Saturday, July 12, 2003

Day 52

Saturday 7/12/03
We are home!!!
We said goodbye to Onalaska at 7:30 A.M. and headed toward Appleton. At Tomah, Wisconsin, we turned onto the familiar Route 21, which we have traveled many times visiting Mike while he was at Ft. McCoy awaiting deployment to Iraq. We celebrated our last day with breakfast at the Perkins Restaurant there and continued on to Oshkosh and up to Appleton. We gassed up and arrived home at 836 S. Christine St. at 12:30 p.m. We had mixed emotions, happy to be home, yet sad that our trip was over. Simba told Cali and Minou about her trip in cat language which seemed to include a lot of hissing.
With the additional 175 miles today, we had traveled a total of 10124 miles since we left our home on May 22.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Day 51

Friday 7/11/03
We woke up to sunny skies. After a breakfast of pancakes and eggs, we left Orchard.
Today the landscape gradually changed from cattle ranches in western Iowa to lush fields of corn and soybeans in eastern Iowa and Minnesota.
At LeMars, Iowa, we serendipitously discovered the “Ice Cream Capitol of the World”. Simba likes ice cream but was sleeping at the time and consequently missed our brief stay. It is the home of Wells Blue Bunny. We toured the Ice Cream Museum and watched two short films about ice cream. Afterward, we had ice cream cones for lunch and continued on our way into Minnesota. Crossing Minnesota we soon began seeing more and more of the familiar red and white Wisconsin license plates. As we neared Wisconsin we made one more rest stop. Our little Scamp looked even smaller, parked among the big trucks.
We finally entered Wisconsin by crossing the Mississippi River at Lacrosse.

We gassed up and dry camped for our last night at a Wal-Mart in Onalaska, Wisconsin.
435 miles today; 9949 total

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Day 50

Thursday 7/10/03

After leaving our campsite in Rapid City S.D., we visited Wall Drug in Wall, S.D. We had been there before about 15 years ago and we were surprised to see how much more that they had added. After browsing for about two hours and buying a few gifts we continued east on I-90. We decided to leave the interstate in favor of the back roads. We headed south at Murdo on Rt. 83 to Nebraska Route 20. We traveled through South Dakota and Nebraska wheat farms and ranches. We took some pictures of the ranches and rolling hills. Simba likes cattle but only after they are ground up into hamburger. At 7:30 p.m., we found a nice little municipal park with two RV campsites in Orchard, Nebraska.
The park has electric and sewer hook-up but no water all for a $10.00 donation. Simba didn’t care if there was a sewer hookup, preferring instead to use her litter box.
345 miles today; 9514 total

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Day 49

Wednesday 7/09/03
We happily left Gillette at 8:30 a.m. after a night of high winds and tornado watch. We left I-90 for a time and drove north to visit Devils Tower National Monument. It is an impressive sight to see this giant obelisk rising out of the surrounding prairie. When we drove in, we noticed a Scamp 16 in the parking area so we parked near it. Teddy took the 2-mile hike around the circumference of the tower. I declined to accompany her and instead spent the time talking with other travelers. On her hike, she met the owner of the other Scamp, Jeanne Raimond from the southern California city of Santee. She had purchased it on July 1 in Backus, MN and was on her way back to California. On the way out of the monument park, we stopped at a turnout adjacent to a prairie dog town.

While there met Bonnie and Richard Hanssard, full timers from Texas. They just started full-timing on June 1. They have a 34’ Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th wheel pulled by an F 450. They said that they researched the move for nine months and then either sold or gave away everything that they didn’t need, including their house and bought their rig. He ultimately decided on the exact 5th wheel that he wanted and then sent bid offers to a dozen dealers around the U.S. Low bid was from a dealer in Indiana. We returned to I-90 and continued on into South Dakota. At the South Dakota welcome center I talked to Bob Gadd who is a member of the South Dakota Brand Board. He explained how brands are registered and what the requirements are to obtain a registered brand. We continued on and dry camped in Rapid City at a Flying J.
192 miles today; 9169 total

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Day 48

Tuesday 7/08/03
We left Billings under sunny skies. At 8 a.m. continued through the plains desert looking at the rolling hills and sagebrush. We stopped at The Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. The ranger there gave a very good talk about the battle. We took a six-mile drive through the various sections of the battlefield. Simba slept, as she isn’t interested in history.
We continued on through eastern Montana into Wyoming and dry camped for the night in Gillette, WY at a Flying J.
241 miles today; 8977 total

Monday, July 7, 2003

Day 47

Monday 7/07/03
We are at the Flying J in Billings, Mt. We got here at about 7 p.m. after a long drive from Spokane. We left Spokane at 6 a.m. because a gas tanker pulled in at 5 a.m. and we were sitting over the fill pipes so they woke us up and asked us to move. As long as we were up anyway we had coffee and pulled out. We crossed the Continental Divide today at over 6,000 feet and are now on the eastern side of the Rockies. The Rocky Mountains are well named; large rocks abound. The weather was sunny and warm today. The temperature hovered in the 80s. We saw two eagle nests with adult eagles perched a top. Also, saw Prairie Dogs and Antelope. Simba thinks that any animal with dog in its name is contemptible.
536 miles today; 8736 total

Sunday, July 6, 2003

Day 46

Sunday 7/06/03
We left Abbotsford at 8:00 a.m. and quickly cleared customs into the U.S. at Suma, Washington. We celebrated our return to the lower 48 by having breakfast at a McDonalds in Bellingham. Simba stayed in the trailer and had some more tuna flavored Friskies. We drove to Seattle on I- 5 and picked-up I- 90 east. At noon, we stopped at Roslyn, Washington where the TV series “Northern Exposure” was filmed. We had lunch at “The Brick”. The Brick is a tavern, which was featured prominently in the series. After wandering around town and taking some pictures, we continued east on I-90. The landscape soon turned into a treeless semi-desert /which was lined with trees. The desert continued until we were about 40 miles from Spokane where it abruptly change to a lush long needle pine forest within the space of about one or two miles. We crossed the Columbia River at Vantage, WA.
At the top of the hill on the east side of the Columbia we stopped and took this photo of the Columbia valley below us as well as the famous wild horse sculpture titled “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies”. We continued on and dry camped at a Flying J in Spokane, Washington.

404 miles today; 8200 total

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Day 45

Saturday 7/05/03
We rose at 7 a.m. had breakfast and headed down Highway 97 south. The highway took us through pine and spruce forests and we saw many mule deer including three males in full velvet. Then at Cache Creek what was up to then a rather ho-hum drive turned spectacular. From Cache Creek to Hope, Rt. 97 parallels the Thompson and Frasier Rivers, which run in deep canyons adjacent to the road. It was one of the most picturesque drives of our entire trip. We took several pictures but as we have found out before, pictures cannot do justice to scenery like this. We dry camped again at a Wal-Mart in Abbotsford, B.C. about three miles from the U.S. border.
441 miles today 7792 total

Friday, July 4, 2003

Day 44

Friday 7/04/03 Happy Birthday to Me!!!!!
We left Smithers at about 10:30 a.m. after stopping at the local SafeWay for a few groceries. It rained off and on all day. Along the way today, we saw two black bear, a mule deer, and a beaver. We had one long wait for road construction. We listened to the conclusion of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” We dry camped at the Wal-Mart in Prince George. After a spaghetti dinner, we had a strawberry croissant in honor of my 66th birthday. Simba gave me a lick on the nose for my birthday; her breath smelled like fish. Called and talked to Lyle and Kathy.
225 miles today 7351 total

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Day 43

Thursday 7/03/04
Woke up to rain this morning. Started down the Cassiar Highway at 7 a.m. The Cassiar is mostly paved with occasional stretches of gravel. It rained off and on all day so the gravel sections were very muddy. We didn’t mind because we saw a lot of wild life; six black bear, one moose, one fox, two mountain goats, and a lot of birds including swan and ptarmigan. In between, we listened to more of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” on CD. We made it a long day and finally camped in a Municipal Camp Ground at Smithers, B. C. The Scamp and truck were both covered with mud and Teddy used the opportunity to wash both. Simba used the opportunity to hack up a hairball.

510 miles today 7126 total

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Day 42

Wednesday 7/02/03
Checked out of the Haines-Hitch-Up at 9 a.m. We had some time to kill before the State Ferry, so we drove north of town to a glacier fed lake called Mud Lake because of all the glacier silt. We drove to the ferry, checked in and got into the loading queue. I had to back the Scamp down the loading ramp and then 90-degree turn inside the ship. A ferryman walked me down and guided me so it was not as difficult as it sounds. Simba decided to stay in the trailer. We had lunch on the ferry of turkey noodle soup, which was delicious. We docked in Skagway at 1:45 p.m. and then drove up the highway to Carcross and then took the cutoff to Jakes Corners on the Alaskan Highway. We drove until 8:30 p.m. and dry camped at the intersection of the Cassiar Highway and the Alcan.
310 miles today 6616 total

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Day 41

Tuesday 7/01/03
A most glorious day!!! When we got up at 6:30 a.m., the sun was shining and not a cloud in the sky! I went outside to have a cup of coffee at the picnic table next to our trailer, and three moose ran through the park, a cow, a yearling, and a baby. We left at 8 a.m. to go on our Fjord Express tour to Juneau. The trip was spectacular! The tour consisted of a trip to Juneau and back on a catamaran and a tour of Juneau by bus as well as a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier. We, also, had free time in downtown Juneau. The catamaran is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Glen and Alison Jacobson. While at sea, we saw humpback whales, orca whales, a sea lion rookery, dolphins, harbor seals, eagles, surf scoters, marbled murrelet, and a short eared owl. During our free time, we ate lunch in a downtown park in Juneau where amateur astronomer had telescopes with special filters and other instruments for viewing the sun and looking at sunspots. He invited anyone interested to look through his instruments. It was quite interesting. We visited many gift shops, ate our lunch, and bought an ice cream. We then re-boarded our bus for a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier before returning to the boat. We finally got back to the Haines Hitch-Up Campground at about 8:30 p.m. TIRED AND HAPPY!!
We visited for a while with some other campers—showered and off to bed. Simba took a cat bath, which consisted of a lot of licking.
4 miles today; 6310 total

Monday, June 30, 2003

Day 40

Monday 6/30/03
We explored Haines today but first we drove back to the State Ferry Terminal to see if any space had opened up for Wednesday. We were lucky and were able to change our reservation to Wednesday.

We then continued on past the terminal NW along the Chilkoot River to Chilkoot Lake. There were many fishermen in the river fishing for salmon. Simba was more interested in the salmon than the fishermen. At the lake, we met Mary Ellen Spoerke from Madison, Wisconsin. We chatted for a long time and took pictures of each other, each promising to e-mail them to the other.

On the way back, we stopped and took pictures of the Salmon fishermen. We visited Fort Seward and finally returned to the campground.
23 miles today 6306 total

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Day 39

Sunday 6/29/03
Today we continued on from Haines Junction, YK to Haines, AK. On the way we saw two grizzly bears by the side of the road. They were about 30 feet from the truck on the passenger side. I got some good pictures of them through the rolled down window. Simba wisely stayed on the floor and used her litter box instead. She thinks watching bears is silly.We checked into the Haines Hitch-Up RV Park and made reservations for a boat trip and bus tour of Juneau on Tuesday. We leave here at 9:00 a.m. and return at 7:30 p.m. We drove around Haines and bought groceries at the local IGA. I took some more photos and then drove to the State Ferry Terminal and made tentative reservations for the State Ferry for the Scamp and us to Skagway on Thursday. No space was available for Wednesday, but they said to check back Monday as space sometimes opens up. It will save us about 300 miles of driving. Teddy did laundry. It rained most of the day. About 5 p.m. the sun came out. We phoned Lyle & Kathy and Fred & Deborah. Before retiring,, Teddy set up the bread machine for bread. This is the second time for making bread on our trip.
162 miles today; 6283 total

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Day 38

Saturday 6/28/03
Drove from Tok to Haines Junction. Saw a 2 year old black bear on the way. We rounded a corner and he was in the middle of the road. When he saw us, he ran off into the bush. It rained lightly on and off for most of the day and there was a lot of construction which resulted in a lot of mud and dust. We camped with a very dirty truck and trailer at Kluane RV Kampground in Haines Junction.
288 miles today; 6121 total

Friday, June 27, 2003

Day 37

Friday 6/27/03
After gassing up at a Valdez Tesoro station, we headed up the Richardson highway for Tok. We stopped at Worthington Glacier and took pictures. After the Tok Cutoff from the Richardson highway, there was a lot of road repair from the winter frost heaves. Arriving in Tok we checked into Tok RV Village Campground just in time to attend a complimentary show given by Dave Stancliff, a local folk singer. He performed his own original songs on an Alaskan theme interspersed with stories and poems about Alaska. He was very good and afterward we purchased his CD.
We chatted with other campers including Pat and Wayne Long who we had met when we first passed through Tok three weeks ago. They are full timers, working here as campground hosts. We got to bed late; at 12:30 am with the sun still streaming through our windows.
253 miles today; 5833 total

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Day 36

Thursday 6/26/03
It rained all night and most of the day. Ran out of propane, so switched tanks and took empty one to the Tesoro station for a refill. This is the infamous gas station where the little dog was snatched by an eagle. A reporter witnessed the event and the story was published in the Anchorage newspaper. Apparently the wife was walking the dog off leash when it happened and while she was distraught, unknownst to her, her husband raised his arms in a victory salute. She didn’t see him do it but when the paper came out he was in deep dodo. Simba thought that it was great that there was one less dog in the world, but she decided to not go outdoors in eagle country, as she didn’t know if eagles knew the difference between cats and dogs. After lunch we decided to explore Valdez some more. At a gift shop we watched a film about building of the pipeline and another film about the 1964 earthquake. We also visited the Valdez Museum and looked at all the interesting displays. After that, we drove around and discovered the airport and a salmon cannery. We then drove around the end of the inlet to the pipeline terminal on the other side of the fjord, however, since 9/11 you are not allowed to visit the terminal as this sign attests.Since Simba can’t read she didn’t believe that the sign applied to her. On the way back we stopped and chatted with a lady whose son and husband were shore fishing for salmon. She and her husband had moved to Alaska from California after retiring and live in a house100 miles from Anchorage on the Richardson Highway. They have no wired electricity or phone. They rely on solar and diesel generator power and for communication they use cellular and short wave radio. We then returned to the “Peter Pan” Salmon Cannery and purchased some frozen Halibut filets and some canned salmon for ourselves and for gifts. Simba thinks that she might like canned salmon and hopes that she can try some.
38 miles today; 5580 total

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Day 35

Wednesday 6/25/03
Got up at 4:45 a.m. to get an early start. However, 5 miles from where we camped, we came to a road construction site where they close the road between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. We sat in a string of cars and trucks from 5:30 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. We listened to some of the Harry Potter book on CD and napped in the truck. At 7 a.m. we were on the way again. The Glen Highway through the mountains is very scenic. At noon, we stopped at a roadside turnout and were approached by a feature writer from the Seattle Times for an interview about traveling in Alaska. He, also, photographed us and promised to send us a copy of the article and/or picture and sure enough, when we got back to Appleton on July 12, there in the mail was a copy of the picture that he had taken. At Glenallen, we turned onto the Richardson Highway, which leads to Valdez; we were gobsmacked by its beauty, the deep valleys and the cloud-covered mountains.

At Valdez, we checked into the last available full service site. Teddy did laundry and also washed the truck and Scamp while I checked the e-mail and downloaded the days pictures into the I-book. Later in the afternoon, we visited some shops and then walked around the marina looking at all the boats.
220 miles today; 5542 total

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Day 34

Tuesday 6/24/03
It rained hard all night and into today. Everything is wet in Seward. After breakfast, we toured all the little shops in downtown Seward. Talked to some folks from the U.P. The wife grew up in Kaukauna. We gassed up and headed north up the Seward Highway. Just north of town, we saw a pick-up towing a 16’ Scamp with Texas plates. We passed them and pulled into a turn-out and they followed. They were an older couple … he is 81, from Ramondville, Texas. They had driven to MN to buy their Scamp. We had a nice roadside visit, examining each other’s trailers and complementing each other on how wise we were to have purchased Scamp trailers.. We continued on through Anchorage and Palmer and finally dry camped in a roadside turnout near Chickaloon, AK. Simba was disappointed to find that there weren’t baby chicks there.

202 miles today; 5322 total

Monday, June 23, 2003

Day 33

Monday 6/23/03
Left Homer at 9:30 a.m. for the 170 nuke drive to Seward. Beautiful scenery along the way. Stopped to take pictures of Mt. Redoubt and Tern Lake.Got to Seward about 3 p.m. After scouting the town, we dry camped in The City RV Park on the beach. There was a big tour boat docked at the marina. In the evening, we walked the beach and saw eagles and sea lions. Talked to some full-timers from North Carolina. Simba was tired after the days drive so she slept all afternoon.
173 miles today 5120 total

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Day 32

Sunday 6/22/03
Drove into Homer for a look-see, and drove the road that went N.E. from Homer to Kachemak along the mountain ridge overlooking the bay. The road offered a great view of the Kachemak bay inlet where Homer is located. It wound around the tops of cliffs with sheer drop-offs with no guardrails so prudent driving was definitely in order. The road ended about 25 miles from Homer. There was an un-maintained rock and gravel extension so we continued on it to the end of that section and ended up in a Russian Orthodox Settlement of houses, a school, and a church called Voznesenka. The inhabitants wore ethnic clothing and the children just stared at us without speaking. Used 4 WD to get back out onto the road. Drove back to Homer and went to a small gift shop/book store where we bought the new Harry Potter book on CD and a book on Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones. Later in the day we took pictures, walked the beach on the spit and visited with other campers.
59 miles today 4947 total

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Day 31

Saturday 6/21/03
After gassing up in Anchorage, we headed down the Seward Highway to The Kenai Peninsula and Homer. Had light rain on and off for most of the trip. We stopped at the Fred Meyer store in Soldotna to stretch our legs and in walked Bill and Gwen Groskurth from MN who we had met at Denali. They were coming back from Homer and heading for Seward. When we got to Homer, we camped at the Homer Spit Campground. The spit is a 4.5 mile rock and sand peninsula about 1/4 mile wide that sticks out into the bay. A road extends to the very end lined on both sides with parking lots, restaurants and gift shops. The RV park is adjacient to a hotel on the very end of the spit. Many eagles make there home near the spit and a full time resident of the campground known locally as the eagle lady feeds them winter and summer with donated food from fishermen. We peeked into her yard and I took a picture. After settling in, we went out for a dinner of Halibut at Captain Patties. Needles to say, it was DELICIOUS. Teddy had grilled and I had baked.
222 miles today; 4888 total

Friday, June 20, 2003

Day 30

Friday 6/20/03
Drove the 35 miles to Anchorage and checked into the Anchorage RV Park. Most expensive park that we have stayed in; but real nice. Went into town and had the oil changed on the truck. Went to city center where we explored the many stores and gift shops. Anchorage is an odd city in that it seems to be haphazardly laid out with no thought to city planning. Visited with a couple who were full-timers in their 5th wheel in the evening.
58 miles today; 4666 total

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Day 29

Thursday 6/19/03
After a late breakfast, we drove into Wasilla to investigate the town. Visited the Dorothy Page Museum. She and her husband Von Page were from Bessemer, Michigan. There may be some genealogical connection but probably not as Bessemer is in the U.P. She is known as the Mother of The Iditarod, and was once the Mayor of Wasilla. In the afternoon, we had a steak fry with the Weises. Went to the Mat-Su Visitors Center and purchased gifts for friends.
17 miles today; 4608 total

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Day 28

Wednesday 6/18/03
We left Riley Campground at about 10 a.m. after visiting the Denali Mercantile where we bought a DVD of Denali Park. The day was cloudy and clouds could be seen among the mountain peaks. We were glad that we had done the bus trip into Denali yesterday instead of today. Drove to Wasilla and checked in to the Best View RV Campground. Harlan and Shirley Weise were there. Went grocery shopping at Fred Meyer. After dinner, we visited with Harlan and Shirley in their motor home
215 miles today; 4591 total

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Day 27

Tuesday 6/17/03

Got up early and moved to Riley Campground in Denali National park. Then went to the visitors center for our 10:20 a.m. trip into the park to see the Mountain. We had decided on the Eielson trip which was 8 hours. Our bus driver/guide was Kim Turnbull, originally from MN.
The road into Eielson is a narrow dirt and gravel road up and down mountainsides with many switchbacks and sheer drop-offs with no guardrails. Kim was up to the task but at times it was a bit scary. We saw many animals on the way including Red Fox, Caribou, Grizzly Bear and cubs, Dall Sheep, Moose, Arctic Ground Squirrel, and a lot of birds—Golden Eagle, Long Tailed Jaeger, Mew Gull, Black-billed Magpie, Gray Jay, Raven, and a Rock Ptarmigan (the Alaska state bird). Denali was “out” in all its glory, in fact Kim said that today was the best viewing day so far this year so the trip was well worth it.
When we got back, Harlan and Shirley were waiting for us in the parking lot. We invited them to our campsite for a beer and took their picture. Later in the evening, we walked around the campground and met Bill and Gwen Groskurth from Albert Lea, MN. Simba napped and we read a little before bed…..tired and happy!!
24 miles today; 4376 total

Monday, June 16, 2003

Day 26

Monday 6/16/03
Left Chena Marina RV Park at approximately. 10:30 after saying goodbyes and headed for Denali National Park. A lot of construction along the way. Checked into the Riverside RV Park about 5 miles north of the park entrance. Harlan and Shirley Weise were here as well as Butch and Karen Reyburn who were also at Chena Marina. Butch is a retired K-9 cop from El Monte, Ca. They were parked one space apart and we got the spot right between them. They hadn’t met so we introduced them to each other. Harlan and I rode down to the park to get our tickets for the trip into the park. We could not get onto the early trip with them as it was sold out but we managed to get onto the 10:30 trip.
146 miles today; 4352 total

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Day 25

Sunday 6/15/03
Spent our last day in Fairbanks in the park visiting with our new friends. Harlan and Shirley Weise from Oregon stopped by for a long visit in the early evening. I played golf ball horseshoes with Teddy and Bob Schrumpf. He and his wife Selba are full timers in an Airstream. Had a beer with Bill (the manager). Teddy made another delicious dinner of baked salmon. Simba had the tuna flavor Friskies.
0 miles today; 4206 total

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Day 24

Saturday 6/14/03
Went shopping for essentials at Fred Meyer and then toured Pioneer Park in afternoon. It is a recreation of old Fairbanks homes and shops, which were moved from their original locations. They now serve as gift and souvenir shops. Did not buy anything but did a lot of looking. There was also, a Museum of Alaskan Artifacts.
17 miles today; 4206 total

Friday, June 13, 2003

Day 23

Day 23
Friday 6/13/03
Went north of town to a point where you can walk up to the pipeline. Took several pictures including one of Teddy and the two guides who were there. Then we went downtown in Fairbanks. Bought some books at the Alaska Land and Natural History Center; splurged and bought an Oosik.


Strange things have been done in the Midnight Sun,
and the storybooks are full…
But the strangest tale concerns the male,
magnificent walrus bull!
I know it's rude, quite common and crude,
Perhaps it is grossly unkind;
But with first glance at least, this bewhiskered beast,
is as ugly in front as behind.
Look once again, take a second look…
you'll see he's not ugly or vile…
There's a hint of a grin, in that blubbery chin…
and the eyes have a shy secret smile.
How can this be, this clandestine glee
that exudes from the walrus like music?
He knows, there inside, beneath blubber and hide
lies a splendid contrivance…
the Oosik!
"Oosik" you say…
and quite well you may,
I'll explain if you keep it between us;
In the simplest truth, though rather uncouth
"Oosik" is, in fact, his penis!
Now the size alone of this walrus bone,
would indeed arouse envious thinking…
It is also a fact, documented and backed,
There is never a softening or shrinking!
This, then, is why the smile is so sly,
the walrus is rightfully proud.
Though the climate is frigid, the walrus is rigid,
Pray, why, is not man so endowed?
Added to this, is a smile you might miss…
Though the bull is entitled to bow…
The one to out-smile our bull by a mile
is the satisfied walrus cow!


Then we had lunch at Soapy Smith’s Restaurant, which is owned by the son of Alaska’s 1st Governor, Mike Stepovich.He showed us a picture of his Dad on the cover of Time Magazine. Stepovich, a republican, was the appointed territorial governor when statehood was approved and resigned to run for the U.S. Senate, he lost, however because of the Democratic majority in Alaska at the time.
34 miles today; 4189 total

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Day 22

Thursday 6/12/03
Went to The Great Alaskan Bowl Company. The man making the bowls saw us watching through the window and came out and talked to us. He is a 73 year old Native American; tribal name Laoi. Goes by nickname of Sandy and his American name is Harold Haldane. I took his picture with Teddy. He, like many Alaskans that we met, seemed to have some kind of an issue with the Alaskan government. He said that he was going to run for governor in the next election. We assured him that were we Alaskan residents, we would vote for him.We went to Sam’s Club-got some T-shirts, etc. In afternoon, I wired the cable TV up to the bedroom. We bought some Red King Salmon filets, had enough for four meals. Had salmon for dinner. Teddy baked it in the Scamp’s oven and it was delicious. We ate on the picnic table next to our trailer and it was as good a meal as we could have had in any restaurant. Simba agrees that all fish is good but given a choice she prefers canned Friskies.
22 miles today; 4155 total

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Day 21

Wednesday 6/11/03
Went to the University of Alaska Museum. Difficult to get to because of construction. Lots to see and lots of walking. Purchased some books and postcards and then drove around Fairbanks before returning to the RV park for lunch. We were tired so we napped with Simba in the afternoon. Beautiful weather today.
9 miles today; 4133 total

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Day 20

Tuesday 6/10/03
Got up at 6 a.m. as we had purchased tickets for the 8:30 a.m. riverboat cruise and wanted to get there early for a good seat. The cruise on the Chena and Tanana Rivers was real good. We heard a presentation given by Susan Butcher and saw her dogs. We were glad that Simba didn’t come along, as she hates dogs. Butcher’s home is on the shore of the river; the boat stops there and she talks with a wireless microphone connected into the ship’s PA system. She won the Iditarod race three times. Also, had a short stopover at a re-created native village where I took many pictures. In the afternoon, I drove to a park on the river near where the boat turns around and took this photo of the Riverboat Discovery when it came by on its afternoon trip.

22 miles today 4124 total

Monday, June 9, 2003

Day 19

Monday 6/9/03
Drove to Fairbanks. Past Ellison AFB and through North Pole, AK
There was a lot of construction coming into Fairbanks. Checked in to the Chena Marina RV Park. This is the same park that Lyle & Kathy stayed at two summers ago and they had recommended it to us. Full service with a dial tone connection in the lounge for modem hook-up. Paid for 7 days. The park is on a floatplane pond so we can watch planes take-off and land. Best showers and restrooms that we have seen yet. Called Lyle, Greg, Orrs, Sykes & Toni, chatted with other campers and rested. Simba slept.
65 miles today 4102 total

Day 18

Sunday 6/8/03
Left Tok at noon after doing laundry at a laundry in a RV park in town. An only animal seen today was one porcupine by the side of the road. Camped in The Harding Lake State Recreation Area about 40 miles south of Fairbanks. There were a lot of mosquitoes so we stayed in the trailer in the evening daylight, which now stretches well beyond midnight.
171 miles today 4037 total

Saturday, June 7, 2003

Day 17

Saturday 6/7/03
Left camp ground at 10 a.m. and immediately ran into a lot of road construction. It wasn’t too bad if you drove slow, sometimes down to 5-10 MPH. Only made 50 miles in the first two hours. Saw no animals today; oops we did see two bald eagles. We finally reached Alaska at historical milepost 1221 and U.S. Customs at 1221.8. Simba didn’t seem to care.
The Alaska Highway is actually approximately 32 miles shorter than the historical figure because of highway improvements and modifications since 1942. Passing through U.S. Customs was uneventful.
Camped in an Alaska State Park Camp Ground at Tok River about 5 miles south of Tok. A real nice scenic park.
229 miles today; 3866 total

Friday, June 6, 2003

Day 16

Friday 6/6/03
We are on the road again. We left Pioneer Park at 11 a.m. and headed north through Haines Junction. Road was very wavy so only drove 45 to 50 MPH. Teddy drove for a while north of Haines Junction while Simba and I napped, as I was sleepy. A 10 mile long construction with large gravel slowed us down to 20 MPH. Caught a stone and took a quarter sized chip out of the front window of the truck on the lower left (driver’s side)
We saw sheep on Sheep Mountain by the shore of Kluane Lake. Camped for the night at Congdon Creek, Yukon Government Camp Ground on Kluane Lake.
155 miles today; 3637 total.

Day 15

Thursday 6/5/03
Stayed at Pioneer Park in Whitehorse for yet another day, now the 4th day. In the morning we went to Miles Canyon on the Yukon River for a spectacular view of the canyon.The canyon ends with the Whitehorse Rapids. The rapids were a major obstacle for the prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98 and many men lost their lives trying to ford them.
There is a pedestrian suspension bridge spanning the canyon and after we had crossed the bridge we looked back and a red fox bolted out of the woods and ran across the bridge.
We then shopped for a few things in Whitehorse and returned to the park. In the afternoon went to the Beringia Museum. It was about the glaciers that formed the region and the pre-historic animals that lived here. Simba thought that pre-historic animals were not worth her attention; she is more interested in modern ornithology and small mammals.We also saw the world’s biggest weather vane at the Whitehorse airport. It is a Douglas DC-3 mounted on a rotating pedestal so that it rotates and points it’s nose onto the wind.

44 miles today; 3482 total

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Day 14

Wednesday 6/4/03
Extended our stay at Pioneer for another day (3rd day). Drove to Skagway with the truck for a day trip. The drive down to the city from the mountain pass was awesome.
Emerald Lake is a beautiful sight with its multicolored hues of blue and green.
The descent into Skagway is an eleven-mile down grade with some sections as steep as an 10% grade with a shear drop off on outer side of road.
As Skagway is a major port of call for the ubiquitous cruise ships, the town was filled with Boat People and gift shops. Saw a film about the Gold Rush. Drove back to our camp at Whitehorse. Went to the “Frantic Follies” in Whitehorse in the evening. It was a 2-hour Vaudeville Revue featuring a chorus line, music and skits from Robert Service ballads and poems…very good and very funny.
213 miles today; 3438 total

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Day 13

Tuesday 6/3/03
Stayed at Pioneer RV Park for another day. Rested, went into Whitehorse shopping-bought vinyl Venetian blinds for the three back windows in the Scamp and installed them. It was hard to see the computer screen during the day because of the light. This should help. Watched Letterman on cable. Simba went to bed early and didn’t watch TV
26 miles today; total 3225

Monday, June 2, 2003

Day 12

Monday 6/2/03
Left Baby Nugget at about 10 a.m. for the drive to Whitehorse. Stopped along the way at Rancheria Falls (Ran-che-ree-ah). Teddy found some small native orchids growing in the woods. Saw Bob & Jan Hayes again for about the third time. They are going to fly back to NY from Whitehorse for two weeks and then fly back as they have some business at home to attend to. Saw more black bear along the road. Arrived at Whitehorse at approx 4:30 p.m. Camped at Pioneer RV Park 5 miles south of the city. A real nice park. Decided to stay here for another day and rest up. Went into Whitehorse in the evening for a look-see. Bought a book about The Building of the Alcan. Teddy did laundry. Watched the Letterman Show on TV (have cable hook-up).
250 miles today; 3199 total.

Sunday, June 1, 2003

Day 11

Sunday 6/1/03
Before we left the park we went back to the springs for another dip. The springs are about 1/2 mile from the parking lot by boardwalk. Another hot spring pool is an additional 1/4-mile, that pool is 10 ft deep and not as clear. The first pool is about 3 ft deep and very hot on the upper end. Took some pictures, talked to two girls coming home from college to Alaska and found that they knew Margo Orr. Go to school with her at Washington University in St. Louis. Small World!! Also, met some people that we had met before who were also going to Alaska. At historical milepost 627 we officially entered the Yukon Territory for the first time although the road dips back into BC several times in the next 100 miles and at MP 635 we entered Watson Lake, known for all the signs, some 50,000, in the famous “Signpost Forest”.
Visitors are encouraged to add their own sign and vendors there are eager to sell signboards and paint with the loan of hammers and nails. Tonight we are camped at Baby Nugget Park 25 miles beyond Watson Lake. We saw several black bearand a buffalo today. The buffalo was shedding his winter coat so that is why he looks so ragged.
Simba missed seeing the bear and buffalo because she was napping.
142 miles today; 2949 total.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Day 10

Saturday 5/31/03
We camped in Provincial Park at Liard Hot Springs. Got the last spot in the park. We quickly got our swimsuits and towels and walked the boardwalk to the springs for a quick dip. There are changing rooms adjacent to the springs. The hot springs are all natural ….not a concrete pool like at Radium and it is FREE. The hot water felt good and we slept well. As usual Simba slept well too.
310 miles today; 2807 total

Friday, May 30, 2003

Day 9

Friday 5/30/03
Leaving Grande Prairie we were again awestruck by the mountain scenery. We drove through deep valleys and high mountain passes. Stopping at a roadside turnout at the top of a pass we looked back and were amazed by the view of the highway that we had just traversed.
Soon we reached Dawson Creek, the traditional mile zero of the Alaskan Highway also sometimes known as the Alcan. We stopped and took some photos at mile zero and then continued north on the Alaskan Highway. We camped at Sikanni Chief River, Mile 160 on the Alaskan Highway at the bottom of “Suicide Hill”. Folks are here from Ill, Cal, TX NH, Al, WI, and AZ all going to Alaska.
One young lad was sleeping in a small tent and going to Alaska for work. He said that he didn’t think that it would get this cold as he huddled under his blanket this morning (44 degrees last night). Saw a mother black bear and two cubs yesterday, also a coyote. Today we saw moose, caribou and Stone sheep. A lady on the way back from Alaska says that there is a lot of road construction ahead.
244 miles today, 2498 total.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Day 8

Thursday 5/29/03
Up at 5 a.m. for an early start. The drive to Jasper was awe-inspiring. We saw snow capped mountains and deep valleys. Some of the lakes were still frozen. Simba didn’t seem to be impressed.We arrived in Jasper, had brunch and a short rest and then on to Hinton where we stocked up on milk and sandwich meat at a local grocery. From Hinton we took RT 40 to Grande Prairie, Alberta. On the way we saw elk, bear, and a moose cow. At times today we were traveling at or above the tree line. We had a full hook-up at Grande Prairie including cable TV and Internet.
378 miles today; 2254 total.