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Author Topic: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"  (Read 56920 times)

SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2012, 12:59:28 AM »
Oh shoot, that's what Diane said! It wasn't on purpose......... old habits are hard to break I guess!  And you know that I'm not armed up here, so that's the face that keeps the homeless and the nut jobs from wanting to talk to me!
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 10:14:33 AM by SargeW »
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2012, 11:21:42 PM »
Today we made the trip from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, BC. That was after a slight delay to visit a Veterinarian in Dawson Creek with our pup Heidi. She had came down with a urinary tract infection and was having some potty problems. A few hours and few hundred dollars later and we were on our way.

We were down to about a half tank of fuel so I decided to hit a Flying J about 35 miles up the Alaskan highway in St John. It was the last one listed on the Alaskan highway for at least 250 miles. We arrived expecting a typical Flying J. Wrong! It was a run down chunk of concrete with a dumpy little building that was closed with a sign in the window that just said "sorry".  The pumps were still working with an automated credit card machine to use. The Frequent Fueler card was not recognized. They were selling diesel for $1.21 a Liter ($4.57 a US gal).  MPG on this leg of the trip was 9.1 MPG. 

The road was in pretty good shape on the way to Fort Nelson, save for some road construction on the way. We did hit some gravel spots on the highway but they were mostly short pieces, 30-50' long.  I was surprised at the lack of N/B traffic.  When we pulled into the Triple G campground it resembled many of the others in BC so far. This campground is fairly large though with over 130 sites. Another campground though with no circuit breaker on the post for your site though. Just a single 30 amp plug in.

I think that we will stay here for another day though before we head to Watson Lake in the Yukon province. 
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2012, 12:04:09 AM »
Well lots of stuff happened today. We left Fort Nelson for Watson Lake, which was just over a 300 mile drive. Unfortunately we left about the same time as several from a Caravan group. That added several rigs to the road and made for some slow travel for awhile as some folks can't maintain an even speed.  I considered fueling up before I left Fort Nelson, but I still had just under 3/4 of a tank, and felt pretty confident that I could gas up when I needed it (more on that later.)

Most of the road was pretty good except for a a few long stretches of dirt and gravel (more on that in a minute too).  There was some stretches that were just patches cut out that were a few car lengths long, but two stretches were very long. One was 10 miles of dirt and gravel and the other was about 15 miles long. There was not a lot of traffic fortunately, but we did pass a few large trucks that were hauling butt.  I moved over and slowed down, but it didn't make a whole  lot of difference.   We still got sprayed with dirt and gravel.

After a while the Caravan pulled off as they were going to Laird Hot Springs.  Traffic picked up and we moved along a little better. This part of the road was much more hilly with steep inclines and declines, and I observed that I was not going to get the same MPG that I had been getting on the flatter routes.  One thing that really increased was the wild life sightings. Several road signs advise to be aware of animals on the road, specifically bear, bison, moose, and wild horses.  Up to today we had seen a total of 2 black bears since entering Canada.  Today though past Laird Hot Springs we sat a total of 8 bear, 2 of which was a mother and her cub, and two heard of Bison, totaling nearly 75 in all. Plus several pairs of Bison grazing along the highway. 

As I drove I kept an eye out for fuel stops. The fuel gauge was dropping pretty steady and I had over 400 miles on this tank already.  I saw a sign advertising a lodge with a restaruant and fuel pumps called Northern Rockies Lodge. It was a pretty decent looking place so I pulled in and went to the pumps. One truck and TT had just pulled out and another was fueling as we pulled up.  I had Diane jump out and check the price on the pump as no signs displaying prices were displayed anywhere.  She came back and told me that the price for diesel was $1.99 a liter!  That comes out to $7.53 a gallon! I decided to drive on.  About 30 miles later I came upon another fuel stop and they likewise were selling fuel for $1.98 a liter, and they were sold out of diesel!  Watson Lake was still about 75 miles down the road and I knew I could make it if I had to, but it would be closer than I like to be.

HOT TIP! Fortunately I came upon a place called "Contact Creek" about 30 miles before Watson Lake. They actually had signs displaying their fuel prices. They were selling diesel for $1.38 a liter ($5.22 a gal).  That still was pricey, but a whole heck of a lot better than $7.53. I filled up and took just over 63 gallons of diesel.  It turned out that I paid about .07 per liter less than the best place in Watson Lake. So the hot tip is be full, or near full when you leave Fort Nelson, and wait until you get to Contact Creek to refuel.  The ones that get hosed are the trucks and SUV's pulling 5vers and TT's because they usually don't have the fuel capacity to make it to Contact Creek.  They wind up having to fuel at one of the earlier stops that are gauging the customers.   

None of the RV's parks in Watson Lake get rave reviews, as they all are similar in features and ambiance. We picked the "Downtown RV Park" as it is right in the heart of downtown Watson Lake, and convenient to several of the things we need, and want to see in the area.  The owner is a real hoot, and has quite a sense of humor. After parking in our piece of gravel, we started set up.  Then we had our next surprise.  Apparently when being passed by one of the big trucks flying by us in the long gravel stretches, one of them launched a rock and shattered the left rear window in the Jeep hardtop.  It was a center hit and the whole window, while still intact, was completely shattered with the impact point starting to lose chips of glass.  I scrounged up some cardboard and duct tape, and taped a piece of cardboard over both the outside and inside of the window.  Now I have to research and try to find out how I can get the window repaired and where. Unfortunately I don't see anyway to replace just the window, as the windows in the hard top do not have any rubber seals around them that would allow them to be replace.

Oh well. Just another part of the adventure I guess.......
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Marsha/CA

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2012, 12:25:33 AM »
Marty,

Sorry for the window issue.  Drats.  One word of caution, when you get to Haines Junction on Alaska 1 heading towards Tok, take it easy.  There are about 8-10 miles of really rough road full of pot holes, dirt and gravel.  Horrible road.  Also, only one gas station in Haines Junction and we passed it up. 

Ain't this fun?  We are now in Klume lake at Cottonwood RV Park with temps in the low 40s and rain.  The owners of the campground said they have lived here for 20 years during the summer season and it is the first time they have seen snow this low on the mountains this late in the season.

Just heard a dear older friend died this evening.  The rain isn't helping.

Plus we just got our Verizon e-bill of over $400.00.  They have charged us roaming fees.  When I talked to them and set up the Canada plan, they said there would be NO roaming fees.....aaarrrggg!  So now I have to tackle them.

Marsha~
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2012, 01:21:32 AM »
Thanks Marsha, let me know how the Verizon thing turns out.  Our Telus air card doesn't seem to be connecting here in Watson Lake. I have to see if there is a connection problem, or just no coverage.
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camperAL

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2012, 02:22:40 AM »
Greetings Sarge,

Thanks for posting all of your adventures here and on your blog!!!! I've enjoyed the photos. Sorry to hear about your window and hope you can find a cost effective fix.

Wondering how many miles total you'll be traveling?? I've not ever entertained traveling there before but perhaps in the future. While it sounds like untamed wilderness, the sites have to be amazing and perhaps more like it use to be in the lower states years back.

Stay safe and hope things run smoother than they have for you yesterday!
CamperAL (Indiana)
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Mr Bojangles

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2012, 05:53:39 AM »
Enjoying your reports and pictures..... please continue.
Thanks....,
SAFBVET    Jim O
28 trips out.... 88,000 Miles -S  to Key West, SW to Gulf...w to Texas, NW Oregon, across Canada.

indiana journey

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2012, 07:30:38 AM »
Sarge,
Enjoying your trip posts. We were last there in 2004. Have made the trip 3 times and have flown up and rented rv's 2 times. Your posts bring back many memories and makes us anxious to make "just one more trip " to Alaska. Seems like almost everyone that makes the trip is ready to return in just a short time.
Have fun,
Indiana Journey

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2012, 08:21:21 AM »
Your experience with the Watson Lake RV parks - and the highway gravel & flying stones - is pretty much typical of Yukon & Alaska. Get used to it!  ;)

There is probably a glass repair guy working in Tok for the summer - they get a lot of business! Whether he could do the Jeep is another question, though. You may have to wait for Anchorage where there are actual automotive glass shops, e.g Safeco and such. Call your insurer and ask for a referal along your route.
Gary
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Tom and Margi

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2012, 08:21:54 AM »
It's so much fun to read the travel tales you all are posting on the Forum.  I'm also enjoying your online blog.  Sorry to hear about your Jeep window.  Hope you find someone to fix it at a fair price.
 
Margi

ArdraF

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2012, 08:45:55 PM »
Marty, we had some mechanical work done in Tok that involved welding.  The fellow did a very good job at a reasonable price.  Hope you'll be as lucky as us!  Still enjoying your log.

ArdraF
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2012, 10:20:22 PM »
Thanks Ardra, I e-mailed a Jeep dealer in Whitehorse and am waiting to see if I hear back from them.
Marty--
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2012, 11:48:46 PM »
One other little story from my trip on the 30th. Darwin is alive and well in Canada. The first time was when we were climbing some mountain grades about half way to Watson Lake. We were pedal down pulling a pretty good grade at about 45 MPH approaching the crest of the grade with a blind curve to the right.  There was also a light rain falling making the roads just a little wet. As we rounded the curve I could see brake lights from a MH in front of us. To this point we had not been too close to any vehicle in front of us.  I got on the brakes in a hurry and slowed the rig in time, and as we pulled up we could see another rig in front of him also stopped.

At first I thought that maybe there had been a crash or something as I couldn't see the front of the line. The front vehicle was right at the crest of the hill and both MH's had their emergency flashers on.  Then the front MH started to pull to the left of the double yellow line, a risky maneuver at best.  Then the next MH did the same. As I pulled up I could see the source of the problem.  Some IDIOT pulling an Airstream trailer had pulled half way off the road, opened his door and was leaning out across the hood to photograph a bear grazing on the side of the road.  Not only was he endangering himself from oncoming traffic, he put all the people behind him in danger that had to cross over the line to pass him. 

Thinking that we had seen the heights of stupidity, we were wrong. About 50 miles later we were back out on the flat road and cruising and watching the scenery go by. I see in the distance a Motorhome pulling a toad had pulled off onto the shoulder and stopped.  It was not by much, but enough to be out of the traffic lane. As I got closer I could see someone standing on the opposite side of the road on the shoulder.  As I drive past I see the driver of the rig, an older guy probably 65 - 70 on the shoulder with a large camera on a tripod, taking a picture of a bear, not 50' away.  The wife was standing behind the MH with here hands on her hips.  I guess she was waiting to recover the camera after the bear, probably 400+ pounds finished eating the husband. 

Unbelievable. I guess some folks spend too much time watching Disney movies.  Signs and flyer's posted everywhere warn against stopping to view or photograph the wildlife.  Some folks just don't get it.     
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gmsboss1

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2012, 01:01:46 PM »
AHEM! >:(

Watch your language, especially around here,  buddy!  :o :( >:(

Quote
older guy probably 65 - 70
  Now that's just wrong!

Otherwise, really enjoying your trip reports! ;D

Don
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Mr Bojangles

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2012, 05:00:09 PM »
gmsboss1:
Boy....! i'm with you.
It was the way I seen (heard) it "older guy probably 65 - 70".
Aw...., but that's how I once looked at things.     I enjoy Sarge's reports too much to go beyond these words.
But....., I'm watching....,  eh reading I mean.
Ya hear that Sarge?
SAFBVET    Jim O
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Ned

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2012, 05:32:36 PM »
Those young whippersnappers just don't show any respect for their elders.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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SaltyAdventurer

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2012, 05:39:54 PM »
Sarge...your posts are great! We're planning our Alaska adventure for 2013...about 2 1/2 to 3 months. We have a Roadtrek RS Adventurous, so we won't have a toad with us....  You're a great writer. Keep up the good work. I'm holding my breath for each installment!  And have a ton of fun, too....SaltyAdventurer (Susan)
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SaltyAdventurer

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2012, 05:42:37 PM »
PS We live in Colorado and the young'uns and the geezers do the same dumb things here...they feed the bears and leave garbage out cuz they think it's "cute" when the bears come in to eat...really dumb!  Oh well, there will always be really stupid people in this world...
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
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Oldedit

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2012, 05:57:17 PM »
Sarge...your posts are great! We're planning our Alaska adventure for 2013...about 2 1/2 to 3 months. We have a Roadtrek RS Adventurous, so we won't have a toad with us....  You're a great writer. Keep up the good work. I'm holding my breath for each installment!  And have a ton of fun, too....SaltyAdventurer (Susan)

Have to "" DW. :)
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2012, 06:50:34 PM »
OOPS! Sorry folks! I guess I should have said "not a young guy".  I could almost understand some young dumb guy doing something like that.  Usually when we get a few miles on us, we get smarter.  But when a guy with a full head of snow white hair chooses to stand that close to a wild bear, I am just dumbfounded.  I have nothing but respect for all of those who have "been there, done that". 

That's the one place where the Japanese people have it all over us as a culture. The older generation is respected, even revered. We tend to look at them as over the hill. I strongly disagree.  >:(

I promise to do better! ;D
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #50 on: July 02, 2012, 08:07:58 PM »
Well, Downtown RV park in Watson Lake worked out OK.  Not a garden spot, but it was close to everything (stores, entertainment, and the Sign Post Forest).  It is one of the spots that the caravans use for a pit stop, so the place is busy. The guy that runs it is known as the "Crazy Scotsman". A local character I guess. The park itself is a dirt lot with hookups, but it works for what you need. Not ADA accessible though. There is nice park across the street with a large lake that has a walk way around the entire lake. It about 3km all the way around. Diane walked Heidi around it a few times and had no issues. 

We pulled out the same time as the Caravan again today. And as usual, the first part of the drive was spent hopscotching slower vehicles. I don't speed, just set the cruise at the posted limit, 100 kph (62 mph) but a lot of the Caravan folks are happy at 45 -50 mph.  The Caravan stopped at Teslin, so after we passed that spot it was free sailing.  The Telus aircard did not work at all in Watson Lake. There was plenty of cell signal available, but the aircard would not connect. The campground did have WiFi, but as usual, the more folks in the campground, the slower it got.  I was able to get Direct TV on the roof mounted dish. The elevation was down to 18 degrees though.

We pulled into Whitehorse about 2 PM and easily got a spot. We picked the Pioneer RV park due to reviews on the rvparkreviews web site. The park has diesel and gas available at pumps when you first pull in right across from the office. So I went to the pumps while Diane went to check us in. The diesel price was $1.33 liter ($5.03 US gal).  If you were staying in the park as we were going to, you got a .03 cent discount per liter so it came out to $4.92 a US gallon.  Then we paid for a 2 night's stay with Good Sam discount that came out to $27 a night for full hook ups.  Couldn't get Direct TV here though, the park sits low off of the road and is surrounded by tall trees.  The bathrooms and the laundry room has ADA accessible ramps. However there are about 1 1/2 thresholds to get over to get into the facility.  There are no ADA specific spaces in the RV park, but the ground is flat and hard packed gravel. 

The park also has a nice RV wash available with two spray wands and a wash brush. Three minutes is one Loonie (one Canadian dollar coin). It is on a cement pad with a nice wide drain in the center. I choose to spray down the rig and Jeep before we went to the site to blow the mud off. It had just finished raining so the rig was caked heavy. I didn't scrub it down, so now it just looks like it needs washed. Before it was horrible.  The cardboard tape job on the Jeep window is still holding up I was happy to see. There is a Jeep dealer here in Whitehorse that I am checking to see if they can to the window repair. If not I will wait until Alaska.  The Telus aircard is back working like a champ, so no campground WiFi to deal with here, although they do have it.

Sometimes we create our own problems, as I did recently. I wanted to re-calibrate our Power Gear hydraulic leveling system as it was not setting up level when I deployed the jacks at a campground. I downloaded the instructions from the Power Gear web site on how to do it. After going through the steps which were not difficult, I finished up only to learn that I did something and now the air bags were not dumping when the jacks were deployed. I fooled around with it, but could not get it working right. I sent an e-mail to Power Gear and they got back to me pretty quickly. They gave me the right combination of steps and now all is well with the levelers again. 

Here is a few pics of recent happenings. The sign post forest in Watson Lake was pretty cool. One of the signs that I did find was from LAPD, Newton Division where I did probation so many years ago. And the ill fated Jeep window.  And we aren't even in Alaska yet...
Marty--
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indiana journey

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #51 on: July 02, 2012, 08:37:15 PM »
Way back in 1994 we were on our way home from Alaska when we stopped in Whitehorse to gas up and get a few things. I filled the MH up with gas and went inside the station. At the counter they had the Anchorage Sunday paper. Since it was Tuesday, I thought I would pick one up and see what was going on in Anchorage and the rest of Alaska the previous week.I put the paper on the counter and the attendant rang  up @ $7.50. I told him that the gas was $37.50, not $7.50. He replied that the paper was $7.50. I told him to keep the paper and paid for the gas and left. I later learned that the paper had arrived that morning by airplane and the price was normal for Whitehorse.
Enjoy your adventure,
Indiana Journey

Marsha/CA

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #52 on: July 02, 2012, 08:46:33 PM »
Marty, take the time to go to the "Frantic Follies" show downtown at the Westmont (?) Hotel in Whitehorse.  Also right across the street on the same side of street is a fabulous restaurant called "Barb-Q and Salmon" something.  The walls are all metal.  Pricey but fantastic.

We are now in Tok, both Verizon and ATT air cards are working great.

Marsha~
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Jeff

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2012, 08:55:04 PM »
Marty:

We support Marsha's recommendations for the Follies and restaurant, we really enjoyed both.

SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #54 on: July 02, 2012, 09:36:28 PM »
Thanks for the heads up Marsha! We will check out the Follies to be sure. Glad to hear you are doing well, maybe we will cross paths here somewhere.....
Marty--
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SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #55 on: July 03, 2012, 08:46:11 PM »
You know, stuff just costs a lot in Canada. Diane went shopping a few days ago and bought some breakfast cereal.  $8 for a box of Raisin Bran! Holy crap, how do people afford to eat in this country?
Marty--
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Jeff

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #56 on: July 04, 2012, 10:26:05 AM »
When we went to Alaska the exchange rate was about 30% in our favor and that just about got prices in line with the US. (It killed our Canadian friends when they came south.)

SargeW

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #57 on: July 04, 2012, 10:42:45 AM »
It's almost dead even now. So an $8 box of cereal is $7.99........... :'(

But we have been saving money not eating out. Most of the stops so far have not had much to offer in that area to induce us to try them. But since we are in Whitehorse til Saturday getting the Jeep window repaired, we will be hitting a few local attractions. We stopped by a local brewery yesterday and sampled some of their creations. Wound up picking up a six pack for some home testing. ;D

It's rained for the last two days here though. I can't remember many 4th of July celebrations at home that were rained out!
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 10:49:12 AM by SargeW »
Marty--
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indiana journey

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #58 on: July 04, 2012, 03:23:55 PM »
Wife says that Alaska trip is the only one that it can rain on you every day and it is still fun.
Indiana Journey

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Re: ALASKA- "Just the facts, Ma'am"
« Reply #59 on: July 04, 2012, 03:50:57 PM »
     Sarge, did you look at the price of things in the grocery store when you were in Moab, It isn't so much that you're is in Canada as much as you are in a very isolated area, and they can charge what they want, you either pay or don't buy, thought you American understood the Free Market system.  We've paid anywhere from $3.00 to $5.50 for the same size box of Cherios, both north and south of the border.
     Don't overlook some of those local greasy spoons, many have better food than the high priced restaurants, and all are better than almost any chain.

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

 

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