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Author Topic: North to Alaska  (Read 63449 times)

Jeff

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North to Alaska
« on: June 02, 2007, 10:43:20 PM »
June 1, 2007

We are starting the second trip of the year, a summer in Alaska. We will stop in Whistler BC for a week with both of our daughters  and their families and then take the back door up to route 97 to Prince George and then into the Yukon and Alaska.
Our preparations have included buying a used spare tire for the m/h that we will carry on the roof of the CRV. I attached a screen mesh to the underside of the coach to protect the radiator and cooling fan as well as the radiator inlet on the side of the motorhome. We also have a film to apply to the front of the coach for rock protection.

After spending yesterday on last minute shopping we spent the night at the Cedars RV Park in Ferndale Washington, about 25 miles south of the Blaine border crossing. Jeff was up late talking to RV Forum friend Ron Ruward as Ron got permission from HughesNet to switch our Datastorm Internet Satellite from AMC 9(83W) to Horizons 1 (127W). 127W provides coverage up through Canada and Alaska which will be especially important as Verizon has dropped package cell service to Canada and each roaming minute is .69 cents! We will use our computer Skype phone as we did in Mexico to keep in touch until we reach cell service in Alaska.
We crossed into Canada at the truck crossing without incident at 10:30AM; no lines, a couple of very pleasant questions by the Canada Customs officer and we were on our way. We did stop in Vancouver for a couple of last minute purchases and then drove our first scenic drive of the trip up the coast to Squamish, BC and then into the mountains to Whistler.

We visited Whistler five years ago and at that time Canada had started construction on Route 99 in hopes of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, the second time Whistler would do so. Five years later the Olympic dream has come true and construction is going full steam ahead as they turn a winding 2 lane coastal highway into four lanes to handle the anticipated traffic in 2010.

The drive up Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay on the west end of North Vancouver to Squamish is twenty five miles of still waters surrounded by mountains rising up out of the sea. It takes concentration to keep your attention on the winding road and construction when around each bend is another breathtaking view of the Sound!

As you leave Squamish the road starts rising to the mountains surrounding Whistler. In an instant the "Sea to Sky Highway" changes the scenery from sea to mountain. Islands are replaced with heavily forested hills and rock faces as you climb the Coastal Mountains. Large lakes and waterfalls take the place of the waters of the Pacific.

We arrived in Whistler around four this afternoon, got set up and settled in for our week stay. We did some exploring in anticipation of the arrival tomorrow of Jami, Dan, Emily, and Kate from Hawaii. Sunday Laurie, Roger, Payton, and Ella will drive up from Seattle after catching an early flight out of Chicago
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 10:35:04 PM by Jeff Cousins »

Ron

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2007, 11:23:09 PM »
Sam & I wish you both a very pleasent and safe trip.  Looking forward  your travel logs and photos.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

ArdraF

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2007, 05:54:16 PM »
Me too!   ;)

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Wendy

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2007, 08:47:23 PM »
Have a great trip and keep sending pictures for those of us who will never make it there.

And if you should run into a group of Elk RVers traveling together, tell Andrea that we said hi.

Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
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Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2007, 11:58:30 PM »
Thanks everyone.

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2007, 01:03:32 AM »
Day 2-3 Whistler BC

I will try to make this a travelogue but when your 4 granddaughters arrive for the first time in 8 months for 2 and 6 months for the other two it is hard not to make it a family affair! We are settled in Whistler and having a wonderful time spoiling both sides of our family!

Originally named Lake Alta the town of Whistler lies on the Pemberton Trail that stretched from Pemberton BC down to the shores of Howe Sound at Squamish. The First Nation coastal tribes of Salish and the inland Lil'wat tribes met here to trade long before this part of the Pemberton Trail was populated in the late 1800's. The mountain that now hosts the Whistler/Blackcomb Ski Area was also originally know as Crown Mountain but was renamed because of the whistling sounds of the native whistling marmots that populate the area.

Today Whistler is an upscale year-round resort catering to all ages and interests. We shared gondolas this morning with late season skiers, mountain bikers riding the lower trails that have lost their snow for the season, and other retirees andfamilies riding the lifts for the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Our daughter Jami and SIL Dan also availed themselves of the Zip Lines to see the nature of the mountain this afternoon. These are cables ridden in harnesses attached for a 700-1000 foot ride across the lower slopes of the mountain Tommorrow Sue, daughter Laurie, and SIL Roger will do the same while grandpa helps babysit again.

Actually we are saving up for a male round of golf on the Jack Nicholas North Golf Club here in town. The green fees will get me even!

Tonight we enjoyed beautiful weather and grilled dinner to eat out here at our campsite in The Riverside RV Resort. Both daughters families are in cabins located abut 150 feet away so it is a beautiful location for us. The campground is located a mile or so north of the Whistler Village and is ideal for visting the Mountain. I even have a site that has good satellite access between the trees.

We will be here until Friday so lots of time to report on the rest of the local area.


ArdraF

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2007, 04:29:54 PM »
Jeff and Sue, that snow looks so nice and cool.  Think I'll go for a swim.  ;D

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2007, 01:52:09 AM »
Day 4-7 in Whistler, BC

After enjoying one great day of sunshine a NorthWest low arrived and has dumped rain on our gathering for the past two and a half days! We have had to be inventive to keep four graddaughters under age five entertained through this! Sue had brought crafts that entertained the older two and we all have gotton to  go to the jungle gym here at the campground whenever the rain let up. The cabins we rented do not have furniture to hold all of us so we have been primarily down in the village or here in the motorhome. Feeding the 4 kids, their parents, and Sue and I in the RV is indescribable!

We have found an indoor pool and rec center to challenge their energy and today finally improved to cloudy and cool. Time to get out the bubble solution and blow bubbles as well as other outdoor activities.

Jeff and SIL's Roger and Dan got in a late round of golf this afternoon at The Nicholas North Golf Resort next door to us. The course is named after the Golden Bear but today it was home to the black variety! The girls also saw a bear today near the athletic club after swimming. There are 52 Black Bears identified in the habitat surrounding Whistler so there are bear warnings everywhere!

Tommorrow morning will be time for sad goodbyes as both Jami's and Laurie's families are headed for Vancouver and Seattle respectively for the a day before flying home Sunday.

We will head north in the morning.

« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 01:55:33 AM by Jeff Cousins »

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2007, 09:58:37 PM »
Day 8 Ė On the Road Again

We planned our route through Whistler about a year ago when we invited the girls to meet us before we left for Alaska. Friends whom we asked said the drive up Rte 99 was a beautiful, scenic way to join Rte 97 up to Prince George. After driving the first leg from Whistler up through Pemberton to Lillooet we can add a few more adjectives to that description: steep, slow and winding!

As you leave Whistler you drive down the canyon to Pemberton and follow the river a few miles east to Lillooet Lake and then turn left to climb over the Cayoose Range of the Coastal Mountains on what was originally an old logging road. The climb up is steep and so is the ride down the east side into Lillooet with several 13% grades with sharp hairpin curves..

The reward for the three hour drive is truly spectacular scenery including snow pack, granite cliffs, beautiful high country meadows, and several lakes. We stopped for lunch up in the high country and the view out the windows made the food even more enjoyable.

We arrived at The Fraser Cove RV Park (PA) in Lillooet (Lill oo et) around 3:00PM and had plenty of time to enjoy a warm dry afternoon. The campground is located on the east banks of the Fraser River that is roaring and turbulent from the heavy spring runoff from melting snow and the rainy weather.

Lillooet is known as Mile Zero on the Gold Rush Trail up through British Columbia and The Yukon Territories to Alaska. The area was first surveyed by Simon Fraser in 1807 and except for a few fur traders largely ignored until the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858. At one time in the 1860ís Lillooet had 15,000 residents and was the largest settlement west of Chicago and North of Denver. First nation members trace their history in Lillooet back thousands of years. The area just upriver known as the fishing rocks allow them to wind dry salmon, a major factor in their diet. Several large reservations are in the area.

We roamed around town enjoying the first sunshine and mid 70 temperatures in a week and local points of interest including the Hanging Tree, the Suspension Bridge, and The Lillooet Museum including a large collection of jade rock that is native to the area. We finished with Chinese for dinner at the Totem Restaurant and headed back to the m/h and bed.

Tomorrow we follow the Gold Rush Trail towards Prince George.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 02:42:53 AM by Jeff Cousins »

baucom1

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2007, 11:43:08 PM »
Hello Jeff and Sue,

I followed you all the way through Mexico and am looking forward to following you throughout Alaska. Enjoy your trip and keep up the great posts. Travel safe.

Doug

Shayne

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2007, 11:52:26 PM »
Jeff   I have to 2nd the above statement/.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2007, 12:15:57 AM »
Day 9 & 10 Prince George, BC

We drove 310 miles yesterday, much longer than we had planned because it started raining shortly after leaving Lilliooet and we just kept going rather than get wet. We arrived in Prince George around 5:00PM after driving great roads all day. There was some road paving on Rte 99 for 20 miles but reduced crews working on Saturday did not slow us down much.

Rte 97 is the main north/south artery up through BC and several large communites of 10,000-50,000 provide all services we would find anywhere south of the border. The highway itself is a combination of 2-lane, 2-lane with passing lanes every few kilometers, and 4-lane divided highway so traffic moves very well and the cruise control stayed on.

The rain continued last night and we had showers and thunderstorms this afternoon so our excursion into Prince George involved lunch, a visit to the BC Visitors Bureau for travel info and a last trip to Costco for awhile. The weather has resulted in serious flooding west of Prince George on Rte 16 that has had the road closed for several days. Although the road is now open with one lane around a mudslide the communities are still struggling with the water damage so instead of traveling west on 16 to the Cassiar Highway and then north we will go northeast to Dawson Creek and follow the Alaska Highway north to join our planned route near Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory. We will use the Cassiar in August returning to Washington so our trip becomes a counterclockwise figure eight.

Prince George is a city 80,000-85,000 that bills itself as the Gateway to the North by Northwest. It seems quite far north (It is still light here at 10:30PM) but is 60 miles from the geographic center of British Columbia. It offers just about everything you could ask for in entertainment, shopping, vehicle service or repairs. We have enjoyed our stay but wouldn't mind a little more sunshine. At least on the Alaskan Coast they have t-shirts joking about the weather to wear as you commiserate about the rain!

We plan on arriving in Dawson Creek tomorrow and will probably spend a day or two before heading up the Alaska Highway.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 12:34:10 AM by Jeff Cousins »

Betty Brewer

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2007, 02:33:05 AM »
The rain continued last night and we had showers and thunderstorms this afternoon . At least on the Alaskan Coast they have t-shirts joking about the weather to wear as you commiserate about the rain!

Oh Jeff,

You have only just begun!   Way too early to notice weather.  Wait unti you are 4 months into it!
Betty
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see where we are

Ned

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2007, 06:43:10 AM »
Get your rain days now, you won't want them in AK.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

JerArdra

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2007, 08:59:11 AM »
Jeff,

Sure glad you have an FZ-50 camera.  You photos are great and you're doing a very good job as the photographer running the FZ-50.  GOOD JOB!!!

You'll especially need the super zoom in Alaska so remember if you set you camera to 5 MegaPixels resolution the maximum zoom becomes is 535 mm and the 5 Mega Pixel resolution is excellent for up to 8 X 10 prints.   

Both you and Sue...have fun.

JerryF
JerryF  ;D  ;D

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2007, 02:45:49 PM »
Thanks Jerry.

Ned and Bety:  Forecast is partly  cloudy in Dawson Creek. 8)

ArdraF

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2007, 03:42:40 PM »
Jeff,

You and Sue have acquired a very nice looking family.  Cute kids!  And, aren't you glad you have slideouts?  What would you have done without that extra room.  ;)

You're off to a good start.  Thanks for sharing with us all.

Safe travels,
ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2007, 02:11:11 AM »
Day 11 On to Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway

We awoke this morning to cloudy skies in Prince George but no more rain. Before leaving we stopped for fuel for the m/h for the first time since leaving Arlington Washington where we paid $1.91 per gallon two weeks ago. There is a Flying J truck stop on the south side of Prince George that has the lowest priced fuel in the area, $.873cdn per liter or $3.11usd per gallon which is very good news. Last year friends up here for the summer were paying over $4.00 for diesel fuel. We did pay over $4.00 for gas for the CRV yesterday, all 9 gallons!

The drive up to Dawson Creek is a nice one through rolling hills, lots of forests, and pretty lakes along the way. The number of RVís is astonishing as we get farther north. The rest area where we stopped for lunch was full as is the Mile 0 Campground here in Dawson Creek.

We met RV Forum friends Dave & Jeanette Reavis here this afternoon and had dinner together as well as coming back to the m/h for coffee afterwards. They leave in the morning for Ft Liard, Northwest Territories to include the NWT in he travels but I am sure we will see them again further north in Alaska.

We will spend tomorrow visiting Dawson Creek and gathering info on the Alaska Highway. Jeff also needs to replace a battery cable before heading out.


Tom

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2007, 02:29:49 AM »
Looks like the long daylight hours are keeping you awake late Jeff. Hope you have that spare tire locked.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

KodiakRV

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2007, 07:17:34 PM »
... Before leaving we stopped for fuel for the m/h for the first time since leaving Arlington Washington where we paid $1.91 per gallon two weeks ago...

You sure you don't mean $2.91?

Frank
Florida

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2007, 09:57:21 PM »
Tom:

It is six years old and if anyone wants it bad enough all they have to do is cut the strap.

Kodiak:

Yes, the fuel was 2.91 in Arlington. ::)

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2007, 11:03:06 PM »
Day 12 The Alaska Highway

We spent a quiet day in Dawson Creek including a visit to the Visitorís Center/Alaska Highway Museum at Mile 0 in town. The parking lot was full of both cars and pickups and RVís as everyone checked out our route for the next few days.

The demand for a road to Alaska started in the early 1900ís as local proponents promoted the impact of having such a road for the Northwest Territories and Alaska. Early supporters included Donald McDonald, a senior engineer with the Alaska Highway Commission and Slim Williams, a promoter who rode a dogsled team from Alaska to Washington to promote the State.

Accelerated by the beginning od WWII construction on the 1522 mile primitive road began in March of 1942 and was completed 8 months later including over 100 bridges. Over 16,000 US Army and US and Canadian civilians worked feverishly to complete the road before winter set in to provide supplies for the military installations defending Alaska and Northern Canada. Civilian contractors continued working on a permanent road that was completed in late 1943. The highway remained under the control of the US army until the end of WWII and then was handed over to the Canadian Army who restricted its use to military traffic for several years. Opened to the public in 1948 it was finally paved and became a major civilian route in the 1970s.

Our day here included last minute shopping, lunch downtown, having a chip fixed in the CRV windshield that we picked up driving around Prince George, and replacing a battery cable on the motorhome. Hopefully everything is ready for the trip up the highway to Alaska. 

The next stop will be Fort Nelson at Mile 282.7.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 11:24:46 PM by Jeff Cousins »

Shayne

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2007, 11:28:17 PM »
Thanks Jeff,  Now we can enjoy your journey as we have the others.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO

UK-RV

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2007, 12:52:26 PM »

Hi Jeff

Following your travels - cant believe it was just a year ago since we were there !!!!

I noticed on your datastorm users link that another datastorm user is close by (http://www.sheppardsjourneys.blogspot.com/), staying at Mile 0 CG but using WiFi - do you "users" tend to contact each other when your paths cross, to discuss routes, technology etc. ?

Just strikes me as a good way to meet new people thru a shared interest of both RVing and Datastorm.

Paul

Daisy

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2007, 07:14:02 PM »


Jeff and Sue:

Will enjoy your travels through Alaska as we have the others.  Interesting note on the Alaskan Hwy.  I believe it was built into a serviceable road in 18 months.  It is going to take that long to reconfiigure an intersection in Tucson.  Boy, have times changed.......  ::)


Daisy
Daisy.  Location:  Sometimes here, Sometimes there.  All depends on the mood of the moment!

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2007, 12:59:32 AM »
Thanks everyone.

Daisy it was named the 16th (?) Engineering marvel of the World for good reason.

I want to take a moment to thank Ron and Russ again. It is a marvel to sit here on the shores of Muncho Lake with a great sat signal off of 127W. ;D

Jeff

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2007, 01:06:48 AM »
Day 13 Muncho Lake

We are sitting on the shores of Muncho Lake enjoying a relaxing evening.

We started out very early this morning (for us), 7:00AM. Sue always gets up early but Jeff went to bed early and ended up at 5:30AM so with everything done we headed out for our first day on the Alaska Highway at 7:00AM.

Without really knowing what to expect the highway was a pleasant surprise. Traffic was light to moderate for the first 50 miles or so up to Fort St John but we mostly managed the speed limit of 100 kph, or 63mph. After Fort St John we were just about alone on the highway and hardly shut the speed control off for another 150 miles. After Ft Nelson we started encountering our very first minor frost damage but the road was still in very good shape and remained so until we climbed into the Northern Rockies where frost heaves became a little more common. As we came down onto Muncho Lake the highway has been rebuilt and it is smooth again.

Because of the early start and great traffic we kept driving and arrived here around 4:30PM here at Milemarker 442 for our first nightís stop. You never have to worry about driving after dark up here in the summer as it is 9:45PM and the sun has gone behind the ridge on the west side of the lake but has not set. It will still be light at 11:00PM tonight! We enjoyed dinner grilled out and a campfire before coming in around 9:00PM. Sue is reading and Jeff on the computer without a light on thanks to the daylight. (As I was finishing the post I noticed the sunset and ran back out for one more shot; it is 10:30PM here!)

We were on the lookout for wild animals all the way up today and although we saw lots of moose sign we had no luck until 15 miles south of Muncho when a cow got up out of the grass just as we went by. With a semi coming up behind us and no place to stop we did not get any photos. We also saw a grey fox, mountain sheep, and stone goat standing beside the highway. Sue will have to get quicker on the camera to capture more shots.

The scenery here is breathtaking! We have gone from miles of wooded rolling low country where we crossed several large rivers to our gradual climb into the Northern Rockies and back down to the lake.

Tomorrow we drive 32 miles up the highway to Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park for a dip in the warm water and then we will either stay there or go on to Watson Lake for the night.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 06:55:01 PM by Tom »

Ned

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2007, 06:20:16 AM »
I feel like we're doing the trip all over again.  You'll see a lot more of that moose sign than you will moose on the highway :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Barb

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2007, 07:29:26 AM »
Quote
I feel like we're doing the trip all over again

So do I.   We saw more moose in CA, than we did in AK.  Great trip reporting.  I got rid of my Milpost.  Now I wish I would of kept it.  Did you get your coupon book?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 08:04:21 AM by Barb »
Barb
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Ron from Big D

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Re: North to Alaska
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2007, 11:31:10 AM »
Great looking sunset Jeff.   Once again, we are enjoying your journal and photos.  Wish we were along.

Ron from Big D
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