Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010 Taneytown, Maryland

Today, Sunday, we finished our trip but not without incident. As we tried to leave the campground at Beaver Falls we found our motorhome hung-up. It had rained last night and we were told that on Friday night there had been quite a downpour. We were parked in a grassy area that with little effort became mud. Larry and Tom tried putting boards under the wheels but no luck. The campground owner arrived on the scene, saw the problem and got his tractor. A little tow with the tractor did the trick. We then learned that this area that we were parked in had been torn up recently when a man in a motorhome drove away from the site still hooked-up to the water and electric tearing out the underground plumbing. No wonder the ground was a little soft.
We drove down I-79 to I-68 in West Virginia. We stopped for fuel at a gas station in West Virginia and then decided to eat lunch at the restaurant in this gas plaza. It was sunny and quite warm when we went into the restaurant but that quickly changed. It became very dark, there were loud claps of thunder, then the winds got blowing and the rain came down in buckets in every direction. Service was rather slow so by the time we were finished eating the rain had eased up. Larry and Joanne parted company with us at this point as we all headed for home. We did have to drive in rain all the way to Hagerstown. Our motorhome does not drive well in rain, never has, and we had mountains to go over in addition but we made it.
When we got home it was hot, the house was really hot. Tom thought he had set the thermostat for the A.C. to be activated but apparently that didn't happen. It takes a long while to cool down a hot house. As we cleaned out the motorhome we kept the generator running so we had A.C. keeping it cool. We even ate a light supper out there instead of in the house. Tom also discovered that the hot water heater in the basement was leaking when he saw a puddle of water on the floor.
We had a wonderful trip. Today was our 80th day on the road for this trip as we traveled 10,920 miles. Larry and Joanne were good company to share this trip with. We traveled together from the time we met up in Illinois in May until today. I have a tee shirt that has the following written on it- "RVing...It's a journey, not a destination". This trip was indeed a Journey.

Friday & Saturday, July 23 & 24, 2010- Frankenmuth, Michigan & Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Friday morning we left St. Ignace, Michigan and traveled south a little more than 200 miles to the”Bavarian” town of Frankenmuth, Michigan.  Larry, Tom and I had been to Frankenmuth before but Joanne had never been here.   We arrived there about noon in time for lunch.  After checking in and setting up the motorhome we went into the town to Zehnder’s Restaurant, famous for their chicken dinners served family style.  We all ate the chicken dinners- appetizers of cottage cheese, pickles, creamy cole slaw, small rounds of toast with cheese spread and pate, then the main course of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, gravy and mixed vegetables, homemade breads, and then ice cream for dessert.  Yummy!!!  After eating we walked about the huge gift /bakery shop in the lower level of the restaurant.   In the evening, after catching a nap in the afternoon, we stopped by a sausage store that had almost any kind of sausage desired.   Then we stopped at a General Store that had a little of everything it seemed including a tee shirt with a moose on it that Joanne’s daughter had requested late in our trip.  Bronner’s Christmas store, probably the largest Christmas store, was our next stop.  Bronner’s has just about anything imaginable for Christmas – ornaments of every description.  After all that shopping we ended the evening by going to the outdoor beer garden at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant.  A woman accordion player/singer along with a man playing the fiddle and also singing provided the entertainment.  Several folks danced to the mainly polka music.   It was hot and humid this day and looked threatening off and on during the day.

Saturday morning was a little rainy as we left Frankenmuth.  The weather forecast was for heavy rain and wind in this area but we only had light rain in our travels south through Michigan into Ohio- apparently we were ahead of the bad weather.  From Ohio we traveled east on the turnpike into Pennsylvania  where we stopped at Beaver Falls for the night- 330 plus miles.  Harts Content Campground is about the only available campground in this area, luckily there was 2 sites available.  This campground is about 12 miles off the turnpike.  We are considering going a route other than the turnpike from here.  The turnpike has increased the tolls to more than it is worth to travel through construction and bad roads.  It is  hot and humid here but we are hearing that the weather at home is extremely hot with health advisories.  I think we should have stayed in the north area longer but we also feel that we are ready to get home.  A thunderstorm moved through the campground about 9pm this evening.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday, July 22,2010- Mackinac Island

Today we sailed to the Island of Mackinac, well, we took a boat over to the island.  Twice a day at this time of the year (10 & 11am) the Shepler boats travel under the Mackinac Bridge on the way to the island and we were on this trip this morning. 

From Michigan 2010-07-22
It adds a little more time to the trip but the cost is the same.  It’s a nice addition to the trip.  On the island we took a carriage ride tour which lasted about 2 hours and was a nice tour. 
From Michigan 2010-07-22
Starting out we were given a tour of the city area and then we changed carriages and toured the state park area
From Michigan 2010-07-22
and finally we made a third change to return back to the city area.  The first 2 young men doing the tours were entertaining with their information and jokes.  The last young man was rude and mumbled to himself about hating his job and did not handle the horses well.  A complaint about this young man’s behavior was made to someone in charge- hopefully, he will get his behavior corrected.   We had lunch at “Millie’s on Main” and then walked about the shops on our way back to the dock where we caught a boat taking us back to St. Ignace.  The day was overcast and cool  but comfortable for touring.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 20 & 21, 2010- Escanaba & St. Ignace, Michigan

Tuesday we traveled 277 miles from Superior, Wisconsin to Escanaba, Michigan.  Superior is along Lake Superior and Escanaba is along Lake Michigan.   This area is in the far north of United States, nice in the summer but probably not the best in winter.  There are many snow mobile trails so I surmise there is a lot of snow in the winter.  No major cities along the way only occasional small towns, between the towns are wooded areas.  We camped in a county campground, Pioneer Trail Campground.  Tom and I had camped here previously and I’m sorry to say that it is obvious that money is not being put into the upkeep of this campground.  We had to look hard to find sites that were satisfactory and this park is in a pretty, quiet area.   Seeing others washing their RVs and not seeing anything about not washing RVs we all took this opportunity to give our motorhome and Larry and Joanne their 5th wheel a good washing.  As we washed these RVs a storm arose but we were able to finish the job- just had additional help rinsing.

Wednesday we motored across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from Escanaba to St. Ignace- small towns, wooded areas and then along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  St. Ignace is a resort town as it is in the Mackinaw area and south of Sault St. Marie.  After getting into the Tiki RV Park we drove up to Sault St. Marie to the Soo Locks. 

From Michigan 2010-07-21
Lucky for us, two ships entered the locks from opposite directions- one going from Lake Huron to Lake Superior and the other going from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. 
From Michigan 2010-07-21
Lake Superior is 21 feet higher than Lake Huron so in the locks the ships were either elevated or lowered 21 feet depending on from where and to where they were going.  There are 4 locks so more than one ship at a time can go through the locks.  After topping the afternoon off with ice cream we returned to the campground.  Today was a beautiful, bright sunny day with a nice breeze that kept the temperatures in the comfortable zone.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010 Superior, Wisconsin

Casselton, North Dakota through Minnesota and just into Wisconsin at Superior (east of Duluth,Mn.)was our trip of 280 plus miles today. Our route today was on secondary roads, mainly Minnesota Route 10, so we traveled through little towns along the way. We made a stop at a WalMart to replenish our food supply this morning and another stop to eat lunch in our RV's. Leaving Minnesota we drove across a bridge over a bay of Lake Superior into the state of Wisconsin. It was cloudy most of the day with occasional sprinkles of rain. We could really feel the humidity this evening, the most that we have felt all summer. I guess we are being conditioned for our return to Maryland. We are camped at Northland RV Park, south of Superior, Wisconsin, which is almost filled tonight.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010 Casselton, North Dakota

Sunday morning we left the Medora area heading further east to Casselton, North Dakota about 300 miles. Casselton is about 15 miles west of Fargo, the last town in North Dakota before crossing into Minnesota. After moving away from the badland area we were again in farm country- grain fields but also corn fields. Another beautiful sunny, pleasant day for traveling. We are camped for the night at Governor's Inn and RV Park. We were given coupons for 10% off dinners at the restaurant and then told that on Sundays the restaurant closes at 2pm. Dah!! And we had planned to eat there this evening. Oh well, we cooked in tonight. Tomorrow on eastward through Minnesota. We have decided to continue east across the Upper Pennisula of Michigan before going south through Michigan to Ohio.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday and Saturday, July 16 & 17, 2010 Medora, North Dakota

Friday we left Malta, Montana and traveled east 280 miles across farm lands of grain fields until in eastern Montana where the badlands appeared. Shortly after cross into North Dakota we were in Medora, a favorite stopping area for Tom and me. The Medora Campground did not have any sites with 30 or 50 amp. electric. It was a hot day, temps in the 90's, so we needed to have adequate electric for air conditioning. The staff at Medora Campground called Red Trail Campground to see if there were electric sites available there and fortunately there were. So after getting settled into a campsite at Red Trail we went to the ticket junction in Medora to get tickets for the Friday evening Pitchfork Steak Fondue and Medora Musical. At 6pm we went to the Pitchfork Steak Fondue on a butte overlooking the valley below.
From North Dakota 2010-07-16
At the Fondue steaks, 12 ounce rib eyes or 9 ounce New york strip steaks, are seasoned and placed on the tines of a pitchfork and then cooked in hot oil in large kettles.
From North Dakota 2010-07-16
Along with steaks we had raw veggies and dip, cole slaw, baked beans, baked potatoes, Texas toast, brownies and lemonade, water, ice tea or coffee. A country/western band performed while we ate at picnic tables.
From North Dakota 2010-07-16
After dinner we walked a short distance to the amphitheater to watch the Medora Musical.
From North Dakota 2010-07-16
This is the third time that we have been to the musical and we enjoy it every time. The show changes each year but there is always a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt in the show. Before the show "tame" elk are on an ajoining butte grazing.
From North Dakota 2010-07-16
Saturday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, the four of us went into the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This day the weather was just wonderful with bright sunshine but cooler than on Friday. We stopped at the Visitor's Center and took a tour with a ranger to T. Roosevelt's Maltese cabin located on the Centers grounds.
From North Dakota 2010-07-17
Leaving the Visitor's Center we drove through the Park on the Loop Road. Prairie dogs had established towns throughout the park.
From North Dakota 2010-07-17
We saw a large herd of buffalo that was mainly cows and calves.
From North Dakota 2010-07-17
The bulls were off to themselves.
From North Dakota 2010-07-17
Leaving the park we stopped in Medora at the Knotty Pine Peanut Bar for lunch, then checked out a few shops and finally got dessert- ice cream. The campground has nightly entertainment- Vern and Rita- an older couple that performed country songs from 5:45pm to 9:45pm. For 27 years this duo has been performing in this campground 100 days each year without a day off. We enjoyed sitting and listening to this couple.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday and Thursday, July 14 & 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14 we woke up to sunshine that had a warmness to it to counteract the wind that continued to blow. Tuesday night before going to bed the weather was nasty- rainy, fog moved over the mountains and it was cold(low 40's). In the morning we drove back north several miles to return into Canada to Waterton Lakes National Park. Waterton- Glacier are International Peace Parks between Canada and the US. As the name applies Waterton has several lakes. There is a Waterton town that has restaurants, shops, visitor's center and museums. As with many towns in our travels there were beautiful flowers planted throughout the town. Deer also inhabit the town so flowers had wire cages over them to protect them from being eaten by the deer or, if not, deer could be seen nibbling away.
From Waterton and Glacier NP 2010-07-14
Also in the town situated on a hill is the Prince of Wales Hotel that is quite Tudor appearing.
From Waterton and Glacier NP 2010-07-14
In the afternoon we returned to the US and entered the Glacier N.P. We ate lunch at 2 Dog Flats Restaurant in the park- food good, service slow. We then traveled on the Going to the Sun Highway. There were areas of road construction that caused traffic to be stopped for 15-20 minutes so the going was slow.
From Waterton and Glacier NP 2010-07-14
We did not go the entire length of the road. The area we did go was just gorgeous with glaciers, huge snow-topped mountains, beautiful green valleys and waterfalls.
From Waterton and Glacier NP 2010-07-14
We did see some mountain goats along the way.
From Waterton and Glacier NP 2010-07-14
At Logan's Pass Visitor Center area there were skiers on the mountainside sking. Ravens seem to be everywhere and are so noisy especially in the parking lots where they hope to get some food.
Returning to the campground we again went to the campground restaurant for supper. We all chose the soup and bread-homemade soup is served in a large bowl that everyone can serve themselves along with slices of homemade bread. We ordered desserts- Tom and I shared a Cinnamon bun sundae- a large warm cinnamon bun with 2 dips of ice cream, chocolate and cinnamon syrup toppings. Yummy but sinful!

Thursday, July 15 we packed up and left St. Mary driving south to Browning and then east to Malta, Montana- about 280 miles. The first leg of the drive to Browning was a hilly, curvy drive. From Browning the road was flat with farmlands of grain fields in various colors of green and yellow, small towns, grain elevators and long trains.
From Montana 2010-07-15
We are staying at Edgewater RV Park in Malta. It is warm- 81 degrees at 8:30pm. I believe we have finally hit summer weather as we know it and we'll probably be complaining about the heat in due time. Tomorrow we continue on eastward.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 St. Mary, Montana

Brrr- it was really cold this morning at 45 degrees, windy and cloudy.  We left the Lake Louise campground heading east through Canmore and then turned south in Calgary.   It was snowing on the mountains – this is July 13th shouldn’t we be having summer?? The winds were strong and constant all day making driving a challenge.  We traveled through the farm lands of Alberta where the canola fields have turned bright yellow.  The border back into the USA was crossed at Carway, Montana.  When we passed through customs, the agent asked if he could come into the motorhome and then came inside checking inside the refrigerator and then going back to the bedroom and then welcomed us back and passed us on through.  He was going into all the RVs that we saw going through customs today.  About 20 miles south of the border we stopped and are camped at Johnson’s Campground in St Mary, Montana. We ate dinner at the restaurant on the campgrounds which was a very nice roast beef dinner served family style.  And the wind continues to be blowing and at 10:30pm is 45 degrees.  We will be here for 2 nights as we hope to drive into Waterton Lakes N.P. (Canada) and Glacier N.P. (US).

On a sad note:  Joanne received word today that her faithful companion, Shane, had passed away.  Shane was staying with Joanne’s son and his family as his age had made traveling difficult.  Shane had traveled this winter with Larry and Joanne and Sadie through the southwest but he was having problems getting around.   Loosing a beloved pet is never easy.  We all feel Joanne’s sadness.

Monday, July 12, 2010 Banff National Park

This morning we struck out from the campground and drove down the Bow Valley Parkway, a slow scenic drive from Lake Louise to Banff.  We saw deer, bear and elk along the way.  After getting to the Banff area we began driving the loop road to Minnewanka Lake where we saw Big Horn Sheep nannies and kids.100_7292   Just as we got to the lake Tom said something was wrong with the car and when he pulled over we had a flat tire.DSCN0830   So we went into Banff in search of a tire garage.   At the Shell Station, Jeremy Richards Automotive, the tire was inspected for a leak, nothing found, so the tire was put back on the car and Tom was charged $30.00.  Unbelievable-  many places in the U.S. would have charged nothing or a fraction of that cost.  Canada has become quite expensive to visit.  Gas cost us nearly $5.00 a gallon yesterday on the Icefield Parkway.  We ate lunch in Banff and did some shopping.  The weather today has changed about every 5 minutes or so it seemed-  sunny and warm, cloudy and rainy and this evening  the temperature has dropped to the 50’s.

Sunday, July 11, 2010- Lake Louise, Alberta

Saturday evening Tom and I were sitting outside the motorhome until a little after 10pm, it was still daylight out.  We decided to fold up our outside mat before going inside.  So as I was sweeping it off a man and woman walked into our campsite asking how we liked this part of the country and then went on to say that they had noticed our Maryland license and had to come over.  This Alberta man and his wife from New York had gotten married in Maryland 50 years ago in Pocomoke City while he was in the Canadian military service.

Sunday morning we again packed up and after dumping our gray and black water tanks  headed south toward the Banff area on the Icefields Parkway.  What gorgeous scenery on this 140 plus miles of travel.  The Canadian Rockies are a sight to behold-  towering rock mountains with glaciers and snow. 

From Lake Louise 2010-07-11
We stopped at the Athabasca Glacier and Icefield Centre for a brief period and then continued on south. 
From Lake Louise 2010-07-11
I was concerned about where we would find a campsite.  We had been told about possibly going into another park, Yoho N. P., but where that road cut off there was alot of construction and we missed taking the cut off.  We then came to the Lake Louise area and saw signs stating “Full” but Tom went into the campground anyway and by luck there were 2 sites available for us to get into and we have 30 amp electric.  After settling into the campsite we went out exploring, driving to Lake Moraine
From Lake Louise 2010-07-11
and then to Lake Louise,
From Lake Louise 2010-07-11
both lakes of the most beautiful colors and big tourist areas.   Later in the evening we went to the amphitheater in the campground for an evening program about Banff, the oldest National Park in Canada celebrating  125 years this year.

Saturday, July 10, 2010, Jasper National Park

Today we drove down the Icefield Parkway to see 2 beautiful falls along the way, the Athabascan Falls

From Jasper 2010-07-10
and the Sunwapta Falls. 
From Jasper 2010-07-10
Both of these falls are spectacular, to see the tremendous force of the water and the stone canyons that these falls have carved out.  A coyote was spotted in our travels.  We returned to the town of Jasper for lunch at Jasper Pizza and a little shopping in the town.  We returned back to the campground – Joanne wanted to do some laundry, Larry was going to see about getting his truck washed and Tom and I wanted to return to Jasper to shop around a little more.  Joanne did a load of wash for $8.00 and stopped,  Larry went to the car wash at 4 but it was closed (this is the same one that stated open 12-6), and Tom and I looked but didn’t do much buying.  As Tom and I were leaving town we saw a coyote along the road and then closer to the campground we saw an elk along a river.

From Jasper 2010-07-10

Friday, July 9, 2010 Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Friday morning, a beautiful sunny morning we traveled from McBride, British Columbia to Jasper, Alberta, a distance of 106 miles.   We did stop before Jasper at the Mount Robson Visitor Center. 

From Jasper 2010-07-09
Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies and was seen for miles on the Yellowhead Highway. 
From Jasper 2010-07-09
We camped in a National Park campground, Whistler, near the town of Jasper.  We were in a dry camp area, no hook-ups, and were limited to running the generator from 8am-9:30am and 5-7pm.  After getting set up we went out into Jasper National Park.  In the Annette and Edith Lakes area we saw Big Horn Sheep rams along the road. 
From Jasper 2010-07-09
Eagle-eyed Larry spotted a wolf, turned the truck around, and surprisingly we all were able to see the wolf. 
From Jasper 2010-07-09
What a treat seeing a wolf in the wild!   We then drove on down the road to Maligne Lake, another pretty mountain lake.  As we returned from that lake we saw a stag elk with a magnificent set of antlers. 
From Jasper 2010-07-09
Before returning to the campground we went into the town of Jasper for dinner at the Palisades Restaurant, a nice Italian-Greek restaurant with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.  After returning to the campground Tom wanted to get our filthy, grimy car washed so we went into Jasper looking for a car wash but the sign stated open 12-6.  Too late!  Tom then walked to the bathrooms on the campground and got a bucket of water that he used to clean up the car.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010- McBride, B.C.

Bright, warm sunshine all day today with temperatures in the 80's. We left the campground this morning returning back to the town of Houston for fuel. We thought there was someplace beyond the campground that had fuel but the campground folks advised us to go back into town. We saw a lot of large saw mill operations along the way on the Yellowhead highway heading east. There would be piles upon piles of long logs and then piles of sawn boards. Again we passed beautiful large lakes and pine tree covered mountains. British Columbia is indeed a very green and pretty providence. We stopped at Prince George for lunch at the "Extreme Pita" and then we went to a Super Walmart. Like kids in a candy store we started scooping up groceries that were the cost that we were used to not the super inflated prices we were dealing with in the Yukon Territory and Alaska.(A loaf of bread $4-$5, a pound of deli ham for $11, gallon of milk for $5). Grocery shopping was once again not so painful. After about 100 miles we started seeing the mountains to the east- the Canadian Rockies, tall, towering snow topped mountains. In our travels today we saw a black bear and 3 moose. After a little more than 300 miles we stopped for the night just east of McBride, B.C. at Beaverview Campground. Tomorrow we will travel about 100 miles to Jasper National Park. About 8:15 this evening we had a gust of wind that really shook the motorhome for a few seconds, the sky is dark as if a storm maybe headed our way.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010- Houston, British Columbia

Last evening we returned to the bear watching area but still no bears and no fish. The water in this creek is very clear and rather shallow so fish would be visible if they were there. We did see eagles in a nest high in the trees which we enjoyed watching as they would leave the nest and bring back twigs to add to the nest. We were unable to see any young ones but supposedly there are young in the nest.
This morning we did not bother going back to the bear viewing area before leaving this area. We just packed up, then gassed up and drove out the Hyder-Stewart Road 40 miles to the Cassiar Highway and drove south about 100miles to the Yellowhead Highway for another 100 plus miles east. We crossed the border after leaving Hyder and had to go through Canadian customs. Larry said that he felt sad leaving Alaska and I believe we all had similar feelings. We stopped in the First Nation town of Gitanyow to see the totem poles, one of the largest collections of standing totem poles in this part of B.C. It was disappointing that this collection of totem poles are not maintained very well. They are all weathered and the paint has all but disappeared.
From Alaska 2010-07-07
Again the country we passed through was beautiful- green mountains with snow covered taller mountains peeking over the green mountain's tops, glacial rivers gushing down and pretty lakes. We also saw hay-making and towns that looked like the towns we are accustomed to. Someone commented we were back to civilization. (And Larry looked even sadder!!) We stopped in Houston, B.C. to see the world's largest fly fishing rod
From Alaska 2010-07-07
and then for the night at the Shady Rest Campground, a very nice campground with gorgeous flowers in hanging baskets (tuberous begonias)
From Alaska 2010-07-07
and flower beds of peonys, poppies, dahlias and begonias.
From Alaska 2010-07-07
It has been warm today with temperatures in the 80's but not as hot as we were told in the east with triple digit temperatures.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Monday and Tuesday. July 5 & 6, 2010, Hyder, Alaska

Monday morning we awoke to sunshine and patches of blue sky.  Mountain Shadow campground is in such a pretty location that I just had to take one picture before leaving in the morning.  Sunday night just as we were getting ready for bed I looked outside and was amazed by the beauty of sun shining brightly on the peaks of the taller mountains in the area and this was at 10:30pm.

We returned to the Cassiar Highway and continued on south.  This highway like all the highways in this part of the world had  very pretty views.  We turned onto the Stewart-Hyder Road to the west which is about 40 miles and also very scenic.  Warnings about the danger of Avalanches are common but at this time of the year the possibility of an avalanche is very slim.  Most of the snow on the mountains is at the very top and usually in the form of a glacier- hanging glaciers.  Bear Glacier, not a hanging glacier, at one time was where the present road is located.  It has receded away from the road  and a lake is between the glacier and the road. 

From Alaska 2010-07-05
We came through the town of Stewart,  B. C. and the into the town of Hyder, Alaska.  There are no customs to pass through into the USA.  After getting our RV’s situated in Camp Run-A-Muck we rode up to the area that bears can be viewed catching salmon but the salmon have not made it this far up so the bears were not along the creek, but the mosquitoes sure were. 
From Alaska 2010-07-05
Tom and I went to a general store, got a loaf of bread and a bag of potato chips for $11.00.  Food is costly in Alaska and Canada.  Later we returned back to the bear viewing area but still no fish, no bears.  A mink was seen on the creek bank, though.

Tuesday we took the twenty mile ride up to the Salmon Glacier.  The road is a gravel road, a little rough in places.  As we ascended up to the glacier it became foggy and when we reached the summit the glacier was real foggy.  A man selling postcards, DVD’s and “stuff” at the summit told us that if we continued on the road in about a mile we would be out of the fog and would be able to see other glaciers and about noon the fog would be gone from this summit.  We did continue on and sure enough the fog cleared about a mile down.  The sun was brightly shining and the scenery was spectacular.   Glaciers were hanging onto the tops of mountains, waterfalls were gushing with glacial water and  mountain lakes  were various shades of blue.  

From Alaska 2010-07-06
Copper mining is being done in this area so there were lakes of the brightest blue due to the mining run off.  Wildflowers were along the roadsides and some growing out of rocks. 
From Alaska 2010-07-06
This route took us back into British Columbia but we did not have to go through customs- we could only go to a bridge that had a locked gate across it.  As we returned we passed by the bear viewing area to find that there still was no fish coming this far, yet.   The fish are expected to start being in this area at any time now.   We plan to return later tonight and again early tomorrow morning before moving east from Hyder.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010 Iskut, British Columbia, Canada

The 4th of July was celebrated in Canada as we traveled down the Cassiar Highway from Junction 37 to Iskut, about 200 miles.  Most of the travel was through green mountains and by lakes.  This road is known for not being in the best of condition but so far it is much improved over what it was 8 years ago.  We stopped for sometime at Jade City which by no means is a city but a store selling jade. 

From Alaska 2010-07-04
There are no cities on this highway and barely anything that could be called a town, just a few houses/stores here and there.    Jade is mined in the Cassiar Mountains and according to the “Milepost” 90% of the world supply of jade comes from Jade City.  We did see wildlife today in our travels- stone sheep, a fox, and 2 black bears.  It is always exciting to see animals in the wild.  We are camped tonight at Mountain Shadow Campground just north of Iskut in British Columbia.  This is a beautiful campground in a rural setting with some snow top mountains around and a lake that can be seen from the campground.  
From Alaska 2010-07-04
We haven’t see the town of Iskut but tomorrow we will pass through and probably stop for gas for the vehicles before continuing further south toward Hyder, Alaska.

This evening after eating dinner Tom, Travis and I walked to the lake that is near the campground.  We met up with Larry and Sadie. 

From Alaska 2010-07-04
Sadie loves having sticks thrown in the water and then swimming out to retrieve them. 
From Alaska 2010-07-04
Travis wants no parts of water.  It was a nice walk and we did see a couple bald eagles.

We have seen sunshine and blue skies at times today although we also have seen showers of rain.  The lady here at the campground says that this is to be the last rainy day for a spell and it is expected to get hot.

From Alaska 2010-07-04

Saturday, July 3, 2010 Junction 37

Time to move on once again!  We packed up, gassed up and left the town of Skagway to go up a mountain road through White Pass.  Soon after reaching the summit we crossed the border into Yukon Territory, Canada and a few miles further we passed through customs without any difficulty.  The views today consisted of pine tree covered mountains and beautiful lakes miles long.  We traveled up the South Klondike Highway to Tagesh Road that cut over to the Alaskan Highway which we traveled about 200 miles- all together we had gone a little more than 300 miles today.  We stopped for the night at Junction 37 campground.  Junction 37 refers to the route number of the Cassiar Highway which we will be traveling on tomorrow as we head toward Hyder, Alaska which will be our last stop in Alaska this trip.

The weather remains cloudy and overcast but it is warmer at this location with less wind.  The cloudy days have outnumbered the sun shining days during this phase of the trip but we have been reminded that areas of Alaska are a rain forest so rain and clouds can be expected.

Friday, July 2, 2010 Skagway

Another early start as we were boarding the White Pass & Yukon Train for a scenic ride to White Pass Summit from Skagway at 8:10am.  This train follows the route of the Klondike gold rushers in 1897 from Skagway to the White Pass Summit .  Shortly after leaving Skagway we passed the cemetery for early Skagway residents including the notorious Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith and town hero Frank Reid, the man that killed Soapy.  Along the route we saw the narrow trail that these people traveled over as they headed for Dawson City. 

From Alaska 2010-07-02
A nice scenic train ride that crosses a few bridges and goes through 2 tunnels.  At the Summit the engines disconnect from the cars and move to the opposite end for the return trip. 
From Alaska 2010-07-02
The backs of the seats in the cars flip over to allow passengers to ride forward.  After 3 hours we were returned to the station at Skagway.  We grabbed lunch at a cafe in Skagway before going back to the campground.

  Seeing a flyer about a Rhubarb Fest at the Jewel Gardens we decided to go there this evening.  We ate a supper there of hamburgers and rhubarb pie.  Normally the cost to go into the gardens is $12.00 per person but because of the Fest entry was free.   I didn’t see anything  that was worth paying $12.00 for in the garden. 

It has remained cold to us for this time of the year.  Temperature high has been about 61 degrees but it is windy and cloudy and feels much colder to us.  I know that before this trip is over we will probably be complaining about the heat.

Thursday, July 1, 2010 Skagway, Alaska

Morning came early for us today.  We were up and on our way by 5:45am to the ferry terminal in Haines a short distance from Oceanside Campground.  We were taking our motorhome, Larry his 5th wheel, on the ferry to Skagway- a 45 minute ferry ride as oppose to a 350 mile land travel.  The cost for the motorhome and car plus Tom and I were $228.00-  $31.00 a person, car $41.00, motorhome $125.00.  May sound expensive but the cost for gas (Alaska gas is about $3.68 a gallon) and probably a night camping before getting to Skagway and the wear and tear of travel on some of these roads on vehicles plus on us makes it seem practical.  Once at the terminal we had to go inside to check-in and get lane assignments.  Tom drove the motorhome on and I drove the car, the car cannot be towed on the ferry.   About 6:15am the loading of the vehicles began.  I was loaded on first, then Tom and later Larry.  Larry had not been issued a ticket that covered the truck and 5th wheel (Larry had questioned this the day we had purchased our tickets and was told that everything was covered) so he had to go back into the terminal and pay additional money and then he had to back his 5th wheel down the ramp into the ferry with the help of a terminal worker that did not know how to give directions for backing up.  What fun!! 

From Alaska 2010-07-01
We all met up in the observation lounge of the ferry to sit back and enjoy the scenery. 
From Alaska 2010-07-01
Travis and Sadie had to stay in the RV’s.  We left Port Haines about 7:15am and got to Skagway about 8am.  Leaving the ferry was easy- Larry was the first off,
From Alaska 2010-07-01
Tom followed soon afterward and then I finally got to leave.  We grouped up in a parking lot at the terminal and got in the car and went uptown for breakfast at the Sweet Tooth Cafe.  Reservation had been made at a campground but we had been told that we should bide a little time before coming to the campground so early.  We did go to the campground after we had had breakfast and were able to get into sites.  After setting up our RV’s we rode into the town area.  There were 3 cruise ships in port so the town was bustling with activity. 
From Alaska 2010-07-01
We went to the Visitor’s Center and watched a movie about the Klondike Gold Rush and all 4 of us had difficulty keeping awake so we returned to the campground and rested for a couple of hours.  Then we returned to town and did a little shopping and went to the Red Onion Saloon for a late lunch or early dinner.  The Red Onion was a brothel during the gold rush days.  The waitress were dressed in period style racy dresses acting out the part.  Afterwards we drove out to Dyea a town that no longer exists but once was larger than Skagway in the Gold rush days.  The weather today is cold- highest temperate was in low 60’s but the wind was blowing and it is cloudy although no rain today- not the kind of weather we think of in July.