And, Mary, made it very special by making one her famous
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
And, Mary, made it very special by making one her famous
Sunday, July 20, 2014
July 19, 2014
I know there are those of you out there that are as curious as we were about how to plan and save for an Alaskan Adventure. And, while no one travels in the same style or pace, or with the same interest that we do, just keep in mind that these facts are our facts. And, not everyone does it like we did.
Because everyone travels to the border from a different Point A, being your location in the lower 48 to Point B, being your choice of border crossings. I started recording my facts on May 22, 2014, from our staging area at Johnson's of St. Mary Campground in St. Mary, Montana. and cover 57 days of travel through Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Alaska, and back...ending with our return border crossing at Sweetgrass, Montana on July 18, 2014.
First, make sure you purchase the latest edition of the Milepost. It will be your guide, map, and constant companion for the entire trip. Of, course, in the beginning you won't be able to read it or figure it out! For some routes, you read it front to back, while other routes you read it back to front. And, then just when you think you have it all under control, you have completely changed highways, skipped 75 pages, never to return to where you left off. And, sometimes, you are miles down the road, before you know exactly where you are. You use high-lighters, make notes, and question your sanity, but, by the time you return to the lower 48, you will be a pro at reading this book. You will have practically memorized it, but, you will have also learned a lot about the roads less traveled. This wonderful necessity can be purchased from Amazon or your local bookstore for $34.95.
Next, if you are planning on a lot of sightseeing trips, fishing charters, or other adventures, purchase the Tour Saver Coupon Book from Tour Saver.com. The cost is $99, and the offers are 2 for 1. We used several coupons, I think enough that it was worth the purchase.
We traveled in our 40' motor home and towed our Jeep. Other than a few locations, we had no problems getting in or out, or finding a place to stay. The Top of the World Highway is beautiful, I am sure...but, we chose not to drive it.
We traveled 7,100 miles from border to border. We used 825.9 gallons of diesel fuel that averaged to $4.91 a gallon. The most we paid was $6.46/gallon at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory and the lowest we paid was $3.88 in Conrad, Montana. Our total fuel cost was $4,052,08.
Out of the 57 nights we spent on the road, we stayed in RV Parks or Campgrounds 35 nights for a total of $1,194.82. The other 22 nights we boon-docked at Wal-Mart, Fred Myers, or in a pullout along the road or beside a beautiful lake! So, with all those free nights averaged in the mix, our camping averaged $21/night.
Fishing trips, airplane rides, boat trips, shipping over 75 pounds of fish to Texas, and all other fun added up to a little less than $3,000.
I didn't keep a real close track on food. We have never calculated this in our travels. We figure we have to eat wherever we are. We enjoy tasting the local fare while traveling and try to support the local restaurants. And, on this trip, we found lots of good ones!
I think the craziest thing I did was pay $5.79 for 4 rolls of Toilet Paper in Seward. And, we always seemed to find Coke Zero on sale usually 3 for $12.00. Otherwise, a 12 carton of Coke was around $9.00. And, in Ninilchik, at a small local grocery, we saw a 16 ounce tub of sour cream for about $6.00. Thankfully, we were able to shop at Wal-Mart and Fred Myers where the prices weren't too bad. Well, so much for those free camping spots...lol
Oh, yes, I guess, I have to throw in that tire we had to buy in Whitehorse for $700.
We learned to use Loonies and Toonies while in Canada. Those are one and two dollar coins.
The highest we paid to do laundry was $4.00 to wash and $4.00 to dry.
And, last...I am sure I am taking enough souvenirs back to Texas.
So, the facts are the facts, but, the fact of the matter...the
reflections...they were priceless and will not be forgotten!
Friday, July 18, 2014
July 14 -18, 2014
This past Monday, we left
Skagway in our rearview mirrors and headed into
As we traveled through Yukon Territory, we were still in awe of the
beauty that we have seen throughout this journey. The lakes, the
the wildlife, and,
the mountains have all been amazing.
We traveled back through Carcross, where we took the
Atlin-Tagish-Carcross Scenic Loop to Jake's Corner. This 34 mile paved road connected us to the Alaska Highway South of Whitehorse. It wasn't too far down the road, where we safely crossed the
Teslin Bridge. Molly has renamed this the Mark Hall bridge. If you remember, this is the bridge that claimed that rear tire on the motor home on our way up.
We made a stop at the mile marker for the
Continental Divide which divides 2 of the largest drainage systems in North America--the Yukon River and Mackenzie River watersheds. Water draining west from this point forms the Swift River which drains into the Yukon River. It then starts a northwest journey of 2,300 miles to the Bering Sea. The water that drains to the East flows into the Laird River then the McKenzie River and flows Northwest and empties into the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean) a journey of 2,650 miles.
We made our way back through
Watson Lake where we got one last glimpse of The Sign Forest. It would be interesting to know how many new signs have been added in these past couple of months and will be added for the rest of this summer.
Just out of Watson Lake, we met up with
this big guy, just before we came upon the
Pilot Car. His job today was to take us through
the construction zone.
It is true what they say about Canada and Alaska. There are two seasons...Winter and Construction. And, this was only one of the
many areas we drove through.
After driving the rough roads and the dirty roads, we had the thought that we might make our nights stop at Laird River Hot Springs, but, by late afternoon, the
temperatures were creeping to numbers we hadn't seen in weeks. So, the thought of a bath in the hot springs coupled with the mosquitoes in the woods, caused us to rethink the end of our day. And, we drove on.
Soon, we found a beautiful pull out
across the road from Muncho Lake. And, after a 500 mile travel day, the stop was both relaxing and welcomed.
July 15, 2014
On Tuesday morning we woke to a
beautiful blue sky and a
Caribou just outside the motor home. We watched him for awhile while he showed off for the camera before we decided it was time to get on with the day.
Our travels today, took us on around
Muncho Lake, around
the narrow roads, and
through the mountains, and on to points South.
What we didn't know, is that once again today, we would encounter not only
more wildlife, but, more
And, here, where most of the roads are only two lanes, there is no place to re-route the traffic, so you just travel through the construction areas.
We traveled through what seemed like miles and miles of
construction before we reached Fort Nelson.
We stopped at the North end of town at the city dump station while Bob and Molly traveled on into town for fuel. Just as Mark and I were pulling out of the parking lot, we looked up to see
Rich and Mary pass right by us. After we all made a stop at the local A&W for lunch, Rich and Mary joined us as we continued our trek South. Glad to have you guys back with us!
Our afternoon travels took us through the area called Pink Mountain. Just since we passed through here a couple of months ago, the oil companies have started lots of drilling. So, not only have we had to share the roads with the
construction workers, now, we are passing lots of
really really big trucks bringing in lots of drilling equipment. And, some of these trucks needed
most of the road. This particular one had 14 axles on the ground. Twelve of them were duals. That means there were 50 tires on this vehicle!
By late day, we reached
Dawson Creek, the official start and stop of the Alaskan Highway. Seems like we were just here in a way, and then again, it seems likes it was a lifetime ago.
We traveled on through town where, Bob, Molly, Rich and Mary found a pull out for the night. Mark and I drove on to Grande Prairie where we found a much needed RV Wash before we settled in at the local Wal-Mart for the night. And, an end to another long travel day.
July 16, 2014
Wednesday morning, Bob and gang made their way to Grande Prairie, to made a run through the truck wash before we all headed out of town to work our way toward Edmonton.
The drive today was beautiful. The fields along the highways were filled with
beautiful yellow blooms. Our first thoughts was that this is mustard, but someone told us it was canola? Whatever it is, the fields are so pretty and seemed
to go for miles.
As we traveled along, we begin to notice the sky
becoming smoky. We found out that there are forest fires towards Banff and Jasper.
hung in the sky making the sun look red.
We made it through Edmonton and after two long travel days, we decided to cut this day short. We found a
little city park in Lacombe. They offered electric only sites, but, for the night, it was perfect and all we needed. Great place to stop and relax for the evening.
July 17, 2014
dawned to what looked like a great day. Our travel plan today would take us through
Calgary and on to our border crossing at Sweetgrass, Montana. We had originally planned to stop over in Calgary to see JB and Brenda, but, back down the road, Bob found a small fuel leak in the biggie truck. After talking with the dealership in Great Falls, Montana, they could look at it on Friday morning. So, no tarrying, we needed to make tracks in that direction before the small leak became a big one. Sorry JB and Brenda, we didn't get to make that stop...hope to catch up with you guys in Arizona this winter!
After we wiggled our way through the rush hour in Calgary, we got a few more miles behind us when Molly decided it was breakfast time. She located an A&W...sounds great...we just didn't know we had to take the
construction route to get there. But, it was worth it, and, by the time we arrived, we were all ready for breakfast!
Tummies full, we were headed on our southern route for the border. However, by the time we reached Fort Macleod, Bob's Biggie Truck decided it had gone far enough. And, just as we reached the south end of town, he lost all power included steering and brakes. He managed to get off the road. He waited just a minute and it started. Just ahead of us was a GMC dealership! Now, if you are going to breakdown, It is always good to do it with a service center in sight.
After limping around the corner and into their lot, the service techs were quick to check out the problem. Good news is they can fix it, bad news, the part had to be over-nighted from Edmonton. So, our travel day ended today before noon, but, everyone is safe and the repairs to the truck should take place in the morning.
And, so for tonight, Bob and Molly are
tucked in next to the service center, while we are
parked just across the street in a large parking lot.
If all goes well with the repairs, we will try again tomorrow for that border crossing!
July 18, 2014
This morning, we were all taken back a bit when we found out that the part that was suppose to arrive from Edmonton overnight was on a truck that was broken down somewhere between Edmonton and Fort Macleod.
Just about the time we were thinking that border crossing wasn't going to happen, the dealership received a call that the part was on its way. It did arrived and we were off for our usual A&W breakfast treat while the mechanics got to work on the truck.
It was after noon before the techs finished up with the Biggie Truck and we were all hooked up and ready to go.
We were glad to
to be on the road and thankful that Bob and Molly were safe from their scare yesterday, and the repairs were easy.
As we traveled on towards the border, we enjoyed the
fields of blue contrasted by the yellow. And, like the yellow fields, we aren't sure what it is, but, it is beautiful. Maybe some of our Canadian friends will set us straight.
We saw an
old water tower that has been recycled into what looks like an office building. And, this beautiful
And, then, by late afternoon, we had the
border crossing in sight. It was an easy crossing and the border patrol officer welcomed us home. And, I must say, it was nice to see
And, now as we comtinue our summer adventure, we are now in Montana, traveling across Highway 2 making our way towards North Dakota. This is one of the last lower 48 states we need to visit.
But, tonight, as we are parked on the Wal-Mart parking lot in Havre, Montana, we are still talking about the awesome trip to Alaska, but, glad to be back to the
green green grass of home!
And, as the song goes...Six days on the road and I'm gonna make it home tonight...we just made it in five!