Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Escaping to the South

On the 24 we took our chance to escape to the South. We lucked out with mostly dry roads and some sunshine. Just out side of Louisville, KY the truck tire monitor went off. It was indicating that the left front tire was loosing air. Fortunately we were coming up to an exit. We were following Lou and Larry Woodruff. Sue phoned Larry to get off at the next exit. The coordinated tire change went fairly quickly even in the very cold weather. Larry’s help sure did help, Thanks. It turns out the tire had a broken valve stem. We continued on our way to just outside of Nashville where we camped for the night. We had just enough time to setup and drive to the local Wal-Mart and have the tire fixed.

On Saturday we arrived in Mystic Springs Cove Airstream park. What a surprise, Sal and Noreen and others had dinner prepared for us in the clubhouse. We had originally met them at Pennwood last fall. Thanks to all for a fine welcome.

Sunday took us to Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach. We were in time to take a ranger led hike around the fort. We found out that Geronimo had been imprisoned here in 1886. I can’t imagine being in there when the cannons were firing. The sound must have been deafening. The cannon would fire 24 pound lead balls. Fort Pickens is now a National Park. I has wonderful white sand beaches and emerald green water.



See the rest of Fort Pickens here.

Here comes the cold Sunday afternoon the freezing rain started followed by some snow over night. We were safely back in camp. Boy do things close down here with the Ice. It was not possible to go anywhere for two days because the roads and particularly the bridges were closed. The highway departments are not equipped for these conditions. We had an inch of mixed ice and snow as you can see from the pictures.


See the rest of Mystic Cove pictures here.

When we could finally leave we drove back to Fort Pickens where we have spent 4 night. Only had one day  with some sun and the rest were cool and overcast. The major event was a visit to the Navy Aviation Museum. This is a must see if you are in the area and it is FREE.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

We are Home.

After 20,000 miles we are home. Our welcome home is in the upper 80s and upper 80% humidity. The Air in the house was not working and thus we needed to spend another night driveway camping. We got lucky that the only problem was a relay in the furnace.

The other problem was the Honda’s battery was dead. A recharge and a check of the battery and all is fine.

One last minor problem is the ice maker and water in the refrig are not working. Will have to check it our latter.

Really did not know how much work it was to move back in. Sue is really happy to be back home.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Waterton Lakes/Glacier National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park is located north of Glacier National Park and this was our first visit to Waterton Lakes.  We stayed at Waterton Springs Campground which was located 2 km from the park entrance and was conveniently located near the Bison Paddock where you could drive through to see a herd of Bison.  Since we were so close, we drove through the paddock several times in hopes of getting some good photos.  We did not anticipate being completely surrounded by bison.  The real photo op would have been to be able to take a picture of our truck surrounded by these huge beasts.

Waterton was a sweet park.  The national park campground was located in the center of town where you could walk or bike to the lake and various shops and restaurants.  Deer roamed freely through the town.  While we were there, several of the native tribes were having a pow wow and we enjoyed watching their ceremonial dances. We took the shuttle to Red Rock Canyon, hiked around the canyon and to the falls.  It was a very pretty area, but definitely on a much smaller scale than the other national parks we had visited.

Since the route home was going right by Glacier National Park we felt compelled to stop one night at St. Mary at the east entrance and make the trip up Logan Pass for the views.  We hiked a little of the Highline trail in hopes of seeing sheep or goats as we had on previous visits.  However, it was afternoon and very warm, so we did not see any wildlife but we still enjoyed the beautiful  views.

Tomorrow we will officially start the hike home!

The pictures are here.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mount Robson – Jasper – Banff

The campground at Mt. Robson was very wooded with generous spaces and it was beautiful.  After setting up camp we went to see if the salmon were spawning at Rearguard falls.  We spent an hour fascinated with the salmon's determination to make it upstream and up and over the falls. Don't even ask how many pictures we took this time!


How could we not stop at Jasper and Lake Louise when we were sooo close!  This is one of the most awesome places we have ever been and so we spent 3 nights at Wapiti Campground in Jasper and visited some of our favorite spots--Maligne Lake, Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon.  We also explored the road that led to the east entrance of the park and saw a bunch of bighorn sheep and elk.


We also spent 3 nights at Lake Louise Campground which brought back so many fun memories of camping here when the kids were little.  Hiking to Mirror Lake (so named because the goats are said to come to the lake to groom their beards) and the Lake Agnes teahouse, strolling through the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and hiking around Moraine Lake filled our 2 days in the area.  It was also fun to reconnect with our travelling partners, Dave and Susi, at Lake Louise.


The rest of the pictures are here.

We headed towards Waterton Lakes National Park, which is an area that we have never been.  One more National Park...

Nest it will be on to Glacier NP. You may have guessed that we are heading home finally. We have had a wonderful trip with outstanding weather. We have been so lucky the whole trip even with our times with the crud. I hope you have enjoyed our exploits at least partially as much as we have.  Will be looking forward to seeing everyone soon.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Valdez to Hyder

After a couple of rainy days for Terry to recoup, we headed to Tok. The day was overcast therefore leading to no interesting pictures. At that point we were just covering miles. We decided to stay at Tok RV park instead of the Sourdough since the Sourdough was not what we remembered from our trip in 2007. The entertainment was not up to speed.

The worst part of the drive is from the US boarder crossing to Beaver Creek. That portion of the road is terrible. We were told it had gotten so bad because of Washington budgets cuts. Since Canada has no residents along this part of the road they have little motive for fixing it alone. In all fairness they were working on parts of it but it is going to take a long time to finish without additional funds. Just take a look at the truck and trailer after this stretch.

Next stop was Whitehorse. This is a great resupply point. They even have a Walmart here. We visited the fish ladder at the dam. The Coho Salmon were just beginning to run here. Great fun to watch them come through the ladder. Next stop was to revisit the SS Klondike Paddle boat. This year it was a free self guided tour. For fist class passengers this was a great way to travel the Yukon River. Last but not least we had to visit Miles Canyon and hike up along it. We could not do the hike last time around.


From Whitehorse it was Down the Cassiar Highway to Hyder with a stop in our favorite park Shadow Mountain. By the way the road is in great shape. We understand it has become the favored truck route since it is shorter that the Alaskan Highway. I guess that is why they are continuing to improve it.


Because of our fresh water tank problems we stayed in Stuart, BC and drove the 6 miles to Hyder and the Fish Creek Bear viewing platform. As you can see we were successful in seeing Brown bears at the creek. Also saw black bears in Hyder and on our drive to Salmon Glacier. Salmon Glacier is the fifth largest glacier in Canada. It impressed us as much this time as last. We could only spend two day here as all campsites in the area were reserved because of caravans coming to town. This turned out to be ok since Sue came down with the crud. We stop by the clinic to have here looked at but it was going to cost $800 just to have here seen. The suggested that we go to Prince George as they would be more reasonable.


In Prince George we get our first hand look at Canadian Medical Care. The clinic is only open from 4pm to 10pm.  We arrived at the location at 3:30pm and there was a line of around a dozen people. We thought we are going to be here forever. The opened promptly at 4 and began seeing patients. Within 45 minutes Sue was out the door with prescriptions in hand. No paper work to fill out and just $65. Now they had already processed the dozen of patients ahead. Sue was bothered because the did not take blood pressure or temperature, just asked what was wrong, listened to here chest. She did not know what to think.

Almost forgot the trip from Stuart to Prince George was interrupted for 8 or 9 hours because of a truck car head-on accident which shutdown the Yellowhead. We had seen the car involved earlier in the morning passing us in a construction zone where we were following a pilot car. The woman was in some sort of hurry as she wove in and out of the line of traffic at a high rate of speed. I commented to Sue at the time that that woman was going to cause an accident. The RCMP indicated that see went left of center into the truck. The truck had no where to go as you can see the concrete barrier. The truck driver was unhurt. The car drive was in critical condition. The transported her to Prince George and the life flighted her to Vancouver. We never found out whether she survived.


As usual the rest of the pictures are here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


The drive down to Valdez is one of the most beautiful drives with views of mountains, glaciers, rivers and waterfalls. The average annual snowfall on Thompson Pass which is the route into Valdez is over 50 feet of snow.  As a result, you will see snowfields in the mountains in the middle of the summer contrasting with the abundant green vegetation that thrives as a result of all the precipitation.


We stayed at Bayside RV Park because it has a view of the bay, is located just a block from the small boat harbor and it is easy to walk to any place in town.  It is fun just to walk the harbor in the evening to see the fish that everyone has caught during the day.


We took a boat tour to Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound and saw icebergs, humpback whale, steller sea lions, sea otter, harbor seals, Dall's Porpoise, Puffins, bald ealges,  Murre and Black-Legged Kittiwakes.  The icebergs at Columbia Glacier were  a beautiful blue color.  The weather gods were with us and we had a gorgeous day to be on the water.

We also visited the Solomon Gulch Hatchery where we watched the salmon as they returned to spawn. It is so fascinating to watch thousands of salmon determined to swim up a series of ladders to spawn. I don't even want to try and guess how many pictures we took trying to capture this.  All I can say is thank goodness for digital cameras!  On our way to the Hatchery we were entertained with a Mama Grizzly and her two year old cub catching salmon in a stream.  It was clear that the cub had not perfected the art of catching dinner and it was humorous to watch him. You need to go here to see more pictures and some videos.


We happened to be in Valdez during Gold Rush Days and so we went to the parade.  Some things are the same no matter what town you live in and one of those is the community parade.  They all have the local high school band, boys scouts, dogs, fire engines etc.


Unfortunately, Terry came down with bronchitis while we were in Valdez and we were forced to stay two extra days to give him a chance to recuperate.  Such a sacrifice to have to stay longer is such a beautiful place! The good part was we had wet rainy weather during this part of our stay. We did have to make the trip back to Salmon Gulch to view the bears and fish.

We are now on our way to Hyder Alasak for more bear viewing. You will not hear from us until sometime after that.