Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31, 2009 ~ Friday
Fireweed...the aftermath of a fire...whole mountainsides ABLAZE with deep pink flowers...and with every turn of the road even more vibrant. That's what we saw following the excavator load up the Steese highway on Wednesday...that and miles and miles of trees/mountains in the distance. Well, that is, AFTER mile 60 about because before that the trees along the road were too it's pavement and no sight vs. gravel and beauty. Going up was slow...coming back, faster. There are...COUNT THEM...only three spots to stop for 'resting' and when you're in a pilot vehicle you DON'T stop unless the one pulling the load does. He didn't...until he arrived at mile 114, his destination.
I saw three moose that day...two bulls, one cow...all in beautiful shape...and HUGE!
Yesterday Jim and Jack went east 5 hours to pick up a rock truck, piloting on the way back to Fairbanks. I took the p/u/camper into Fairbanks and refreshed everything...did laundry...shopped a little.
Today ???? Still smoky...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 28, 2009 ~ Tuesday
Happy Birthday, Amanda, day after tomorrow!!!
Only saw two big planes go over this evening...must admit tho I was in Fairbanks for the better part of the more could have taken off.
We're going up the Steese tomorrow with Jack's brother who will pilot a load up to mile 114 from Fairbanks. Circle is on the Yukon River and at the end of this hwy, but we won't be going that far. We'll be headed to Talkeetna one of these days. It's so nice not to have (mostly self-imposed) schedules...just go with the flow.
It's been fairly warm the 80's the past couple days at least, but nothing like the NW...triple digits in Seattle and Vancouver. In our little Lucy's town it's raining and cool.
Little Lucy...boy or girl we don't know, but our 3 year old grandson named the baby (our 6th grandchild) Lucy 2 or 3 months ago. The little one will be born the first part of Sept and all is going well...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 27, 2009 ~ Monday
I am sooo torn! Wanting to leave for our property, BUT the Air Force bases in AK are having war games starting tomorrow and this would be an awesome place to watch! I imagine tho that they’ll be flying where we’d be driving, too…
There are 450 fires in AK that have burned 5 million acres already! We just came from north of Fairbanks and it’s quite smoky there and is now rolling into the North Pole area.
My downfall…books. I have well over 300 books at home, the majority relating to the north…and today added more. Now, when I go into a book store I have to look at the copywrite date since I can’t remember which I own.
Iceroad Truckers…the tv show. My brother-in-law and two sons have driven that road many times and know most of those men. In fact, the youngest son’s wife is the daughter of one who was killed in 2007. His mangled truck is at the beginning of the show. My brother-in-law has ‘an escort service’ for these drivers…driving pilot truck for many of them over ‘the haul road’.
When we do leave for our property, there will be 5-6 days where I can’t add to the blog as we don’t have service…or electricity…or water. BUT we do have bear… Today we bought 20 bullets for the 44 magnum…and tomorrow we’ll find more. There’s a shortage here, too…people buying and hording because of what the administration is proposing…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 26, 2009 ~ Sunday
Tok to North Pole yesterday was driven while the folks around Nenana were having a fire storm...a HUGE cloud seen from the Richardson Highway north of Delta Jct.... am trying to download pictures, but they've been coming in all weird-like. What was surprising is that the cloud LOOKED really awful here, but disapated in short order.
We are parked at Jack's brother's place for a few days, then on up to our property...and it just so happened their grandson, all of 6 weeks old, be held. I'm sure he was waiting just for me...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Went to sleep after 10:30 last night...still w-a-y light...and woke at 4:30 with it being w-a-y light. One of my favorite things about the north in the summer months! We traveled about 300 miles today with the road in fairly good shape except for some frost heaves and breakup from perma-frost. We'd heard "the road was horrible", but found it much better than several years ago with new seal-coat over many miles. Probably the bigger RVs are not happy with it...AND the little old lady that was driving a car going about 10 mph looking scared to death. Had to wait about 20 minutes at the border and had no trouble crossing when our turn...asked only about fruit, vegetables, guns, ammo, and animals...told us, "Welcome back!" and let us go on our way. Homer, on the other hand, got lost at the border and we had to turn him off. We are in Tok, AK at the Sourdough Campground...nicely wooded with everything a person would want...including a breeze to keep creatures at bay. The little buggers at Liard bit...and the results of those bites appeared two-three days later. I need a back scratcher!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23, 2009 ~ Thursday
The sunset last night was totally AWESOME...deep pinks...oranges...every color of 10:30! Got up this morning expecting to go to a Tlingit Native Heritage celebration for a bit before heaing to Whitehorse and Kluane Lake, BUT what was suppose to start at 10am wasn't even set up yet and there were maybe 10 people walking left. Tonight we are staying on the shores of Kluane Lake at Cottonwood RV campground...a beautiful 'park' even tho it's very windy and the waves are lapping the shoreline about 25 feet away. Tomorrow, the border, AFTER traveling a road full of frost heaves...I'm talking maybe 30 mph in places. We've heard from those going south that it's very rough, BUT...we've heard that before and it's usually from the BIG rigs guys...the bus RVs...who go slow on almost all roads.
July 23, 2009 ~ Thursday Cloudy today and sprinkles of rain, but the sunset last night at 10:30 was awesome with pinks, oranges, dark and light blues! Yesterday we left Liard Hot Springs and drove into the Yukon Territory. The fireweed is in full bloom now as are other flowers…daisies, buttercups, different sizes of white star-shaped ones, dark blue-ish/ purple-ish tall lupine…all there to see for our enjoyment and the bear’s eating pleasure. So far we’ve seen three black bear (including the one with the daisies in his mouth), one cow moose, 4 bull moose and numerous wood bison, little and BIG. The campground we’re in (village of Teslin) has a wonderful display of animals in their gallery. The trees also have so many different colors, even a Russian olive- colored aspen. It’s Tlingit Heritage days here and I’m hoping we stay long enough to take in some of their culture. A weird thing happened last evening…we noticed the brake light in the cab flash on and off a few times. Don’t know quite what that means…no tail/brake lights? Run down battery? A short in the wiring? We’re clean again…found a laundry at the campground and only took $7 to wash and dry two loads. Showers felt good, too! Mosquitoes aren’t quite as bad here as at Liard…we have several (like 37) bites…some from horse flies, but the beauty and expanse (and the road goes on…) of the country far outweigh the itch! Last night a raven landed on a steel roof, probably 75 yaards away….and I heard the THUNK…then watched as he waddled up to the top, feathers ruffled…Nope, no photo…

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 21, 2009~Tuesday LIARD HOT SPRINGS…if you have never been to Canada’s provincial parks you are really missing an experience! Very very clean/beautiful/friendly…when you leave the site they come in with rakes! And power washers to clean the tables. The garbage is picked up frequently from the bear-proof recepticles…the toilets (not flushing) are cleaned and well supplied. We’ve been to the springs 5 times now (staying in the water probably an hour and a half each time…with cooling off periods out of the pool every so often) and will go early in the morning before we leave. And you meet the nicest people… from Canada/US/Germany/Australia, each so amazed with the road north, the people, the springs. We heard a rifle shot this morning and two this afternoon…sounded like they came from the lodge so wondering if they were scaring either bear or bison away, but didn’t see anything amiss when walking over to use the phone in the late afternoon. We’re leaving early tomorrow morning…after a soak…and will try to post at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory…
July 20, 2009 ~ Monday Happy Birthday, Lyndy!!! So…did not find a good source for plugging in at Fort Nelson… We arrived at Liard Hot Springs, having made reservations before starting…and found they overlooked us AND a 23 rig caravan has made emergency reservations because the lodge across the road has closed unexpectedly, BUT they very nicely ask us to wait saying they WILL find us a site…and they did. #40…beautiful, as usual and a bit more secluded than the sites we’ve been in before. That’s good since we have to run the p/u and generator to recharge C-PAP batteries everyday. The drive from Sikanni Chief Campground is about 350 miles and the road is narrow in places and curvy so the going is slow at times, but always awesome! We saw Bullwinkle and a cow moose and also a black bear. My understanding, from the people who are headed south, is that there is more wild life to be seen farther north…bear, moose, wood bison are ‘out’. So far, we’ve been to the springs twice and will go a couple more times today…planning on leaving Wednesday morning with many mosquito pelts…I’m sure enough for a warm winter coat. It’s hard to skin those little things… We’ve met, again, many interesting people. Three were biking down from AK together…one from Prudhoe Bay and another couple from Anchorage…friends who did not know the others were on their way and just happened to meet up along the road. They average 50-75 miles/day. Another couple had just been to Canyon Ferry, MT! The weather has been super nice with only sprinkles now and then, clouds or sun.
July 19, 2009~Sunday We’re headed north! On Thursday (16th) we pointed our p/u and camper north on 93, staying in Kootenay Nat. Parks Redstreak Provincial Park just outside of Radium, BC…a nice quiet place with trees and grassy areas. Redstreak mountain is the source of the minieral springs at Radium (not enough radioactive elements to harm or be of good to anyone…except for the good feelings of hot soaks!) Friday morning we drove the Windemere-Banff Highway (93) to Castle Jct., then headed up the Icefields Parkway and over east to Hinton, then hit the Bighorn Hwy. We missed Gregg Lake Campground where we’ve stayed a couple times so backtracked only to find out most of it was closed because of an improved water system that didn’t work. The lady told us there MIGHT be a spot or two at Cache Creek…or…Halfway…or… Graveyard Lake campgrounds, on a gravel road, the farthest only less than 3 miles (well, she was talking Canadian,eh?…kilometers…so that’s an estimate). We did find room…and others found more room…and more room (one big party)…at Graveyard Lake, a grassy area having about 10 campsites with 17 vehicles, but a pleasant stay as was breezy with no bugs OR bears, as was posted. And no big party. Saturday we drove to Grande Cashe, Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John (free wi-fi at the visitor centre), then onto Skianni Chief Campground on the Skianni River, 150 miles from the start of the Alaska Hwy in Dawson Creek. The weather has been sunny…until last night when it started to PLUNK PLUNK PLUNK…the sound of rain in a camper, actually a very relaxing sound. Today we are on our way to Liard Hot Springs for two or three nights. We’ll see what Fort Nelson has to offer in way of the net to post this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009 ~ Tuesday
DAY AFTER TOMORROW...LEAVING FOR THE NORTH!!! We have reservations at Liard Hot Springs, BC (3 hours south of the Yukon border) for Sunday and Monday nights. The p/u has been 'overhauled' (air bag fixed, tires rotated and oil changed) and the camper was in at the RV 'overhaul place' today for a burned out ("it was toast" according to the serviceman) Happy Jack jack (at least the third time in three is no longer...wonder why!), a new rocker switch for the slide-out, and a 'new' cord for the p/u lights (running over it and stripping it isn't a good idea). So...tomorrow is pack day...before a foot appointment in the late afternoon...then leaving on Thursday after a hand appointment...both for cortisone injections.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009 ~ Friday
I am retired...the 2nd time in two years...from school food service and crossing guard and have already traveled to CO to see our daughter and then the Black Hills to meet my sisters and parts of their families. While in CO we went to Manitou Springs, a hippy-like town an hour south of Denver (loved it!!1) and then to the Royal Gorge, a gorge over 1400 feet deep where my niece did the bungie swing and we went down on a 45 degree railcar to the river. We walked over the bridge built across the river on the cliffs...kinda windy and a feeling of dizziness when looking down while walking, but so beautiful...God's awesome creation! Next was Mount Rushmore which never ceases to amaze me. How any man (men!) could have the foresight to imagine what came to be from a granite mountain...the brain, another of God's awesome creations! On the way home we went camping in the Crazies with our oldest son and his family and another couple. Flowers blooming in the meadows...tall Ponderosa pines...the sound of the creek...grandchildren playing...relaxing...peaceful... Our next travel??? North to Alaska next week if all goes well...until...probably sometime in September.