Friday, July 26, 2019

Alaska Wrap-up

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears, bears will kill you. I saw that on so many different t-shirts and thought that that was appropriate for this area. I mean with all of the bears roaming around wild and everything.

There are black bears, brown bears and grizzly bears. All of the literature everywhere would tell you what to do for each type of bear when you encounter them. Travel in groups. Make noises. If you encounter a bear yell and make yourself larger. Back away, don't run. If there is going to be an attack get your bear spray ready. If the spray doesn't work for brown and grizzlies bears lay down, curl up into a ball. Protect your head with your arms and play dead. For black bears fight back with whatever you have. Seek medical attention afterwards. I couldn't keep all of that straight so I had to come up with a rhyme to remember what to do. "Brown, lie down. Black, fight back. White, poop your pants and die."

As I said in my last post, we hung a right and headed south through British Columbia on Highway 37. they call it the Cassiar Highway. It started out very rough and the forest was pretty much right up to the road.
We saw a couple of black bear so we were going slow. They would just pop up out of the forest and run across the road and disappear on the other side. We made it to our campground for the night and the next day we went on to Stewart, BC. It was a coastal town wo we wanted to check it out. The drive was fabulous.

There were waterfalls and glaciers that we passed.

I believe that that was the Bear Glacier. We have seen so many glaciers on this trip it is hard to keep them straight. We got to our campground in Stewart. It was a city park and it was at the base of a mountain. 

Our view out our back window. If you look hard enough you can see the Sasquatches looking down on us. It was a very cool spot. The town of Stewart is small and there isn't much there. We planned for the next day to drive up to the Salmon Glacier, but when we awoke, the clouds were low. Maybe a hundred feet off of the ground so we decided to skip that because we wouldn't see it anyways.
On our way out we stopped at the Bear Glacier again for more photos. They say the morning light really brings out the blue color. 
We didn't quite get the colors we were hoping for because of the low level clouds. Oh well. Our next stop was going to be Prince Rupert, BC. Another coastal town. We got there and it was nothing special. We stayed overnight in a over priced private park and then started our journey home. It took us 8 days from Prince Rupert. It was a lot of long days of driving and once you get out of the mountains, there's  not much to see. Except for Mount Robson
So we are in Minnesota now at our super secret undisclosed location, Happy to be in one place for awhile. Also there have been some murders up in the Yukon and British Columbia in places where we had been through and that is a little unsettling. But we are safely back in the U.S. where were able to protect ourselves which makes me feel a whole lot better. I can finally sleep with both eyes shut.

Final thoughts. 

8830 miles with an average of 12.3 miles to the gallon. 48 days total. 88:33 hours of driving.

We are glad and grateful that we were able to do this trip. There is so much to see and do up there. So you can do as much or as little as you want. Just make the trip yours. Everyone you talk to who has gone up there will give you a ton of advice. Like fuel. You need extra large fuel tanks and carry extra gas cans. We didn't do any of that. There are gas stations in towns every 100 to 150 miles.

Tires. The roads are hell on tires. We had no problems of our own so maybe we lucked out and the Sasquatches were smiling down on us. The same goes with rock chips. Not one rock chip in our windshield.

Campgrounds. We made only two reservations and that was at Denali and Homer. Other than that we just winged it. Pulling off the road when we were tired. There are plenty of state parks on the route or in so many places, just pull outs to park in for the night. If you are in a big rig it might be a different story because of the size of your RV. Being in a small RV has its advantages for sure.

We really liked the smaller towns and being out in the wilderness versus being in Fairbanks or Anchorage. We were able to camp in some great places.

So that is our trip in a nutshell. Would we do it again? We are not sure right now since we just got back. If we did go back we would just stick to the coastal areas and not bother with Denali or Fairbanks.  We would not stay in Anchorage again either but just a little south of Anchorage would be our kind of place. Because we know now and we are the experts, Haha.

Glady's and Tango out.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Seward Alaska and the Yukon

Well boys and girls, our hero's did make it through the wildfires and made it to Seward, Alaska. We almost skipped this town because we are getting tired of the driving but when we saw that it was just about 50 kilometers down the road we decided to check it out. We are glad we did, because it is a quaint little town. Now the city of Seward owns all of the water front property along resurrection bay and what they did with that is put in campgrounds. I think there are six different campgrounds along the bay.
All of those campers are backed up to the bay and we are somewhere in the middle.
We were lucky enough to get a water site. It is $20 a night but the views are great.
That's our view out our back door. Yes, that is smoke in the air. The marinna is just off to our left so we could watch the boat traffic all day. Also cruise ships come into Seward.

It was really interesting to watch those big ships move through the bay. That ship on top left at night and in the morning there was the white one. It arrived through the fog and I don't know how they could do that. 
That's what it looked like after the fog lifted a little bit. When I woke up you couldn't even see that it was in there. I really enjoyed just watching all of the boat traffic. I think the sea is calling me.

I would sit out there with my binoculars in hand and just watch them. It inspired us to walk the marina and see what was for sale and to just see all of the different types of watercraft there are.
For some reason this one was speaking to me. I can't put my finger on it but I really liked it. The one on the left. But as much as I would love to have a boat, the only thing I could afford would be something like this.
Not only were the boats fun to watch but also the wild life. There were sea otters that we would watch and they were out there all day. Both days.

Also there were eagles. 
We also walked the town and had a beer at the Seward Brewery and loaded up on Alaskan souvenirs. We also did the Alaska Sealife Aquarium.
It was a place that we would like to come back to and spend more time. We did however stay an extra day hoping that the smoke would clear so that we could take a day cruise to see some more glaciers. After two days of waiting I had to call an emergency meeting of the MNdrifters society.

"I am calling this meeting to order. It is an emergency meeting for this reason. Alaska is on fire. I checked the Alaska website and they said that there are 117 active fires across the state. We have been in smoke for days now and it looks like that wherever you go there will be smoke. There are no more views that you can see. Denali was a bust. So I am putting a motion on the floor to leave Alaska and start the long journey back to Minnesota."

Moose said "Meow." which I am assuming that it means he seconded the motion.

"Motion carried. Glady's! Pack up your bloomers. We are evacuating!"

We left early the next morning and drove hard to Glennallen, Alaska. Some of the views we could kind of see were very nice and we were wondering what they would have looked like without the smoke.

This eagle was checking me out. He circled me a couple of times and decided that I was more than a mouthful. We made it to a state park on the Richardson Highway for our stop for the night. Fire bans were in place so no campfires. It is so dry in Alaska due to the heat wave they are having. There were 3 fires burning around Glennallen so we slept with one eye open at all times. We got up early again and planned our next stop in the Yukon. Longer travel days than when we came up here but we are sick of the smoke.

We entered the Yukon, crossing the border without incedance. What we found in the Yukon was more smoke because the Yukon is on fire also,

Places that we were at just a couple of weeks ago are now gone. Like Snagg Creek Government Park. We stayed there and now as we drove by, this is what it looked like.

Here's a video Lisa took as we had to drive through this blaze. I will admit it was a little bit out of my comfort zone. The fire was on both sides of the road.
We passed Snagg Creek and went further down the Alaskan Highway to another government campground which was open so we knew that it was away from the fires. 

On our return trip I was looking forward to the Yukon campgrounds with their unlimited supply of free firewood. I even bought a full size ax for the really big chunks of wood. But they had a fire ban there  also. 

Next day again we got up early and headed to Whitehorse. Trying to get out of the smoke. My eyes are so red and I can't find one single store that sells Visine. We drove by Kluane Lake and that is where we saw the dust storm blowing through the valley. 
This was the picture I took of Lisa on our way up to Alaska as we passed by this spot. Beautiful blue skies.
This is the same spot just a couple of weeks later. Smoke everywhere. We got to Whitehorse and had planned on stopping at the Wolf Creek Campground again. It was full so we headed on down the road to Marsh Lake. So after Marsh Lake we decided to head south into British Columbia for a change of scenery and something different. Spoiler alert. We finally drove out of the smoke.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Day 34-37 Alaskan Adventure

Day 34- We got up and left our campground in Clam Gulch. We had a short drive to Homer so we took our time to look at a few other campgrounds for future reference. It was a beautiful day so we stopped at the overlook before Homer.

The mountains we were seeing in the distance aren't really mountains. No, they are, (pause for effect) VOLCANOES! I thought that was pretty cool. I got a picture of what Homer is famous for. Rather one of the things Homer is famous for.
That dark little piece of land is called the Homer Spit. It sticks out into Cook Inlet and that is where we were hoping to camp. It was the 4th of July weekend and the town was busy filming the next episode of "Alaskans Gone Wild" so we were turned away like Mary and Joseph. Every campground in town was full, so we vowed to return and headed north back into the wilderness. It worked out for the better. We turned into Anchor Point, Alaska. It says that that is the farthest western point in The U.S. that can be reached by a paved road. There are several state parking lots there so our chances of finding a spot were good. To get to Anchor Point though you have to go under this bridge. Not big rig friendly.

Day 35- We chose to stay 2 nights at this campground because the earliest we could get into a campground in Homer was Saturday. We decided to walk to the ocean and check things out. The tide was out so the beach was immense.

They launch their boats from this area to go halibut fishing also. There is no boat ramp so what they do is, they launch them from tractors. The tractors take them out to the waters edge through the soft sand.

Then when they come back, they radio ahead and the tractor meets them at the shore line with their trailer and picks them up. Since the tide was out there where a lot of tide pools.

We walked and looked and looked and walked. It was so cool being out there. We just kept going.

There where seagulls out there eating dead fish. They don't leave much behind.
Eagles also. At one point we had counted 5 different eagles at once. One almost flew into us. What was that about eagle eyes or something.

Pretty soon the tide started to come back in and we looked at our watches realizing that we had been walking for 4 hours. So we headed back to the campground.
It was a very fun day out on the beach. One of our favorite days yet.

Day 36- We drove to Homer, Alaska. Checked into our campground and explored.
People snagging fish.

Cars and people.

People and cars.

People and boats.

I couldn't order a drink because I didn't have money.
Another Eagle by our campsite. They are everywhere.

Our $72 dollar a night campsite. 
Goodbye Homer.

Day 37- We were up early and ready to get out of Homer. We stopped and resupplied on everything. We headed north towards Anchorage and we both forgot that that we would have to drive by the wildfires again. The wind was from a different direction and boy did it make a difference.
That's not fog boys and girls. That is smoke. With it as smoky as it was you really didn't know where the fire was.

Will our hero's make it out of there? Will our hero's soil their underpants? Will our hero's get emphysema? Tune in for the next episode of "Dorks on Parade".

"Gladys, (cough, cough) I feel like I have been chain smoking (cough, cough). Do we have any Sucrets?"