Boondocked south of Coldfoot last night in a beautiful setting just off the Dalton Highway. Woke to a temp of 44 degrees F. No animals to be seen by us in this section of the wilderness but the vast view is beautiful. Took off for Fairbanks in mostly rain so more mud got added to the outside of the motor home. Kind of like an uneven brown paint.
The Dalton Highway–
The road south from Coldfoot, Alaska to the end of the Dalton Highway was about 2/3 of the way paved and about 1/3 of it was dirt. Still it was pretty good especially compared to the north side of the Atigun Pass. We just drove slowly and carefully and when we had to pick our way around or over the pot holes we were ever mindful of the possibility of a big truck barrelling down on us.
The Lazy Daze Motor Home–
No flat tires, no chipped or broken windshield or headlights, covered with mud but nothing has gone wrong with this RV. We bought the Lazy Daze for its reputation for being well built. It was rated five stars in the RV consumer reports for quality and safety and it has lived up to its reputation. It is a 2010 and folks asked us if we really wanted to put it through its paces by taking it on to some of these difficult roads and that question has merit. Except, we reasoned, do we really want to do such a difficult trip in an old RV? We love to RV and like being out in the middle of nowhere so this was a happy choice and it went well, we’re glad to say.
Diamond Tooth Gertie’s—
Went to the 8:30 pm show last night. A good show for the $10 and you can stay for all three shows for that price. The showgirls come down off the stage during the show and “flirt” with some of the male customers. The men loved it, of course, but better than that was that the men’s wives had just as much or more fun watching their husbands have a good time. Jerry was chosen to learn the Can-can and was a good sport about trying to do as asked. We had a great time but only stayed for the first show. Guess we’re really getting old!
Boondocking on the Dempster–
Last night we drove to the Dempster Hwy. turn-off. Needed some gas before taking that road so stopped off at the Dempster/Klondike Hwy. corner gas station. $6.50 a gal. reg. later we were in shock so only got a minimal amount. Started down the Dempster as the sun was getting low in the sky and what a “far north color show!”. The road is paved for the first five miles then it is a dirt/gravel road, not terrible. Found a large pull-out and spent the night. Woke to a temp of 45 degrees F. but I don’t think it ever really got dark last night. Because the weather is warming, the mosquitoes are out big time. They’re huge but slow yet so easier to kill them. When the smaller, faster mosquitoes arrive…Watch Out! Jerry always wants me to stand next to him as the mosquitoes perfer me to him if they have the choice.
Traveling the Dempster–
The Dempster Hwy. was very quiet today. No trucks, few cars. Reasons? Well this is a lightly traveled road anyway, this is a three day Canadian holiday weekend, and the Dempster is closed in the north through to Inuvik due to “break up” and the ferry not being able to cross the Peel River. Thus, we were alone on the road most of the time. The views on the Dempster are incredible. We’d heard that it was beautiful but it is even better than we thought. The road is rough in places. Had we had our previous rig, a 36 ‘ Rexal Airbus with two large slide-outs, we would not have taken it on this road. A car would be fine or a smaller, very well built RV such as our Lazy Daze. Turn arounds can be tight and the washboard effect would shake some rigs to death. This is a side trip well worth taking to view the grandure. We would like to come here some year in early Fall (for the Fall colors) and travel the whole length into Inuvik. We did stop at the Tombstone Territory Park Visitor Center which was very nice. Saw few animals. Had hoped to see moose and grizzly but no such luck.
Price of Gas–
After paying $6.50/gal. reg. near the Dempster we asked at the Dawson City Visitor Center where we could pay a more reasonable price for gas. They sent us AFD cardlock station. It accepts only Visa or Master Card, was fairly easy to use and charged us $5.50 per gal. reg. Not a wonderful price but a lot better than $6.50 a gal. reg. The visitor center said “Where to buy gas?” is the most common question they get so they always have a list of the gas stations here and the amount they are charging.
Dawson City, Yukon, Canada
Arrived in Dawson City area last night and decided to take the “view” turn off to Dome Road. The road takes you up a steep mountain on a good two lane road. At the top there is a loop that turns you around to head down hill (not for big rigs though we saw a big tour bus up there). The views are incredible and the climb for us was well worth the gas.
There are “tailings” along both sides of the road into Dawson City. The tailings (piles of gravel and sand) are the remnants of the tremendous amount of dredging of the rivers and streams for gold. Late last night we found an area outside of town to boondock and went to sleep with the sun still lighting the area. At 10:00pm we still had to wear sunglasses. During the night the temp. dropped to 34 degrees F. and when we awoke around 6:00 am, the sun was shinning like it was already noon.
Visitor Center and tour of the town–
Chatted with the visitor center staff about the Dempster and Top of The World roads. The Dempster is closed due to flooding during “break up”. We can go only part way on the Dempster and that we will do tomorrow. The plowing of the Top of The World road was completed yesterday and the ferry is running but the American border station isn’t opened until Tuesday. That works for us since Tuesday is when we are going (hopefully). The visitor center staff advised us to check with them Tuesday morning before attempting the Top of The World road. Spent most of the day today wandering around this interesting little town.
The Jack London Museum–
Fans of Jack London since childhood, we had to visit the Jack London Museum and see the cabin Jack London lived in while he was mining for gold in the Klondike. The presentation was excellent and the pictures at the museum of the struggle that people in the time of the gold rush went through (including Jack London) is amazing. His restored cabin is on the museum premises and is set up so you can see how they lived.
Diamond Tooth Gerties–
There’s a show at 8:30pm tonight at Diamond Tooth Gerties and we will attend. Should be lots of cancan dancing and great fun.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all Mothers. A special Happy Mothers Day to my two wonderful daughters, they are great mothers to my perfect grandchildren.
Since we left San Diego we have driven 3412 miles and we still have a loooooog way to go! What a great journey this has been so far. I still have to pinch myself to make sure this is not just a wonderful dream.
We noticed that Canadians have a case of chronic niceness. Read that businesses in other countries are sending some of their employees to Canada to learn “nice” which seems to be endemic in the population. When we got gas last night, the gas station attendant asked to hold our credit card while we filled with gas. No way. When we returned to pay, the attendant asked where we were from. Ah, he tells us, that explained why we wouldn’t leave our credit card. He says, here in Canada, no one thinks anything of it but Americans are very wary and usually object. Oh well, we still won’t leave our credit card with anyone. Guess that is endemic in us.
Dawson Creek, BC
Woke this morning to a temp. of 45 degrees F. in Dawson Creek. We, along with more than a dozen other RVs, spent the night in the Walmart parking lot.. If you stay in the Dawson Creek Walmart parking lot and want internet connection, you can get an excellent connection by parking on the left side of the parking lot (the left side—as you face the building). There’s good connection in your RV with either the Walmart McDonalds and the nearby motel, Days Inn (no password). A short distance away, there is a free sanidump for RVs at Canadian Tire on the side of their driveway and they have potable water.
It is windy in Dawson Creek. In fact it is so windy that the city built a wind park to sell the extra electricity (they get plenty of electricity from the Peace river dam for the town use).
We poked around the town most of the day. Visited the Visitor Center with its’ Museum and the Art Gallery that is located on the same property. At the museum we watched a film on the building of the Alcan, worth seeing.
This morning we woke to 42 degrees F. in a rest stop in British Columbia a few miles from the Sumas border crossing. A cold, crisp morning with blue skies and sunshine. Last night we met (in the British Columbia rest stop) a man going camping with a friend in Idaho and a couple headed home to Vancouver Island. Being from British Columbia, they had lots of suggestions of what we should see in the short time we are here as we travel through to Alaska. Many of their suggestions were in our plans but it is nice to know they thought those places were worth seeing. We did add a few spots to our plan at their suggestion.
Hope, British Columbia
We spent most of the morning in the town of Hope. It’s a small town to start with and this is Sunday so there were few folks around. There’s lots of “Chain saw art” on display all around the town so we spent some time viewing each of the sculptures. They are perfectly done and lovely. Apparently this is where some of the “World Class Chain Saw Carving Competition” winners are displayed. Hope is a pleasant little town and is surrounded by beautiful views of the Cascade Mountains.
The joke around town is if you go east of town, “you are beyond Hope”. Yuk, yuk. The joke is referring to a place just east of town. The site of a horrendous rock slide the took the lives of four souls. There is a viewpoint there and the amount of “slide” is incredible.
Manning Provincial Park
Last night, we were encouraged to travel east for a while on Route #3 (known as the Crowsnest Hwy.) that runs somewhat near the US/Canadian border between Hope and Princeton, BC. One of the spectacular places on route #3 is Manning Provincial Park that straddles the Cascades. As in Oregon and much of Washington, Manning Provincial Park has water. There are small creeks, small water falls, larger creeks, larger water falls, snow and lakes. The park is huge and route #3 runs through 36 miles of it. This is a wonderful park to explore and there certainly is wild life here.
To say Princeton is small is to understate the case but it has spunk. They hold some festivals/shows here, have a pretty good restaurant scene and are quite friendly but it is really all about the outdoors. We are boondocking (free parking) in a gravel lot just off route #3 overlooking part of the town and behind a small food store/Husky gas station. N49 degrees 27.144′ W120 degrees 31.477′ We were told “Everyone parks there overnight, no problem”. Gas price here comes to about $5.59 American/gallon , cash. Think you get a better exchange rate with your credit card.
On edit: The town of Princeton has free wi-fi and it is strong. No pass word required.
Leaving the Olympic Peninsula
Today we are in Aberdeen, Washington on the southern edge of the Olympic Peninsula in Grays Harbor County. Aberdeen appears to be a hard working town and has a colorful history. We drove over two drawbridges on the way here. Aberdeen, Wa. is the home port of the tall ship “Lady Washington”, a reproduction featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean film The Curse of the Black Pearl.
It’s a many errands day for us. In Aberdeen in the morning it was 44 degrees F., raining and is supposed to rain for the next few days. Folks around here say usually the weather is better this time of year and that it doesn’t usually rain this much. We’ll take their word for it as rain is all we are seeing right now. Will likely spend the night in a Walmart parking lot tonight and head to Seattle tomorrow to meet up with Jerry’s neice for dinner.
Gas and Propane–
Went to an Arco in Aberdeen for gas, $3.99/gal and they had a propane refill tank for RVs with propane tanks that do not detach from the RV. Got our gasoline and drove over to the propane tank for a refill. Made sure that we had turned off all ignition sites; stove, heater, hot water heater and refrigerator and a young man came out of the gas station mini mart to fill the propane tank. (Just a little history; somewhere in Arizona, one of the times we filled the RV propane tank, someone left off the propane cap to our tank. We’ve been trying to replace it ever since. The cap is only important to keep mud and debris out of our propane spigot. We didn’t worry about it too much since there is a door covering the propane fill spigot and that,we were told, should keep it clean.) So the young man from the Arco station tried to attach his propane hose to our fill spigot. He man-handled the tank and still could not get it to fill. His boss came out and neither were successful.
Uh Oh. We must have propane to run the refrig. and cook in this motor home so having no propane was not an option. Went to a Valero gas station about a half a mile away, drove up to their propane tank and found a propane cap that had been left off someone else’s tank. The guy told us we could have it so now we’ll use it for our tank. The Valero attendant had our tank filled in about three minutes, no problem. Propane cost $3.00/gal. Maybe there was no problem because Jerry had cleaned off the spigot, maybe the Arco propane tank was the problem or maybe the Valero attendant was more competent. We will never know the answer but we will always make sure the propane cap to our tank is replaced after each refill! I think today we “dodged a bullet”. I really dreaded spending the day trying to solve this propane problem.
Boy Howdy! Did we need to do laundry!?! After all the hiking and muddy walks these past few weeks, we had lots of things in need of hot water. Add to that sheets, towels, etc. and a long day at the laundromat was in store. We brought our large supply of quarters that we save and got to work. The laundromat we went to was recommended by many folks in town and it turned out to be clean and had lots of BIG machines. Plenty of parking for big vehicles and free Wi-Fi made this a good stop for us. So we recommend Valley Cleaners and Laundromat in Aberdeen, Wa.
Got a few basic supplies at Walmart that should tide us over awhile.
Oops! The stock market is down. Just riding that roller coaster!!!
Kalaloch Beach Campground, Olympic National Park, Washington
Woke this morning, after a night of heavy rain (morning temp 44 degrees F) and found that all but one tenter left during the night or early morning. Can’t blame them, it is still raining. Beautiful, green here but there’s fairly heavy rain today.
We left the Hoh Rain Forest and traveled west then south on hwy. 101. Olympic National Park includes some beachfront land on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula and we were told it is beautiful there so headed to Kalaloch Beach Campground. Stopped along the way at Ruby Beach for lunch and then arrived at Kalaloch Beach Campground and took site D32 that overlooks the beach. We have beautiful, unobstructed views of the beach for the princely sum of $7.00/night. Spent the late afternoon dodging raindrops and exploring the campground that is about 2/3 full.
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
Woke this morning to sunshine! The temp was 47 degrees F this morning. This place is a Biosphere Reserve and one of only twenty UNESCO World Heritage Sites so what ever weather we get that is what makes this Rain Forest so spectacular. Still, on a personal preference note, I am happy to see sunshine. The sunshine will be intermittent most of the day and the drizzle is expected to return in the late afternoon and outright rain tonight. I can deal with that.
Yesterday, the Ranger told us that the Hoh River Trail (18 1/2 miles long) which starts at the visitor center passes a beautiful waterfall at about the 3 mile point so that is where we will hike today. We find we can do a 4 to 6 mile hike fairly well but more than six miles and our joints start telling us, in earnest, that they do not want to go much further so this was plenty enough hiking for us. We do go slow compared to younger hikers but we get there and maybe see more along the way as we have learned “it’s all about the journey” and not the destination. The temp. today got to about 57 degrees F.
When we walked from the campground to the trail head we cut through the visitor center parking lot. Today, instead of a group of Miatas like we saw yesterday in the parking lot, there was a group of Audis parked in a row. Many were leaving so I snapped a quick picture. It is a Washington Audi car club and there are about a dozen members visiting the Hoh Rain Forest.
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic NP, Washington
We’re in the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic NP camped at the Hoh Rain Forest Campground. Chose site #19 because it is large, mostly flat and backs up to the Hoh River. Turns out, site #19 is the most popular one in the campground. We are one of three campers here. The cost for us with our Senior NP pass is $6/night. The other two campers are young people with tents and are rather far away from us. The fire pit, picnic table and two forks of the Hoh River are just outside our dinette and “living room” windows. What an inspiring view. Oh, and of course, it is drizzling off and on (mostly on).
Driving up through the rain forest to the campgrounds the woods and trees look even greener than other places we have been in the park, if that is possible.
Went into the town of Forks on the way here for bread and eggs but next door the large sports outfitters store was having a huge sale so we ended up with far more than bread and eggs. The prices were good comparatively and we got items we had put off purchasing in the past as they were quite expensive. Asked the checker in the store when Spring usually arrived in Forks. He said Spring usually doesn’t arrive and that frequently Forks completely misses Summer as well.
On the way into the Rain Forest, we saw lots of different birds and five elk. The elk cooperated by holding still for their pictures and we appreciated that. The ranger told us that the elk usually shed their antlers this time of year and start growing new ones.
We will go to the Visitor Center near here tomorrow for advice and help with planing our hikes.
The temp this morning was 39 degrees F. and got up to the low 50′s F. Gas in the town of Forks was $4.22/gal. regular.
What a beautiful place! We feel so lucky to be here. Olympic National Park, Washington
It might be our imagination but the vegetation seems greener in the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
This elk was grazing along the roadside. A female elk was way back in the woods, very hard to see. Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
In this picture there are three elk in the distance, two are lying down and one is grazing. Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington.
Home for us for a few days, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park
The view from our dinette. Hoh Rain Forest campground, site #19. Olympic National Park, Washington
Another view from our dinette in the Hoh Rain Forest campground, site #19, Olympic National Park, Washington
Boondocking Overnight, Washington
Last night we planned to camp for one more night at Sol Duc campground in the Olympic NP but…we decided to go out of the park to get a good internet connection and to see if we could find a place to boondock. We traveled down the road that serves as an entrance to Olympic NP that takes you to Sol Duc Campground and left the park. Drove a few miles east on hwy. 101 and came to a small, fairly narrow road (apparently rarely used) that leads into a section of the National Forrest. Drove down that road a few miles to look for boondocking spots. Found a few likely spots and drove passed them to see what was further up the road where we came to the National Park boundary. Since we know we can’t boondock in a National Park, turned around and headed back to the boondocking areas we saw in the National Forrest and stopped for the night (coordinates 48 degrees 3.936′ / 124 degrees 00.666′) We expected that a Ranger might knock on the door but no cars came down that road at all last night. We were in a lovely, quiet area and easily connected to the internet. This morning I woke to Jerry already up and trading stocks. We left our boondock area to drive to our next destination.
Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic NP
Now we’re headed to Hoh Rain Forrest in the Olympic National Park, Washington. It’s on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula and appears to go the deepest into the park. Probably won’t have an internet connection there but if we do, will post about it. In the meantime, National Geographic recently posted a beautiful picture of our next destination.