Wednesday, July 24, 2013

About That Alaskan/Canada Highway (July 21 - 24 )

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada!  Roger, Bear and I are into the third week of our Alaska adventure. We are in a tour group of 23 RVs.  Sunday found us starting at  mile zero of the AlCan Highway in Dawson Creek. This feat of engineering was built in 8 months, from April to November of 1942, as a route for use during World War II. It runs 1520 miles from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska.

The trip has gone something like this:

Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson (284 miles)
Ft. Nelson to Liard River Hot Springs (191 miles)
Liard River to Watson Lake (132 miles)
Watson Lake to Teslin (163 miles)

Roger and I pose in front of the sign that says it all.

Our drive so far on the Alcan Highway is challenging. There are lots of road constructions signs because there are only a few months to work on the highway. There are frost heaves, bumps in the pavement, potholes and narrow bridges to cross the beautiful rivers.
 Bump sign, plus road repair

There is an abundance of beauty along the way. The Canadian Rockies gave way to the heavily forested  hills that abut other mountain ranges. Wildflowers are found as well as animals.
 Young moose


 Male Bison

Our travels so far have taken us from British Colombia to the Yukon Territory. On Tuesday we stayed in Watson Lake. In 1942, an American soldier placed a sign in the area. Seventy years later, there are 12,000 signs in the Sign Forest at Watson Lake. Our tour hung one that all of us had signed.

 Sign Forest of Watson Lake

Bill hangs our sign (the black one)

Though this is an early post, we happen to have great WiFi in Teslin and not knowing what lies ahead, I will post. We head to Whitehorse tomorrow and after a three night break, we head to Dawson City (all in the Yukon Territory). Thank you for checking in with us. This is truly a magical trip.

Friday, July 19, 2013

About That Lake Louise and Jasper (July 12 - 19)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada! What a thrill it is to be in this beautiful part of the world. The views are breathtaking and it is so much fun to see the animals.

We arrived at the Lake Louise Campground on Monday evening after driving 110 miles from Calgary. The campground was in the middle of the woods and truly lovely. We toured many stunning places in the Banff/ Lake Louise area (Chateau Lake Louise, Johnston Falls, Moraine Lake to name a few).

 Camping in style at Lake Louise (Bear and Roger in front of the Tour)

 Look closely at this beautiful elk buck. 

 Big Horn sheep

 Lots of waterfalls around Banff

 Moraine Lake

Wednesday morning it was time to move on to Jasper. Along the way I snapped a few pics that do not do the area justice. The trip took us about three and a half hours.
 Beautiful valleys and waterfalls 

A rest stop along the way to Jasper

Mountain goats along the road bring traffic to a stand still.

We spent two nights in Jasper at a campground within the national park. Thursday morning was a tram ride to the top of a mountain for spectacular views of the town of Jasper and surrounding countryside. 

 The tram (gondola) follows this path to the top.

 Downtown Jasper and the Athabasca River

Roger is above the clouds at the top of the mountain.

Sightseeing also took us to Athabasca Falls located within the Jasper National Park. In Canada's national parks, people are allowed to take their leashed dogs. Bear got to go with us for this park experience.
 The power of Athabasca Falls

 Could Bear be looking at Athabasca Falls? No, he is fascinated with a chipmunk!

 Hiking along the Athabasca River

On Friday, we left early for the seven hour drive from Jasper to Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The population of Dawson Creek is 12,000 and the average temperature in July is 60. This is an historic outfitting point for those going on to Alaska. The pictures below show our trip.
 We are still in the Canadian Rockies at this point.

 Turning onto Alaska Route 40

We will be in Dawson Creek for two nights. Thank you for checking in with us on our adventure to Alaska. Hopefully I can always find a McDonalds along the way that has great WiFi.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

About That Trip of a Lifetime (July 8 - 13)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Calgary, Alberta in Canada! I told you in last week's blog about our "trip of a lifetime." We are on a two month trip through Alberta, British Columbia (Provinces), The Yukon Territory and then Alaska. We left Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on Tuesday, July 9th. We are with a group of 23 RVers. We have a Wagon Master (Ben and Nancy) who have led many trips and a Tailgunner (Bill and Kathy) who follow behind to make sure no one is having a problem.

 Hooking up the car to the RV for the trip

The trip from Coeur d'Alene to Ft. Steele, British Columbia was around 140 miles. We went through customs at the border in record time. The agent asked us three questions, checked our passports and we were through to British Columbia.

Ft. Steele was our first stop on the trip. It sits at the beginning of the Canadian Rockies. In the picture below Roger poses with Bear at our RV stop.

Our Wagon Master briefs us at Ft. Steele. We go over the trip planner for the next day and discuss any sights that we may want to visit the next day.

Our trip to Calgary and the Stampede (very famous rodeo) was uneventful! Below are pics taken from  Calgary and the Stampede area. What is truly amazing is that this entire area was underwater two weeks ago from mountain stream runoff and four days of continual rain. The city and surrounding area pitched together and the Stampede began on time. Though the Stampede is a two week event, Thursday night was the rodeo for our group.

Roger at the Midway area

Motocross entertainment before the rodeo begins

Opening ceremony 

Six cowboys and girls fly in on trapezes

Oh Canada

Friday was a trip downtown to Stephen Avenue where lots of activities are held pertaining to the rodeo.

 Parades, Square Dancing and many Booths

Friday evening was our night to see the ChuckWagon races at the rodeo. Below are pics from that event.

 Four teams with two outriders race around barrels in the arena and then around the racetrack circling the arena.

A very exciting finish

We leave on Monday morning for Lake Louise, British Columbia. The internet may be spotty, but I will keep trying to blog each week. Thank you for checking in with us as we take this incredible trip.

Friday, July 5, 2013

About That Coeur d'Alene (June 30 - July 6)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. We have moved the RV to Blackwell Island Resort that sits on the Spokane River, in northern Idaho. This is the gathering place for our two month tour of Canada and Alaska, that begins on July 10th.  Before I tell you about this incredible trip, I will fill you in on the last week with our fabulous granddaughter, Abby.

The Tooth Fairy found Abby in Polson!

We spent Sunday, June 30th doing the prep work necessary for moving our RV to Coeur d'Alene to Polson. We did find time for a last minute swim and saying goodbye to friends at Polson.

We left on Monday morning (July 1st). Abby had ridden with us when we moved the coach from Dallas to Kerrville, Texas so she knew what to expect when riding in an RV. The 180 mile trip from Polson to Coeur d'Alene was beautiful. We drove on US 93 and Montana roads (200 & 135) before merging onto I-90 that took us to Coeur d'Alene and Blackwell Island Resort.

 Abby has her seat belt on and is ready to roll.

 Our first break along the Big Sky River off of Montana 200.

 Abby and Bear share co-pilot jobs.

Crossing into Idaho

Downtown Coeur d'Alene sits on the lake. Roger, Abby, Bear and I walked around the public beach area so that Abby could see where her father, Rob, competed in his first Ironman, several years ago.

Abby and Bear looking at Lake Coeur d'Alene

Muggsy is a famous moose in Coeur d'Alene. Abby stands by a sculpture commemorating this local children's book character.

Abby's father (our older son, Rob) arrived on Wednesday, to spend a few days with us before returning to Dallas with Abby. We were thrilled to have him with us for part of the week. We spent our time celebrating the Fourth, cycling, swimming and enjoying the cooler temps of this beautiful area.

 Abby is having fun swimming in the Spokane
 River with a friend.

Abby and Rob

Our Fourth of July was spent cooking out and then enjoying the spectacular fireworks display. Rob and Abby had fun at the parade earlier in the day.

On Friday, Roger and Rob drove to the Hiawatha Trail so that Rob could cycle the same trail that we did several weeks ago.

On Sunday we will say goodbye to Abby and Rob. It has been a tremendous joy to have had the opportunity to spend over two weeks with her. She makes us so proud to be her grandparents.

One year ago this week, we watched 24 coaches take off for Alaska with a tour company. Roger and I were enthralled with the idea and spoke with the tour leaders about the trip before they left. In short, we immediately signed up for this year's trip. Because it is such a popular trip, we were listed as number 6 on the waiting list. Lucky us, several months later, we found out that we had made the trip. 

This trip will last two months and will head to Calgary on the 10th, for the Stampede. We will work our way to Banff and then north, arriving in Chicken, Alaska, on day 24. We then circle Alaska, making many stops. By the time we return to British Columbia, we will have covered 5,720 miles. Unfortunately WiFi coverage will be spotty so the blog may not be published weekly. Thank you so much for following our odyssey in the Tour. We appreciate your interest in our lives on the road.