29 May 2014

Dawson Creek

Dawson Creek, British Columbia is famous for being the start of the old AlCan Highway, now the AK Highway.  It is a small town and everybody wants to make you feel welcome.  If they have any old grouches they keep them hidden at least during the tourist season.

The Sign marks the spot!

We are on our way!

We stayed at the Mile O RV Park which is on the north side of town pretty much at Mile 0 of the AK Highway!

The two notable events while we were there was;
        1. A long day trip to a beautiful water fall in the countryside
        2. Fresh water pump that needed replacing
We also visited our first International Wal-mart.  There were 3 RV's there boondocking!

The pump turned out to be a non-issue. One of several local RV service centers had a stockpile of them and I got one and installed it in less then an hour.  But, if they had not had one...!!!

The trip was to Kinuseo Falls near Tumblers Ridge.  Tumblers Ridge is about 60 miles SE of Dawson Creek and was built in1970's as the nearby coal fields were developed. However in the 90's when coal demand fell it nearly became a ghost town.   But, some dinosaur fossils were discovered nearby and it regained some of it lost glory and is today considered an excellent area for researchers interested in dinosaurs.  And, the last few years two of the old coal mines have reopened!
Gravel Road

More Gravel Road

A river we crossed

Well after we drove out to Tumblers Ridge, we discovered it was another 40 miles to Kinuseo Falls over a gravel road!  And of course 40 miles back!  But, oh was the scenery beautiful!  This was mountainous terrain in the Spring and the creeks and rivers were running vigorously, but not at all in a flood stage!  Still to early - we could see a lot of snow yet unmelted in the mountains around us and every now and then we were in a little bit of it as we went up and down the mountains!

One view of the Falls

The river at the bottom!

Bridges were narrow!
The Kinuseo Falls was spectacular

The very head of Kinuseo Falls!
Some tunnels on the old coal mining road!

A fellow traveler on the road thru the woods!

Also some strange signs - don't climb the cliff in your car??

We feel so fortunate to be travelling through such beautiful countryside.  And, I am getting acclimated to the cold.

BJ's blog is ready for prime time it appears and I will include a link to it in my next post.

We are staying at Rotary Club park in Ft St John. As a long time Rotarian and member of the Melbourne Rotary Club I had to stop here. Beautiful park on the shores of Charlies Lake.  More in my next post (along with BJ's link)!

Always at home, no matter where we are!!

27 May 2014

Moving North Too Fast!!

We enjoyed a few days in Banff National Park and then moved on.  We drove the Icefield Parkway to Jasper about 200 mile then turned west for about 40 miles.  Stayed in a small Mom & Pop RV park in McBride.  On the Parkway we were always close to snow and ice, especially in the two passes we went thru at nearly 7,000 ft.
That is the Crowfoot Glacier in the middle of the pic

That is a lot of SNOW above and behind Tucson
We missed the turn-out to stop and get a good picture - but this is a huge frozen lake!  

Along the by the Icefield Parkway

BJ got excited about seeing bear cubs and Mom feeding in woods near highway!  Traffic stopper!

However, here in McBride we are down to about 2500 ft and the snow covered mountains are way in the distance. We set outside for happy hour for a change.  Another RV arrived and we welcomed them to the neighbor hood.  They were a German couple in a rental.  We enjoyed talking with them. But mainly it was nice to set outside in the Sun.

Tomorrow we head to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the AlCan Highway - now called the AK Highway!

Always at home, no matter where we are!!

Two Moose and a Bear

We had an effortless border crossing yesterday , 23 May at 1030 hrs.  Stopped at Visitors Center about 5 km later and picked up some info and headed on to Calgary where we would pick up Trans Canada Hiway 1 WB to Banff our destination for the day!  Roads were good, mainly divided highway,  traffic was manageable.
Galgary skyline as we went by on the bypass!
We arrived Banff National Park for a surprise.  About 3 mi from the city we came upon a toll booth.  The city of Banff and all surrounding area is the National Park!  It is all beautiful but downtown, suburbs and mountains all around are National Park and you pay about $19 a day to enjoy it.  Will be interesting to see how residents are handled!

Nice spots with plenty of space and FHU

Scenic no matter which way you look!
At any rate we settled into one of the campgrounds the NP has in Banff. Tunnel Mountain Campground has about 600 sites divided about evenly with FHU, electric only and tent camping.  Beautiful park, but no wi-fi!  

We made a quick tour through downtown yesterday. Thought we were in Gatlinburg TN!  Banff’s main industry is obviously tourism.  Many ski destinations in the area and lots of ski related advertising.  However, ski season is over and it is hiking. Everybody it seems wears a back pack as a piece of clothing!
Bow Falls on Bow River running thru downtown Banff

Beautiful town, well organized and maintained with good directional signs to help the visitor.  We drove Tucson towing Olivia right through downtown to get to the campground, but we did see the error of our ways and know on the way out that will not be necessary!

This AM I got up and went for a walk in the park at about 0715 hrs and 46 degrees F! First thing I see is a young moose walking down one of the campground roads. When he saw me he retreated into the woods.  I did not follow as I did not want to run into his Mama thinking I was after moose meat for breakfast! 
Moose in the park!

A little while later I spot a moose off in a pasture grazing. She looked up at me and decided the grass was more interesting than me – just ignored me and kept on grazing.    About 45 min later I am in the woods on a trail and up ahead on the edge of the clearing is a Brown Bear, probably a young one but not a cub!

He saw me and skittered  into some nearby bushes.  Shortly he looks up a me and moves for more cover.  I decided to walk a path that was not in his direction but I could still see the area he was in off to my right.  I stopped to take some pics of the mountains in front of me and he shortly comes out and stands up and looks around.  I got several pics of him and then I started walking again, not toward him. I guess he had not spotted me until I moved because he instantly moved for cover. 
At any rate it was an interesting walk and I am now looking forward to tomorrow’s walk “on the wild side”! 
Always at home, no matter where we are!!

24 May 2014

Glacier National Park- WOW

On our way to the Canadian border in MT we deceded to check out Glacier National Park which is about 70 miles west of our border run route.

WOW - it just added to our determination to return to Montana for a summer of traveling in Big Sky Country. A hall mark of Glacier National Park is the Road to the Sun which is road in the park which goes tup and up and up before finally arriving at the pass then goes down and down and down.  It is a narrow two lane road built in the 1920's and has been noted from the begining for its breathtaking views! We were disappointed to learn that it is not yet open - still clogged with snow on most of the route but we deceided to check out other parts of the park anyway!

So today we did about 250 miles round trip and we both agree it was all well worth it. We deceided this was just a preview.  We much come back to spend more time in MT and more time at Glacier National Park. It was awesome and we only saw a small portion of the eastern portion of the Park!!

Glacier National Park in the distance!

Getting closer

Olivia at the gate 
The wild flowers are in bloom

some mountain sheep in a high pasture
A park resident practicing for the summer season

one of the hotels in the NP

all those little streams coming together!!

Always at home, no matter where we are!!

23 May 2014

Making a Run for the Border!

Well, as I write this we are barely 30 miles from the Canadian border in Shelby MT, a small town on the MT plains surrounded by beautiful grain farms that stretch for miles.  The town has a large rail yard that is a BNSF railroad intermodal hub and is obviously a major economic driver for the area. 
Shelby is a proud supporter of American troops!

We are staying in a small RV park for two nights so we can visit Glacier National Park which is about 70 miles west of us.  (More about that in next blog!)

We have really enjoyed our journey through Montana to this jump off for the AK Adventure. 
A roadside stream at a lunch break in MT

It is truly Big Sky Country – despite the beauty of the landscape the Sky seems to dominate the landscape.  Think about that as you look at some of the pics we took travelling across the State. We spent about 4 days in Great Falls, a beautiful American City that is on the Lewis & Clark Trail.

A model of the Minuteman ICBM at Malmstrom AFB
The proud SAC (Strategic Air Command) emblem on a KC-97 in museum at Malmstrom AFB 
We enjoyed the trip and several days at the Famcamp on Malstrom AFB in Great Falls. It is one of our nations few bases still maintaining ICBM on alert.  I enjoyed a visit to their on-base museum of USAF historical artifacts!
We took a day and visited the nearby Little Belt Mountains. BJ did some birding and I did a few geocaches including one that turned out to be much more difficult then I expected but also provided some vistas  of the mountains that I did not expect.

The geocache is over there!

A quicker way down from the geocache!

So we are excited about finally making the last dash for the border and looking forward to the first stage of our AK Adventure!

Always at home, no matter where we are!!

21 May 2014


After departing Denver in the afternoon we made it to Cheyenne WY and pulled into the Famcamp on FE Warren AFB just on the edge of town. FE Warren is one of our bases that still maintain ICBM's on alert.

The Famcamp is a nice spot with a creek running through it. However, the creek was overflowing its banks and was causing some concern for BJ, but she got over it when she saw all the birds around the creek!

Another interesting thing about the wildlife is the pronghorn antelopes.  WY has about 45% of all these animals that live in the western US and it seems many of those like FE Warren.  They apparently knew they were safe there.  It was fun watching them chase each other across the vase open areas on the base.  Then they would lay down and rest, frequently just a few feet off the road!

The antelopes planning there next play date!

Creeks arising!
We did continue our tradition of trying to visit the State Capital whenever we were near. So we spent much of a day in Cheyenne, the State Capital of WY.  Beautiful Capital building with a gold dome.  Info inside says that is only one ounce of gold covering the entire dome!

Beautiful Capital Building inside and out!

In front of the State Museum!
We left Cheyenne  moving on north. Spent the next night in Sheridan WY.  Really enjoyed a great meal at the Ribs & Chop House there. The RV park owner recommended it. While my Baby Back Ribs were very good, BJ's New Orleans Jambalaya was fantastic in size and flavor.  She, of course took a doggy bag home with what she could not eat and we both a great lunch the next day finishing it off.
Always at home, no matter where we are!!

, Headed North

We are nearly at the Canadian border and will cross over in about two days.  We are excited to be this close to starting the AK Adventure but we have enjoyed the journey to this point.

After leaving Albuquerque (and some of our stuff we put in storage until we return in October for Balloon Fiesta) we head north on I-25. The first place we stopped. more by happenstance then purpose, was Lathrop State Park in southern CO. We took a day trip from there to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, about 70 miles west of the State Park.  These great sand dunes, some over 700 feet high are nestled against the base of the mountains.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

BIG sand dunes!!
On the beach?!?!
We spent a few extra days at the State Park because it was such a jewel. All the spots were easy in/easy out and there were two big lakes in the park that make it a favorite weekend destination in the Summer for boaters!  We enjoyed hiking the trails and BJ got really excited about some new birds she had not seen before and I enjoyed some challenging geocaches in the park.

The two lakes in the park with the Spanish Peak mountains behind

Getting close to a geocache

Some wild flowers made the park even more spectacular!

Yellow Billed Magpie hanging out in the park
Speaking about birds let me tell you about a new blog coming to a computer in your house!  BJ is in final stages of getting her blog ready for public consumption!  She has so many beautiful bird pictures and birding adventures she wants to share. But, first she has to get her blog just right. I will post a link when she says it is ready for "prime time".

We had to depart Lathrop State Park because we had an appointment for Tucson, our transportation, to get his annual service at a Cummins Engine Facility just north of Denver.  We had planned on arriving there on Sunday as they have hook-ups for the RVs there for service.  However, based on weather forecast we got there on Saturday as we did not want to travel in the SNOW!  So we were safely secure when the snow hit, but we did manage to get over to our niece's house for a wonderful Sunday Brunch on Mother's Day.   What a delight!

That is not beach sand!

The next day they pulled Tucson in for the day and accomplished the service we needed so he is ready for the AK adventure!  And, we continued north!

Always at home, no matter where we are!!