Friday, September 21, 2007

Day 108, Wed, Sep 19, 2007, Frankfort, KY to HOME!

We crossed the KY/TN state line and took a few minutes at the Tennessee Welcome Center to make sandwiches. I (Barbara) glanced at a picture of a black bear cub that is hanging on a cabinet in the motorhome that we bought in Fairbanks and broke down in tears. The picture brought back memories of the good times we had, and up until August 19th, when Jerry got sick, it was all good times. We got up when we wanted, stayed in a town as long as we wanted, took whatever route we wanted. How many people can say they’ve done that? We’ve truly been blessed and we’ve very grateful for it.

And I’m a very lucky lady to have a husband willing to drive on a curvy, mountainous, gravel road for 100 miles to take me to a “town” named Chicken! The scenery was beautiful and I was happier than I probably would have been in Paris or somewhere else fancy.

Now that we’re home it’s back to real life. It will be great to see our friends again. We pray Jerry’s leg heals—he has a doctor appointment on Friday. If we learn anything earth-shattering, we’ll post an addendum to the blog. And someday we’ll take another trip!

We drove a little over 12500 miles during the 108 day trip.

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day 107, Tue, Sep 18, 2007, LaSalle, IL to Frankfort, KY

Oh, it’s hot! It’s 87 and humid and I realize that’s nothing compared to what’s it has been here this summer, but I wish I could pronounce Jerry’s leg healthy and we could turn around and head north again. This is the first time we’ve had to use the generator and a/c at rest stops to keep the pets from frying. Also, the traffic is terrible and has been since we left Wisconsin. Give us the Tennessee hills! We’re exhausted; this isn’t the way we intended for the last month of our trip to end, but someday we’ll do the Northern United States again and do it correctly. Up until Whitehorse it was a perfect trip and nothing can change that. We have the blog and tons of pictures to remind us when the memories start to fade.

Pictures: Click here

Day 106, Mon, Sep 17, 2007, Albert Lea, MN to LaSalle, IL

“The wheels on the van go round and round.” At least we hope they do. It looks like rain today. It would be nice to have a short but heavy downpour since this thing hasn’t been washed since Dawson City, YT and it’s very, very, dirty. It’s too tall for an automatic car wash and would knock the satellite, etc off the top anyway. Jerry isn’t well enough to wash it and he’s too stubborn to watch me wash it. I say close his eyes, but he won’t listen.

11:30 and we’re in Wisconsin! One more state behind us. We stopped in the quaint little town of Bangor, WI, and picked up our mail. Thank you, Susan.

We drove longer than we wanted to, but Illinois is a bit short on campgrounds. We ended up at Wal-Mart in LaSalle, IL.

Low 60.

Pictures: Click here

Day 105, Sun, Sep 16, 2007, Presho, SD to Albert Lea, MN

We stopped in Mitchell, SC and took pictures of the Corn Palace. All the murals on the outside are made of different shades of corn, and they replace them every year. We didn’t go inside—they were having a polka tournament—but they play basketball there in the winter. It was far more amazing (pun intended!!) than I expected. There was also Cabalas in Mitchell that I could have spent hours in so we just stayed away. We had to get on the road. Jerry’s leg, especially mid-calf to ankle was dark red to almost black last night and that had me scared. I wanted to stop and see a doctor. He won’t.

It was a nice, sunny day, hi of 76, low 46, no clouds. Lots of flies and mosquitoes in the evening.

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Day 104, Sat, Sep 15, 2007, Buffalo, WY to Presho, SD

This morning was fun. There were turkeys walking around the campground, I’d say wild turkeys, but they were pretty tame. Jerry also saw a rabbit. We didn’t take time to see Mt. Rushmore, but we did stop at Wall Drug, which wasn’t as far off the Interstate. We passed on the 5 cent coffee and bought expensive ice cream instead. We saw a group of deer off the side of road somewhere in South Dakota. We’re now in the Central Time Zone, one time zone away from home!

Today has been hot—81 degrees, low was 46 and there are no clouds in the sky. Beautiful day.

Pictures: Click here and Click here

Friday, September 14, 2007

Day 102, Thu, Sep 13, 2007, Conrad, MT to Livingston, MT

This must have been Blackie’s favorite RV Park. They had a fenced in doggie area and he had it all to himself. Blackie ran back and forth between us (his Frisbee disappeared in Anchorage) but just to see him get some exercise was great. And the campsites had nice grass between campers and Blackie enjoyed resting and enjoying the view. Usually he’s nervous if we’re not outside with him, but last night I went out to see if he was ready to come in and he didn’t even stand up!

We saw a deer drinking out of a creek yesterday, but I wasn’t ready with the camera.

Jerry’s leg still hurts way more than it should, especially at the end of the day. Montana is pretty but too brown. There is a lot of farmland and the wheat has been harvested. A fair amount of evergreen trees but no deciduous trees. I want color!!!

Pictures: Click here

Day 103, Fri, Sep 14, 2007, Livingston, MT to Buffalo, WY

We’re traveling along at 3300 feet and it’s flat! Okay, it’s somewhat flat. But it doesn’t feel like we’re in the mountains, it just feels like rolling hills. We have blue sky, thank goodness, Jerry’s leg is hurting more; I think he should either call our doctor or he should see a local doctor. He wants to get home to see our doctor in person. My knees hurt, so we make quite a pair. Actually, we’re in the middle of nowhere on I90 so we just keep rolling along. Every mile gets us closer to home.

We ended the day by stopping at a nice campground called Deer Park Campground in Buffalo, Wyoming. In fact when we pulled in around 5:30 PM we saw four deer at the entrance to the campground.

It was 30 degrees when we woke up this morning. High today is 74.

Pictures: Click here

Day 101, Wed, Sep 12, 2007, Calgary, AB to Conrad, MT

Back in the United States! It’s a good feeling and a sad feeling because I (Barbara) have a soft spot in my heart for Canada—its beauty, its people, and its hockey! But I’ll always be an American. We ate lunch today in Lethbridge, Alberta to use up the last of our Canadian money and a nice couple came over to talk to us. They knew we were Americans by our accents. We never think of us having accents but several Canadians have told us we have them. Of course, we think they have accents.

We got through Customs with no problem. We were going to stop in Shelby, but decided to drive a little further and stopped at the small town of Conrad, MT. This very nice little lady running the campground brought us a welcome bag compliments of the Chamber of Commerce. How sweet of them!

Pictures: Click here

Day 100, Tue, Sep 11, 2007, Red Deer to Calgary, AB

A day all Americans and most people worldwide should never forget. Today is a beautiful day, just as is was 6 years ago, weather-wise anyway. We’re having blue skies and the temperature as I write this (1:00 p.m.) is 75 degrees. We are spending the night with our friend Morna, who is Karen Ramstead’s Mom.

We had a delightful visit with Morna. She stuffed us with delicious stew and hot rolls, and we laughed over videos of interviews of Karen. Karen, how do you stay so composed? One was done in the kennel with a team hitched to the four-wheeler. The announcer was trying to interview Karen as she sat on the four-wheeler, but every now and then the dogs decided they’d rather run and off they’d go. It was like they were quietly saying to each other, “okay, guys, on three, we’re off!” Morna, thank you for the kindness and hospitality and Karen, thank you for inadvertently providing some much-needed laughs. We so admire you and are so proud of you. The only thing missing was you, Mark and a few puppies!! But your Mom passed on the big hug!

Being a “dog person” Morna invited Blackie and Little Bear into her home and they were so excited to be in a space larger than our little motorhome! Little Bear wasted no time touring the entire house (nosy thing that she is) then whined until Morna and I put her on a bed upstairs for a nap. At 17, she’s unable to jump on a bed but likes to sleep on one. Blackie was thrilled to have a backyard to run in and gave Morna so much attention when we came in—he even “helped” her put the VCR tape in the TV and gave her lots of kisses as a thank you. There are no spoiled animals in the Lake household!! I think both of the pets are as anxious to get home as we are.

Pictures: Click here

Day 99 Mon, Sep 10, 2007 Valleyview, Alberta to Red Deer, AB

A cloudy day in the low 60’s and mostly flat with a few rolling hills. I miss the mountains terribly. Actually, this area reminds me of Missouri, with lots of farms. We planned to stop in Edmonton, but got there earlier than planned, so went on to Red Deer, Alberta. We stayed in a beautiful campground sponsored by the Lions club, one of several in the area. The Lions Clubs’ have every right to be proud of their campgrounds. They had paved roads, lots of grass and trees, nice bathhouses. Blackie loved having some grass to roll in.

Day 98 Sun, Sep 9, 2007 Fort St. John B.C. to Valleyview, Alberta

We finally made it to Alberta—another Province down. Except for one deer in the road the only animals we saw today were on people’s farms—sheep and horses. The campground, named Sherk’s, was one of the nicest we’ve stayed in just because it had grass between the spaces. And the spaces were large. But no WiFi or TV. Jerry’s leg was really hurting so after getting set up and helping me carry the sheets to the laundry room, he called it quits for the day. We got him down with his leg elevated and as soon as I got his bed remade he crawled in without even eating anything. His leg is peeling like from a sunburn and I’d love to get my hands on it—I peeled my own dead skin when I was stupid and got sunburned as a kid. But this is worse that a sunburn and the most he’ll let me do is gently put lotion on it. We think his leg is getting worse again and as much as we love Canada, we desperately want to get to the States so Jerry can see a doctor and our insurance will pay up front.

The weather was partly cloudy and temps around 71. Low in mid 50’s.

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Days 96,& 97 Fri & Sat, Sep 7 & 8, 2007 Toad River, B.C., to Fort St. John B.C.

Mostly sunny and 60 degrees already (noon) and it didn’t take long to be exciting. We saw a small herd of deer, and immediately after that a caribou. All of these were on the oncoming side of the road so my pictures had to be taken through the windshield. All I got of the caribou was the steering wheel! The woods are cut back from the highway giving the animals plenty of room to walk off the road, but obviously they like the road the best.

We learned a lesson about stopping early; or not stopping early. Until last night campgrounds (including our home in Whitehorse) have been mostly empty. We had a site in Pink Mountain, but someone was in it. We should have asked them if they had a receipt for that site, but we didn’t know it was the last site in the campground. We decided to get our money back and drive on to the next campground—wrong decision. We ended up in a motel in Fort St. John a couple of hours later and Jerry had a very, very sore leg. So sore, that we’re spending two nights here so he can recover. From now on we’re sticking to our 5 hours of driving a day, and stopping early.

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Day 95, Thu, Sep 6, 2007, Watson Lake to Toad River, British Columbia

Today was an exciting day. We saw a small herd of buffalo on the road, but we had just crossed a bridge that they were doing construction work on and it was down to one lane, so we were going very slowly. We were also the first car in line which made it handy for taking pictures. A little later there was a caribou eating road kill in the road so Jerry slammed on his breaks and moved to the left; the caribou stood up and moved to his right—or the same direction as us. The entire time I had the camera in my hand but my fingers were frozen and I never took one picture. I think it took 30 minutes for our heart rate to return to normal.

We stopped at Liard Hot Springs—something I’d really been looking forward to. They had benches in the springs to sit on, and it was divided into areas of super hot, hot, and warm. They also had a waterfall with a bench to sit on, which felt great on my back.

We stayed at Toad River Lodge (and campground) also a Good Sam campground and it had the worst looking bathhouse I’ve ever seen. I’d really been looking forward to a hot shower because one of the nurses at the hospital in Whitehorse asked us if Jerry had been in Liard Hot Springs. She said they get a lot of cellulitis patients from there.

The scenery is beautiful, of course. Autumn is here in British Columbia. Not much red, but lots and lots of gold mixed in with the evergreen trees.

Temps range from low 40s to mid about 60.

Pictures: Click here

Day 94, Wed, Sep 5, 2007, Whitehorse, YT, Canada to Watson Lake, YT

We finally left Whitehorse! We intended to yesterday, but we were waiting for mail—very important mail at that. The stickers on our license tags had expired the end of August and our daughter, Susan, had mailed them by express mail. We thought for certain we’d get them on Tuesday, but didn’t. Maybe it was a sign that Jerry needed another day of rest.

At any rate, today, we’re on our way home, with mostly blue skies, and a few short rainshowers thrown in for good measure. It seems to rain here everyday, but not for very long. Then there is a beautiful rainbow, and yes, we saw one today. We’ve been at a higher altitude most of the day—about 3,000 feet—and have been enjoying the fall colors the Yukon has to offer.

Jerry’s leg still hurts, but not so much that he can’t drive and both our spirits have been lifted considerably.

We’re staying at Downtown RV Park in Watson Lake. A nice Good Sam Park, but lacking in grass for Blackie. Bathhouse and laundry room were nice and clean, though.

The high was about 52, low of upper 30’s.

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Day 92, Mon, Sep 3, 2007, Whitehorse, YT, Canada

Today was a great day! We took a Yukon River Cruise through the very narrow Miles Canyon. Talk about scenic! And I (Barbara) got to drive the boat! I asked the captain if I could, and he said ok. I figured the worst he could do is say “no.” What a thrill it was! Then another lady asked if she could drive it and we each got caps that said MV Schwatcka on them. The boat is named after a U.S. Army LT who, in 1883 led a small expedition on a raft down the Yukon River 3,200 kilometers to the Bering Sea. Now that’s a trip!

Jerry is doing better. On the boat he was able to walk around so his leg didn’t hurt too much. It hurts the most when he is sitting or standing still. The swelling is gone and it’s peeling, as if it was sunburned (and it looks like it is).

The weather was beautiful today—but still getting into the 30’s at night and in the 60’s during the day.

Pictures: Click here

Days 78 - 91, Mon - Aug 20 – Mon Sep 3, 2007, Whitehorse, YT, Canada

We have spent two weeks here while Jerry has cellulitis, a strep infection in the skin cells. From Sunday night through Tuesday he came in to the ER every 12 hours for IV antibiotics. Then the doctor requested Jerry come into the ER every 8 hours for the IV’s. On Saturday morning, he was admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. He was dismissed the following Wednesday after spending four days in the hospital.

The nighttime temps have been quite chilly, down to the 30’s, causing us to run the heat pump each night. The daytime temps have been close to 70 degrees and sunny with a couple of short rain showers.

Pictures: Click here and Click here and Click here

Friday, August 24, 2007

Day 77, Sun, Aug 19, 2007, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada to Whitehorse, YT

Wow, what a day today was! We got away from Dawson City around 1:00 p.m. and headed down the Klondike Highway expecting to possibly make it to Carmacks. Just before Pelly Crossing the dreaded rock chip on the windshield happened in a 2 mile stretch of loose gravel. Shortly after going through Pelly Crossing Jerry’s lower right leg started hurting and from past experience he was certain it was cellulitis coming on. Before too long he was shivering and shaking so hard he couldn’t drive so I drove to Carmacks. We got to Carmacks around 7:30 and found the local nurse’s office, picked up the phone and it summoned the nurse who came to the office and said we needed to get to the hospital in Whitehorse, which was four hours away. By then Jerry’s leg was red as a beet, swollen, and very, very sore, but the chills and shivering had let up so he drove on to Whitehorse. We got to the hospital in Whitehorse a little after midnight and the ER doctor put him on an IV of antibiotics and told him to come back in 12 hours. Finally around 2:00 a.m. we got out of the ER and went back to the RV where we spent the night in the parking lot with security’s blessing. By having to go to Whitehorse caused us to drive 378 miles in one day, our longest drive in one day since we left home.

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Day 76, Sat, Aug 18, 2007, Chicken, AK to Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada

Well we finally made it to Canada. We left Chicken, AK at noon today and traveled the 40 miles or so on the Top of the World Highway to the Canadian border over some of the worst roads I’ve ever traveled. It took us about three hours to travel that stretch. The entire trip was on gravel road with potholes, washboards, several narrow places and some loose gravel where they had made repairs. The dust was terrible, but fortunately it was not rainy or it would have been slick.

I have not had any white knuckle driving since we left home, but that 40 miles was all white knuckle driving. We even saw one place where a motorhome or travel trailer had gotten too close to the edge and gone down a ravine. There was nothing there but shreds of stuff. It had happend two or three days before, so I'm sure most of it had been hauled away by now. We heard someone mention it in Tok and supposedly the occupants only suffered minor cuts and bruises. We could not figure out how they could have come out of it alive.

Once we hit the Canadian border the road was much better, but it was still pretty rough and also had loose gravel in places, but for the most part it was hard gravel (almost like pavement) and even had lines marked. We did run into some light rain for much of the trip from the Canadian border into Dawson City. Even still we only averaged about 35 miles per hour from there to Dawson City.

When we came down the long steep hill and entered Dawson City, we had to come to an abrupt stop at the river’s edge. We thought we had taken a wrong turn, but no, you have to take the free ferry across the Yukon River to actually get into town. That was neat.

We then secured a campsite about a mile out of town and then went back to town for an outstanding fish and chip dinner (cod). It was some of the best cod we’ve had. Then we went back to the campground and used their RV wash to get the ton of dust and dirt off the RV.

We drove 120 miles total today. The low temp in Chicken was 43 degrees, and the warmest we saw was 77 here in Dawson City.

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day 75, Fri, Aug 17, 2007, Tok, AK to Chicken, AK

Well, I though by now we would be in Canada, but no, we’re still here in Alaska, Chicken, Alaska that is.

Barbara just had to see Chicken, so we left Tok around 1:30 this afternoon after doing some souvenir shopping, topping off the gas tank and filling the propane tank.

Chicken is 78 miles from Tok, but it is a winding road with a lot of gravel repair spots, so we didn’t make the best time in the world. The speed limit is 50 MPH and we were doing 25 at times, although for the most part we were able to do 40 and some 50 with no problem. Of course we had to stop and take pictures along the way.

Chicken is a quaint place. There are three businesses plus a post office. We’ve stopped at all four places and now spending the night at one of the two campgrounds here. Each place has their own generator since there is no commercial power in Chicken. There are even two places to buy gasoline at $3.45 per gallon. We paid $3.19 in Tok and I understand it is over $5.00/gal in Dawson, Yukon Territory where we should be by this time tomorrow.

We drove 75 miles today. The high temp we saw was 81 degrees, the low 51.

Pictures: Click here

Friday, August 17, 2007

Day 74, Thu, Aug 16, 2007, Fairbanks, AK to Tok, AK

We finally got everything together and left Fairbanks around noon today. We stopped at The Santa Claus House in North Pole, AK, about 20 miles out of Fairbanks. After an extended stop there, we headed on down the Richardson Highway toward Tok. We made another extended stop at Rika’s Roadhouse and had a bite to eat. From there we drove on into Tok, AK, arriving around 7:15 PM.

There we secured a campsite and had a dinner of salmon, halibut and reindeer cooked on an open fire. It was very good. Then we called it a day.

We are contemplating driving to Chicken, AK tomorrow. We don’t know whether to come back to Tok and continue on down the Alaska Highway (Canada is 93 miles away from here) on continue from Chicken on down the Top of the World Highway. We are getting bad reports from both routes of really bad, rough roads. There are reports of motorhomes being towed back to Tok that have broken because of the terrible roads. We’ll just have to see what lies ahead for us.

We drove almost 214 miles today. The high temp we encountered was 78 degrees, the low was 51 early this morning.

Pictures: Click here

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day 73, Wed, Aug 15, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

What an exciting day! We went to Aliy Zirkle’s house this morning and had a great visit with her and also got to pet her dogs. The highlight was getting to hold Blue’s 3 ½ day old puppies! How precious! Aliy has won the Yukon Quest and finished the Iditarod several times. We’ve known her since 2003 when we stayed in the same B&B as her parents and sister, Kaz. We’re so glad we got to see her while we were here.

Also, we got to meet an Idita-support friend in person—Jan DeNapoli. We’ve known her via the Internet for years; now we can put a face to the name. She also mushes so we got to meet her dogs, too. What a treat! Her dogs we so personable that they gave us lots of laughs. And Jan herself is someone I feel like I’ve known for years. We also got to meet Jan’s father and Jan’s friends, Kim and Patty. Thanks, Jan, for a great afternoon.

We came back to the campground and washed a couple loads of clothes and also gave the motorhome a good washing. Then around 8:15 PM while we were sitting in the motorhome we heard some horns honking and when we looked out there was a parade of about 12 old cars going up and down the rows between the campers. What a treat.

A couple that stuck out in my (Jerry’s) mind was a 1950 Ford F2 pickup. I learned to drive in one of those on the farm when I was about 9 years old. The other was a 1955 Chevy which was the first car I ever owned. That sure did bring back some great memories.

High: 61
Low: 51

Pictures: Click here

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day 72, Tue, Aug 14, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

Nothing really to report today. We ran some errands, worked on our web pictures, and transferred files from one computer to the other. It was a pretty nice day for the most part, but we did experience some periods of light rain which is predicted for the next day or so here in Fairbanks.

Hope everyone is doing OK. We should have things to report on tomorrow.

High: 67
Low: 57

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Day 71, Mon, Aug 13, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

We spent today setting up Barbara’s laptop and working on pictures for the webpage. We finally got a week’s worth of pictures up but are still one week behind. We’re concerned about what kind of internet coverage we’ll have once we leave Fairbanks on Thursday. We already have plans for Wednesday so we have to work hard tomorrow to try to get as many pictures up as possible. We also have a couple of errands we have to run, so tomorrow will be a busy day.

High 78
Low 59

Day 70, Sun, Aug 12, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

Happy Anniversary to us! Today we celebrated our 29th anniversary. We had a nice dinner at a restaurant in Two Rivers. We also bought a second laptop so Barbara can keep up with the pictures and blog while Jerry hogs the other computer to read e-mails and do the bills. While Jerry was in the campground computer room setting up the new computer Barbara showered in the motorhome, filling up the gray-water tank so the shower wouldn’t drain. So, at midnight, in the rain, we had to drain our tanks. What a romantic way to celebrate our anniversary!

High temp: 62
Low temp: 53

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 69, Sat, Aug 11, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

Today we got a pretty early start and went to the Ft Wainwright Exchange and commissary to get some needed items. From there we went to the Tananaw Valley State Fair. It was quite a warm day with the sun out all day, making it seem hot.

We were a little disappointed, although we did see some 45 pound cabbages and quite large turnips, along with a lot of other things grown here in Alaska. They grow so large because of the long hours of daylight. Of course we had to have the state fair hot dog and elephant ears.

On the way home from the fair we stopped at a car wash and used their vacuum to clean the inside of the motorhome as it really need it.

From there we did some shopping and then came back to the campground and used their car wash to clean this filthy motorhome. It was really dirty, but looks quite good right now.

Our neighbors, who also have a Roadtrek, drove up to the Arctic Circle today (just to say they’d been there) and when they got back their dog and Blackie romped around a bit. Blackie enjoyed having a playmate I think.

High: 78
Low: 41

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day 67, Thu, Aug 9, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

So nice to have sunshine!

This afternoon we took the Riverboat Discovery cruise. According to them, this is the second most popular (behind Mt McKinley) attraction in Alaska. It is a fantastic three and one half hours, we will admit. We especially enjoyed meeting musher Jessica Royer and playing with some of her dogs and getting to chat with her for a few moments.

After the cruise, we drove around some and decided to partake of the Alaska Salmon Bake one more time since we will probably never get the opportunity to do that again. Where else can you get all the prime rib, smoked king salmon, fried halibut, fried cod and even hot dogs you would want? It’s absolutely fantastic.

After the salmon bake we walked around Pioneer Park some more. We took a tour of the S.S. Nenana which is a historical landmark and also experienced minus 40 degree temperatures. Wow is that ever cold! We even got to throw a cup of water into the air while in there and watch it evaporate right before our eyes.

When we got back to the campground, we extended our stay another three days this time. We are waiting for our mail to be forwarded to us here and there are still things to do in Fairbanks.

High temp: 74
Low temp: 40

Pictures: Click here and Click here

Day 66, Wed, Aug 8, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

Today we extended our stay here at the River’s Edge RV Park for two more days. There’s a lot of stuff to do here in Fairbanks.

We found the local Walmart nestled between Lowes and Home Depot. The Walmart is being remodeled, but the storefront is being designed to look like the old trading posts instead of the traditional Walmart storefront. Really neat.

From there we went to the Alaska Pipeline visitor’s center and got a peek at part of the 800 mile long Alaska Pipeline. That was very interesting.

Then we went by the local KFC and got a traditional fried chicken dinner. We had talked about doing that before while up here, but decided then we could get that back home, but by now we were ready for some back home food. It was good for a change.

After that we went out to the house of Mary Shields, the highlight of the day! She is the first woman musher to complete the Iditarod race, which she did in 1974. She much prefers recreational mushing, which she still does to this day. She has a tent with a small wood stove in it and says she is very comfortable in it, even in minus 40 degree weather. Mary Shields is also the very first musher Barbara ever had personal contact with, back in 1996. (Mary had sent Barbara some get well gifts after she had surgery.) Mary put on a sled dog demonstration for the Riverboat cruise which we took in 1993 as part of a cruise tour we did. Barbara has been hooked on sled dogs since then, but the contact in 1996 really started it all. The trip to her home was a very thrilling evening.

High temp: 71
Low temp: 49

Pictures: Click here

Day 65, Tue, Aug 7, 2007, Fairbanks, AK

Today we found the Fort Wainwright Army base and make a quick stop at the BX to get a few needed items. We had hoped to be able to camp there, but their RV park is under construction, so we are not able to do that. We then drove around the base to see what we could find. They have a new hospital that just opened this summer which is really nice.

Later on we found Pioneer Park where we spend quite a bit of time. We took the train ride around the park which was fun. Then we went into several of the little shops before we found the Alaska Salmon Bake. This is the best place in the world to get all the prime rib, baked king salmon, fried halibut and cod you can eat, along with baked beans, potato salad, bread and salad. It also includes drinks and dessert with coffee. Wow, what a meal!

Sunset: 10:45 PM
Sunrise: 5:10 AM

High temp: 64
Low Temp: 54

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Day 64, Mon, Aug 6, 2007, Byers Lake, AK to Fairbanks, AK

Well, we woke up this morning and it wasn’t raining! But within 10 miles after getting underway, we were back in the rain again and it rained on us all day long. What a bummer.We stopped at the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial near the campground we stayed at. It was really neat.We then headed on up the Parks Highway and made a stop at the Denali National Park Visitor’s Center, but due to the rain we didn’t stay very long. We did stop at a souvenir shop or two near there and then headed north again. We stopped in the little town of Nenana and looked around there a little. That was neat.We kept driving and finally stopped at another small place called Ester and ate at the Ester Goldcamp Restaurant. From there we drove on into Fairbanks and found a campground on the Chena River and got a spot for two nights since we need to do some laundry and regrouping. We arrived at the campground around 7:30 PM and called it a day.The temps were ranging from 48 to 51 degrees today. Besides the rain we had a lot of fog the last several miles prior to entering Fairbanks. It was not a fun driving day. It should have been a beautiful drive, but the rain ruined it for us. We still haven’t seen Mt. McKinley (also known as Denali). We know it is there as we saw it during our trip here in 1993 and we also have seen it at each of the four Iditarods we’ve been to in March.

Pictures: Click here

Day 63, Sun, Aug 5, 2007, Willow, AK to Byers Lake, AK

More rain! But we got to visit with our friend Donna Quante, see her new house and pet her dogs. We didn’t get as much time with her as we’d have liked—work always has to come first, and she had her job to get to. We’ve known Donna from her days in Pennsylvania, so it was really great to see her.

We traveled north on the Parks Highway and took the Talkeetna Spur highway (a really nice highway) and drove the 15 miles into Talkeetna. The road dead ends there. We looked at some of the shops, had lunch and then headed back out to the Parks Highway. Of course it rained on us the entire time. Took all the fun out of it.

We finally found the Byers Lake Campground (at the start of the Denali National Park) around 6:30 PM and found a nice spot to spend the night.

The temps hung around 54 degrees today and light rain 99% of the time.

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Day 62, Sat, Aug 4, 2007, Palmer, AK to Willow, AK

We woke up to rain this morning. After checking out of the campground, we went to the Dorothy Page Museum in Wasilla and enjoyed going through that. Then we headed north up the George Parks Highway and stopped at the Transportation Museum. Wow, what a museum. They have trains, planes, cars, trucks, tractors, heavy equipment, snow moving equipment, old machinery, boats, old boat motors and all sorts of stuff. We could have spent a couple of days there. Then we headed on north to Willow, AK, having to put up with rain all day. Checked out a few RV sites and visited with friend Donna Quante at work briefly before settling on Willow Creek RV Resort, on Willow Creek. There are lots of fishermen here, and if it wasn’t raining, we’d enjoy watching them a bit.

Pictures: Click here

Day 61, Fri, Aug 3, 2007, Palmer, AK

We spent some time in the afternoon at the Friday Flings in Palmer, and then went to the home of Mary and Mike Dillingham. Mary grilled some outstanding steaks for us. After dinner we fed treats to Rivers, their blind sled dog, and the other dogs. With treats, Rivers was soon Barbara’s temporary best friend, and it was such a good feeling for her.

Pictures: Click here

Friday, August 3, 2007

Day 60, Thu, Aug 2, 2007, Anchorage, AK to Palmer, AK

Wow, hard to believe we left home two months ago! If we stick to our somewhat loose schedule, we are about one half way through the trip.

We left Anchorage today and drove to Palmer, AK, about an hour’s drive north. We found a campsite at The Homestead RV Park near Palmer. Then we went to the Reindeer Farm, where we got to hand feed reindeer, a black-tailed deer, who wouldn’t even get up for us, but ate out of our hands, and an elk whom we were told would eat grass out of our hands all day long. The funny thing is, while I was bent over picking grass, the elk tried to eat my sleeve!

After the Reindeer Farm we went to the Musk Ox Farm. We didn’t get to hand feed them, but the tour guide fed them fireweed, a wildflower that’s blooming all over. We learned a lot about the history of musk ox and their personalities—they even have balls that they play with!

This evening we went to the pavilion at our campground where they had square dancing. We thoroughly enjoyed that and it really brought back some good memories from when we were heavily into square dancing 25-30 years ago.

High 63, low 54, very cloudy and some rain showers.

Pictures: Click here

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Day 59, Wed, Aug 1, 2007, Anchorage. AK

Well, we love our little motorhome, but it doesn’t store much so we have to make lots of trips to the store, giving us less time for sightseeing. And if we were gone from home for 2 or 3 weeks we could put off paying bills and doing laundry, but a 4 month trip means we have those chores just as we would at home. Sometimes it seems we’ve spent a lot of time in the Anchorage area doing nothing, but like it or not, it’s time to move on.

We had a delicious Hawaiian dinner tonight with our friend Rosemary then drove to Otter Lake here on Fort Richardson. It’s a recreational area with cute log cabins and a stunning view of the mountains—and a brutal gravel road to get there. But on the way back a black bear crossed the road in front of us! We finally saw one!

High 68, low 54.

Pictures: Click here

Day 58, Tue, Jul 31, 2007, Anchorage, AK

We drove south today to Girdwood, home of Alyeska Ski Resort, and a tiny town. The post office is probably the largest building, and looks new. That’s about as exciting as Girdwood gets, unless we missed something. Oh, there is the little strip shopping center on the main road with a store called the Tourist Trap. At least it’s accurate! And, yes, I bought a few things.

Then we headed to Portage to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a non-profit organization that takes in injured and orphaned animals and provides them homes like they’d have in the wild. And visitors get to see them up close. I (Barbara) even petted a moose’s nose and it’s velvet antlers. We also watched a black bear cub in a tree top trying to take a nap and he couldn’t seem to get comfortable; he kept changing positions. We could have told him he’d have been a lot more comfortable on the ground! His mom was enjoying some salmon. Hopefully we’ll have pictures up soon.

High today 64,low 55.

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Day 57, Mon, Jul 30, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Today was a day of errands. We woke up to a light rain. It finally quit raining, but was a very cloudy day.

We went to the post office to pick up mail, stopped by a place called Apria and ordered Jerry a new piece for his CPAP machine (for sleep apnea), and went to Sams club and the Exchange and Commissary. We’re stocking up for our trip north. We really like having use of a Commissary and Exchange and will greatly miss it.

Temps: High 65, low 58.

Day 56, Sun, Jul 29, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Not much to report today. We slept in this morning, then our campground host suggested we change sites since we were having electrical problems at our site. And we spent the afternoon doing laundry. It was a sunny, warm day. We called it a day early.

Temps: High 75, low 57.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 55, Sat, Jul 28, 2007, Knik, AK

We went to another picnic at GB Jones’ kennel in Knik today. There was a good group of people and dogs there and I think everyone had a good time. One of the youngsters gave a dog some pink icing from a birthday cake and the dog had a very pink tongue and a huge smile on his face!

Before we drove up to Knik we stopped to empty the tanks and Barbara took the trash to the dumpster and took Blackie with her on the leash. Unfortunately, Blackie saw another dog being walked and decided they should become friends. It caught Barbara off guard and she ended up with a skinned knee—no big deal except her knees are already sore from knee surgery.

We ate dinner at the Iditarod Dining Hall on base again—two complete dinners for $8.50 including dessert.

Today was mostly sunny with a high temp of 74 and a low of 54 degrees.

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day 54, Fri, Jul 27, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Shop, Shop, Shop! Barbara’s been wanting to hit the souvenir shops on 5th Avenue. She finally was able to do so, but the only thing she found was a front license plate for her car. Then we went to Sam’s Club and bought these doggie chicken strips that look like bacon but aren’t. Mary Dillingham had given Blackie a few and he loved them, so we bought him his own bag. Before we leave town we’ll stock up. Spoiled dog that he is!

We got a campsite with hookups but it’s a long haul to the bathhouse and laundry room. Oh well, guess we can’t have everything.

The sun is out! Temperature is 72 degrees.

Pictures: Click here

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day 53, Thu, Jul 26, 2007, Seward, AK to Anchorage, AK

This morning we checked out of the Seward Resort campground and went into town and went through the Seward Museum. From there we went to Mile 0 of the Iditarod start which used to be in Seward and then headed north back to Anchorage.

We stopped in Moose Pass for a short break at a beautiful Methodist Church and took some pictures and had a quick lunch. The rest of the trip to Anchorage was uneventful.

Upon arrival at the Black Spruce campground at Ft. Richardson, we found they were still full up and had to settle for a no hookup spot for the night with a promise that we could get an electric and water site tomorrow.

We left the campground and went to the carwash just off base and gave our really filthy RV a good cleaning. It looks and feels so much better when it’s clean.

We then went to the Iditarod Dining Hall on the base at Elmendorf and had a really nice meal. Barbara had stuffed pork chop, green beans and chocolate cake while I had stuffed pork chop, rice with gravy, corn and a coke. The total came to $7.70. What a deal!

Then we stopped by the commissary and replenished some supplies and headed back to the campsite for the night.

The lowest temp I saw was 54 and the highest I saw was 70 degrees today. We did wake up to light rain and had light rain most of the 135 mile trip back, but as we approached Anchorage we did see some sunlight peeking through at times.

Pictures: Click here

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 52, Wed, Jul 25, 2007, Seward, AK

Today has been very cloudy, but no rain! The first thing we did today was go to Exit Glacier. There is a nice road that leads almost to the base of the glacier. Once you get to the parking lot, you can walk a trail that is about ½ mile long to get to the base of the glacier. We were afraid that would be too much walking, so we didn’t make the hike. It was neat to be that close to a glacier though.

From there we went back to town and saw that a cruise ship had arrived in town. Then we went to the Alaska SeaLife Center. The center provides a unique Alaskan ocean experience that allows visitors to get closer to Alaska’s marine species. It was a real neat experience. While there we also signed up for the Behind The Scenes tour that showed us a lot of the research and rehabilitation they are doing and taking us through the entire center. What an experience. We spent the entire afternoon and part of the evening there. As we came out of the center, we saw the cruise ship just leaving port. It was neat.

Afterwards we went uptown and found a nice Chinese Restaurant and had a good dinner. Then it was back to the campground to call it a day.

The lowest temperature I saw was 50 degrees and the highest I saw was 62 degrees today. We’re sure enjoying these temperatures.

Pictures: Click here

Day 51, Tue, Jul 24, 2007, Anchorage, AK to Seward, AK

This morning we woke up to rain again. We broke down camp and filled up with gasoline at $2.959/gallon on the base and headed south toward Seward.

We drove in light rain most of the day, but it was still a nice drive. We arrived in Seward around 4:00 PM and checked into our campsite at the Seward Resort – US Army Alaska at the north end of Seward.

We drove on down the road we came in on until we could go no further and ended up at Miller’s Landing. While there we ran into a friend of GB Jones (our musher friend) who has one of GB’s dogs, Ida. It was good to meet Jessie Jones (no relation) and to see Ida again. After a short visit we ended up in town, drove around a bit, and then found a nice restaurant with some of the best food we’ve had, but the worst service and the food was not at all hot. Then we headed back to camp and called it a day.

The low this morning in Anchorage was 52 and it was 52 degrees the rest of the day all the way to and including Seward.

Sunrise in Seward is 5:18 AM, sunset is 10:48 PM
Gas in Seward is $3.209/gallon.

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 50, Mon, Jul 23, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Better weather today—some sun, some clouds and a few rain drops, but not enough to slow us down. We finished our laundry so we can head to Seward tomorrow with everything clean. Then we opened the back of the RV and dug out some stuff we’d stored under the sofa.

This evening we went into town to the Sourdough Mining Company and saw a free show put on by Dusty Sourdough. It was a great hour long show and Barbara even won a beautiful polar bear pocket knife. She likes the container it came in better in the knife so I guess I get the knife and she’ll keep the container!

After the show we went inside and had a great halibut nugget dinner along with their famous korn fritters. Wow, are they ever good.

From there it was back to camp to get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we are heading down to Seward for a couple of days.

The high temp today was 65 and the low was 54 degrees.

Pictures: Click here

Day 49, Sun, Jul 22, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Today was a great day except that we woke up to rain, had rain all day, and went to bed with rain, but it was mostly a light rain all day, so not entirely bad.

The great part of the day was meeting up with our friend Rosemary at the Millennium Hotel (Iditarod’s race headquarters every March) and had a very nice lunch and catching up. Then Rosemary took us downtown and we went to a great place (only a couple years old) called Bear and Raven Adventure Theater. It started out with a very nice high definition movie about Alaska, complete with a snowstorm blown on the audience.

From there we were able to board a balloon with a screen in the bottom of it making it appear we were flying over different things, complete with the motion of the balloon. Then we went salmon fishing by sitting in the back of a boat with a fishing rod and line hooked to a TV screen showing the fish we were catching. The line reacted with the fish, making it seem so real. Then we were able to stand on a sled runner with a dog team projected on a big screen making it seem we were being pulled by the sled dog team, again complete with sled motion to feel so real. It was all really neat. We’ll have pictures of all this up soon.

Then Rosemary took us to Cold Stone Creamery for some really great ice cream, then a nice tour of Anchorage. A great afternoon we had.

Also today we finally saw moose in person. As we were leaving the base, we saw a moose really close to the road, and again when we came back onto the base, we saw another moose quite close to the road about a quarter mile from where we saw the other one earlier.

The high temp today was 64 and the low was 54 degrees.

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Day 48, Sat, Jul 21, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Today our mushing friend, G.B. Jones, had a “show and tell” at Cottonwood Park here at Fort Richardson. Families of spouses deployed to Iraq and injured soldiers recuperating from injuries were having a picnic and had invited G.B. to come and bring his dogs and equipment. G.B. invited us to join him, and the families having the picnic invited us to help ourselves to the food. It was delicious, the people very nice and we had a great time.

Also, our third seat had broken and the manager of the woodworking shop on base offered to cut a board to our specifications. He told us to come back in 2 hours, charged us $3.00 and our seat is better than new.

We woke up to blue skies but by 8:00 p.m. had a brief shower. High was 71, low was 48. Great sleeping weather!

Pictures: Click here

Day 47, Fri, Jul 20, 2007, Anchorage, AK

A relaxing day visiting with other campers. We got a latch fixed at A&M RV in town and a couple that are staying here were there also. Nice folks and we enjoyed our short visit. And Jerry, the service manager at A&M said he didn’t have a category for bending latches so that was free. We spent the rest of the day at the campground doing some laundry and visiting with people here—just generally enjoying ourselves. Still haven’t seen that moose or bear, but we’re looking!

Pictures: Click here

Friday, July 20, 2007

Day 46, Thu, Jul 19, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Today we went into town to an RV place and checked out whether we could get the awning replaced. Since there are no Roadtrek dealers around here that we can find, we didn’t hold out much hope. Plus we are having a problem with one of the latches. The place we stopped said to come back Monday and they would look at the latch and see if they could do anything about the awning, but they didn’t sound too promising. We’ll see, I guess.

We then went to the Ulu factory and bought another ulu bowl. We love that ulu knife and bowl. Barbara wanted a second bowl to use strictly for veggies.

The highlight of the afternoon was a stop at the Wildride Sled Dog Show next to the Ulu factory that was hosted by young Iditarod finisher Dallas Seavey. The Seavey’s (long time Iditarod mushing family) put on an hour long fun show that was well worth the $14.00 admission fee. They also have Flapjack in the show who was a star in the movie “8 below”. At the end of the show they let you roam around and pet the puppies and by luck, Dan Seavey, the grandfather who ran the very first Iditarod in 1973 was there and we got to chat with him for a good while. What a treat!

Today it was cloudy. The high was 72 degrees, the low 55 degrees.
Sunrise is 4:59 AM, sunset is 11:10 PM.

Pictures: Click here

Day 45, Wed, Jul 18, 2007, Anchorage, AK

Today I finally got through to Verizon and asked about the horrendous roaming fees. Turns out we were charged roaming fees for our usage in Canada. So now we at least know when we go back through Canada on our way home to limit our usage and try to find WIFI hotspots. Fortunately we don’t get charged roaming fees in Alaska, even though we are actually roaming and the throughput is not good, but at least here in the Anchorage area we do have a connection.

From there we went to Eagle River and went to Eric and Marti Rogers’ house and visited them and their kennel. Then Barbara found out Marti quilts and everything turned to quilting. So much so, Marti and Barbara went to town and did some quilt fabric shopping. Then we went to Johanns Restaurant in Eagle River and had a great dinner. From there it was back to the campground to call it a day.

It was great to get to know Eric and Marti a little and to visit with them. Of course visiting their kennel was a highlight as we got to meet each and every one of his great dogs.

It was quite cloudy all day today.
The high temp today was 68 degrees, the low was 58 degrees.

Pictures: Click here

Day 44, Tue, Jul 17, 2007, Anchorage, AK

The campground host stopped by first thing this morning and said they had a full hookup site for us, so we had breakfast and then moved to the new site. After checking it out, we went to the Commissary and Exchange and Barbara bought a couple of souvenirs.

The motorhome is so very filthy that we hated to get near it, so we found a car wash just off base and stopped by. We didn’t have enough quarters to give it a good bath, but we did get the heavy stuff off so we won’t get dirt all over us if we get near the vehicle.

The high today was 74 degrees, the low was 53 degrees.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Day 43, Mon, Jul 16, 2007 Wasilla to Anchorage, AK

Time to go back to Anchorage. We need to do more laundry and campground laundry fees were $2 per wash and $2 per dry; laundrymat fees in Wasilla itself were worse. On the Military Base they were $1 to wash and $1 to dry. So we left Wasilla and drove to Anchorage.

We went to Fort Richardson, the Army base in Anchorage and found a campsite. Even better, they have 5 washers and dryers and they are FREE! We got the only campsite they had and it had no hookups, so they strung an extension cord from the neighboring site so we could at least have some electricity. Good thing too, because it was quite warm, especially for Blackie and Little Bear in the motorhome, so we had to run the air conditioner during the afternoon. That was about as much electricity as we had without overloading the extension cord, but this evening is much nicer and we’re getting along with only the fantastic fan pulling some air through the open windows and keeping comfortable.

We had a hankering for Chinese food this evening, so we went into town and found a place that also had a Mongolian BBQ. The BBQ was good, but the Chinese food was only so-so. Oh well, we gave it a try.

We are on the waiting list at this campground for full hookups, so hopefully tomorrow we’ll have plenty of electricity and also water hookups so we don’t have to listen to this noisy on board water pump every time we use any water. We are hoping to stay here in Anchorage through the weekend.

We didn’t catch the low temp for the day, but this afternoon it got up to 72 degrees and was mostly sunny. A really nice day, but quite warm after all the cool weather we’ve been experiencing.

We gassed up on base for $2.969 today. Gas prices are about the same all over town. It was $2.999 most everywhere in Wasilla.

Barbara’s highlight of the day was when she went to the bath house to shower. There she saw a sign saying “Danger – Bears”. She was almost afraid to walk the short distance back to the camper after that what with the way they made it sound!

Day 42, Sun, Jul 15, 2007, Wasilla, AK

Today we took a down day. The highlight of today was that Mike and Mary Dillingham came by the campsite and took us out for brunch. They were gracious enough to pick us up so we didn’t have to unhook the motorhome. It was great to see them again. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing paperwork. Unfortunately, bills have to be paid even on vacation!

Pictures: Click here

Day 41, Sat, Jul 14, 2007 Anchorage to Wasilla, AK

We decided to surprise our friend G.B. Jones in Knik and join him at his picnic that we’d told him we wouldn’t be able to attend. As it turned out, we were an hour and a half late (normally no problem as they last all afternoon) but he was getting ready to leave for a friend’s funeral.

We found a campground in Wasilla and spent the afternoon cleaning house and doing laundry, some much needed chores. Also tried to upload pictures, but can’t get a fast enough internet connection and keep timing out. We also found out the hard way that we’re being charged roaming fees on our air data card. We got our monthly email notice for our Verizon air data card bill and instead of the normal $60, it was $297.00! Ouch! We were not aware they charged extra for roaming data, so every time we get on the internet it costs us big time since we are constantly roaming up here. That may have been only for the Canadian part, but we have to contact them and find out for sure. So our picture uploading will have to slow down until we can confirm they are not charging us extra.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day 40, Fri Jul 13, 2007, Homer to Anchorage, AK

We’ve decided we want our cake and eat it too. We want all the tourists to go home, we want the nice campgrounds, but bigger sites at half the cost, and yes, we acknowledge that we are tourists, too! Since we’ve been here several times before though, we don’t feel like tourists, and we get just as annoyed with the other campers as Alaskans do. We’re Alaskans in our hearts. Also, we realize the tourist industry is important to Alaska and we’re doing our part to increase Alaska’s economy!

We arrived in Anchorage around 7:00 PM and went to Elmendorf Air Force Base and found the FamCamp and found one of only three sites left. We finally settled in around 8:15 PM.

Today we have sunshine with occasional periods of clouds and rain and a high of 58 (in Anchorage), low of 51 (in Homer).
Drove 272 miles.
Sunrise in Anchorage: 4:46 AM
Sunset in Anchorage: 11:22 PM
Gas prices in Anchorage: $2.969
Gas prices in Homer: $3.139

Pictures: Click here

Day 39, Thu Jul 12, 2007 arrive Whittier, AK, drive to Homer, AK with a stop at Hope, AK

What an interesting day! We stayed in Whittier an hour, making an attempt to see Iditarod musher Perry Solmonson. But he was out on a kayaking trip so we just left a message. From there we thought we were driving to Homer, but Barbara the Navigator, screwed up and directed Jerry to Hope. It turned out to be a beautiful drive along the Cook Inlet. However, we decided to turn around and head back to Homer, getting us there around 6:00 p.m.. The place was full of RV’ers and the little town was ready for them. We found a small campsite with no picnic table, but full hook-ups for $39 that crammed us in beside monster Class A’s. Normally Barbara would enjoy one or two tourist shops, but this was like the day after Thanksgiving! We did enjoy another halibut fish and chips dinner and went back to the campsite for a good night’s sleep.

Drove 257 miles.
Temp 49 at Whittier, 52 at Homer, occasional light rain.

Pictures: Click here

Friday, July 13, 2007

Day 38, Wed, Jul 11, 2007, on board M/V Kennicott with a stop at Yakutat, AK

Today we had a stop at Yakutat, Alaska at 8:00 AM. We were there for two hours. We took Blackie ashore to find some grass which of course he thoroughly loved. We got underway at 10:30 and spent the rest of the day in open ocean rocking and rolling. We also did a lot of rocking and rolling last night as we were mostly around 12 to 15 miles offshore. Today we are mostly about 30 miles offshore.

We watched a movie, “Happy Feet” on board this afternoon.

The pets seem to have gotten their “sea legs” and don’t seem to be bothered by all the rocking and rolling we’re doing out here. We’re real proud of them.

Jerry was lucky enough today to get a short glance of a whale about ½ mile from us. Barbara was talking to the Purser at the time and missed it. We’re told we will see many whales early tomorrow morning in the Prince William Sound, so we’re going to bed early and plan to get up around 4:00 AM to whale watch and prepare for a 7:30 AM docking at Whittier.

Pictures: Click here and Click here

Day 37, Tues, Jul 10, 2007, Juneau, AK

Today started off as a real bummer. Jerry had put the awning up last night to give us some area without rain. He’d done it correctly, with a slant for rain to drain off on one corner. Well, about 7:00 this morning he heard a loud noise—the awning was bent, torn and broken. We tried to roll it up but it wouldn’t fit into its bracket. A nice gentleman came along and helped us, but he couldn’t force it into the bracket either. We finally decided the best solution was to cut the awning off and take it to the city dump. The dump’s procedure was to weigh the motorhome first, then unload the awning, and weigh the motorhome again. Then we were to pay by the pound. They had a minimum weight. We were at such a low weight that Shannon, the lady who worked there, voided our ticket. Up until this time we were ready to take the first ferry home, (except there weren’t any!) and Shannon’s act of kindness made Barbara break down into tears (and then Shannon did too). All was well again and we made a quick trip to Mendenhall Glacier before boarding the ferry M/V Kennicott for Whittier at 5:00 PM.

Pictures: Cick here

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Day 36, Mon, Jul 9, 2007, Petersburg, AK to Juneau, AK

Okay, we get it now. It rains in the rain forest. It makes the forest nice and green. And wet. And we’re tired of it.

Today we got off the ferry at 4:45 a.m. and, after searching for a restaurant that was open for breakfast (and finding none), gave up and came to the campground and went back to sleep. We spent the rest of the day driving around Juneau (in the rain all day), being amazed at the 4 large cruise ships in town and the souvenir shops that cater to them and the even larger number of people jamming the streets. We kept driving. This evening we had a delicious salmon and halibut dinner at the Thane Ore House Salmon Bake the campground host said the locals go to. It was delicious.

It rained all day, and the forecast is rain for the next three days and we leave here tomorrow. The highest we saw today was 55 degrees.

Pictures: Click here

Day 35, Sun, Jul 8, 2007 Wrangell, AK to Petersburg, AK

We had to get up early today to catch the ferry to Petersburg at 6:00 AM. The ride was 3 hours. Petersburg was sort of a disappointment. It is called “Little Norway” as it was founded by a Norwegian and has a lot or Norwegian heritage, but there just wasn’t anything there to do, especially on a Sunday afternoon. We basically just drove around looking for anything. We did find a little park that had a lot of eagles, so Barbara got a lot of pictures.

We then caught the ferry at 7:30 PM for the overnight ride to Juneau. We did see some sunshine, with a high temperature of 59 degrees, so that was nice.

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Day 34, Sat, Jul 7, 2007, In Wrangell, Alaska

Two interesting things happened today. We ate the best lunch ever at Zak’s Café; very fresh halibut sandwiches with excellent macaroni salad. In fact, Robyn, the owner, said she had to stop making potato salad because everyone liked her macaroni salad so much! We overhead her tell her husband they needed to send some soup to someone in town who was sick. Now, that doesn’t happen everywhere,

As we walked out of the café we saw a motorhome identical to ours—same color and all. We thought for an instant ours had been stolen! The driver said he was from Edmonton. We, of course, told him we were from TN, but had been in Edmonton and visited friends in Perryvale. Small world.

We have to hit the sack early tonight, as we have to be at the ferry landing by 6:30 AM for a 7:30 AM departure to Petersburg.

The low was again 50 degrees with a high of 72 degrees with some sun, but the day ended with light rain.

Pictures: Click here

Day 33, Fri, Jul 6, 2007, In Wrangell, Alaska

We must have been tired, as we slept about eleven hours. We woke up to a cloudy day. We have a neighbor here at the campground now. We talked to them a few minutes. They told us that Betty at the Episcopal Church was selling fried bread dough made on the spot. I haven’t had that in years. So we headed out to find it. That took a while, but we eventually found it and was it ever good. We even bought some more to take with us to have for breakfast tomorrow morning.

We drove around and got somewhat acquainted with Wrangell. We found the airport, went to the Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park, and saw a lot of eagles, ravens and crows.

We had bought a corned beef yesterday at the store and this morning we put it in the crock pot. This afternoon we boiled potatoes and cabbage and looked forward to a great dinner. But when we bit into the corned beef it just didn’t taste right, so we threw it all out and had peanut butter sandwiches! Oh well, can’t everything go right.

Temperature ranged from a low of 50 to a high of 61 today. It was somewhat sunny today.
Sunrise is at 4:10 AM and sunset is at 9:47 PM.

Pictures: Click here

Friday, July 6, 2007

Day 32, Thu, Jul 5, 2007, On board M/V Malaspina in Alaska, USA

Yea! We are now in Alaska. Sometime around 3:00 AM we crossed the line from Canada to Alaska on the Inside Passage. We got up around 5:00 AM to prepare for a stop in Ketchikan, AK at 6:30. While there we were able to take Blackie (our lab) ashore and make good use of some grass in that area (as did many other dogs)! He had only gone once in 35 hours, so he was ready to let it all out, and did he ever. He looked so relieved after that jaunt in Ketchikan.

What a place Ketchikan is. That is one busy port. We say two large cruise ships docked when we pulled in. When we were ready to get underway, we had to be delayed a few minutes while the Diamond Princess came down the passage. Then shortly after we got under way we met a Holland American cruise ship. Also the airport is just across the river from the city. While there we saw an Alaskan Airline 737 land and a corporate jet take off. Also on the river there were many float planes taking off and landing right beside us. How neat. We got underway from Ketchikan just after 8:30 AM and headed to Wrangell, AK.

We arrived in Wrangell at 2:30 PM where we got off for a three day visit in Wrangell due to our remaining ferry schedule.

We drove around Wrangell for a while and then came back to town and got a few groceries we needed. While there we met a man from Indiana that has been living here for 10 years. He even offered to take us halibut fishing with him when he gets off work tomorrow evening. We also talked to another man while in line that was from Illinois. Then we found a campground in town and decided to get something to eat instead of cooking as we were really worn out after that early wake up, even though we had a short nap after leaving Ketchikan.

The temperature seems to have been a pretty steady 52 degrees everywhere we’ve been today and it has been rainy off and on.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Day 31, Wed, Jul 4, 2007, On board M/V Malaspina in British Columbia, Canada

Happy 4th of July! Yesterday afternoon we boarded the Alaska Marine Highway System M/V Malaspina and got underway at 5:00 PM Alaska time. We saw a display area on one of the bulkheads explaining the ship, which was built in 1962. There was a menu there listing Alaskan King Crab for $3.75, steak meal for $5.00, alcoholic drinks ranging from 75 cents to $1.25. We were so excited and just couldn’t believe it. It took us a while to realize that menu was from 1962. Oh well, reality hit us when we finally got to the cafeteria and found a hamburger was $7.25, fish and ships $8.00, etc.

The M/V Malaspina is 408 feet long, 74 feet wide and has a draft of 15 feet. She has two 4061 HP turbo charged diesels and burns 320 gallons per hour. She also has three 800 HP Caterpillar generators that burn 42 gallons per hour. Her passenger capacity is 701, has 86 staterooms and can carry 120 vehicles.

Passengers with pets must leave them in their vehicles. They do allow you to go down to the car deck four times a day: 8:30 AM, 2:30 PM and 8:30 PM which are announced. Then at 12:30 AM they allow us to go down, but that one is unannounced. The dogs all think is it party time for them!

Early this morning (around 3:15 AM) we were awakened by the fog horn. It blows for 5 seconds every 2 minutes. And is it loud!. It lasted until about 7:00 AM this morning. Fortunately we got a chance to get a nap during the day.

It’s been a very very cloudy day with some showers. The high temperature was 55 degrees. I didn’t know they had a thermometer on board until this afternoon, so didn’t get a low temp.

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Days 25-30, Thu-Tue, Jun 28-Jul 3, Maple Falls, Washington (Barbara’s family reunion)

Days 25 through 30 we spent at a very nice cabin (actually two cabins) east of Maple Falls at the foot of Mount Baker with Barbara’s family. Her family is spread out from San Jose, CA to Lisbon, Portugal and they try to get together about every four years. For this reunion they wanted to go to the Northwest, so here we are. At one time there we 22 of us together. It was a great 5 days. The Alaska Marine Ferry left Bellingham on Tuesday, so we had to leave two days before the end of the reunion.

We had to check in at 2:00 PM and get in line to drive onto the ferry at 3:00 PM. We finally drove onboard around 4:30 and the ferry got underway at 5:05 PM. It is currently 6:04 PM (5:04 Alaska Time) as I upload this from the ship. How neat. As we boarded the ship they told us we were officially on Alaska Time, so now we are four hours ahead of my computer which is still on EST.

Pictures: Click here

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 24, Wed, Jun 27, 2007 Ferndale, Washington

Well, we drove about 10 miles to an RV place in Bellingham called Al’s I-5 RV Inc and gave them our sob story about the leaking sewer system. Fortunately, they took us right in and diagnosed the problem as a hole in the hose coming out of the drain of the tank. Then they set in to fix the problem. A couple of hours and $204 later, they had us back in business. We were so grateful they we able to do this for us. In fact, we made an appointment to go back tomorrow afternoon and have the RV serviced since it has been over 4000 miles since I last serviced it.

Barbara did a couple loads of wash and that was about it for the day.

Tomorrow we’ll check out of Cedars RV Resort, get the RV serviced and then report in to our reunion cabin in Maple Falls, WA. We are told there is no cell phone service in that area, so our internet access will be a problem. We are hoping to have stuff ready to upload and when we get back toward Bellingham we plan to upload whatever is waiting to go.

Temperature range: 51 to 77

Day 23, Tue, Jun 26, 2007 Ferndale, Washington

Today was a down day since we are in the area of Barbara’s family reunion, but the place isn’t available until Thursday afternoon. We did go to town to look for some pipe tobacco for me and we also went by the ferry terminal to see just where we have to go next Tuesday when we leave Bellingham for the ferry trip to Whittier, Alaska.

When we got back to the campground, we decided we should dump the tanks before settling back into our site. After I dumped the tanks, I saw this giant puddle under the RV and backed up to check it out. Surprise, it was sewage!! Obviously we have a good sized leak when the macerator pump is running. So I cleaned up the mess and set up on our site again, knowing that tomorrow we would have to see about getting this problem fixed, and just hoping beyond hope that someone would take mercy on us and slip us in for the repair.

Temperature range: 44 to 66

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 22, Mon, Jun 25, 2007 Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada to Ferndale, Washington, USA

We woke up to a rainy, cold morning in Kamloops and hit the road at 10:00 AM (early for us). We wanted to get back to the US before stopping for the day. Kamloops is very mountainous, but it looks like a desert. We drove for several hours before we got back into the beautiful green mountains we so like and by mid afternoon we were seeing snow capped mountains again. What beauty.

About 10 miles before we came to the border, we saw a farmhouse selling fresh strawberries, so we stopped and bought a container for $5.00 Canadian. Barbara washed them and starting eating them before we hit the road, then we remembered we were not allowed to bring fruit across the border, so she threw them out after eating only a few. She said they weren’t really all that good anyhow.

We finally hit the border at 3:30 PM. It took us 30 minutes to get through the line. After answering a few questions, we were waved on through. We looked at a campground just beyond the border, but didn’t like the looks of it, so we headed east to another site that looked good according to the Campground Guide. About halfway there, we decided to backtrack and ended up going to a really nice campground in Ferndale, WA, arriving around 6:30 PM. There are hedges between each campsite for privacy—really nice.

After a lengthy travel day (for us anyhow), we needed groceries, so we went to town. While looking for the grocery story we saw a Chihuahua Mexican restaurant and decided to eat there. That was a mistake, but we did leave there with full tummies. It was the worst Mexican food we’ve ever eaten. We then found the grocery store and stocked up and headed back to the campground to call it a day.

Miles traveled: 285
Hours traveled: 8.5
Temperature range: 44 to 66

Pictures: Click here

Day 21, Sun, Jun 24, 2007 Valemount, British Columbia to Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Today started out beautifully. We played the Oak Ridge Boys hymns and gospel CD and with the snow-capped mountain scenery it was as close to heaven as one could get and still be on earth.

Kamloops was a bit disappointing. It’s mountainous, but all dirt except for some scrub bushes. I’m sure the people of Kamloops would disagree with us; sorry, folks!

Miles traveled: 255
Hours traveled: 6.5

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day 20, Sat, Jun 23, 2007 Valemount, British Columbia, Canada

Today we decided to take a down day. We had some internet work we wanted to do and some cleaning we needed to do. It was a beautiful day here in Valemount, although a little windy this afternoon. We got the motorhome cleaned up, took the rugs out and shook and vacuumed, and went to town (actually a small village) and got a couple of items we needed. Late afternoon we went back to town and found a nice little Chinese restaurant and had a great dinner. Afterwards we got relieving showers at the shower house, updated our pictures and blog We almost have our pictures updated now. We added Days 13, 15, 18 and 19. We also added more pictures to Day 17 if you want to go take a look. We are hoping to get an early start to Kamloops tomorrow, as it is about a 200 mile trip and we are hoping to arrive there fairly early.

Temps ranged from 44F to 68F

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 19, Fri, Jun 22, 2007 Hinton, Alberta, Canada to Valemount, British Columbia, Canada

We left the Walmart at Parks West Mall which is anchored by Safeway and WalMart. This Walmart looked like just a regular store, nothing at all like we expect a Walmart to look. We had a gorgeous drive today, seeing snow capped mountains all day long. We drove through Jasper National Park and saw a herd of dall sheep and a black bear along the side of the road, but we couldn’t get their picture before they disappeared into the weeds. We passed into the Pacific Time Zone and also crossed the border into British Columbia, Canada. We’ve now been in four Canadian Provinces on this trip. We finished this short day by stopping at a very nice campground in Valemount, BC.

Miles traveled: 129
Hours traveled: 3.5 (does not include time stopped)
Temperature range: 42 to 68

Pictures: Click here

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 18, Thu, Jun 21, 2007 Perryvale, Alberta, Canada to Hinton, Alberta, Canada

We left North Wapiti Kennels, home of the Ramsteads, after a delicious breakfast. Mark and Karen were very gracious hosts and we appreciated their hospitality. What great people they are! From their house we headed to the West Edmonton Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment center, complete with an ice skating rink, an amusement park, and a beach with several slides and wave pool. The place is huge! We left there and headed west and ended the day in Hinton. While looking for a campground in Hinton we found a truck/RV wash, so took time to wash this filthy RV. It was really a mess after two plus weeks, driving through a lot of rain and being on some pretty muddy roads. Then being unsuccessful in finding a campground, we ended up pulling into the Hinton Walmart (along with about ten other rigs) and spending the night.

Pictures: Click here

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 17, Wed, Jun 20, 2007 At Ramstead’s in Perryvale, Alberta, Canada

What a great day! We were awakened at 6:15 AM by Karen (after sleeping through the first wake up call at 6:00 AM) and told if Barbara wanted to ride on a run to be ready in five minutes. She didn’t make the main run, but Karen did take her for a short run with 14 dogs when she got back. After a great breakfast we had a leisurely day until early afternoon when Mark built a fire in the fire pit, Karen made slaw and some great baked beans and we roasted hot dogs and had a fantastic dinner out under the trees. What a beautiful place they have here and what a beautiful afternoon it was. We also enjoyed getting to know their new handler, Ronnie. He seems like a really great guy. It was 42 degrees when we got up this morning.

Pictures: Click here

Day 16, Tue, Jun 19, 2007 Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada to Karen and Mark Ramstead's in Perryvale, Alberta, Canada

We woke up to a beautiful sunny chilly morning in the park. After breakfast we headed north to Lamont and dumped our tanks at their public dumping station since the park had absolutely no hookups or even a dumping station. From there we drove into Fort Saskatchewan and stopped at a Safeway and bought some steaks to take to the Ramsteads. They also had a filling station so we topped off the tank at $1.034 per liter (about $3.77 per gallon if I’m figuring correctly). We finally made it to Karen and Mark’s around 3:00 PM. What a great feeling to be in the presence of an Iditarod musher. For those that do no know, Karen has run the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race seven times and plans to run again next year (2008).

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 15, Mon, Jun 18, 2007 Battleford, Saskatchewan to Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada

We left the campsite at Battleford with partly sunny skies and the temperature of 58. We actually used the heat pump last night with lows in the upper 40’s with rain and lots of wind. But we were cozy warm.

We’re still in Canada’s prairie land and anxious to see mountains again, but enjoying the mileage we’re getting in the flatlands (upwards of 15 mpg).

We finally got to some rolling hills and made it into Alberta, Canada. We stopped at a Walmart in Lloydminster, Alberta at the Saskatchewan/Alberta border. We needed a few supplies and I had to buy a set of wiper blades for the motorhome.

We have had internet access via the data cellphone continuously since we entered Alberta, which was really nice after not having it for such a long time. Last night we had to buy WIFI time at the campground.

Our friend Karen Ramstead mentioned the Elk Island National Park to us in an email, so we decided to check it out. Elk Island National Park is noted for it’s elk and bison,. We are now camped at Elk Island at a nice campsite, however we are stuck inside since it started raining a couple of hours after we got here. And the mosquitoes are STILL terrible.

We are turning in early tonight so we can get up early in hopes of seeing some wildlife in the morning.

Tomorrow on to North Wapiti Kennels near Perryvale, Alberta.

Pictures: Click here

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 14, Sun, Jun 17, 2007 Yorkton Saskatchewan to Battleford Saskatchewan

Shortly after leaving Yorkton we saw 2 stone churches on a side street—one on each side of the street. They looked very similar, both had cemeteries, and grassy yards. No parking lots and it didn’t look like cars had been parking on the grass. Nor were there any signs on the churches. We made up stories of how they were used—young people in one church, old in the other; men in one, women in the other. Who knows? We’d loved to have worshipped there.

The land is still flat farmland but we can’t figure out what crops they’re growing. We’re noticing a definite difference in when the sun goes down; in fact it doesn’t seem to get really dark at night. And we’re losing satellite connection (DirecTV). I understand the TV satellites are over the equator and we’re quite far from the equator.

It rained all afternoon and the wind is really blowing hard. We stopped at North Battleford, Saskatchewan and treated ourselves to dinner out at a place called Country Cuisine. Trish, our waitress, couldn’t have been nicer, asking where we were from and where we were headed. We explained about going to see our friends in Perryvale, Alberta, the Ramsteads. The gentlemen sitting behind us, upon leaving, shook our hands and said, “welcome to Canada.” How nice of him. And Trish gave Jerry a pocketknife with the name of the restaurant on it for a Fathers’ Day gift!

We’re camped at the Town of Battleford Campground. A beautiful place for $20.00 CDN. Unfortunately it is rainy and very very windy, so no outside activities this evening.

We gassed up at Walmart here in town for $1.134 per Liter for 75.626 liters. Ouch!

Pictures: Click here

Day 13, Sat, Jun 16, 2007 Portage la Prairie Manitoba to Yorkton Saskatchewan

After a leisurely morning of making breakfast, packing and stowing everything and dumping the tanks we headed north and west again. We were in very flat Canadian countryside 99% of the day.

We did see a girl dressed in a wedding gown out in the country standing on the railroad tracks at a service road who waved at us as we went by. I noticed there were several cars parked near there. Barbara said the groom was near one of the cars. We would like to have known what was going on there, but it sure looked like someone was getting married on the railroad tracks!

We finally came into Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Just prior to that our cell phone changed time, so now we are in Mountain Time, allowing us to gain an hour. We stopped to gas up and although I do not have the exact conversion figures, it looks like we paid $3.96 a gallon for gas. Wow!

Shortly after that we saw a Walmart and went in and got three or four items we needed. Then we found a campground called the City of Yorkton Campground. And yes, the mosquitoes are still driving us crazy.

Even crazier, we ran into a couple from near Memphis, TN while we were camping at the Grand Forks Air Force Base that is traveling to Alaska. A couple of hours after we set up at the City of Yorkton Campground, Barbara noticed our friends from Memphis had pulled into the campsite right next to us. What are the odds of that happening? It’s a small world.

We drove about 240 miles today in about 7 ½ hours.

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day 12, Fri, Jun 15, 2007 Grand Forks AFB to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada

This morning we left the campsite at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and headed north, but only after we back-tracked a few miles to allow Barbara to do a small amount of shopping at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, ND. She even managed to get her hair thinned a little while she was shopping.

From there we finally headed north and around 3:30 PM we made it to the 49th parallel, the US/Canadian border. It took us about 20 minutes to work through the line, but they only asked us a few questions and sent us on our way.

We arrived at Miller's Campground in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada around 6:00 PM.
Barbara had put a roast in the crockpot before we left Grand Forks. At one of our stops later this afternoon she added potatoes and carrots. We got to smell all the good smells all afternoon. What a way to travel!

Shortly after we got here, dinner was ready and was it ever good. Just as good as the steak we had last evening.

Have fun. We sure are!

Pictures: Click here

Day 11, Thu, Jun 14, 2007 Down Day at Grand Forks AFB

Today we took a down day. We went to the Base Exchange and the Commissary and made a few purchases of stuff we needed and went back to the campsite. Barbara spent the entire afternoon doing laundry and I did various and sundry things. Unfortunately, getting the pictures up and the blog updated didn't get done.

We also took time to watch the ground squirrels. That place is just full of them and if you were quiet they would come out of their holes and look all around. Those guys move so quickly, it was really fun to watch them.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes were absolutely terrible. We couldnt' stand to be outside more than a few minutes before we couldn't take it any more.

We baked potatoes in the convection/microwave oven in the Roadtrek and then cooked steaks outside on the Foreman grill and did stay out long enough to eat them. What a great dinner we had.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Day 10, Wed, Jun 13, 2007, Brookings, SD to Grand Forks, ND Air Force Base

Last night we got rained on. When we left the Oakwood Lakes State Park it was sprinkling. The further we drove, the worse it got.

We did have to stop for gas in Sisseton, SD (just before the ND) line. Gas was $3.059 per gallon. Ouch! But I'm afraid it will only get worse.

A little before we got to Fargo, ND it started raining so hard I could barely see the road. All the way through Fargo all I could see was my part of the road. We really wanted to see Fargo, but it wasn't meant to be. It literally poured rain until we were well north of Fargo. We put up with a lot of rain most of the day, but it did let up a bit before we got to Grand Forks, ND.

Barbara had gotten an Rx before we left home, but her sinus infection has actually gotten worse. So today she got on the cell phone and called her doctor at home and asked him to prescribe something else and had him call it in to CVS in Grand Forks, ND. So when we got to Grand Forks we had to stop to pick it up.

From there we went about 15 miles west of Grand Forks to the Grand Forks Air Force base and found a nice campsite at their campground for $12.00 per night for full hookups, including cable TV hookup.

Pictures: Click here

Day 9, Tue, Jun 12, 2007 Fremont, NE to Brookings, SD

Lesson of the day. Pack extra checks! Fortunately we have 2 checkbooks with us and we can transfer money from the account that has money to the account that has checks! But we ran out of blank checks for the account we wanted to use.

We stopped at a rest area in Burbank, SD that had a unique sculpture. The Technical Schools in the area had a contest to design a sculpture that represents that area of South Dakota. The winner is a very modern concrete teepee.

When we went through Sioux Falls, SD we took a short side trip and went to the actual falls the city is named for. What a beautiful site. It was a worthwhile side trip.

We stopped for the night just west of Brookings, SD at the Oakwood Lakes State Park and had a great campsite at a beautiful campground.

Pictures: Click here

Day 8, Mon, Jun 11, 2007, Carrollton, MO to Fremont, NE

We left Aunt Dot’s and drove to Kansas City for a short visit with Aunt Theo at the Senior Center. From there we drove to Lincoln, NE to visit with Jerry’s sister Janet and her husband, Mel at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. It was her 1 year anniversary of being in a hospital—so sad. But she was in great spirits and we were so glad to see them both. We end the day in Fremont, NE at a Walmart parking lot. We tried to spend the night at a state park before Fremont, but could not find anyone to check in with, so we drove on to Fremont and found the Walmart.

Gas in Fremont was $2.979.

Day 7, Sun, Jun 10, 2007, Carrollton, MO Family Reunion

The Lake Family Reunion! There were 45 of us at Aunt Dot’s today and we had a great time doing what we do best—talking and eating! We spent the night with Aunt Dot (where the reunion was held) and visited a bit more with Aunt Dot.

Day 6, Sat, Jun 9, 2007, Sedalia, MO

We spent Friday and Saturday night with Ken and Vicki. It was nice to be able to sit down and put our feet up for a change. Plus I got caught up with the laundry.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Day 5, Fri, Jun 8, 2007, Jefferson City MO to Sedalia MO

Today was a low mileage day. We left my Aunt's house around noon and leisurely made the 60 mile trip to Sedalia to my brother's house. We will be here for a couple of days before our reunion in Carrollton, MO on Sunday.

Anna's sister met us at Kenny and Vicki's and picked Anna up to take her to their house in Iowa where she will spend the summer. We really enjoyed having her with us and will miss her dearly, but she's probably really glad to be out of the small RV.

Gas prices in Sedalia are mostly $2.95 for regular.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Day 3, Wed, Jun 6, 2007 and Day 4, Thu, Jun 7, 2007, Hardy, AR

Day 3 and half of 4 were in Hardy, AR. We had passed through here once before on our way back from Missouri and liked the little town. The campground was nice and clean, and on the Spring River, but it cost as much as the two State Parks put together! It wasn’t that nice! However, we enjoyed the town the next morning. Jerry toured the antique car museum and Anna and I walked and shopped the downtown area. Anna and I bought new purses, the 3 of us ate lunch at the Hardy Café, then we headed out of town about 1:30. We promised ourselves we’d only drive about 5 hours a day and so far that’s what it’s been. Today will be about the same.

Tonight we’ll be staying with Jerry’s Aunt Faye in Jefferson City, Missouri.

We haven’t had a great start with our blog. We had internet connection at both state parks, but it was hit and miss. We did get email, but when we attempted to get on the web sites, we usually timed out, so we gave up trying to post to the blog.

Now that we are in Jefferson City, MO I have a much better connection and have been able to get days two through four up.

Gas here in Jefferson City is mostly $2.99. We passed a place shortly after we made it into the state of Missouri where it was $2.88, but I was past it before I saw it and thought I’d just get it later, but after that is was $3.03 to $2.99.

Pictures: Click here and Click here

Day 2, Tue. Jun 5, 2007, Crossville, TN to Lexington, TN

Day two was pretty uneventful except that when Jerry went to bed he kept forgetting things like locking the motorhome and every time he got up Little Bear (the cat) took his place in bed. He put her on top of me, climbed in bed, forgot to turn on his CPAP machine (for sleep apnea), got up again, Little Bear took his place….. I thought this routine was hysterical but he was getting frustrated about the whole thing. And every time he went to move her she went as limp as a dish rag. This series of events happened three times before Jerry finally got settled and Little Bear decided she’d take up residence at the foot of my bed instead.
We stayed at Natchez Trace State Park in Lexington, TN at the Pin Oak RV Park. It had a beach so Anna and I went swimming. So did Blackie, but he had to swim outside of the fenced in beach area.

Pictures: Click here

Monday, June 4, 2007

Day 1, Mon, Jun 4, 2007, Hampton, TN to Crossville, TN

Day 1, Monday, June 4, 2007

We picked up Anna (our neighbor that is going with us as far as Missouri) around 1:30, only 3 ½ hours late. It is now 2:30 and we’ve made it as far as Johnson City and we’re now on our way back to Elizabethton; however, we did stop at the Post Office and the Water Office to see about having our water shut off, since Jerry couldn’t get it turned off this morning. We were checking our “to do” list and realized we didn’t get new tags for the motorhome. They expire in August, so we turned around in Johnson City and so now we’re headed back to Elizabethton. As Jerry just said, “we’ve driven 30 miles and gotten nowhere.” Anna is listening to her music and is quite unconcerned about it all.

We finally got out of town and had an uneventful trip to Crossville, TN. We stopped and ate at the Bean Pot restaurant and went the short distance on to the Cumberland Mountain State Park near Crossville and found a nice campsite to settle in for the night.

Gas prices here are $2.97/gal, but we don’t need any yet.

Pictures: Click here