Saturday, June 26, 2010

Welcome to Dawson Creek!!! WE MADE IT!

Well as we said we had a deadline to arrive in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada.  This is the meeting place for the Track Tours, where the Alkan Highway and our trip begins,   2300 miles from home.  It was a long week but a fun one.  Can't describe how beautiful everything is.  It is absolutely awesome.  I kept taking pictures through the windows, running back and forth throughout the motorhome to get some from both sides. I kept telling Bill the scenery on his side was better. (You know the grass is always greener!! LOL). Took a lot through the windshield as the sight before us as we were driving was amazing.  But even as many pictures as I took I could not capture the magnitude of the openness and magnificent view.  God is awesome in His creation!  I hope that you can absorb a little bit of it from the pictures we have.  (You really need to "click" on a picture so it will blow up and you can see it in full resolution.)

You know how in Ohio and Michigan we have the Deer Crossing signs?  Well Canada has Moose crossing signs!!  Pretty neat huh?  The first one we passed before I could get the camera ready, then I tried to get one from the other side of the motorhome going the other direction.  They were not easy to capture.  Finally got this one but it's a little fuzzy ... it was the last one we passed before Dawson Creek.  I was really excited to get this one!

We have been hitting libraries on the way as that seems to be the best place for wireless internet service.  Gives us a chance to check e-mail and work on the blog....Bill has an opportunity to check out what is going on in the world these days while I work on the postings.  The library in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada was a little difficult to find (we're pretty sure they moved it and didn't tell the Garmin people), but it was a very nice library and gave us a nice break.  We were thankful for that.  We spent a little time walking around the city (mainly trying to find the library and then our rig! lol

We arrived in Dawson Creek around 6PM -- now we have traveled three time zones so we are a little off kilter.  Thankfully the cell phones let us know when we have entered another one.  We will be hitting one or two more before our trip is complete.  That can make getting in touch with family and friends back home a little difficult --- we have to stop and think.  lol.  But we hope to keep in touch as much as possible.  The only draw back with a trip like this is missing all of you!  Grandbabies especially!

We stopped and spent the night at the WalMart when we arrived.  There were seriously about 20+ motorhomes, RV's, etc.  Guess all the campgrounds were booked solid.  Met some people from Connecticut heading to Alaska on their own who couldn't believe they were reduced to WalMart camping. Now us...that is not a problem.  We're actually pretty good at it.  Well, OK, it's really Bill who has this all down pat...I'm still not sure what works off the generator, the propane, battery or what?  He manages to make everything work one way or another.  We spend our evenings fixing dinner, playing cards (cribbage mainly --- Dad Martin, we are tied at this point in the trip!!!), watching a DVD on the computer and planning our next day.  Life is good.  God is Good!!

This one as we were driving it looked as if the cars in front of us were going right over the edge the hill was so steep.  Pretty cool!

Wildflower at the road side rest which was very pretty and interesting.  Oh yeah, the road side rests are nothing like Ohio & Michigan's.  They are very bare and have two tiny little buildings, one for the men and one for the women.  I did not go in to check them out as we have our own facilities in the motorhome.  You know who used it and when it was cleaned last.  That's great!

The sky and the clouds just have me wowed!!  You feel like you are going to drive right up into the clouds and the heavens above.  I have always known the beauty of the sky but out here it seems so over the top.  I just can't stop taking pictures of the clouds as you have probably noticed by now. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy taking the pictures!!

Thanks for taking the time to look at our pictures and hear about the little things along the way.  Pray all is going well with all of you back home!!


I don’t have internet at the moment, so I can’t do a Google search to see if we have Kal Tire in the states.  If we do, I hope you all check ‘em out and I hope you have the awesome experience I just had!
            We had a bent rim on the PT Cruiser wheel, just bent enough to cause the wheel to look like it was wobbling, but the tire was holding fine and it drove with no vibration.  We decided to be at Kal Tire at 7:30 am when they opened to have them check it out.
            At 7:20 I’m at Kal’s, and “Chuck” pulls up in his Kal Tire Truck and his clean Kal Tire shirt.  He asks me how I’m doing and I tell him that depends on this tire.  He looks at it (still hasn’t opened up the store) and tells me it’s probably alright.  I tell him I’m headed for Alaska and it was making me nervous.  He says, “Well, we could remove the tire, hammer the rim straight, and put the tire back on for you.” 
“What would that cost?” I ask.
“Oh, no charge.”
“Oh come on, there HAS to be a charge for all that!”
“We’ll just say it was a flat fix, and we don’t charge to fix flats.”
Are you kidding me!!!  Flats don’t involve removing the tire from the rim!  Unbelievable!
So Chuck opens the store, writes it up, when the first employee arrives he gives him the job, and Chuck directs me to the waiting area.  Through the glass I see my repair guy with a red cape on!  Later when I‘m checking out, I ask him about the cape.
“Oh, he just wears that when he’s driving your car so he doesn’t get any dirt on your seats!”
Then, Chuck’s buddy comes in to tell me they also re-balanced the wheel since it had been hit so hard, and they did a battery check on my car.
“So what do I owe you for all this?”  (Reaching for my wallet.)
Chuck pre-empts me with a handshake and a “Have a nice day sir!”

KAL Tire.  My new favorite tire store.
Sorry Belle Tire

Friday, June 25, 2010

Evening Day 5 and Day 6 ---- Almost There!!

 Well after the annoying delay in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada we happily went on our way.  We remained calm about the delays but were both pretty tired when we decided to stop for gas.  Now the highways in Canada are not like those in the States --- there aren’t many gas stations in between towns and some towns are so small there isn’t one, so when we see one that looks like it is easy to get in and out with the motorhome we stop.  We thought we were being proactive in getting gas early.  We pulled into the pumps and neither one of us saw the chains hanging down from the rail.  After we heard the clang, we realized we had to back out and pull in on the other side….well you can’t back up a motorhome with a tow car very easily, so we had to stop and unhook the car and move both of them.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, Bill is so good at it but there was a vehicle with three guys and a dog in the only spot we could fit through.  It was like a “Candid Camera” skit --- they did everything you can imagine.  They all 3 went into the store, tied their dog up and fed him outside the store, put in a can of something in the gas tank, then started pumping the gas.  They all three took turns going in and out of the store.  It finally looked as if they were done and then they went in to get ice, opened the back end of the SUV and started arranging things in the back.  Untied the dog and emptied his water and food dish, put him in the car and we thought “alright!”.  Then 2 of them got back out of the vehicle and went back into the store and then rearranged things in the back of the vehicle again!!  By this time I began to think they were doing it just to see if they could irritate us.  Bill wants to know who has been praying for us to have patience.  Seriously we were at that stop for over 1 hr and we didn’t even need gas at that point.

We finally came to a stopping point at a WalMart in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada.  I can say we were glad to be off the roads for the night even though we had hoped to get a little farther down the road.  We decided to make an early start of it the next morning and were on the road by 7:15AM.  We were so proud of ourselves and had high expectations for the day.  We were headed for the library in Vegreville, Alaberta, Canada where we could get some free wi-fi.  Again not as easy to find as in the USA.  We do not have internet service while we are in Canada --- it was ridiculously expensive for only 10 megs of data, which would last us a day or two maybe .  We did check e-mail and update the blog before heading back down the road.  Now we are making really good progress and have made our plans for stopping tonight and then a truck pulls up next to us in horrendous traffic in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and honks.  After I roll down the window he tells me that the back tire on the PT Cruiser is wobbling.  Bill had taken it in to have the tires checked and rotated before we left Michigan and we were not aware of anything happening on our trip thus far.   So we continue out of Edmonton and head for a town that puts us a little closer to Dawson Creek and make an appt with Kal Tire for 7:30 AM Friday 6/25.  Here’s to a blessed day tomorrow – we should be in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada by a decent hour tomorrow afternoon/evening.

Now the scenery was and is beautiful.  We have had great weather and no rain until today.  We did have some rough winds and rain/lightning the last hour of our day on Thursday, 6/24.  We took some awesome shots of the sky and the landscapes.  We are just about to leave the flat lands behind and head into the mountain areas.  We can see them up ahead.  Oh yeah – we did see our first “wild” animal.  Right along Hwy 16 there was a coyote walking the opposite direction we were going.  I didn’t have the camera out and ready at that point and Bill uncharacteristically did not cooperate and turn around for me to get a picture.  He said I could find one on the internet and fake it!  LOL.  Say a prayer for us to have a beautiful and uneventful day tomorrow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Tuesday 6/22/10, Day 4 we actually left Minnesota, traveled through North Dakota and into Canada by 8PM.  We were a little nervous about Canadian customs for two reasons.  One, I had forgotten to have my name changed on my Passport – realized a little too late in the process to have it sent off and have a new one returned with the “Martin” name.  So Bill kept reminding me that my last name was Oberst if they asked.  I carried a copy of our Marriage License and the document from Social Security showing my name change if they asked for it.  Bill kept saying, “Don’t offer it --- just give them your passport.”  Well they didn’t question it so that was a relief.  The other thing, Bill has a Concealed Weapons certificate.  You are not allowed to take handguns, etc into Canada and we didn’t have one on us but he was concerned that they may search the RV & vehicle to make sure.  That wasn’t an issue either.  So, the verse comes back to me…Matthew 6:25-34; its all about needless worry!  Lesson in faith and what is and isn’t important in this life!

As we traveled through Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois & part of Wisconsin I felt the scenery and terrain were very similar.  And I had been to all of those states so although we enjoyed the trip it was familiar territory.  Then as we got farther into Wisconsin and Minnesota things started to change.  The scenery was beautiful but it was late in the day and we didn’t get any pictures, I regret that because it was awesome.  However, in North Dakota the landscape changed considerably, the land was flatter and stretched out for miles and the sky seemed larger than life.  I was impressed by the yellow saffron growing in the fields amongst the green pastures and the blue sky.  We kept slowing down and stopping to take pictures so this train passed us like three times.  The pictures we took can’t describe how beautiful it all is.  Again we are reminded of the diversity of the land & sky our God has created for our pleasure.  Each new turn emblazoned that on our hearts and minds.


We spent our first night away from Grand Blanc at the house in Marblehead, the second night at a truck stop, the 3rd night at a WalMart parking lot and the 4th night at Hidden Valley Campground in Estavan, Saskatachawan, Canaada.  The campground was not something to get excited about except that we had electricity and water.  We were also able to dump our waste tanks and fill up with fresh water again.  Back to civilization for a night.  Not complaining about the dry camping – I’m fine with that, but once in a while electricity is a good thing!

We left camp a little late Wednesday.  Bill cooked an awesome breakfast of pecan pancakes &  bacon – again that electricity thing.  We had only gone about 50 miles when we hit this little town, Weyburn, Saskatchawan , Canada.  Okay….we all have been going nuts with the construction going on in our home areas….but seriously, this was crazy.  We spent about an hour trying to go ¼ mile ---- these young kids (I know they probably aren’t as young as us old folks think they are) were only letting 1 or 2 vehicles through every 10 minutes or so….I kid you not most of the time nobody was going either direction.  Would like to say we won’t complain about construction back in Michigan/Ohio but I know we will. 

As far as “wildlife” goes – we haven’t seen any yet but I know that is coming as we near Alaska.  We have seen horses, cows, buffalo, sheep, llamas – the normal ranch/farm animals….looking forward to something a little more exciting.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 1, 2 & 3 -- Not as planned

Well we knew that the trip was not going to have an early start as we were attending Jean Solem's daughter's, (Mary Anne), wedding .. so Saturday night we left around 8PM hoping and praying that we could stay awake long enough to get on the other side of Chicago.  The bad news is it was really late when we achieved that goal....the good news is going through downtown Chicago in a motorhome with a car in tow at 2:30 AM is a good time!!  LOL.  We couldn't quite make it to Rockford, IL that night (morning) so we stopped about 1/2 hour short and texted Nina (my brother Steve's wife and my dear, dear sister/friend) that we would be there for breakfast.  She didn't disappoint us as we arrived shortly after 7:30 AM Sunday morning to some good home cooking of biscuits & gravy and eggs.  Yum, one of our favorites and I'm no good at making gravy!

As we couldn't travel more than the 305 miles to Rogers, MN, (where we had an appointment to have the motorhome serviced), we decided to attend church with them and have lunch before leaving Rockford.  See God finds a way for something good to come out of even irritating situations like delays in your travels.  It was a great place and time to be delayed as we had a wonderful visit with Steve, Nina, Mandy, Wyatt & Abbey.  It was good to see the sweet faces of friends at Calvary Christian also.  Unexpected blessings along the way.

So here we sit Monday, 6/21 in Rogers, MN, 4-1/2 hrs after our 12:30 PM appt --- still waiting for them to finish working on it.  They believe the battery needs replaced and are finishing that up now.  Hopefully we will be on the road again within the hour.  Not knowing how long they were going to take to repair it --- we decided against a movie (wanted to be ready to roll as soon as they called, lol).  We went to lunch at Subway (tried the chicken salad sub -- my advice .. stick to what you know you like).  Ran a couple errands, took a nap in the PT cruiser (great to have a tow car), went to Culvers for ice cream & chili cheese fries, worked with the WIFI on the blog, took another nap in the car....and still waiting.   We could have watched two movies by now and saved calories or probably not they have great popcorn.

Well they finally finished the repairs at a tune of $550 (Bill was pretty accurate in his estimation), they replaced both Auxiliary batteries.  We are crossing our fingers that this was the problem -- the batteries are only 5 yrs old as is the Motorhome so doesn't seem as if they should need replaced...but we are on the road again. Left Wisconsin Monday AM, spent most of the day in Rogers, MN and made it to Fargo, ND at 10PM.  We should be in Canada mid-afternoon today, Tuesday, 6/21.  North to Alaska!!!