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!