"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

Sunday, November 25, 2018

What Have We been Doing?

Very Little, comparatively speaking.  After spending four months on the way to, visiting in, and returning from Alaska, we were having withdrawal issues. 


It only took a week to get the routine doctor’s and dentist’s visits behind us.  Our neighbor had done a great job keeping up our yard, so I had little to do to get it back in shape.  Catching up with family was also a priority, and we had that behind us within the first couple of weeks.

Back in October of 2017, we had made reservations for Vogel state park in northern Georgia for the last week of October, 2018.  We debated whether we should go or not.  The Great Mississippi River Balloon Races were scheduled for the weekend before, and we hadn’t attended for a couple of years.  We decided to head for Natchez.  The balloons flew on Friday morning, but that was it for the weekend.  High winds(over 15 mph), and balloons don’t do well together.

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With the ballons being a bust, we said what the heck.  Let’s go the Georgia.  We stopped for a night in Gadsden, Alabama.  We have driven through Gadsden for years.  Always seeing a sign for Noccalulla Falls, but never knowing there was a campground there.  What a surprise it was.

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A city park consisting of many acres of hiking trails, a zoo, a campground, a train ride, and much more, surrounding a beautiful waterfall.  The falls are named after a Cherokee Indian princess. The story being that her father promised her in marriage to a Creek chief as part of a trade deal.  Rather than be forced to leave her people, she jumped to her death from the falls.

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The following day found us at Vogel State Park near Blairsville, Georgia.  We met a few friends there for the week.  I never took either of my “cameras” out of their cases.  I can’t seem to get back in the habit of packing a camera around.  It’s most always a phone snapshot, nowadays.  One morning we had a pancake breakfast provided by friends.

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Another day found us standing in line for BBQ.  Some of the best ribs I’ve erer eaten.

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It was a beautiful area in the North Georgia mountains, but Fall was just arriving and most of the leaves were still green.  We did a lot of back country riding.  Visited the John C. Campbell Fok School in nearby Brasstown, North Carolina.  A fascinating place providing instruction in many traditional arts and crafts.

We also stumbled upon the largest gun store I’ve ever seen.  Located miles out in the country,  It was an amazing collection of all types of firearms and ammunition.  It was just a part of a larger business that handled all kinds of high quality goods such as clothing, shoes and boots, furniture, and appliances. 

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We had a great few days visiting with friends before the rain moved in.  After the second day of mostly non-stop showers we headed home.

Sally was also feeling a little down.  After a summer of seeing and smelling all those critters in Alaska, she found her yard boring.

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One day she received a piece of personal mail.  Though she was a little spooked to begin with, she’s now eagerly awaiting some cold weather to wear her new duds.  Thanks, Gail.

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For the Month of November, it’s been routine.  I had to replace a defective converter in the Casita, and I replaced the wheel bearings as a precaution.  A little yard work between the rainy days.  Birthdays for the two of us, as well as a number of other family members.  I did help my brother convert a school bus into a camper to take to the deer camp.  We installed a water tank and plumbing, created a bathroom, built bunks, and added a couple of futons.  We drove it to the woods of North Mississippi last Wednesday, and built a temporary deck out front. 

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Thanksgiving Day was beautiful.  Thirty seven family members at my brothers home for Thanksgiving dinner.  Enjoying the sunshine afterward.

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Fall has finally arrived in Southwest Mississippi. 

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January will be here before we know it.  The Western US is calling my name…jc

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


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


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