Day 67 Thursday August 16th
The forecast calls for rain along the Alaskan Range which is where we are at so we are going to get some projects done today in the hopes it will be clearer tomorrow for the trip west on the old Denali Highway. I got upload number 3 all done, boy it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for mistakes to creep in and the page has lots of mistakes when they load. I am getting it down to a much faster procedure. One big key is to use the option in Word Perfect to convert the travelogue to HTML that works great and got rid of a host of problems I was having with upload nunber 1 and my beginning tires at creating upload number 2. I spent a long time trying to find some software to make a bigger thumbnail and a smaller picture when you click on the thumbnail but after a couple of hours I gave up as I could not find anything. It sure would be nice as it would speed the upload for me and help people looking at the web page to load the pictures faster. I got upload 4 and 5 pretty well laid out. Now to find a place to upload number 3. A ham AL7PQ stopped by, they were here for the day berry picking and the whole family are hams and they live at Delta Jct. He suggested the library or I can call him on .76 ham repeater and if he is around at the hanger I can upload from there. I need to get a R/W CD ROM then I could upload from most computers as they are likely to have a CD ROM but no ZIP drive and the 8 MB or so I need to upload means I have to upload from my laptop unless they have a ZIP drive which the chances are very slim.
I then mounted a knife switch in the battery compartment to switch from the 5th batteries to the battery bank. This is the way to go. The knife switch does not mesh as good as I would like for going down the road on the 5th batteries so for now I will put a twisty around it to hold it in place. When I get home I need to put in a beefy knife switch but this is certainly the way to go. Just open the battery compartment door and move the switch! I like it. I then put my second Bug Catcher back together using the mast that I had welded at Fairbanks. It looks like the Bug Catcher are pretty bullet proof other than these mast inserts. I will have to talk to K5BUG about it and see if he will stand behind them otherwise I will just take them all to the welding shop and get them welded when I get home.
I connected on E-mail on 20 and 30 meters. There is no doubt about it that KA6IQA is about it in ALASKA. As I get farther south then some other stations work. I could connect weakly with about 4 tonight so you can tell we are getting farther south. I also note that conditions are above average. It looks like W7BO is reliable on 30 meters as this is 3 nights in a row. Noticed I am getting very little E-mail so sent some direct.
Day 68 August 17, Friday
We made the Denali Highway trip. It started out being very cloudy and rainy, much worse than yesterday. So much for the forecast! It did not turn out to bad as it cleared up pretty well and we could see all but the far mountain peaks. It is high country with no trees and definitely Tundra like for the first 25 miles. Then we picked up some spruce and had some glaciers off to the north in the Alaska Range and some glacier rivers. Lots of lakes and streams and high, steep rocky mountains. Lots of people camped of on side roads and lots and lots of QUAD activity. That is getting to be a major recreation activity for people. The first 30 miles is terrible for chuck holes but then slowly gets better. Not bad for rocks or washboard and decently wide. Of all the gravel roads or any road really no one came up fast behind me and wanted to pass. I did let about 3 cars pass. Everybody was really taking it easy. We only met 4 out of state one the 115 miles to the Parks Hwy and only 3 on the way back. I suppose we met about 50 other cars each way, all Alaska licenses. We did not see any bear but did see a bald eagle and some swans but not much wildlife. It seems that wildlife is really down bad in AK this year. We spent about 3 hours picking berries at mile post 100 up on top of the ridge. I picked a gallon of low bush cranberries and Edith and I picked about a gallon of Blueberries. Edith got 10 pounds of sugar at Cantwell. From what Joel, AL7PQ told us the Low Bush Cranberries last a long time and they eat them for snacks most of the winter just keeping them cool. Tomorrrow we will head for Delta Junction and see what happens in regards to upload 3 to the web page.
Day 69 August 18, Saturday
Looked at a pickup that had a topper with a pop up roof on it so you could stand up and also sleep. The fellow said they had it for 9 years and had little trouble. He did not think they made it any longer. His wife was born in Leola, SD and they now live in Anchorage. They needed a coat hanger as they left the keys in one of the vehicles. We had blue berry pancakes and I took some pictures of the Tangle Lake Campgrounds and then we packed up and headed out. We stopped at Delta Jct. And I went to the library and got my regular E-mail. I could not do Internet Banking as their browser did not have 128 bit encryption. I talked to Joel AL7PQ but he was not at the hanger but home so I could not do the upload. A girl at the visitors center was a ham and she noticed my cap. We took a picture of the official end of the Alcan which is Hanies Jct.
We then headed for TOK and got some literature for SE Alaska and learned about Black Diamond Willow. We got a card for 5 cent discount at Young's Chevron where we got fuel on the way in. They had a free RV Dump and drinking water with a fill. To the south are picnic tables and you can stay there free. It is common courtesy to get fuel and eat at their café but apparently not a requirement from what we can find out. Nothing much is said I suppose not to upset the commercial parks.. We did ate at their café which has excellent burgers and pies and cakes. Not cheap but large serving. . I got E-mail with the Bug Catcher and am doing some computer work. We also researched and discussed what we wanted to do at Haines and Skagway AK.
Day 70 August 19, Sunday
It was a beautiful day today. Finally lots of sunshine and warmer, in the low 70's with a few puffy clouds floating around. I think the Yukon is prettier than the drive from Tok to the AK border. We stopped at a very clean station called Scottie Creek Services just inside AK which also has the cheapest prices we have seen for quite awhile. We came on Kluane Lake and it is so beautiful when we found the congdon Yuckon Provincial Park we just had to stop even if it was only 1:30 pm in the afternoon. I sure am glad we did. I had great contacts on the dipole at 6 pm SD time. Sat by the lake for quite awhile. It is a deep turquoise color from copper being leached out of the rocks making copper sulfate which makes the water such a pretty color. It is a large lake about 20 miles long and a miler or more wide all the way. There are beautiful mountains around it. The Yukon parks provide firewood so we have a fire and grilled hamburgers over the fire and the bugs are not a problem and there is a little breeze. It was nice and warm in the sun so great to relax in the chair. Earlier at Burwell Landing we stopped at a shopped the had burl spruce and also black diamond willows which we find are common willows that have a bacterial infection that produces diamond shape leasions on the willow. We found some more here at the camp grounds. Edith and I agree it is great to have some sunshine, a great day and great to eat outside; actually our first picnic of the trip. Tomorrow we will go to Haines and spend a while there checking things out a possibly take the ferry to Juneau.
Day 71, August 20, Monday
Took one last, long look at Kluane Lake today. Boy! What a beautiful place. Edith really enjoyed stopping right after dinner yesterday and soaking up the sunshine and having a great picnic. I had a good sked a 6 pm SD time and and 8 pm local had a great contact with Curt K7BI. We headed of about 8:30 am and hit two stretches of road construction. One had some real sink holes so had to take it easy as we sure did not want to break a leaf spring on the 5th. We had to scrape together all the Canadian money we could at Haines Jct. As it was Discovery Day so could not change US to Canadian at the bank as it was closed. I could us the credit card as one gets the best exchange but you don't know what it is exactly so the check book gets off. However since we will be home in about a month I may start doing that and just make the small correction when we get the statement. I am almost sure the banks take a slight sir charge. It is not bad but it is not free either!
The road south to Haines, AK is the best road we have been on since SD or ND. We caught up with a trailer caravan so took a long time to get by all 20 of them. The F-350 really seems to be getting more power as we sure seemed to be rolling along with the best of them. It is very pretty coming down to Haines. It would of been even better if we would of had less clouds. We went to the State Park south of Haines but it was not suited for a 5th as big as ours so we went to Cthilkoot which was better but still tricky. Once unhooked we checked out what we wanted to do and ended up going to take a fast water taxi to Juneau tomorrow along with a bus tour and some free time in Juneau. One Wednesday we are going to take a Fish Cannery tour, look over Haines, try and get some pictures of Bald Eagles as this is really a big gathering area especially in late October and November when the get late spawning salmon due to springs keeping the river open. We also are going to take the Alaska Marine Ferry to Skagway on Thursday as it is $162.00 so it is a good deal as it is 329 miles around by road and that would be at least $100 diesel and we won't have to take the water taxi trip between Haines and Skagway to see the scenery as the ferry takes the same route and we will get a chance to check out the ferry to help us decide if we want to do the whole inland passage a couple of years from now as passengers with no vehicle up and back. E mail is working good so we will stay set up here until Thursday when we get ready to load on the ferry.
Day 72, Tuesday, August 21th
We went on the Fjord Express to Juneau today. It is the best charter trip we have taken of any during our 72 days on the road.and the cheapest. For $109 pp we had a 11 hour charter to Juneau and back to Haines. We seen at least 12 whales and some of the 12 we seen surface several times. We had one very close. THEY ARE HUGE HUMPBACK WHALES. We seen the spout, seen them float and seen them come up out of the water and go back down with their tail the last to disappear. Pictures just do not do justice to the sighting. These are huge animals weighing many, many ton! We seen beautiful scenery of glaciers, mountains, falls dropping down the mountain sides, scores of bald eagles, sea otter, dall porpoises, sea lions and harbor seals. The boat was a catamaran that traveled at 28 knots and handled the waves very well for a nice smooth ride. It was all glass enclosed so you could see well in comfort. I sat out on the back open, air deck as it was more comfortable. The boat had two 600 HP engines for a total of 1200 hp which were of course diesel. The dual screw props where 30 inches each in diameter. It was 65 feet long. We traveled the famous Lynn Canal the deepest and longest Fjord in the North American continent. It is over 2000 feet deep in places. We seen Eldred Rock and the first light house in Alaska.. At Juneau we toured Mendenhall Glacier, seen sockeye salmon spawning in a nearby stream and toured Juneau via bus. We then had 3 hours on our own in downtown Juneau. It was quite a sight with 5 huge tour boats docked. We docked in the small boat harbor about 15 miles north of Juneau in Auke Bay and the Alaska Marine Ferry docks about 2 miles north of their. The tour boats dock in the harbor right at Juneau. The tour boats bring thousands of people to town. There were people everywhere! The return trip went well and we traveled faster but did stop for some wildlife again. We definitely recommend this tour. We seen lots of tour boats on the way coming and going as well as fishing boats and freight boats all which were very interesting. We seen glacier after glacier on the tirip. You can take this trip from Skagway for $119.00 rather than Haines. A good option would be to do it from Skagway and not do the water taxi between Skagway and Haines as there is not that much to do in Haines other than the cannery tour, a bus tour of Haines and the Fort which you can see from the boat real well. I will say the scenery from Haines Jct. To Haines is very nice and the Marine Ferry over to Skagway is reasonable so doing it the way we are doing it is a good option and again we won't take the water taxi for $35 each as we will take the same route with the Ferry.
Anyway you get the most bang for your buck with this tour of any we have been on and you are virtually guaranteed to see whales which is not true of any other charter we took. The captain said he has yet to make the trip without seeing a whale. The Internet address is www.alaskafjordlines.com
Tomorrow if there is decent light we will try and get some telephoto pictures of Bald Eagles and we will take the cannery tour and look around Haines. Thursday we are going to get in the boarding lane very early and try and be up for an early loading so we have more time to look over the boat as the trip to Skagway is like 20 miles so it won't take very long. We want to check it out very thoroughly as we are seriously thinking of being passengers the year after next up to Alaska and back without taking our vehicle. The passenger rates are very reasonable and we would leave from Bellingham, WA and could got to Skagway or since we have been to Juneau we could end it at Juneau and turn around and come back from their.
Day 73, August 22 Wednesday
While eating breakfast I noticed and add in the Haines tourist paper that Radio Shack had an Internet Lounge and I remember seeing Radio Shack on the way in so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be a good deal! It is $2.00 for 15 minutes or $8.00 and hour so not bad. The price was the same if I used my Laptop or their computer. Obviously I wanted to use my computer so I could use my zip drive and upload from it or I could of done it from the hard drive for upload 3. This however meant I needed to use a phone card as they charged 25 cents a minute to use their line. If I would of had my files on CD ROM I think things would of flown fine using thier computers as they said they had an FTP program on some of their computers.
I re-did my dial up information for my sprint card since it had 480 minutes and I sure did not want to get part way thru an upload on run out of phone time. I put in the telephone number and pin number as previously I was using ATT phone cards and tried it and it "Bombed". I could not hear it well but figured out how to get the volume up and heard it say I did not have a proper pin number which really concerned me but tried it again and realized I was likely not pausing long enough. It still bombed and then found out I needed 1 to choose between English and Spanish and then a second 1 to choose between U.S and Internationsl! Fortunately the pause was long enough. I really breathed a sigh of relief when I connected to Rapidnet. I will need to practice and make a dialer for the sprint card and document the procedure. It took me 15 minutes to get ready to upload and the upload took one hour and 15 minutes for a total of 1.5 hours so that was $12.00 so I was pleased. I also got my E-mail and sent Ole a message to announce the new upload was up. I was disappointed that the dial up modification was gone when I brought it up again even though I had not rebooted. Again emphasizing I need to make a dial up connection for the Sprint card and also document it.
We then had a snack and got the salmon cannery tickets for 1 pm. It was an historic, running salmon line and was very informative! It took about 1 hour and 10 minutes. We then found out where we could pick rasberries by the mission trail by the Presbyterian chuch so we picked about 3 quarts and headed for the 5th and got some Bald Eagle pictures. I checked them on the computer and they were a little dark so I went back out and took some more. Given no sun I think they are pretty good. It sure is tough taking really good pictures with so little sun all the time here in Alaska and especially here in Southeast Alaska. I guess it rains about 90 inches a year here and they get lots of snow but not real cold as the harbor stays open.
I spent the evening working on the computer and Edith did the Rasberries and made jam. I am going to do some reading about the digital zoom on the Nikkon digital camera tonight. The camp host stopped and warned us about bears! Still fisherman on the way out fishing for Pink Salmon. We seen no one in line for the ferry at 10 am this morning so we will try and get there about 9:30 am to get on first so we have time to look around. I now need to continue work on upload 4.
Day 74 Thursday, August 23
We tore down our campsite and was waiting in line for the Alaska Marine Ferry to go to Skagway about 9:50 am. There was one fellow ahead of us in lane 11 and that was it in the whole lot. I took off the antennas which in the end I would not of had to as there was lots of clearance in the vehicle portion and the slight difference in length would not of mattered. I measured at 47 feet 8 inches so basically hitched I am 48 feet long. We ate dinner in the 5th and read about Skagway and the parks by Whitehorse and about Atlin, BC. Our plan worked and we were one of the first ones on the ferry. We got a good chance to check things out before we got underway. We spent most of our time on the top deck where you can sleep in the chairs in what is called the solarium which is heated and covered except it is open toward the back. One way of doing it is to sleep in your sleeping bag on the lounge chairs which will lay clear flat or incline a little or up to a normal lounge chair position. You can also get completely inside and sleep in padded chairs or there are some padded benches down one deck from the top. The food was expensive but not outrageous for Ak prices. It rides nice and smooth so it would be great for taking pictures and would handle rough water like nothing. We watched them do a lifeboat drill and I got a chance to peak in the top cabin where they control the boat.
It was about a one hour to Skagway and we were one of the first off the boat. In Skagway we got me general delivery letter from the post office from Arliss and then went to the visitors center and watched some narrated slides on the gold rush to Dawson City and a video on the Chilkoot trail and went to the trail center and got tickets for the 8:30 am White Pass train ride for the morning. We then went out to the trailhead by Dyrea and hiked down it a little ways and checked out the remains of the town and the slide cemetery. We then went back to town and found a dry site at a campground. I put things together again that I took apart for the ferry ride. Tonight I will have to work on my application for the Ghana Amateur Radio License.
Day 75, August 24 Friday
Today was the day for the train ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad up to White Pass. It is a very historic railroad being built about 1899 and being in use since. It hauled people and freight over the pass and was also used to haul in things for the Alcan Hwy and for other military things during the war. It did shut down for awhile in the 1980's but reopened in a few years with the advent of the cruise ships and has been doing great as a tourist train. They gave the history of many spots along the line, construction information and lots of gold rush information. You could see where the White Pass road was and toward the top you could see the actual path still imprinted in the ground after over 100 years! It was a thrilling view and I would recommend it. They highway goes on the other side of the canyon for aways but then they separate. Doing both is the best. We then dumped, filled up with water and headed out as I wanted to operate PSK and RTTY from Alaska and contact some of my friends on PSK. We got right up on top at White Pass on a turn off just before you go into Canada and set up the antenna and sent an e-mail the we would be operational until 0500z. I had send an e-mail out a couple of days ago telling everyone to be on the look out and said I would update but I could not connect from Skagway. We had some disturbed conditions an Skagway to stateside is shooting right into mile high mountains so it is a tough path and also I did not have room to put up the dipole and was using the bug catcher so anyway I could not connect. The boys were on looking the previous night but of course I could not get on. Anyway it worked out they got the message and got the word out and I worked N0ABE, AC0M, and WA0ORN and a number of other stations so I was pleased.! The longer we stayed the more foggy it got so we decided to just sleep right there. We had shut the refrigerator off right away as we were setting a quite and angle. It was weird walking around the 5th all the time at such a weird angle and also we did not have the slides out. We were sleeping down hill in bed!
Day 76 August 25, Saturday
We got up to some sunshine poking thru the fog and could see some of the surrounding mountains on White Pass. It it all rock, no trees and just a few low bushes. There are rocks of all sizes laying everywhere. It is quite a barren, rocky landscape. We tore down the radio gear. The 5th was a quite and angle so it was like walking around a rocking boat. We shut the refrigerator off right away yesterday when we parked. We did not run the slides out and I can tell you that I would not care to live in here very long without the slides being out. It just makes all the difference in the world for roominess and being relaxed. Based on our 75 days of experience of continuous living in the 5th we will leave some of our chairs home which we have stored on the couch. If we don't leave them home then we will figure out how to tie them on someplace outside.
We cleared the Canadian customs no problem, we had a nice visit with him. Down the road we found where the White Pass & Yukon Railroad crossed the Klondike Hwy and headed for Lake Bennett. There were lots of vehicles parked here who followed the tracks into Lake Bennett and we doing the Chilkoot Trail. My guess is they caught a shuttle to Skagway and out to Dreay and then will hike the Chilkoot to Bennett Lake and then hike out to this spot along the railroad bed. They could be doing it in reverse but most prefer the former as that is the way the stampeders mainly went. The scenery is very nice thru here and we went to Carcross and seen the far end of Lake Bennett that the stampeders sailed across and got into the Yukon. We seen the Carcross desert which is an area of all sand and spruce and then Emerald Lake which was very pretty and then on to the ALCAN and Wolf Creek Provincial park and on into Whitehorse. I got passport pictures for my Ghana Amateur Radio license application, photo copies made at the library and used the Internet to check my regular E mail and we got $100 changed into Canadian. We did some touring and found the fish ladder around the dam, miles canyon and what is left of Whitehorse Rapids after the dam is constructed. I hiked to the site of Canyon City. This is where the stampeders stopped and had their goods trammed around Miles Canyon and the Whitehorse Rapids as they could not take their boats through in most cases. Some did and lost everything and were killed . The RCMP put a stop to that and only approved pilots could go through. The stampeders took one of these through or walked around the obstacles. I am not sure what they did about their boats. I think the smaller ones could be hauled on the tram. The rest must of abandoned them and took the steamers the had to stop at the Rapids on to Dawson City. Seeing these things in my opinion is well worth the time. Whitehorse is laid out nice and is along the Yukon. Not many trees in town but definitely a modern, nice capital city for the Yukon but not very large. I think about 30,000 people live there. We headed for the trailer and had supper as we were hungry having skipped dinner. I made all the skeds and got and sent E-mail. We did met a N5AP in the CG and had a nice visit with him and his wife. He showed me his portable stuff. He uses a whip and also a pushup mast and runs it to his whip and clips it on and loads it all with the tuner if he wants a better antenna than the whip. He was very interested in how I did Winlink 2000 for E-mail. I did put up the six meter beam as there had been a flare but heard nothing and found I had high SWR. I don't know what that was about so will have to check it out. We had a good night sleep. We were concerned as our spot is pretty close to the highway but it turned out to not be bad.
Day 77 August 26 Sunday
We messed around until about 2 pm until we got underway doing various chores. Before we took off we got some groceries, did some laundry, filled up with diesel and got a tank of propane as our only time of any size for quite sometime is Prince Rupert, BC. We headed east and dropped the 5th of at Jakes Corner and took a trip to Atlin, BC which is called little alps. We seen Mt. Birch which is reportedly the highest mountain in a fresh water lake. It is an interesting town and is at the end of Atlin Lake which is about 60 miles long. Mt. Atlin is west of town and it has a long history as a gold town where gold was discovered about the same time as in Dawson City so some people changed plans and went there instead. It tuned out to be a good gold area and gold is still mined there today. In the early 1900's it turned into a big tourist town with boat rides on the lake, fishing and hunting. It dropped with the crash. People came via boat from Carcross, etc as there was no road until the U.S. Military built a road in the late 40's. Why I am not exactly sure. We then headed east again and are camped at Teslin Lake Provincial Camp ground after having a good schedule with Ole and Chris. I will try to talk to Curt tonight and also resent the gold rush travelogue as Ole has computer problems so this will give me a chance to fix some mistakes I made and send it over. Edith has a fire going. The bugs don't seem bad and we have a nice level spot. My directions are still messed up so hopefully tomorrow morning at sunrise I can get them straight or if that does not work at Watson Lake where they were correct when we went through in June.
Day 78 August 27th Monday
Rained a lot and kept Edith awake quite a bit but I slept good. We got up in good time and have adjusted to the hour time change now just two hours earlier than South Dakota where we have been 3 hours for nearly two months. I got my E-mail and had some huge messages and I could not get them all downloaded as the signal did not stay good long enough and they were not text so I was getting garbage I need to remind everyone that Winlink does not take attachments and is TEXT ONLY and should be reasonable in length. I need to let some of my friends know how to go in on the internet and delete these messages so I can get them cleared out so I can get my E-mail. This is essential or I could be out of commission for getting E-mail until I got to someplace where I could get on the Internet and do it. The only other way would be for one of the Winlink system ops to delete it for me and I don't know how to get this done and hope I don't need to trouble them. I called Arliss on the phone and he is going to send the information I need for the Ghana amateur radio license application on my normal Internet E-Mail address so that means I had to find an Internet connection at Watson Lake as that is the last decent size town before we get to Hyder, AK where I want to us the U.S. mail to send everything off for my license application. I was mixed up in direction again today so this is the 3rd day and very frustrating. I just can not get straightened out. I have a strong sense of direction so I watched the sun rise in the west today.
I came up with a plan. Before we got to the Cassier Hwy I let Edith drive and I shut my eyes so I could not see anything and had her drive to Watson Lake where we had been two months ago and where my directions were correct. She got to Watson Lake and pulled into a lot and turned around a couple of times and then went out on a street and back to the visitors center and parked just where we had two months ago. She did not tell me what she was doing. She said go ahead and open your eyes and WOW! My directions were perfectly correct. The sun was to the southwest as it was late afternoon. It is great to have my directions back. We went in the visitors center, they are great and told them we were back after 2 months. We asked about an Internet connection and they said the library was closed on Mondays. My heart dropped but then they told me about two CG that had pay phones with jacks so we went to the 5th and started charging the laptop battery. We then walked to the bank and got some Canadian money and checked out the phone and it looked great as it was out on the porch with a big roof over everything as it was raining and a wide railing to put the laptop on. I called my Mom from there and found the phone cards did work. We have had trouble someplaces. There was also two phones. We then brought the 5th over there and I went to hook up but had to walk back to the 5th as I forgot the telephone cord. I took me awhile to get the information in the dial up connection right. One problem was I missed a number in the pin the rest was to get a little more pause in a couple of places. I got connected and got my E-mail and the stuff from Arliss for the Ghana license application and then used the web and went in and deleted the messages that were clogging up my radio e-mail on winlink 2000. We then fueled up and headed for the Cassiar and south. We are at Boya Lake which is a beautiful site with the Cassiar Mt. around us. It is a turquoise lake and very, very neat and we have firewood.. These spots are all tricky to back a 30 foot camper but with Edith on the hand held on 440 we are getting pretty good. The radio is definitely the way to go with her on the handheld and me on the radio in the F-350. We put up the dipole and had a wonderful qso with Chris and earlier good results on the 6 pm sked. I cleaned the dirt out of the scissors jacks and greased them and also the slides and bolts on the antenna mast. Edith did the low cranberries into jam. It is tart but I like it and we will use it on pancakes in the morning. I did a lot of E-mail, worked on the travelogue and made notes about using the Internet on the road. We fixed Edith's frames for her glasses by soldering them. It was definitely an emergency road repair. We have one trailer tire that is about shot so we need to put a new one on in the morning. I also checked out the camp ground and talked to some people. The lady who collected the fees showed us some high bush cranberries, said the water was fine for drinking from the well and that along the Cassiar we could stay in the rest areas for free no problem.
Day 79 August 28 Tuesday
We got up about 7 am and Edith cooked some raspberry pancakes with Low Cranberry bush jam which was mostg excellent. I then changed a tire that was worn badly on one side and put on the new spare, sent and received E-mail and then took down the antenna and put the equipment and computer away whcih on Day 78 is getting a little old so am going to have to get the equipment on some shelves so it can be left set up all the time and travel OK. Edith got water and we dumped our garbage and were ready to go. The Cassiar is very good and the Cassiar Mountains are very pretty. We stopped at Jade City and had the neatest time. There is the original Jade City store on the east side and lots of people were stopping but there was a store under construction across the road to the west so we went over there which turned out to be the greatest. Thy had lots of raw jade cut in various sizes and shapes and huge rocks of jade weighing tons setting around. The couple there were probably in their upper 20's and helped the people who owned the place. They were off getting building materials. Over the course of a long conversation we found out that the original owner of the Princess Jade Mine and the store across the street were the parents of the couple starting this new store. The original owner started with $5,000 and some Jade rocks from the Mine and started building it up. He needed a roof on the building and the bank would not loan him the $10,000 he needed but a friend from close by on the last day came with a sack of money so he could pay for the materials that were being delivered that day. He made a lot of money selling things and about one year later the bank wanted to borrow a large sum of money from him as they needed money for a loan to the Cassiar Asbestos mine who needed to make payroll and he loaned it to them. They said his friends said he should not of since they treated him badly but he did not see it that way. They started in 1982. and sold it in around the mid- 90's. His daughter and her husband are now starting this new store and are making great progress. The couple were very nice and explained what was good and bad, showed us pictures of the mine which is way back in the mountains, explained how the raw jade is sent out to Vancouver or Japan or China and they typically set up a deal where they get back carved jade pieces of all sorts. Some of the big ones were worth $800.00. We have looked at a lot of Jade and their prices were very reasonable. He said there are about 6 Jade mines in BC and as far as he knew that was it in Canada. There might be a mine in Washington but he was not aware of others in the states. He said there is also a different type of Jade in Burma that is a little better. They also had hemitite and rosesite rock. I am not quite sure on the spelling. They live in the old town of Cassiar which is where the asbestos mine closed and the town is now pretty well deserted. He showed us pictures of that. They gave us coffee and she had made some great cookies that had chocolate and nuts in them and they were so good we asked for the recipe and she wrote it out on a card I had. We bought some jewelry and a piece of Jade with a picture painted on it. I got a rock that had two cuts on it and looked great. The showed us if you wipe them with a damp cloth, just let them dry and lacquer them they retain the deep jade look. The did this for us and helped us pick out some good Jade. They were so accommodating! While the lacquer was drying we went across the street and checked thing out and they had some nice jade but not a cheap. We then came back and bought some more raw cut jade so I could have one to set my tea cup on as a coaster. We left and when we got to the trailer I told Edith she should get a coaster so back we went for the third time and found out things close down in the winter and they go to Prince George. He is part owner in the mine and he told us some about the road and loading and hauling the Jade rocks. She was gone and pretty soon she came back and she had went to there camper they use in the day time and wrote the recipe for the cookies out on a sack as she had missed a couple of things. She also got us the web site and he gave Edith a special deal on a really nice slab of Jade for a coaster and I got a really nice rock to display very reasonable. It sells for $10 a pound raw and we got whole rocks for $10.00. It was a neat experience! We watched them cut some Jade and they showed us around the store under construction and what was going where. There is going to be a museum, café and store and they also sell fuel so it will be a great stop so by all means if you ever take the Cassiar stop at Jade City and go to the store on the west side.
We continued on and got some great scenery pictures. We heard some activity on .52 FM and made contact with KA4 from SC who was part of an Airstream caravan. There was also a second caravan that was coordinating on .52 but not sure who they were. Apparently there was a mix up and both groups were to go to the same campground which could not hold both so the one was frantically directing people to another camp site. The gravel part of the Cassiar is really great. It is the second best gravel road we have been on with the best being the road to Atlin. There is one stretch of road construction that had some smaller rocks on it. We have had a low tire since yesterday but after the construction section it was a little lower so when we got to the next services which are 70 to 100 miles apart we needed to fix it. We caught them at supper but they eventually showed up and fixed it. It cost a little over $46.00 Canadian which is just under $30.00 which is what I paid at Coldfoot so it is spendy to fix a tire in the boondocks! Oh well it is an adventure and the money is holding out way better than I ever dreamed so not to complain. At least I did not have to change it. I guess we have changed four trailer tires and two truck tires on the trip so far which sounds pretty bad but when you consider the kind and amount of terrible, gravel roads we have been on it really is not that bad. We do need two new trailer tires to replace our two spares as they both show some wire. Hopefully we can get them at Prince Rupert or Prince George at a reasonable price or at least get one. We had about another 9 miles of gravel and we are on oil and likely the last gravel other than construction that we will have to pull the 5th on this trip. Between the 5th and the F-350 we have traveled over 3000 miles of gravel!
We are at a rest area by Bell I about 80 miles from Hyder, AK where I need to get my Ghana license application of the Arliss and hopefully see some bear fishing for Salmon and also some great scenery. Then on to the seaport town of Prince Rupert and then west across BC to the Canadian Rockies. We seen 3 bear the last hour so we are now seen a total of 13 bears. Today we only met 70 cars on the Cassiar and most were BC or Yukon so most of the tourists are gone.
BTW if I did not mention it we discovered this morning that the little knife switch in the 5th battery slide had go hot. I have a 30 amp fuse on the 5th lead and also a 30 amp fuse in the lead to the radio equipment 12 vdc bus so theoretically I could be drawing 60 amp through the knife switch. I know we did not draw that much but it was enough to melt the plastic and it was mis-shapened so it did not make a real good connection. When we went to run the slide out the lights would go dim and there was not enough power to run the slide motor so I decided the best idea was to put it back to the original lug position until I get home and then put in a heavy duty knife switch that can handle 60 amps. It worked fine after the modification back to the original so I am sure it will get us home in good shape.
Day 80 August 29th Wednesday
Got on the road by a little after 8 am and it was foggy the first few miles but when we got up out of the river valley it cleared up. We ended up counting around 80 vehicles that we met for the Cassiar when we turned off to go to Stewart, BC/Hyder, Ak. The drive to Hyder is a steep downgrade and follows creeks and river pretty much west and southwest with very high mountains on all sides and a number of hanging glaciers. We stopped at the visitors center in Stewart, BC and found the Lions Campground was taken over either by the city or a private company and it was $14 a night to dry camp. Somehow I have problem paying somebody $14.00 to camp on a piece of gravel and that is it, no fire grate, no picnic table. The provincial parks are $8-$12 canadian and you get a fire grate, wood, picnic table and in both cases you would have use of toilets which for us is no benefit as we have ours in the 5th as well as a shower. I found out about the bear viewing and places to stay in Hyder also and the gal told me the mail went out of Hyder only on Thursday and Monday. WOW! I am blessed as that will give me today to get things finished and to the post office by tonight Wednesday and it will go out priority mail in the morning. This will get the Ghana application off about 1 month and 3 weeks ahead of when we arrive.
In Ghana to operate amateur radio.
We took the trailer into Hyder, AK, no U.S. customs going into Hyder, AK as there is no place to go other than leave by boat. Anyway there is none which kind of surprises me but I guess you have to go into the US someplace and clear customs elsewhere or enter another country. We spotted a sign in Hyder, AK offering free RV parking and sure enough right behind this store was a lot and the had benches you could use for tables or set stuff on and you could have fires in fire rings, no wood. Anyway the price was right so we parked the trailer which was easy as the lot was pretty level. I then went to the post office and confirmed what I was told and went back to the trailer and finished all the work on the application. It took about 1.5 hours as I triple checked everything. We then took the F-350 and went to the post office and mailed everything priority mail. Hyder is one long road about 1 mile long starting out running east west and then turning northwest/southeast. There are businesses hit and miss along with some houses along this 1 miles stretch. The town is surrounded by high moutains with some snow on them yet here in late August. I stopped at the Forest Service office and got more information on the bear viewing and they told me about Salmon glaceir and gave me some literature. In looking at it I could see the road went out about 20 miles to the north and crossed the AK border into Canada but there are no customs, you just have to report to customs at Steward/Hyder when you leave as there are Canadian customs. I wanted to check this out for Arliss W7XU who is looking for a place to operate meteors from AK back to the lower 48 from AK and needs to be as far south as possible to make it possilby work.
We went to the bear viewing platforms at Fish creek which is about 6 miles north of Hyder. Basically you take the main street road which is the ONLY road thru town and just keep going north, northwest on it and you come to the viewing area. The chum salmon were by the 100's spawning in the creek at it the viewing platform is high up along the creek and runs about 200 yards and the bears are used to it and people and they don't pay any attention to it or the people. It was not long and a small black bear comes meandering up the creek. It is young and inexperienced and just can not catch a fish but finally it does catch one. We seen 4 different bears and we seen 3 fish caught. Edith thinks see got a good picture of one of them coming out with the salmon in his mouth.. I sure hope so as I missed it with my digital. I did get one of the bear diving in the water after it. Most of the time they dive after them and catch them in there mouth. One time on sort of trapped one with its foot and mouth at the same time. Then something that really got the camera crew excited, two wolves showed up and I got some great pictures of them. It is quite a site. I suppose there were 200 people on the viewing platform and I suppose there were at least 25 cameras with huge lens on tripods. I seen the fellow I had met a Kluane Lake about a week ago. The huge lens are not so much for magnification as to let in light. You seen every camera, video camera known to man trying to get pictures. Anyway I still am amazed that the wolves came up stream in front of the people; although they did not come up by much more than the first couple 100 feet of the walk way but I was in the right place. You could hear some of the rapid fire cameras clicking away taking a frame a second picture.
After that things really slowed down so we decided to check out the road to Salmon Glacier for Arliss as a possible operating spot. The road was an Alaska road. Man the potholes were terrible, I mean terrible! Remember we have been on over 3000 miles of gravel so terrible is terrible. We climb north and I am looking at the GPS and I am thinking we may get on top and have a good shot to the lower 48 while still in Alaska but it did not happen. When we got to the border which just has a little marker along side the road and a cut strip in the trees we are looking into the side of a mountain about 10 feet away that goes straight up for at least another 1000 feet so you can forget this spot. Well we decide to go on to Salmon Glacier which turns out to be a great decision. It is a cliff hanging road but in BC it does not have many pot holes, just a few rocks but it it a cliff hanger! You have this mining road blasted out of the cliff on the side and many places it is caving off and falling into the canyon below. There of course is no guard rails, nothing and it is 1000's of feet straight down. Edith is getting much, much better. Two month ago she would of closed her eyes the whole way. Now she even looks right down the chute and can of puckers a little! Major progress! Anyway I tell you it even made an old tower climber like me take notice. Anyway as we climb we start to see Salmon Glacier and to tell you the truth after you have seen 100's of glaciers like we have it is nice but it is like seeing the mountains it is nice but until you see something different you don't get real excited. Well this Salmon glacier is terribly under publicized! I don't remember reading about it in any travelogue anyplace but it is by far the most fantastic glacier we have seen! WOW! It is HUGE! It just goes and goes and goes and you are up high so you can look down on part of it and look up at part of it at the same time as you are along side of it. When we finally got to the top it makes a turn and it goes way back that way and is even wider. It has great blue colors and not to much dirt showing. We got some fantastic pictures! We met our 7th vehicles of the 80 day trip from South Dakota on top in a jeep that they towed. They have a house in Sioux Falls and get their license plates there but are living in Wisconsin. We had a nice visit. We then came down and took more pictures. Not to far from the fish platform we found the SD vehicle stopped by a pickup that had the hood up and he wondered if we had a tow rope. I said I had one in the 5th and then he mentioned we were parked next to them in the campground. I said I would go get the tow rope and be back. Just as we were going to leave he yelled and said he had a nylon strap holding the fuel cans in back and we could try it. It was a nylon strap about 1.25" wide and 3/16" thick with hooks on both ends. I said we could try it but I don't think it will work. Would you believe it I slowly towed him for 8 miles back to the camp site with this strap. I will say it was not uphill but it was pot holes some places and when we went down hill he had to put on the brakes a few times and you could feel the nylon stretch. That is pulling a ½ ton chev. Diesel pickup. Amazing. Apparently he got some diesel with gas in it.
They gave us a bear book on the area to read which is very interesting and we headed back to the bear viewing area. As it was getting evening. We seen one grizzly catch a salmon and 3 black bears catch two and the inexperienced one did not get any so we now have seen a total of 6 chum salmon caught. The more experience bears walk real slow and then stand still and watch and when one gets to close they literally dive for it and catch it with their mouth and you can hear the crunch of the bones as they bite down. The sometimes hold it with their paw and eat it in the steam but most of the time walk of with it in the trees and eat it. We also seen some bald eagles flying and setting in the trees as they eat what the
bears don't. We seen quite a sight! An eagle dived on a black bear and actually spooked the bear. It made a pass at it with its claws out and buzzed the bear coming within about 1 foot of it. This was right below us, across the creek which is about 20 foot wide right here. The creek is about 1 foot to 3 foot deep, mostly a couple of foot deep. It is just loaded with spawning chum salmon right now. We then headed home and had some supper and fell into bed after a long day.
Day 81, Thursday, August 30th
It rained on and off all night so we slept in as we knew we would not be able to have enough light to get any good pictures of the bears. I talked to Rick next to us when some one dropped him of at their trailer as he had his pickup towed off early this morning over to Stewart. He had bad news! The mechanic said the injectors did not get diesel fuel and were ruined and to replace them would cost $2,000.00 and it was going to cost $600.00 to have it towed back home to Terrace which is on the way to Prince Rupert! His parents were going to come with their motor home to tow the trailer home. It was his parent pickup that he borrowed so he was really bummed! You know how it is when you borrow something and it breaks, bad news!
We decided to go down to the harbor and see what it would cost to take a charter down the Portland Canal to the Pacific Ocean and if there was anyplace one could set up a two meter station to try and work the lower 48 since it would not be possible from Hyder. I found a retired sailor that was basically passing time and had a great visit and he suggested a charter place and said it was about 90 miles down the Portland Canal (fjord) to the Pacific. He was very interested in the idea of a two meter radio operation from Alaska back to the lower 48 states. He suggested the Prince of Edward Is. which is close to the AK and BC boundary and should be an open shot to stateside. He has been told there are logging roads on the island and should be good places to land. There is along worn bridge out to an island and the docks for Hyder and boat ramp are on this island. He said things are really depressed in Hyder as fishing and logging just are not doing well. About all there is is tourism in the summer to see the bears at Fish Creek.
We then went into town and checked on the charter but he did not do it anymore but they suggested a couple of places in Stewart so we will check on that tomorrow. We then went to Fish Creek and the bear platform but it was rainy and over cast so not good light. There were some black bears so we got some pictures and it got a bit lighter so I decided to get my telephoto just in case it got brighter. When I got back a grizzly bear and her cub showed up so I took a bunch of shots knowing it was darker than it should. I later found a couple turned out real good. They could of used a bit more light but not bad. The rest were dark. A few without the telephoto taken first are OK also. We then came back to the 5th and our friends Rick and Carmin Snider were there and we had a great visit. Awhile later his parents showed up and the hitch was to low on the back of the motor home so I helped them with a pipe for an extension handle with a pipe wrench and some other tools. They ended up having to take the hitch to a shop in Steward and having a bolt pressed out. It turned out real reasonable as they charged him $10 Canadian for the labor and two hardened 3/4 inch bolts about 5 inches long. I told Rick his luck was changing to the better. I got a picture of all of them and gave the three kids a printed picture of my best bear picture. We are going to call them when we get to Terrace and they are going to show us around and get us lined up with her dad to buy a trailer tire. We may do some fishing as he has some holiday time left. He works in logging and things are slow right now with low prices. His parents thanked us profusely for all the help we had given there kids which made us feel good. Edith and I have a policy that we stop for everybody that is along the road and see what we can do to help and we absolutely refuse to take any money from anybody. It is a good policy.
They took off and I worked on my pictures, redid the mobile antenna that we had taken off the front in the morning as it was lose and flopping all over and I was concerned that the welding I had done at Fairbanks had broken but it had not but rather the threaded stud had worked lose. We got the pipe wrench out and vice grips and tightened as tight as we could and it is as good as new. I will check it on a regular basis and if it feels lose at all we will tighten it right away. Given we have the bad roads behind us and how tight we got it I think it will be OK! We had to caulk it and let it dry and will install it again in the morning. I could not get the E-mail with the vertical as again we are in a huge hole with high mountains all around, close by so we put up the dipole and was able to get and send a lot of E-mail at a good speed and made good contacts with AC0M, N0ABE and WB0MZB. Edith is baking bread and we had a great supper with a baked roast we got out of the freezer, potatoes baked with the meat and green beans and split and orange. We will have ice cream a bit later. The food is holding out great. We do still want to pick some high bush Cranberries! I am spending the evening working on the computer.
We noticed last night it did not get nearly as cold as it has been and even today with all the rain it is not to bad for temperature. BTW the sailor said last winter was great they only had 12 foot of snow so it really snows here. It is a great place in the summer the locals say; although for me to much rain! If it is sunshine in the morning we will stay and try and get some more bear pictures. According to Ricks Dad the forecast was cloudy and more rain for tomorrow. We will see! If it is rainy and cloudy we will take off for Terrace, BC and give Rich and Carmin a call as they insisted and it sounds like fun!
Day 82 August 31, Friday
It rained most of the night and all together it has rained more each day we have been here so there is getting to be a lot of water around. It looks like there will not be any sunshine today so there will be no chance for good lighting to try and get more bear pictures so we decided to pack up and be ready to go but to get some high bush cranberries first. We picked about 3 quarts and called it good. One of the residents walking by warned us about bears. We went through Canadian customs and as usually about the same questions. Jack's K7DZE advice as a retired customs official certainly has been working as the custom stops have been very routine and short.
We had an interesting visit with the fellow pumping our diesel in Stewart about the economy and the government. Apparently they had ten years of a very socialist party in control and they destroyed the economy. They have lost power but it is going to take awhile to get things turned around because in addition logging, fishing and mining is depressed now also. Fuel was pretty reasonable here about $1.75 a gallon for diesel. We headed out and did not meet many campers coming into Hyder so the tourist season is definitely wrapping up. We got back to the Cassiar and headed south to Kitwanga where we hit the Yellowhead Transcontinental highway but instead of going east we deadheaded west to Terrace to meet our new friends Rich and Carmin and we will park there and do day trips to Prince Rupert and the lava fields and check out things they might suggest.
We definitely noticed we were back in civilization when we got on the Yellowhead highway. It was a very pretty drive. We stopped at the visitors center and got some literature on Prince Rupert and also Prince George.and called Rick and Carmen. Rick said he would come and meet us and lead us in. Meanwhile we dumped our tanks there at the visitors center.
Rick lead us in and they have 10 acres in the bush out of town and have horses and a quad and a nice modular home and shop. They have been here about 3 years so you sure can see they have done a lot of work. We got parked, did some visiting, went and picked some rasberries and huckleberries on some.trails and then got back and got the three tires ready to be replaced in the morning. We had some tea and snacks and then Rick showed me what he uses for fishing tackle and then we went to the fishing spot on the Lakeaeska River flowing into the Skeena River. Earlier Chinook run and then Sockeye and now Humpie and the Coho are starting. He showed me a special lure he uses and it is just dynamite with the Humpie. He jigs with it and they just swarm after it! The females taste a lot better than the males as the male fish start to get a hump on their back as soon as they hit fresh water but the female does not. He also showed me what he uses for Coho. It is tricky to catch Coho and not have a Humpie hit your lure instead. He likes to smoke the Humpie salmon. You can catch two Humpie and one Coho. We cleaned the fish when we got back and looked at some great wildlife pictures he had taken. They have it lined up to go to his folks Sunday night and have some seafood and Edith is going to get some clam chouder recipies. I got my E-mail and demonstrated the radio for Rick. Lots of stateside and Russia was coming in like gangbusters!
It was raining like mad most of the time during the evening.
Day 83, September 1, Saturday
We got up about 7 am and went into Terrace with Rick and left my three trailer tires off to be replaced with new ones, got propane, got the smoker from his parents, found the banks that were normally open on Saturday morning were closed because of the three day week end as they celebrate Labor Day in Canada just like the U.S. We got back and got the tire back on the 5th and the other two are now our brand new spares so we have a lot better tires than we have had for a long time. Carmin's Dad gave us wholesale price on the tires so I got them very reasonable and they are a high quality tire, 8 ply. We also got our fishing tackle and BC fishing license for 8 days. The license fee was not so bad for out of BC resident but they have a $10 a day fee for many of the waterways. That is per waterway so if you were going to fish in more than one water way in a day it would be more than outrageous. As far as I am concerned $10 per on waterway per day is outrageous so I jut got 3 days worth. They are really losing a lot of business with these unreasonable prices. I guess the new party elected is talking about trying to get it changed for next year.
We then decided to go to the lava site up north of Terrace. It is the most recent lava flow in Canada occuring about 250 years ago. It is very nice scenery and an oil road all the way except for about a nine mile stretch under construction. We walked on a hiking trail thru some of the lava and drove through the park which is about 12 miles long. I have never seen anything like it! We also seen Vetter Falls. We visited an Indian village and took pictures of their totem poles, fish wheels and suspension foot bridge which was the only way into the town for a long time. The weather was much clearer there with some sunshine but as we headed back the rain set in again and the sun was gone. Back here in Terrace it is raining like mad. Rick and I worked on the fishing tackle. I worked on the computer and later hopefully the rain will let up a little and we can go fishing.
The rain did let up and we headed for the Lakelse River that flows into the Skeena and jigged for Humpie Salmon. Edith did all the fishing and hooked about 20 fish. As I mentioned earlier way over half of them caught are males because they are more aggressive. They are about 50/50 in the river but you catch a lot more of the males because of this. Everybody turns them loose because they just are not as good eating because of the humpe back they develop as soon as they enter fresh water. We also have to have the barb on the hook flattened so that makes it a lot more difficult to keep them hooked. With the licenses we had we could catch 8 fish. Edith ended up landing 4 females in the 4 to 5 pound area so these are excellent fish and we ended up with our 8 fish. We seen some bald eagles and normally they see bear but we did not see any tonight and we did not last night. We could not see the fish chasing the lure like last night as the water was muddy from all the rain. We filleted the fish and took the rib bones out and will freeze them with the skin on. When we get home and get a smoker we will unthaw them and marinate them is a salt brine, spice mixture for 24 hours and then smoke them using alder wood.
The Cohol are just starting but no one was having any success; probably because of all the mud in the water from the rain. Rick is smoking about six Humpie Salmon for us. He will have them soaking from about 18 hours as of tomorrow and then will smoke them about 12 hours in the hot smoker he borrowed from his dad. He has a wool c blanket to wrap around it.
Carmin cooked Chinese for use so we had a great supper and after dinner a great visit. We were able to show the boys the ham radio and got Russia and a number of states so they got a good idea of the range possible with ham radio. I got my E-mail and was glad to hear from our son Jack and about his hiking trip. The wind comes up from timp to time but the rain has tappered off for the time being.
Day 84 September 2, Sunday
We got up about 7:30 am and decided that toward noon we would go to Prince Rupert. It was a nice drive and we checked out Port Edward and the Historic Pacific Cannery and then on into Prince Rupert and checked out Cow Bay, the Ferry, the boat harbor and the town. We had a neat experience stopping at Java.cafe which was an Internet Café. We ordered cokes and paid for 30 minutes of Internet time. It is a 'YUPPIE' type place but nice tables to sit at with a terminal and printer on top and the CPU underneath and you can eat right there and Edith could sit at the table or right behind on a padded chair. They had Internet Explorer so we got our E-mail, did Internet Banking, printed out our account transacttions and checked out the Canadian dollar value. We acturally got more than a half hour and it cost $1.75 Canadian so pretty reasonable. The only think I could not figure out would be how to FTP unless there is a way to do with the browser so I need to check into that or have the browser on the CD ROM. The computer had a CD ROM and 3.5 inch floppy.
We then headed back for Terrace. The road is along the Skeena River is very pretty as it cuts thru the valley to the Pacific. The is a Fjord that comes right up to the highway quite aways east of Port Edward. There are many watefalls coming down the sides of the mountains and the tide shows up in the Skeena about 30 miles from the mouth. There was a lake called Rainbow Lake from a dam up in the mountains outside of Prince Rupert that was very nice. There are seals in the Skeena but we could not spot them. When we got back to Terrace we got some groceries at a discount store which is laid out a lot like Praire Market or Sam's and we found prices very reasonable. Diesel and propane are also reasonable here. We got a gift for Rick and Carmin and headed for the trailer where I worked on the computer and bringing our bank account up to date with the information from the printout from the Internet Bankings which works so good when one is one the road!
Rick came over and said it was time to go to supper to his parents place. WOW! WHAT AN EVENING! We had seafood, seafood, seafood, seafood. We had Red Snapper, Lobster, and a type of large shrimp and both styles of clam chouder soup. These were all seafood they had caught and processed themselves out of the ocean. The had two huge bowls of lobster and two huge bowls of the large shrimp and a large bowl of Red Snapper. I have never eaten so much seafood in my life. There was also an Octopus appetizer that was great. There were potatoes, salads, vegetables, spaggetti apple pie, pumpkin bars and I am sure other things. I just eat sea food and had apple pie for dessert. We also had some great tea. We met Ricks sister, Debbie and her husband Jeff and their boys. Ron and Mrs. Snider and eveyone were so interesting to visit with and we exchanged information about all kinds of topics in regards to Canada and the U.S. and BC and South Dakota. The evening just flew. They sent home some large shrimp with us and some pineapple. We gave Richard, Rick and Carmin's son a ride home with us as they had to pick up a friend of Richards for his birthday tomorrow as they did not have enough room in their pickup. We had a great visit with Richard on the way home and while getting fuel. When we got back Rick brought over the smoked salmon that was done and it smells wonderful. We put it in zip lock bags and in the refrigerator. Earlier we had put the fresh Pink Salmon in freezer bags and in the freezing compartment of the 5th refrigerator and we will smoke it when we get back to SD. Edith and I are just amazed at how wonderful these new friends have been to us! To them stopping and helping them was such a big deal and to us it was just one of those things you do when someone is having trouble along the road! These days in Terrace have definitely been a highlight of the trip and we have learned so much about life in Canada and met so many wonderful people in Rick and Carmins family! WOW! IT IS SO NEAT AND MAKES US FEEL SO HUMBLE TO HAVE SUCH FRIENDS. WE WISH THEM GOD"S BLESSING AS THEY CERTAINLY DESIRE IT! WHAT NICE PEOPLE!
Tomorrow it is time to start moving East as we were at the Pacific Ocean today at Prince Ruppert so now we are moving East on the Yellowhead Trans-continental highway across BC to the Canadian Rockies and then in to the state either thru Id or MT and on to Rapid City to see Jack and Gunner and get our mail and head for Salem and get our pole building built, work on the last two additions of the web page from our trip and get ready for the trip to Ghana and the fall contests. THIS RETIREMENT IS JUST UNBELIEVABLE HOW MUCH FUN WE ARE HAVING!
Day 85, September 3, Monday (LABOR DAY)
We got packed up to go about 10:00 a.m. I sent and got E-mail before tearing down. We gave Richard $10 for his birthday which he really appreciated and we gave a gift to Rick and Carmin and got a picture of all them on their door step and said good bye. It was a somber feeling to leave such wonderful people who were so wonderful to us for the short time we have known them. We have each others E-mail and mailing addresses so we can keep in touch. It has been such and interesting journey we have made and the wonderful friends we have made, the great conversations and the great times! There are some fantastic, wonderful people in this country and all this happened because we stopped to help them along the road and was able to do so! We headed off and as we went east the rain slowly lessened and from time to time we seen a little sunhine. We dumped at New Hazelton and headed on. We were surprised at the size of Smithers , BC about 30,000 people in the area. We started seeing some haying and cattle and a little small grain. This is the first farming we have seen in a long, long time!!! We went south of Burns Lake down to Lake Francois and Sandy Resort where Jack K7DZE stays and had a nice visit with Sheila who runs the resort with her husband. It is a great looking place to stay. We took some pictures of the resort, the lake and the BC ferry that crosses it. It was real rough so I can see what Jack meant about getting off the lake if the wind came up. We talked to the fellows on the 6 pm schedule, got diesel in Burns Lake and headed for Prince George. It was 9 pm schedule time when we were just west of town so we pulled of on a side road and had a great visit with Floyd and Curt and then headed into town. It was getting dark and we tried a campground for a no hook up site but the one they had was gone and they wanted $18 which is to much. We headed north and was going to a provincial park but it is 50 miles north and we are coming back so that is an extra 100 miles so at 10 mpg rather than 17 or 18 so that extra 7 or 8 mpg would amount to over 4 gallons more fuel or about $6.80 so we ended up finding a place for $16 and the Provincial Park is $12 so we saved about $2.80 but more importantly it is a lot easier to drive without the 5th wheel and it will be very secure here in the campground as the owner said he would watch it for us. We backed into the site in the dark with the radios and it took a couple of tries as one has to be almost perfect for it to still fit when the slides go out. Of course se were not level and it looked like it needed two blocks so we did that and I would of swore it was level. Anyway we unhooked and was starting to set up and seen we were not even close to level. I do not know what happened other than possibly I saw a shadow rather than the real bubble. Anyway we had to back under again, hook up again and back of the blocks and then pull up on just one set of blocks and now we were level Then unhook and start setting up all over. Not much fun in the dark and Edith was tired! I don't let it upset me and the lesson to be learned is to get the flashlight out. Hopefully it will be sunshine and no rain for our day trip up to Dawson Creek tomorrow. I was amazed to find Prince George is about 80,000 people. I had no idea it was this big!
Day 86, September 4th Tuesday
We got up about 7:30 am and Edith got things organized for our day trip to Fort St. James and Dawson Creek I changed the oil so that makes 15,000 miles since we left home as that is the 3rd oil change so we likley will be near 20,000 miles for the trip when we get back to Salem. We put on nearly 600 miles today so it was a long day. The scenery from here to about 100 miles south of Chitwynd, BC is pretty similiar to a lot we have seen. It would be like the Black Hills but with the mountains about ½ size. At that point we got into bigger mountains but they had what I would call folded rock patterns and were nearly barren. They were like those we seen in the first part of the trip on the ALCAN in BC but these were not nearly as high or massive. These are the tail end of the Rocky Mt. chain. One area on the pass reportedly gets about 40 feet of snow a year. It apparently is warm enough that is melts at various times as they don't have 40 foot setting on the ground at one time based on the way the buildings were constructed and the signs along the road, etc but that is a lot of snow. ChitWynd was a nice town and is the chain saw carving capital of the world and we seen some beautiful ones and Edith got a picture. We got some Canadian money at 1.534 exchange rate at the bank which was the best of the trip. We then went on to Fort St. James and crossed the Peace River right below a large dam and traveled up the river and found cows, hay, alfalfa and small grain on the bottom and a ways up the side of the river bottom which was a half mile to a couple of miles long. One spot was especially large and was called Bear Bottom which reminded me of the Missouri in its natural state and still like it is below Ft. Randall with Sunshine Bottom, etc. Ft. St. John is on the ALCAN and had lots of agriculture going on as well as logging and oil/gas. It looked very progressive. We then traveled down the ALCAN about 50 miles to Dawson Creek where the ALCAN begins and I was shocked that there were section lines, large open areas, lots of cattle, hay, small grain and some logging and oil/gas but definitely the most agriculture activity we have seen since the first part of our trip in Manitoba and Alberta. We met another ham in Dawson Creek and took each others pictures at the Mile ZERO marker for the ALCAN and also took one of what I think is the official marker downtown. We then headed toward Chitwynd on the other toad and it changed from some agriculture back to completely forest. We then headed back on the road we were on in the morning for Prince George. We had a wonderful contact with Chris, AC0M at 9 pm central and made it back to Prince George just as it got dark. We seen a bear number 28 and a moose number 19 of the trip. Tomorrow we head for the Canadian Rockies.
Day 87 September 5th Wednesday
We left Prince George and as we headed east on the Yellowhead Hwy 16 is got into more and bigger mountains and more trees. There was some haying, horses and cattle in small open areas before McBride. We got to McBride and got some Jasper and Baniff Park literature at the visitors center. We had some great crab sandwiches. We got some bread and lettuce at a store there for our crab sandwiches. Prices were very reasonable. We headed on and started into the rockies. We went into Mt. Robson Park which is very nice and as we rounded the corner there was Terry Fox Mountain with fresh snow sprinkled on it, makes you know fall is here. It gets down in the 40's every night and up to the low 60's during the day. Terry Fox who the mountain is named for in 1981 got cancer in his leg and had to have it amputated at 18 years of age. He seen all the suffering and was motivated to try and raise money for cancer research so he decided to run across Canada from the Atlantic back to BC his home with his artificial leg. He was in training for several months and raised money during that time. He then began his marathon running a marathon distance each day and made it about half way across Canada and the cancer had spread to his lungs and he died shortly thereafter at 22 years of age but he raised $25 million dollars for cancer research. He asked each Canadian to donate $1.00 for cancer research but before it was over Terry was being watched and admired for his courage all across the world. It was again to Edith and I a tribute to the wonderful people there are in this world. This is just two short days after our wonderful experience with our new friends Rich and Carmin and the children Richie and Shelby! The media would think we have lots of bad people. The truth is we have lots of wonderful people with a few bad ones. We are in Lucerne Provincial CG just ready to go into Alberta on the Yellowhead Hwy. 16. We again find the BC parks to be very, very nice. We got and sent E-mail and had good, loud reception at the 6 pm and 9 pm central time skeds. We had Crab for supper which was excellent. Tomorrow we will head for Jasper and tour the park. Likely parking the 5th and looking around with the F-350
Day 88 September 6th, Thursday
With the time change and packing up it got later than expected so we got to the Jasper National Park Entrance about 10:30 a.m. It seems hard to get a detailed map of Jasper and Baniff. I would suggest doing some research on the Internet and see if one could come up with a detailed map. The one in the tourist information places outside the parks are very helpful but not detailed enough for my liking. Even the one they give you at the gate is good on Camp Grounds BUT THE MAP IS LACKING IN DETAIL to get to the lakes and other sites! We ended up buying a map, they are in the gas stations and tourist shops and cost $5.95 Canadian. We got one that covered both Jasper and Baniff. The individual ones are a bit better in detail but of course you need to buy two maps then. LET ME WARN YOU THAT THE TOWNSITE OF JASPER was crowded in September way after the peak season so I can not imagine what it would be like during peak season. It is difficult to get around in with a 5th wheel and parking is a REAL PROBLEM. Corners are sharp and would give Class A's with a tote a terrible time as well. Class C's got by OK as well as pickup campers. My suggestion if you can pull it off is to go directly to a campground if you have a 5th or Class A and use just your pickup or toad. The Whistles CG is huge and right by Jasper so that would work well. You can then go to the information center. If you don't need hookups then Snaring River CG is where we stayed and is only about 6-8 miles north. You want to walk it as the paths and height is none to much for a big rig in spots but it is do able if you check it out first. It was $10,00 where Whistles is quite a bit more. There are others in the park but are quite aways from Jasper which is a good center point to work out of. We were going north first but were low on diesel so had to go to Jasper as that is about the only place to get fuel in the park. We decided to change plans and checked out Patrica and Pyramid Lakes which are right west of town and right below Pyramid Mt. They are very nice. There is a beach on the Southwest side of Pyramid that is sand and great picnic areas along that side. There is also an island on the lake you can take a bridge and go to. We then went south of Jasper and took the tram up Jasper Mountain. It was $38 for both of us and we both agreed worth the money. It is a good long ride and you can see the lakes around Jasper and the roads going all three ways so it really helps you get your feet on the ground as to what is what for roads and lakes in the immediate area. It spit some snow while we were up and it is totally barren on top! We then headed for Maligne Canyon and lake. The is what is called I believe Face Mountain that looks like a face and it is a beautiful drive in and out and on an oil road. I had a good contact with Roger at 6 pm in the canyon. We got some great shots of a bull moose and the lake is very nice. If one wanted to you could take a boat on the lake to an island. The clouds were rolling in and it was to late but if it is not to expensive I would recommend it or if you were spending lots of time in the park one could hike down along the lake. BTW if you plan to ge in the parks awhile be sure and investigate an annual pass!
From there we looked at Edith and Annette Lake which were a beautiful turquoise color and one had a sandy beach. We then headed back for camp and got our E-mail and no one was one the 9 pm sked. We decided to go to bed early so we could get up about 6:30 a.m. to see the rest of Jasper and then head south for Baniff since our park sticker for Jasper ran out at 4 pm and we had to be out of the camp site by 11 a.m. We plan to get near Lake Louise and spend at least a couple of days in Baniff and do day trips out of a campground. I did a bunch of research and we will try for Mosquito Creek CG right north of Lake Louise and from there we can go to Baniff, out eat to Yoho Natl. park and when we get ready to head south just take the 5th a few more miles and turn on the road that heads south. Great plan if it works.
Day 89 September 7th Friday
We head north and get some GREAT PICTURES OF THE MOUNTAINS REFLECTING in the LAKE. We have been trying for the whole trip and this is by far the best. I checked them out and they are great and one definitely will go up on the web page. The scenery going north is just as spectacuar. BTW Jasper is it for FUEL that we have seen! We went to Miette Hot Springs which is quite away's back on an oil road which is narrow and has some switch backs. The spring has been developed by the park and the hot water piped into three pools.. It cost $5.00 to swim so it would be a good deal. Since we have been in a couple of hot springs we passed but sure looked as neat and clean as any we have seen.
We then went back to the 5th and packed up and headed south. We took the tailer to the Edith Cavell trailer drop of lot band headed up to view the mountain. It has some severe switch backs andi is bumpy oil and narrow but in comparison to all we have been on pretty tame. We got some great photo's on the way up and Edith Cavell is a very pretty mountain and there is a glacier that hangs that is very nice and you can get some great pictures. If you have the time allow an hour to hike a circle path up along a mountainside trail and then down and on the flat going back to the parking lot. The path is paved for as far as we went so very nice. We then went back down and picked up the 5th and went on to Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls. Athabasca was definitely the nicest one and it would even be nicer if the river would of had more water in it, but both are definitely worthwhile seeing! We then headed south toward Baniff and the scenery is great. Toward the south end of Jasper getting ready to go into Baniff you start picking up more glaciers and more snow on the mountains. The Columbia Ice field center is a place where you can drive down to and walk on the glacier or you can take a bus out on the glacier that has big rubber tires on it. We have been on other glaciers so we passed but if you had not this would BE A GOOD SAFE PLACE TO DO IT. Nearly all glaciers are very, very dangerous to be around and you should not go on them!
As we got into the Baniff I believe the scenery got even prettier. It may just looked that way because of more snow on the mountains. Anyway it continued to be breath taking. Shortly after going into Baniff
we had the longest, steepest pull of the trip. We drive nearly all the time out of over-drive so that leave 3, 2 and 1 for the ranges in the automatic transmission. We shift to 2 at about 44 mph and it will stay in 2 until about 49 mph. We don't shift to 1 until about 20 mph so at that point you are really crawling with no power until you shift. If you get above about 24 mph you shift bact to 2 and it starts all over again if you are pulling hard. I found the secret is to just shift to 1 and watch the tach and keep it under 3000 rpm and one can manually shift between 1 and 2 if need be. Works much better than waiting for it to do automatically in a lot of situations. We also found it works a lot better on a really steep downgrade, and there were a couple of them, to just shift to 2. If it would be really steep I would use 1 so I have learned a lot about using the pickup today in the mountains with the 5th on the back.
About 4 pm we got to Mosquito Creek CG and found a nice spot and got set up. We then just took the truck and went back to Peyto Lake! WOW! IT IS BEAUTIFUL! It is not far off the road on a oil road to a parking area and then about 1/4 mile walk on a paved trail. It is quite a large lake and a beautiful turquoise color with Peyto Glacier up above it. Definitely I would rate a must see if you can hike. The trail in from the upper parking lot is much more level but you may not be able to leave your car there so someone might need to drop you off and pick you up from the lower lot. Back at CG we did our E-mail and made the 9 pm sked and worked on the travelogue and downloaded digital pictures. We had good sun today so some of the best pictures of the trip. You can't beat a little sun for good digital pictures. We then worked on tomorrows plans and a little on the web page.
Day 90, Sept 8th Saturday
We were up at 6:30 am and on the road to Lake Louise by 7:30 am We arrived at the parking lot a little after 8 am and it only had about 5 cars in it and there were no buses! We did not exactly know where the lake is but we seen Lake Louise Chateau on the way in and I was sure it was right on the lake so I knew the general direction. We headed down a trail and after about 100 years we could see the turquoise water thru the trees. There were not many people there. Those that were seem to be staying at the Chateau. I would say about half were Japanese. We have been amazed by the number of foreign tourists from Europe and Japan. At many locations here in Jasper and Banaff we estimate that only 40% are US and Canada and the rest foreign. We are told Banaff is almost all Japanese owned. Anyway the lake was calm and we could see beautiful reflections so we snapped pictures like mad! The sun would go behind the cloud or mountain from time to time. We walked along the north side of the lake and then went in the Chateau for a few minutes and got some more pictures. A slight breeze was coming up which rippled the water and spoiled the reflections. About 8:30 am the buses started arriving and we were invaded with foreign visitors of the buses. Mostly Japanese. We decided to leave but definitely if you go to Lake Louise get there early. If it is mid summer then earlier than us as it will get light a lot earlier. You need to be there in the morning so the sun is to your back and you get the reflection on the lake from the mountains on the three sides. We got the best reflections from the west and north end and not much from the south. The Chateau is on the east end and no mountains. Lake Louise is not real large. I'd say less than half mile wide and about 1.5 miles long. It is bigger than it looks due to the size of the mountains. Considering all the visits over the years they have done a wonderful job of maintaining it. BTW a little later in the day they take canoes out on the water which in my opinion spoils it also SO BE THERE EARLY!!!! WE WERE IMPRESSED!
We then went to Moraine Lake which is a turn of on the road to Lake Louise. It is about 9 miles in and a decent oil road. It is also a nice lake but the mountains don't reflect as well but definitely worth the trip!
We then headed south to Banaff and went to the south park entrance on HWY # 1 and then took Tunnel Mt. Road in Banaff and seen the Hoodoos which are some unusual shaped rocks We then went to downtown Banaff and it is one tourist shop after another, worse than Jasper and very tough to get around. Not for us and we were out of there! We took the Bow Valley Parkway back Lake Louise. It is a scenic route with a speed limit of 60 KM/Hr or about 40 mph. A lot of places the trees block the view but is is nice. We then went just north of Lake Louise and went west on Hwy 1 over into BC and went to Takakkaw Falls which is a very, very high falls It is worth the trip BUT BE CAREFUL!. It is about 10 miles north of Hwy 1 but not that far into BC. We almost got sideswiped by a huge bus. I just could not believe tour buses were taking the road as it said absolutely no travel trailers. He was talking and got over the center line and it had to quickly get over and I was on the cliff side so I really got close to the edge. Not a good deal. We came to a switch back that TOPS ANYTHING OF THE TRIP. I COULD NOT MAKE IT WITH THE F-350. I had to back up and reposition and then I could make it. I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW THE BUSES MADE IT HERE. ON THE WAY BACK WE SEEN HOW THEY DO IT. THEY PULL AHEAD AT THE BOTTOM IN A LITTLE EXTRA SPACE AND THEN BACK UP THE HILL, AGAIN INTO A LITTLE EXTRA SPACE AT THE HEAD OF THE SWITCH BACK AND THEN GO AHEAD. GOING DOWN IS JUST THE REVERSE, THEY PULL AHEAD INTO THE LITTLE SPACE AND BACK DOWN THE HILL! I NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT. THE HILL MUST BE AT LEAST 100 YARDS LONG THEY BACK UP/DOWN DEPENDING ON THE DIRECTION!
There are lots of good hikes all over all the Parks. The difficulty would be in determining which to take unless you want to spend weeks in the area as there are literally hundreds of trails. We certainly have been disappointed by the amount of wildlife we see. In the Black Hills and in the old days in the Yellowstone we seen lots of wildlife. We have seen very, very, very little in ALASKA or CANADA!
By and large the bears are little to fear if you use common sense but a few have gotten used to humans and try to live on human garbage and they are dangerous. A wild bear that has not got used to humans wants to get away from humans. A bear that does not seem alarmed by humans is one to be very careful of.
We got back to Lake Louise about 4:00 pm so we decide to go to Lake Louise one last time. All the parking lots were full, people were everyway, there were dozens of buses and the lake was very choppy and full of canoes and no way would there be any reflections and the sun shown right in your eyes from the west so even if it was smooth I doubt if the reflections would be much. SO AGAIN A VERY VALUABLE TIP IS SEE LAKE LOUISE AS EARLY IN THE DAY AS YOU CAN STAND TO GET UP AS LONG AS THE SUN IS UP!
We then headed for the 5th and spend and enjoyable evening looking at the map for the trip home and got the e-mail and got things set up and checked out for six meter grid square contacts.
Day 91 September 9th Sunday
We had a travel day going south out of Banaff into Kootenay National parks. The road is nice and scenic and has quite a few passing lanes. The downgrade into Radium Hot Springs is quite long and steep. Radium Hot Springs is a nice town with lots going on and the Hot Springs is right along the road and has a nice pool. Going south of there we immediately noticed it was very dry and much warmer. We must be hitting dry country. In talking to the locals they did not have much snow last winter or much rain this summer and temperatures have gotten to 100 degrees which is hot for here but we are west of the mountains so the climate is much drier. The Columbia Lake and the start of the Columbia River is a nice area and trees and mountains continue all the way to the US border and I am sure beyond. They just are not as rugged. A little less than the Black Hills but similiar. We eat steak at Cranbrook which is a good size town. I'd guess 30,000 or more. I got and sent E-mail in good shape. The six meter sked with Arliss W7XU was not a success. I could hear him but with my lower power he just could not get me.
Day 92 September 10th Monday
I got up at 5:30 am and ran the sked with Arliss and it was tough going again for him to hear me but we finally got a big meteor that went for a long time and complete with him and Holly and Nolan which was neat. We packed up quickly as we wanted to do the next grid square in 90 minutes. It was only about 12 miles to the US border and the stop only took about 1 minutes and we were on our way. All this area is wooded and mountainous. I was hard to figure how people made a living as it looked to only be forest products and not much else. As we go into the US we picked up some haying, irrigation and raising of landscape trees and some truck farming. There is a lot of population, resort areas and lakes south of Bonners Ferry. Again hard to know where the money comes from? I think retired income may be a major player. At Court D Alene (spelling) we found a stand that had great prices on sweet corn and fruit and garden produce. This is a very pretty area and the lake by the same name is very large. We got on I-90 and headed east. Again mountainous and basically mining and forestry both of which are suffering so it looked like the local economy's were really struggling. We arrived at K7CAI about mid afternoon but could not get ahold of him so we did some things in the 5th with the computer and checkedt the 10,000 Silver Dollar tourist place. We got ahold of Ozzie at 5 pm and he came down and had us follow him to his house and we parked across the street on a neighbors lot all set up for trailers. We don't need anything but will fill with water in the morning. IT WAS A GREAT SPOT. We had a great visit, used the INTERNET, coordinated our grid squares with Arliss and Holly on 20 meters and talked to Curt K7BI and seen their house, ham shack and garage and showed them our set up. We are going out to breakfast in the morning. We talked about coming back on our trip to the northwest summer after next and parking here for several days and doing day trips out of here. This is a nice area. The economy is struggling here because of the slump in timber and mining. It is mainly tourism!
Day 93, September 11th, Tuesday
We had a great breakfast with Ozzie and Kathy and a great visit, we thank them very much! We heard about the national tradegy at the fuel stopin Haugen, MT so we listened to the radio on and off all day. It sure was a shocking and sad thing.
Day 94, September 12, Wednesday
We traveled the rest away Mountana and ended at Belle Fouche, SD. Highway 212 was very
varied and we enjoyed it. The road keeps getting better it appears to us so we sure would
recommend it. The state of Mt. certainly is a large and varied state. We put on a number of grid
squares for Arliss, Holly and Nolan. For the last few days I really have had difficulty in
connecting for E-mail and especially today. I am suspecting a bad connection because I wiggle the
wiring between the TNC and the IC-746 and then things work. I should fix it but since we are
almost home I probably will put it off. We got into Belle Fouche, SD late and tired and it was
dark. We pulled into the truck stop on the west edge and pulled in the line of trucks and even
though the truck on one side was running we slept pretty well.
Day 95, September 13, ThursdayWe tried to give Arliss two grid squares on the line north of Belle Fouche but she could not hear us and had to leave so it was a bust. I hate defeat! We then went back to Belle Fouche and picked up the 5th wheel and head toward Rapid City. We stopped at the rest area north of Rapid City and ate breakfast, had a shower and called Jack at work and left a message we would meet him at work at noon hour. We got to Rapid City at noon and met Jack and spent the afternoon at his place going thru our first class mail. We watched TV and caught up on the September 11th attack. We had a good time with our grandson Gunner when he got home from pre school. We had a nice visit with Jack. We spent the night in the 5th along the street north of Jacks and headed out early to beat the traffic. We had a schedule with Holly, Arliss and Nolan at the grid just north of Wall. They were coming in good so we decided to go north and pick up DN85 and the next one east where the line is just north of Faith. We were able to make it easily and then headed home. It was a long trip and a lot of miles. It was cloudy, cool and rainy. We dumped at the rest area by Plankington, ate at McDonalds at Mitchell and by the time we backed in the drive way it had been dark awhile and we were tired. The yard looked a little shaggy and Mark Norris the deputy sheriff showed up as our neighbors were on the ball and called as they seen our activity and did not expect us home quite yet. Sam E. Hofer stopped over later and we thanked him. We were thankful to the Lord for safe journey and that everything was OK at home. Our total trip mileage was 18022 miles and we averaged 10 mpg for fuel mileage. It was quite an adventure. We certainly seen more than we had planned on in a shorter time than expected. The E-mail started out a bit shakey due to a software problem I got figured out. I would say the E-mail worked a lot better than expected from way up north. We appreciate very much Ole N0ABE for forwarding the messages. That was a life saver. Thanks to Del and Jan and Mike and Lana for letting us do the web uploads and great hospitality. We really appreciate our new friends Rick and Carmin from Terrace, BC and will have memories of many others we met along the way. A special thanks to Len for a great airplane ride, Joe and his wife for a great visit at Homer, Bob and his wife for a great visit at Kasiloff, Ozzie and Kathy in Mt., our guide and ham friend Mike Turner for the King Salmon, Hollis in Fairbanks, the hams in Kenai/Soldotna, and many others you have read about. I think we ended up seeing about 28 bear, 18 moose and many caribou and two wild musk ox. We were disappointed in the amount of wildlife we seen. The clouds and fog are a problem in seeing the mountains which to us is the greatest scenery in Alaska and especially Denali. We should of left the satellite dish home as the angle to the horizon was to low as we mainly camped in valleys along lakes or streams and also the forage of the trees blocked the signal. Ham radio worked better than expected for our schedules and a big thank you to the gang on 14.339 and to AC0M, N0ABE, WB0MZB, W0UD and my son Curt-K7BI for all the schedules. Also a big thank you to Vicky who was the only one who sent news from home and to others who sent e-mails which were so very much appreciated. We will continue the travelogue next summer when we go to Eastern Canada and New England likely leaving around July 1st and getting back about a month later in mid October. We will be headed south for awhile after Christmas but will not be doing a traveloge list although we will keep our own. I am undecided about a web page for this trip. There will be a web page next summer for sure. .
link to To Main Retirement page of Ed and Edith