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Author Topic: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo  (Read 4755 times)

Oldedit

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I just posted this on my blog and FaceBook (RealDonJohnson). Susan and I will posting in separate threads. She says she won't read my posts until after the trip. I'll read hers as we go. We're both retired publishers and journalists, and our observations and styles will be very different.

We've been talking about our great Alaska adventure for a couple of years and preparing for tomorrow's launch since last summer.
Of course, we're both reporters and researchers and readers.

And we've been doing our homework as well as our planning even though we won't remember every tiny detail we've read and won't follow every detail of Susan's 17-page (single-spaced) plan. Memories are short and planning is a learning experience.
 
We agree that when we break our plans and forget what we've read, we'll still be better off and having more fun than we would if we hadn't done our reading or planning.

So we both began our reading on RVForum.net. That's where many motorhome owners journal, blog and show pictures of their trips to Alaska from the lower 48.

Then we bought, read and still are using these guide books for RV and motorhome travelers:

1. The Milepost (2012 and 2013 editions) themilepost.com.

2. Travelers Guide to Alaskan Camping; Alaska and Yukon camping with RV or tent.

3. Guide to the Alaska Highway, 2nd ed., By Ron Dalby. www.menasharidge.com

4.  Brochures from TravelAlaska.com and NorthtoAlaska.com.

5. Pacific Northwest Camping Destinations; RV and car camping destinations in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, 3rd ed., by Mike and Terri Church. rollinghomes.com.

6. Alaska & Canada's Inside Passage Cruise Tour Guide. Coastal Tour Guides, publisher.

7. Frommer's Alaska 2011.

History books:

1. The Klondike Fever; the life and death of the last great gold rush, by Pierre Berton, 1958, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 457 pp. Fantastic, must read for history buffs.

2. Coming into the Country by John McPhee. 1997 (438 pp.)

A couple of coffee table books not worth mentioning.

Fictionalized history

1. Alaska by James Michner

2. Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis. Search web for the title to get to Amazon, Wikipedia coverage of this book. Quick, interesting read.

3. Call of the Wild, by Jack London, a Kondike gold rush survivor. I've downloaded from Amazon for $2.99 the Delphi complete works of Jack London and a collection of his short stories about Canada and Alaska. When the mood strikes me, I'll read some of the stories.

4. Tisha, a somewhat doctored autobiography of a teacher in Chicken, AK, as "told" to and embellished, etc., by Robert Specht, who didn't bother to put the teacher's name on the cover of the book. Interesting and entertaining, but online reviews make me take the story with a grain of salt.

5. Sitka, by Louis L'Amour.

Links:

Susan's planning thread: http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,59422.0.html

My thread on buying the 2013 Itasca Reyo; a product review, I guess. http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,55980.msg584119.html#msg584119

RvForum.net. Go to the message board, search Alaska. You'll know our contributions when you see them.
A YouTube tour of our 2013 Itasca Reyo (T model) motorhome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COuaZxL50Jw

My blog: Link in signature line.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 09:36:06 AM by Oldedit »
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 09:54:35 PM »
Well, our great Alaskan and Canadian adventure began this morning with a flooded kitchen sink in the house, not the RV, which is doing just fine.

So, after a couple visits from the plumber and a lot of last minute fiddling with the itinerary, we finally hit the road to Casper at 12:30 and hooked up the water at about 6 p.m.

The Reyo just pured along at about 16.5 mpg. We enjoyed a moderately strong tail wind at 66 to 69 mph in mostly 75 mph speed zones. Filled with a little over 17 gal at $3.88, or about $66 for the day's diesel guzzle.

We ran into about four construction zones on I-25. The big one is at I-25 and Santa Fe. The rest were 65 mph speed zones.

Traffic was heavy from just south of Denver to just north of Ft. Collins. Then it was open country and wonderful.

We stopped for about 40 minutes at Wyoming's new, beautiful  welcome center/museum, which is about four miles north of the Colorado border on I-25. In addition to reviewing a little Wyoming history, I picked up a bunch of brochures and "magazine" style promos as well as a great state map at the center. Don't miss this little gem.

Cruising Wyoming is better than passing the cows on I-80 in Nebraska. Traffic is light, views are broad and wonderful and it made me feel like I was in America, not NYC.

A nice surprise was that our satellite radio from Sirus/Xm worked when we turned it on. Too often, we have to call them on the phone to get a signal restored. So it was nice to  be able to listen to The Five and the Bret Bair Special Report on Fox News. As usual, we turned off Shep Smith. He specializes in hawking the news, not reporting it, imho.

The River RV park on the south side of Casper is only four years old. It's rest rooms and showers are big, beautiful and clean. But its Direct TV offers only Fox News and a few irrelevant channels. So I can't watch the Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers game. I'm watching delayed reports on the net.

Dinner was simple. Chicken sausage salad, cheese and pita and chit chat when we aren't reading.

As usual, Susan drove half the time and I drove half the time. At the moment, she's putting stuff away and rearranging.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 10:01:32 PM by Oldedit »
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2013, 02:18:47 AM »
Well, our great Alaskan and Canadian adventure began this morning with a flooded kitchen sink in the house, not the RV, which is doing just fine.


Welcome to the road!  RVing is full of adapting, problem-solving, and learning new ways of doing things.  I try to convince myself that all this thinking builds brain cells.  Hope to see you in Canada and/or Alaska. 

Dean & Linda
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 11:33:00 AM »
Sometimes we luck out.

First, Susan's hard work put us in a wonderful RV park, the Longhorn, in Du Bois, WY, only about 200 miles from our first stop in Casper.

Then, we scheduled yesterday as a day off the road. Worked out perfect. Susan turned on a tea kettle and our small electric heater on the same circuit. The GFI blew, but I had to test all the fuses, close and open circuit breaker, call Winnebago tech support and find an electrician. Tech support told me where the GFI isóbelow the fridge and that we probably had killed the GFI.

Turns out that Randy, who maintains the park while his wife Sue holds down the phones and store, is a "universal technician." I discovered this after trying to find an RV service person in Du Bois and Jackson. After about 90 minutes, we had a new GFI working and were back in business. Randy, ever the good RV park host, refused my money, but we insisted, and he got electrician's rates. He saved us from driving to Idaho Falls or Billings, MT, or hiring a local electrician. I held the flash light.

The drive to Du Boise, population  1,000, from Casper, was into the wind and climbing most of the way. Thus we got only 13.8 mpg at mostly 55 to 60 mph, compared with 16.5 mpg at 66 to 69 mph before a tailwind between Denver and Casper on Tuesday. Some of Wednesday lower mileage can be attributed to our futile drive around Casper looking for a grocery store. (I had bought the wrong dressing for coleslaw.)

Du Boise is a nice little rural tourist spot that's waiting until mid June for the season to begin. It's been in the 50s, with some rain. Not much to do or see in this kind of weather. But we're on the fast-flowing, rather muddy flood stage Wind River, watching the sky, fling rats (Geese and goslings) and deer.

I'm well into Jack London's "White Fang." Good tail. iPad makes it easy to read in the darker part of the coach.

Today, we're in for along, hard 65 mile trek Colter Bay, Wy.  I think we can do it.

LINKS:

http://www.thelonghornranch.com
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 11:39:56 AM by Oldedit »
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 11:42:39 AM »
Hey, Dean & Linda, hope you're taking the rain with you. Susan and I are discussing your phone experiences. The wind is calming down a bit at the moment here in DuBoise.

Don
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

jagnweiner

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 07:00:39 AM »

I'm well into Jack London's "White Fang." Good tail.


Was the pun intended?  ;)  Looking forward to following along with your adventures.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 03:27:02 PM »
Was the pun intended?  ;)  Looking forward to following along with your adventures.

LOL. Spelling error. DW says, I can say that "it left me warm and fuzzy."
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 03:27:31 PM »
While I understand that market conditions and regulations keep Verizon and AT &T, the two biggest carriers, from covering every RV Park and city in America, I don't understand how they can leave their millions of customers in the dark when they are out of those companies' service areas. Don't they understand that free roaming is critical to keeping the millions of their customers who travel happy when they're away from home?

Verizon phones, Mi-Fi don't connect in Colter Bay, WY, or West Yellowstone, MT. And the very nice West Yellowstone KOA isn't able to provide Internet connections via TengoInternet, a service used by many RV Parks. Even a dumpy little Cooke City, MT, motel we had to check into after a pass was closed due to snow had an unworkable internet as well as no Verizon.

In the Fairmont RV Park at Anaconda, MT, just west of Butte, we finally got a weak Verizon MIFI signal that we both could use.

All of this has been very frustrating for a political news junky like me who also is trying to keep up with the NBA playoffs and the stock, money and commodities markets.

When you have to do a hard shut down of your iPhones and Mi-Fi in Wyoming and Montana, you know that Verizon doesn't take care of rural America. RV park neighbors seem to be online with AT&T, and they say their phones get three bars. While three bars doesn't mean much, being able to make phone calls and get on the Internet does.

DW says, get used to it. You're in the boondocks and you're headed to Canada and Alaska where Internet connections will be just as bad. She's probably right.

Meanwhile, we're reading books and writing our journals. It's beautiful and peaceful here, and we'll enjoy it while we can.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 03:36:17 PM by Oldedit »
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 04:51:08 PM »

DW says, get used to it. You're in the boondocks and you're headed to Canada and Alaska where Internet connections will be just as bad. She's probably right.

Meanwhile, we're reading books and writing our journals. It's beautiful and peaceful here, and we'll enjoy it while we can.

Your wife is a wise woman.  It will get much worse before it gets better.  However, some of our most fun adventures came from using WiFi in cafes and libraries.  In fact, when we were in Homer, we met Old Believers while we were in the library, asked questions, joined the library so I could check out masters theses than had been written about them, and that sparked one of our favorite Alaskan adventures, going out to an Old Believer village, where we met Nina, a real character.   A different kind of fun awaits you!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wigpro

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    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 11:25:36 PM »
You will be happy!! Verizon Activated their network in Alaska and I am in Fairbanks with 4G service on my Verizon hot spot! You should have coverage in the big cities, I was even getting 3G around Denali.

Good Luck and if you get to Haines, stop in and say hello. I will be HERE until mid-July or so.

Enjoy,

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

NWesterner

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 10:46:07 AM »
Just registered and reviewed your posts. Have been following Susan's. Great binocular view of your odyssey. Working title: Bears, Bison, Bugs, and Bugaboos.

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2013, 07:03:46 PM »
Thanks, Jim.

NWesterner. Do you play Scrabble? :)
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2013, 10:07:23 PM »
While DW (SaltyAdventurer) has been writing her Alaska trip journal almost daily, I've spent most of my time online following and commenting and blogging on Obama's scandals and the NBA playoffs.

I am a news and basketball junky.

But when you're driving and riding shotgun across miles of pastures, forests and mountains, you have time to just sit there and enjoy the open spaces and incredible vistas.

From Ft. Collins to where I'm sitting in Muncho Lake, BC, which is a business that offers a lodge, fuel and a small lakeside RV Park, I have felt that I have been enjoying the rural North America that feeds our bodies and our souls.

This trip has felt like a grand adventure from Ft. Collins, CO,  the wonderful Longhorn Ranch Lodge & RV park in Dubois, WY, to the Colter Bay National Park  RV camp and Yellowstone to just a few hundred miles south of the Yukon Territory.

For me, the best stretch was Route 93 from Banff to Jasper, AB. We were surrounded by high mountains, glaciers and one great picture after another. But the light was terrible so I didn't take a shot.

Our worst driving experience was in Calgary where people work on the north and south ends of town and live on the opposite ones. We joined the evening rush hour, which, as DW says in her journal, made drivers in Denver, Chicago, LA and NYC look sane. (She quoted me, but don't tell her I said so. :))

While we've been to Yellowstone a few times, this is the first time we have had the time to travel the park North to South and West to East and back West again. 

About 20 years ago, we drove through the devastation left by Yellowstone's 1988 forest fires. Today, many of the burned out areas are thick with pine tree saplings, others are still pretty bleak and bare.

Along the way, we saw a few deer, Elk and several large heards of bison and their spring calves, as DW noted in her journal. I got some pretty good photos. One of these days I'll upload them to iPhoto and try to post them.

Driving through Yellowstone, Glacier National Park and most of the north, of course, is all about driving through miles and miles of tree tunnels. Most trees are green. A few are brown or gray.

It is too early for many flowers. And wildlife sitings have been mighty sparse outside of Yellowstone. Supposedly we're in wildlife country, but only a black bear and a moose today.

One big surprise is that we still can tune into Fox News, CNBC and CNN on our Sirus XM satellite radio. It only loses its signal when we're in deep canyons or under very heavy rain clouds.

Another is that while WIFI connections at RV parks range from zip to fantastic and our Verizon MIFI can't be used in the Yellowstone Area or any of Canada, we've had pretty good RV park WI Fi connections and haven't had to use our new $150 Telus internet card yet.

So north of the Yellowstone area, on most days we've been able to spend hours surfing the Internet and posting on FaceBook, twitter, my blog at www.businessword.com and on political sites that I follow (wsj.com, Politico.com, DaiyCaller.com, etc.)

Susan's hard work and planning are paying off. She has put us in great RV Parks every night. I'll write more about the parks we've used in RVForum.net's RV parks review section.

Because a snow storm closed the road between East Yellowstone Park and Red Lodge, MT, we had to stay in a fairly dumpy little motel in Cooke City, WY, which is just outside the park. If we had to do it again, despite the late hour, I probably would have driven on to Mammoth Springs, WY, which has better motels and, maybe, even an RV park.
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2013, 10:14:46 PM »
June 15, 2013.

On our trip to Canada and Alaska, our Itasca Reyo (Via under the Winnebago label) continues to average about 15 mpg. The unit just purrs along, is very comfortable as long as you can live with your spouse in a small space 24/7 and like mostly simple meals that can be prepared on a 2-burner propane gas stove, a micro wave oven, a propane gas grill or a small smoothie shaker/glass.

We're in Muncho Lake, BC, which is a lodge and a mini RV park on the shore of Lake Munch, which is 7.5 miles long and close to 3,000 miles from the south central side of metro-Denver. Diesel prices have ranged from $3.88 in Colorado and most of Wyoming and Montana to about $7.55 in Pink Mountan, BC, which is the only place between Dawson Creek and Ft. Nelson, BC, that you can buy fuel.

While we always have planned to top off the fuel tank when we were at half full, we decided we would not  top off at 7/8 full in Dawson Creek. That was a mistake. So we added three gallons at Pink Mountain. That left us with four gallons by the time we refueled in Ft. Nelson at Fas Gas, which, we later learned, isn't the lowest-priced gas station in Ft. Nelson.

Lesson learned. Top off at every stop just to make sure you have a cushion. The Reyo is on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis and takes 26.6 gallons of fuel. The reserve light comes on when we're down to 5.3 gallons.
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2013, 10:58:41 PM »
June 15, 2013.

On our trip to Canada and Alaska, our Itasca Reyo (Via under the Winnebago label) continues to average about 15 mpg.

Color us green with envy--we only average 8 mpg, but we do have a 100-gallon tank, so we don't have to worry quite as much.


fixed quote
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 11:44:55 PM by Marsha/CA »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2013, 06:48:47 PM »
Color us green with envy--we only average 8 mpg, but we do have a 100-gallon tank, so we don't have to worry quite as much.


fixed quote

Over our some 4,300 miles of driving to Anchorage, we've probably averaged 15.5 mpg. Because speed limits are in the 55 to 60 mph range most of the way, we've seldom driven over 60 and often been happy at 55. At those speeds, we've done 17 to 18 and even 20 mpg. But when we slowed to 10 to 25 on the Denali Highway, mileage fell to about 13.8, which is what we got in strong headwinds while climbing mountains. Over our first 10,000 miles in the last 11 months, the message center claims we've averaged 15.1 mpg. Take that with a tiny grain of salt.

2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2013, 06:50:29 PM »
Itasca Reyo windshield washers and wipers

During our 4,000-mile trip to Alaska, we noticed that one windshield washer wasn't putting fluid on the windshield while the other one was.

Problem: The hose that leads from the fluid connection just below the wiper had broken. This kept fluid from going up the washer blade holder to a nozzle that is designed to spray the washer fluid on the windshield. After less than a year, the hose is brittle and breaks when you lift the blade to clean the windshield.

That 's a big Winnebago design problem, I think.

Temporary solution (pun intended): Duck tape (Black). Wrap it around the break in the hose so that the windshield wiper and washer works as designed. Before we fixed the broken wiper, I broke the other one by lifting the wiper to see what would happen. Both work now.

When we can get a Verizon signal somewhere between Cantwell, AK, and Denali National Park, I'll call the dealer and put in a warranty claim before the one-year anniversary of our purchase of our Reyo.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 07:07:37 PM by Oldedit »
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

Oldedit

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Re: Our '13 great Adventure to Canada, Alaska in our Itasca Reyo
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2013, 07:01:59 PM »
What driving to Alaska via Montana and Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, Canada is like

We're enjoying our trip of our lives to Alaska from Colorado via Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon Territory.

But at the end of our fourth week out of an anticipated 16 weeks on this trip, we're thinking that driving through thousands of miles of tree tunnels on roller coaster roads isn't what we want to do again.

As gluttons for punishment, we kinda like sitting and staring at mile after mile of blacktop, looking at tall trees on both sides of the road and hoping to see a bear, moose, caribou, elk or deer or two or three. Some people have done this several times. Not us.

The vastness of the North American continent is amazing. The empty roads are wonderful as long as the tank is at least half full. While the scenery feeds the soul, the light isn't always picture perfect, and the urge to stop for a photo shot every 10 miles doesn't grip us. We do live in the gorgeous Colorado mountains after all.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 07:06:52 PM by Oldedit »
2013 Itasca Reyo T 2012-
2006 Roadtrek Adventurous Mercedes (Freightliner)
Colorado 2009-2012
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot Stick with Blue Ox
Member Colorado Columbines WIT Chapter

 

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