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Author Topic: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure  (Read 38259 times)

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #210 on: September 07, 2014, 11:51:28 PM »
September 7, 2014 – Day 110
Had and awesome day.  Got up and drove into Seattle.  First stop was the Space Needle and inquire if we could get a reservation for brunch.  And the good news was they could seat us immediately.  So up the elevator for 41 seconds to above 500 feet to the Sky City Restaurant. I immediately notice the dining area revolves very slowly, it takes 27 minutes to make a full rotation.  With the day being bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky we had great views of the city, bay, Mt Baker and Rainier.  There were a few cruise ships in port and lots of activity at the base of the Space Needle.  The area known as the Seattle Center was originally built for 1962 World’s Fair.  The Space Needle is 605 feet tall, 138 feet wide and weighs 9,550 tons and took less than a year to build at a cost of $4.5 million.  It was built to withstand 200 MPH winds and an earthquake of 9.1 on the Richter scale and has 25 lightning rods.  Our brunch was a 3 course meal and I had the Belgium Waffle with berries sauce, “the Benny” which was crab topped eggs Benedict and cobbler with ice cream.  Jim had clam & corn chowder, salmon and the cobbler.  It was all very yummy and we took our time eating so we could enjoy the views.  After brunch we went up to the Observation Deck and took a stroll around, clicking a few pictures and trying to avoid being trampled by all the people.  One of the buildings on the Seattle Center had these giant spiders on the roof which was fun to see. Spent close to 2 hours between eating and observing.  So down the elevator we went and retrieve our car from Valet parking.  They must have shook their heads parking that filthy car.
Our next stop was the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, it was down by the baseball and football stadiums but luckily there were no home games today.  But we had to keep driving around because the building looks just like an older city building made out of bricks and we didn’t expect that.  Very nice exhibits there and of course I got my stamp. The history we knew about and we kind of did this backwards since most people leaving for the gold rush left from Seattle. 
Next on our stop was Pike Market Place.  What a wild and wonder place.  Vendors and more vendors selling any and everything you want.  I think we looked like the country mouse who came to town.  I fell in love with all the flower vendors and all the bouquets they had to sell for $5-10-15.  And then the fish vendors, Pike Fish Market is well known.  People stand by the area with cameras at the ready to snap or tape when someone goes to purchase their fish.  All the workers shout back the order and fish goes flying from one worker to another.  I almost had a king salmon on my head, it went right over with the shout to “steak it”.  We also went into Lowell’s Bar and Restaurant for a drink.  Tina, the bartender, made up a drink for me with berries, pineapple vodka, cranberry juice and sweet & sour mix, it was delicious and Jim had a berry lemonade.
Well it is starting to get late and we still had to drive back to WeBe but we had had a wonderful adventure today.  On to another adventure tomorrow.
TTFN
pics- looking down at a funky building at the Seattle Center- looking up at the Space Needle- flowers at Pike Market Place

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #211 on: September 08, 2014, 11:12:06 PM »
September 8, 2014 – Day 111
Today was a travel day and we drove 133 miles + ferry to Port Angeles, WA.  Last night while driving back from Seattle I had a brain fart, maybe there was a ferry to Port Angeles so we didn’t have to drive all through Seattle, Tacoma, etc.  While shopping at the local Fred Meyer the cashier asked us where we were going next and after we told her she said she was going this weekend to visit her sister, and she rides the ferry.  So back to WeBe we went to do our research and yes there is a ferry from Edmunds to Kingston and it would cost less than the gas we would have used and saved us over 3 hours of driving time.  I liked that a lot.  So we are staying in Elwha Dam RV Park in site #13.  Once we settled in we headed to Olympic National Park.  We drove to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and watched the movie and listen to a Ranger talk.  The drive basically took you from sea level to 5,238 feet above sea level in 17 miles.  At times we could see blue sky above the treed mountains with heavy clouds in the middle.  It was really pretty cool.  Saw some black tail deer.  We will explore more of the park in a couple of days.  But what is neat about Olympic NP is there are coastal, forests and mountains all in one park. Mount Olympus is the tallest mountain peak in the park at 7,980 feet.  Made a great dinner with the shrimp we bought at Pike Place Market.  Played some Yathzee after a short walk and will call it an early night so we can get up early for our trip over to Victoria, BC.  This will be the last time in Canada for this trip.
TTFN

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #212 on: September 11, 2014, 02:35:04 PM »
September 9, 2014 – Day 112
Up and out of WeBe early this morning we needed to be in Port Angeles at the Black Ball Ferry by 7:45 AM for 90 minute ride over to Vancouver Island and to be more specific to Victoria.  Our goal for today was to visit the Butchart Gardens about a 45 minute drive north of Victoria.  It was a very pretty ride over, sun was shining and only a few white clouds and the predicted high for today is low 70’s.  Victoria is the capital of British Columbia but that was only after they had been asked to join the rest of BC a few times and always declining but when the rest of BC sweeten the pot by saying if Victoria and the Vancouver Island joined BC then Victoria could be the capital and so the rest is history. When we purchased our tickets for the ferry we bought a package deal including the transportation and entry in the Gardens.  So once we reach Victoria we waited maybe 10 minutes with about 15 others for our transportation.  Our driver was hilarious and with us still laughing he got us to Butchart Gardens about 11 AM. 
Butchart Gardens was started by Jennie the wife of Robert Butchart who was a concrete manufacturer.  Jenny wanted a way to hide the quarry her husband had dug for the limestone back in the early 1900’s.  But they also like to travel and had a home in Victoria and Florence, Italy in addition to the house Robert built for Jennie at the Gardens.  The house was “modest” to say the least, it currently is the building used for Dining Room Restaurant and included a bowling alley, an indoor salt water pool heated by coal and a rather large game room.  Jenny enjoyed gardening and where ever they traveled she was always looking at gardens to put on their 130 total acres which the gardens make up 55 acres.  So she started with the quarry area which later became the Sunken Garden which you can still see the tall kiln stack that is all that remains of the cement plant.  There are winding walk ways through beds of annuals, flowering trees and shrubs.  There is Quarry Lake and the Ross Fountain which was created and installed by the Butchart’s grandson, Ian Ross.  In this area is also the Children’s Pavilion and the Rose Carousel.  Behind the Sunken Garden is the Firework’s field and on Saturday nights in July and August they shoot off fireworks.  Too bad we weren’t here a few weeks earlier, I love fireworks.
The next garden we went to was the Rose Garden, this area smelled really good.  There were 100’s of rose bushes with their names, country of origin and the year it was registered with the American Rose Society. I think I have some work for Jim to do when we get home, I want a rose garden.  There were a couple of fountains, one of frogs and the bronze Sturgeon Fountain.  This whole garden was surrounded by perennials.  This was the only area where the flowers were labeled.
On to the Japanese Garden which was beautiful but in a different way.  There was much less color here mostly shades of green but it was very tranquil and many little private areas with benches to rest on and relax.  We did take a few moments by a pond and just took in our surroundings.
As we stepped out of the Japanese Garden we entered the Star Pond.  This was originally designed for Robert Butchart’s collection of ornamental ducks.  There were red begonia’s and some purple flower, I think it was Angelonia, but who knows.  When you enter the Gardens they give you a “Flower & Plant Guide”.  And if you can’t find it in the guide you can go to the Information area and just waiting for you questions is the “Plant Identification Counter” with a horticulturalist and his trusty computer to help you figure out what you have seen.  We did avail ourselves to him and he patiently answered all our questions.
There is a little story we were told about Mr. Butchart’s ornamental ducks.  He had a pair of mating wood ducks but while he and Jennie were staying at the home in Florence, Italy he received a telegram informing him of the ducks being eaten by some wild animal.  He was very upset and told Jennie they were canceling the rest of their trip and going to France to get a new pair of ducks.  Jennie wasn’t ready to leave because she had more gardens to look at but Robert put his foot down and so they cancelled their reservation for the Titanic and went to France.
The last garden we went through before our reservation at the Dining Room Restaurant was the Italian Garden which before 1926 this area was the Butchart’s concrete tennis courts.  Lots of hydrangea’s and what we learned to be Snow Princess Dahlia’s. Lots of trellises with flowers growing all through them and a gelato place (but we went right past that one, we had reservations for High Tea).
Then onto High Tea, we had never done this before and so it was adventure.  It we each picked a tea from a list with about 8 different teas and the rest was preset. Our first course was a berry trifle, I always like to start with dessert first.  It was very good.  Then our server brought out a 3 tier tray, bottom tier were little sandwiches of salmon, cucumber, ham with cheddar biscuit, egg salad, little quiche and pastry wrap German sausage.  The middle tier had truffles, meringue cookies, Neapolitan, poppy seed bread and chocolate cake.  The top tier were scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberry jam.  All in all we made pigs of ourselves but we did with our pinkie’s up.  We were seated in what would have been their conservatory, a room with almost all windows and a glass ceiling over part of it.  We looked out into a private garden.
The Gardens are still in the Butchart family which employs about 200 year round and 500 in the summer month with about 75 of them being gardeners.  In 2004 Butchart Gardens was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Being totally stuffed we wandered around looking for the last garden which is the Mediterranean Garden which was off by itself.  Just a small area with palm trees and shrubs.
We did have to stop in the Seed & Gift shop because I still Canadian money and this would be the last chance for me to spend it.  So we bought a few seeds.  Let’s see if I will remember I have them to plant next year.  It was a wonderful day and now we were going to head back into Victoria to wander the streets and see if there are any other goodies I must have. Bruce told a couple of stories as we headed for town, first was about all the hanging baskets around Victoria, there are more than 1,700 hanging baskets and at night college students go around in a water truck and water them.  Also there is a similar architecture to San Francisco since many of the buildings were created by the same architect. And as we drove through Chinatown we went under the Gates of Harmonious Interest which means the gates of good luck.  We also passed the smallest alleyway which was a whole 39 inches wide and you barely seaw stores down in there.  The last story told was Victoria is the City of Newlyweds, nearly dead, flower beds and pot heads.  We rode a double decker bus back into town and Bruce dropped us off at the grand Empress Hotel. What a beautiful place, stone with greenery covering a lot of the stone, bronze plating over the turrets and this place is massive.  It faces the harbor with all sorts of boats and these cute little water taxis and pontoon planes. Meandered in and out of shops and bought a little something for Mason.  Two cruise ships were in port so we were with the masses. Had dinner at Pigg’s BBQ, which has been featured on Food Network. With a little time to kill we had a drink at the Steamship Bar and Grill next door to Black Ball Ferry.  We boarded up at 7:15 PM for our 90 minute ride back to Port Angeles.  As we left the harbor I had seen some lights on a tower but there was this orange glow and finally realized it was the full moon rising.  What a beautiful harvest moon.
We are finally back in Port Angeles and drive back to the campground thoroughly exhausted which is a good way to be after a long and wonderful day.  I am married to the best guy in the world who indulges me way too much but don’t tell him that.
TTFN

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #213 on: September 11, 2014, 02:36:42 PM »
September 10, 2014 – Day 113
Took our time this morning and even got in some laundry before we head to Olympic National Park and Sol Duc is our final destination today.  Drove 37 miles but due to all the winding, narrow roads it took almost 90 minutes.  I will say it was a beautiful drive.  We drove along the edge of Crescent Lake which turned out to be quite large before turning more inland to the park.  Lots of Douglas Fir, birch, spruce, big leaf maples, and Sitka spruce tree. Did see a couple of black tale deer.
After setting up we made our way to the Sole Duck Trail (yes I know they are spelled differently but I don’t know why), we wanted to hike to the falls.  Nice trail with just enough ups and downs that it wasn’t ever too overwhelming.  Took a power nap, revisited some of our trip by looking at pictures and had some dinner before making our way to the hot springs.  They have 4 pools- one is for toddlers at 97 degrees, 2 bigger round pools about 102 degrees and a big L shaped pool that was at 72 degrees.  We enjoyed the pools at 102 degrees but near the end I got brave and tried out the cold pool, burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  Back to WeBe and made some brownies, worked on blog and finally decided it was time for bed.
TTFN 

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #214 on: September 13, 2014, 11:44:24 PM »
September 11, 2014 – Day 114 
Happy Birthday to our daughter, Megan (aka Squeak).  We hope your day will be filled with wonderful memories.
Pretty mellow day, got up at 6:16 AM so we could find a place down the road that had a cell signal because we had to call Megan at the time of her birth to wish her Happy Birthday.  Am I ever glad I did not have a child at 2 in the morning.  Lucky for me they were all born in daylight hours.  After a successful call we came back to WeBe and went back to sleep.  It is so nice to have that option. Once up and functioning we drove down to a place called Ancient Groves Nature Trail.  Not a long trail but beautiful. Douglas fir and western Hemlock trees dominate this particular forest.  They say some trees have been here as saplings when Christopher Columbus discovered America. Lots of nursery trees, these are dead fallen trees that that have sprouted new life from the nutrients.  Ever wonder why forest have trees in a fairly straight line, they most likely grew up on a nursery tree.  So we walked among these trees, ferns growing at ground level and just bits of sunlight filter through.  We walked along the edge of the Sol Duc River which was straight down, a little scary.  And what surprised us the most was how small the pinecones are for trees a couple of hundred feet tall.
After this short walk we drove down to the Salmon Cascades.  This is a section of river easier to walk to and it is reported to have coho salmon which usually spawn up above the cascades and some steelhead.  We didn’t see any fish but did run into a Ranger and she told us because of commercial fishing nowadays the salmon are not returning to the stream.  We asked the Ranger about the North Fork of the Sol Duc River Trail.  She didn’t really like it and recommended some others closer to Lake Crescent.   Since we have a long drive tomorrow we really didn’t want to spend a lot of time driving today, so we headed over to the trail and decided if it is too hard, we will turn around.  It was not particularly difficult, we did spend about the first 45 minutes going uphill and only stopped a handful of times.  But we felt as if we were all by ourselves.  It was not a well-used trail but very pretty and quiet.  We didn’t walk long enough to find the river.  But turned around and came back down when we’d had enough. 
Once back at WeBe we played some Skipbo to kill a little time before we headed to the hot springs restaurant.  I had eyed the menu last night and they had crab mac & cheese.  As we ate we people watched in the pools.  Some people need to look at themselves before they put on swimsuits.  Those people are not attractive when their suits are 3 sizes too small. Or the young ladies who insist they can pull off a suit that V-necks to their navels and covers an inch of butt cheek. Enough, we had a nice dinner then headed back to our cell phone area to send a text to a good friend, Deborah, who was also celebrating her birthday.  Had a sister text if we were caught up in the snow, but since we had clear skies and around 70 degrees, I’d say no, but I did call Zoe, another sister, to ask her the weather because she is always watching the weather. For once we were having really nice weather and I didn’t want a mean old cold front to come through and ruin it.  I think we are safe for now.  Back to the hot springs to soak out the tired muscle and people watch.  We wondered what was up with 3 women, one man and a preschooler.  They didn’t speak English but they were there last night too.  All the women looked to be my age and the man was maybe a few years younger than me but he was massaging one woman’s shoulders tonight but massaged the other 2 women’s shoulders last night.  And they all took turns playing with the preschooler in the wading pool.  Who knows it takes all kinds to make up this world. Back to WeBe to get ready to head out early tomorrow morning.  We’d like to make it to Mount Rainier.
TTFN
Pic- Sol Duc Hot Springs pool

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #215 on: September 13, 2014, 11:47:30 PM »
September 12, 2014 – Day 115
Up early to drive 276 miles to Mount Rainier today. Drove through the forest and back into Port Angeles under beautiful blue sky, we have had some really lucky weather days, but then I think we were due a few. Slow drive on Highway 101, lots of curves, drove along the Hood Canal and caught several glimpses of Mt Rainier and Mt St Helen’s as we made our way on route 12 East bound.  Tried to find a site in Ohanapecosh Campground in Mt Rainier but what was available was too small for us so we back tracked a few miles to La Wis Wis campground which is in the National Forest, $10 (no hookups, but it’s okay).  Once we were set up we hopped in the Blazer to make our way to the Paradise Visitor Center about 25-30 miles away before they closed (I needed my stamp).  The drive was through mostly old growth forest, which means big trees.  I said to Jim that I was over big trees and about 5 minutes or less we rounded a corner and I about ran off the road.  There was Mt Rainier in all her glory of 14,000+ snowcapped feet. We pulled over where there was lots of parking and sat in awe for a few moments. This was spectacular and we learned at the Visitor Center that seeing the peak is not a common occurrence.  According to the movie Mt Rainier makes its own weather, usually cloudy and very windy. It is a dormant volcano with lots of glaciers on all sides.  Only 14,410 feet in height but being this close to the coast it catches lots of moisture. We looked at the exhibits but I’ll have to say for this big of a park the exhibits were not very good. We did stop at Box Canyon area to have a look see, it was such a narrow canyon and a lot of water was going down it.  The road was very steep and winding.
Went back to WeBe to have a late dinner and took a stroll through campground in the dark.  A loop was pretty full but not the other loops.  Played some SkipBo and called it a night.
TTFN
Pics- first one of our moment of awe of Mt Rainier and then just another shot of the mountain.

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #216 on: September 13, 2014, 11:49:03 PM »
September 13, 2014 – Day 116
Today was a day of contrast for us.  Tucked in our site at La Wis Wis with heavy forest all around to our campsite for tonight being in Pascoe, WA which is high desert. Started today with a long steep drive up and over White Pass which is 4,500 feet but it seemed like a lot more.  At the summit there is a ski area.  If Colorado tried to have a ski area at that elevation it wouldn’t fly.  Lots of winding curves and heavy forest. We are still going east bound on Highway 12.  As we come out of the forested area there are still some hills but the trees thin.  Then out of the clear blue is a hill with a wanna be forest on top.  It was pathetic looking, the trees were stunted and scraggily. We passed several areas of heavy deep lava flows forming fortress like protrusions on both sides of the valley as we drove into Naches and Yakima (Jim said this).  Very striking.  Then on to the plains, hot, dry and windy. This area is often referred to as the Palm Springs of Washington.  It reminded us of Palisades in Colorado.  Lots of growers and packing companies here, mostly apples.  But at times for as far as the eyes to could see were rows and rows of fruit trees and grapes.  Made our way to the KOA in Pascoe which is part of the Tri-Cities of Pascoe, Richland and Kennewich.  Big KOA with lots of permanent residents.  Our drive today was 146 miles.  Once we were set up in site #41 we again jumped in the Blazer and made our way out to Walla Walla to the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. This was another bit of our history I would like to have changed.  Marcus and Narcissa Whitman came out to Washington as missionaries.  Marcus was also a doctor after his 16 week course of schooling and a couple of year’s apprenticeship as a town doctor. They worked with the Cayuse Indians, when 1846 a wagon train came through and brought measles with them.  Marcus seemed to have helped the whites but almost half of the tribe died.  The Cayuse’s thought Marcus was poisoning them and after working with the mission for 9 years, a few of the Cayuse came and killed Marcus and his wife along with 9 other men.  Then they held the others at the mission hostage for a month until the Hudson Bay Company paid the ransom.  Of course then the whites had to hang 5 of the Cayuse for the murders. All of this blood shed caused a petition to Congress to make the “Oregon” area a territory. We watched the movie and looked at the exhibits then we walked the trail of the Mission.  We even walked on part of the Oregon Trail complete with covered wagon.
Back into town to do a little restocking of WeBe, TP, paper towels, fresh fruit, etc.  Back at WeBe we made some dinner and tried again to get the stupid satellite to work, a no go again.  Someone at Camping World is going to have some explaining to do.
TTFN
pic of Oregon trail

zigmarie33

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Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #217 on: September 15, 2014, 08:36:09 PM »
Hey Mick  can you make it to Bunco  Thurs?  It's suppose to be 85-90. FYI your next door neighbors have green grass!! See you soon. Love you

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #218 on: September 15, 2014, 11:00:11 PM »
Sorry Sissy I won't be there for Bunco this month but I will make it next month.

September 14, 2014 – Day 117
Well today didn’t turn out how we thought.  Got up and out fairly early for us and our goal today was to camp outside Lowell, Idaho which was supposed to be about 200 miles.  As it turned out we drove 355 miles and ended up in Missoula, Montana.  A short drive out of Lewiston, ID we turned south to the Nez Perce National Historic Park, the Spalding Visitor Center. The park is made up of places important to the Nez Perce also known as NiiMiiPuu today.  We watched the movie and went through the exhibits.  Lots of bloodshed. The Nez Perce had signed a treaty with the US giving the Nez Perce a large area for them to live in but then gold was discovered and the wagon trains came and the tension built. Revenge then fueled the battle that took the tribe on 1,100 miles with numerous battles, and what was left of the tribe either escaped to Canada or forced onto a Reservation with little resources.  It was another chapter in American history I wish I could change.
 Shortly after leaving the Visitor Center we came upon an accident, a pickup truck was towing a camping trailer and not sure how but they both ended up on their sides.  We didn’t see the accident but we did see passerby’s helping people out of the truck.  We called 911 but they had just gotten a call and help was on the way.  We were told no serious injuries, thank goodness. Since we were on a fairly narrow 2 lane road we sat for quite a while before State Troopers could get traffic sorted and we were able to pass.
Followed the Clearwater River up into the Bitterroot Mountains. The sky was starting to get hazy and smelled like smoke.  We assumed there was a fire and probably not more than 20 miles down the road we saw numerous fire emergency trucks pass.  The smoke got pretty thick and both Jim and I had burning eyes and started to cough a little. All this helped to make our decision to press on to Missoula since the planned campground was shrouded in smoke.  We were very happy when the smoke thinned but still had a haze in the sky all the way to Missoula. 
While still driving on our winding narrow road up to LoLo pass we came up behind a Class A motorhome towing a trailer with what we assumed was a car beneath a tarp.  This guy was weaving across the center stripe and driving about 30-35 MPH (speed limit was 55).  We were just about to call 911 to report him when Jim came up to a long enough straight away and laid on the horn as we passed.  Hope to never see him again.  Then about 15 miles up the road Jim came around a curve and some guy in a pickup truck decides to pull out into our lane and again Jim lays on the horn and the pickup gets out of our way.  There wouldn’t have been anyway for Jim to slow down enough for this guy.  Jim is a great cautious driver but we needed to get to Missoula and park WeBe for a day or two.
We finally made it to the KOA in Missoula set up and it was so late we just vegged out. Tomorrow is another day.
TTFN

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #219 on: September 15, 2014, 11:01:47 PM »
September 15, 2014 –Day 118
Today was another driving day but not in WeBe.  We drove down to the Big Hole National Battlefield about 120 miles from Missoula.  Nice drive down but once again this Battlefield was about the Nez Perce and the US Army.  At dawn on Aug 8, 1877 the army attacked the sleeping Nez Perce and killed men, women and children.  According to the movie we saw today, the army also set the tipis on fire and burned people alive.  We walked the trail to the siege overlook where there are tipi poles where they would have stood on that day. We wonder if no one ever learns from the violence.  Had some lunch in the park and then headed over to the Bitterroot River for Jim to try and catch some fish.  He was successful, he caught 6 fish and he said one was a really good size.  He tried fishing a couple of different stretches.  I sat in the car and watched a movie on the computer.  I would say that we both had an enjoyable afternoon. Back to Missoula and fixed some dinner and worked on getting some of the bugs off of vehicles.  I am not sure the dirt and bugs will ever come off.  Thank goodness we had plenty of rain because the bugs aren’t out or we would have more bugs than vehicle. Now we will slowly make our way across Montana before the last stretch of southbound driving to home.
TTFN

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #220 on: September 17, 2014, 08:04:40 PM »
September 16, 2014 – Day 119
Hard to believe we have been traveling almost 4 months and we are still speaking to each other.  We were lazy bums this morning not getting up till 8 AM. Both of us had trouble falling asleep last night.  Didn’t get out of Missoula till almost 10 AM but only drove 154 miles to Helena, MT.  Stopped at the Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site (another stamp) and this was not a sad one.  “This is a working cattle ranch that preserves these symbols and commemorates the role of cattlemen in American history.” (NPS brochure)
Johnny Grant settled in the Deer Lodge Valley and builds “the good house” and ranch here as the fur trading and mining interest dwindle and cattle ranching increased in 1862.  We were told that Grant had been married to several Indian women (maybe at the same time) which helped him move about and maintain good relations with all the native tribes in the area. In 1866 he sells this house and ranch to Conrad Kohrs for $19,200.   
Conrad Kohrs made his fortune by raising cattle in Idaho Territory in 1862, which later became Montana.  His cattle grazed on 10 million acres and 3 million was owned by Kohrs. Back then they had open range grazing where the cattle just roamed and were only restricted by rivers, waterless stretches and rough terrain.  Cattle from many owners roamed together.  “Cowboys learned about herding, roping and other skills from the Spanish Vaquero.” (NPS brochure) One way Kohrs was able to increase his herds was trading with those coming across the Oregon Trail.  By the time those folks in the wagon train reach what is now the southwest corner of Montana, their cattle were beaten down.  So Kohrs would trade one good cow for their beaten down two. Set the two worn down cows out to graze freely, fatten them up and take them to market. 
We didn’t get a chance to tour the home but we did get to do a self-guided tour of the out buildings of which the “Bunkhouse” was what interested me. The cowboy’s days were long and hard and maybe for $30-40 per month.  Up by dawn and worked till dark and when they weren’t on a cattle drive Kohr’s rules were a bath once a week whether you needed it or not. They got 3 meals a day and a place to sleep. Their boss may have owned the horse they rode but the saddle was their prized possession and they owned it themselves.
 Once finished there we headed over McDonald Pass (6,000 feet) into Helena.  We are staying at Devil’s Elbow, BLM campground, about 12 miles northeast of town (with Jim’s Golden Age Pass it was only $7.50 for the night).  You may be wondering why we stopped here, well Jane Ryan, my niece, just moved here a couple of months ago to be closer to her fiancé. While she was finishing up with work for the day Jim and I did a walking tour of Helena’s Mansion District. There were 17 buildings in all.  They ranged from single family mansions, a house where the local music teacher lived, a boarding house, a church, a school and the City-County building. Most of the buildings have maintained their original state but a couple had been renovated extensively.  One house is reported to have friendly spirits residing in it. Homes were owned by doctors, lawyers, political figures.  Some still had the hitching post out front.  Most of the buildings were built from 1860’s to early 1900’s.  We walked up hills around blocks getting lost several times but I really enjoyed this, Jim was done after about 6 buildings.  This was basically a 10 by 10 block area.  There were 2 homes built around the corner from each other but they shared the carriage house.  That carriage house was bigger than my house. Janey told me about the App the town has so I downloaded it and away Jim and I went.
When Jane was done with work we headed to her house and hoped to get to see John again but he was out of town for work.  She showed us around the house (very cute) and we went out to eat at the Brewpub Bar and Grill.  It is a local hangout for students attending Carroll College a few blocks away.  We had a good meal and a wonderful time chatting.  I am so glad we came.  Drove back to WeBe in the dark with lightening in the distance maybe a storm is brewing.  Tomorrow will be a long day.
TTFN
pics are of the "bunkhouse"

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #221 on: September 17, 2014, 08:07:11 PM »
pics of the Helena Mansion district walking tour- the last one is of a boarding house

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #222 on: September 18, 2014, 11:03:45 PM »
September 17, 2014 – Day 120
Up early and on the road before 9 AM and I didn’t even set an alarm, I just had another night of little sleep.  Today we are aiming for Hardin, MT about 240 miles away.  We wanted to get there early enough to drive to the Little Bighorn Battlefield.  This is also known as Custer’s Last Stand.  Another piece of American history I hope we learned from.  In 1868 the US and tribes of the Great Plains sign a treaty giving the Indians basically the eastern part of Wyoming as a permanent Indian Reservation. But in 1874 gold was discovered in the Black Hills and gold seekers swarmed the area.  The government tried to keep the gold seekers out but finally gave up.  The US tried to buy the Black Hills from the Indians but was unsuccessful.  In frustration a couple of tribes left the reservation and began raids on settlement and people traveling on the fringes of the Reservation.  The tribes were told to return to the Reservation and if not the US government would treat them as hostile and would use the army to enforce the order.  This all came to a head on two days in June of 1876 when the Tribes and the US Army clashed in the valley of Little Bighorn.  The Indians were led by    Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, the Army was led by Custer, Benteen and Reno.  After the battle over the two days the Indians had won that battle but eventually lost the war.  This is where Custer made his last stand, he died in the battle and his regiment.  We watched the movie, attended a ranger talk and drove through the battlefield.  There is a monument for the Army and for the Indians.  Also there are markers where Army and Indians died on the battlefield.  Because of the terrain, hills, valleys and some bluffs, I would have thought it would have been difficult to battle.  Jim and I agreed we were done with death, battles and each side thinking only their views are correct. 
Back to WeBe and ended up stopping at Pizza Hut for dinner. 
TTFN

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #223 on: September 18, 2014, 11:04:41 PM »
September 18, 2014 – Day 121
Got up and going today for we knew we had a long drive.  It didn’t turn out to be that long only 228 miles.  We drove east on I-90 till we turned south onto I-25.  We are getting closer to home.  We knew we were in Wyoming from the wind trying to blow you off the road.  Also we realized that Wyoming doesn’t have much in the way of “rest areas”.  Also it was the second time in a week that we have called 911.  As we crested a hill there were 2 SUV’s on their sides not far apart and a couple of cars on the shoulder.  Also there were a couple of people trying to get the doors open on the SUV’s.  911 had just received a call and help was on the way.  Our gas mileage today was awful due to the crosswinds but the gas was $3.20 a gallon, the best so far. Hot, dry day so once we arrived in Casper we took a power nap in air conditioning.  I think I have given you a little background on the satellite, after 4 months of it not working Jim said he was going to try one more time.  I thought he was nuts but watched him try.  We came in WeBe once he had connected everything outside and went to the set up program and something was happening, we weren’t sure what it was but it was making numbers appear when they hadn’t before.  So we got out of the set up and tried a channel and guess what, yes, it worked we had TV.  Can you believe it, on the last night of the trip it works? 
Home tomorrow but it will be a long day’s drive and through Denver’s Friday afternoon traffic jams.  It will be good to be home.
TTFN

Wavery

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #224 on: September 19, 2014, 03:57:47 PM »
e came in WeBe once he had connected everything outside and went to the set up program and something was happening, we weren’t sure what it was but it was making numbers appear when they hadn’t before.  So we got out of the set up and tried a channel and guess what, yes, it worked we had TV.  Can you believe it, on the last night of the trip it works? 
Home tomorrow but it will be a long day’s drive and through Denver’s Friday afternoon traffic jams.  It will be good to be home.
TTFN
You may find that there is a "Location" requirement in your set-up menu. If you have your location set wrong, it may never find a satellite. It may say "Time Zone" or "State" or "Zip code" or something else that signifies your current location so that the dish knows what part of the sky to search.
Wayne
Wife, Carolyn...... 5 kids.... 19 grandkids.
1998 33' Winnebago Adventurer ('97 Ford 460 V8, F53 chassis) 33WQ -Banks PowerPak, Roadmaster Reflex Steering Stabilizer, Monroe Gas-Magnum RV Shocks
Retired GM Service Manager driving a Ford....What's the world coming too??

bhamlyn

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Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #225 on: September 19, 2014, 04:04:16 PM »
I am sad your and our adventure is coming to an end.  I will really miss your daily updates.  Thanks for including us!!!!  I think we all had fun and learned a lot :-)

jmfreas5

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Re: Our Grand Alaskan Adventure
« Reply #226 on: September 21, 2014, 01:09:57 PM »
September 19, 2014 – Day 122
Well we’ve made the big turn south to go on I-25 into Denver and then Centennial.  This is bitter sweet. 
The drive today was 319 miles, it was sunny with a light breeze but had a few strong gust and I was glad Jim was driving with both hands on the wheel. Lots and lots of traffic so we cut off and took E-470 around the east side of the metro area.  Here in Denver the Friday afternoon rush hour starts at 10 AM.
If you were to ask me if I’d do the trip again, my answer would be yes but not as long.  Jim would restock WeBe turn it around and go right back up.  It is hard to believe that a dream we have had for 30 years is over.  Not sure what our next dream will be, we don’t have another planned.  We’ll work on that.  It will take a few days for us to get back to what was normal before the big adventure.
I thought I would give you a few of the stats we have collected:
  Miles put on WeBe- 9,400  About 1,250 gallons of gas and averaged 7.5 miles per gallon
Miles on Blazer- 7,160  About 360 gallons of gas
Most expensive gas - $7.50 gallon by Muncho Lake
Least expensive gas- $3.19 gallon in Bar Nunn, WY
Average cost of gas - $4.50 per gallon
Number of ferry trips – 7
Number of campgrounds – 54   Average cost of campgrounds, hotels and B& B’s $47.25
Number of hotels – 1 (Kodiak)     Number of B & B’s -2 (Fairbanks and Dawson city)
Number of US state license plates we saw- 47 the ones we missed were Kentucky, Rhode Island and Alabama
Different types of animals- 45 including 2 camels, 1 zebra, 8 Kodiak bears, 25 Grizzly’s, 37 Moose (only 2 were bucks)
The one animal we wished we seen- wolf
A couple of roads we thought had funny names: Senior Citizen Way, Poor Farm and Never Give Up
My favorite day of the whole trip was the Columbia Glacier Day.
Jim’s favorite day was the day we saw Mount McKinley from the State Park.
And to finish up the best saying we saw or hear:
                                                               Keep Exploring!!!!!!!

Thanks to everyone who made comments and helpful suggestion. I will truly miss this.
TTFN
Jim and Michelle Freas
Centennial, Colorado

Gord N.

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Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #227 on: September 21, 2014, 01:35:08 PM »
Congratulations on getting home safely. 
You provided a wonderful account and I found myself reading every word of your adventure.
I started following you when you first entered Canada and had the tire problem then the Lake Louise night with no water and electric.
It appears that you enjoyed most of your time in Canada and for that alone I am proud.  (There will always be the negatives we can all encounter...in both our Countries.)

Anyway, thanks again.

(Oh, and by the way, a male moose is a "bull"  8)

ArdraF

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Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #228 on: September 21, 2014, 03:12:10 PM »
Michelle, thanks for sharing your adventures with us.  It brought back a lot of good memories.

Quote
Miles put on WeBe- 9,400  About 1,250 gallons of gas and averaged 7.5 miles per gallon
Miles on Blazer- 7,160  About 360 gallons of gas

This statistic is perfect for those who wonder whether they should have a car in addition to the motorhome.  Most of us usually say yes because we drive the car a lot when sightseeing.  We always put as much or more mileage on the car.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

indiana journey

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Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #229 on: September 23, 2014, 08:05:47 AM »
Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. The many memories of Alaska were refreshed by your tales. We are hoping for one more trip to the great northwest before we hang up our keys.
Thanks,
Indiana Journey

AirDragon

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  • Bank Free, Single and Cruisn'
Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #230 on: December 24, 2014, 05:08:12 PM »
My hats off to you guys for such a brave trip that had to be some very detailed planning.....

I've done the Alcan a few times and enjoyed your trip story. I forgot about the DC-3 wind vane at Whitehorse, but what I did notice, is the section of highway between Whitehorse and Tok hasn't changed since my last trip in a Class B around 1992.

I've had three flat tires on those trips and everyone of them were at Tok, Alaska.....

Unless I missed it, I'm surprised you all didn't swing-off the Seward Hwy at Girdwood, east of Anchorage at Mt. Alyeska. We owned a 3 star restaurant at mm 1.4 called 'Suiko's Country Roads' around 1989/90 and ended up getting re-based to Miami for the airline I was flying for. Closed the restaurant and sold all contents to my friend Phil at 'Chair Five Bar & Grill' in the middle of Girdwood. I think the closest RV Park is at Birdsong on Seward Hwy.

Anyway...sounds like Alaska has become very busy and commercial, but if gas stays low for another couple years (as they predict), maybe I will move back up there, but to Fairbanks where I lived in 1999/2000 flying for Frontier Air (BE1900). The only problem, I'd have to park or sell my RV and give-up my full time paradigm for something made of sticks and bricks. That would be hard to do...

Ohhh and you mentioned Barrow...oh wow, I remember flying into Barrow from Wainwright in the dead of a dark winter, at about 300 feet off the ocean, along the coast, using GPS and radar to make it to the airport where the winds were gusting to about 50 kts. Yukko....for sure. Got out of there with a few passengers and landed back in Fairbanks. Most of the trips on the North Slope were during the very short daylight hours and not so bad, but easily minus 20 degrees on a sunny day.

Anyway...very nice reporting and thanks for the stats. And YES....the Chinese Restaurant at the North Pole (was) the best around back then. And NO...Santa Clause is NEVER around when you need him for a picture. My daughter (yesterday) made mention of that, reference a picture of me sitting in his chair....and at least the reindeer out back are real.

Good luck with your next adventure....maybe a drive to Costa Rica? Second thought...don't ! A civil war is about to break-out in Nicaragua over a Panama style canal being dug and the people are ticked. Maybe a drive to Merida and Cancun is easier and safer.

Stay warm up there in Colorado....

AirDragon CB Ch19 or 30, Full Time Off-The-Grid as a necessary mindset. Retired/former airline freight DC-8 and B-727 Captain with law enforcement background (Federal/State) and a US Army Vietnam Veteran (S Korea). Two great female companions/children, Sophie and Shadow (The Catz) Powered by Solar

Kevin Means

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Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #231 on: December 25, 2014, 12:29:04 AM »
I really enjoyed following along on your travels vicariously. I'd sure like to make that trip myself someday. Glad you made it home safe and sound.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

cadee2c

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  • If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.
Re: Our Grand Alasakan Adventure
« Reply #232 on: December 25, 2014, 11:14:51 AM »
This trip is on my bucket list and you posting the details you have is a big help in planning something like this. Thanks very much. I'm glad you had a good trip. Have you got your next grand adventure planned yet? :)

Caryl
Caryl- Pilot
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Mister Hank - homeland security
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