Joe.

We took it over to Bob and Mary's, the nice couple who lent us the canoe. We had a ferry to catch in two hours, and a monster fish on our hands.

Bob, our honorary mayor of Haines, fileted the massive beast and cooked him right up. We had yummy salmon in our bellies, some for the road (boat), and a present for our awesome hosts. All and all, an excellent last day.

p.s. I uploaded some pics to the last two photoless entries.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Haines, Day 4

So guess what folks, we missed the ferry. Actually, technically speaking, one of the ferries caught on fire and now they're overbooked and we have to wait till Saturday. In lieu of flinging my arms up in exasperation and screaming at the sky, I've chosen the alternative: chopping my hair and digging into the continuous Alaska pretty.

This rad guy Bob at the local brewery listened to our sad story, filled us a 1/2 gallon jug of stout, and said "hey, you guys wanna borrow a canoe?" So we've been out on the lake our campsite overlooks, fishing for the latest run of salmon and avoiding the bears. Seriously, this area is teeming with grizzlies. We heard them growling right outside our car the other night, and saw a couple trudging up the river, eating salmon carcasses and looking incredibly cute with their oversized heads.

Haines is the epitome of Alaska, so much that's it's practically a cliche. It's to the point where we'll be driving (chuggging) along, and a bald eagle is soaring overhead against a backdrop of rugged fog-cloaked mountains streaming with waterfalls. Then the Star Spangled Banner starts playing.

We've changed our plans, due to Gunther's bad behavior. We'll be taking the ferry all the way to Washington, to fix our van troubles once and for all. For some reason, getting back on the Alaska highway doesn't seem like the brightest idea.