Glacier? Yes please.
So we decided to take a hike down to exit glacier in the Kenai park today. The pictures don't do it justice... it's badass in real life.
The hike was bout 4 miles round trip. Not too bad. We found this sweet turnoff just south of the park entrance. You can boondock here for up to 8 days. Looks like we might actually stick around in one spot for a while and enjoy our time in Seward, AK.
The city of Anchorage was unimpressive. Overrun with tourists in downtown and dirty streets and buildings everywhere else. I understand there isn't much up this way, but that doesn't excuse the fact that 50% of the houses and building we have seen are covered in trash. It's really a shame. The scenery around here is amazing.
We did stumble into a really cool little museum that was actually on the lower floor of a wells fargo bank.
They had artifacts out about everyday life for the old school alaskans. Many of them you could literally reach out and touch. The head of the museum came over to chat with us and expressed his distain for the paintings that were on the floor in the library. Some of them worth upwards of $500,000. There they were, just leaning against the shelf on the floor. Apparently the owner lent them to the museum and didn't care where they went.
A blast from the past is what this update is about. We've been out of range for WIFI or cell signal for a few days now. Every once and a while a faint pulse will come through, but not enough for me to link the computer to my hotspot and download pictures and events.
Following our road side accommodations we caved and looked for an RV park to spend a couple of nights at. The laundry pile was getting high and we figured there was at least $20 worth to do at a laundromat. So to make the best of our time we grabbed a spot at MTN View park outside of Wasilla AK. This gave us the chance to wash our clothes and take in some sights. It's tiring being constantly on the move. A little piece of grass to park the RV is a welcome break. Think of it as a mental relief. For the next two days we don't have to search for home and wonder if we will get kicked out or hit by a car. Sometimes we just need it.
This was something that turned out to be really cool. We found Independence mine state historic park. This old abandoned gold mine is open to the public for $5 a car, and $3 a passenger. You can bring a shovel, bucket, and gold pan... your free to hunt anywhere away from the buildings. Most of the gold is locked in granite. Hope your shovel is strong.
I'm a gears and motor guy. They left the train at the mine. A 1940 electric GE locomotive that weighed 4 tons, powered by 85 volts worth of batteries.
Day 28: ALASKA!
Alright, so technically we got into alaska yesterday. Customs was a non issue and we were through in less than two minutes. The road between Haines Junction in the Yukon to Alaska is rough. I'm talking roller coaster ride, gravel sections, construction, moose in the way kind of rough. We jounced and jarbled Roo through some of the roughest highway in the country. She's sixteen years old and made it without a grumble. Our way through the northern Yukon in the morning turned out better than we could have asked for. Free parking everywhere and we drove up to the amazing Kluane lake in the Kluane mountain range. We stepped out and walked the dry lake bed to what at one time must have been an island. The water still licked one side of the land and a good rainfall will take this chance away for future travelers.
It was late yesterday when we rolled into Alaska and pulled off for the night. This state is great. There are turnoffs and parking lots all along the highway. Just pull over, and put out the slide. We can sleep without needing a campground for a week at a time. This will be a great asset into saving us a few bucks. The manifold repair through us off by $1300 and we are burning through diesel faster than a drug addict that's spinning out of control.
Time to mosy on. It's 1430 here and we've got a few more miles to put on before we bed down for the night. We found this pit stop on the top side of a hill with a cell signal and I thought of you guys. A rare chance to update from the backwoods of Alaska. This was our first goal... we made it.
The last four days has been a time of solitude and separation. After leaving Edmonton Alberta our cell service became spotty, and our 4G non-existant. Katie has been able to post a few things on facebook here and there as we drive. I however focus on keeping this 30k lb freight train between the lines and only have time to type when we come to a rest for the day. Those places have been far and few between. We have traveled through Alberta, British Columbia, and currently sit in the yukon. Today we should be crossing the border back into alaska. Last night was the first night we paid for a place to sleep in 5 days. It wasn't too difficult to find a place in Alberta, and it was super easy in British Columbia. The Yukon however... they make you stay at an RV park. There are signs EVERYWHERE... no camping, no overnight parking. So without further ado here are a few pictures. Only a few... our phone data is limited. The place we stayed at last night was just a gas station that conveniently had designated spots for RV's. No driveway surfing here, you gotta pay.
Trucks are pouring in and out of the rest area all night. Restless and agitated I wake up to take the dog for a walk at 0600. We get back to the RV and I see this sitting next to us. What a welcoming site in the morning before your coffee.
Make breakfast, pack up, roll out. We fire up Roo and point towards dawson creek. There's lots of miles to cover and we still have it in our heads that Alaska needs to be seen before winter sets in. It's balls out as we click off nearly 800km today in an effort to make up some ground.
A stop at the visitor center in grande praire AB gives us this. The largest sundial in North America. I'm not impressed. This is one of those things I'll make in my free time after this trip is over just to piss off some Canadians. Ours will be 44ft tall and in the middle of a field somewhere. Show me some excitement.. show me something that makes my heart pump!
Beaver aside we make it too Dawson Creek British Columbia. Getting here wasn't easy. We had to pass the watercraft inspection station (kayaks) staffed by two kids who took their job WAAAYYYYY too seriously. Because of these two water officials we can't use our kayaks in all of BC unless they go through a decontamination process. Well BC... go paddle yourself. We'll enjoy the water elsewhere.
Last stop of the night is in the famous Dawson Creek. A fine parking spot at WalMart will do just fine.
Two days worth of stuff to post again. The need for WIFI has become apparent as we delve into the north woods of Canada. Cities are almost non-existant and our phones dont' work great up here. Sure we have verizon with a data plan that covers canada and mexico, what they don't advertise is that they cut the speed to almost nothing once you go over a certain amount of data.
Yesterday was hammer down and hit some miles. We blasted from just over the border in Canada to Calgary Alberta. Sick of seeing the miles stack up it was time for a break. Our basic routine came to hand. Unhook the jeep, grab the dog, pack some water and head into the unknown.
We learned something in Calgary. These people like to run. Just runners... like everywhere. Bicyclists (who we hate) and walkers on their lunch breaks littered the downtown area. It's almost as if people were afraid to go to a party and have someone ask "where do you run?" and they wouldn't have an answer. So they go out and by the really stupid looking shirts with the arm sweatbands and then "run" at a pace slower than people walk. Then there's the damn people on bikes everywhere we go taking up the road who think they have an equal share to things. Well, you don't. Go bike on a bike path.
Tick tok. Tick tok. We gotta roll and get to Alaska before winter. Back to Roo and we hook up for our trip to Edmonton. Greeted by five lanes of traffic and the sweat inducing rush hour we make it to West Edmonton Mall. Cool place. Amusement park, water park and shopping all wrapped up into one money grabbing glob. We needed a book for our Alaska trip so we picked one up. Then it was off to crash at a truckstop for the night. Nothing like the sound of semi's to lull you to sleep.
Still behind the broadcast, happenings from 7/18/17
I'm still behind schedule with the updates. Yesterday we got up early and had Roo to the doctor by 0900. The diagnosis: exhaust manifold gaskets were installed incorrectly. The team over at Glacier Motors in Cut Bank were nice enough to squeeze us in. They pulled a tech from his project for the day and they started wrenching on us by 1100. Another ambitious day of moving the animals all at once so the shop could work.
This isn't the first time we've looked like a couple who escaped the mental hospital. There we are... loading three cats and a dog into a jeep in the parking lot of a truck repair center. People watching us, judging us, pointing fingers. Guess what? Don't care. Not even a little bit. We nestled our family in the only park in Cut Bank. Under the overpass next to a creek. No WIFI, not even a cell phone signal.
It's like we can't leave. We've been stuck between North Dakota and Montana for almost two weeks now. We should have already been in Alaska. How hard can it be? Alaska.... you tease. We will come see you. You shall be ours.
We pick Roo up late in the day and look at the clock. It's already 1600 and it's been a long day. Screw it, let's go to the border. In prepartion for our crossing into Canada we've read up on what to do. Three animals need international health certificates, no firearms, no dairy products, proof of registration and insurance, and the list goes on. We reach the border and get asked a few simple questions by border patrol, "Enjoy your time in Canada" is the the reply we get from the young man. Sweet and simple. We hammer down and put the kilometers behind us as we blaze north for the night. At 2100 I could take no more. Flying J will be home for the night in Nanton Alberta. Diesel engines all around us hum through the hours and lull us to sleep.
Happenings of 7/17/17
I got lazy ok. I'll admit it, shame on me. We got back from a day in the park and I didn't want to type it up.
Tonight we recant Monday and talk about HOW FRICKIN AWESOME IT WAS! I'm not really sure how to talk about the park without sounding like a jackass who is rubbing in the fact that we are on this trip. But hey, if you're reading this than you know why we are traveling. Yesterday was one of those days that made all of the hassle and headache worth it. A year of planning and leaving it all behind. When we started to drive through the mountains and caught our first glimpse it became real.
Climbing through the first few twists of the park we reach St. Mary's falls. This was the only hike of the day we completed. A lazy 4 mile walk with only a few hundred feet in elevation change, but it was still worth the effort. There are signs everywhere. "Beware of grizzly bears. They have injured and killed people in this park. Carry bear spray during your hike" I left the bear spray in the RV.... so we just tried not to see any.
We finish our hike and fail to be eaten by bears. That's a good way to measure your day. Eaten by bear= bad, not eaten by bear=good. Shirley continues to pluck away at the road across the park. We are traveling on the Going-To-The-Sun Road. A magnificent ribbon of asphalt that runs through the park from East to West.
The drive to the park was just over an hour. We spent another three just to drive from one side to the other, and it looks like traffic picked up during the day. A decision is made to leave the park and head around it's south side to get back to Roo. We weren't dissapointed by that call. I spotted a river bed with access to drive onto. Bet your ass I'm gonna drive on a riverbank when the opportunity shows itself.
Back up to the east and we enter the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. Now, I'm not a racist guy. Purple, brown, orange, black, green or white really doesn't matter. Be good person and you've got my respect. That being said, this was one of the crappiest areas we have driven through yet. There was trash in the yards and broken vehicles littered about. The majority of the homes were trailers with tires on the roof to hold their tarps down. What a shit hole.
Sometimes there are still hidden gems. The fact that someone out there was cool enough to build these horses with the trash from a yard says a lot. A trained eye will see it's mostly old car parts.
A long day on the road and we need some time apart. I get in the jeep and roll out to just be alone for a bit. On my side trip I spot a gas station. Cold beer? Yes please. Turns out the bud ice is on sale, that'll due.
I've been holding out on you guys. Last week we had work done to the RV. Remember? The whole day in the park with the cats and a dog ring a bell? I checked on it the other day and it's leaking again. Some quick phone calls and we've got a date for a Tuesday morning checkup at the local cummins shop.
All in all just another day on the road. We'll end up splitting that six pack and watch the sun fall over the hills of eastern montana.
I'm just a guy, with a wife, a dog, and three cats. Watch us travel the country.
Months of travel
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