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Old 07-02-2012, 10:43 PM   #21
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Enjoying your posts... you will pass through my home town of Dawson Creek BC which is mile-zero of the Alaska Highway. Have fun on your trip it will be one to remember
btw, I'm old ham got my license in 1958
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:27 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehamguy1 View Post
For Dave and the other hams on this forum, I left home without either my HF antenna or my transciever, so all the preparation to get it up and working was for naught. I had hoped to set up some sort of APRS gear so you could track our progress, but evidently early senility has set in and it's not with me.
You were reading my mind Lee. I was wondering if we could work 20 or 40 meters. Well, it's just one less thing to deal with taking down when breaking camp. APRS would have been great, but, I'm guessing there may not be many repeaters in your neck of the woods to track you. I have a Yaesu HT with GPS I use to track my daily walks (not many during this terrible heat).

Keep us aprised of what is going on and have a safe and enjoyable trip.

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Old 07-03-2012, 07:14 PM   #23
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I am looking forward to your posts. I have been to Alaska 2 times on tours. I think driving would be fantastic. Looking forward to seeing more photos. Thanks for keeping us informed.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:14 PM   #24
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Day 6 - July 3rd

Although as I understand it, folks back home are sweltering, here in Vegreville, Alberta, home of the giant Easter egg (with over 12,000 parts and weighing in at over 5000 pounds, it must be The World's Largest Assemble-It-Yourself Item That is Not Sold By IKEA), which I can see from where I sit shivering in the 59 degree/15 Celsius weather.
Monster storms have been passing across eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan today, and with the extraordinary views for miles from along the Yellowhead Highway, we were treated to spectacular vistas which--if you love storms--would set your heart aglow. It's like an IMAX movie of weather to look out across the plains in all directions and see different shapes and colors of clouds wherever you look.
Our stay in Regina yesterday was disappointing from one perspective--that of getting much done. Not only was the weather too nice to leave the campground, nearly everything we wanted to do was closed. Windshield repair? Nope. Organic grocery? Nope. Etc., etc.
So this morning we folded down, hooked up, and pulled out for Edmonton, or actually, Vegreville, about 600 Km to the west. Driving in everything from sunshine, to simple rain, to a downpour that simulated a plate's trip through an industrial dishwasher, it was like we were being shown all the weather salesman's samples. We had intended to stop halfway between Regina and Edmonton but kept opting to press on, hoping to get behind the storm front somewhere. No luck with that. At the Alberta welcome center in Lloydminster we learned that this actually quite progressive little town has a municipal campground with lots of amenities. So far we haven't found the wi-fi signal that was mentioned, though, so posting this will have to wait.
We had an incident last evening that others on this forum have also complained about--namely, accidentally starting the microwave and toasting things stored in it. For us, that included the remote for the stereo we don't use anyway, so the worst effect was the melted plastic smell. So it can happen to anyone; don't store anything in there that you wouldn't like to eat after you accidentally butt-dial your microwave.
The black enameled burner rings on the stove also vibrated out of their mountings and slithered around under the cover on Day 2's bad roads. Nothing was really damaged--though one burner had to be reconnected to its valve when its venturi tube vibrated off too--but the cosmetic damage to the brushed stainless finish wasn't appreciated. So now we take the burner rings off as part of our packdown checklist, something we didn't have to do on previous trips.
Tomorrow to and through Edmonton on our way to Jasper National Park.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #25
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I am really enjoying your daily summaries. I mentioned them to the DW and DDs today and we agreed that each of us will compose a daily summary of our experiences on our 3 week trip from Cleveland, Ohio to Glacier.

Can't wait to share our recaps with each other to compare which parts of the day really stood out for each of us.

Thanks for sharing your adventure and I wish you safe travels.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:32 PM   #26
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Sounds like so much fun... Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday day too.
Can't wait to read all about your travels.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:26 PM   #27
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good day well by now you can see that the wether can change in a blink of an eye up here in A.B. do hope you are injoying you travels how is your new storage working out I have made a new screen and will be posting details later for our unit it opens with the door to the out side Is Barkerville in your plans
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:47 PM   #28
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Days 7 through 9, July 4 - 6

Wi-fi spots are getting more scarce, and thus my updates will get even more sporadic as we move through Alberta, British Columbia, and Yukon Territory. Our fallback wi-fi places have been McDonalds drive-ins, but those have become scarce too. That's too bad from a wi-fi standpoint but OK from a dietary view, as there's almost nothing at McD's that I can have, and I'm not too proud to admit that I love grease and cheese.
Another "problem" with keeping the log going is the immense beauty of the Jasper National Park area, where we've been since Wednesday afternoon. The Canadian Rockies are a describer's nightmare, as nearly every adjective I think of for them seems either overused or inadequate. They are relatively young mountains, which I infer from the fact that they're tall, sharp, and rugged. Not much sign of wear there. You can tell they're upthrust mountains from the formerly horizontal and close-spaced strata that now run just a few degrees from vertical. The Pacific Plate, subducting under the North American Plate, is still pushing them higher, I've heard.
It was rainy and cool for the first day and a half of this period. We slept all night in Vergreville in the rain (and trains laying on their horns), and left in the rain--pausing only long enough to photograph the famous egg I mentioned earlier. A long day's drive via Edmonton, a city of about 750,000, brought us finally into Jasper National Park, where we snagged a campsite at Whistler Campground. Although huge (over 700 campsites) and expensive ($28 a day for no hookups, plus $9/person/day park admission fee), the park is well laid out and apparently well-managed. Clean, modern restrooms (oops, gotta train myself to say "washrooms") dot the campground, and it's a pleasure to have hot water and flush toilets within a short walk of any campsite. The sites are all well-shaded and not cheek-by-jowl.
Yesterday it was still cool but getting nicer. We rode the aerial tram to the top of Whistler Mountain and got a spectacular view of the valley where we're camping and of the mountains around it. To plains dwellers like ourselves, these snow-capped peaks inspire awe on every side.
In the evening we drove to lovely Maligne Lake, which is fed from an annually-disappearing lake a few Km above it, Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake goes completely dry in the fall as its water drains into an underground river system. Every spring, meltwater refills it. Until the underground drainage was found, early peoples viewed its annual disappearance as "bad medicine," thus the lake's name.
After a cool overnight, today had turned out quite nice; fair skies and temps in the lower 70's. We drove 100 km down the Icefields Parkway, first to Athabaska Falls and then to the Columbia Icefields and a tour of the Athabaska Glacier. I recommend both places, but bring money for the glacier tour, it's not cheap.
Tomorrow we head back east a few miles to catch highway 40, The Bighorn Highway, to Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek, where the Alcan officially begins and we start consulting The Milepost, our guide to the rest of the trip.
A few observations on the trip so far:
1) Every Canadian we've met and interacted with has been polite and helpful.
2) The forests here appear to be very healthy and green. The decimation caused by the Pine Bark Beetle in the Black Hills, for example, doesn't seem to have happened here. 3) I've never seen so many rented RVs in my life. It is apparently a very big business in these parts. Why mention it? Because I assume that a big percentage of rented units means a big percentage of inexperienced RV drivers. 4) Money goes out much faster than we predicted, even with nearly a year of preparation and costing out. 5) the proportion of Canadian drivers who believe speed limits are optional seems about the same as in the U.S. 6) When in Jasper, daily visits to the Bear's Paw Bakery are mandatory.

BTW, SINCE MOST OF THE TIME WE HAVE ONLY A FEW MOMENTS AT AN INTERNET ACCESS SITE, I ONLY HAVE TIME TO POST MY LOG AND A FEW PICS. I do read your comments, but can only answer from time to time when we find a camp with wifi.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:55 PM   #29
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thanks for this ... hoping to do a big trip like this ourselves in the spring .. going south instead of north. drive safe and enjoy our country .. and yours.

d-mo

you may want to check this link ..

http://wifi.com/hotspot-Canada_2-Bri...mbia_56-1.html
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #30
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Hey Hamguy keep the updates coming, we are enjoying them. Would like to know what kind of temperatures you are experiencing. I had 107 degrees on the truck today between Pella and Oskaloosa. Hope you are cooler where you are.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:47 PM   #31
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Thanks again for keeping us uptodate on your trip. The scenery is beautiful.

It sounds like you are having a great time.

Please continue to share the terrific photos.

Have fun and be safe.

Dave
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:12 AM   #32
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Day 10, Saturday, July 7

Our stay in Jasper was somewhat of a diversion from the more direct path from Edmonton to Dawson Creek, but we think it was worth it for the beauty of the Jasper National Park area. We paid for the diversion by having to backtrack the 40 miles or so to the turnoff for highway 40 north. This route, called the Bighorn Highway, takes you by a hilly and sometimes bumpy route to Grande Cache, Alberta, and then on a slowly-improving surface to Grande Prairie. The hills along the route were steep grades and we often dropped back into 3rd gear to make them, even with our 5.3L V8. The lost gas mileage was amply rewarded, though, by the views. On our right for a good part of the leg to Grande Prairie was the Smoky River valley, deep, rugged and green.
Speaking of gas mileage, ours has slowly improved as we've climbed in altitude. I've noticed this happening with my motorcycle, too, when it would go from just under 40 mpg at home to over 50 in the Rockies. Love that computer-controlled fuel injection! As the atmospheric pressure goes down, the computer makes the gas/air mixture leaner to keep from flooding the engine. The available power declines a bit, but the MPG goes up. Which is good, considering that gas is over $5 a gallon here, though it varies by province--I assume the difference is in the amount of provincial taxes levied per liter/litre.
As we approached Grande Prairie the land began to flatten. We were on the high plains. The roads were good and the ups and downs more gentle. Somehow, in the months before the trip, I'd imagined that by the time we would reach this part of the country the land would be nearly barren and empty of people, but I was very wrong. It looked like the best farming country anywhere in the world, with busy towns and active commerce along the way.
Turning west and then northwest after Grande Prairie, we drove the last 80 or so miles to Dawson Creek, where the Alaska Highway officially begins. A stop at the visitors center and a supermarket took an hour, but the change to Pacific time at the AB/BC border gave it back.
We intended to camp for the night at a small provincial park about 17 miles north of Dawson Creek, called Kiskatinaw Provincial Park, but the 27 slots were all taken by the time we got there. This park is on a stretch of the original Alaska Highway, and includes what may be the last remaining wooden bridge from that early-1940s construction blitz. It's unusual not only for being a survivor, but for being curved and banked to fit the terrain. We were sorry not to be able to stay in the park, but after backtracking to the modern-day Alaska Highway, we turned once again north. Some 17 miles later we found a $20 electric site at Peace River Park, built on an island in the Peace River just south of Taylor. As it was getting hot by then (people were sweltering; it was 82F. In the 40s and 50s overnights) we took the site and set up for the night without unhitching. Now we can recharge the various toys and stay cool too. One note: if you ever stay at this park, bring your own water; there's none to be had in the campground except in half-liter bottles.
Our objective for tomorrow is Muncho Lake, another 350 miles or so nearer Whitehorse. We may stay a day or two at Muncho Lake, as it's described very nicely in the camping books we have.
A question I read from a reader of this thread is how the built-in storage I added last year is working out. We're very happy we have it, as we carry a lot of food and plenty of clothes with us. Without the added storage we'd have had to pile it all in boxes on the floor and dig through them to find everything. Courty says the mess would drive her nuts. (I tell her that's not a drive, it's a putt.) The storage cabinets keep it all organized, though we still have a heck of a mess in the back seat of the truck, where we toss extra boots and other things we either won't use often or want near us while driving. Somewhere in this forum there's a link to a YouTube video of the storage we added, though since I'm not on wifi at present I can't look it up and link it for you.
For iPad users, BTW, I type these logs in the evenings using the Notes app. When we find a place with wifi I quickly peruse the other posts on the forum, then copy and paste my note into a new post. That way, it takes 2 minutes or less to add an update. This keeps us from being thrown out of places with free wifi and gets us back on the road sooner than if I had to type everything in at the moment. If you're looking for excuses to buy an iPad, the ease of use in mobile situations, plus all the travel-related apps, are great reasons! Tell 'em Dr. Wolf prescribed it.

the photos: Athabaska Falls, mile 0 in Dawson Creek, the curved wooden bridge, an old guy Courty picked up years ago, Coury's mobile taco house.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:01 PM   #33
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Nice pics. Growing up in Dawson Creek the Mile-0-post has changed it was originally a wooden post with pointers at the top with distances to various places. My father worked on construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942. Enjoy your trip! Its fun following your exploits.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:21 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschoono289
Enjoying your posts... you will pass through my home town of Dawson Creek BC which is mile-zero of the Alaska Highway. Have fun on your trip it will be one to remember
btw, I'm old ham got my license in 1958
I got my ticket in 1959, when I was a senior in high school. Got on the air with a Heathkit DX-100B I put together. We must both be old coots!
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:25 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlroadmaster
good day well by now you can see that the wether can change in a blink of an eye up here in A.B. do hope you are injoying you travels how is your new storage working out I have made a new screen and will be posting details later for our unit it opens with the door to the out side Is Barkerville in your plans
I'll look forward to seeing your screen door invention, does it hinge? Barkerville, unfortunately, wasn't on our route or I'd have come knocking on your door (assuming I could find it) :wink:
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:51 PM   #36
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Just a quick note for now--we're in Ft. Nelson, BC, at the Triple G campground. There're laundry facilities here and we need to go get that chore taken care of. There's wifi here too, so I was able to make a couple of replies to questions. We've definitely moved into an area of sparse settlement now, and have also seen that a lot of the forests in this region are under attack by the pine beetles, making the Jasper Park region even more of a treasure since it doesn't yet have that problem. The roads have been good, though hilly.
We didn't make it as far as we had hoped today, but will take a shorter drive tomorrow to the lake I mentioned in the previous log, where we'll stay a day or two before making the 2 or 3 day leg to Whitehorse.
So far the trailer is doing fine, tires holding up--knock on wood--but it's getting quite dirty and we've killed about a zillion bugs with it, as well as picked up some tar. Sometime I'm going to have a cleaning job on my hands. Gas prices continue to climb; the most recent fill was at CA$1.359 per liter, close to $5.50 a gallon.
We're thinking that we need to get a gas can to carry some spare fuel, and that I should hook up the CB radio which 'til now has been under the passenger seat. Time to rig for longer, lonelier stretches of road.
Thanks for the encouraging comments. It takes more time and energy than I'd thought to make the log at the end of the day, so the feedback makes it worth the trouble.
Our birding app says this is a Clark's Nutcracker.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:03 AM   #37
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Wow, I'm super jealous of your trip. That looks awesome.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:42 PM   #38
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Days 12 and 13, Monday-Tuesday, July 9 & 10

We didn't push ourselves getting on the road on Monday. After getting some laundry done on Sunday afternoon and updating the log online using the Triple-G wifi, we slept later than usual and didn't leave the CG until 10:30. After all, we thought, there are only some 150 miles to go yet before we get to Muncho Lake. That trip took around 5 hours! There were numerous places where the road was being chipsealed, a term invented by paving companies, I believe, to conceal the fact that they're spreading pea gravel on an otherwise nice road. When we traveled by motorcycle I had an even less than charitable notion of chipsealing. It seemed to me to be a method of killing motorcyclists without coming right out and saying it.
These chipseal patches were long and deep, and in places stretched 15 to 30 km each. The dust was so incredibly thick that even with headlights on you couldn't see the vehicles in front of you or those approaching. Everything in the truck bed was covered with dust, even under the toneau cover.
Other than the chipseal, the route from Ft. Nelson is a beautiful drive through the Northern Rockies. There are plenty of pullouts and rest stops along the way, and we tried to get some good shots of the faraway mountain vistas. That didn't work out so well because the air is very hazy. A CBC radio station we heard while waiting behind a flagger near a mountaintop explained that the haze is smoke from huge forest fires in Russia! It's likely to be with us for quite some time, then.
If we thought gas prices were high before, we were stunned to find it for $1.599/L (US$6.50/gallon) at a small restaurant along the way. We had determined to drive on the top half of the tank so by our own rule we had to pay the price for a fill-up. The camp hosts here told us last night that other fill sites nearby are charging $2/L for gas, and that the only halfway reasonable gas will be at Contact Creek, about 120 miles farther on, on the BC/YT border.
About the middle of the afternoon we finally reached Muncho Lake and turned in at Strawberry Flats, a provincial park near the south end of the lake. The advice we had from our travel literature was to take this park over the next one up the road, and evidently it's common knowledge among campers because when we pulled in it was almost full. Fee: $16/night. We'd been told there was no water in many provincial parks so we had partly filled the tank at Ft. Nelson and hauled it over hill and dale, only to find there's water here in the form of a hand pump. Enough to take care of us overnight but not useful for filling the tank.
Courty has been enjoying the Canon SX-40HS we bought for the trip. She is so tickled with the macro and telephoto settings that she's been snapping shots of some nearly-microscopic flora here, as well as zooming in on faraway mountainsides. Good thing we have a 16-gig card in the camera.
This morning, Tuesday, we woke at 6:15 to transfer from our less scenic spot to one right on the lakeshore. A quick 5 minutes to hitch up and move to the newly vacant site and then back to bed.
This CG is not only on a beautiful glacial lake but is surrounded by the Northern Rockies. I can look up from the keyboard and glance out either window to see high mountains. A wonder for us plains people.
We're staying another night to do some daytripping in the vicinity, then we're off toward Watson Lake, in Yukon Territory. Along the way we'll stop for a while at Liard River Corridor Park, where there are hot springs for Courty to soak in. It's still quite a distance to Whitehorse, where we want to pause a few days. Right now I can't predict how long we'll take to get there. We've traveled 3000 miles so far and spent nearly $900 for gas and Alaska is still a great distance away. We're doing about 350 miles a day when we can, but less than that the last few days. We're grateful for our big V8 in these mountains even if it only averages 15 mpg!
At the risk of tempting fate, I note that the tires on truck and camper are looking good and not showing unusual or excessive wear. Maybe having bought a second spare tire and wheel for the camper has proved to be a magic spell to ward off the need for them. We keep the camper tires at 60# cold pressure. Although 65# is necessary for them to carry their maximum rated load, I'm starting at 60# so they go up to 65 as they warm up during the day. We're not loaded to the max camper weight anyway. Still, I'll be watching for any advice from Herk and other more experienced trailer haulers. The big truck tires are taking the trip in stride. After all, they say, we're truck tires. I don't know what the route would do to car tires.
As we go farther and farther north the days are noticeably longer. We don't even need to use the interior lights at night because it's still light enough that if we didn't have a clock to tell us it's bedtime we'd stay up till midnight and not know it.
We're uploading this at the Northern Rockies Lodge, a few kms up the road from our campsite. Free wifi if you don't mind buying the cheapest meal on the menu--$16.95!
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:01 PM   #39
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Looks beautiful up there.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:38 PM   #40
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Middlebury, IN
Posts: 3,088
I'm recognizing or remembering many of the spots in your great pix and description from when we were there five years ago. You have spectacular vistas and great adventures lying ahead of you. Enjoy!
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Bob Byrne
Director, Forest River Owners' Group (FROG)
frog@forestriverinc.com
www.forestriverfrog.com
F.R.O.G. is online now   Reply With Quote
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