Saturday, July 26, 2014

Back in The Dog House and Blackberries Revenge

Its been a very busy week or so since our last post.
We left Oroville, Wa and headed south into an area that was in the middle
of forest fires.  At one point the road (US 97) we were to take was closed but opened up
just in time to save us a detour.

Here is a link to an article about the fire we were headed towards.

As we headed south the smoke increased as the visibility decreased.

As we entered the town of Pateros we saw dozens of homes that had burned to the
ground just the day before.  The town had no water, or electricity.
You can see downed electrical lines in the photo below.

As we got south of town, we emerged from this smokey hell into a clear blue day.

Our destination was the KOA in Ellensburg Washington where we stayed for 4 days.
During that time we retrieved the Dog House from Jim & Kristi's place and moved from
the Montana into the DH.   The Monty is now residing at their Mountain Retreat.

Two days into our stay, our friends from Switzerland, Marcel, Micheala, and their
two young daughters, Francesca and Isabella arrived, rented and RV and met us at the KOA.

After our 4 days there we moved to the Timberlake Campground - 
a nice RV campground on the Columbia River in Washington.

We visited the Bonneville Dam, and got to see the large generators
that supply power to the Northwest.

A view of one of the spans of the dam discharging.
The Bonneville dam is actually 3 separate dams across the river with two
islands in between.

We also toured the fish ladder where you can see the fish migrating back
up river to spawn.

As we left the dam we stopped to take some photos and I spied these luscious
Blackberry Bushes that were loaded with delicious fruit.

Now the problem....
I was wearing shorts.
Blackberries are covered with thousands of very sharp thorns.
My sneaker got caught on a branch of berries and I started to stumble into the bramble...
So I ran thru the bushes to keep my balance.
The end result was my legs getting torn up quite nicely.

Nothing that a trip to the pharmacy, some packs of gauze, tape
and Hydrogen Peroxide can't handle however.

While my legs were bleeding and the ladies were wrapping them up in paper towels
little Isabella was like the Paparazzi and taking a bunch of photos.
It was pretty funny.

We then went to Multnomah Falls, with a 620' drop.

Later we all had dinner.
Michaela made a Bolonaise with Spaghetti.

After two days at Timberlake we packed up and headed south to Sisters, Oregon.
Traveling the Mt Hood Scenic Byway - here they come with Mt Ranier forming
a backdrop.

The highway rides up over the shoulder of Mt. Hood.

Our Campsite in Sisters is the Creekside Park owned by the city.
It is right in town and very convenient.
We are the far camper, then Marcel, then Ron on the right.

Today we spent some time in Sisters walking the streets and waiting for
Kate as she circulated in the gift shops.

Later in the day I and the girls took a dip in the stream 
that runs thru the campground.  The water was cool, clear, and refreshing.

Isabella strikes a pose for Kate.

Tomorrow we will do some more exploring of the Bend, Oregon area.
Bend is a beautiful progressive city with a wonderful dry climate.
The Deschutes River runs right thru town and serves a great recreational
resource for the residents.  It should make for some fun people watching tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Long & Winding Road

Our journey south the past few days has seen us
 visit 3 more stops along the way.

After the Shady Rest in Houston, BC our next stop was 5 1/2 hours and
 250+ miles down the road in Quesnel, BC.

Roberts Roost RV Park.

The smoke from nearby forest fires created a colorful sunset.

Roberts was nothing to write home about, but a place to spend the night.

And night is the correct word....  we now had darkness at night for sure.
John & Dave were parked next door and Ron was down the block.

Leaving Roberts Roost we traveled further south another 230 miles
and spent the night on the Thompson River at Juniper Beach Provincial Park.
The park is in a desert setting along Trans Canada Highway 1

Its a neat little campground with 30 sites tucked deep in a canyon on
the shore of the Thompson.

The water was quite cool but very refreshing in the 90 degree heat.
Fortunately this provincial park had 30amp hookups.

A rock jetty created a calm spot in the rushing river.

Behind our campsites was a desert Oasis.
This was the place where we said goodbye to John and Dave as they turned west
towards Seattle and we headed East and South towards central Washington.

We had a final cocktail hour with the whole group.

We reminisced about the amazing journey that we have
taken over the last 2 months.
Shared some stories and laughs...
talked about our favorite campgrounds...
counted up the varieties of wildlife that we have seen...
and lamented how fast it has all passed.

And then it was over.

But it is really never over...  
just transitioned to something new..
And we are now transitioning to a new path.

Ron & Maxine are still with us and we traveled another 200+ miles today
and crossed back into the US at Oroville, Washington.

We are staying at a nice little RV park on a River 
who's name I cannot spell or pronounce.   
It is very hot and our ac works overtime on the 30amp connections.

Behind our site is an inviting river but it is really not convenient for taking a dip so it
just flows by taunting me.

So we are now transitioning from our Alaskan Odyssey to our new US journeys.
In 3 days our friends from Switzerland will arrive and we will be a group of 11
(6 adults - 2 kids - 2 doodles and 1 Wannabe Doodle.)

We will spend the next 3 weeks or so at a slightly slower pace exploring 
some of the sights of the Great Pacific Northwest.

At some point I will do an Alaskan Recap and retrospective but to do
it justice I need to have the time to choose the words, the pictures, and the
narrative with the care and thought that it deserves.

It was an amazing time shared with some fine people.
Soon it will be time to plan the next one...
armed with the knowledge that I gained on this trip.

Thanks for riding along and sharing it with us.

Tell the Yukon that we'll be back!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Glacier, Grizzlies & A Stray Horsefly

Continuing South down the Cassiar Highway we spent Sunday and Monday
at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park in BC.

One indication that we were getting closer to Civilization was that
the road changed from un-lined.

To being marked with center stripe and shoulder stripes.

Leaving the permafrost behind, we also said good riddance to
potholes and frost heaves as the road conditions improved markedly.

There was no loss of beauty however.

Sunday around noon we rolled into Mezidian Lake.
This is John & Daves site down below by the water.

On Monday all of us except John piled into my truck and we drove down
to Stuart BC/Hyder, Ak to see the bears at Fish Creek.

The Salmon run starts around mid-July and when the Salmon show up
the Grizzlies are right behind.

The National Forest has installed viewing platforms to watch the Grizzlies feed.
Unfortunately the Salmon had not yet arrived so we did not get to see any bears.
Had there been fish, there would have been mothers teaching cubs how to fish,
and all sorts of bears chasing the Salmon in the shallow stream.

The day was not a loss however.   Fish Creek was still a beautiful stop, and I had one
more trick up my sleeve....

Salmon Glacier.
Below we are near the foot of the glacier.

Salmon Glacier is the 3rd largest in North America.
We took a 17 mile dirt road that climbed up about 1,000' or so
above the Glacier affording us magnificent views.

Below Ron is perched on a ledge.

Then Kate & I on that same ledge

The photographer becomes the photographed.

As the glacier carves its way down to the sea, it creates debris trails in the ice field.

The truck is poised for takeoff.

Truly a majestic view!

Now look closely at this picture.
We were being pestered by horseflies while up there and if
you look closely you can see on in front of Kates eye just as I snapped this photo.

Everywhere is a stream flowing down the mountainside.

And a snowcave to cool off.

This morning (Tuesday July 15) we headed another 200 miles south and finally completed
the Cassiar Highway.
Lest you think we had left Bear Country, this Grizzly ran right across the road
in front of us.   It then paralleled us as we drove slowly next to him.

He did not seem pleased with our presence.

The end of our day found us at the Shady Rest RV Park in Houston, BC.
It is a very pretty place with tons of flowers all over the park.

The lady checking us in was very friendly and efficient.

We are now back in cell service territory and our interactive map is updating
We are about 1/2 way thru BC and expect to be back in the States on Friday the 18th.

And...  its getting dark once again.   
Its currently 10:30pm and its almost dark out.
It seems so strange.   I don't like it.
Oh well.  Its dark so that means it must be time to go to bed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Boya Lake Provincial Park

Time to play a little catch up here.
We left Whitehorse enroute to Teslin Yukon.
It was only 2 1/2 hrs of travel time so after arriving at Teslin at 1030 we decided
to push on to our next nights stop and spend two nights instead.

I've been telling my fellow travelers about Boya Lake and how excited I was to visit there
and our first view of the lake confirmed my expectations.

But first we had to get there...

Our drive day turned out to be another one of those crystal clear, blue sky days
that has been our blessing for so much of this trip.

While at Teslin I just had to get this shot of the bridge one more time.

About 12 miles west of Watson Lake Yukon (remember the sign forest?)
we turned right and said goodbye to the Alaska Highway as we headed south
on the Cassier Highway.

The Cassier is a more remote highway that runs due south closer to the
Pacific Coast.   It is much less traveled and hence a smaller road.
Here is is barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass.

Along the way we saw more wildlife - including a black bear that was up in a tree.
We traveled south for about 87 km and arrived at Boya Lake, our home
for the next 2 days.

The view from our campsite

Boya lake has the most beautiful shades of blue and turquoise.
The colors are much like the Caribbean.
They come from the white sand and shells that cover the bottom of this crystal clear lake.

Another lake-view from our site.

And the view of our RV

Of course this is a remote area and there were no services of any kind.
After an evening campfire we retired to the quiet and the peaceful sounds
of the water gently lapping the shoreline.

In the morning we were greeted with the scent of pine and
the call of the Loons.

Mid morning we rented some canoes and set about 
on a high-seas adventure touring the lake and its many islands.

Just like in the Caribbean, the water color changes with depth.

Looking at our campsite from the water.
Ron & Maxine were to the left around the cove just beyond the picture.

While we paddled about we met a couple in a canoe with their
Golden Doodle Maggie.
Maggie loved the canoe and rode in the center.
She was quite the paddler.

Later that day I snapped this closer picture of Maggie going for a ride.

Meanwhile I went for a couple of swims.
The water was probably close in temperature to that in which
the Titanic sank but a little cool water never bothered me.
I just love to swim and when I see water I have to jump in.

I was not the only water dog however.
Our neighbor had a Weimaraner who just loved to swim and
swam circles around me.

While staying here it was time for me to clean up my act 
so I gave myself a haircut and a mustache trim.

Then once again it was time to move on.
Like so many places that we have visited on this trip it was a bittersweet departure.

The anticipation of new places down the road yet the feeling that we have not
fully digested all that our current locale has to provide.

I can only say again that this place is on the list for a return visit.
In the fall when the Aspen are golden and shimmering in the sun under
a clear blue sky this place just has to be magical.

On Saturday morning we headed about 150 miles south to Iskut, BC.
It was centrally located on the Cassier Highway for our next anticipated stop on Sunday.

Along the way we saw this Moose swimming across a lake.

It begs asking the question:
Why did the Moose swim across the lake?

Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side of the lake.

Further south, after a few hours of dodging potholes and frost heaves,
this view of the road and scenery was taken just prior to arriving at
our stop for the night.  The Mountain View RV Park.
The park was located down the hill near the lake.

Our three rigs side by side for the night.

Ron went fishing down by the lake and caught some whopper rainbows.
He set them all free.

We are now another 150 miles further south at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park.
The road has acquired a center line and has gotten wider.
Civilization is encroaching upon us.

Our trip from Whitehorse to here (about 615 miles)

A - Whitehorse
B -  Boya Lake
C  -   Iskut, BC
D - Meziadin Lk
Our current location has us positioned for a trip to Hyder, Alaska (yes Alaska again)
to Fish Creek to watch the Grizzly Bears feeding on the spawning Salmon.
Then a side trip to the Salmon Glacier.

But that is another days post.

When we leave here it is only about 150km or so and we will be back in Civilization.
Cell Phones and Wifi.  Right now it is being provided by the Provincial Park for $5.00cdn
for the length of our stay.  It is not super fast but a very fair price.

Its hard to imagine that a week from today we will be back in the US and our Alaska
Tour will be ended....   But that too is for another day.