Saturday, October 18, 2014

Busy week with more to come!

I know that a week officially starts on Sunday but I like to think mine starts on Monday. Monday's are by far my busiest business day followed closely by Friday. So when Friday rolls around I am VERY ready for my 2 days of rest! I guess most people who work feel that way. So this Monday was crazy busy! Tuesday was us up before light, driving (think crawling) into the Houston Medical Center for our annual Dr. appointments. We both see the same wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Robert Hust. Mom went to him too when she was alive. We have everyone there "trained" about our time constraints, RX needs, etc. and they schedule us perfectly for tests and such. They understand we only come home to Texas twice a year and drive 180 miles round trip for visits. But it is well worth it as the care is extraordinary. I do not have heart disease but I do have high BP which is managed. Every older person on both sides of my family do or did have heart disease, bypasses, heart block, heart failure, aneurysms, strokes. You name it, they have had it,  so I do my best to prevent it. Of course there are no guarantees. Charles has several Stents and a leaky heart valve and is managed well and doing great! We thank Dr. Hust and his team for it. Methodist Hospital is awesome. So after his stress test and Echo we both saw the Dr. (had lab work sent the week before) and we were deemed fit to keep on keeping on! We will get Charles' last 2 test results next week but expect good news. Why am I telling you this? I think many RVers do not establish and see really good Dr's that will follow their history and monitor them closely. Top specialists.  So if you are one of those, let me know, I have great recommendations for all kinds of doctors.
It was a long day and we got home late and I had most of my work to still do. So besides work, I also volunteered to help with registration and ticket sales for our Escapees Annual Fall celebration. So I have been doing that several days before  the afternoon Social Hour. Friday was Mammogram day for me in Humble. I have been going to the same state of the art women's facility at Memorial Hermann since 1991. It's important to create a history of films for comparison purposes. I have had 2 different "scares" of possible breast cancer and many biopsies. Last year I was told I could go back to annual screenings instead of 2-3 per year. So, my fingers are crossed again for good news. Then we went to Office Max for a case of paper and printer toner. We had lunch after my ta-ta pics at a fav Chinese restaurant in Kingwood, Oriental  Gardens. We have been eating there since 1991 when we lived in Kingwood. Awesome food and service! We had lunch with Charles' two closest friends since childhood. One lives in Sugarland and the other in NW Houston. It was such fun catching up! Johnny was the best man at our wedding and David a previous best man for Charles! We slept in Sat. morning then went to the SPCA Fall Frolic. Got to visit with all the precious doggies waiting for forever homes.  Our 2 boys are rescues. So many beautiful animals needing love. We took big bags of dog and kitty food to them also. From there it was La Casita for lunch and then the Livingston Trade Days. Tons of vendors and "treasures" but none that I couldn't live without, thank goodness! We did a lot of walking there and a stop at Wally World. Tomorrow will be the Pilot Club Annual Turkey Dinner fundraiser, a visit from my niece Terri and hubby Jim and our friend Valli Ann is coming for dinner! Whew! Oh yes, and our Fright Fest kicks off tomorrow with ice cream and ticket sales again for me. This coming week will be full too but with lots of fun thrown in! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Home in Texas

We really were looking forward to getting back to Rainbows End in Livingston. We will be here until after Thanksgiving. While we are usually in Yuma, AZ by the beginning of November,  this year we will be later but for a great reason. Charles' step-daughter Kristen is getting married in Houston! We are so happy for her and Roy! We have not met him yet, but feel we know him through FB. It does make it nice.
So, what have we been doing at home? After only a week, we had to go to Shreveport for a week to work our last rally for 2014, an FMCA Area rally. We stayed at my cousin Donnie's dealer c.g. with 50 amp fhu. Yes, we took the big RV and it was seventh heaven after living in Stubby for 5 1/2 months! We knew we missed our home on wheels, but didn't realize just how much. We got to see all the cousins and 1 dear friend while there, even though we were very busy working and the weather was miserably hot for 3 days with no a/c in the building. We did make the best of our time. We camped with our friends the Lawrences so it was great catching up with them and getting to see Nicky, their Yorkie. Our cousins all had us for fabulous meals and parties during the week and weekend. It was so much fun! We also were able to meet the monument people at the family plot to set the marker for my Mom and brother. They did a beautiful job. It is Texas pink granite. We came back to Livingston to a very busy work week. This weekend has been go-go but in a fun way. We attended a BBQ fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus and garage sale. One of our neighbors is the pit boss and cooked some killer brisket and ribs! Tomorrow, here at the park, we have an Ice Cream Social where I will  sell tickets and register Escapees for our Fright Fest celebration that starts in a week. On top of all that, we have 3 Dr. appointments in Houston this next week too. And of course, running my business never stops! So, even though we aren't on the road, we are quite busy. Charles has many projects to keep him occupied as well. Weather is perfect! Cool a.m. and p.m. and warm in between. Perfect for coffee on our porch and a glass of wine in the evenings.
Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ferry from Juneau to Sitka, Petersburg, Ketchikan, POW, and Prince Rupert, BC

Other than the oftentimes "weird hours" that the ferries leave and arrive, they are a comfortable way to travel. But they are not cruise ships! I do suggest getting a cabin for overnight runs. We only got one once but it was well worth it to get some real sleep. Sleeping in a chair is for the young! Our next ride, to Sitka, on the fast-ferry, Fairweather was the smoothest and fastest! The only drawback was it only had a minimal snack bar and no hot food service.
We tightly  maneuvered through an archipelago of small islands. The timing had to be exact because of the huge fluctuations in tides. We were in some very shallow channels! We arrived in Sitka which was the island I most wanted to visit, and it did not disapoint! It was the first Russian capitol of AK and still has a huge Russian cultural influence. It's a beautiful island but rains constantly! We stayed off grid for 4 days at a USFS c.g. We saw many historical buildings, museums and especially enjoyed the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. We found a microbrewery and even 4 surfers when the waves kicked up! Sitka is a small island but I could have easily stayed much longer. I hope to return. It did have the worst road in AK, under construction,  of course. From Sitka we sailed to Petersburg which is a laid back, heavily Norwegian fishing port. Fishing boats of all types and several active
canneries are the main industry. It is a very natural island with very few things for tourists to see or do. The c.g. we stayed at was an excellent choice where we had water and electric and a reasonably priced laundry and showers. We took several off road drives and on one saw a sow black bear with her triplet cubs! While we enjoyed our visit, Petersburg is not a must see for SE. We did find AK wild scallops there and brought them home in the freezer. The best we have ever had! From Petersburg our next ferry brought us to Ketchikan.  I was last there in 2002 and goodness has it grown!  Ketchikan is a very popular cruise port and most days has between 4-7 huge ships docked there or tendered out! So this small town adds up to 25,000 extra visitors for the day! Huge tour buses are everywhere as are many shops downtown. We stayed our first and last night at camp Wal Mart and the other days at an AK State park. (No hook ups) They only have 3 campgrounds there and it was us and one other camper in a beautiful rainforest! We left Carolee and Dan for 3 days and took the Inter Island ferry (think tiny) to Prince of Wales island.  It is remote, beautiful,  unspoiled,  untouched, very few people or tourists.  We stayed at 2 different Forest Service c.g.'s. Prince of Wales has a huge logging road system and several good highways. Unfortunately,  the highway to the north end of the 3rd largest island in America was completely closed, being rebuilt. We spent one full day of frustrating detours so cut our visit short by a couple of days. We did so enjoy the fish ladders, forests, glacial vistas and especially the Haida people we met. They are the smallest native tribe in AK. Like on the other islands, they are very proud of their totems and heritage. We were able to visit with several of the elders at the Carving Shack where they carve and restore totems and make paddles and box drums. All were beautiful and so interesting!  We also got to meet and visit with Cody, a young Haida native. What an interesting young man who was happy to share his island life, work and culture with us. POW is a place we hope to return to. After our visit, we returned to Ketchikan and wound down our 4 month journey with the Days.  They boarded the ferry to Bellingham, WA and we took our last one to Prince Rupert, BC where from there we drove to WA and points east. To say it was a trip of a lifetime is true. We experienced so many wonderful people, places, wonders of nature, beauty and just pure peacefulness.  Alaska is truly our last frontier.  GO! Don't put it off! It is like no other place on earth! As my sweet Mother said, it was her "heaven on earth."
Thank you for coming along with us on this journey. I am happy to answer any questions you might have on traveling to Alaska.
I do plan on continuing my blog, as our adventure continues!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ferry Hopping Cont'd next hop, Juneau

Our trip to Juneau from Haines was under 3 hours. The main reason we went to Juneau was because it is the jumping off port for other ferries further south. Juneau is a city and is go fast, traffic, crowds and NO parking places! The campground we stayed at was one of the worst in my life and way too expensive. It was electric only,  in a park full of permanently parked (forever) RVs. A mud hole too! The only saving grace was a clean, free shower. (Showers cost in Alaska!) I found a great place for breakfast on Yelp and it was outstanding! Off we go in the rain to the famous Mendenhall Glacier. I last saw it in 2002 and it recedes 100 plus feet per year. Sad. In 02 we could walk up to it! Now there is a huge Visitors Center full of bus loads of cruise passengers. You view it through big picture windows or walk a long steep path down and still view it quite a way a ways. It is beautiful though! From there we went downtown where 5 ships were in port. We got lucky and found a parking place within walking distance. Carolee and Dan wanted us to see this famous, old bar. The Red Dog Saloon. It was quite crowded and not as cool as they remembered.  Think tourist trap. I wanted to go to the glacial silt soap shop I had read so much about and did. Bought 2 bars. They make your skin as smooth as silk!  Bob and Molly Pinner had been to Juneau earlier and told us to eat at Tracy's Crab Shack. So by now we are hungry, very wet, didn't care, and marched down the busy streets and found it! You stand outside in the rain to order and eat under a tarp! We were able to snag the one inside table! I had FRESH Alaska Golden King crab. It is a summer crab, not caught in abundance like the Red King caught in January. It was absolutely the best crab I have ever eaten! I can't describe the flavor! We also shared crab bisque and crab cakes which were both excellent. After more shopping we headed back to our dump, oh, I mean park, and turned in early. We had to be in line by 4:45 a.m. for our ferry to Sitka, the first Russian capitol of Alaska.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Our AK Ferry Hopping through SE - Kodiak and Haines

I know I have been remiss but I must admit that our last month in Alaska was spent with little to no internet.  When I was able to log on, it was either to handle business or a quick FB update.  How do I capture 9 different ferry journeys to 8 different amazing destinations and points inbetween? I will try! Our first ferry took us from Homer to Kodiak. It was a very long ride of almost 12 hours. It flew by! We arrived at 10:45 p.m. and found that the 2 camgrounds were full of workers there to build a new airport runway. We were never so grateful for a Wal Mart! The next day the VFW Post took pity on me and three veterans and allowed us to boondock there for the week. We drove EVERY road, saw every sight, met wonderful people and dogs but never saw a grizzly bear! We tried and tried to no avail. The VFW even held a party for us one evening! It was a blast.
Back to Homer we returned (think 10 ft swells and seasick Chris...ugh) and drove the AK Hwy to Haines, still my fav AK town! It was our 4th visit there. It took us a fast 3 days to get there. Carolee and Dan took a leisurely 6. The Haines Hwy from Haines Jct. is breathtakingly beautiful! Trumpeter swans, eagles, black bears, mountain vistas. So hard to describe the sheer magnificence. Our first night was spent at Chilkat State Park. Beautiful but too far away.I might add we parked on the ocean with full hook ups for the next 3 nights, a real treat! We attended a Dungeness crab potluck at the c.g. So much fun and good eating! Then we moved to the Chilkoot Lake St. Pk. where we have always seen grizzlies fishing for salmon. We didn't but Carolee and Dan did! We toured everything possible there and it was a glorious birthday week. Next stop, Juneau. (To be continued....)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Oh what a day!

I knew better than to get up early.  I knew that couldn't be a good thing. Yeppers, was right....
Up at 7:30, shower, 2 loads of laundry, breakfast, pack up to leave by 11 and away we go to Homer! Only 45 miles or so, no big deal.....So we roll into the Visitors Center to find the free RV parking lot (there now) that I read about "in one of those many books on Homer". Only a block away! And away we go! Have big, fun plans for the day; Farmers Market, winery, shopping, sightseeing, the Spit, art galleries, dinner out....Get parked and I notice water coming out of an overflow tube under Carolee's and Dan's rig. Did you overfill the fresh water? No....Carolee opens the door to a flooded trailer!  OMG! The new water faucet vibrated on (handle), water pump was left on, sink stopper was in.....a mess. Charles and I go buy a mop and 3 hours later with fans and furnaces going, the RV floor, cushions, basement, etc is being dried out. We went for a Chinese dinner at Happy Face on the Spit (thanks to YELP app. my fav, ck it out!). Good food, good prices, friendly service in the POURING rain! Haven't we had enough water for one day? Yes, we got soaked. But nothing stops us. Dessert was Micky D's caramel sundaes!
Back to the free parking lot. Oh wait, there's more to the day, the "feel good" part. While we were drying the RV out, Charles walked the dogs and spotted a very still (odd) Bald Eagle sitting on a propane tank. He calls me over and after awhile the bird hops off and waddles a ways and looks back at us. He appears to be hurt, a wing, and can not fly. I call the Islands and Oceans Center (3 times) and follow the eagle, at a distance. He makes it across the Sterling Hwy. I am frantic! Cars stop for the limping eagle. After an hour, I get a call from AK Fish and Game. I find the eagle for them and they are going to save him!!!! We were all SO happy! An eagle that can not fly, can not eat. And THAT was the best part of our day! Tonight we are boondocking in the AK State Ferry line. We leave on our adventure to Kodiak island in the a.m. We are all so excited.
Hope we can sleep!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Only 41 miles and back to Soldotna!

We decided Sunday night that we all needed a change in scenery. Since we were headed to Soldotna on Monday for the Bush Poodles to be groomed at Petco (and wait 3+ hours for them), we would just move our rigs back to our fav boondocking spot of Freddy Meyers. Of course it's actually rather expensive because I find groceries and other stuff I must go into the store to get, daily! The boys came home perfectly handsome and are no longer Bush poodles. They did a great job! Of course it was the most expensive grooming of their lives, $40 each, but this is Alaska. Hopefully they will get their next ones in the lower 48 for around $28-$30, what we are used to paying. We have found good to excellent groomers all over the country in our travels. Have only had 2 or so we would never go back to. We did 3 full days of errand running, fighting some fishing traffic and way too many RV rentals that don't know how to drive, park, dump, or water fill!! Many are downright scary! We had a long Class C rental squeeze into the site next to us today. They had a huge slide behind the driver and with the slide in, he had parked within 3 inches of our slide! Scared the daylights out of me and Carolee as we sat at the dinette! Our window was open so I am saying to the lady, do not put your slide out, you are too close! She just looked at me. I yelled to Charles, who was outside, to tell the driver. None of them spoke English! All from Europe. At least they didn't put the slide out! We decided to move Stubby over as far as possible, toward Dan and Carolee's rig. We knew the foreigners would realize their mistake come bed time. After we moved I felt much better. We all went out for dinner at Frosos and had delicious pizza and a good merlot. We then rounded off the evening with frozen yogurt. Tomorrow we head back to Ninilchik. We have had enough of our "city fix!"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Enjoying Ninilchik and Homer

We have really been relaxing here and with good wifi, I am able to get my work done more easily. Because of the 4 hour spread of time zones, Customer Service is handling simple policy changes for my customers.  I am doing quotes, new policies and claims which is more than enough to keep me busy every morning and evening. We are quite happy being in Ninilchik. The area is beautiful and quiet. We make trips in to Homer every few days for sightseeing adventures. This past week, we also spread my Mom's ashes there in a place she wanted to be. Friends were with us and the day was beautiful with sunshine and blue skies. It was a difficult time for me but it also gave me a sense of closure.  We all then celebrated her life with a cocktail and dinner; exactly what Mom always said she wanted us to do. We also saw Hobo Jim again. He puts on a great show as Alaska's Balladeer.
We said goodbye to friends Mickey and Lynn Waite who are slowly making their way back to the lower 48. We miss them!
We did get to have a brief visit with friends Chip and Daisy Cartwright from TX/AR/VA!  They stayed overnight at our park.  Unfortunately I was feeling under the weather that day. Sorry I wasn't great company guys! Dipnetting started this past week for Alaskans at the mouth of the Kenai. We have seen the "zoo" before and traffic is terrible in Kenai. A sea of people in the river, netting red salmon to fill their freezers. Each family gets 25 plus 10 for each family member. Today Charles and I went to the Homer Farmers Market. We are on our last jar of homemade jam so I was able to get some good choices there; marionberry, sweet black cherry and raspberry. Monday we are taking the dogs to Petco in Soldotna for a much needed grooming. I call them my Alaska Bush poodles! We will also pick up prescriptions and make a major grocery run to Freddy Meyers before we head to Kodiak on the ferry next Sunday. It will be Carolee's birthday! I can't think of a better way to celebrate!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 6 in Ninilchik

After working for the week at the Kenai Moose Lodge, we meandered on down the Sterling Hwy south to Ninilchik. We needed some rest! Ninilchik has always been one of my favorite places on the Kenai Peninsula. It practically has everything that Alaska has to offer. Beautiful views of Cook Inlet and it's volcanoes looming above the clouds; an abundance of wildflowers, including lupine and fireweed, my 2 favs; steeped in history, it offers the old, historical village to explore and the Russian Orthodox Church and unusual cemetary perched on the bluff overlooking the water; the commercial fishing fleet almost mired in mud until the tide comes in and they can float out; sport boats going out for charters to catch prized (and good eatin'!) Halibut and Salmon; watching those charters being pulled in and out of the water by huge tractors, an interesting sight!; Charles and Lynn have taken 2 halibut charters so we enjoyed some grilled halibut and have enough to ship home; small town people who are friendly and laid back; huge dips of ice cream at the General Store; 2 Passport America RV parks with good, free, WiFi and nice bath houses and laundries; 5 AK State Recreation parks at $10-12 per night; easy drive to Anchor Point and Homer; moose and eagles everywhere!; yep, we are staying here awhile. Perfect Alaska!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Our week at the Kenai Moose Lodge

I know I have said it before, but it's true. The Time Is Flying by! We had a very busy and fun week at the Moose Lodge. We have gotten to know some terrific people, made some special new friends and worked our butts off!  Carolee and I helped prep all the food for today's 4th of July celebration and fundraiser.  We baked tons of cookies, chicken legs, meatballs, chicken sticks and smoked about 100 lbs of pork butt. Along with all the utensils,  set up, ice, drinks, etc. we did it!  The guys worked hard too! Talk about tired.  That's me writing this. It was a great day, very successful and fun to boot!  All of the volunteers were awesome.  Proceeds go to Community Outreach, helping those in the community that need some extra help; whether it be a death, illness, job loss or whatever. We love being members of Moose International,  a fraternal organization that supports a lot of good causes. Check it out at  If you would be interested in becoming a member, please contact me! RVERS take note, that many lodges offer free or donation for parking, usually with water and electric. It's a great place to park, have a drink and dinner and get to know some locals in the area you are visiting.  Ok, commercial over! Lol
We will say our goodbyes til next time and move down the Sterling Hwy tomorrow to Ninilchik where the guys will halibut fish. I will work and do laundry. Long drive tomorrow of 45 miles. See you later!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Enjoying the Kenai Peninsula

Tuesday was a glorious day so Mickey and Lynn and us decided to drive down to Ninikchik and check out the AK State Rec Areas and see what was available for the guys to go halibut fishing. And boy did we check them out! We went into 6 different areas, almost all of them had no campers in them. The fee is $10 per night and we found 2 different ones that we absolutely want to stay in! One even has a dump station ($5). All are no hook ups. They do have pit toilets and water fill available. I truly believe these are the last of the "bargain" camping areas in Alaska. I do know that several of them fill up during the Razor Clam season, which is usually right now but it has been closed because a paralytic poison has been found in some of the tested clams! Glad I don't particularly like clams. It's a shame for those who do. We also called Bob and Mollie Pinner and stopped by to see them and  friends who are travelling together. It was so much fun visiting and catching up with a bunch of SKP friends! They are staying at a park down there and have taken a couple of successful fishing trips from there. They were glad to share fishing tips with the guys and visa versa. Lynn and Charles signed up with Ninilchik Charters for an all day Halibut fishing on 7/7. They got the last 2 spots available until near the end of July. Lynn had a coupon from his TourSaver book, so they are going for half price! Can't beat that! They are both excited about it! The limit is 2 per day so we hope they will get some nice size ones. They are SO delicious! Yesterday was my brother, Al's, 70th birthday so we called and wished him a Happy Birthday! I also asked him if he would be home on 7/9 to accept a FedEx delivery of halibut! He has an empty freezer waiting for it. His wife, Leslie, loves Red Salmon so we hope to be able to ship some catch to her also. Stubby, our little RV, has very little freezer room, so when we head to AZ in November, we can stop by and pick up some of our halibut! He told me that fresh halibut at his grocery in TX is $29 per pound! The sun was shining and we had clear, blue skies so we were able to take some great pics across Cook Inlet and view Mt. Redoubt and the other volcanoes. Yesterday, Carolee and Dan arrived from Watson Lake and joined us a Camp Freddy Meyers! (that's a grocery store parking lot that welcomes RVers and even has a free dump station.) We drove out to Nikiski to Capt. Cook State Park for a picnic lunch. Unfortunately, it was quite cloudy and misty fog so we weren't able to get any clear views or pics of the inlet and volcanoes. Although we all enjoyed our lunch, we all stood up and ate as we swatted mosquitoes! They were horrible and never let up! The Deep Woods OFF did not phase them. We stopped at the Kenai Moose Lodge, on our way back, where we and several others are members and talked to our friend Joe, the Admin. We will be volunteering on the 4th of July for their annual fundraiser. We will actually start our prep work a few days ahead as we will be selling food at the July 4th Kenai celebration at the ball park. We sell out every year! Charles and I  have done it before and it is a lot of fun and a very worthy cause: Mooseheart, a home and school for kids. Lynn, Charles and Dan volunteered to fix a bad electrical hook up and a problem water spigot for the Lodge too so they began work on those projects and are finishing them up today. We all moved to RV parking spots at the Lodge this morning. It has not stopped raining in more than 24 hours. Made for a good day to catch up on work and now this Blog!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Too much fun!

I can't believe it's been 12 days since my last update. We stay on the go and crash and burn at night. I know, no excuse! We all enjoyed Valdez, especially getting to see the Eagles being fed fish each afternoon at 5 at Bayside RV where we stayed! I got some great shots! We left there and spent the night in Kenny Lake, near the Copper River. Took a drive to the native village of Chitina. Looking for the fish wheels but access to the river is only by Quads. We did see a lot of roadside campers and their quads there to fish. You must be a resident and in some places, a native, to either dipnet or use the fishwheel to catch salmon. They limit the time strictly. The main reason for us going to Kenny Lake was for Diamond Willow. Very prized for walking sticks and quite beautiful!  We all got one but OMG, the mosquitoes were SO bad there! The air was black in places, so thick! From KL we travelled to Palmer where we spent several nights at the Moose Lodge, enjoying the sights including the Independence Mine and beautiful mountain vistas. We were there for Father's Day and all the guys got their Steak dinners free! We had a lot of fun! We then ventured to Anchorage for 2 nights at the Moose there. Mickey and Lynn and Carolee and Dan did the Native Alaskan Heritage Center. Since we have visited it twice before, we had a day for errands and getting our city fix with a fast food lunch! Leaving Anchorage we headed south along scenic Turnagain Arm to Seward, on the top end of the Kenai Peninsula. We spent 5 nights there and got our fill of otter watching and just enjoying the natural scenery. We cooked outside a lot, even through the frequent showers. We stayed at the Seward Resort campground. It was quite nice. Charles snagged his first Red Salmon of the year! He caught the end of their season but will catch the main run here in Soldotna in mid July. Our trip today to Soldotna was a short one, only about 65 miles. We are boondocking at Fred Meyer's for a night or two. Very handy since we had to order our medications here. Lynn and Mickey are with us. Carolee and Dan are at a USFS campground for a night or 2. Dan likes the "bush." They will rejoin us later.
Lynn is cooking chili tonight and they have gone exploring.  I had a lot of business to attend to so we stayed behind. Tomorrow should be another busy day seeing the sights! Soldotna is in the heart of the Kenai River, the motherlode for salmon fishing. It is one of our fav Alaskan towns and we know it quite well. Being here feels like "home" to us in many ways. Mom loved it too. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Richardson Hwy South

We said our goodbyes to Fairbanks and headed south on the Richardson Hwy. This section of it we had never traveled before because we usually head to Denali on the Parks Hwy. This trip we are bypassing Denali. We first headed to Delta Junction as we got a late start from Fairbanks. We all needed food and fuel which took some time.
We stayed at the Moose Lodge, one we had never visited before. They had a nice open area for us to park. We all went in for conversation, an adult beverage and free popcorn. I made homemade chicken enchiladas for dinner for everyone. 3 pans cooked in 3 ovens, in 3 different RVs! We all ate heartily and deemed delicious!
We stopped at the Visitors Center the next morning running into Dennis and Carol Hill who were headed to Fairbanks. We continued down the highway and it was a beautiful drive of lakes,  snow capped mountains, tundra, black spruce, swans and saw 3 moose! We stayed the night in a huge right of way overlooking the Gilkana River. Charles tried his hand at fishing but sadly, no bites. We had a simple dinner of hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire that our resident Boy Scout, Lynn Waite, so handily made. There were lots of laughs around the campfire. This morning we continued on our journey to Valdez,  passing thru Copper Center and Glenallen where we fueled. Our most expensive Alaska gas so far, $4.35/gal. The drive to Valdez is magnificent! You pass many glaciers, waterfalls, sheer cliffs, traversing several long grades up and down. The snow capped mountains have no words. The beauty is surreal.  We arrived in Valdez about 1:30 staying at our fav, Bayside RV Park. We all went for fresh halibut at the Halibut House (another fav). Then I c as me back and worked for several hours, catching up on my online work and phone calls. Then Carolee and I did loads and loads of laundry! Not fun, but necessary just the same. Well, we did have fun talking and meeting a lady from Austria and one from Minnesota! Afterror a light dinner at home, we took a scenic drive and got an ice cream. A great ending to another wondrous day in Alaska.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Time is flying by! Fairbanks

Hard to believe a week has gone by since my last post. We totally enjoyed Whitehorse but didn't get to go to the brewery or hot springs. Next time!
Our train ride to Skagway was awesome and we had the usually crowded port town to ourselves!  No ships. I highly recommend the White Pass train. The scenery was breathtaking.
We left Whitehorse and spent the night after a long rainy days drive past beautiful Kuane Lake and Resurrection Bay. It was one frost heave after another. We spent the night in a Yukon Provincial Park, Snag Jct.
Very nice, no hookups. But the 8 of us had such fun! I made homemade chili for all, toasted marshmallows and sat around the fire. The next morning Dan made a huge skillet breakfast for everyone.  It was delicious! Carolee was the warm toast maker. We travelled to Tok and finally made it to Alaska after 14 days on the road! After lunch at Fast Eddy's and quick hellos to more of the Loosey Goosey gang we left on Thurs. for Fairbanks.  We are dry camping at the Moose Lodge. It's a great location and very hospitable.  We had a great Steak dinner there last night and the night before we all went for Chinese at the Pagoda in North Pole. The food was fab and so much leftover we are having a Chinese potluck tonight. Yesterday we visited the Museum of the North at the University  of Alaska. Everyone enjoyed it! We then did some shopping at Fred Meyers and WW We were all tired so came back to the rigs. I worked til 6:30 while everyone else was at Happy Hour. I joined them for the steaks and afterwards we all went for Hot Licks ice cream. A very enjoyable day! Today is a busy one having breakfast at the famous Sourdough Sam's. Known for their sourdough pancales and reindeer sausage. The omelet we split was outstanding! I don't care for sourdough but did try them. We then went to the Sat. Farmers Market. Too early here for fresh veggies but we did see some rhubarb and cukes. I bought 2 little jars of homemade jam, wild choke cherry and a ligonberry. I also fell in love with a hand made mammoth ivory bracelet. It is very delicate. I will cherish it.
For all the pics, go to my FB page. You will find many to enjoy.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Whitehorse, Yukon Eureka!

We had a long but nice drive to Whitehorse from Watson Lake,  about 262 miles. We made several stops for lunch at a scenic pullout along a river, ice cream break mid afternoon and the Wildlife Museum in Teslin where we stopped for fuel. It's a small but we'll done museum and free!
We arrived at Pioneer RV Park where we have stayed many times. The owners are so nice and helpful!  After a drive around town our group of now 6, us, Carolee, Dan and Lynn and Mickey Waite all went to dinner at Klondike Salmon and Ribs. It has been here forever and has excellent food. We had Yukon Gold beer (local) and halibut fish and chips. Delicious! We went back to Pioneer and booked 3 tours. Today we went to Muktuk Kennels to learn about sled dogs and their raising, care and team building. Wow! We had a private tour and we were all blown away! We all learned so much about the dogs, the kennels and the Yukon Quest race that the owner, Frank, won in 1995. He is a very impressive man that truly has a passion for his work and his dogs.
We got to run (walk) with some of the huskies down to the Yukon River, play, love and interact with them. And what grear, happy dogs they are! Manuella, who runs the kennels with Frank and his wife, was a carpenter from Germany that came to the Yukon 8 years ago on a 2 year work visa. Her story of falling into the work with Frank and his team of 117 huskies was so interesting and truly fate. The Yukon is now her home and her passion is the raising and training of these special dogs. We all had a wonderful day then came home, cooked a great joint dinner of ham steaks, potatoes and peas. Tomorrow we are off to Skagway, Alaska....for the day! By the way, sunset tonight is 11:15 p.m. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BC here we come! Oh yes, the Yukon too!!

On Sunday we headed out from Stony Plain, AB and drove 351 miles to Dawson Creek, BC. Dawson Creek is the official start of the Alaska Highway and Mile Marker 1. Of course we got our pics made at that historic spot! We first had to go through Grande Prairie to get there. They have done a ton of road construction since we were last there in 2009 and the AK Highway is not marked AT ALL! Crazy! We fueled up and finally headed down the correct road. We arrived in DC about 5:20 and stayed at the Northern Lites RV Park. A nice facility. I grilled burgers and we enjoyed eating outside. The weather was perfect! We played cards and then hit the rack so we could make a Canadian Tire and Wal Mart run in the a.m. before heading out. We had a wonderful breakfast out at a little diner and then after shopping, hit the road about 11 a.m. Our latest start. We have been buying bottled water as we use our tank for bathing and cooking. Found out that in Canada, you pay for the water, then you pay for the bottles, almost as much as the water itself! Oh well...It was actually hot today so we changed from long to short sleeves for the first time (low 80's).  Dawson Creek unleaded is $1.38 per litre, making it about $5.24 per gallon. The good news is Stubby has been averaging well over 10 mpg which makes us happy!  So, on the highway about an hour and we all came to a screeching halt, the entire highway! The sad part is there was a fatal accident about a mile ahead of us. It shut the Alcan down for over 2.5 hours. Once it was opened, we traveled only a total of 226 miles in 7.5 hours. We boondocked for the first time, this trip, at Prophet River airstrip. It used to be a Provincial Park (like our National Parks) but has been closed. It is a popular drycamping stop in a beautiful grove of tall aspen trees. The mosquitos were plentiful but we grilled pork chops anyway, had a delightful meal and played a new (to us) card game. 7 Up, 7 Down. It's a lot of fun and Dan really enjoys giving me his aces (not good for me! lol) We all slept in the wonderful quiet and left at 8 for Liard Hot Springs in BC as our destination. Along the way we saw our first large animal. A caribou grazing along the berm.We stopped at Ft Nelson Hotel for a nice breakfast and a fuel stop. We have stopped at Liard twice before. It is a natural mineral springs and Provincial Park. You walk down a 1/2 mile boardwalk to the springs and then soak in a VERY hot, hot tub that has no tub! It is quite large and we really enjoyed our time there. We met up with Mickey and Lynn Waite for our soak of 6. Before doing so, we checked in to our RV park and found out that we had actually caught up with Dennis and Carol Hill and our Loosey Goosey Escapees gang! We were surprised as we thought they were still well ahead of us! After intros and hugs all around, we were blessed with our neon orange name badges! (Dennis loves orange!)
Back to the animal sightings! We saw and took pics of 6 black bears! We were so excited! I have never seen that many in one day. One bear was eating a Caribou carcass (roadkill, I think) and then there were a pair lounging along the roadside, yawning, stretching and snacking! So cute to watch. We also enjoyed FABULOUS cinnamon buns at Tetsa River Services. I have eaten many a cinnamon roll on the Highway but these were the best! It was a beautiful drive and we also saw Stone sheep, caribou, 2 moose and many herds of buffalo. It was an animal viewing feast! At Muncho Lake, which is a beautiful azure blue and also still very frozen over, we saw a newborn buffalo calf and his Mom. She had just given birth and cleaned the baby up. We watched him take his first steps and nurse for the first time. It was truly amazing!
We wanted hook ups and badly needed to dump and take on water so we opted to stay across from the springs in a park. It is poorly maintained and $33 per night. The Provincial Park is $28 and no hook ups at all. When we were ready to leave this a.m. we could not locate the dump station! Dan walked the entire park, we all drove it 3 times...where was it hiding? Well, we never found out! The RV park attendant partied too much last night and did not show up for work. The Manager, a very nice young lady couldn't find it either! So, she refunded both of our night's stay and apologized. She also said she was firing the attendant as this isn't the first time he has no-showed. We had a short drive of only about 3 hours to Watson Lake, our first stop in the Yukon. Watson Lake is our first 2 night stopover. I was able to use the phone and internet and get some badly needed work done today. We all then went to the Northern Lights theater (more like a planetarium) and saw a wonderful IMAX film on the universe creation (think BIG Bang) and another on the Aurora Borealis. Both quite well done! The films are different from the ones we saw in 2006 and we all really enjoyed them! I cooked red beans and rice with sausage tonight and Carolee (my Sous chef!) made garlic bread and salad. All was quite good! For lunch I had made tuna salad so we all really enjoyed being able to eat outside twice today. The weather here is just perfect! Tomorrow I have more work to do and we might go do a little bird watching at the lake here. We might even get some laundry done if we get real motivated! We shall see.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Seemed like it took forever to get across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  Lots of farmland, prairie, brown, a few cows and horses and not much else. SO happy to be in Alberta! It is so diverse and it is green and we saw our first wildflowers! We thought we had lost an airbag on Stubby. It had deflated. Charles crawled under it. All looks fine. He will watch it, thinks it might be the valve stem. It did reinflate and held all day over some bouncy roads. We stopped this morning at Canadian Tire in N. Battleford, Saskatchewan. We love that store, so I elected to stay with the dogs. No temptations that way as I have NO room in Stubby for extra stuff! Charles bought a small air compressor. We then treated ourselves to our first Tim Hortons!  It won't be our last, I assure you! (Ok...Google it!) But, we drove through lunch with just some Chex Mix. One of our favorite driving snacks. This is the first day I didn't take my turn at driving. I was really tired and headachy with the time zone changes, sun up before 5 a.m. and me up too. This craziness must stop!
We all rolled along and covered 333 miles today. Dan has to stop for fuel every 150 miles so he does 2 fill ups to our one. His tank only holds 24 gal. and ours is 55. We all take breaks, of course.
Tonight Carolee thawed boiled shrimp for dinner. We grazed on it, dip, homemade salsa, baby carrots and pea salad. We have had some intereating and quite good meals! We pitch in and both contribute and it makes it nice. We are staying at a Lions Club campground west of Edmonton. Full hook up, $35, and we got the last 2 sites. We will make an early grocery run to Safeway in the morning. It will be our first since we left Elkhart. Want to stock up before we hit the Alcan where prices are much higher and availability not as great. We hope to be near Dawson Creek tomorrow night. Mile Marker 1. Alaska, here we come!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our last day in Stephen, MN was our best!

Funny how an unexpected happening in life can sometimes be a most memorable one. That is how we have felt our "more than overnight" stay in Stephen, MN has been. Instead of moping, too badly, because we are more than ready to head through Canada (only 31 miles away) and on to Alaska, we decided to make the best of it by getting to know the people of this farming community. What a marvelous little town, full of some of the nicest, warmest, and friendliest people you could find anywhere! Carolee and I were both looking for a reasonable campground to meet at near the MN/Canadian border. We happened upon this city owned c.g. We have been stuck here waiting on the FedEx package that was lost and now hopefully found. Well, it is SUPPOSED to be here by 10 tomorrow. We shall see!
We met the town clerk, Roger, then the State Trooper/Fire Chief, Shaun. What great guys! From there it's the Community Center head, Nona (what a delightful lady!) and Ethel, the museum curator and town historian, who gave us a private 2 hour tour of the OHM (Old Home Museum) this morning, then ate wings with us this evening! Then came Heather the massage therapist/bartender. Heather hunts deer with black powder only; catches huge sturgeons, traps beaver for the city/county and about 100 other attributes! A real outdoors lady, goodwill ambassador and now my FB friend! Then there is the great guy at the Legion (forgot his name) that came by to help Dan with his gas can without a key; and the local guys who never let us buy our own beers at the Legion; not one!  Just nice, down-home folks! We have so enjoyed our time here. Bingo (which I hate, and Charles abhors) was even fun last night, thanks to them and about 20 more we met. Visit Stephen, MN and tell them Chris and Carolee sent ya.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

There is no beer in Minnesota

We left Chippewa Falls, WI early and stopped in Bloomer for special Sweigherts coarse weiners and water. We do have our priorities! It was a beautiful drive on Hwy 53 with no traffic through national forests and past many beautiful lakes full of catfish and northern pike. Lots of bait shops lined the highway.  Most of the towns had 600-700 people. We got to Crockston, MN around 4 p.m. after about 450 miles where we bought a new spot mirror that fell off Stubby in WI earlier in the day. We also stopped for a few groceries as Carolee called and said that Stephen, MN where we were meeting had one tiny grocery that had closed early. Dan yelled in the background,"buy beer." We had decided on a quick dinner of hot dogs with chili and baked beans and of course you can't eat hotdogs without beer! So the quest began. At the first grocery store I asked.."do you sell beer?" The girl looked at me like I had 2 heads and didn't understand me. Now I thought her accent strange too! Finally, after repeating myself twice I was told to go to Mick's Bar. I thought that couldn't be right. So after several convenience stores I found out there is no beer sold! We arrived in Stephen around 5:30 and were happily greeted by our travel companions!  We ate and cooked outside and caught up on our travels. I retired to my desk about 7 to catch up on quotes and policies from Escapade. We heard a knock on the door and it was Roger, the city clerk, checking on us! He and Carolee became fast friends by phone when she made our reservations. So I asked Roger..where do you buy beer in Minnesota?  He says at the bars.  Want me to take you? So the girl who sent me to Mick's was right! Who would have thunk?
I caught up on my work and finished by 11:30, exhausted. We slept like rocks after 1100 miles in 2 days. Today we are making a 51 mile run to Grand Forks, ND for our final WW run. Tomorrow is our final prep day for laundry and paperwork and we will celebrate  Charles' 70th birthday. We are planning a fun time and delicious menu.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cruel and Unusual Punishment at Escapade

That's what getting up at 6:15 a.m. is to me...very cruel. I had to act coherent and present my extended warranty seminar at 8:30 this a.m. I walked in the rain and it was really cold and windy too. But I had a great turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I don't remember talking, I was subconscious.  Hitched a ride back to the vending hall on a very wet golf cart seat. That woke me up! We had an extremely busy last day. Charles was happy to see me as he headed for a restroom break. We packed up at 4 and briefly attended a get-together for folks heading to Alaska. Lots are going but few showed up. We left and finished putting away our show set up and had our last dinner with Nick and Terry until Feb. Gosh that's a long time before seeing our good friends again. We will certainly miss them but that is also a great thing about the RV lifestyle, we know we will meet up again down the road. We laughed, talked, ate and solved most of the weird problems of the rving world! Although we are tired, we are so excited to leave early tomorrow and head towards Minnesota. We will meet up with our friends and travelling buddies, Carolee and Dan. They are spending the night in eastern South Dakota tonight and will make it to our rendezvous a day ahead of us. We have about 900 miles to get there. Weven will probably be somewhere in Wisconsin tomorrow night. As my friend Greg would say...we'll see.

Friday, May 9, 2014

What took me so long? Finally, a Blog!

So we are about to go to Alaska for the summer and friends keep are going to blog about it, aren't you? My answer is, well..... then I started thinking about it. I have wanted to write a blog for several years but have never felt I had the time to devote to it. My business keeps me VERY busy. But, we have been preparing for this special trip to Alaska for two years and I think the time is right. We have been to Alaska 3 times before. Our first, in 2002, was a 2 week trip on a Princess Cruisetour. We flew to Fairbanks and then spent a week in the interior of Alaska, seeing it by airplane, motorcoach, speedboat, tourboat, riverboat and the Alaska Railroad.
Then we boarded the Star Princess for a one week Gulf of Alaska and Inside Passage Cruise. We were hooked! We returned for 5 months in our 40 ft 5th wheel and MDT in 2006, our Allegro Bus for 3 months in 2009 and now, in "Stubby," for 4 months in 2014. Stubby is the name of our tiny Class C. It is a 2005 Itasca Cambria. Why so small? We want to be able to see more of the "real" Alaska. The places that have few or no RV parks. The tiny villages, lakes, forests, and the islands, by Alaska Ferry, of Southeast Alaska. Charles will fish to his heart's content and I will fish some too and take LOTS of pictures! We are stoked!
Come along with us as "our adventure continues." Launch date: May 19. 2014. Charles' 70th birthday.
What a celebration!