Friday, August 29, 2014

Teslin To Muncho Lake To Fort Nelson

Even though the RV park at Teslin was also a truck stop we all seemed to be lulled into a deep sleep by the sounds of the trucks running all night.  We woke to a very chilly morning and something we have discovered about truck campers—it’s often the same temperature inside as it is outside—BRRR. 

Off we went, heading to Watson Lake and points beyond if our drivers held up.  IMG_1175We saw sign after warning sign, WATCH FOR BUFFALO ON ROADWAY, what???  Well there were buffalo and nothing we read told us if they were transplants or privately owned escapees—John, can you enlighten us???

In Watson Lake we stopped to visit the Sign Post Forest:

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At last count in 2013 there were almost 80,000 signs.  It all started when a homesick US Army soldier Carl Lindley of Danville, IL.   In 1942, while working on the Alaska Highway he erected a sign pointing the way to his hometown.  Others followed his lead over the years—you bring your own sign and hang your own sign.  The Visitors Center provides the poles.  In 1992 Carl Lindley and his wife visited the site, 50 years after his first post was erected. 

We spent some time looking for a sign Geri’s Dad had posted many, many years ago without success then it was on down the road.  The drive from Watson Lake to Muncho Lake was spectacular—more buffalo and the other truck and camper which have been following us saw a bear cub. 

IMG_1187Whirlpool Canyon, a rest stop for us was gorgeous—that is until I decided to take a header!  While trying to take a photo for a family I tripped on a rock and fell, whacking my knee on a sharp rock—climbing up into the bed of the truck camper is a little ouchy right now.

We found a spectacular spot to spend the night—it is Labor Day weekend in Canada too and the provincial parks are filling up.  Right on the shores of Muncho Lake we set up camp and had our happy hour on the “beach!”IMG_1198IMG_1201

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Lots of moose sign in the area but no moose.  After dinner we took a great walk and watched a float plane land on the lake—the video I shot was spectacular but my internet connection isn’t YouTube capable right now.

After a very restful night we left beautiful Muncho Lake and landed in Fort Nelson for the night.  We called to make sure the RV park (which we would NOT have chosen if not looking for internet connections) had wifi to the sites.  “Yes, we do, if it doesn’t rain you should be able to receive the signal at your site.”  What the owner failed to tell us until AFTER she had taken Geri’s money was, “it might not work at your site and if it does you can only have it for 15 minutes then you are kicked off, we had to do that because people were watching Netflix---yaaaaaaa.”  

So, with that said, this is the last blog I will be posting until I get home unless we stumble upon a visitors center or library with decent internet—we are headed in that direction and should be home in about a week.  I am tired of paying $40 per night to stay in crummy, dirty RV parks who advertise they have clean this or clean that—YUCK—or they advertise they have wifi and DON’T.  The next time I visit Canada, we WILL have our own internet.  If I sound grumpy, it’s because I am!  I miss my internet, period!  I seem to be able to live without a phone for a while but 2-3 days without internet and I go into withdrawal!

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We Depart The Alaska Coast

And we are back in Yukon Territory at Teslin for the night here on Wednesday, August 27.  Our night in the parking lot wasn’t exactly restful—at least for me it wasn’t as I kept expecting that knock on the door until over in the early morning hours when I just assumed if they hadn’t come to roust us out by then they weren’t going to.  Our parking lot backed up to the train tracks for the White Pass/Yukon Railroad which only travels in the daytime but------they started getting trains ready about 5:30am—so there is a price to pay for “free!”  Smile

This morning we took a walking tour led by a US national park ranger, joining the 5000 other people from the cruise ships which arrived in the night.  The park service operates the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park using many of the original Skagway buildings.   IMG_1119IMG_1121These two buildings were original to Skagway as well as the one in the next two photos.IMG_1106IMG_1107The ranger explained that the majority of people who made lots of money in the Klondike Gold Rush were not the gold diggers/panners, they were the merchants, the cooks, the saloon owners and the ladies of the night. 

Last night our gang had dinner in one of the former bordello buildings—The Red Onion.  The waitresses were dressed as saloon girls and their costumes left nothing to the imagination!

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IMG_1116IMG_1117After dinner the cowboy, Emmi and I took a walk down to the harbor to see the floating hotels and all the other boats.  I tried to use an internet cafĂ© to post a blog with no luck.  This morning I attempted to use the Skagway library wifi before we left town, again with no luck—the connection was so slow I felt as if I were using dial up again!!

IMG_1124On a Skagway street—my Dad used to have a truck of this vintage—he was so proud of that old truck!

Geri had read that at Johnson’s Crossing a traveler could obtain a world famous cinnamon roll—Johnson’s Crossing is a dot on the road—a motel/RV park/bakery—closed for a while but trying to make a comeback.  And guess what—you can get world famous cinnamon rolls!

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IMG_1148Here’s our view for Wednesday night in Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada.  A one stop shop—cabins, motel, restaurant (supper was great!), wildlife museum, gift shop, gas/diesel, etc.  All out in the middle of nowhere!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Haines To Skagway Via Whitehorse

It was a chilly morning in Haines, Alaska on Monday, August 25 when we pulled out of that expensive RV park—we found Haines to be incredibly expensive, more so than some of the other southeast Alaska towns we visited reachable only by ferry.  Fuel purchased in Juneau cost us $3.62/gallon—Juneau can only be reached by ferry or by air.  In Haines fuel was over $5/gallon!  I paid more for a twelve pack of beer than I’ve ever paid for a CASE!!  Four small sacks of groceries cost me $91 in Haines!  The RV park charged $3/load in their laundromat and it was about $3 to dry if your clothes were really dry.  The RV park was beautiful with green grass and immaculate bathrooms but it and Haines left us with a “I’ve been ripped off” sensation. 

Forty miles after leaving Haines we crossed the Canadian border into British Columbia and shortly thereafter, we crossed into the Yukon Territories.  The landscape changed from coastal wetness to a touch drier, mountainous one.  None of the four of us had ever been in the Yukon so we were seeing new country all day.

  IMG_1053IMG_1055Helping Dad drive.

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada is a town where the majority of the territory population resides—24,000 people.  So, not many people in all that open country!  But it sure was beautiful.

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IMG_1062IMG_1064Oh no!!  The dreaded “traveling to Alaska” construction—that pretty red Dodge pickup traveling with us is gonna get dirty—oh, no!!

We camped for the night just south of Whitehorse in a territorial park beside a little creek—quiet and dark, just how we like it.  Larry and Geri’s friend Eugene arrived in Haines right before we pulled out bearing a gift—fresh halibut and salmon!!  Monday night I cooked the halibut along with some potatoes and baked beans.  Poor Geri is still feeling under the weather but today thought she might be turning the corner. 

On to Skagway this morning—we traveled through some of the most beautiful country and some of the strangest landscape.  In the higher elevations the landscape was strange—rocks and very stunted, odd little trees—it’s called Tormented Valley.  The trees are small twisted alpine firs and are shaped by a combination of heavy snow burying their lower branches and icy winds sculpting their upper branches.  This area receives 24 feet of snow in winter!!!!  Lakes, waterfalls, and strong winds along with rain—not great for taking photos.  Maybe when we start out of Skagway the weather will be more photo friendly.

IMG_1066IMG_1075Our Milepost book states, “the world’s smallest desert and an International Biophysical Programme site for ecological studies.  The desert is composed of sandy lake-bottom material left behind by a large glacial lake.”

IMG_1080IMG_1083In Carcross, Geri decided she wanted to ride the White Pass/Yukon Railroad to Skagway—we waved goodbye and promised to find her in Skagway! Winking smileWe had a bite to eat in Carcross after Geri left and continued our journey.

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IMG_1094Just outside Skagway we once again crossed back into the US.  On arrival in Skagway, guess what we saw—cruise ships, four of them!!  The Milepost states over one million tourist per year visit Skagway via these cruise ships.  YIKES!  We still managed to do some walking around—I found the quilt shop—imagine that!!

IMG_1100The RV parks in Skagway receive less than stellar reviews and are hideously expensive, $50/night for a dumpy looking place.  We really wanted to stay in Skagway so we could walk and see the sights—so, we found a parking lot with no signs prohibiting overnight parking and are tucked into a back corner—we will see what happens!

UPDATE:  Our parking lot stay was without incident—none of us slept well until later in the night—we were waiting for that knock on the door which never came. Smile

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Juneau To Haines

We experienced something highly unusual during the last four days of our southeast Alaska visit—sunshine!  Four days of blue skies, white fluffy clouds and sunshine!  Our ferry ride on Saturday, August 23 was spectacular!

IMG_0973If they don’t like the looks of our rig do we just continue out the opposite side!!!!!IMG_0977We nicknamed this glacier Racktrack Glacier.

IMG_0984IMG_0990IMG_0995Nina, here’s one for you and Paul.  This is the oldest original Alaskan lighthouse building and the only remaining octagonal frame lighthouse built between 1902 and 1905.  The Eldred Lighthouse appeared to be in some state of construction—equipment and recently disturbed ground—let’s hope so!  If you click on the above link you will be taken to a “lighthouse friends” website with some interesting information about the lighthouse.

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We arrived in Haines about 11:30am and were met by a friend of Larry and Geri’s who spends summers in Haines, Alaska.  Dan led us to our campground and called another of Larry and Geri’s, Eugene, who met us at the campground for a gab fest around the picnic table in the sunshine. 

Poor Geri has caught a bug:

IMG_1046She’s trying to keep the rest of us from getting sick!

Last night after a dinner of grilled sausage we loaded up the rigs and headed out to Chilkat State Park in hopes of seeing some bear feeding on the salmon—no bears but we did get to see this young woman bring in her salmon!

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Sunshine is over, we woke to rain this morning and maybe that’s what has caused us to be total bums today!  I did some laundry and enjoyed a long, long hot shower in the campground bathrooms but that’s about the extent of our day.  Larry and Geri got out and took a drive but we just stayed tucked inside our little cocoon!!  One disadvantage to truck campers we have discovered—in order to go to the grocery store or anywhere else you have to pull up stakes and take your home with you! 

But, I needed groceries so off we went this afternoon—I’m making chicken noodle soup for supper for Geri and the rest of us.  Plus some sort of peach dessert if I can manage it in this tiny kitchen! Smile

Tomorrow we will leave Haines and head out—I don’t know how much internet service we will have across the Yukon, etc. so expect blogs when you see them!