Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time to head home

It's been a great trip but it's time to go home.  We are headed back to Florida later this morning.  We estimate about 7-10 days to get back.  Thanks for following the blog, we will attempt to get some more posts up while we head across country.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A little tundra golf in the Yukon

Greetings to anyone still following our adventures:

Todays pictures and video's are from August 5th up in the Yukon.  We woke up that morning at our favorite Whitehorse campground, Pioneer RV Park.  We headed east on the Alaska Highway then turned south on the road to Skagway.  Our first stop was the Annie Lake Golf Course.  This course is the definition of pasture golf.  It literally is carved out of the tundra just west of the Klondike highway.  The course costs $5 for 18 holes, on the honor system of course.  No starter, no golf carts and no grass!  A couple of the local rules include:  Bears and Moose have the right of way, if you loose your ball down a gopher hole (in the fairway) no penalty and make sure to drag the greens when finishing the hole.  The last one will make more sense if you view these pictures.  Video's 1-4 show Kim in action at the course.

From Annie's Lake we headed south on the Klonidke highway.  Our next stop was the Emerald Lake pull off.  As the name implies this lake is a beautiful green which you can see in video six .  From there we drove down to the worlds smallest desert, in Carcross.  The dogs had a great time sprinting back and forth in the sand, well for a short time they did.  Then they just enjoyed a nap.  Finally, we headed back to the Alaska highway via Highway 8, also known as Tagish road.  While driving up we saw a couple of really cool rainbows.  You can see them in videos 12 and 13 via the below link.

I put all of the videos for the day in one playlist which you can find here.

I also posted some pictures from Emerald Lake and Carcross.  You can find them here.

Kim and I are heading into San Francisco in an hour or so.  We have tickets for the Pittsburgh Pirates vs San Francisco Giants game tonight.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Whitehorse fish ladder

Stories from the road.

Now that we are back and have reliable internet the plan is to upload video and pictures then do a short post describing what you are going to see.  Our first episode is from August 4th back in Whitehorse in the Yukon territory.  Kim does this thing called letterboxing.  Letterboxing is similar to geocaching in that you follow clues to find a hidden box.  The difference it that the box contains a rubber stamp.  You can read more about Letterboxing here.

We were headed out of Whitehorse towards the Damn on the Yukon river to look for one such box when we came across the local fish ladder.  The purpose of this fish ladder is to allow Salmon to get past a giant damn.  They have fish ladders all over Canada, this one claims to be the longest wooden fish ladder in the world!  We stopped at the dam/ladder and wouldn't you know it the first Salmon of the season happened to enter the ladder right then.  Of course, we have video of the event.

Here's the youtube link to 5 videos from the fish ladder.

Here's the link to some pictures we posted to Flickr.

You can view the online "Fish Cam" here.  Finally, here's a link to a pdf with additional information on the Dam and fish ladder.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dempster Highway

Here are 16 video's from our North bound drive up the Dempster Highway.  Click here

And here's a link to a four minute video of a Caribou walking in front of our RV.  This guy was over on the Top of the World highway.

Teklanika River Hike

I've been busy uploading video's today.  During our visit to Denali we took a long hike up the Teklanika river.  Here's a link to 17 video's I made that day.

Back in California!

We got back to California last Thursday.  It's kind of depressing when a trip gets over so I haven't gotten my last post for this trip done until today.  I did manage to get a couple more video's posted up on youtube.  This link should take you to the most recent uploads.

On to the last few maps for the Alaska adventure.  Last Tuesday we drove from Harrison Hot Springs to Woodburn, Oregon.  We stayed at an interesting little campground right off Interstate 5 next to an outlet mall.

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That days' drive was 354 miles which brought our summer total to 11,861.  On Wednesday, we drove from Woodburn down to Mount Shasta, Ca.  We stayed at the Mount Shasta KOA campground.  This was where we spent the first night three years ago, when we did our first Alaska trip.

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Day Miles - 331
Summer Total - 12,192

Our final day out was last Thursday.  We drove from Mount Shasta here to Santa Rosa.

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Final Alaska trip day total - 252
Current Summer trip total - 12,444

What a trip!  What fun!  We are in the process of sorting through the thousands of pictures we have and hundreds of 1 minute on the road video's we shot this summer.  We will continue to post pics and videos as we get organized.

We will be here in California until at least next Wednesday, then we start back for Florida.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Coming to an End

We arrived in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia last night to a dismal climate with rain, lightening, and lots of thunder, but today proved to be a gorgeous, warm day. And as I sit here in our campsite, I'm saddened by the fact that the trip is two days from being completed. I just can't believe how fast the entire trip has gone-where in the world did seven weeks go? But then I realize that instead of being a bit sad because it's ending, I think about how lucky I am to have done this trip with Doug and especially my Mom. Not many people get to spend so much time with a parent later in their lives so I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. 

Traveling tends to change people from all the experiences, but then traveling so far North to Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories really makes a tremendous impact. You learn to treasure moments each day that make you smile, laugh, or just cry because they add a little bit to your life story. One such moment was just over a week ago in Watson Lake, Yukon when we stopped at the Sign Post Forest. Back when the Alaska Highway was being built in 1942, a homesick soldier from Illinois placed a sign in Watson Lake with the name of his hometown and the distance back to that town. Little did he know what an impact his simple task would become because today over 77,000 people have placed signs in the "Forest" that have become a little part of their stories. So for the last two years, I have talked about making a sign and putting it up at the "Forest" and this year I did just that. I made a sign with all of our names on it, including the dogs, and together we put the sign up representing a little story of our lives. It was an overwhelming experience for me putting the sign up, but then I had to turn away because I was really crying when my Mom made us promise to revisit the sign in 50 years. It made me happy to have the sign there, but then I realized that maybe my Mom won't be here if we ever revisit our sign. But at least we have a sign up saying that yes we were here!  Here's a picture of the sign and us posing with the sign.

Another such impact on this trip was finally making the journey all the way to Tuktoyuktuk, Northwest Territories. Our hopes were dashed during the early part of the trip when the highway to Inuvik, Northwest Territories was closed, but then when the road reopened, I knew we had a chance to fulfill a dream. And we did it in style! The plane was only a four seater so we had the plane and pilot all to ourselves both going and returning. So when the pilot spotted four beluga whales, we were able to circle back to watch them for several minutes. Then we had the tour guide to ourselves which made it seem more intimate of a tour. I even got to stop at the post office to take pictures and mail a few postcards. In fact, the tour guide got a kick out of the fact that the postcards we mailed from his little post office were going to Florida and California. And finally the real thrill of the trip was being able to wade into the Arctic Ocean and freeze our feet of course!!! But I really don't know anyone else who has traveled that far north to the Arctic Ocean and put their feet into it's icy waters. And that part of the trip is another part of our story for the rest of our lives.

There are many more other adventures we've added to our story, but I guess what I want to convey is how important it is to experience life every chance you get. We get one shot at this so we have to make it count for something. And each day we experience anything, it becomes another piece to our story. I'm happy to have added many more stories on this trip; many will never be forgotten.

Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey. It's not over; it's just another new chapter.

Maps for the last week

We started last Sunday driving Whitehorse to Carcross then Teslin Junction.  This short hop, just over 100 miles for the day, pushed us over 10,000 since we left Florida!

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Day Miles - 139
Trip Miles - 10,104

Monday we drove from Teslin to the Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park.

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This was almost a 300 miles day.

Day Miles - 291
Trip Miles - 10,395

We spent three nights at the hot springs then headed east to Fort Nelson.  We went down for a morning soak and didn't leave until almost noon so we didn't get a lot of miles covered.

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Day Miles - 189
Trip Miles - 10,584

Saturday was our longest day in the RV this summer.  We drove from Fort Nelson all the way to Hixon, BC.  There is a little RV park there that we have stayed at twice previously so that seemed like a good goal.  Naturally, it being Saturday and all, the little RV park had no vacancies.  Lucky for us there was another park just down the road.  It wasn't as nice but it had been a long day and we were leaving early so we called it a night.

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Day Miles - 545
Trip Miles - 11,129

That brings us to today.  We left Hixon at about 10 am and drove here to the Harrison Hot Springs.  We are spending two nights here then we head for Santa Rosa.

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Day Miles - 378
Trip Miles - 11,507

So there's the update.  Over 11,000 miles so far!  It's around 900 miles back to Santa Rosa and a couple thousand miles give or take back to Florida.  We could make it to 15,000 miles this summer!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We are back in Harrison Hot Springs

Wow - has it really been a week since our last post?  We have had fun and are back in southern British Columbia tonight.  We left Whitehorse last Sunday and drove down to the Annie Lake golf course.  If you weren't following this blog 2 years ago then you don't know that Annie's Lake is a golf course on the tundra of wild British Columbia.  Above is a picture of Kim getting ready to tee off and below you can see me lining up a putt.  I'll post more pictures when we get back to Ca.

From Annie Lake we headed south to Carcross then back up to the Alaska Highway.  We spent a night at Teslin Junction then drove over to the Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park.  We spent three nights there, enjoying the hot springs twice a day, then headed east again.  We made it from Liard to Fort Nelson on Friday.  The last two days have been long days on the road.  First we drove from Fort Nelson to Prince George, a little over 500 miles, on Saturday.  Today we drove from Prince George down here to Harrison Hot Springs today.  That was around 400 miles.  We are going to spend two nights here then we are headed back to California.  I hope to get caught up on my maps posted later today and tomorrow.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cloudy day in Whitehorse

We are back in Whitehorse today.  I was planning on playing some golf but it rained last night and it is cloudy this morning so not sure if that will happen.

The internet was good last night so I managed to get some more photo's posted.  Fifty six additional photo's from our flight and day trip to Tuktoyaktuk can be found here.  I also managed to get some pictures of Inuvik and our trip back down the Dempster highway posted.  You can find those pictures here.

The drive down from Dawson City was fairly uneventful.  We did see another Momma bear with two cubs but they bolted into the woods before we could get any pictures.  That brings our bear count to 23 for this years trip.  The last two years we had seen 30 bears each trip so it looks pretty good for breaking our viewing record this year.

The map for yesterday -

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Day Total - 331
Trip Total - 9,965

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dempster Wildlife Report Card

Grizzly Bear - Check
Brown Bear with cubs - Check
Caribou - Check
Moose - Check
Red Fox - Check
Dahl Sheep - Check

Let's see - thinking . . . thinking . . .

Oh yeah, Beluga Whales - Check

Photo's are on Flickr.  Find them here.

Safely off the Dempster!

We are safely back in Dawson City.  On the way back down the Dempster we saw 3-4 vehicles with flat tires.  What a bummer for them.  We are headed to Whitehorse tonight so hopefully Kim will get a post together with details on our adventure.  This morning I am going to try to get caught up on the maps for our trip.  First, last Sunday we drove across the Taylor highway to Chicken, Alaska.  Then on Monday we drove over the Top of the World Highway here to Dawson City.

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2 day total - 387 Miles
Trip Total - 8,660

From there it was off to Inuvik!  Almost 500 miles each way.  We stopped at Eagle Plains and spent one night during each trip.

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It was about 487 miles each way!
4 days of driving the Dempster - 974 Miles
Trip Total - 9,634

We saw lots of wildlife on this segment!  More info and pictures next post.