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Published on August 31, 2017, by admin in Adventure.
Still warm at 7500'

Still warm at 7500′

Harper holding Olivia

Harper holding Olivia

Lily holding Olivia

Lily holding Olivia

I traveled south from Idaho and and spent the night in a town park near Burley. The park had hookups for $25, which was nice because it was hot and I could run my A/C.

The next day I drove to a campsite in the Cache National Forest. Unfortunately, my favorite spot was taken so I parked in a site across the road. If my site was open, I would have stayed a few days.

The next day I drove further south to Strawberry Reservoir and found a nice place to camp for a few days. I stayed at the reservoir for a week and then drove to Salina and found a campsite high on a mountain road in the Fishlake National Forest. Fishlake was just another overnight stay.

As I set up camp I noticed a smell of propane. Further investigation found that my propane regulator was leaking. I shut off the tank, removed the bad regulator, and transferred most of my food into my 12 volt fridge. I have had three propane regulators go bad since I bought Minnie. I think I will carry a spare from now on. That’s one way to make sure it never fails again.

The next morning I drove to Moab, Utah. I found a new regulator in a little farm and home store. It was twice as much as the last one I bought but little else could I do. I headed south of town to find a campsite in the Monti-LaSalle National Forest where I could install the new regulator.

About half way up the mountain I ran into construction. I had to wait 15 minutes for the pilot car and then drive 10 mph for 6 miles of construction. The road to my favorite campsite was blocked off, so I went down another road until I found a place to camp. I will be here at least through the weekend.

You can tell by my travels that I like national forest campsite. This time through I have not had good luck finding a place to stay. A few times I have passed up a previous camp because I had no Verizon where I had AT&T before. One place had washed out roads that left me leary of driving down. But most of the good campsites have been occupied by a trailer left to reserve it like a summer home. It’s not fair to take a good campsite and not be there except on the weekend. I want to make a sign to tape to the door of these rigs:

WARNING!!! THERE HAVE BEEN BREAKINS OF TRAILERS LEFT UNATTENDED IN THE FOREST IN THIS AREA. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRAILER FOR VANDALS TO DESTROY YOUR PROPERTY!!!

 
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Published on August 22, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
Camp in Idaho.

Camp in Idaho.

This will be my last post of my Alaska trip. I will always remember the great time I had on my trip into Canada and Alaska, and to sum it all up in one post seems impossible. Every day there were new experiences and feelings and thoughts as I traveled 8000 miles from Arizona to the Arctic Circle and back. I crossed wide rivers, drove through majestic mountains, hiked and flew to glaciers, touched permafrost at the Arctic Circle, saw a glacier calve in Prince William Sound, watched grizzly bears catch salmon in Fish Creek, and met some very nice people along the way. Alaska is a vast and beautiful land. I’m very glad that I went.

Not all the trip was easy and some things were not enjoyable. I worried sometimes that I would break down and bankrupt my savings with a astronomical tow and fix. I didn’t like the mosquitos when I tried to camp, or the roads that were filled with frost-heaves. And I’m not sure I would like to live in a place that never gets dark in summer and never light in winter. But with all things taken into consideration, the trip ranks right up there as the second best thing I have done since I retired.

Looking at the sun with special glasses.

Looking at the sun with special glasses.

At the end of my trip, I met my sister Donna, my brother Daryl, and Daryl’s wife Gisele, in Idaho for the total eclipse. It was an awesome experience! Words cannot describe what it feels like to watch such a beautiful and alien sight. No picture I have seen captures the image of totality, with the ring of vivid corona blazing spectacular from the dark center. That it happens so quickly and then is over, makes it all the more special. You wish it would last longer but you know it cannot. It leaves you craving for more. We all came away with a sense that we will have to travel to the next US total eclipse in 2024.

Daryl, Gisele, and Donna. The Eclipse gang!

Daryl, Gisele, and Donna. The Eclipse gang!

As I write this I got a text from my son, David. He and wife, Lisa announced a new baby daughter, born tonight at 9:12 pm. Her name is Olivia. She is my 9th grandchild. My Mom is smiling!

 
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Published on August 15, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
Near the Continental Divide in Montana.

Near the Continental Divide in Montana.

I crossed back into the US Sunday morning and spent the night in Cascade, Montana. They have a town park where travelers can stay for free. There is also a dump station on site. I found it on the way up to Canada three months ago and knew I wanted to stay again. The park is right next to a cell tower and I knew exactly where to aim my dish for TV.

The next morning I drove west and spent the night in Lolo National Forest a few miles from Missoula, Montana. The wind across Montana was brutal so I stopped early to find a campsite. I knew it would set me back a day to arrive at ground zero for the eclipse but I still had several days before the event. I had TV but no cell signal.

Clearwater River along Highway 12.

Clearwater River along Highway 12.

Today I drove Highway 12 into Idaho. Highway 12 is about the only way to get across Idaho without going way north or south. There is a huge area of mountains and wilderness smack in the middle of the state, and they aim to keep it that way. There was talk of damming the Clearwater River years back and the idea was scrapped and they turned thousands of acres into wilderness.

The road is narrow and twisty for almost a hundred miles. It parallels the same route that Lewis and Clark took in 1804 to explore and map a Northwest Passage to the Pacific. Lewis and Clark kept such detailed records of there path through the mountains that today we know almost exactly where they went. Many signs along the road at pullouts tell information such as – “Lewis and Clark crossed the river here and with their Shoshone Indian guide headed up the steep slope of the mountain over there.” It’s pretty cool! The sad part of the story is when Lewis and Clark were caught in the snow of the mountains and almost starved, the Nez-Perce befriended them and nursed them back to health. Seventy years later the US army chased the Nez-Perce indians into South Dakota and all but wiped them out.

Great view above my camp.

Great view above my camp.

Donna told me about a campsite she stayed at in the Nez Perce National Forest below Grangeville. I found the campground but had no cell signal, so I drove up the road and found a dispersed site that had a little LTE signal and was open to the sky for my dish. I should make it to her campground near Cascade Lake tomorrow.

 
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Published on August 12, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
On the Icefields Parkway

On the Icefields Parkway

Glacier

Glacier

Nice weather!

Nice weather!

The Icefields Parkway through the Canadian Rockies between Jasper and Banff National Parks was beautiful. The National Parks in Canada are free this year because it is the 150 year celebration of the park service. With the parks being free this year, and then get a weekend of gorgeous weather, everyone in Canada was headed to the mountains. I had bumper to bumper traffic at all tourist towns, and turnouts at scenic places along the Parkway were filled to capacity with vehicles.

When I was way back at Denali in Alaska I met a nice couple while I was parked in a BLM campsite. For a while we leap-froged each other and then they got ahead of me while I was in Anchorage. They would text me from time to time to let me know where they were and give me information on nice free campsites they found. I eventually caught them in Whitehorse Walmart and left before they could get on the road. We met again at the overflow parking at Lake Louise and traveled together to the Stony Nakoda Casino, fifty miles before Calgary, last night. All in all we spent six nights camped at the same place.

Henri and Yen by waterfall

Henri and Yen by waterfall

His name is Henri and her name is Yen. Yen is from Vietnam and Henri is a retired salesman from Montreal. They even invited me to eat with them the last two evenings. We had some nice conversation about our adventures and planned to try and meet again in the southwest this winter.

When we were at the overflow parking at Lake Louise, we took a good 5 mile hike along the river. We had to drive 4 miles to find a parking place to take a hike. The first place we wanted to hike was filled to the max with cars and they wouldn’t even let us in. We finally found a back parking lot with a couple RV places. The town was running shuttle buses to events but Yen has a dog that wasn’t allowed to ride. We agreed that a dog can be a good travel companion but it limits you on a lot of activities.

Tonight I’m alone at the Walmart in Lethbridge, Alberta. Henri and Yen are heading east across Canada and I am headed south into the US. The first thing I did when I got here was look for a car wash. I found one that took a credit card, and I’m sure I spent too much getting some of the grime and bugs off both Minnie and Honda.

Read the small print on their dollar store.

Read the small print on their dollar store.

On my way back from the car wash I saw a Jiffy Lube with a special price advertisement. I don’t want to tell how many miles it has been since my last oil change but I’m happy to say Minnie now has clean oil. It is pretty warm here in the Walmart parking lot but I think it will cool off later on. At least I am getting some dark at night, now!

 
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Published on August 10, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
This grizzly was black.

This grizzly was black.

Boardwalk in Stewart.

Boardwalk in Stewart.

History

History

I had a great time in Hyder. The last night there I saw two more large grizzly bears come out and catch fish in the river. Before the grizzlies arrived, a small, cute, little black bear tip-toed out and scavaged scraps left along the bank. When the little black saw the first grizzly, he hightailed it into the woods! I stayed until almost 10 pm watching the bears fish.

The next morning I broke camp and headed out. As I left Hyder and drove south, the roads became wider and smoother. I was beginning to see suggested maximum speeds of over 100 and had cell service on a lot of the highway, so I knew I was getting near civilization. The driving was maybe a little more relaxed, but soon I started to see many semi trucks loaded with logs. Truck drivers up here quite often pull double trailers, and they don’t slow down for anything.

I made good time on the major east west highway – Route 16 – and drove over 200 miles to a place called Burns Lake. It was not burning at the lake but there are many fires up here. I could smell smoke for a long stretch of the road today.

Burns Lake Recreation Area has a small campground, a maintained trail system for mountain bikers and hikers, and a lake for canoes. I drove back in about three miles to the campground, but it was blocked off with a sign that read closed for a mountain bike event. I found a little day-use area on the way out and parked for the night.

A little while later a young guy stopped at the parking area and I asked him if he thought I would be OK parking here for the night. He said no one would care. He showed me the bike he rides the trails with – a unicycle! I thought he would ride around the lake where it was level, but he took off up through the woods. I wish I would have thought to take his picture.

Today I drove into Prince George and stocked up on groceries at the Walmart. When I got out of the RV I thought I had a black tank leak, but then realized it was probably the smell from the paper milI

I was thinking that reading books, magazines, and newspapers online is hurting the paper business, but I’ll bet Amazon is helping out the paper and cardboard business. Not only does almost everything you order from them come in a cardboard box, but that box is packed in another box. I guess I help too. I buy a lot of paper plates, bowls, and paper towels to save on washing dishes.

Nice campsite!

Nice campsite!

Tonight I’m at another recreation area near McBride, BC. It’s hot here but at least I found a shady spot. I should be in Jasper National Park tomorrow. No cell here so I will post tomorrow.

 

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