"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Home!!

One hundred, twenty eight, nights.  Sixteen thousand, three hundred, and thirty four miles, driveway to driveway.  That’s what the odometer showed as we arrived home yesterday afternoon.  Two oil changes and one tire rotation.  Truck calculated that we got 13.8 MPG. I don’t have a clue what we spent on gasoline.  Guess I could go through the card receipts and figure it out, but it’s not that important to me.  We connected to electrical power for twenty one nights.  Solar and generator kept the battery charged for the remainder.  We had no issues with the Casita or truck.

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I don’t like referring to our journey to Alaska as the trip of a lifetime.  Hopefully, there is another destination out there that will be even more amazing.

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I was a bit concerned about our travel with friends.  Almost four months traveling with two other couples worried me at the start.  Though we were friends going in, I was afraid that we might not be at the end.  Needless worry on my part.  Hugs and tears all around as we said our final goodbyes the 25th. of August.

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Actually, we made a stop in Loveland, CO for two days to reconnect with one couple, and hooked up with the other at the Kansas Gathering.  Teary goodbyes all over again.

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We spent from Sunday, the 9th. through Friday the 15th. in Kansas.  It was warm to hot, with highs near 90 degrees.  Actually wore shorts for the first time this Summer.  Even that didn’t prepare us for what we faced upon our arrival yesterday.  It’s HOT and HUMID at home.  Heat index in the three digits.  Can’t imagine it being this way all Summer, but that’s what everyone says.  So glad we weren’t here.

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20180830_124036 (Medium)No new travel plans at present time.  After being away from home, kids, friends, and family for four months, it’s time to reconnect…..jc

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Full Circle

Wednesday, May 16th., of this year found us in Vedauwoo campground just East of Laramie, Wy.  Upon arrival, I felt that our Alaskan journey had finally begun.

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Today, September 5th, we’re back at Vedauwoo.  We could have even gotten the same site, but the wind was high and we settled on a site behind the rocks pictured above.

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Sixteen weeks since we were here. One week short of four months on the road in the Casita.  There were so many things to blog about, and that was part of the problem.  There was too much.  Maybe, after being home for a period of time, I’ll fill in the gaps.  the following is a very short snapshot of our last three weeks.

We departed Hyder under beautiful blue skies, and traveled to Smithers, British Columbia.  The plan was to spend most of a week making our way to the border crossing North of Bellingham, Washington.  Departing Smithers the next morning, it was still beautiful weather.  We had only traveled fifty or so miles before this is what it looked like through our dirty windshield.

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We thought that we might get out of it if we kept driving.  When darkness fell, it became even harder to see, so we called it a night.  We were within a hundred miles of the border, so we made the crossing the next day around noon.  Easiest crossing of the trip.  Where you guys been?  Alaska and Canada!  Welcome back home….

We left home with three campground reservations.  Banff, Jasper, and Denali.  Never had a problem finding a place to spend a night, or week.  Imagine our surprise when we arrived in Bellingham, and there was no place to stay.  No vacancies anywhere.  State parks, RV parks, NPS and NFS all full. We tried the local casinos and found signs posted of no overnight parking.  We even tried a KOA, which I avoid all all costs.  Nothing.  The lady at the KOA said it was just a normal weekend in the Northwest.  She didn’t even have a place I could park for the night.  She was kind enough to recommend a casino about forty miles South that allowed RV parking overnight, and that’s where we landed.  Too tired to even use our $15.00 of free slot play for registering.

The smoke was still with us.  This is a shot of the sun on the “clear” morning we left the casino.

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It was sunday, so we headed for Mt. Ranier national park, hoping to get a first come campsite.  We were lucky and found one just as the folks were leaving.

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Beautiful, huge trees, but still smoke.

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Mt. Ranier.

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We kept traveling every couple of days, but couldn’t escape the smoke.

Mt. Saint Helens.

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Mt. Hood, in Oregon.

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We finally got a break from the smoke as we neared Salem, Oregon.  Spent a couple of days just enjoying the sunshine with no smell of the fires.

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We made our way to the Oregon coast and had a wonderful week of clear weather.

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Astoria Column.

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Exploring tidepools.

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We left the Oregon coast early Monday morning.  Two five hundred mile days behind us.  We’re heading to Kansas from Vedauwoo.  The Kansas Gathering of fiberglass trailer owners, and friends.  We’ve been numerous times in the past, and I’ve blogged about each one.  I doubt there will be anything new to say about the area.  Looking forward to seeing many old friends, and making a few new ones….jc

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hyder

After Skagway, it was back into the Yukon Territory.  We made a stop at Johnson’s Crossing  Lodge on the Alcan for cinnamon rolls, then made a turn to the South.  Hyder. AK was our next destination.  Hyder is quite a ways down the Southeast coast of Alaska, and we took three day to get there.  Our first stop was a pulloff on the Dease river in the Kaska Indian nation.

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Apparently, it is a busy place during hunting season.

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The next night found us in a Provencial park which I’ve forgotten the name of.  A beautiful site.

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Our reason for going to Hyder was to see the bears.  Spawning salmon draw the bears to Fish Creek.  The Forest Service has a viewing ares.

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Lots of fish.

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But, no bears.  Apparently, they didn’t get the spawning schedule this year.  Three days, and not one bear.

We did drive up the mountain to Salmon Glacier.  Quite a sight.

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And, had a meal at the only dining option in Hyder.  The Bus.

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Our friend’s dog, Rudder, was bummed that we made such a detour and saw no bears.

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On to smoke……jc

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Skagway

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We had a beautiful morning for our drive to Skagway.  An information board at the campground identified our location as Long Hill, and it lived up to its name.

It was a beautiful drive which included another border crossing, but no problems either direction.  I think the system had gotten used to us by then.  Arriving in Skagway, it was apparent that a cruise ship was in port.  Actually, there were two.

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Skagway has a number of unique buildings.  This one belonge to the Arctic Brotherhood.  The siding was sticks and twigs.

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A little history of the organization.

Camp No. 1 of the Arctic Brotherhood was established in Skagway, Alaska in 1899 following the arrival of the Ocean Steamer "City of Seattle."  The membership roster boasting 11 members soon swelled to more than 300 as the roots of The Brotherhood spread amongst the miners readying themselves for the trip up and over the Chilkoot Pass en route to the Klondike gold fields.
Historian I.N. Davidson reports "There were the usual objections to secret orders made to this new order by the churches, and the term "Arctic Bummers" on one side and "Sniveling Hypocrites" on the other were frequently heard."  The skeptics were silenced when they saw that the lodge looked after its members in sickness and health, buried its dead and generally improved educational and social conditions of the booming mining camps.  It wasn't long before every northern city, town or settlement of any importance boasted its Arctic Brotherhood Camp.  Eventually more than 30 camps were established throughout the North and, at its height, the Arctic Brotherhood boasted some 10,000 members.”

Another was this one.  Now a museum to the gold rush, and the Chilkoot trail.

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The hardships that the men and women that made their way up Chilcoot Pass were many.  The journey from Skagway to Dawson wasn’t short.  Even today it’s two days by automobile.  To make that trip in freezing cold, up and down mountains, crossing rivers, glaciers, and lakes, while carrying everything on your back, sounds impossible.

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A restored bar of the era.

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I also stumbled upon a little information about those wooden towers I memtioned in the previous blog. 

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The fact that a cable-way was built from Conrad to the top of Long Hill over a hundred years ago just blows my mind.  It serviced three mines for a number of years from the landing at Conrad……jc