Thursday, July 20, 2017

Closer to the Fire

Prince George, British Columbia
Mamayeh RV Park and Bed and Breakfast

We really enjoyed our time at Fort Telkwa RV Campground and ended up extending our stay.  We cleaned off some of the Alaska dirt which hadn't been touched since we stopped at Fort Nelson on the way to the Alaska Highway.  The campground had a free pressure washer, but we decided to clean the coach from our site.  

Bill washed the truck and found lots of chips in the paint under all that dirt.  He followed up with a coat of wax.  We knew it was suppose to rain today, but we didn't care.  It really needed a cleaning.  

 Here's a photo of the shower/laundry/sauna at the park.  It was very clean and well laid out.  The laundry had brand new equipment.  The sauna was wet/dry and free.  WIFI was great and you could stream and was unlimited.

Here's the view out our living room window once the window was a little cleaner.  

We left early this morning--out of the park before 8:30 hoping to beat any rain that was predicted.  

Our travels took us east on the Yellowhead Highway--Trans Canada Highway.  I didn't get a picture of the sign but when we arrived in Frasier Lake there was a sign that read "Welcome Evacuees free camping".  The smoke was bad and no way would you have your windows down.

People ask us if Passport America is worth the small annual fee of less than $50.  Mamayeh RV Park is full hook ups, pull through, 50 amps and WIFI.  The sites are large but there are no frills.  It costs $19 Canadian or $15.06 in US funds.  We were lucky to find a place with all the evacuees in the area.

Bill and I went back into town to fuel up the truck and our tummies.  Believe it or not, he found a cowboy bar called 
The Cowboy Ranch that was great.  He could watch his old time cowboy movies from the TV monitors everywhere.  They had brisket on special for $9.00 and I can't remember ever having such tender and flavorful brisket.  

Tomorrow we're going to keep on trucking and hopefully when we get on the other side of the mountains near Jasper, there won't be any worry about the fires.  It does make me a little nervous when I see the winds when we are surrounded by trees.  We'll be ready to leave immediately if necessary.  

Turtle Safely......

Monday, July 17, 2017

One Last Look

Telkwa, British Columbia
Fort Telkwa Riverfront RV Campground

I was really torn about leaving without seeing the bears and salmon at Fish Creek in Hyder, but I knew the smart thing to do was get as far east as possible due to all the fires and road closures.

We were ready to hitch on early and Harry and Carlena weren't outside yet.  I just needed to do one last check at Fish Creek in Hyder to make sure the salmon and bears weren't there yet. 

I would have gone earlier but the border crossing didn't open until 8 am and I didn't want to deal with the phone reporting.

When Bill drove into the lot every parking space was full except for one handicap space.  I had my hopes up.  The rangers we talked with yesterday said to go check it out, as there have been bears but the salmon aren't running yet.   

As we were leaving Alaska, I took a photo of this sign.

And while I was taking a photo of this sign at the border crossing guess what walked underneath the sign?
Yep, the same bear that was there the other day.

Not far down the road we ran into some construction.  There were warning signs of the extremely dusty conditions.  I really don't understand why they use a pilot car as you aren't able to see the flashing lights.

The scenery was beautiful and once we were past the construction the road wasn't bad.

The road actually turned even better when we got on the Yellowhead.  There were center lines and even side lines with a shoulder.  A really smooth road.

Look who followed us into the rest area.  It's Roger and Sharon Hime.  A few minutes later Janice and Robin pulled in too.  Janice and Sharon were trying to make RV reservations for tomorrow.  The park they called said they were filled up from the people who were evacuated from the fires. They were staying in Hazelton today but we didn't have any idea where we'd try and stay.  

The park ranger in Hyder had told me that a fire broke out at Fraser Lake.  We want to go east of the Yellowhead highway.  Fraser Lake is on this highway west of Prince George.  Highway 97 is the north south route that intersects at Prince George.  

We pulled into Fort Telkwa Riverfront RV Campground & Park and immediately liked this place.  It has full hook-ups, including 50 amp service, cable, WIFI, laundry and picnic table.  When I did the currency exchange, the rate was $26.10.  There is also a space to wash your coach or truck. The sites are all back ins that are perfect when you have a rear living room window and the view of the river.  

 Here's a photo from the nature path running along the river looking up at the coaches.  

Carlena was able to get an appointment for Boo to be checked out with a vet tomorrow.

Harry drove everyone back to Smithers for dinner.  He picked a really good place--The Riverhouse.  

The food was very good but the margarita's were excellent!

Bill and I went for a walk along the river nature trail.

We were told we could walk to town along the trail.

I decided to pick some wild flowers and berries.

Turtle Safely.........

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Running from the Fires

Steward, British Columbia
Bear River RV Park

Yesterday we traveled from Iskut to Steward.  The road was in better condition as it even had a line down the middle.  The longest stretch of gravel was about 40 miles.  The scenery was gorgeous with mountain tops and glaciers.  There weren't many vehicles that passed us.  We spotted three different bears, a porcupine, wolf, and wolverine.  

We have TV and cell phone service in Steward, a large town of 500 people.  This gave us the opportunity to check the news and emails.  The fires are south of us and the only north south route is now being evacuated.  So far the Yellowhead Highway is open to Jasper, but subject to change.  

As soon as we were set up, which took much longer than normal, we headed across the border to Hyder.  There is no border crossing station from Canada to the United States, but when you return, Canada has a border crossing.

We drove out to fish creek to see the salmon, that the ladies in the visitor's center in Watson Lake, told us were running.  The ranger at Fish Creek told us they weren't there but should be soon as they were a mile away.  

The four of us stopped for dinner at the Glacier Inn.  I did see a dollar bill signed from Jim Fisher on the wall.  I wonder if it is the one we know.

Bill wasn't impressed and we made comments about how unfriendly this place seemed.

The border crossing back into BC was uneventful.

Did I mention that Sharon and Roger Hime are at this RV park as well as Janice and Robin?

Today we stopped at the visitor's center for information on the fires.  We were told we could stay here another week but it would be best if we were to get across the highway while it is still open.  

I told the lady at the visitor center we were on our way to see the salmon and bears.  She said she didn't know they were there yet so I told her the ranger had said the salmon were a mile away.  

Harry and Carlena walked into the information center and we left our truck and rode back across the border with them to revisit Fish Creek.  The lady asked us to come back and let her know if the salmon were there. 

When we arrived at Fish Creek these rangers said the salmon weren't here.  We said we heard they were a mile away, and they just shrugged and said one fish didn't mean they were close.  Last year they arrived on the 17th.  

I can see why it would be so exciting to see the bears.  We did see one cross the street yesterday as we were at the border crossing. 

It won't be the same not seeing the bears or the salmon but with the fires we've decided to leave while we can.  

I don't know if I mentioned that the GPS doesn't work on this unrecognized road.  Sharon said theirs was doing the same thing.  With no cell phone or internet when we leave this town we won't have any communication.  No, you can't get local radio in case you were wondering.  As it is, we just started getting our Sirius radio, which goes in and out.  

I was happy when I learned this town had a bakery as today is Carlena's birthday.  I since have learned that bakery doesn't mean cakes, they have bread.  

I really would like to stay and see the bears and salmon, but in my heart, I know the decision to leave tomorrow is the smart one.  

Turtle Safely.........

Friday, July 14, 2017

Change of Direction

Iskut, British Columbia
Mountain Shadow RV Park & Campground

Yesterday we drove into Watson Lake.  I drove as Bill still wasn't feeling well.  Bill stayed home, and I went with Harry and Carlena to turn in our Yukon passports at the visitor's center.

Boo, has also been under the weather but she curled up in Bill's lap while he was sitting on the floor.  I think the two them watched three movies on TV without moving.  Their eyes might have been closed through a few of the movies.

We talked with the ladies at the Watson Lake Information Center.  They told us that the Cassius Highway was open and the fires weren't as bad, since they had two days of rain.  

We have a goal of crossing the border south of Winnipeg by August 1, which means we are driving longer than we usually do.  

Traveling over the same roads we came up, is not something we like to do.  We all agreed, we should have time to detour back up the Alaska Highway and take the Cassius.  

When I made the turn onto route 37, I wasn't even sure it was a road.  There are no lines or shoulders, but the road smoothed out the further we went.  It still had the areas, where the road was gone and they put gravel down.  

There wasn't much traffic and most of the time, I could drive right down the middle of the road.  The scenery was breathtaking.  

After we were set up in this park, we decided to take the path down to the lake.  As we walked down the row of 10 sites, I saw Sharon and Roger getting in their truck.  

We chatted for while and I found a treat for Hickory.  Yes, this is the famous Hickory that writes a great blog.  We saw Roger and Sharon in Palmer, Whitehorse, and here.  Janice and Robin are also here.  It's a very small world.

Harry and Bill drove the trucks into "town" for fuel.  $1.38 a liter for diesel.  We ended up driving to Taogga Lake for a  great dinner.  They had poutine!

I have no cell phone signal, but this park has a very limited WIFI that won't even post a photo.  I'll go ahead and post this and hopefully can add photos tomorrow night.  

Roger and Sharon stopped by to visit.  She told me she heard there was no cell phone service along the entire highway.

Turtle Safely.........

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

They Were Open Today

Teslin, Yukon Territories
Yukon Motel and RV Park

It was almost 10 when we left Whitehorse today.  The roads were much better.  There was only one section that we needed a pilot car to proceed. 

We did see a black bear, and he was really black.  All the rest of them have been sun bleached that we saw.

As soon as we were unhitched and had lunch, we went to the Tlingit Heritage Centre.  When we stopped in Teslin on our way to Alaska, it was closed but today it was open.  

When the four of us entered the center, we were told to pay at the end as there was a talk that was just beginning.  

Margaret Douville gave us a demonstration on how she prepares a moose or caribou hide.  

The tools she used were passed down for generations and there is a mark for every moose or caribou on her tools.  

She also demonstrated some of her beadwork.  She was making a vest and all the work is hand sewn.  We also enjoyed hearing stories of her family and culture.  

There were some beautiful displays of the Tlingit culture and we really enjoyed our visit.  

After the Heritage Centre, Harry drove us over to the George Johnston Museum which was also closed when we came through.  

I wasn't sure what this museum would be about.  "Before the Alaska Highway was built, Teslin was a remote, paddle wheeler outpost where people hunted, trapped and fished off the Land.  Venerated Tlingit Elder, photographer, trapper and entrepreneur George Johnston used his 1928 Chevrolet to hunt and taxi in a wilderness roadless until 1943."

He found that he could drive the car on the frozen lake to check on his traps.  He painted the car white to blend in with the ice.

The log museum also had displays of hunting artifacts, and ceremonial regalia.  There was a separate building of 1942 Aeradio Navigation Range with transmitters and interpretive panels.  

Tomorrow we head to Watson Lake.  We're trying to keep ahead of the fires.  It's difficult to keep informed 
when you do not have TV to watch the news.  

Turtle Safely........

Monday, July 10, 2017

Long, Long, Day

Whitehorse, Yukon
Pioneer RV Park

When we left Beaver Creek this morning, our plan was to stop at Destruction Bay for the night.  We left around 10 am with cloudy skies and a very light rain.  

I drove to Destruction Bay and it was still early so we decided we'd drive to Haines Junction. I handed the wheel back to Bill.  The next thing I knew we decided to drive to Whitehorse.  We've been over these roads before and with the dreary skies it wasn't as pretty.

While the weather wasn't pretty, the wildlife was much better.  We saw the biggest grizzly since we've been on this trip.  The wild horses were still along side the road.  We had a fox (I think) run across the road in front of us.

I'm glad that Harry and Carlena witnessed the road conditions when we went up the Alcan/Alaska Highway because I couldn't believe it was the same road.  Today there was construction everywhere. Gravel roads were the norm compared to our earlier trip.

You'd see a sign which said next 20 km construction, no sooner would you be out of it before you came to another sign that might say 14 km of construction.  I think if I was heading to Alaska, I'd want to turn around and forget it.

Here in the Yukon they do things differently than the lower 48.  They park an ambulance at road construction areas.

I finally had a chance to wear my Frog Toggs for the first time since we've been gone.

We pulled into Pioneer RV park about 5 pm.  We were tired and cold.  The temperature was 46 degrees.

I heard someone knock at the door, and it was Roger.  He went to go get Sharon.  When he left I said to Bill, shucks, she didn't know we'd be here, so she probably didn't bake any bread. 

A short time later they came back carrying a loaf of her fresh made bread.  Many years ago, when we met them in Billings, MT, she gave us a loaf of bread. She's been doing it ever since.  I'm glad her record is intact.  

The electric here is terrible, and we are on the end of the row.  

Turtle Safely..........  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

We Went Right

Beaver Creek, Yukon
Fas Gas RV Park

We still weren't sure which way we were going this morning. Bill and I both said it didn't matter if we went to the Top of the World or not.  We left it up to Harry and Carlena to decide.  

Originally we were going to drive to Chicken and stay overnight and then take the Top of the World Highway on Monday.  When Harry looked at the weather forecast it said rain on Monday and Tuesday.  Harry showed us what the current road conditions looked like on the highway.  He said he didn't want to drive over it and that was good enough for us.

Instead we headed out this morning for the Canadian border.  I drove today to give Bill a break.  Of course the section from Beaver Creek to Tok was the worst we encountered along the Alcan.  It was bad, but if you slow down you can get through the frost heaves. 

There's no looking for wildlife because you find yourself staring at the road conditions.  

As we approached the border, I remembered that I had some fruit with us.  Lucky for us, we didn't get asked much more than how long we planned to be in Canada and where did we plan to cross the border.  

I pulled the rig into the Fas Gas in Beaver Creek and went in to register.  I was told we could park anywhere except 1-12.  We just opted for water and electric.  

Harry and I walked over to pick out our sites.  He stood in front of one site and I went back to get the rig.  Carlena was standing by the fifth wheels and I said we could bring the rigs over to where Harry is standing.  She said she'd follow me.  She's never towed the rig before.  

I had Bill jump out and get a photo of this memorable event.

I pulled in the first site and she pulled in perfectly in the next site.

Harry decided if she came into the site backwards, we'd have the doors facing each other.  Carlena went down the row and came back from the opposite direction and parked it perfectly.  

Not bad for the first time towing and she was in the truck all by herself.

Harry took out his smoker and put on a steak.  Carlena and I fixed some sides dishes and we enjoyed dinner outside.  The steak was delicious and Harry even baked cookies in the smoker.

It was excellent and a pleasant evening.  We've been so busy during this Alaska adventure that we haven't taken the time to enjoy the simpler things.

There was a stray dog running around that was very thin.  Harry gave him some treats, but only if Harry threw them on the ground.  I managed to get the dog to eat out of my hand.  We all agreed, we think a man abused the animal.

Boo was a little jealous until she saw Bill.  

Harry sanded a stick that he found somewhere in our travels.  It really changed the look of it when he applied linseed oil followed by a sealer.  It prettier than all of the walking sticks we've seen in the stores.  

Turtle Safely........ 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Beginning or Ending

Tok, Alaska
Three Bears Outpost RV Park

Bill led the way today heading the truck in the direction of Delta Junction.  When we arrived at the RV park where we planned to stay, the gate was closed.  Okay, no problem it’s only noon.  We had a team huddle and decided to forget Delta Junction and head into Tok. 

A trip to Alaska isn’t complete without the Mile 0 signpost at Dawson Creek and the end of the Alaska Highway signage in Delta Junction.  Although nearly everyday has been sunny on this trip, breezy was something we haven't experienced much since we crossed the border. 

Of course, we couldn’t resist this photo of the Alaska state bird. We've been so lucky that they haven't been a problem the entire time we've been in Alaska. 

While we’re taking photos, we thought you’d appreciate this coldest temperature recorded on January 6, 1975 in Delta Junction.  72 degrees below zero isn’t a record I’d brag about. 

Delta Junction also has some good views of the pipeline.  The pipeline is truly amazing.

The road had some frost heaves which wouldn’t have been so bad, if a motorhome wasn’t following so closely to our bumper.  Bill would slow down for him to pass, but he’d just slow down too.  There’s no need to travel that closely to someone on these roads.

As soon as we were unhitched we headed across the street to have dinner at Fast Eddy’s.  Bill and I were smarter this time.  We shared a sandwich and an order of mushrooms.  
We still had 24 huge mushrooms to take home .

I couldn’t believe this family across from us.  They had two cute girls somewhere between 8 and 12.  They were playing with their electronics the whole time at the table.  I looked at the parents and they were both engrossed in their cell phones.  No wonder so many people don’t have social skills anymore.  

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Do we head to the top of the world highway or do we go down the Alaska highway?  It’s looking like it might rain tonight.  No hurry, we can decide in the morning. 

Turtle Safely………

Thursday, July 6, 2017

$75,000 In My Hand.

Fairbanks, Alaska
River's Edge RV Park

Our reservations for the Gold Dredge 8 were at 1:45 so we decided to visit the North Pole this morning.  

Santa said his knees were in good shape.

I think Santa has been drinking too much cookies and milk. 

 Harry and Carlena look like midgets next to Santa.  

Santa insisted we tell him what we want for Christmas.  He did tell Bill, that he needs to be good.

It was fun, but nothing like the huge store in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  

Harry cruised around trying to find a place for lunch.  The only place we could find was Cold Stone Creamery for lunch.  Ed Allard would be proud that we got dessert before lunch.  Life is short.

Our tickets were ready for us and we used our buy one get one free admission coupon.  It was another gorgeous day with temperatures expected to reach in the 80's.

One thing  on my bucket list was the oil pipeline.  I had no idea that the Gold Dredge 8 tour included that when we reserved it.  

James Bond came to mind when I saw this.  I can't remember which one featured the pipeline.

It's much larger than you think.  I heard on TV that it could be considered an eighth wonder of the world.

Carlena and I are really enjoying the sun and the fact that we didn't have to wear long pants and long sleeves.

I knew Bill would take a picture of this sign.  

Tammi had called yesterday to say that her and Bob, and Sandy and Ed were coming today.

It was nice meeting up with Loosey Goosey members again.

Then we had another surprise, when John and Sue showed up. 

Lucky for us, someone offered to take our picture and I said there were ten of us.  

The train stopped to show us about gold mining in the early days of Fairbanks.  This gold dredge is a historical site.

Everyone was given a bag of dirt with rocks and gold pans were set out with a container for our gold.

Harry and Bill have gold panned before, but I hadn't tried it.  

Here's Bill's pan with gold.  We were given a small bottle to put our gold in.  They had scales and told us what the value was.  Our total was $48.00. 

I decided to have my gold and Bill's made into earrings.

It was fun watching how they placed the gold in the earrings.  

We didn't find a nugget as large as this one that is valued at $75,000 and weighed 19 ounces.  
We were allowed to pick it up.

There were cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and tea provided for everyone.  I highly recommend this tour if you are in Fairbanks.

Turtle Safely.........