Saturday, July 3, 2010

TESLIN, YUKON TERRITORY, CANADA – DAY 5 OF THE ALKAN HIGHWAY



We woke up to a cloudy day but only an occasional drizzle of rain.  Two good things about that, Bill did not have to drive with the sun glaring in his eyes and I didn’t have to try and take pictures between the windshield wiper’s swipe.  LOL.  We cannot complain one bit, most of the days have been absolutely gorgeous and all of them have been great!!






WATSON LAKE


We decided to go back to the Sign Forest as it had been raining pretty hard the night before when we were there.  We wanted to take some better pictures and look for the one Bill & Kathy had put up when they were in Watson Lake in 2006.  We went up and down the rows and rows of signs, thought we had been through them all but did not find their sign.  It takes quite a while to look at 61,000 signs.  Bill thinks it may have fallen down and was discarded.  I hope it’s still there and someday we will be back and have more time to devote to the “sign search”.  We did take pictures of where we placed this one so hopefully that will help us with the search for ours.  LOL.


OUR SIGN IN THE FOREST -- MAYBE WE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND IT AGAIN IF GIVEN THE CHANCE!!




THIS IS THE DEPARTMENT STORE IN WATSON....BILL AND I HAD A GOOD LAUGH AT THE SIZE....IT WAS INTERESTING....WE BOUGHT WHAT WE NEEDED TO MAKE OUR SIGN FROM THERE.







We were the second to the last to leave the park and of course the last ones to make it to Teslin.  We made several “sightseeing” stops along the way to take pictures and just drink in the view.  Seriously you could stand in one place and turn around in a circle and see another amazing view.  Total 360 degree panoramic view.  Of course you can get dizzy real fast that way!!  You just can’t take it all in.  Bill kept telling me to put the camera down, to give up trying to capture it.  He wanted me to just sit back and absorb it all.  I had to remove the battery from the camera (needed charged of course) in order to stop myself from picking it up and trying once again to “capture” it to share with all of you.  You can’t blame a girl for trying!!
































































































































We came upon the Cassiar Mountains.  Amazing!  We stopped at Rancheria River to take a photo shoot.  It is incredible how much better the pictures turn out when you are not moving – taking them while riding in the motorhome is a challenge.  We have a “Milepost” book that tells you every interesting fact, photo ops and attractions each mile of the way.  It also tells you where the next food, rest area and gas stops are.  The gas stops are especially helpful as they are few and far between.  The “Milepost” advised that the Rancherria Recreation Site had a nice 10 minute walk (friendly to the physically challenged --- well that would be me!  LOL) with waterfalls at the end.  Well I’m all about the “easy” trails and waterfalls.  Bill was not real enthusiastic about stopping, by that time he was ready to keep trekking.  But he kindly stopped and it was Wonderful!!!  He took pictures and a couple of videos.  Only problem with the videos is they are sideways.  For those of you looking at this from a desktop computer it’s a little hard to turn your monitor that direction!!  Anyway we hope you enjoy the beautiful Rancherria Falls.



































video
































































We did make it to the campsite (last of course) and set up camp in Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada.  After setup we had a quick meeting and then had dinner at the restaurant at the campground.  The meal was included with our “Tracks” tour….we had two choices for dinner; turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and vegetables or veal with the same.  We chose the turkey --- it was pretty much like a Banquet TV dinner and the special price for the day was $17.95.   Can you believe it??





There is a really neat exhibit and gift shop there that has (thanks to the taxidermist) real live (well not now) animals from this area.  Black bear, grizzlies, polar bear, moose, wolves, elk, goats, buffalo, you name it.  It was an amazing display done in natural wildlife exhibits.  A definite see if you are ever up here. 

It had been raining and cold (48 degrees) pretty much from the time we had set up camp.  So after looking over the exhibit we headed back to the warmth and comfort of our “home away from home”!  A few hours of 24 and we headed to the warmth of our queen size bed.  Oh yeah, tip for packing, a nice electric heated mattress pad is perfect!  Makes all the difference for a warm night’s sleep.

The next morning we would be heading 130 miles to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.  It’s a bigger city --- looking forward to internet, cell phone service, skype with the kids/grandkids and two nights in one spot.  Oh Yeah!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Non-electrifying electricity (or, “Power With No Pep”)



Most of our lives, we just plug something in, and forget it.  We know it will work, and we have no fear of creating another Christmas tree scene from the “Christmas Story”.

Not so in northwest Canada and Alaska.  We are “off the grid” at this point in our story.  There is no municipal power supply.  Everything we see lit up, is powered by someone’s generator.

So what does that mean for campers?  Modern motor homes and trailers have juice-guzzling appliances like microwave ovens, big screen TVs, electric water heaters, and hair dryers – to name a few.  When we are in a campground with 30 amp service – no problem, but go to an older 15 amp service campground and all of a sudden “power” doesn’t mean you have power!

The tricky part is the refrigerator.  It senses if you have power and switches to propane if you don’t.  But when there is low power, the circuit board inside doesn’t know what to do and will damage itself.  An electric hair dryer will slow down, but a refrigerator just dies, and out in the boonies of Canada, there aren’t a lot of replacement parts for the electronics of a fridge to be found.

In Mexico, our wagon master taught us how to disconnect the fridge from the coach’s power supply to protect it from low power.  It ran on propane and 12volt battery power all the time, but it ran!  Alaska and Mexico.  You two have something in common.

Bill 

WATSON LAKE, YUKON TERRITORY, CANADA -- DAY 5









THIS IS THE DAY WE MADE IT INTO THE YUKON TERRITORY!

EXCITING!!!
We woke up on Day 4 of our trek on the Alaska Highway and it was no longer raining.  I had heard it around 5AM so it was some time after that before it stopped.  Between the rain and the park generator running all night I had a little difficulty sleeping.  So a little sleep deprived I finally managed to get my act together so we could get on the road.  Although the hotsprings were great I guess they didn’t cure all my issues!!  Sorry Bill. 

















It was nice to drive the 131 miles with the sun shining on the mountains and the lakes and rivers.  Everything seemed to sparkle.  We were running below ½ tank gas which doesn’t seem like such a big deal where we live but up here the gas stations can be few and far between.  Some of them that advertise gas will be out when you stop so we don’t like to get below that mark.  We finally came upon a little place in Coal River and bought enough to get us to the next decent size town.  It was about $.30 cheaper at the next stop.  Gas is running anywhere from 99.9 a litre to 1.36.9, multiply that by about 3.785 for a gallon.  But when you need gas you get gas, you can’t play the price game here.  








CONTACT LODGE WHERE THE GAS WASN'T CHEAP BUT IT WAS GAS!!








We stopped at Allen’s Lookout, which has a beautiful view of the Liard River.   We had difficulty with the tripod so we are not both in the picture.  We gave up and concentrated on the scenery.  We also stopped to have our picture taken with the “Welcome to Yukon” sign.  Yes we had crossed over into the Yukon!  We’re making progress on our goal of Alaska and enjoying every moment of the way.  Canada has some gorgeous sights.





























Oh yeah, can’t forget that we saw 4, yes that’s right 4, bear today.  Each one was hanging out by himself along the side of the road eating.  One was running into the trees as we came up on it.  That was cool.  But the one that was the most enjoyable was the last one.  He kept entertaining me with his actions.  Bill says you shouldn’t say something is fun that can kill you but….it was fun!!  We also saw several herds of buffalo on the side of the roads also.  They pay no attention to the vehicles and humans passing by.

MY FAVORITE BEAR OF THE TRIP THUS FAR!! HE WAS FUN!!

















I THINK HE RETURNED TO THE CIRCUS AFTER HIS PERFORMANCE!!



           I LOVE THESE SIGNS!!






































Finally arrived at the campground in Watson Lake, Yukon.  We had errands to do and groceries to stock up on.  Watson Lake is home of the “Sign Forest”.  Visitors make signs out of just about anything and everything and nail it to a post in this “forest”.  (we saw cookie sheets, bedpans, toilet seats, you name it) There are more than 61,000 signs hanging there.  Our track group made one and had everyone sign it.  Bill & I scrambled to find something in this town that we could quickly make one out of (Bill did all the planning/work) and we all went out to nail them up late this afternoon in the rain.  If we ever make it back here we hope we can remember where we hung it.  LOL.









IT REALLY WAS COLD AND RAINY!!














After dinner we went to the Northern Lights Centre, the only planetarium in North America featuring the myth and science of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis.  It was a fascinating display followed by another presentation of just how big our universe is.  It’s hard to wrap your brain around the enormity of all that God created. If you have never seen the video by Louie Giglio, “Indescribable” we recommend it highly.   It makes you realize just how small you are in the whole scheme of things.  So why do we have the tendency to think, “it’s all about me” in this world?








I LOVE THE LOOK OF THE CLOUDS, MOUNTAIN AND THE MIST COMING OFF THE TOP -- YOU PROBABLY CAN'T SEE THE SNOW!!






















Sorry I got side tracked --- well as I said internet and cell phone are pretty non-existent up here so we have to take advantage when we can.  That’s why we were sitting outside at 10:30 PM (still daylight) in 50 degree weather at the office, the only place we could connect.  LOL.  But we did manage to pay a bill online, check e-mail and publish a couple posts.

Anyway that’s probably a lot more than you wanted to hear about our Day 4.  Tomorrow we start Day 5, driving 161 miles to Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada. 
More excitement!!



Thursday, July 1, 2010

LIARD HOTSPRNGS, Liard, BC, CANADA – DAY 3 ON THE ALASKA HIGHWAY



When we woke up Thursday morning it was still raining and it did not stop the whole day.  In fact the temperature dropped to 48 degrees and we actually had some sleet/snow/rain mix.  Unbelievable.  We stopped at one point to take pictures and I felt like I was standing on the shores of Lake Erie in February during a Northeaster.  It was so freezing cold and windy that we had trouble walking back to the motorhome and we were afraid of frostbite.  LOL.  It took your breath away.  I was laughing so hard to think, “It is really July 1st???!!!” 























We left Fort Nelson later than planned, we were actually the last ones to leave the park, not that unusual for us and we are almost always the last ones to arrive no matter what time we leave.  LOL.  The 188 miles we were traveling to Liard Hotsprings is said to be some of the most beautiful country in Canada.  Everyone was disappointed that our first day of rain had to be on this particular drive.  Bill and I both continued to marvel at God’s handiwork and the cloudy, rainy day gave it a different look, just as beautiful.  Not only does God bless us with the different terrain and views, He adds a different dimension by the change in the weather.  Amazing!  Not to say I might not want to travel it another day when the sun was shining just to see it in that glory!  Some of the pictures I took through the window show the raindrops.  No matter how hard I tried to get the picture right after the windshield wiper went past, there were still raindrops.  LOL.  We did stop a few times and got some great shots.






















We had only been on the road for a short time when we came upon a bull moose with a full rack.  He was just standing there at a rest area!  He was very patient while I tried to take pictures but sad to say I didn’t get a real good shot.  He was magnificent.  It was some time later that we came across two “teenage” female moose.  I was able to get that picture a little better.  They are not that frightened of vehicles.  We were close to our campsite before we came upon several herds of wild buffalo just hanging out on the side of the roads.  There are several signs along the highway reminding drivers to take caution, watching for buffalo and moose.  It is most generally fatal if you hit one of them.  They are very big!!  It was an exciting day of driving and sightings!  



































































































We crossed a few neat bridges along the way.  The Lower Liard River Bridge (built in ’43) is the only remaining suspension bridge on the Alaska Highway and is 1,143 feet long.  The view from these bridges is beautiful!






























































We arrived at camp around 5:30 PM with the temperature at 48 degrees, still raining and windy.  Again the facilities left a lot to be desired as the only electricity was run by a generator and we didn’t have much power.  We were not able to run the microwave, refrigerator or hair dryer and the camp’s generator ran all night (kept the elec. blanket warm!).  That was a little annoying!  Oh yeah, we also had no phone or internet service.  We have at least 5 postings to put on the blog but have not had the opportunity.

After setting up Bill says, “I’m heading to the hot springs.”  I don’t know why but I thought the weather had kind of nixed that idea.  But…we both got into our swimming suits (which we both hate to do) put on warm clothes and raincoats and headed through our park across the highway into another park and walked about 1 mile after that to the hot springs.  Oh yeah, we got lost on the way and some nice guy in a golf cart gave us a ride to the entrance, which was still a 10 minute walk.  Bless that man!  By this time I was wet, frozen, exhausted and my back was killing me!!  I was not in the best of moods!  I asked for forgiveness later from Bill and God.  But anyway, I have to say it was worth it.  The naturally therapeutic hot springs was wonderful!  There are 2 hot springs pools with water temperatures ranging from 108 to 126 degrees F.  We spent close to an hour relaxing in the pools.  Bill was braver and spent more time in the higher temperatures but I found a place to sit under this little waterfall that gave me a great heated massage!!  What an experience.  The warmth we stored from the springs sustained us for the walk back to the motor home where we took hot showers and turned on the propane heater.

A quick meal, a game of cribbage, a few episodes of 24 and we had completed our third day on the Alcan Highway.  Looking forward to the next morning as we prepared for our 130 mile drive to Watson Lake, Yukon, Canada.  Yes, we are entering the Yukon Territory tomorrow!!!