Our Lazy Daze Motorhome

Our Lazy Daze Motorhome
2009 Lake Louise

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alaska 2010 - Part III - Dawson Creek, BC to Valdez, AK- June 8-13, 2010

Day 11, Tuesday, June 8 – Dawson Creek, BC to Fort Nelson, BC

We awakened to a chilly 54 degrees at 8:00 am PT. We left the Mile 0 Campground at 10:30, took pictures of the Mile 0 signpost and then drove toward Ft. Nelson. We got gas in Farmington. Gas prices are high here in Canada. We stopped and had lunch at Pink Mountain. We had very steep grades up and down the mountains, some 10% grades. We saw 3 black bears, 3 moose, 3 deer, and an elk today. We got gas again in Ft. Nelson, checked out both campgrounds (ick) and moved on to Tetsa River Campground Regional Park for $15.75 Canadian. The West End Campground in Ft. Nelson is the one we stayed at last year and vowed to never stay there again. The only other campground there was Bluebell RV Park. It was a gravel parking lot with full hook-up where the RVs were sitting 5 feet from one another. Now we are not anti-social, but give me a break, we are here in BC to enjoy nature and that is not it. So that is why we decided to travel on one more hour to The Tetsa River Campground. Our campsite was on the Tetsa River. It was wonderful. They have 25 sites and there was only one other RV there, other than the camp host. Ed grilled barbeque chicken for dinner. We made a campfire and took a walk along the river’s edge with the camp host and her dogs…now that’s what I’m talking about!! The days are getting longer. It gets daylight before 5 am and doesn’t get dark until after 11:00 pm. Good thing we have the black-out shades for the motor home!!! Today we drove 347.6 miles in 7-1/2 hours. (The maximum speed limit here in BC is 62 mph/ 100 km.) We have now driven 3,479.4 miles.

Day 12, Wednesday, June 9 – Fort Nelson, BC to Watson Lake, YT

We awakened at 8:00 with 52 degrees inside the RV. Right away we got on the road (Alaska Highway). We stopped 12 miles along at the Tetsa River Campground Services for the biggest and best cinnamon buns in the world (we stopped there last year too). Not long after we left there saw a herd of stone sheep and a big bull moose. Just before reaching Toad River, a gravel truck passed us going too fast and showered our motor home with gravel. We stopped at Toad River to assess the damage and get gas. The gravel cracked the windshield in 4 places and there are too many pits/dents in the paint to count. We were angry and sick for about one minute and then decided that is the risk you take when you come up here!! After leaving Toad River we saw two small brown bears and several large buffalo with babies. We arrived in Watson Lake at 3:30 and stayed at Tags RV Park. It was a gravel lot with limited TV and Wifi for $23.10. We cannot recommend it, even though we met some very nice people there from Louisiana. We drove 263 miles so the total trip miles are 3,743.

Day 13, Thursday, June 10 – Watson Lake, YT to Whitehorse, YT

We can’t seem to get used to the time change so we awakened at 4:00, up at 6:30. We stopped at Rancheria Falls Recreation Site and walked the boardwalk with folks from Washington and Colorado about 1.3 miles to the Rancheria River Falls. We parked for lunch at the Teslin Village Welcome Center at noon. We saw no animals along the way. We arrived at the Hi Country RV Park at 3:00. We had driven 292 miles. The first thing we did was wash our RV before we even pulled into the site. The wash was 4 minutes of wash time for $1. We did it for $4!! We did laundry and met folks from Montana, Vermont and Alberta. This is a very nice park with trees!! We stayed here last year. At our site (73) this year, the water, cable and dump were too far from our connections. Good thing we brought extra TV cable and water hose. We waited to dump our tanks until we were leaving the next morning. We were worn out and went to bed around 10:00 in bright daylight!! We drove 292 miles today for a total of 4,035.

Day 14, Friday, June 11 – Whitehorse, YT to Tok, AK

How exciting!! We made it to Alaska in 14 days…woohoo!! We awakened this morning about 8:00, shopped for groceries at the Super Store, got gas, propane, stopped at the Canadian Tire for steering fluid. We learned something new today. Our RV uses automatic transmission fluid for steering fluid!! We decided that we don’t particularly like the Yukon. The people do not seem to be happy…some are even grouchy. At the grocery store, the carts are chained together and you must pay a $1 coin to use the cart. Ed thought it was funny that everyone bringing their carts back chained their cart back up as if to say, “If I had to pay, you should too.” As we were checking out the cashier asked if we need bags. We said yes, so she gave us 5 plastic bags and charged us 5 cents a bag. We think this is crazy! And we really feel “out of place”. After only 7 days in Canada, we are really missing our country. We finally left Whitehorse at noon on a beautiful sunny day. Little did we know how horrible the drive would be!! The road from Whitehorse to the AK border was worse than last year. There were more frost heaves and deep ruts in the pavement. This section of the Alaska Highway takes you through several snow-covered mountain ranges, pristine lakes, as well as bird sanctuaries. As we approached the AK border (getting through US customs was a breeze), at 6:00 YT time (time changed to 5:00 AK at the border) we saw our first AMERICAN Bald Eagle welcoming us back into the US. It was exciting! We saw a huge white swan sitting on her nest. We arrived at the Tok RV Village at 7:30 AK. We drove 379 miles today in 8-1/2 hours. Every day we share the driving so neither of us gets too tired. We have now driven 4, 414 since we left Alabama.

Maxine was spotted with her new beau on the streets of Whitehorse, Yukon!!

Day 15, Saturday, June 12 – Tok, AK to Valdez, AK

We were out of bed at 7:30 am and everyone had left the campground. It was 54 degrees. We updated the journal before leaving at 11:45 and got gas. It was a bumpy but beautiful drive toward Valdez on the Richardson Highway (Rt 4). The views are spectacular. While taking pictures, we met a photographer from Valdez, Lee Revis, the editor of the Valdez Star Newspaper (editor@valdezstar.net). She was taking pictures for the update of Frommer’s Alaska Travel Book. She asked us to be in the pictures so we signed a release and we were off again. We stopped at the Worthington Glacier to take pictures. We drove on to Thompson Pass and Jeanne walked up the side of a mountain to the summit to take pictures. The view was awesome and the wildflowers were spectacular up there. We arrived at the Eagle’s Rest Campground in Valdez at 7:30. We decided to eat out for the first time on the trip at Mikes Palace down by the harbor. Jeanne had Halibut Olympia and Ed had a mixed seafood grill. Both were wonderful. We drove back to the RV park at 10:00. Today we drove 350 miles, our total was 4,773 miles since leaving Alabama.

Day 16, Sunday, June 13 – Valdez, AK

We awakened at 6:30 to rain. Valdez is in the rain forest. Who knew?? They say the forecast in Valdez is always “partly cloudy with a chance of rain.” We had intended to take the ferry out for a church service on the sound, but the loading dock was ½ mile away from our campground and it was low 50s so we didn’t make it. The Eagles Rest Campground had great cable TV, but we couldn’t get on the internet the whole time we were there, even though we tried very hard with the help of the owners. It cleared up somewhat so we decided to take the 1:00 cruise of the Columbia Glacier with Captain Fred Rodolf and the crew of the Lu-Lu Belle ($100 pp). She is a beautiful older vessel with lots of beautiful teak wood and Persian rugs. It was a real treat to see this small ship in vintage condition. He and his wife came to Valdez in 1979 and started the business of touring folks out to the glacier. He had about 40-50 passengers. We departed at 1:00 and returned at 9:00 pm. Captain Fred was great. We saw porpoises, horned puffin, humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, eagles, loons and one seal. It was very important to Captain Fred that the passengers see as much marine wildlife as possible so he took the boat into a cove where we could reach out and touch the rock wall to see two puffins that were nesting in a crevice. All 40 passengers onboard converged on the front of the boat and were fighting to get a picture. We maneuvered through the icebergs to get as far into the Columbia Glacier as we could. Captain Fred hasn’t been able to get close to the glacier in three years because of the icebergs. This is the most active glacier known. With the help of the crew, we got pictures holding a Merry Christmas sign with the glacier and icebergs in the background. That may be our Christmas picture this year!! We had a great day and would recommend the trip to everyone. Captain Fred is very informative and funny and quite a character; he is known to embellish a story now and then. We received a great education on the Good Friday Earthquake, the Valdez oil spill, the Prince William Sound marine life, the history of Federal dollars not well spent, etc. He was great. We highly recommend it to anyone visiting Valdez. We ran into two elderly brothers taking the cruise, neither in the best of health. One did all the driving from Florida since the other was going blind. They may have been in their early 80s, still traveling in their RV, one a war veteran, and the other a retired highway patrol. It was so sweet to watch the one brother taking such good care of the other. In addition, we spent time visiting with a couple from Pasadena. We got back to the RV at 9:30, had a Lean Cuisine, did our journaling, and read, and got into bed after midnight. It was a long day and we were tired, but with daylight for 20 hours a day, it never seems “time” for bed!!

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