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Jim & Bill

Jim (age 69), retired engineer and son Bill (age 45), high school math teacher

Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.



Jun 22, 2015

At Home in Sacramento

Well, the trip is rapidly approaching and my to do list keeps growing. The list of stuff to remember to pack gets longer and longer.

Besides the obvious (food, clothes, COFFEE) you must have cameras, binoculars, computers, phones, and a good GPS. Since Bill and I are going for a month, mostly out in the woods, I'm packing a sanity pack of a couple hundred DVDs to help pass the evenings.

Don't get me wrong, we're not planning on making camp in the deep woods. Instead, we have reservations at RV parks, and public campgrounds along the way. But, we know many of these are in/near one-horse towns that might shutdown early.

Because of past experiences with bears, we know they're out there, and we're planning accordingly. It should only be a concern if we break down along the road and have to spend the night in a randon section of forest. In which case, we'll definitely not be opening a can of Tuna for dinner. Once when I was a child, my Mother opened tuna in Yosemite for lunch. Within 30 minutes we has two black bears and a ranger in our camp!

Now to my major to do items. I've had the RV (see photo) lubed, oil changed, etc. Now I'm checking the living space. Empty, sanitize, and refill the water tank, restock supplies (blue stuff for the holding tank. TP, paper towels, window cleaner). I'm sure I'll add more stuff to the list in the next couple of days.

Next, I'll have my neighborhood tire guy check out the rubber. The RV is 7 years old, and I want to make sure the tires aren't that old. Since I'm the second owner, I was told they were upgraded... but it doesn't hurt to check.

Bill and I had a nice long chat yesterday (Fathers' Day) about our diet, schedule, etc. during the trip. He still doesn't like mayo, but we didn't get around to creamy or crunchy!

Time to get to work - more later

Jim




Jul 03, 2015

Welcome to Yellowstone

The road we took from Arco to Yellowstone led us to Idaho Falls, and the Snake River. Leaving the city we followed the Snake many miles. A one point we passed a dam that created Palisades Reservoir which we paralleled for about 15 miles.

Entering Wyoming, the road turned north. Next stop Jackson. Jackson, or Jackson's Hole as it was known when I was a kid, is now a bustling resort town and a great place for lunch. Just north of town is a large Elk preserve, but alas, no critters today.

Next came Grand Teton National Park (NP). I've been here several times,and although there are many fun things to do here, I usually drive straight through. The are Bison (Buffalo) herds that are usually near a large parking lot along the way. The best part is the view to the west of the Teton mountains.

Almost before you know it you are in Yellowstone. We drove straight to the RV park where would call home for the next 3 nights. After unhitching the car, we discovered that the battery was low, and had to push start the car. Thank goodness for stick shifts.

During the heat of the day we noticed a scarcity of wildlife. But, as we drove to West Yellowstone, MT for dinner, we had several encounters with critters. The first was when a Bison was meandering down the middle of the highway, first on one side of the yellow stripe, and then the other. He finally left the road so we could proceed. The second encounter was also Bison... 20-30 of them grazing next to the road. We spied a few more critters on the way to dinner, but without traffic delays.

After dinner, and shopping, we returned the the RV via a different route. This time we saw more Bison and a goodly size herd of Elk. At one point we watched a herd of 50-75 Bison grazing. Shortly thereafter, we had a major traffic foul up. A ranger came and directed traffic. This was probably a bear, as they cause the biggest traffic snarls in Yellowstone, but we did not see anything.

This posting is also delayed, as the RV park, as most of Yellowstone does not have WIFI or good Cell service.


Jul 04, 2015

Fourth of July in Yellowstone

Happy Fourth of July

Today we tried to see most of the northern half of Yellowstone NP. From the RV park we went over to the lake road, then north toward Canyon Village. Along the way we saw several hundred bison in the Hayden Valley, along with the Mud Volcano and several other interesting geysers. After passing Canyon Village we continued north to the cowboy BBQ. Turning right, we drove into Lamar Valley, where we saw at least 3000 bison and 4 or 5 pronghorn antelope. In all of my visits I've never seen as many bison as we saw today.

After turning around, and returning up the valley, we turned west towards Mammoth. In Mammoth, we shopped and had dinner. Then over to the geothermal area, but alas, there was no parking. So we proceeded south towards Norris. Along the way traffic snarled because of four beautiful elk, including one whose antlers were in velvet. When we got to the Norris junction we went west to the Norris geyser basin, where we hiked out to several geysers and pools.

Back on the road, again, we traveled east from Norris to Canyon Village junction. Then we turned south, heading for home. Along the way we saw a herd of 20-30, or more elk across the river. More traffic issues when a small herd of bison crossed the road, including several babies (photo). Another traffic snarl was caused by a bear (or so we were told) across the river.

It was a long day and I'm tired. I'll not be able to post this until I get a solid Internet connection.





Jul 08, 2015

Oh, The Beautiful Canadian Rockies

Having dined in Banff Village last night, and knowing how crowded the streets were, we avoided town with the RV. We wanted to cover ground, and yet enjoy some of the most spectacular views on the planet, the Canadian Rockies. Banff NP is pretty,but the real scenery is in Jasper NP. Tall, rugged mountain,elegant forests, and lots of water mean the scene changes every mile or so... usually for the better. Its a good thing that I don't use film anymore, because I could not afford all of the great photo-ops Jasper offers.

And, just when you think it could not get any prettier, you arrive at the Columbia Ice Fields. It is a must stop at the facility. Apart from the restaurant, and shop, the stop affords a great view of several large mountain glaciers. There's also a lake at the bottom of the moraine filled with the usual milky colored glacier run-off water. After leaving the Ice Fields stop you discover that just a mile or so north is yet another massive glacial complex.

Continuing north, we finally reached highway 16, where we turned easterly towards Hinton, and our KOA stop for the night. It was along this road that we began spotting large wildlife. Our first sighting was a large doe elk. Next came several bucks right along the side of the road, their horns still in velvet. A little farther along the road we came upon a herd of about 15 mountain goats about 50 yards off the road. A few miles later it was more mountain goats including a “specimen” billy goat leading the herd.

After settling in at the campground, we went into town for dinner and grocery shopping.

Internet access was not bad, when you could get on. The KOA has a satellite feed and supports few concurrent connections, but when you get on, response was good. I would not want to stream a movie over it, however.


Jul 09, 2015

The Big Horn Road North

This morning, after rising early, Bill did a load or two of laundry before we headed into town. We made a stop at the Visitor Information Center. The lady that waited on us was very helpful... showing us several interesting pamphlets, including the North To Alaska map and the Ultimate Road Trip brochure. I explained how I was writing this blog for the North To Alaska web site. She was very interested in how to view the site and read the blogs. We also purchased an “official” Alberta road map for $2.

After filling the tank, and a quick stop at Tim Horton's, we headed north up the scenic route to Alaska, hwy 40, aka The Big Horn road. The road is well maintained, and fairly flat, with a few grades down to cross rivers, and back up again. We followed 40 to Grand Prairie where we diverted from the “Rocky Mountain Route” to go north on hwy 35 to Manning, AB.

Along the way we saw very few animals, zero big horn sheep, one deer and 4 elk in a safflower field.

The road north from Grand Prairie was uneventful, consisting mostly of grain and safflower fields.

About the photo of the day... As we traveled up hwy 40 we came upon a small forest fire that had already jumped the road and was spreading easterly. Borate bombers (fire fighting airplanes) and ground crews were already on-site. Here's hoping the contain/control it rapidly. Wildfires quickly get out of control in Canada due to remoteness.

About Internet. The last WIFI we had access to was in Grimshaw at dinner. We have cell service in Manning, but no WIFI and we don't expect to have it for the next 3 days or so.


Jul 10, 2015

The Long Green Road

This morning, after gassing up, we departed Manning and headed north on hwy 35. This segment was through farm land and forest, mostly straight roads, an easy drive. The trip was uneventful, sighting only one elk, too far away to really identify its gender, and a couple dozen hawks on telephone poles. After another gas stop (rule in the remote sections of wilderness is to drive on the top half of your tank) we continued on to the 60th parallel, and the NWT border. We stopped for a break in the visitor information station for brochures, maps, and a new tee shirt of the famous 60th parallel sign. We were immediately accosted by a swarm of deer flies. Pesky critters!!!

Arriving at Twin Falls Gorge campground we noticed the flies had been joined by some bee-looking bugs and mosquitoes. We set up camp at the Louise Falls campground quickly, as there is only electricity (hydro as the call it here). Then we unhitched and drove into Hay River for a glimpse of the Great Slave Lake, dinner, and shopping. The lake looks easily as big as one of the great lakes in the US. Standing on the beach, looking towards Yellowknife, is was kinda like standing on the beach at Malibu and trying to find Japan on the horizon. The town offers at least 3 dining establishments, all equally hard to find. There's a good grocery store on the right as you enter town, open 7:00AM 'til midnight. We bought some pastry in their bakery for breakfast. Yum!

It's now after 10:00PM in the NWT, and the sun looks like there's still a couple hours of daylight left (UGH!!!).

As for Internet and Cell... The campground has cell service, as does Hay River. The campground office had WIFI this afternoon, but it was shut off when the office closed at 8:30 PM.


Jul 11, 2015

The Long Brown Road

This morning started as usual... fresh pastry and coffee for breakfast. Then I took a walk down to Louise Falls, a very pretty sight to see, shot some pictures, and returned to prep for departure. The morning's bugs were light, consisting mostly of mosquitoes.

After a gas stop in Enterprise (a must), we headed out hwy 1 in a westerly direction. Shortly after passing the hwy 3 turnoff the pavement ended. Usually, one might think a dirt road is rough, and slow. The next 200-odd miles were mostly flat, smooth, and fast. Some sections were either watered, or otherwise treated to minimize the dust. There was very little to see along the way. Two highway junctions (hwy 3 & hwy 7) were all hwy 1 offered. The hwy 7 intersection was paved, but the road returned to dirt in just 100 feet or so. The nearest towns were quite a ways off the road (Jean Marie River -17 miles, and Fort Simpson – 36 miles). There were no gas stations, stores, or other services on this road, only in the two towns mentioned. We may have missed a few waterfalls along the way, but they would have been off the road some distance. We saw very few vehicles going in either direction, however we did encounter a cyclist peddling along all by himself. I don't know from whence he came or his destination, but I applaud his courage for passing this way. I know he had to spend several nights on this road. Hopefully, he was able to use the few shelters that the Territory had scattered along the route.

At Blackstone campground we discovered that this facility, although a beautiful, well maintained campground for tent campers, etc. lacked facilities... no water, sewer, electricity, cell or WIFI, just a small number of campsites and a boat ramp on the Liard River.

This route through the North West Territories is kinda boring. It's sorta flat, sweeping curves, mostly in forest, with few water features along the way. Oh, did I mention the highway was dirt (mostly well maintained, but still dirt). We did stop in the middle of the bridge for pictures at both Bouvier and Trout Creeks (very pretty). If you're not into dirt road driving, don't come this way... take the more classic route identified as the “Rocky Mountain Route” in the North To Alaska documents.

Today's photo shows the intrepid cyclist on the dirt highway out in the middle of nowhere.


Jul 12, 2015

Pavement, At Last

After breakfast (cold leftovers, 'cause I didn't want to cook or fire up the generator) we broke camp and headed toward Fort Liard. At the turnoff we headed west into town, about 4-5 miles off the highway. The RV took a big drink at the Liard Fuel Centre, about 180 litres (45 gallons). Once again, try to drive on the top half of the tank... but unless you left the highway, this is the first gas stop since Enterprise. Proceeding back to hwy 7, and south to BC we finally found pavement (new asphault) a few miles before the BC/NWT border (Yea!!!).

Suddenly, our mood got better, and the scenery more interesting as we approached the BC border. We were sorta disappointed that the border was unlike the Alberta/NWT border (no great sign, no information station, no park), just a metal highway sign welcoming you to BC. In an hour or so we came to a tee intersection at the Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to the left, and Alaska somewhere to the right. Getting low on fuel, we stopped at a sure thing, the most expensive fuel stop, so far, with gas (I assume 87 octane regular) at $1.49 Canadian per litre. Had we known, we could have easily make it to Toad River, our overnight stop, with a restaurant, small store, and fuel.

Toad River Lodge and RV Park is an oasis in the wilderness. Although there is no cell service in the area, they do have quite serviceable WIFI, and full hookups for the RV. Bill and I even watched chuck wagon racing on TV from Calgary.

Today's photo is our first glimpse of the Canadian Rockies after days in the prairie, and rolling, but flat forest.


Jul 13, 2015

Animals In The Mountains

Toad River was a nice place to stay. But, first thing this AM we packed up and headed for Watson Lake, YT. The drive was beautiful. Grand views of the Canadian Rockies, lots of water – rivers & lakes galore, and lots of wildlife.

Our first wildlife sighting was right along the shoulder of the hwy. We came across a small herd of 8 - 10 mountain goats – nannies & kits.

Our next encounter was with wood bison. About a dozen of the critters were laying down in the grass along the edge of the road. A few miles later more bison. This time about 7 of them crossing the road in front of us and jogging along the right shoulder. The third sighting was a solitary bison in a big dust wallow. The forth and final sighting of the day was about two dozen animals. Most were on the south side of the road, lazing around after grazing all morning. About 5 members of the herd, probably the bachelor herd, were across the road. They were behaving as typical young bulls, head butting each other, etc.

Our final sighting of the day was a young black bear, sitting in the tall grass across the hwy. I imagine he might be still sitting there, if it weren't for some crazy passing our parked RV well over the speed limit. That panicked the bear, and it ran off.

Today's photo is four of the young bull bison, two of them locked in head-to-head combat.

About our overnight stop... Downtown RVP is a parking lot with hookups. Everything works, but there are no trees, picnic tables,or similar niceties. They do have a large laundry area, nice flushable facilities/showers for both genders, and a cooked-on-site BBQ dinner starting at 5:00PM. I have yet to try any of these offerings.

The town does have good cell service, and there's free WIFI at the visitor center by the Sign Post Forest (this ya gotta see!!!).

Started in1942 by US Army troops building then AlCan Highway, The Sign Post Forest was meant to bring home a little closer to the god forsaken land in which they were building a top secret road.

The last published count in September, 2013 showed over 78000 signs in the forest.



Jul 15, 2015

On The Road, At Last

Well, today was trying, at best. Last night we left the Subaru at a garage, with brake issues. Unfortunately, we had no reservation for their time, and they were going to work us in. Last night they thought they'd get to the car by 10:00 AM, then they said 1:00 PM, and they finally got to it at 4:00 PM. I'd diagnosed the issue as a result of our 200-300 miles of dirt road in the NWT. They quickly concurred, and, voile, the issue was resolved. Had I packed the correct tools, I could have done the repair myself.

Getting the car back at almost 5:00 PM had messed up our travel plans, so I got on the computer and devised an alternative solution. Instead of going to Dawson City, and Chicken on our way to Fairbanks, we'd stay on the Alaska Highway and go through Tok, AK. We had a wonderful dinner to prepare us for our travels in Whitehorse, at the Yukon Inn, then hit the road. We knew we would have sunlight until ~11:00 PM, so we decided to drive as far as we could before dark, and then find a place to stay (the computer showed me that there were several options along the way). So at about 10:45 PM we pulled into “Discovery Yukon Lodgings”, a few miles east of Beaver Creek, where a nice lady showed us to our space for the night.

Once on the road we were treated to many beautiful views of mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes. At first, we thought the wildlife had gone into hiding do to the small storm that graced us with its presence. But, then we started seeing them. At first is was just ground squirrels and a rabbit. Then I spotted a coyote running towards us on the shoulder, but it veered into the brush before my camera could capture it. A little while I spotted two more coyotes running along the edge of the forest, but again, no photo.

Our next sighting took place a few minutes later. Bill & I both saw something crossing the road way off in front of us. The color (in the fading light) looked coyote, but the shape was all wrong. I realized it was a grizzly bear. It trotted off into the brush along side of the road. We stopped on the shoulder near where the bear had entered the brush. We figured sighting over, but in a few seconds we spied the critter munching on grass/flowers, and digging for something. The cameras came out and we spent the next several minutes watching the bear digging for food and munching away.

Today's photo is, you guessed it, our first grizzly sighting.

About Internet and cell service. The RVP has satellite internet, and it is quite welcome. No cell service for miles. Perhaps that will improve tomorrow, when we enter Alaska.

The moral for today is: Always plan ahead, but be prepared to alter course, if the situation requires it.




Jul 18, 2015

Its Raining, Its Pouring, And I'm Not Even Snoring

The title says it all. Rained most of last night in Fairbanks. Dry in the AM, so we didn't get soaked while breaking camp, hooking up the car and getting gasoline. Just out of town it started to rain, not a downpour, but steady rain. Now we're in our campground, Riley Creek in Denali NP. No hookups, but a nice place, anyway. Unhitched the tow car in the rain before driving to our camp site. Next I got my inverter hooked up to the batteries, but, alas, its too small to power the coffee maker, toaster, or microwave. More bad planning on my part. I'll add that to my to do list. The generator, you ask... well it's been on the fritz, and there are quiet hours when you can't run it.

Enough griping... The drive from Fairbanks to Denali was short, about 120 miles. Even in the rain, the drive was pretty. There's a construction zone that lasts 5-10 miles, where they're repaving the road.

The towns around here have really grown since my first visit here a dozen years ago. Healy is now a boom town, and the village around Denali is really busy.

As if the Subaru wasn't dirty enough we drove around for a while on wet roads to see what we could see. The critters must be all bedded down because of the rain. We were beginning to believe that the most ferocious beast we'd see all day was a ground squirrel. But then our luck changed. We spotted what looked like a beaver swimming in a pond. Next came a cow moose standing near another pond.

Next we decided to drive the 15 miles of park road that we're allowed on. No critters on the way out, but we did see a bull moose crossing a wide rocky creek. By the time we got the car stopped and the cameras out he had vanished into the bush.

Today's photo is the cow moose, taken from the highway.


Jul 19, 2015

Tundra Wilderness Tour

Breakfast, today, was not exactly dining in style, but it did the job. We ate at Morino's Cafe in the visitor center complex of Denali NP. We had lots of time to kill, since our bus tour of the park road didn't leave 'til almost 2:00PM. The WIFI at the cafe was good, allowing me to post yesterday's blog very quickly.

After breakfast, we headed into town looking for a charm for my granddaughter's bracelet. This was one of the several things we did when the grand kids traveled with us. The National Parks Passport was another thing the kids loved. If you're traveling with children, the passport is a way to keep up their interest. Most NPs, Monuments, etc. have a place where they can stamp their passport, like when we travel abroad. Unfortunately, charms appear to be a out of date as last month's newspaper.

At 1:40 PM we boarded the Tundra Wilderness Tour bus at the Wilderness Center. The tour lasts 7-8 hours and takes you over 50 miles into the park on the only road. The road actually goes about 90 miles into the park, with several stops (campgrounds, rest areas, etc.) along the way. OBTW, the bus ride includes a box lunch... almost as tasty as the box, itself (note pack a sandwich, a piece of fruit, an a drink or two). If you want to go on a tour bus, or one of the shuttles, make your reservations well in advance on the web site.

The tour starts out on a 15 mile stretch of paved road, that you can drive on, that traverses through areas frequented by moose. After the ranger checkpoint, it's all dirt road. A bit later someone claimed to have spotted a moose. The driver stopped the bus, and we all scanned the hillside. It may have been one, but I never saw it. As we proceeded into the park we stopped for several bear sightings, mostly very far away. At one point I spotted a small herd of caribou on the hillside. When the bus stopped we learned herds of the beasts were rare this time of year, as they're pretty solitary in the mid-summer. At one of the rests, a visitor center on the Toklat River, someone spotted a pair of critters on the mountain, above. With binoculars, and two spotting scopes installed at the center we could see that they were Dahl Sheep. They were tiny specks on the green hill to the naked eye. After driving to the turn-around point, we returned to the Toklat River stop. This time, the sheep were still up on the hill, but we also spotted a grizzly across the river on another hill. When we departed the rest area the driver stopped the bus near the bear for a much better look.

The rest of the return ride was mostly viewing the magnificent countryside that is Denali NP. Stopping at the top of Polychrome pass, we could easily see why it got its name. The rocks take on many vibrant colors. The view is spectacular. As the clouds thinned we could catch glimpses of the snow-covered mountains of the Alaska range. Awesome!!! In case I hadn't mentioned it, its been raining a lot this summer in Denali. We did not get a reprieve. Most of the high mountains were totally obscured from view. Up here that have a thing called the 30%-ers. Less than one third of people who come to Denali ever see the mountain because of clouds.

As we returned towards our point of origin, someone spotted a moose browsing on willow tree. The bus stopped for a better look. We then realized it was a large male. Moments later a second moose, also a large bull, appeared out of the woods behind the first. We watched for several minutes as they peacefully munched on willow leaves. This was the best moose sighting I've ever experienced.

Today's photo is, what else, the two jumbo moose.



Jul 21, 2015

Great Day For A Boat Ride

We got up early today, ate breakfast in the RV and took off in the Subaru for Whittier. It is about an hour and half drive to the tunnel, and we wanted to make sure we made the 10:30AM group through it. For those unfamiliar with the tunnel, it was built as part of the war effort in WW II in case Alaska needed an alternate supply route. The tunnel is wide/high enough for a single train car, with tracks down the middle. Cars and trains share the tunnel, each with designated times. Cars/trucks/RVs departing Whittier leave on the hour, and those heading to Whittier leave on the half hour.

Along the way we spotted two small herds of mountain goats that live on the cliff south of Anchorage. We were in a hurry, knowing missing the 10:30 tunnel meant an hour delay, so we didn't stop for photos. Our haste was based on the need to check in for a 12:30 PM sailing on the 26 Glaciers Tour on Prince William Sound.

The boat ride lasts about 5 hours. It covers around 140 miles of water, and visits 26 glaciers, and other points of interest. The boat has a ranger from the Chugach National Forest on board to explain the sights, history, spot wild life, and even conduct a Junior Ranger program for the kiddies. The trip includes lunch, and a late afternoon snack (cookie).

While on the boat we saw a Humpback Whale, Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otters, and perhaps 10,000 Black-legged Kittiwakes (birds) in a rookery. The Sea Lions were basking on an island, the Seals were hauled out onto ice flows, and the Sea Lions were just floating around eating, or diving for food. The Eagles were all sitting in trees, until we approached, then they took wing. The whale spouted, and then came up for air and then dived, showing us a great view of its back, dorsal fin, and a tail slap.

The glaciers are of several different types,based on how they fit the landscape. Tidal glaciers come right down to the water's edge. The Surprise Glacier was phenomenal. There were significant ice flows from the glacier, many with Harbor Seals on them. There are many non-tidal glaciers that the geologists have categorized, but the types escape me. Needless to say, they all result in creeks, and waterfalls below them. Many of these waterfalls would be named, if not for the large, named mass of ice that created them. Some of these waterfalls rival those in places like Yosemite.

All in all, we perceived the money spent for the boat tour to be an excellent expenditure.

Returning to Anchorage was quite a chore. Five hours on a boat can be tiring. We managed to locate one of the two mountain goat habitats, and got a few photos. I also snapped a couple of pictures of the salmon fishermen on a creek we crossed over.

Today's photo is of the Surprise Glacier.




Jul 24, 2015

The Long Road Home Begins

Today's venture starts the long journey home. We've been to Tok before, passing through there on our way to Fairbanks, on the16th. After a grocery stop in Palmer, the journey began, in earnest.

Soon we saw a sign for the Musk Ox Farm. We did not stop, as I have been there in the past. These large creatures are native to the very cold, far north. They are raised for their hair, a softer than angora hair that is obtained by combing the animals with a special comb. The hair is then spun into thread/yarn, and then transformed into usable items, such as sweaters, hats, etc.

After passing by the farm we drove for a half to one hour before reaching the Matanuska Glacier. This thing is huge! You used to be able to buy admission and walk on the glacier. I talked to a man on the Whittier boat ride who said he had taken a helicopter ride that landed on the glacier so they could get out and walk it. We slowed and took photos.

After the glacier we proceeded on towards Tok. We stopped at a roadside rest near an area called Sheep Mountain. I put the telescope on the hill and spotted what appeared to be a small herd of big horn sheep high on the mountain. After watching for a few minutes, I was sure, as the small white specks were moving. Soon they disappeared. Although I did get some photos, all that really shows are the tiny specks.

We stopped in Glennallen at the information center, and discovered that the Wrangell-St. Elias NP visitor center is located ~10 miles south of town. We also learned that there were no real roads into the park. We opted for photos of the magnificent mountains that the park features.

We're now in the Tok RV Village. Cell service is minimal. I haven't tried the Internet, as we only get one free hour, then the fees kick in (Ugh!).

Dinner was at one of two interesting looking place in Tok. Fast Eddie's is probably as close to a 4-star restaurant as you can find in rural Alaska. They have pizza, steak, burgers, and more. After dinner the RV park had a free country & western concert that we did not attend.

Today's picture is Some of the Wrangell-St. Elias NP's mountains. I'm not sure which ones are which, but they dominate the view along the highway for many miles.




Jul 27, 2015

A Very Long Day

Bill and I took off from Dease Lake somewhat early. There was no cell service and poor WIFI, so not much to keep us there. We decided, along the way, that we'd stretch the drive as far as practical. We'd been averaging just under 400 miles a day, be both felt good, so we pushed it. Our real goal was to make some time ups so we could spend time in Seattle, not a part of the original plan.

The roads in BC were good, with minimal construction, and NO lengthy dirt stretches. The views should have been great, except for the rain, which we finally outran around lunch.

Today was critter day! It started slow, first a baby bear (that's what the boy scouts call ground squirrels and chipmunks), but then we spied a grizzly, just 30 feet from the edge of the road. We had cars behind us so we could not stop for a photo. A little while later we came upon a small black bear eating something beside the road. As we passed the bear it dived into the shrubs. Bill stopped and watched for a few seconds, and then said “it must be good stuff, 'cause the bears back munching”. I slipped out of the RV, and with the zoom extended, got today's photo. A little farther down the road we came upon more road kill, this time with a big hawk dining. Our next sighting was a Caribou in a field eating. We stopped and I walked back up the road for photos.

Lunch, and a much needed fuel stop was at Kitwanga. The road got better as we transitioned from hwy 37 to Canada hwy 16. The drive was somewhat uneventful. After a brief stop for a dinner in Vanderhoof, we journeyed onward.

As is usually the case, as we left town saw saw the game crossing warnings along the road, and laughed about them. I was checking the map, when Bill slammed on the brakes. I looked to see what the matter, and watched a big cow moose amble across the highway in front of us. Way too close for comfort. Within two minutes, we had a buck deer running along beside the RV. As we were chatting about that buck, we saw a doe on the other side of the road, about a mile later Wow! What an evening.

We arrived in Prince George after dark,and quickly located one of the RV parks we'd looked up while at dinner. No pull thrus available, so we moved on. Eureka! The second one had a space, which we gladly took. The office was closed and dark, so I settled up in the morning.



Jul 29, 2015

Back Home In The USA

Today's journey was a short one. Less than 50 km after departing our Chilliwack home, we left Canada 1, for the border. The Sumas port of entry is just 3 km south on hwy 11. I favor this port because it generally is bypassed in favor of the Lyndon or I-5 ports of entry. Once back in the US, there are only a couple of dozen miles of farm hwy before you're on I-5 South. Normally, when traveling this area you see Bald Eagles... but not today. It must be a raptor holiday. The views of Mt Baker were, however, great. I would have said perfect if it were not for the haze.

Once on I-5 the view is much like that along most of the sterile interstate roads. Some roadside businesses, malls, Indian Casinos, etc., but nothing too great. Soon Seattle and Mt. Rainier came into view. These are the best sights of the day, yet the haze hampered good photos. Soon we were at our destination, the Kent KOA. After setting up camp for the night and unhitching, we ventured out for lunch and some tourism in Seattle.

Lunch was a local BBQ, just down the street from the KOA. BBQ Pete's was good tasting BBQ, cheap, and fast. We then drove into Seattle. I wanted to stop at the company that makes this blog possible and thank them for this opportunity, but alas, they're just a block or so from baseball stadium and there was a game this afternoon. That caused parking to be at a premium for many blocks around. So we drove uptown towards the centers of tourism. There were so many people on the streets, and almost no parking spaces, that we settled for a cruise about, then headed back to Kent.

I suspect that Seattle, like many other big cities, is best navigated by public transport. Drive to somewhere that you can catch a bus, train, light-rail, whatever they have, and then go from there, This has worked well for me in places like Washington DC, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco. Unfortunately, this trip is too fast to allow me to test this theory.

Today's photo is of the Space Needle, a symbol of Seattle since 1962.


Jul 30, 2015

California, Here I Come

Well, it wasn't planed to be a long day,. I dropped Bill off at Seatac (airport) for his ride home so he could make an urgent meeting. After returning to the KOA, hitching up, and breaking camp I headed out, my goal being an RV park in Southern Oregon.

The day was beautiful, but threatened to be warm. Once clear of the Seattle traffic it was smooth sailing heading south on I-5. There's not much to see along most Interstates, so there's little to mention. First was a hazy view if Mount Rainier, soon Mount St. Helens was in view, also hazy (sense a theme, here). Next thing I know I'm in Oregon. Never did see Mount Hood. Portland traffic was medium to heavy, so I took the I-205 bypass. I'm not sure how good an idea that was, but at least I avoided downtown traffic. My planned stop for the night was coming up fast, so I called ahead and cancelled my reservation. Southern Oregon was bathed in a blanket of smoke and haze, so I decided to travel as far as I could today.

My plan was simple... drive as far as I could before yahning, then find a suitable stopping place. I stopped in Weed for fuel and a snack, knowing I was good to go all the way home, if necessary. I snapped a few photos of Mount Shasta, through the haze. Proceeding south, the miles flew by. As day became evening, and ultimately night I knew I could make it safely home. I finally arrived at 10:05 PM, far later than I wanted, but at least I was home.

Today's photo is of Mount Shasta, in the haze or smoke.