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This is going to be a short, photo-free post. I don’t want to overburden the tiny little stream of Internet this place is currently getting. (It was down when I got here.)

Lost my iPod, possibly during my window-related preoccupation. Am upset about that. Window crack has not grown any more from driving; temperatures dropping may do it. We’ll see.

Am much more upset about Grace. She is injured, with really raw patches above both eyes–I can’t tell if she and Phoebe were fighting or if she did it all with her pinata toy. (I know the pinata toy made it worse. She was sticking her face in it, and she came out worse than she went in.) But I spent the last 50 miles or so wracked with guilt and crying and apologizing to her for … well, I’m not really sure what. I kept them covered most of the day, because it was cold, and she got hurt, and I guess I figure I should have let them get a little chilly, so I could keep an eye on them.

Anyway, she looks awful. She’s acting like herself (now that that toy is gone) and seems alert and friendly, if thirstier than normal. Obviously, I’m taking her to the vet in Anchorage, but I’m much more immediately concerned about the border crossing. She doesn’t look like a healthy bird. I’m really, really worried they won’t let her across.

I’m calling my Pittsburgh vet and letting her know NOT to suggest people take birds on the Alaskan Highway.

Sorry to be all complainy. The first and last 50 miles were pretty terrible, yes, but the middle 200-some were gorgeous. I passed a bay (well, they call it that) with mountains over it and got pictures of some pretty things. Including two of local trees so you can see them. Photo post coming when there’s Internet. And my motel room looks out onto these gorgeous snow-covered mountains. I think there might be glaciers at the top. Photos of that, too.

Met some fun locals at the “lounge.” (I thought that was a place to get food, but it was a place to get drinks. I ended up with a free soup, though, which was super tasty.) We told logic puzzles and jokes. They liked my muffin joke. :D

Anyway, I’m safe. The windshield is just as intact as it was this morning–like you all said. If I make it across the border, I’ll text to Twitter/Facebook, and if I don’t, I’ll call Dale (I got a Canadian phone card) and have him post here. Maybe I’ll have him post here, regardless.

Thank you to those who wrote to tell me how common and harmless windshield cracks are. I still find it uber freaky on some visceral level–maybe just because that’s one less layer protecting my face?–but I am definitely reassured and ready to start today’s drive. (Or I will be when I finish this coffee, get a shower, and pack the car.)

One commenter pointed out that I sound weary. I am. 300 miles of driving a day, for 10 days, is a lot. Which I knew when I started, certainly, and I knew I’d be tired. I don’t regret deciding to do the drive, though. It’s a grand adventure, and for every setback (multiple rejections from motels and hotels, most days, due to the birds; the windshield thing; muscle aches; the cost of gas and other commodities along the drive) there’s a ton of positive things (gorgeous views; cold mountain air; nice people I’ve met; wildlife sightings; a new appreciation for geography). I think I’m just really ready to be in Anchorage, now. I’ve got a life to start, and I’d like to get on with starting it.

Patience is not one of my strongest points, though, and I knew that before I started, as well. ;)

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September 2009