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Old 06-30-2012, 09:49 PM   #1
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Iowa to Alaska with our A128

This is my second attempt to start this thread. I'm not having much luck with this connection and I lost about 20 minutes of typing when the first try failed. I'll just post a few photos for now and re-do the text when I can get to another WI-fi location. We left our home in Urbandale on Thursday afternoon and are now in Minot, ND. Tomorrow we enter Canada on Canada Day and my 70th birthday. Oh, and today was our anniversary!

the photos: our campsite at Bigelow park near Sioux City, the North Dakota state Capitol, and some interior views of the Capitol there.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:01 PM   #2
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Looking forward to documentation of your journey!
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:29 AM   #3
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Great pictures! The last two look like postcards. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:59 AM   #4
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Have a great and safe trip. I'm planning an Alaskan trip from Minnesota next year so I am interested in how your journey goes. How long is your trip going to be? I look forward to more posts.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:57 AM   #5
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Gus: we plan to mosey, and will be gone 8 - 10 weeks. we've heard the countryside along the route is worth not hurrying through. The return trip will be by ferry from Anchorage to Seattle if we can afford it, then a stop in Seattle to sponge off of--er--see some relatives, then across the second or third tier of states to home.

We didn't account for how full all the campgrounds would be over the 4th, which being on Wednesday, covers both weekends too. July 1st is Canada Day, which is every bit as big a deal as the 4th is stateside. So crossing the border today may not give us better luck getting campsites. We'll see. Luckily, we have an app (All Stays Camp and RV) that shows nearly every camping spot in the US and Canada, so we may get into some obscure parks like county or city ones.

The Calgary Stampede runs 2 weeks and effectively blocks us out of camping there, so we'll go through Edmonton instead.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:20 AM   #6
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Have a great time and a safe trip.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:46 AM   #7
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Wow, sound like you are going on a fantastic trip! Stay safe and enjoy....looking forward to hearing about the trip.....happy birthday and congratulations
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:16 AM   #8
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Thanks for posting. Happy Birthday and Anniversary.

Be safe and have fun.

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Old 07-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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Beautiful! Thank you for mentioning the app, Allstays camp and RV. We are downloading it now.

JC
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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Happy 70th Lee

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Old 07-01-2012, 05:19 PM   #11
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Days 1 - 4

Let's try this again. I have my bluetooth keyboard set up now, so retyping this shouldn't take so long...

Day 1 - Urbandale to Salix, IA (14 mi. S. of Sioux City). Family obligations kept us from leaving earlier in the month, and also kept us hopping to finish all the packing and prepping of the camper and TV, but we finally rolled out the driveway at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 28. Interstates 80 and 29 brought us 180 miles to the little campground with the great showerhouse and wi-fi, Bigelow Park at Brown's Lake. Plenty of sites available tonight, and we picked one close to the showerhouse (signage says it's rated for 220 MPH winds, so it's a tornadp shelter too). A quiet night, but in a portent of what is to come, it began to fill up that evening with campers grabbing spots before the 4th. With nearly 100 degree temps, we were glad that our $15 stay included electricity. We slept with the A/C on. Heaven!

Day 2 - to Pierre, SD. A cooler morning that quickly turned threatening. A huge lightning strike nearby made me glad that we decided to get up early and pack down the camper. It began to rain as we pulled out and by the time we were back on I-29 it was raining at carwash intensity. We drove out of it finally about halfway between Sioux City and Sioux Falls SD. At Sioux Falls we turned west on toward Pierre, but abandoned the interstate after about 100 miles in favor of a route marked as a Native American Scenic Byway, which I gather in South Dakota means "Not your best route". After some time we began to look for someone we could bribe to get us off that route but it eventually ended a mile or two south of Pierre, the capitol of South Dakota ans a town of some 13,000 souls. A quick stop at the tourist informaton station netted us the news that the city park had 15 electric camping sites for $15 per night. With high temps again, we jumped at the chance. The campground is a gravel parking lot next to the Missouri River where it flows through town, and is about as appealing as a root canal (the campground, not the river). But about sundown it cooled enough that people came out of their campers to talk, and it turned out to be pleasant. We did abandon any plans to stay two days there, though...

Day 3 - to Minot, ND. Good roads and (to us) lovely countryside were the theme of the day. Well, mostly good roads. There were the usual road repair spots, but since it was a Saturday they were mostly clear of backups and flaggers. One repair area was so bad we discovered that evening it had shaken the door off the sink cabinet, strewing coffee makings (sob!) all over the floor.
A stop at Hereid, a town so small they didn't even have a town drunk, gave Courty the opportunity to call her sister to check even more of the aforementioned family obligations and to discover there's a nice little free campground with water hookups but no electric. On to Bismarck, a town I'd not been to before, but which impressed me mightily (or maybe it was the caffiene), and a lunch at the Pita Pit. Buy a Pita Pit franchise if you get the chance! Happily fed, we stopped to buy a combined anniversary and birthday cake for later, and continued to Minot. Minot is a hopping place. The oil boom and relocations of families from last year's flood, added to the holiday weekend, meant there were no campsites to be had in a wide radius but we were too tired to press on. We took the last motel room in town, which says something, considering how much hotel construction is going on there. It's the oil boom mostly, I think.

Day 4 - Minot to Regina, Sask. Again great roads and pretty countryside brought us the 250 miles or so into Canada and to Regina, a town of about a quarter million people, just a bit smaller than Des Moines. A last call from the U.S. side of the border--before we entered cell roaming territory--netted us a rare open spot at King's Acres campground, where I sit typing this under dappled shade and ruffled by a delightful breeze. Just about everywhere we stopped after crossing over, people wished us a happy Canada Day. I told the first one that I thought it was very nice of my northern neighbors to declare my birthday a national holiday. He allowed as how Canadians are like that. Soon I'll upload this long chapter and we'll head into Regina to see about the big fireworks display tonight and to maybe buy a pay-as-you-go phone to use while we're in this fair and lovely country. Whether we'll stay another day--I'd like to see the RCMP museum, for example--is a decision yet to be made. If we take off again it'll be to head up the Yellowhead Highway to Saskatoon and on into Alberta. It's far enough that that trip will be a 2-dayer for us...
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It's never too late to have a happy childhood!
Lee, WU0V, and Courtenay, N0ZDT
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:28 PM   #12
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H A P P Y ... B I R T H D A Y!!! HAMGUY!

Continuing to follow your trip!
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:48 AM   #13
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welcome to Canada and happy brithday and annivrsery we are from Calgary and are planing to head north next year if all goes well look forward to following your trip my wife and I are from northern BC and know that it is along way to Alaska
do injoy and the best to you
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:51 AM   #14
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Great Blog! I look forward to living vicariously through you for awhile.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #15
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So exciting! Have a safe journey. We look forward to, and thank you for, updates on your travels.

Deb
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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike._ John Muir
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:04 PM   #16
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Day 5

After a long rainy night we woke to a glorius day. We decided to stay one more day and see some local Regina sights. We also wanted to get a star crack in the windshield fixed before it gets worse. I had bought and applied headlight protection film before we left (Xpel) but the windshield is au naturel (sp?).
We had some shopping errands to do, too, and a visit to the RCMP Heritage Centre. Growing up as I did, absorbing the lore of the RCMP as a brave corps of incorruptables who always got their man, I wanted to learn more and to pay my respects to the brave men and women of Canada's national police force. It was a good tour, with interesting displays in a modern building (see photo).
My first Indian food in almost 2 years was completely off-diet, but left my taste buds exhausted, lighting up tiny cigarettes and asking each other, "Was it good for you too?" Vacations make it hard for me to stay disciplined. I go along with G.B. Shaw: "I can resist anything except temptation"
One thing we'd suggest packing along whether going out of the country or not is a surge protector for your delicate electronics. We have a netbook and an iPad we dont want to lose, not to mention camera and Nook chargers, and if we're staying where there's electricity during a storm, the surge protector gives some peace of mind. We also bought bear spray today, which we waited to buy until we crossed the border. Didn't want to chance having it confiscated there, it being an item the purchase of which is registered here.
Our heavy SnugFleece mattress pad has made sleeping on a conversion dinette a much more pleasant experience. (http://www.dreamsoftbedware.com/coyu...FSQDQAod6GciGQ) We'll buy another for the master bedroom when we get home, even though they're lots more expensive than foam or quilted pads.
For traveling with an iPad, the Pelican i1075 case holds everything from the charger to a keyboard, all in a dustproof, cushioned mini-briefcase. A photo of it was included in my previous posting. Amazon had it for less than MSRP. I hasten to add that I have no commercial interest in any of these things, just some user experience.
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.
Tomorrow we leave for Edmonton, but will stay somewhere about halfway there; no decision as to where yet. Thanks for all the messages of support. To the forum moderators, I hope this extended thread is OK. I'll remember to give travel and RV tips when I encounter them to make everything legit!


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It's never too late to have a happy childhood!
Lee, WU0V, and Courtenay, N0ZDT
2011 Rockwood A128
2000 Silverado 1500 pickup
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:49 PM   #17
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Lee, I enjoyed reading the posts so far. Enjoy your trip! Doug
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:57 PM   #18
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I did wonder what to do about the bears up there...We use the 1" SnugFleece mattress pad, here at home, to help keep our memory foam mattress cooler. Nice product that's worth every penny!

Deb
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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike._ John Muir
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:20 PM   #19
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I am beyond jealous...have a blast!
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:25 PM   #20
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I am SOOOOO excited bou yr vaca! Tnx 4 sharing all the details... I lv it! The pix r grat.
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