The RV Forum Community

RVing message boards => Trip reports, journals, logs => Topic started by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 25, 2009, 12:43:43 AM

Title: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 25, 2009, 12:43:43 AM
Dean and Linda Stock will be spending three to four months on a trip to Alaska.  We will be logging the trip from the border crossing into Canada through the return to the U.S.
Dean and Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 25, 2009, 12:51:57 AM
May 23   DAY 1      Rest Area 30 miles north of Cache Creek, BC
   We started out on our great adventure at 8:30—really early for us.  We breezed through customs in 30 minutes, and most of that was spent standing in line.  They didn’t inspect the coach at all, just asked 15-20 questions and asked to see our passports.  We didn’t stop at an ATM in Abbottsford, thinking we’d get Canadian money when we stopped for lunch or another activity—nothing was going to keep us from our fun.  Oops!  We couldn’t find another ATM for many hundreds of miles.  We were able to use our credit cards for everything, but it’s a little scary not having even one loony with you.
   Our first stop was the Great Blue Heron Preserve.  The kind official guided us into a very narrow tight circle, assuring us that we’d fit—we did, but just barely.  We spent a couple of hours there, and we saw 5 great coastal blue herons, but 4 of them were quite high, and the other one flew through quickly and unexpectedly.  No pictures.  They were currently nesting, and they get very upset if people are near, so the area is gated off and is on the other side of a thick row of trees.  The babies squawked loudly enough to be heard quite far away.
   We scurried on to Minter Gardens.  I was anxious to show them to Dean, as I think they surpass all others for their ambience.  They had many beautiful, unusual flowers, but we were there on a Saturday afternoon—and they had 2 wedding parties  running around getting photos taken after their ceremonies.  The flowers were even more spectacular in July, when Dawn and I visited.  The azaleas were amazing and the birds were chirping in beautiful harmony.  They have lots of beautifully shaped very old trees and bubbling fountain and waterfalls. Many blooms were just about to pop open, but  it was still nothing short of spectacular!  Can you guess what the raspberry object is at the end of the tree branch?  Answer will appear later.
   We then needed to score some miles, so we drove quite far.  We saw several nice waterfalls at the beginning, but too quickly we saw areas with massive sandslides and rockslides being held back from the road by heavy wire nets.  We followed the Frazer River, sometimes from from river level, other times from scary high.  After we passed the summit at Jackass Mountain, we tried to get Internet and cell phone reception around 6:30 at a rest area, but couldn’t.  So we traveled on, hoping for better results around the next curve.   We ate dinner at a gas station A & W.   We finally gave up and set down about 10:00, at a nice rest area with 4 other RVers.

Wildlife Count:  3 tri-color-winged blackbirds, 1 robin, 5 Great Blue Herons
Weather:  Beautiful low 70s with a breeze.
Overnighted at: Reat Area $0
Miles Driven:  202 miles (from the border station).


Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 25, 2009, 12:55:27 AM
May 24   DAY 2      Bee Lazee RV Camp, Prince George, British Columbia
   8:30 is the earliest we can get out, but we did try hard and were rewarded by seeing deer.   Our first stop was the Visitor Center at 100 Mile House-but it was closed on weekends.  We spotted a Safeway and a bank!  The Safeway was open, but the bank didn't have an outside ATM.  We heard a bad thud sound, and Dean pulled in at the first parking lot to check it out.  Oops!  We forgot to pin the refrigerator.  But, while he was doing that I observed a resident going INSIDE a “Financial Center”.  We took a chance that they might have an ATM, and they did.  Yea!
    We went on to Discovery (visitors) Center at Lake Williams, which appeared to be an interesting sight in an beautiful wooden building, but it, too, was closed.  It was lunchtime, and next door was the Signal Point Gaming Center.  It was small casino—slots, Bingo, keno, overlooking a large pretty lake,, and GREAT FOOD!  I had a Thai Salad that Russ would approve of—plenty spicy.  Dean had a good burger and yam fries.  Our waitress was a college student who is majoring in chemistry so she can inspect food preparation places like restaurants for the bacterial count in their air, etc.
   We stopped at the Cariboo Wood Shop, got free samples, and bought good fudge.

Wildlife Count:  5 white-tailed deer, too many ducks and ducklings to count in roadside ponds
Weather:  Perfect!  Mid-70s
Overnighted at Bee Lazee RV Camp, FHU, 30 AMPS, WIFI, cable  $23.85 CN
Miles Driven:  243 miles.      

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom on May 25, 2009, 02:13:33 AM
Linda,

Glad to see you're on your way. Looking forward to reading your reports.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 25, 2009, 07:10:34 AM
Your blog brings back fond memories of our journey in 2002, along the same route as you are on so far.  Keep the reports coming!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tim Lassen on May 25, 2009, 08:37:00 AM
Great log.  We will be heading your way next year so will look with interest at all your trip tips...tim
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on May 25, 2009, 09:24:25 AM
Have fun! We'll be following along.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: gmsboss1 on May 25, 2009, 10:23:50 AM
Hi Dean and Linda --

Thanks for the posts and the pictures.

Mary Ann and I will be following along all the way!

Have fun!

Don and Mary Ann
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on May 25, 2009, 11:44:52 AM
Whoopie,

I'm  feel like I'm going to Alaska  all over again with you.  Love your reports and shall look forward to them.  It will be an adventure!

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Len and Jo on May 25, 2009, 12:28:05 PM
Your trip really sounds great.  Keep the pictures and log coming.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Barb on May 26, 2009, 05:56:15 AM
Keep the reports coming.  I feel like we're going again too.

Barb
On the Way to the Maritimes
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 26, 2009, 03:12:17 PM
May 25   DAY 3   Mile 0 RV Park, Dawson Creek, BC

   We drove through many miles of forests that have been devastated by "the beetle".  Some areas had healthy trees, but whole hillsides have been killed off.  We saw many high mounds of trees that had been chopped down and seem just to have been left there.
    About an hour north of Prince George, we saw a cute brown-colored bear cub, followed by two young moose, and then a black-colored bear cub-all within 15 minutes!  The roads were smooth as silk.  It looks like they are getting ready to add two more lanes.   
   We stopped in Chetwynd to have lunch.  Do not eat at the Dragon Palace.  It was the worst, most bland Chinese food I've ever had.  But, Chetwynd has wonderful chainsaw sculptures.  Be sure to stop at the Visitors' Center (a little blue cabin with flags in front, easy to miss).  Get a map of where the 60+ sculptures are located.  We really enjoyed this cute town and would like to come back to see the sculptures we missed.

Wildlife Count:  About 2 dozen beautiful blue jays at a turnout, 3 bear cubs (no mothers in sight), 2 young moose
Weather:  High 60's, snow still on the ground at higher elevations, pretty day
Overnighted at Mile 0 RV Park, FHU, 50 AMPS, WIFI that doesn't work,
       $35 CN/night   
Miles Driven:  245 miles

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 26, 2009, 08:11:24 PM
You probably won't find decent Chinese food short of Anchorage. Been there, scratched Chinese off the restaurant list after 3-4 sad attempts.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on May 26, 2009, 08:26:22 PM
Linda:

We didn't find any good Chinese either. In the meantime enjoy the seafood and save your nickels until you get to Fairbanks and eat at the Pad Thai restaurant on College Road.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 26, 2009, 10:39:36 PM

May 26   DAY 4   Mile 0 RV Park, Dawson Creek, BC

   We dodged raindrops as we journeyed to the Visitors Centre, located just a few yards from the coach.  It's a substation, but the clerk had a map of the town and answers to all our questions.  We went to the Mile 0 marker (beginning of Alaskan Highway), where we happened on the Canadian National Women's Ice Hockey team, who are training here for the upcoming Olympics.  What a nice group of ladies!  They took our picture for us.  I hope the finals at the Olympics aren't between the U. S. and Canada, because I would have divided loyalties.
   Then we went to the art gallery at the Grain Elevator, where we bought an inukshuk, which is an Inuit word meaning "Man of Stone that points the way".  The Arctic has so much permafrost and few natural landmarks, so they would put Inukshuks along their path to help them find their way home safely.
   The gallery is located next door to the main visitor center, which has free working wifi.  We stopped to post Day 3 before heading to the Alaska Highway House, a "Must See".
    The Alaskan Highway House is dedicated to telling the history of the building of the Alcan Highway and those who built it through a PBS documentary film, well-signed exhibits, and personal accounts.  I have a new appreciation for the men who built the highway, especially the African-Americans. I learned (Dean already knew) that Japan attacked the Aleutian Islands in 1942, killed 100 Americans, and seized 2 islands.  We had 20,000 troops stationed along the Alaska coast, and they didn't think they would be able to hold off the Japanese without a supply route.  They expected an attack because they were only 750 miles from a Japanese base. 
   Blacks were not allowed to be stationed in cold climates because army leadership didn't think they could tolerate low temperatures, since many of them were from the South.  But, they really needed manpower, so they stationed 3-5 regiments there (different signs said different numbers).  The supervising officers had been trained in OCS that "Negroes are careless, shiftless, and irresponsible", and they were expected to do poorly.  They were considered "not sufficiently intelligent to operate complicated mechanical equipment", had little or no training in operating bulldozers, got "insufficient equipment and clothing, had long tours of duty, and got very little recognition by their white officers", and were assigned to the toughest jobs. Yet, they hung in there, and they built 1/3 of the Alcan. They believed that by doing this, when they returned home, they would have proven their competence and they and their families would be treated well.  It's really hard for me to fathom how prejudice ever made sense to anyone and why it was tolerated for so long.
   I do admire all the men who built the highway, though. Frozen wetlands thawed and acted like big sponges, sometimes swallowing up tractors and bulldozers.  Temperatures ranged from -70 F degrees to 90 F degrees. They had no fresh food and ate Spam, Vienna sausages, and WWI rations in a tin can.  Everyone worked hard 16-20 hour days, 7 days a week, had to move their tent to a new location every day, felt they were 'slave labor", and hated it.  I will think of them when we hit what we consider "rough road".
   We then went out to a wildlife preserve, McQueen's Slough (about 10 minutes away) to see the ducks and birds.  It started raining harder, and we decided to not go out to the boardwalk.  I would like to explore it on a nicer day.
   Thanks for the encouraging comments.  We are now off to eat at Mr. Mike's (one of the Brewer's recommendations).

Wildlife Count:  0
Weather:  High of 61° F, drizzles to pounding rain
Miles Driven:  0

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 27, 2009, 11:43:34 PM
May 27   DAY 5   Fort Nelson, BC

   We were on the road by 7:15, probably the earliest we've ever succeeded in getting going.  We had read all the accounts of the abundance of wildlife and did not want to miss even one moose.  Within minutes the rain started and did not quit for even a 10-minute break until we arrived at Fort Nelson, where it turned into a pretty day. 
   ***We stopped in Farmington, 14 miles north of Dawson Creek, for gas, per our waitress's recommendation.  For future trekkers, this is THE place to gas up.  Disel was 84.9¢/liter versus $1.12/liter in Dawson Creek and $1.14 here.  Another suggestion:  Do not choose your place to stay based on an expectation of WIFI working-use the Visitors Centre.
   We took the turn-off to Old Alaska Highway to view Kiskatinaw Bridge. The road was bumpy but OK for all size RV's.  The Kiskatinaw Bridge is 530 feet long, tolerates weights up to 20 metric tons, and is the last original wooden bridge along the Alaskan Highway still in use today.
   We stopped for lunch at a turnout.  Within 5 minutes hail came down with force, really frightening our cat who was relaxing in the front window after a busy morning of stalking and chasing the windshield wipers-our major entertainment for the day.
   We went to the Visitors Centre, where we discovered they do not have their speakers in the evening until June.  We explored the town and really enjoyed visiting the Heritage Museum.  Anyone interested in World War II era and older relics and history would be fascinated. The founder, Marl, drove his 100-year-old Model T to Whitehorse last year, and he is full of interesting stories.   
   Fort Nelson is a quaint little town, reminiscent of the 50's.  We decided to go see a movie, and we were told that the new Terminator movie was showing at 7:00 P.M.  However, we found out that on Tuesday and Wednesday this week they are having a dance, instead.  It made us wonder if they use folding chairs for the movie.  The laundromat advertises that it sells buffalo meat, also.  Prices at the grocery (IGA) were more than double what we usually pay.  Ouch!

Wildlife Count:  1 crow
Weather:  High of 61° F, light-heavy rain, 15 min. of pounding, pea-sized hail
Miles Driven: 279, including the loop drive to Kiskatinaw Bridge
Overnighted at:  The Bluebell Inn, $31, FHU, 30 amps, anemic WIFI
Disel: $3.21 US /gallon

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on May 28, 2009, 12:17:59 AM
We didn't have much luck with chinese food in Newfoundland either! And do not consider mexican when you are so far from the Mexican border.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: BernieD on May 28, 2009, 07:56:28 AM
Dean & Linda

You'll find that many activities/attractions don't open until June 1st. Patience, you only have a few more days to go :D
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on May 28, 2009, 09:41:05 AM
Linda,

I am really loving your journal.  Your writing style makes it sound like we are there right down to the hail.  It is truly like reliving our trip.  We recall the anemic wifi at Bluebell all too well.

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 29, 2009, 02:01:03 AM
May 28   DAY 6   Watson Lake, YT

   Today was a day of priceless surprises.  We quickly spotted a bear at the side of the road-a good omen for the day!  He was just sniffing the grass, but unfortunately we could not pull over to take a picture.  Then, over a knoll, Dean saw what he thinks was a moose-all I got at 70 kmph was a glimpse of brown.  There was still snow at the side of the road as we went over Summit Pass, (elevation 4,250 feet), the highest point of the Alaskan Highway.  I watched expectantly for the stone sheep at Stone Mountain, and there were none to be seen, but we did see a horse standing by the side of the road having his breakfast. 
   We stopped at the Toad River Lodge & Café to see their 7,648 hats.  They have now exceeded their ceiling space and are starting down the walls.  We enjoyed their delicious blueberry pie. I talked to a trucker at the café, and he said he had really enjoyed a soak this morning at Liard Hot Springs because the air temp was a "warm" plus 8°C.  I guess warm has a different definition here in Canada.
   We headed for Muncho Lake, which was a beautiful deep green color.  Copper oxide from the surrounding mountains leaches into the lake.  97% of the lake is still frozen.  The white color kind of looks like breaking waves-it's actually frozen ice and snow above the surface.  We were told that the trout that come out of the lake are beautifully colored.  We saw two brave and beautiful jet black and snowy white tuxedo ducks swimming in one of the few thawed areas.  We wondered if the fish would be safe to eat with all that copper in the lake.  Wouldn't the plant matter that the ducks eat also absorb the copper and be poisonous for the ducks?
   Around the bend we spotted some stone sheep.  We were lucky enough to find a great place to pull over. Dean's patience paid off with good pictures.
   Liard Hot Springs had a great boardwalk that allowed us to walk through a slough in a boreal forest.  The birds were chirping, a red squirrel greeted us, but the trees have been hurt badly by the bark beetle, so they've had to cut many of them down.  The people in the springs were really enjoying their soak.
We parked in the Bus Parking area, and the price was right-free.
   Yesterday we met a couple from Minnesota.  They left their doormat at the rest stop where we lunched, so we picked it up in hopes of finding them again.  We saw them at the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum, but we didn't have it with us.  So, when they spotted us at a turnout, we were able to return it to them.  They went over to the camping area at Liard Hot Springs Campground, and they said it was really nice.
   We had only gone about a mile when we spotted 3 buffalo---dad, mom, and little one.  They were hidden by a grass mound, but the RV has the advantage of height.
   Roads have been great the whole trip. Today was a little bumpy with patches at times, but generally good.  For future travelers, Yukon Highways and Public Works publishes a wonderful pamphlet, "Driving Yukon Highways 2009", which we picked up at the Visitors Centre.  It has the dates and places when construction is going to be done, as well as the type of construction.  BST is the cement mud gluey gook.  The locals have told us that when they get it, they just soak it for 15 minutes and it comes right off.  They say not to scrub it or use a high pressure washer.
   We had a wonderful day. We had so many different great experiences. If I were to plan the trip over again, I might come two weeks later.  Many places still are not open or have a reduced schedule.  The temperatures would be warmer.  We wanted to go to the Northern Lights Center here, but they are on a reduced schedule, and I don't want to spend an extra day here just for one activity.  But...The wildlife is active and still close to the road.  We have been told that as the number of tourists increases, the wildlife stays further from the road.  Also, we haven't had any problem with being able to use rest stops or finding an RV site, which we've been told does happen later.

Wildlife Count:  3 bears (3 separate sightings!), 1 moose, 1 horse, 8 ducks,
6 buffalo (3 sightings), 6 stone sheep (2 sightings)
Weather:  Chilly with morning drizzles
Miles Driven:  330
Overnighted at:  Downtown RV Park, FHU, 30 amps, WIFI at the office, $27.25
Diesel: $3.63 US /gallon

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 29, 2009, 08:36:15 AM
In Watson Lake already? You folks are really rolling!!!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 30, 2009, 12:37:47 AM
May 29, 2009   DAY 7   Whitehorse, YT

   The morning started out dreary, but when we spotted two caribou, all was great!  They quickly became camera shy, but Dean was quicker!  We were entertained for several miles by several hundred rock messages.  They were started in 1990 by a Fort Nelson swim team.  We also saw several inukshuks, stone cairns built by the Inuit as landmarks, and the symbol for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.  I assume their pool must have been inside because at lunch when Dean went out to check the Jeep before we left our rest area, he could see his breath in the air—it is COLD! We still see many patches of snow by the side of the road. The low tonight will be plus 4° C.   
   I knew we’d have to convert money, temperatures, and liters, but I didn’t know that we’d have to convert days into Canadian.  The Visitors Centre info and the Milepost said that the George Johnson Museum and Tlingit Heritage Museum would open mid-May, but when we got into Teslin, we discovered that they are cleaning in preparation for opening June 1. Betty suggested taking a boat ride at Lake Teslin—hard to do when it’s frozen over.  We sure do cover a lot of miles in a day when we aren’t slowed down by visiting places. Fortunately, our return trip takes us through this same area, so we will be patient (thanks, Jeff), and we will eventually get to see Teslin defrosted.
    We found one place that was open—Johnson’s Crossing Campground, which has a tiny bakery and boasts the world’s best cinnamon rolls.  They were quite good, but not the world’s best.  We did learn there that this year they have had a very late winter, and they seem to date things from “winter break-up”.
   Whitehorse is a real city—a Walmart, activities that are open, entertainment.  Thanks, Russ, for the comment about Mexican food.  There was a sign for a Mexican restaurant as we approached Fairbanks, and I was thinking it sounded really good.  I’ll wait.

Wildlife Count:  2 caribou
Weather:  Cold with light showers throughout the day
Miles Driven:  306
Overnighted at:  Pioneer RV Park, FHU, 30 amps, TV, pull throughs less than perfect, but working
WIFI  $24.46 CN
Road Conditions:  Primarily smooth, 3-4 construction sections of about 2 miles each, a few small frostheaves

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 30, 2009, 09:03:04 AM
You won't see/feel many frost heaves until it thaws more. When the underground rivers start flowing, whole sections of road can disappear!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on May 30, 2009, 10:22:28 AM
The Visitors Centre info and the Milepost said that the George Johnson Museum and Tlingit Heritage Museum would open mid-May, but when we got into Teslin, we discovered that they are cleaning in preparation for opening June 1. Betty suggested taking a boat ride at Lake Teslin—hard to do when it’s frozen over.  We sure do cover a lot of miles in a day when we aren’t slowed down by visiting places. Fortunately, our return trip takes us through this same area, so we will be patient (thanks, Jeff), and we will eventually get to see Teslin defrosted.

Linda and Dean,

Sorry things have been closed but I'm glad you wil return this way.  The Johnson Museum in Teslin was among the most inofrmative I've ever visited so  do plese try to get there when they are open.   You may just have to slow down a few days and wait for it to warm up and for you to rest.  You are making so  many miles you must be exhaused.  Your descriptions continue to be delightful.
Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 30, 2009, 10:41:41 AM
Hi, Betty!
I really appreciate your comments.  We are looking forward to Fairbanks, and I have 20 things I want to do and see while we're here.  So, we've signed up to stay for 3 nights, and we'll stay until we've seen and done everything.  After days of nothingness, doing something sounds great!  Actually, we're not tired, though we did sleep in until 8.  We only drove about 7 hours yesterday.  We would have stopped sooner, but there was nothing to do but sit inside and look at each other.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on May 30, 2009, 06:51:39 PM
Linda,

For your return trip stop in Whitehorse to visit the Beringia museum.  It's about when the Bering Sea was a landmass and there's a huge mastadon skeleton.  It's the only museum we've been in that features the really old Bering Sea area.  Next door is a big transportation museum that covers every kind of transportation up there including dogs.

Enjoying your trip right along with you.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on May 31, 2009, 03:17:42 AM
May 30   DAY 8   Whitehorse, YT
   
   We didn’t have to get up early to see the wildlife, and sleeping in felt great!  We haven’t needed blackout curtains yet, though it’s after midnight and still light.  Dean played with electricity all morning and will go to the RV repair shop on Monday.  Pioneer RV Park has many additional features, one of which is a mechanic on site.  He came by today and advised us for free.  They also have tickets for the major attractions, so you don’t have to go to the Westmark Hotel downtown. They are the only park with this benefit. They also have a car wash, RV wash, and a pet wash.  The car was so muddy we couldn’t see out the windows, so Dean invested $4 for 12 minutes of pressure wash, which made a world of difference.
   We then went to the Visitors’ Center and planned out tomorrow’s activities after seeing a short film about the Yukon.  The Visitor Centres in Canada have been wonderful!  They answered all our questions, even if they had to research the answers.
   We needed groceries, so we went to the “Superstore”.  Wal-mart here does not have fresh produce.  The prices were very high, but they do have to bring everything in from quite far away.  We ate dinner at Boston Pizza, and the food was good but pricy.  They have an extensive menu—ribs, many salads, salmon, delicious looking desserts.
   Dean wanted to see “Angels and Demons”, so we went to one of the 2 theatres here.  Each shows 2 different movies, so you have a choice of 4 movies.  The prices were comparable to the U. S.  The seats were comfortable, but the floor was sticky and missing carpet.
   The prediction is for at least the next 6 days to be sunny!  Hurrah!

Wildlife Count:  0
Weather:  High of 56° F
Overnighted at:  Pioneer RV Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 31, 2009, 01:18:53 PM
3 days is not a lot of time for Fairbanks. Slow down and relax a bit.

Allow plenty of time for the return trip too, since you will want to sight-see more. Places along the Alcan Hwy will start to close down around Sept 1, so don't leave too late.  We found that gas stations and restaurants did not order any more supplies after early August and they simply ran out of things and closed the doors for the season when they didn't have enough left to bother to stay open.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 01, 2009, 02:23:05 AM
May 31, 2009   DAY 9   Whitehorse, YT

   Would you believe that little Whitehorse (population 24,000) has the world’s largest weather vane?  At the international airport there is an original Canadian Pacific Airlines DC-3 passenger plane mounted so perfectly on a pedestal that the slightest breeze causes it to swing around to point into the wind.  We met the man who designed it as he was working as a volunteer at the Transportation Museum restoring one of the early Fairchilds that were used to carry mail.  The people here are community spirited, and his son (who is a licensed airplane mechanic also) and a friend who was a pilot were working on it with him.  The Yukon Transportation Museum is a “should see”.  Wear a jacket if the outside temp is low because part of it is in a large area that is expensive to heat, so they don’t.
   We spent an entire day at the YTM and the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, even skipping lunch because it was so interesting that we didn’t want to take time out.  We had never heard of Beringia before, and briefly, the idea of the little “land bridge” of the archipelago Aleutians is not the primary way that people from Asia came to North America.  There was a whole big land mass the size of the United States that emerged during the Ice Age when sea level fell by 100 meters.  It was a grassland, which encouraged woolly mammoths, scimitar-toothed cats, antelope, bison, and rabbits to cross over and the hunters followed them.
   They give visitors a lot of individual attention and our guide taught us how to use an atl-atl to increase the distance an a lance could be thrown.  This was an amazingly engineered device, which the First Peoples fit the lance into, and then with a flick of the wrist, the lance flew far.  They showed 2 very interesting films, followed by a Q & A session.  This museum is a “must see”.
   We spent quite a bit of time just chit-chatting with the Yukoners about what life here is like.  These people are hardy, have very closely-knit families, highly value education, love winter sports, and receive special treatment from the Canadian government.  They receive lots of money from the federal government and get to go to the head of the line when they go outside area hospitals.  They do not have long waits at all here locally at their doctors and hospitals.
   We ate a quick dinner at the coach, and then drove into town to see the Frantic Follies Vaudeville Revue.  The performers were so talented—high kicking can-can girls, had rich singing voices, told great jokes in costume, played a whole variety of instruments, performed side-splitting skits, and at only $24.  I expected community theatre, but these were true professionals with extensive training, and this is a “must see”.
   We arrived home at 10:15.  It was 56°F and actually warm, not even a little bit cold.  Dean had to look west to check for traffic before making a turn, and we were both blinded by the SUN!  But, we are so glad to see it, and it’s supposed to shine for the next 6 days with no rain.  When we came, the Yukon was primarily a huge iceberg, and what a difference 2 days make. 
   Tomorrow we visit the Jeep dealer and the RV repair shop.  I hope we have time to do more fun things, but, if we don’t, we will be back through here again on our way home.
   A CORRECTION:  I learned from another RVer who’s staying at Hi Country RV Park that they also sell tickets to the tourist activities, so my other source was wrong.  There may be other RV parks that do, also.

Wildlife Count:  0
Weather:  Just perfect—probably low 70’s.
Overnighted at:  Pioneer RV Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on June 01, 2009, 09:18:55 AM
We too loved the Frantic Follies - definitely a "must see".
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on June 01, 2009, 10:56:20 AM
We too loved the Frantic Follies - definitely a "must see".


It sure is!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 01, 2009, 01:41:33 PM
We are looking forward to Fairbanks, and I have 20 things I want to do and see while we're here. 
Oops!  I knew where I was, but I was planning for the future in Fairbanks, and my mind fast-forwarded.  We are in Whitehorse, and 3 days of sight-seeing is about right.  We've done a lot of "juiciest" activities, and we'll do more when we come back through.  When we get to Fairbanks, we are planning to spend about a week. 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on June 01, 2009, 04:55:22 PM
Hi Linda & Dean,
     I am thoroughly enjoying your trip reports!! WRITE ON!!!!
                            All the best,
                                   Bonnie
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on June 01, 2009, 06:46:45 PM
I love reading these Alaska blogs since we may never get there.

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on June 01, 2009, 07:21:31 PM
I love reading these Alaska blogs since we may never get there.

Wendy


Wendy:

Isn't there any Mystery Shopping that needs to be done up there?
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on June 01, 2009, 07:32:47 PM
Isn't there any Mystery Shopping that needs to be done up there?

Tons, but not nearly enough to pay the gas to get all the way up there. It's a long way to Alaska, don't you remember??

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on June 01, 2009, 08:37:59 PM
Linda, so glad you got to visit the Beringia museum and enjoyed it as much as we did!  When we were there they had a cafe where we ate lunch and had fireweed jelly which was really good.  But then, you're too early for fireweed and probably haven't seen it yet.  Stay long enough and you can't miss it!  ;)

You know that HUGE airplane weathervane?  Here's something for you to do on the way back through.  Drive your motorhome there and park under it.  Jerry got a cute photo of our previous Lazy Daze under the airplane and it looks like the airplane is perched on top of the motorhome.

Enjoying traveling along with you....

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 02, 2009, 04:11:16 PM
June 1, 2009   DAY 10   Whitehorse, YT

   Dean was at the Jeep Dealer at 8 when it opened.  They couldn't find anything to cause the bad smell, said the oil in the transfer case was burned, and they changed it.  RV mechanics here charge $100/hr. so $200 later, Dean left.  RV Roamer suggested it could be the mud burning off under the car, and Dean thinks that is likely. I wished I'd checked for messages earlier! For future trekkers, the Pioneer Park has an under the car wash for $10, $190 cheaper.  We are poorer, but wiser.
   Dean came home to work on the coach's inverter.  It turned out that our inverter needs a new card, which is being sent to us in the speediest manner possible.  Dean says installation will be a pain because it's in a hard-to-access place-isn't that always the case?
   We did a little shopping downtown and enjoyed Murdoch's Gem Shop, a nice souvenir shop.  The Canadians are so accommodating, and the clerk really knew how to make me happy-she was so thoughtful and creative.  I'd say more, but it's a gift for someone who may read this.
   Dean needed a special battery for his blood sugar meter, so we went from one end of the town to another, eventually finding it in a store that is on the outskirts of the city and is a subsidiary of Circuit City.
    Then on to a much needed barber.  It was a shop used by the locals, and there were 3 Mexican women barbers.  It cost $19 CN ($1 CN = $0.95 US).
   We drove to G & P, a restaurant recommended by the Brewers.  We would never have stopped to eat there (they had forewarned us); it looks old and dilapidated from the outside.  But, inside....very nice ambience, nice music, great waitress, awesome crisp Caesar salad with a delicious dressing-best I've ever had, tasty salmon special & lasagna, good-sized portions, but at $70, without wine and before tax, expensive.  After a "wasted day" as far as sight-seeing, we enjoyed treating ourselves to a very pleasant dinner.
   When we arrived, the Yukon River was 95% frozen with cracks showing that the ice was well over 6" thick.  Now, it's almost half-thawed.  I bet that all the ice will be gone in 4-5 days.

Wildlife Count:  0
Weather:  Warm enough to use the AC-maybe low 80's, but it feels warmer here.
Overnighted at:  Pioneer Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on June 02, 2009, 11:14:32 PM
Are the eagles nesting at the city welcoming sign pullout near the 2nd photo ( of the paddlewheeler)?
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 03, 2009, 01:23:13 AM
June 2, 2009   DAY 11   Whitehorse, YT

   We took care of business today—laundry, bills, housekeeping, etc.  No package of RV parts had arrived by 2:30, so we went to the MacBride Museum and were so impressed that we stayed until it closed at 5:30.  The historical narratives they wrote were rich in content.  I especially enjoyed learning about the “Northwest Yukon Mounted Police”, who were actually in the army and were sent here for a two-year stint.  They did everything from birthing children (with a miniscule amount of medical training), collecting taxes on the gold the miners had dug, putting out fires, building places to stay, chopping down trees, to helping organize the community.  Their pay was $1 per day; miners made $17-20 per day.  After serving their two-year contract, most left the forerunner of the Mounted Police and became miners.  The museum had many exhibits and personalized them with biographies and true stories.  I’d recommend everyone go see it.
   After we closed down the museum, we went across the street to a wonderful gift shop named the North something. It is not like the touristy places we saw on Main Street; it has real class.  Everything was high quality.  There were exquisite wood carvings, mammoth ivory that had been intricately carved into earrings, pendants, and display pieces in the forms of moose, caribou, inukshuk, geese, and whales.  They had wonderful glass, great art, and nice gold pieces.  Everything is made in Canada, most in the Yukon.  And they give the true exchange rate on your money.
   All the ice in the Yukon River has melted.  There still is ice on the land masses in the river still, but I’ll bet it’s totally gone in a couple of days.  Everyone who lives here is wearing shorts and tank tops and celebrating the beautiful weather.  Maybe we’ll get our RV parts tomorrow, so we can continue our adventure.

Wildlife Count:0
Weather:  Low 80’s
Overnighted at:  Pioneer Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dawn on June 03, 2009, 01:35:52 AM
You are making my evening.  I love catching up on your adventures.  Keep them coming!  When people ask about what you're up to, they laugh when I start my reply with "Uuummmmm, last I heard they were ........."

P.S.  How did Sherlock like the Pet wash? 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tim Lassen on June 03, 2009, 07:45:28 AM
Looks to me like you need to find some animals <g>...tim
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 04, 2009, 03:21:29 AM
Looks to me like you need to find some animals <g>...tim

You are so right!  We are ready to get going.  We would like to go to the Wildlife Preserve, but their only time to go now is 3:00, and that's when the FedEx is supposed to arrive.  We want to be here to get it installed so we can move on out.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 04, 2009, 04:03:16 AM

P.S.  How did Sherlock like the Pet wash? 
He is in charge of washing himself, just like us.  He likes...chasing the windshield wipers, the big dogs that were next door last night, chasing mosquitoes.  The closest he's come to the pet wash is exploring the shower.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 04, 2009, 04:08:03 AM

You know that HUGE airplane weathervane?  Here's something for you to do on the way back through.  Drive your motorhome there and park under it.  Jerry got a cute photo of our previous Lazy Daze under the airplane and it looks like the airplane is perched on top of the motorhome.

ArdraF

Thanks for the suggestion.  It sounds like a great photo op, and we'll definitely do it if we can get out of here before the rain comes on Saturday.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 04, 2009, 04:12:26 AM
Are the eagles nesting at the city welcoming sign pullout near the 2nd photo ( of the paddlewheeler)?
We went down and looked today, and we couldn't find anything tall that they would be nesting on.  All we saw were sea gulls.  The river has been so frozen that i wonder if they've come in yet.  Can you send us your photo or a description so we know where to look?  We have lots of time in the mornings.  We appreciate your suggestions.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 04, 2009, 10:42:45 AM
June 3   DAY 12   Still at Whitehorse, YT

   We started off our day looking for any eagles or nests near the SS Klondike, but we couldn’t find them.  It’s amazing how fast the Yukon River is melting, and the water is starting to move a lot. 
   We wanted to go to the last museum, The Old Log Church, which told the story of the early bishops of the Anglican Church and the tremendous amount of effort they put into bringing their beliefs to the miners and the First Nations Peoples.  Just one bishop would minister throughout the entire Yukon Territory and half of the Northwest Territory. Two of the bishops spent their lives learning the G’winch language and translating the Bible in their “spare time”.  One young minister died of starvation and exhaustion after only 6 years here just because life was so rigorous.  Another bishop got lost in the snow while doing his traveling ministry, had to backtrack, used up all his provisions, and ended up eating his boots!  Another one was driven insane by the miners’ tricks and rowdiness after just 3 years.
   We stopped by the grocery and met a couple whose job it is to evaluate all the parks in the Yukon and Alaska for “Trailer Life.”  They do this annually.
   Our RV part hasn’t come yet, so we’ll explore more tomorrow.

Wildlife Count:  0
Weather:  Mid 80’s
Overnighted at:  Pioneer RV Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Terry A. Brewer on June 04, 2009, 12:30:45 PM
Linda

Good luck on getting your part...It took 14 days to get our mail in the Maritimes.  Over a week to get an EXPENSIVE OVERNIGHT  UPS delivery in Denali, they said they couldn't find us even though there is only one main Hwy & we were on it watching the UPS & Fedex trucks drive by. They finally had to use a contract company to "FIND US".

If you need anything delivered it's best to have it sent to Anchorage or Fairbanks....DHL did manage to find Russ in Valdez.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 04, 2009, 01:37:18 PM

Good luck on getting your part...It took 14 days to get our mail in the Maritimes.  Over a week to get an EXPENSIVE OVERNIGHT  UPS delivery in Denali, they said they couldn't find us even though there is only one main Hwy & we were on it watching the UPS & Fedex trucks drive by. They finally had to use a contract company to "FIND US".

If you need anything delivered it's best to have it sent to Anchorage or Fairbanks....DHL did manage to find Russ in Valdez.

Dean wanted to get the control board in the inverter installed before we left Whitehorse because we live by electricity.  He told the company to ship it overnight.  They sent it UPS standard.  The company is in Everett, WA.  The package went to Seattle, then Ontario, CA (We assume they got confused and used CA for Canada instead of CN), then to Lexington, KY, then Sioux Falls, SD, and was scanned this a.m. in Calgary, Alberta.  When we first started this process on Monday morning, my comment was, "At least we won't have to wait a weekend because we are in the beginning of the workweek.  I hope we don't beat your record. 

We had read your warning not to have mail delivered in Canada, so we avoided that.  But, we were not prepared to sit on our thumbs here.  If it doesn't get here today, and I don't expect it to, we'll get to see another movie, "Up" or "Night at the Museum 3"--something funny.  One upside...our coach is the most organized it's ever been, and will soon be the cleanest it's been since we bought it new.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on June 04, 2009, 07:48:00 PM
The eagle nest is at the welcome sign pullout alongside the river about a mile or two from the Klondike. As you face the sign, you can see the boat off to the right. turn around 180° (facing upstream) and look steeply up.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 05, 2009, 12:42:20 AM
The eagle nest is at the welcome sign pullout alongside the river about a mile or two from the Klondike. As you face the sign, you can see the boat off to the right. turn around 180° (facing upstream) and look steeply up.
We found the nest and an eagle!  We were previously looking too close to the Klondike.  Then we came home and saw your message and awesome picture.  We may be stuck here for a while, so trying to get a picture like yours will be a fun project. :)
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 05, 2009, 12:51:38 AM
June 4, 2009   DAY 13   Still at Whitehorse, YT

   We tracked our RV part and found that it is now in Canada, having gone from Washington to California to Kentucky to South Dakota, and this morning it was in Customs in Alberta. It wasn’t shipped with any priority because they can’t, so still we wait.  We have the best organized coach in Whitehorse, and it will soon also be the cleanest.
   We went for a drive to Marsh Lake to charge the RV’s batteries.  We didn’t see any significant wildlife.
   We went to the second movie theatre in town to see the new “Night at the Museum—Battle of the Smithsonian”.  Admission was $9.  The theatre is very old, but the seats were OK, and the film screened well.
   On the way back, we decided to stop by the Rest Area and try again to find the eagle’s nest Russ told us about.  It was the only area near the SS Klondike with large trees.  We found it!  Unfortunately, it was not occupied, as far as we could see.  When we came out, we weren’t allowed to turn left, so we turned right and went around the round-about.  As we neared the rest area again, I spotted a bald eagle sitting on a light pole.  (S)he was just supervising the flow of traffic on the Alaskan Highway!  I hope it’s a female and there are babies up there.  Of course, we hadn’t taken the camera with us to the movies, and Dean thought that he’d be gone by the time we could return with it about 20 minutes later.  We’ll try tomorrow.

Wildlife Count:  Many mosquitoes, one spectacular bald eagle
Weather:  Low 80’s
Overnighted at:  Pioneer RV Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 06, 2009, 02:10:00 AM
June 5, 2009   DAY 14   STILL at Whitehorse, YT

   The saga of the RV part delivery continues.  If we had known more, we might have been able to get our package today.  At about 10:00 this morning, there was a knock at the door.  The RV park hostess brought us a note to call UPS, which we quickly did.  It seems that when a package comes into Canadian Customs and it is addressed to a business (such as an RV park), in order to get Customs clearance, the delivery company needs to talk with you to find out what was inside, and Customs doesn’t release it until you talk with them.  Had we known this, we could have talked with them yesterday or much earlier today (they are at least one hour ahead of us), and we’ll never know if it would have expedited our package.  When UPS crosses into Canada, it transfers packages over to Puralator.  We talked with them, but all they know is that it’s “in transit”.  We went to their local office this evening after their last incoming delivery, hoping we could pick it up today instead of having it delivered, but it’s not here yet.  There are no deliveries on the weekend.  Locals have told us that when you are expecting something, you get better service if you track things from Day 2 in person, not on the computer, and establish a personal relationship.  Best estimate is that it will be delivered Tuesday, but we will be in contact a lot on Monday, hoping to be able to continue our adventure quicker.
   We went to the movies and saw “Up”, at the same theatre as last night.  Tonight when I told them I needed 2 senior tickets, the price was only $5.  Apparently, last night’s cashier either didn’t hear me or was new, and their prices are not posted anywhere.  We really enjoyed it.
   Our bald eagle was hanging out at the same light pole tonight on our way home, and Dean promises we’ll get a picture of it before we leave.
   Our “to do when it’s convenient” list is shrinking, so we are making good use of our time during this delay, but we are frustrated.  We see a lot of mosquitoes, and they join us in the coach.  We’ve been taking two garlic pills daily, and I think they really do work.  Usually I get twenty times as many bites as Dean.  I only have one bite, and Dean has none.

Wildlife Count:  One bald eagle
Weather:  Low 80’s
Overnighted at:  Pioneer RV Park

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Marsha/CA on June 06, 2009, 09:46:23 AM
Linda,

I love reading your adventures.  Tim and I are in Canada and have begun a "wildlife" count.  :D  We are at 2 deer, a couple of pheasant and a 1 chicken hawk.

I understand your frustration with the package delivery.  In 2007 when we were crossing Canada from east to west, just outside of Edmonton a chicken hawk flew into and shattered the driver's side front windshield.  Splintered glass was everywhere and we crept into Edmonton with me on the phone the entire way.  We called the insurance company, Edmonton campgrounds and local glass shops.  It took close to 14 days to get the replacement windshield.  We learned that it sat in customs for several days waiting to be delivered.  Like you we were so frustrated with how slow the delivery process was. 

Before we crossed into Canada on this trip, we sent our Pressure Pro Monitor back so they could see what is wrong with it.  I'm dreading how long it will take to get it delivered.  I don't know which way is the best to have it shipped, Fed Express or UPS.  Or sent to a Buffalo, NY general delivery post office and we'll cross the border to pick it up.  ;D

BTW, we cringed when we saw the Chicken hawk flying over and watched it's every move!

Remember, this is an adventure.  Now you have a story to add to your collection.

Marsha~
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on June 06, 2009, 11:13:57 AM
Hi Linda,
     Sorry to hear about your travel delay. Sounds as if you are making good use of your time while waiting for the RV part. Did you know that the mosquito is the State Bird of Alaska??   Ha, ha!!!!!   Love your trip reports!               
                                                 Bonnie
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jim Godward on June 06, 2009, 11:28:05 AM
Dean & Linda,

I missed the nature of the problem with the inverter.  Is it a Xantrex 2000 or 2500 watt one, modified sine wave??  Is the bad board the AC board?  IF so there may be an easy fix if you have the board and are capable of inspecting it for bad solder joints.  There is a relay on that board that tends to overheat and the solder connecting it to the board melts and is blown out.  Resolder and it will be OK to use. 

What happens is the relay is marginal for its application and stuff happens because it is not heatsinked properly.  The relay is fine, it is just the solder joint in most cases.  Xantrex refuses to alter the design even though the relay manufacturer has told them to do so.  The relay is rated for the load if it is mounted properly.   :-((

How do I know, been there, done that and have a spare board with an improved relay to prove it. 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on June 06, 2009, 01:30:33 PM
It's a little late now for me to be jumping in with advice, but a similar thing happened to me on my trip to Alaska in '06.
My inverter self destructed in Lusk, Wyoming. 

I visited and auto parts store (several before finding what I needed) and bought a small 400 watt inverter to use for the remainder of the trip.  I had the original inverter replaced under warranty when I returned home.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jim Godward on June 06, 2009, 02:40:40 PM
Lou,

If I read the information down in the messages, they drove the RV to charge the batteries.  If the relay I mentioned is bad, the charger function of the inverter does not work so no charge capability except the engine one.  Not good as you can wind up overstressing the alternator if the coach batteries are way down and the alternator is a small to medium sized truck one, <150 amp or so capability.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on June 06, 2009, 03:33:10 PM
Jim, as you can see, I didn't have all the detail.  I was only addressing the point that, in my case, I had an alternative to sitting and waiting for a replacement part.  I circumvented the problem even though it was with reduced capability.

Sure hate to see folks travel plans interrupted with these sorts of delays and stress points.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 07, 2009, 01:45:05 AM
Linda,

I love reading your adventures. 

Before we crossed into Canada on this trip, we sent our Pressure Pro Monitor back so they could see what is wrong with it.  I'm dreading how long it will take to get it delivered.  I don't know which way is the best to have it shipped, Fed Express or UPS.  Or sent to a Buffalo, NY general delivery post office and we'll cross the border to pick it up.  ;D

Remember, this is an adventure.  Now you have a story to add to your collection.

Marsha~

Thanks, Marsha.  I usually enjoy writing about our adventures, but I'd much rather write about wildlife adventures (but we'll pass on chicken hawks!).

I don't know how long it is to get to Buffalo, but if it's less than 16 hours away, I'd go directly to USA (Buffalo) to avoid the entire Canadian Customs hassle and delay, so that I could "Pass Go" and keep the $200 in my wallet to spend on adventures instead of staying put in a park.  These pretty summer days will pass all too quickly, and there are places to go and critters to see.

You are right--it is an adventure, or at least it will be.  This is one story I'd like to write "THE END" on and move to writing an exciting story.  Your mishap did remind us that things could be a LOT worse.  Thanks for your good thoughts.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 07, 2009, 01:53:43 AM
Jim and Lou,

Thanks for your suggestions and caring.  Our inverter is a Magnum 3100 watt inverter.  Dean's conversation with the Magnum tech rep resulted in a diagnosis of a faulty control board.  The main effect is no battery charger.  Other functions appear relatively normal.  We did not want to continue the trip without the charge function.  Magnum is replacing the board under warranty.  We should have it Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.  You'll hear a sigh of relief loud enough to be heard around the world.  Again, thanks.

Dean & Linda


Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on June 07, 2009, 11:04:23 AM
Good news on the pending repair.  If you are a "belt and braces" guy like me, you will purchase a battery charger from a local auto parts store and add it to your load :D :D ;D
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jim Godward on June 07, 2009, 02:21:18 PM
Thanks for the good news on the repair.  I suspect the "control board" has a relay on it that acts like a transfer switch and provides the AC to the charger and turns off the inverter in the box.  That is the relay I was thinking of as all inverter chargers must have them.  If you can, get the information off the relay to satisfy my curiosity. 

TIA,
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 08, 2009, 01:32:36 AM
June 6 & 7   Days 15 & 16   STILL at Whitehorse, YT

   Reading replies was the highlight of our day. Dean washed the car again and put the plastic film (Transit Shield like product) on it, and I continued cleaning cupboards.  It's amazing how many interesting and useful items I discovered today.
   Today Dean washed the RV, and we went on a drive to charge the batteries and dry the coach.  We hoped to see the salt flats and Takhini Valley elk.  We saw some small patches of white, and no elk.  Meanwhile, as we rounded a curve in the road, the refrigerator slid out, so we have something to add to our To Do list.   

Weather:  Low 80's
New mosquito bites: Dean 2, Linda 0

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on June 08, 2009, 11:18:05 AM
Hey Linda,

Have you seen any good movies lately?

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 08, 2009, 07:38:15 PM
Hi, Betty!

As a matter of fact, I have seen three good movies, "Up," the new "Night at the Museum", and "Angels and Demons".  I liked "Up" the best.  We appreciate the movies more when there's a lack of things to do.  They were supposed to change the movies on Friday, but they decided to not do it this week.  I'm really looking forward to Anchorage or nature's movie, active wildlife.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on June 08, 2009, 07:53:56 PM
We saw "Up" last week - thought it was great, especially in 3-D. I especially liked the "Book of Adventures" - I think we all need to fill our Book of Adventures while we have time.

Enjoy your travels and keep sending those updates.

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 08, 2009, 08:29:31 PM
New mosquito bites: Dean 2, Linda 0

June 8        Day 17       Pioneer RV Park in Whitehorse

Good news—bad news day.  Bad news first—the RV part didn’t still come.  Dean opened the store at Puralator delivery today.  He discovered that this is just a shopfront where they bring undeliverable packages.  So, he re-contacted UPS.  All they will tell him is that it is “in transit”, and will be delivered on THURSDAY!  They aren’t quite sure about how the packages get on the trucks for delivery—possibly that happens behind-the-scenes at the airport.  They don’t have any way of discovering the tracking number of our package, but they think it must have one.
    Second bad news, the new plastic film is not sticking well on the car, and it is quickly blowing loose.  It would do better on a flat surface, and our Jeep is nothing but curves.  It does not stick to plastic parts at all.
   Good news.  We went to Yukon College and visited the art museum there.  I liked it; Dean didn’t.  It was small, and it was all devoted to the works of Ted Harrison who did a series of paintings about “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”, two humorous poems by Robert Service, who was the guru of Yukon poetry.  It wasn’t supposed to be open on Monday, but the door was open, so we walked right on in.  We saw a Puralator truck drive by and got excited.  They really exist.
   After the gallery, we stopped at A & W for lunch.  There are more A & W’s north of Vancouver than there are MacDonald’s.  While talking with locals, we discovered that the minimum wage is around $9 per hour, but they aren’t sure exactly because everyone pays more than that.  They have not been affected by the “recession”, and jobs are plentiful.  Average price for a nice 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home is $300,000.
   Next good news is we discovered a real supermarket, almost the size of one in the U. S. with lots of nice-looking produce.  The only diet drink we’ve seen since Vancouver is Diet Coke, but they had 7 other varieties.  We weren’t able to find any sugar-free pies or cookies, but Extra Foods is the place to shop in
Whitehorse.  Wal-Mart’s prices are better, but they have very limited goods and lots of empty places on the shelves.  People all bring in their own grocery bags (available for only $1), and they charge 5 cents for each plastic bag you use.  You rent your grocery cart from a machine for 1 looney, and when you return it to the machine, your looney is dispensed back to you.  People bring in plastic baskets that they have purchased.

Weather:  Mid 70’s

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on June 08, 2009, 08:59:26 PM
Quote
“The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”, two humorous poems by Robert Service, who was the guru of Yukon poetry.

Jerry will be jealous!  These are two of his favorite rhymes and Robert Service is his favorite rhymer, with Australia's Banjo Patterson a close second.  What did you think of the artwork?  I've not heard of that artist before.

We're also waiting for our new air conditioner.  They've been told it has been shipped but no tracking number has been produced so you're not alone!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Lorna on June 08, 2009, 10:12:12 PM
If you go to Dawson City, Yukon be sure to go to the Robert Service home for some readings and see his cabin.  Also, take the tour of the town very interesting.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 10, 2009, 12:10:17 AM
If you go to Dawson City, Yukon be sure to go to the Robert Service home for some readings and see his cabin.  Also, take the tour of the town very interesting.

Thanks.  We had planned to do these two, but I'd rather have something twice than pass something by.  Also, it's good to hear they are "must sees" because we are so far behind on our itinerary that we may skip over some "B" rated activities so we're sure to have enough time in Alaska. 

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 10, 2009, 12:28:03 AM
Jerry will be jealous!  These are two of his favorite rhymes and Robert Service is his favorite rhymer, with Australia's Banjo Patterson a close second.  What did you think of the artwork?  I've not heard of that artist before.

We're also waiting for our new air conditioner.  They've been told it has been shipped but no tracking number has been produced so you're not alone!

ArdraF

Ardra, one of the best parts of the gallery is the booklet we got that has the two famous poems correlated with artwork, verse by verse.  I'll be sure to leave it in the coach, so ask Dean to see it when you're in Quartzite in January.  I really liked the artwork, but he doesn't show faces very often.  Characters either are walking away so you see their backs or have their parkas drawn up tightly around their faces.  You see the facial form, but not the eyes, nose, etc., and that's true on animals, also.  I'm not sure what school of art that is in.  Dean didn't like it at all.  I did.  He uses a lot of clean lines, pretty colors, a lot of pastels, and he has a wavy background often.

Where are you?  OUR PART CAME TODAY!  :) :)  :) :) :)  So, any prayers that are still in the pipeline are transfered over to you.  I'm interested in how your package  was shipped.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 10, 2009, 09:40:11 AM
June 9   Day 18   Pioneer RV Park in Whitehorse, YT

   IT CAME!!!! 

   IT WORKS!!!

   We were awakened by a lady with a note this morning, and our hearts sank.  But it was a good note saying that our part had arrived and was up in the office. Magnum actually had him remove a part from a circuit board-which made him very nervous, but when he turned it on, it worked.  We feel so free and excited, kind of like a prisoner being released from jail must feel.

   Dean didn't want to take the camera when we were going to the movies on 3 different occasions, so on our last night here (hopefully), we went on a bald eagle hunt.  She's never near her nest during the day, but she hangs out there between 9 and 11 each night.  As we approached the rest area, I spotted her on a bar above her nest.  I don't think she has any eaglets yet because she's never in the nest.  We parked halfway down the lot and quietly crept toward the nest, but she took off immediately and landed on a nearby dirt hillside, where she remained. She camouflages there beautifully, even though her head is so white.  I'd never seen a bald eagle on dirt or a low bush before. Meanwhile, a second bald eagle that I had seen flying over the Yukon River as we were parking came up and perched on the light pole where we've always seen them before.  He wanted his picture taken too, and he preened his feathers for several minutes.  What a wonderful grand finale!

Weather:  Very pleasant; low 70's
New mosquito bites:  Linda 2 (I'm upping my garlic pills to 3-a-day.)  Dean has too many to count after being outside all day wearing shorts and not wearing repellant.
    

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on June 10, 2009, 10:11:46 AM
Quote
Where are you?  OUR PART CAME TODAY!   So, any prayers that are still in the pipeline are transfered over to you.  I'm interested in how your package was shipped.

Linda,

I'm glad your part arrived and, best of all, that it worked!  We're still at Lazy Days awaiting a new A/C.  The promised tracking number to prove it is enroute has never materialized, much to everyone's dismay here.  None of us believes it was actually shipped so everyone is thinking up any alternative they can to find one somewhere...  At least we're in a nice place surrounded by big trees AND pointing toward the satellite!  If this is the only problem we ever have we'll be very fortunate indeed.  Nevertheless, we'll certainly accept any good thoughts that come our way.  ;)

ArdraF
 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 02:47:59 AM
June 10, 2009   Day 19   Gold Rush RV Park in Dawson City

      Our day started later than we would have liked because we got to bed late and when we were ready to pull out, we couldn't find Sherlock anywhere.  We always locate him so he doesn't get squished when we pull in the slides.  He had crawled into a cupboard, and I had shut the door!
   As we departed Whitehorse, we stopped by the world's largest weather vane.  See the attached picture of it.  We tried to make it look like it was landing on the coach, and we went by it several times.  Each time it had changed position, but we didn't want to go off-roading to line it up with the coach.
   We left at 9:00, later than prime time wildlife viewing, but in plenty of time to stop at Braeburn Lodge to pick up the world's largest cinnamon roll.  "The Milepost" says it's big enough to feed 4, and they aren't kidding.  The road was fair all day, with some frost heaves, and short dirt/gravel sections where they were constructing, but overall, it was decent.  Dean did have to watch for potholes.  The roadsides are ablaze with wildflowers, bright purples, baby blues, several different yellow flowers, pretty pinks, and abundant white dandelion puff flowers.
   We ate lunch outside the Tage Cho Hudan Interpretive Center in Carmacks, which is one of my favorite highlights of the whole trip so far.  It is a small First Nation people's Museum of the Small Salmon/Carmacks tribe. When you first walk in, you are asked if you want to just cruise through or have a free guide.  Be sure to say you want a guide.
   Dawnette was our guide, and we were the only people there.  She said she had been as bored as you'd be watching paint dry, and she made the museum come to life.  She is a 29-year-old tribal member who is studying to be a Conservation Officer.  We learned that she still snares gopher with her children today, and it tastes like dark meat on chicken.  We learned that there are two branches of her tribe, the Crow and the Wolf.  When she first met the man who later became her husband, he asked her what branch she was from before he even asked her name.  We saw a quick 10-minute film on how they lived in the past.  They learn English, French, and their tribal language in school from K-12, and she could probably communicate well with the Navajo, as they have the same basic language. Archeologists have been able to prove the lineage, as some branches of the Athabascans moved further and further south over thousands of years.  This is a MUST SEE if you get a good guide.  Dawnette and her mother both make jewelry.  Her mother makes pictures from tufts of moose hair, and Dawnette made this pretty little picture (see attachment) from fish scales that she dyed.  We spent over 2 hours in the museum, listening to stories and learning.  In the winter it gets to be -60° C (lower than -70° F)!
   We drove for another 4 hours before we decided to settle in for the night at the Tintina Rest Stop, about 30 minutes south of Dawson City.  It was a two-ended, perfect place to sleep, except it was really sloped.  We tried putting down the jacks and leveling 3 times before we decided to drive on.
   We wanted to stay at Guggieville RV Park because they offered the same amenities for a cheaper price, but we drove right by it.  We ended up in downtown Dawson, where people re-directed us.  When we got to Guggieville, we discovered it hasn't open yet.  They had a sign which referred us to Gold Rush (right next door).  Interestingly, Barb showed she paid $8 more a couple of years ago.  We met some "Trailer Life" inspectors, and they told us that many of the parks have lowered their prices this year.
   It's 10:15 now, so I really should start dinner.

Weather:  Very pleasant; low 70's, though both Whitehorse(where we came from) and Dawson City (where we are) suffered rain and lightning strikes
Overnighted at:  Gold Rush RV Park, $30.24 with tax, 30 amp (50 is available), water, free WiFi that doesn't work, free cable TV, FHU available, but we didn't opt for sewer.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 02:49:52 AM
June 11   Day 20   Gold Rush RV Park in Dawson City

   Visitor Centers rock!  They have been so helpful, and we would recommend that anyone doing this trip always make them your first stop.  The Dawson City VC offers a "combo" ticket (buy 2, get the third for almost free) for any 3 Canada Park Attractions (there are 8 to choose from). They do not offer any other discounts or ticket books.
   The VC also told us that the ferry does not take reservations.  But...when you come into town, stop at the VC and find out if there are any caravans leaving on the day you are leaving, so you can time your departure accordingly.  Caravans do make reservations ahead of time and do have a priority, as do fuel trucks.
   We went to the Palace Theatre to purchase the discounted tickets, then on to the cabin of Robert Service, the bard of the Yukon.  He only lived here 2 years, but he became a best-selling author and his two most famous poems made over $1 million.  He had a wry sense of humor and wrote poetry for people who hate poems.  The narrator makes or breaks this venue, and ours was dynamic! I would rate this a "MUST SEE!"
    We had to "pass" on the Jack London Interpretive Center because it had many steps and lots of standing, which I can't do.  I had read many of London's books in preparation for this, and I was disappointed.  Dean hadn't read any, so even though he was physically capable, he wasn't interesting in going.
   We went to the Dawson City Museum which screened two oldtime black-and-white films that had lots of interesting historical information, and they are shown back-to-back.  They also had 2 galleries of interesting dioramas and displays.
   We scurried back to the VC, which is open until 8 PM and saw 3 short films on Dawson City.  All these films at various venues have different subject matter, and we're surprised that they keep giving us lots of interesting new information.  The VC told us that there are many fewer tourists so far this year.  They also told us that the city sprays for mosquitoes in town, and we did notice that there were very few.  The VC answered many questions and have a wealth of resources, including menus for all the restaurants.
    We had dinner at Sourdough Joe's-good service, crisp, fresh salad, fresh vegetables, and good halibut, reasonably priced.  Then, off we went to Diamond Tooth Gertie's for a musical revue.  We enjoyed the dancing girls, and we stayed for the midnight show because we were told it was different.  Not worth it!  Shorter show, featuring primarily the male singer, who was the weak link in the show.
   As we drove home at 12:45 we passed two bicyclists.  They had no lights or reflectors, but they didn't need them, as it's still very light outside.

Weather:  Very pleasant, low 70's
June 11   Day 20   Gold Rush RV Park in Dawson City

   Visitor Centers rock!  They have been so helpful, and we would recommend that anyone doing this trip always make them your first stop.  The Dawson City VC offers a "combo" ticket (buy 2, get the third for almost free) for any 3 Canada Park Attractions (there are 8 to choose from). They do not offer any other discounts or ticket books.
   The VC also told us that the ferry does not take reservations.  But...when you come into town, stop at the VC and find out if there are any caravans leaving on the day you are leaving, so you can time your departure accordingly.  Caravans do make reservations ahead of time and do have a priority, as do fuel trucks.
   We went to the Palace Theatre to purchase the discounted tickets, then on to the cabin of Robert Service, the bard of the Yukon.  He only lived here 2 years, but he became a best-selling author and his two most famous poems made over $1 million.  He had a wry sense of humor and wrote poetry for people who hate poems.  The narrator makes or breaks this venue, and ours was dynamic! I would rate this a "MUST SEE!"
    We had to "pass" on the Jack London Interpretive Center because it had many steps and lots of standing, which I can't do.  I had read many of London's books in preparation for this, and I was disappointed.  Dean hadn't read any, so even though he was physically capable, he wasn't interesting in going.
   We went to the Dawson City Museum which screened two oldtime black-and-white films that had lots of interesting historical information, and they are shown back-to-back.  They also had 2 galleries of interesting dioramas and displays.
   We scurried back to the VC, which is open until 8 PM and saw 3 short films on Dawson City.  All these films at various venues have different subject matter, and we're surprised that they keep giving us lots of interesting new information.  The VC told us that there are many fewer tourists so far this year.  They also told us that the city sprays for mosquitoes in town, and we did notice that there were very few.  The VC answered many questions and have a wealth of resources, including menus for all the restaurants.
    We had dinner at Sourdough Joe's-good service, crisp, fresh salad, fresh vegetables, and good halibut, reasonably priced.  Then, off we went to Diamond Tooth Gertie's for a musical revue.  We enjoyed the dancing girls, and we stayed for the midnight show because we were told it was different.  Not worth it!  Shorter show, featuring primarily the male singer, who was the weak link in the show.
   As we drove home at 12:45 we passed two bicyclists.  They had no lights or reflectors, but they didn't need them, as it's still very light outside.

Weather:  Very pleasant, low 70's

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 02:53:03 AM
June 12, 2009   Day 21   Tok, Alaska

   Our sunny day in Dawson Creek started with a visit to the Danoja Zho Cultural Center.  Be sure to go at a time when there is a guided tour.  We have learned that being there when they open often gets you individualized tours and true life experiences instead of a canned presentation.  We were fortunate to have two outstanding guides.  I think the First Nation people's museums are second only to the wildlife.
   Be sure to gas up in Dawson City, as you won't see any gas stations for over 100 miles.  We forgot to gas up, but we had a big enough tank to make it to Tok.
   We lined up for the free Dawson City ferry, which you must take to get across the Yukon River.  Otherwise you would have to go all the way back to Whitehorse and around, and you don't want to do that.  We were first in line for their second trip, and we only had about a 20-minute wait.  We then took the Top-of-the-World Highway, which I would never ever take again.  It is all dirt and gravel, rutted, pot-holed, and NARROW, WITH SOFT SHOULDERS!  As the passenger, you are looking at a steep 1,000 foot drop-off, not knowing if the side of the road will hold.  Truly scary! Dean, the daring one of our duo, says the road has a "washboard surface" and is a "disaster". The coach has a fine layer of dirt on everything-after we got it so clean during our time-delay in Whitehorse.
   After 45 miles, we reached the border, which we whizzed through.  The country changes, but the road doesn't.  We lunched at a pretty turnout where the lupine was a bloomin' on one side of the road and there was a lot of snow on the other side.
   The fine dirt from a Class B way in front of us was coming into the coach, and it really was bothering my nose and lungs.  The dirt cloud just seemed to hang in the air.  We were blessed with rain which settled down the dirt and cleaned off the windshield.  However, it started dripping inside, too.  The RV really gets shaken up on that road, and something isn't fitting the way it used to.  If you do decide to take this road, make sure everything is super secure in your coach.  I think it's very hard on the RV.  We only did 20-25 mph, and it was really bouncing around.  The manager of the gas station at the next town, Chicken, told us that he hadn't driven it this year, but he had heard it was much worse than usual.  There isn't any construction or any sign that it will be improving soon.
    If you do go on TOTW, be sure to stop at the turnout with the information about the 40-Mile Herd of caribou.  At one time, there were over 560,000 in the herd, and it dropped down to 5,000.  People from Yukon, Canada, and Alaska have worked together to limit predators, and caribou are rebounding.
   After what seemed forever, we reached Chicken, AK. The people there wanted to name it after the ptarmigan, but they couldn't spell it.  Many of the locals called the ptarmigans "chickens", and they could spell that. We had a coupon for a free chicken, but it was raining, and the gas was $4.35 per gallon.  We decided to buy gas in Tok, about 77 miles away. About 2 miles outside of Chicken, the road is paved, except in many construction spots.  But, even there, whatever they are using on the road makes it pretty smooth.  However, there are no highway signs mentioning Tok or much of anything else.  We felt very isolated-no cell phone service, no landmarks, just signs saying you were leaving Forested Area #12 or whatever.  We finally found a little sign naming a little lake where somebody must fish occasionally, and it was referenced in our "Milepost".  When you intersect Highway 2, you need to turn right, there isn't any sign until you've already made the turn and gone a bit.
   When we came into Tok, we immediately went to gas up at the place recommended by RV Forum friends.  Dean went to the fuel pump, and there was a sign saying you had to re-insert your credit card for each $100 in gas you bought.  There was a button to "pay inside", so Dean pushed it, rather than repeatedly put his credit card in.  Then the message said, "Please wait."  So he waited, and waited, and waited.  He is so much more patient than I am, but eventually he tired of waiting, so he went to the mini-mart to find out what was happening.  There was a sign on the door saying they would open June 25.  So, Dean came back to the pump, and ended up inserting his card 4 times.  This place does have the lowest fuel cost in Tok, 52 cents a gallon cheaper than in Chicken.  It is the first gas station on the east end of town, across the highway from Fast Eddie's restaurant and has a sign that says LAUNDRY GAS.
   We had a great meal at Fast Eddie's-reasonably priced, well-stocked fresh and crispy salad bar, good service, well-prepared food.

Wildlife: 1 jackrabbit
Weather: Started out sunny, then rain followed by thick overcast, chilly, 50's and 60's
Overnighted at:  Gateway Salmon Bake & RV Park, $23.50, 30 amps and water-a few spaces with free WiFi and sewer, but you can go into Fast Eddie's Restaurant, which is currently running the park, and they will set you up with WiFi for as long as you want.  The Salmon Bake is out of business.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ian on June 14, 2009, 05:29:12 AM
Thank you Dean and Linda. this is so good to be able to sit here in cold South Australia and enjoy your journey in the cold at the top of the world ;)

Loving the pictures and the tales, definitely a place I would like to visit if I ever get the opportunity.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on June 14, 2009, 07:42:42 AM
Your trip on the TOTW highway sounds a bit like ours, except it was raining most of the time and very muddy.  It took 2 cycles of the pressure washer in Tok to get the coach clean and another one for the Honda.  The gas station on the west end of town offered a free pressure wash with a fillup so that's where we cleaned the car.

Sorry to hear the Salmon Bake is closed, but it's good that the campground is still running.  We stayed there both coming and going and the front row of sites was satellite friendly too.  Sites 1 and 2 are 50A by the way.  And they had excellent WiFi.  That was one of our favorite campgrounds in AK.

I'm reliving our trip from 2006 as you see it all for the first time.  Thank you.

Here's what our coach looked like at Chicken.  Russ's Jeep is behind us.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on June 14, 2009, 08:28:01 AM
Unlike so many, we had an excellent trip over Top of the World Highway.  Road conditions vary a lot with the season and weather and we hit it just right. Folks in Tok (we were headed east) advised us that our timing was good because there had been some rain to pack down the road, followed by a couple sunny days to dry it out.  We gave it a shot and had a great trip. Averaged about 35 mph on a bright sunny day in late August, with only moderate dust. Few ruts or potholes either. No wait at the ferry either.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on June 14, 2009, 09:19:28 AM
Sorry to hear about the Salmon Bake, it was the greatest fish we had in Alaska. The young couple who were running the Salmon Bake and cg were the son and DIL of the owner of Fast Eddies.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on June 14, 2009, 10:10:07 AM
I've really enjoyed the last few posts.  Like Ned, I'm reliving my 2006 trip.
Here's what my Honda looked like when it arrived in Chicken on June, 28 2006.  We had just come in from The east and it had rained all day.

I'm not sure, but the mud may have been preferable to the dust.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on June 14, 2009, 11:38:51 AM
That could have been our Honda too, Lou :)
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Terry A. Brewer on June 14, 2009, 01:27:56 PM
Linda

You skipped the Demster Hwy & the trip to Inuvic...Where is your sense of adventure.<G>

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ken & Sheila on June 14, 2009, 02:50:54 PM
I guess we were lucky on our trip on the top on the World highway (in 1998). I remember the road to be smooth gravel. Now on the Alaska side the road was much worse. Then just past Chicken we blew a hydraulic hose losing steering and the radiator fan. I had to drive the towed to Tok to arrange a tow. Fred and daisy stayed with Sheila until I returned. At that time the road from Chicken to the junction was unpaved. Just a small adventure on a great trip that we hope to repeat summer after next.

ken
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 07:46:41 PM
June 13      Day 22   Valdez, AK

   Last night we went to bed with rain on the roof and we awakened to the pitter patter on our roof. We wanted to clean the coach of its dirt layer, but I did not want to get wet going into the restaurant to post on our log.  So we did a quick wipe-down and set sail. 
   Before we left California, we purchased two discount coupon books for Alaskan food and activities.  The great Alaskan Tour Saver cost $100, and Northern Lights cost $50.  There is some overlap, but each will easily pay for itself at least 8 times over.  Most are for buy one, get one free.  We will be going on the Stan Stevens wildlife cruise on Monday, and that alone will save us $112. At the end of the journey I will calculate my total savings for each.
   We did not realize that there were coupons in it for Dawson City, YT, Canada, so we missed the $6 savings at Diamond Gertie's.  We wanted to get the free 1/4 pound of fudge in Tok, but they didn't have any "yet".  Everyone passes through Tok at least twice on their journey, so we will try again later.
   We wanted to see the Tetlin Wildlife Preserve outside Tok, but it is closed on weekends.  It sounds like an interesting place to visit, with spotting scopes to see animals.  But we didn't want to wait around for 2 days.
   We really appreciated the paved, straight road.  It did have some "Whoops!" frost heaves that we hit at speed because only about 80% were marked, and some short gravel breaks, but overall is was wonderful.
   When we left Glennallen, the scenery became much more beautiful.  In the Yukon, the forests have been devastated by the spruce bark beetle and fires.  The trees have to be hardy enough to withstand such cold that their limbs are very short and they appear scrawny.  Now, in Alaska, the trees have became more robust
   We stopped in at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center, which I would highly recommend.  We got to feel pelts from each of the large predators, and they were surprisingly soft and silky, even the wolf.  They had excellent displays and a 22-minute film, as well as talks by the rangers.  They received a large infusion of money from President Bush to celebrate Alaska's 50th anniversary.  I was surprised to hear this, because I belong to several environmental organizations that have bemoaned the lack of funding for national parks.  Could it be because Alaska's governor and senators are all republican?  This national park is as large as Connecticut, but it only gets 1/64 of the visitors to Yellowstone. 
   About 40 miles before Valdez, we noticed a very large snowfield, and we thought it might be a glacier.  I read ahead in the "Milepost", and sure enough, it was Worthington Glacier.  We were able to take our 37' motorhome w/an attached toad, in to the base of the glacier.  They have long spaces designated for RVs.  It was beautiful, but I wondered how much larger it was 10 years ago. At Wrangell-St. Elias NP, a ranger told us that the Copper River flowed between 2 glaciers.  In 1998 those glaciers were 300 feet apart.  Now they are over 5 miles apart!
   The vegetation became more dense, greener, with intermittent small waterfalls, and the rain/drizzle stopped.  We saw a large lump ahead, and it turned out to be a porcupine sniffing something as he strolled across the road.  As we rounded a curve, there was a tall, beautiful waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, followed quickly by Horsetail Falls.
   We chose to stay at Bayside RV Park because it has 50 amps, and we cook and heat with electricity.  We may go down to Sea Otter Campground, 20 amps, for a day or two later because it is so highly recommended. The WiFi here is great.  We will try out our Motostat today and see how good our reception is.
 
Wildlife:  1 jackrabbit, 2 chipmunks, 1 porcupine
Weather:  Rainy, overcast until 5:00, when it cleared  50's
Overnighted at Bayside RV Park, $34, 50 amps, FHU, TV, WORKING WiFi, front row on the bay overlooking a grass area where ducks fly in and out, chipmunks
Miles Driven:  254

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 07:59:20 PM
Linda

You skipped the Demster Hwy & the trip to Inuvic...Where is your sense of adventure.<G>



Betty's eloquent description of that trip quickly convinced me that the trip to get there on the chance the plane would have enough passengers was not for me.  I'm willing to gamble occasionally, but not to go through what you guys did without a 100% guarantee of the flight taking off with us on board.  My adventures are going to be tame wildlife cruises to glaciers.

My sense of adventure is many miles behind me at the TOTW Highway and someday it may catch up with me.  Dean loves off-roading, racing cars,  and challenges, so when he says a road is a "disaster" it has real meaning.   The locals say this year is especially bad.  I can't imagine that it is any wider, even on a good year.  Also, I got to dip my toes in the Arctic twice while I was in Scandinavia.  That trip was much easier, it's the same ocean, and if one wants to be at the Arctic,  I would highly recommend doing it from Europe.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 08:03:56 PM
I guess we were lucky on our trip on the top on the World highway (in 1998). I remember the road to be smooth gravel. Now on the Alaska side the road was much worse. Then just past Chicken we blew a hydraulic hose losing steering and the radiator fan. I had to drive the towed to Tok to arrange a tow. Fred and daisy stayed with Sheila until I returned. At that time the road from Chicken to the junction was unpaved. Just a small adventure on a great trip that we hope to repeat summer after next.

ken


Your story proves that things could always be worse.  We spent most of today cleaning and repairing.  It was like putting our coach inside a tornado--but it lasted many, many hours instead of just a few minutes.

Linda!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 08:06:53 PM
 We had just come in from The east and it had rained all day.

I'm not sure, but the mud may have been preferable to the dust.

I totally agree that the mud was better.  It was a gentle rain, and that dust really choked me up.  I'm still tasting it.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 08:14:11 PM
Sorry to hear about the Salmon Bake, it was the greatest fish we had in Alaska. The young couple who were running the Salmon Bake and cg were the son and DIL of the owner of Fast Eddies.

I have thought of you and Sue several times.  I remember her saying that she would only come to Alaska again if she could ferry one way.  I see why.  Alaska is the prize in the cracker jacks--so much prettier and more fun things to do.  And, I've thought (with a hint of a smile) about the night all the mosquitoes invaded your coach after you had so kindly escorted me back to mine.  I bought you a book about mosquitoes when we were at Wrangell-St. Elias NP.  Ask Dean for it in Quartzite or at next year's Hop-Skip-Jump.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 14, 2009, 08:19:50 PM

Sorry to hear the Salmon Bake is closed, but it's good that the campground is still running.  We stayed there both coming and going and the front row of sites was satellite friendly too.  Sites 1 and 2 are 50A by the way.  And they had excellent WiFi.  That was one of our favorite campgrounds in AK.

Here's what our coach looked like at Chicken.  Russ's Jeep is behind us.

Glad to know about Sites 1 & 2.  The people at Eddy's (I saw the correct spelling as we left and forgot to correct it on my post) were so nice, and we go through Tok again.  Thanks.

I wish you could have seen how many rocks were everywhere--base of windshield, bumper, side windows, hood (under the plastic).  It was raining, so I'm surprised Dean even took one shot, but I'm glad he did.  We already had window chips in both the RV and car from just driving around before TOTW, but they are becoming more numerous.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on June 14, 2009, 10:20:54 PM
Linda:

Keep writing. Reading this brings back all the great memories of our trip two years ago.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Alaskansnowbirds on June 14, 2009, 11:30:07 PM
After living in Alaska for 22 years, I can tell you that the TOTW highway can change at any time. Someone coming behind you next week may find it smooth sailing. It all depends how long its been since the road graders have been through, the weather and how much traffic has been across it.

The tour company I worked for ran tour buses across it three times a week.

Enjoy Valdez, it is one of Peg's and my favorite towns.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on June 15, 2009, 06:45:46 AM
Do go to the several museums in Valdez.  It's an interesting story about how they moved the town.  The museum at the airport is not to be missed.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Barb on June 15, 2009, 06:55:00 AM
I agree with Ned. Valdez was my favorite place, and boat ride.

I'm love'n your trip report.

Currently in Perce' QC,Ca
Barb
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on June 15, 2009, 09:27:50 AM
Enjoy Valdez, it is one of Peg's and my favorite towns.

We fell in love with Valdez in 2006.  We were there for there "first ever" July 4th fire works display.  Not too impressive in broad daylight (11pm - still too light), but the spirit of the people was fantastic. 

They had canoe jousting contests on the town pond and a "free" cookout for the whole town.  After dark (dusk) they lit a giant bonfire and danced and sang for hours.  Fantastic folks.  Also my favorite.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 12:47:10 AM
June 14      Day 23   Valdez, AK

   We had arranged our trip with Stan Stevens through the RV Park.  Unfortunately,  we discovered rain is predicted on Monday, and Tuesday is supposed to be sunny all day.  The 9-hour cruise, which is most highly recommended, only goes out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So we're going to brave the rain.
    We cleaned and repaired while the rain fell until late afternoon.  When it cleared, we set about to explore Valdez.  We went to the VC-always our first stop since we've learned how valuable they are.  We got a good map and set out to explore.  We went to check out Sea Otter RV Park, but Dean says with only 20 amps, I will have to choose between heat and running the refrigerator.  We'll stay put, but Sea Otter does have a premium view.  Valdez is really a tiny town.  We found the movie theatre, but it is closed this week because they have a playwrights' conference.  Alaska Halibut House had been recommended by the painter at the VC, so we decided to have dinner there.  Halibut & fries were $11-fast food, order at the counter, but there were 4 tasty pieces of halibut.

Weather:  Rainy until 4:00 when it cleared     high 50's

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 01:05:09 AM
June 15      Day 24   Valdez, AK

   What an amazing day!  It was sunny all day long until we were on our way back to the RV Park, where the promised rain appeared.  The Stan Stephens bus driver, his daughter, picked us up at the RV park at 9:00.  She told us that when she went to her prom, the temperature was -82°F, and they hired the freshmen to go out to their cars every 1.5 hours and start them up.   As we boarded the Valdez Spirit, everything was well-organized, and we departed the dock before 10:00. The modern boat has comfortable seats inside and a viewing rail all the way around outside, so everyone could easily see all the action.
   Within a few minutes, a few sea otters appeared.  Shortly after that, we spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree looking at us as we looked at him. We learned that eagles have 1-2 eaglets every other year, but if food is abundant, they will produce babies each year.  They return to the same nest year each year and just add on more branches.  Nests that have blown out of trees have weighed more than 1 ton. There were beautiful stairstep waterfalls cascading down lush green hillsides.
   Captain Chris piloted our boat through a field of ice that had calved from the Columbia Glacier, which is the most actively calving glacier in North America. The picture shows what appears to be dirt on the surface. It is actually ash from the recent eruption of Mt. Redoubt, a volcano that is south of Anchorage. Columbia Glacier puts out 13-15 million tons of ice per day.  The ice chunks we saw floating by are considered "young", only 200-250 years old!  The base of these "bergie bits" is an awesome glacial blue.  The more blue the ice appears, the more compressed it is. This is a retreating glacier, and retreating is part of a cycle glaciers go through.  The ice field prevented us from going closer than 9.5 miles away from the glacier, which is moving downhill at 130 feet/day.
   A member of the crew put a net over the side and snared a piece of the glacial ice.  We were amazed at its clarity, and the crewman said it is safe to drink.  The ice chunks came in such interesting sizes and shapes, you could imagine the shape of a dragon or a whale, kind of like laying on your back and looking at clouds.
   Next, we went to Mears Glacier.  We could hear what sounded like fireworks.  These loud sounds were followed by massive amounts of ice from the glacier falling into the water, an action called "calving".
   A tasty lunch of chicken alfredo, rice, vegetables, and Oreo cookies was served to us.  Free coffee, teas, and water were available throughout the trip.  There were reasonably priced snacks, gifts, and candy bars.
   Besides dogs, what makes LOUD barking sounds? 300-500 Stellar sea lions who have "hauled out", and are proving who is boss.  We saw a group of sea lions who were either juveniles or "unsuccessful" adult males (the losers in the battle for dominance). The male winners and adult females were in a separate location, called a rookery.  Meanwhile, the ones we saw were relaxing on the shore or swimming near the shoreline. Over the last 30 years, the Stellar sea lion population has decreased by 80%, and scientists don't know why.
   Captain Chris told us the true story of the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster.  He said that as the captain came into the Prince William Sound, he encountered chunks of ice from Columbia Glacier.  He requested permission from the Coast Guard to depart from the usual lane he would be in, and he received the OK.  He usually would have a crew of 40, but in a cost-cutting move, Exxon had decreased the crew to 17.  He and his 3rd mate had worked 22 hours straight.  He was not drunk.  After he had bypassed much of the ice, he handed over the steering to the 3rd mate so he could go below and do his paperwork, since he had just filled up his 11 tanks with oil.  When the 3rd mate took over, he did not take off the auto-pilot, so although he was steering properly to go back to his proper lane, the ship stayed the course.  By the time he realized the problem, the 3rd mate was too close to shore.  When he hit the rock, 8 of his tanks ruptured, and he lost 16% of his load.  The captain and the 3rd mate both lost their licenses for 6 months.  The captain now works as an advisor for an attorney who does maritime lawsuits.

   We had been smelling a wonderful aroma for 3 hours.  At about 6:00, we were served delicious clam chowder from Ivar's, a famous seafood restaurant chain in Oregon.

   On the way back to port, the captain saw several Dall's porpoises who kept crossing in front of the boat and leaping right next to the boat. There was a company barbecue waiting for Stan's employees, but the captain detoured to give us an additional experience. We kept moving at a decent speed, and the porpoises kept up with us, almost as if it were a race. It was like they were playfully leading us back home.  What a grand finale!  Our 9 hour trip lasted 9 hours and 40 minutes-well worth the price!  This is an "ABSOLUTELY MUST DO"!

Wildlife:  Millions of sea gulls, 9 sea otters, 7 bald eagles, 1 humpback whale, 6 seals, 5 orcas (killer whales), about 300 Stellar sea lions, 30-40 puffins, and 5 Dall's porpoises

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 01:10:03 AM
Day 24 Part 2

More photos from the boat trip.

Dean
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: BernieD on June 17, 2009, 08:16:24 AM
Linda and Dean

When we were last in Valdez the playwrights conference was on also. Lots of celebrities in town; Patricia Neal, Edward Albee, Chris Noth and others. The VC provided us with complementary tickets to a couple of the seminars, but we were only able to attend Patricia Neal's talk about her life and battles.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 03:43:01 PM
June 16      Day 25   Valdez

   This morning we did "Must Dos".  When we finished, we headed out to play and met our neighbor.  I've found other RV'ers to be a wonderful source of information, and this neighbor spends 3 months/year here.  As we were chatting, a chipmunk scampered under her coach, and I commented about it.  She said that they fed the chipmunks peanuts and the eagles fish.  I asked more questions and discovered that they feed the eagles every night at 5:00.
   We jetted off to the Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum, which other Forum members had recommended highly.  It did not disappoint.  It is advertised as being the largest collection of Alaskan artifacts in the world.  They had all the Alaskan animals in interesting poses, and the taxidermy was excellent.  They were magnificent specimens and looked alive! They had beautiful scrimshaw dioramas, fantastic seed beadwork, ivory ships with baleen sails, ulus, spears, clothing, homes, baskets, and a 11/2 hour series of movies about the earthquake, the building of the Alyeska pipeline, and Alaskan wildlife.  Admission was a meager $5.  The displays evoked many "oohs" and "aahs", and this is a "MUST SEE".  We tore ourselves away at 4:40.
   We got home and parked the toad in front of the RV.  The neighbors came out and tossed fish in the air, one at a time.  A bald eagle swooped within 5 feet of me as he grabbed the fish off the road RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR CAR!  The skies filled with about a dozen bald eagles, 2 golden eagles, and 30 seagulls, who competed for the fish.  They must have thrown out 40 or 50 fish over a period of about 30 minutes.  The sense of wonder remained through the very last moment.  They were so close that it was hard for Dean to get the eagles from wingtip-to-wingtip within one camera frame.  Truly a "WOW! Experience".  We decided to stay another day just to relive this sight.

Wildlife: 2 chipmunks, a dozen bald eagles, 2 golden eagles, 1 magpie

Weather:  High of 54°F, thick low clouds

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 03:46:36 PM
Day 25 pRT 2

more photos

Dean
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on June 17, 2009, 06:50:34 PM
Glad to see you're quickly increasing that wildlife count !! Keep those travel stories and photos coming.

BTW, after TOTW road, doesn't Quartzsite look a bit appealing  :D

Wendy
 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 08:41:48 PM
Glad to see you're quickly increasing that wildlife count !! Keep those travel stories and photos coming.

BTW, after TOTW road, doesn't Quartzsite look a bit appealing  :D

Wendy
 

Quartzsite is still "the armpit of the world", but TOTW is "a stinky, rutted, rocky armpit of the world". Why are there 2 armpits and only one Garden of Eden?   No, Quartzsite is still very unappealing, but Dean says to keep trying!

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on June 17, 2009, 08:45:51 PM
Quartzsite is still "the armpit of the world", but TOTW is "a stinky, rutted, rocky armpit of the world". Why are there 2 armpits and only one Garden of Eden?   No, Quartzsite is still very unappealing, but Dean says to keep trying!

Linda

Sure could use you to take charge of a Pizza Party in Quartzsite  ;)

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ken & Sheila on June 17, 2009, 09:26:09 PM
Linda,

>>Quartzsite is still "the armpit of the world"<<

When you get to Homer, tell me what you think of the "spit'. We loved it, but Sheila nicknamed it QS North.

Reading your travelogue makes us want to get back to Alaska, but that looks like 2011 for us.

Ken
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Alaskansnowbirds on June 17, 2009, 09:36:52 PM
June 15      Day 24   Valdez, AK

She told us that when she went to her prom, the temperature was -82°F, and they hired the freshmen to go out to their cars every 1.5 hours and start them up.

I think she was pulling the tourists legs. The coldest its ever been in Valdez is -23° F on February 4, 1968. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was minus 80 degrees at Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on June 17, 2009, 09:43:54 PM
Linda, you/Dean got some really great photos!  Isn't it the most amazing place!  Really enjoying your trip with you...

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 17, 2009, 10:21:35 PM
June 17, 2009   Day 26   Valdez

   Today was a lot of “can’t dos”.  The 4-wheel drive to Mineral Creek Canyon can’t be done.  The creek that Brewers forded is now under 4 feet of snow.  The Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery salmon run hasn’t started, so the hatchery is closed and there are no bears.  Most tragically, the Valdez City Council voted last night to fine anyone who feeds the eagles $300, so there was no eagle feeding tonight.
    I would say this RV park is the best in town for us.  Eagles Nest was $10 higher, same amenities, and we look out on the bay; they are across the road behind us.  Our hosts are very accommodating, work hard, really try to please, and they stay open until 10 or 11 at night.  Betty mentioned all the water at Sea Otter RV park, whereas we have nice thick gravel, so no standing water, excellent drainage.  However, while we have had some rain each day, I think Brewers had a lot more. Thanks to Terry’s suggestion we are going counter-clockwise. Sea Otter does have a killer view. We planned based on others’ logs, and I thank you all for making our trip more enjoyable with fewer problems. 
   The “airport museum” had been combined with the Whitney and is no longer in existence.  We made brownies as a “thank you” for our neighbors. On the recommendation of our neighbors, we tried the Chinese restaurant.  Lunch was lots of food, $10, and OK taste, nice people.
   We went to the Old Valdez Museum, located near the ferry.  It had 4 large tables with wooden models of the city, a spring-loaded chair from the old laundry, a Civil Defense jeep, a fire engine, an old well-restored juke box, and the biggest (8 feet long) wooden rifle I’ve ever seen.  The $6 admission includes the Valdez Museum, which was a nice, little museum.  If you have extra time, it has interesting items from the Valdez area.  They are having a raffle of 8 quilts, which benefits 8 local charities.  They were pretty, but we got to see the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, across the river from Metropolis, IL, and their quilts were absolutely awesome!  As we left the museum, we spied two bunnies munching on the grass   `.  Could they be snowshoe hares?

Wildlife:  2 members of the rabbit family awaiting specific naming, 4 bald eagles, 2 chipmunks

Weather:  High of 52°F, thick low clouds, rain all morning

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 19, 2009, 02:19:34 AM
June 18      Day 27   Address is Palmer, AK, but we're really at Mile 109 Glenn Highway, which is actually about 60 miles away

   I woke up to two bald eagles flying over the grassy area in front of our RV.  What a great way to start a travel day.
   'The Milepost" is a super source of current information, and warned of possible nighttime closure of the Glenn Highway, so I went to www.dot.state.ak.us and clicked on "Traveler Info", then "road conditions".  They list all areas of construction, when, and to what extent traffic is impeded.  The same information is available by dialing 511 for recorded information or 907-273-6037.  Another source is on your CB, Channel 19 is the truckers' channel, and Channel 9 is the emergency channel.
   We retraced our route back to Glennallen, again enjoying the magnificence of Worthington Glacier.  We stopped at the Wildlife Museum Betty had recommended, but it was closed.  We went next door to The Freeze, had a good fish sandwich, and learned that the museum owner only opened it a brief time last summer and has only been seen once this summer.  The young man behind the counter seemed puzzled as he said it had a great business 2 years ago, and he thought it was really good.  We'll try again when we return this way.
   Today we saw lots of wildflowers-fireweed, dandelions, lupine, wild rose, and a light yellow flower.  We saw lots of road signs about animals, but no evidence of them.  But, we did see many pretty lakes covered in water lilies and many pretty views.

Wildlife:  2 bald eagles, 2 magpies, several seagulls

Weather:  High in mid 60's, light rain off and on, steady in the evening

Overnighted at:  Grand View R. V. Park, FHU, 50 amps, cable, free Wifi, view of Dall sheep is advertised, but we looked at the wrong mountain for 3 hours before we found out where they really are.  We'll look for them again tomorrow.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 20, 2009, 02:50:17 PM
June 19   Day 28   Anchorage, AK, A CITY WITH NO SALES TAX!

   We awakened to fog-shrouded mountains and light rain.  We waited until 11:00, hoping it would burn off so we could see the Dall's sheep.  It had rained steadily throughout the night and weathermen predicted another 48 hours of rain and lightning, so we decided to move on. 
   We stopped at the Matanuska Glacier overlook at Milepost 101 so Dean could enjoy seeing it as much as I had been, sitting in the passenger seat.  The Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site is well-suited for big rigs, even though it doesn't look like it from the highway.  The glacier extends 27 miles to the northwest-truly impressive in size!  But...only until you discover that a few years ago it extended 53 miles!  There is a fairly easy 20-minute walk to a viewing platform, but it was drizzling and threatening to rain.
   At milepost 97 all traffic came to a dead stop, and we waited about 35 minutes to be let through the 5-mile-long construction site, which is a truly remarkable human feat.  They are straightening and widening the Glenn Highway.  They send a pilot car through with a stream of RV's, then the men get to work for 20 minutes blasting, then the pilot car comes through the other way and the cycle is repeated. They have removed over 2.4 million cubic yards of material since they started in 2007, and it looks like it is close to completion.  The part they have finished is a gorgeous 4-lane highway.
   When we got over the mountains, the skies cleared.  Protected by the mountains, Anchorage gets comparatively little rain each year; it's very temperate.  We bypassed Palmer because the ground would be too soggy and it was too rainy to enjoy the Musk Ox Farm and the reindeer farm; we'll do that when we come back through.  We stopped in Anchorage to take care of business, and they have every store we needed.  Today we went to Best Buy (we needed a converter box although our coach was a 2006 model and Dean had thought we'd be OK), the Mac Store (we needed a new power cord), the UPS store to return our defective RV inverter part so we won't have to pay for it), and then to see a movie at the Totem Pole Regal Cinema, a nice 8-screen theatre.  "The Proposal" was quite enjoyable.  They have $1 candy nights on Mondays and $1 popcorn on Tuesdays.

Overnighted at:  Golden Nugget RV Park, $45, FHU, 30/50 amps, TV svc, free
WiFi, free activities and food (hot dogs, chili) 5/7 nights, lots of space between coaches.  Thanks, Brewers, for telling us there was <12 inches between coaches at Ship Creek RV Park.

Weather:  Rainy, 40's to start, then clear, 60's

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on June 20, 2009, 05:06:53 PM
Be sure to visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center while in Anchorage. Preferably on a nice day, since much of it is outdoors.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ian on June 20, 2009, 08:53:32 PM
Dean and Linda, thanks for sharing your journey with us. I look forward to the updates and especially the spectacular pictures.

In particular the shots of the eagles at Valdez. When you get somewhere with a decent bandwidth would there be a chance of emailing me the original of IMG_0654.JPG, the eagle soaring with just the foggy mountains behind. I would so love to have that on my desktop. No hurry, but that would look so cool on the widescreen.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 21, 2009, 02:37:33 AM
June 20, 2009   Day 29   Anchorage, AK

   It rained all night, but it cleared as we got dressed to start our day-mighty considerate!  We skipped breakfast as we were going to try one of the Brewers' recommendations, the famous Arctic Roadrunner, for a high-calorie lunch of a burger and fries.  The food was good, the restaurant has lots of interesting photos, sayings, mounts, and Campbell Creek was rushing by as country music played in the background.  But best of all was the other people that were there.  Alaskans are so outgoing and just plain nice.  The lady behind us heard Dean and me talking and she stopped by on her way out to let us know what she loves about the area-and she didn't stop talking for 20 minutes.  We did get lots of insider tips, one of which is that the newspaper says the mosquitoes this year are the worst ever.  They had the perfect amount of rain and warm temperatures to produce prolifically.  She also told us about neat places to go on Homer Spit.  Then we got out our map to plot our course when we finished eating, and the man behind us said, "Can I help you find someplace?", and he gave us great directions.
   We went to the VC, our first stop always, and circled and circled and circled some more looking for any parking place anywhere.  It seems that they have had an influx of 10,000 extra visitors because of the upcoming Summer Solstice, plus they had a marathon which drew 4,000 participants.  We decided our funky map was good enough and left.
   We drove to the Rasmussen Museum of Anchorage, which is an attractive art and history museum.  We saved $8 by using a coupon from our Toursaver book. They are putting on an addition (funded by oil revenue), so there is a lot of construction. They had interesting art using a variety of materials, and one depicted the glacier blue that is so pretty that we had to take a picture.  Large dioramas with lots of realia depicted Alaskan life at various times in history. We spent several hours there.  Dress warmly because it is chilly inside. We learned that we could have parked underneath the museum for free on weekends.
   Then we went to Costco to re-stock our pantry.  Costcos are all arranged similarly, but this one had huge steel dipping nets for catching salmon ($120) as we entered.  They had woodcarvings of bears and moose, as well as reindeer sausage.  They surprised us by closing at 6:00, so we'll try a different store tomorrow.

Weather:  Rainy in the a.m., high of 66°F.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 22, 2009, 03:50:25 AM
June 21   Day 30   Anchorage, AK

   It only rained part of the night, but it continued well into the morning.  We used our Northern Lights coupon for a free breakfast at Denny's and 2 Grand Slams (oatmeal, eggs, sausage, toast) only cost $7.
   We looked for something we could do inside, and Dean wanted to do the Alaska Aviation Museum. Admission was $10, and I got in free with a Toursaver coupon. Dean was a pilot, so he is much better at evaluating, and he says it was well-done, but small.  But, we have visited the space centers in Florida and Dallas, as well as the space museum in Washington, D.C., so any others are "small". They did have a film of the history of aviation that I enjoyed.  The aviation pioneers here were hardy souls, just like the miners, explorer and First Nations people.  The museum was dedicated to bush pilots and their planes.  It had lots of plane floats, skis, vintage planes and engines.  They did a good job of labeling.  Dean spent about 3 hours reading and looking, so it must have been interesting.  It is located on Lake Hood, and we watched seaplanes take off and land while many ducks paddled around nearby.
   We stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Costco (to buy planks to cook fresh fish on, and the fish), and the grocery store.  Dean pronounced it too cold to barbecue the fresh halibut we bought, so we're having Ivar's clam chowder from Costco.  Ivar’s is a well known name from Oregon.

Wildlife:  Lots of ducks

Weather:  Supposedly 55°F, windy, very chilly

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on June 22, 2009, 09:45:04 AM
June 21   Day 30   Anchorage, AK

Dean pronounced it too cold to barbecue the fresh halibut we bought, so we're having Ivar's clam chowder from Costco.  Ivar’s is a well known name from Oregon.


Linda:

Almost Oregon; Ivar's is a Seattle institution since 1938. ;D

Have fun!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 22, 2009, 11:53:44 AM
I would so love to have that on my desktop. No hurry, but that would look so cool on the widescreen.
Ian, you started something!  When I read your note, I told Dean that I wanted it, too, because it is by far the most exciting event of the trip so far.  Our daughter also e-mailed us the same request.  Dean says it's too big to e-mail, and he has a plan for how best to do it.  We'll get to it today if it's rainy, which is predicted.  If it's sunny, it will be done on the next rainy day.  It sounds like his plan is something he hasn't done before, but he thinks he knows how to do.

This is the highest compliment anyone can pay a photographer.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 22, 2009, 12:04:00 PM
Be sure to visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center while in Anchorage. Preferably on a nice day, since much of it is outdoors.

Nice day?  So far we haven't seen one of those yet in Anchorage, though they say this overcast/rain is unusual.  Our daughter and son-in-law are trying to arrange busy schedules so they can come up here towards the end of July, and they want to do Anchorage, so we are doing the "B" activities and saving the "A" things, like the Native Heritage Center, glacier cruise, Sourdough Mining Co. to do with them. 

Keep the suggestions of your favorite places coming.  I'd hate to leave a place and find out there was somewhere we should have gone and didn't.

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on June 22, 2009, 12:41:30 PM
Linda,

You voiced a concern in  Marsha's Canada log that you were afraid your log may be dull.  Your log is NOT dull.  It is wonderful to see how you make lemonaid out of the rainy weather.  We experienced the wettest summer in Alaskan history but it did not  deter our travels or learning.  I did not care as much about Valdez as many,  as we had 5 inches of rain in  one day.  The campground was a lake but I have wonderful new water shoes as a result. You seem to be doing the same.  I am reliving our trip through your eyes and it is a wonderful journey, please  keep it up.  
Betty  
 
  
 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom and Margi on June 22, 2009, 01:53:17 PM
Let me echo Betty - your travel journal is anything but dull.  We've been reliving our Alaskan trip (2000) through your travels.  I was so sorry the Top of the World highway was in such poor shape this year.  It was one of the highlights of our trip.  We were covered in dust when we arrived in Tok, but the road was relatively good (for dirt and gravel).  We were lucky, though.  When we arrived in Tok we looked back at the mountain and it was covered by ugly black clouds.  I'm sure whoever was on TOTW at that time did not have as much fun.  :D

There is a fun store in Anchorage (if it's still there) called New Sagayas -- and I may have murdered the spelling.  Pam Van Luchene recommended it.  It has all kinds of really fresh fish, many exotic seasonings, and all kinds of kitchen gadgets.  It's a neat place to wander around.  They also served a lunch buffet.

Keep up the good work, Linda.  Don't stop!  :D  The photographs of the eagles were breath taking!

Margi
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 22, 2009, 09:33:10 PM
Let me echo Betty - your travel journal is anything but dull. 
Margi

Thanks so much.  i really wasn't fishing for compliments, but they did inspire me to post tonight (I was going to combine the next two days.)

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 22, 2009, 09:42:10 PM
I was so sorry the Top of the World highway was in such poor shape this year. 

There is a fun store in Anchorage (if it's still there) called New Sagayas -- and I may have murdered the spelling.  Pam Van Luchene recommended it.  It has all kinds of really fresh fish, many exotic seasonings, and all kinds of kitchen gadgets.  It's a neat place to wander around.  They also served a lunch buffet.


Margi

We got so much dust inside our GPS on TOTW that our GPS stopped functioning and will not eject the disc so Dean can clean it out.  He is working with Pioneer to try to get it going again.  Until then, I am functioning as navigator in the RV.  In the Jeep, the GPS disc does not cover AK (and purchase of one that does would cost $300), so I am practicing my map-reading there, too.  Scary, it is.  In fact, we went by New Sagayas when we were lost somewhere, and I recognized the name from someone's log.  I should have noted its location, but I will find out where it is and go there--it's inside, so it's dry!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom and Margi on June 22, 2009, 10:40:56 PM
Did you feel today's earthquake?  It was reported at 5.7 epicentered in Willows, east of Anchorage.  Probably not strong enough to cause extensive damage, but strong enough to shake Anchorage a bit?

Do take in New Sagayas.  It's just one of those neat places to stroll through.  The fish is FRESH.  We pulled a little '86 Suzuki cloth top on that trip and could barely find a place for it in the parking lot around lunch time.  Lots of Anchorage business people were there for lunch.  What better recommendation?  :D

Margi
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 23, 2009, 01:23:45 AM
June 22, 2009   Day 31   Anchorage, AK

   When we awakened, it wasn't raining!  I have been wanting to barbecue fish since Valdez, and I wanted to have fish for breakfast.  Dean didn't, but he promised he would barbecue it tonight, even if he had to do it under the awning in the rain, which he is doing right now.  I unwrapped the planks and put one to soak at 6:00, ready to start cooking at 6:20.  Oops!  When Dean took it out, it had cloned, and there were two.   One side was not wet, so back into the sink it went, and we started over again. 
   Before we left Cypress, Dean bought a very expensive Motostat, which has not been able to find a signal since we hit Canada.  We've been in contact with them, and they said we were not far enough west, gave us new settings, etc.  Today we decided Anchorage is far enough west, and we were going to get it working.  WiFi has been very unreliable at RV parks despite what Trailer Life says, and I wanted our Motostat to work and work well.  By the way, I have found a way to get good WiFi at the last 3 stops.  I call as soon as I know what town we'll be in and tell the RV park that I must have WiFi or I can't stay, and they park us near the office.  We have had good reception when others in the park have not. Dean went through hassles, inputting and jumping through hoops, and they closed without getting us fixed.  We will open with them at 6 a.m. our time tomorrow morning.
   Our only excitement today was at about 11:28 a.m. when our RV shook quite a bit due to a 5.4 earthquake.  I was glad that we weren't on the water at Valdez.  Sherlock just looked at us because it felt very much like it does when Dean retracts the jacks.  We had a smaller aftershock later.

Weather:  Rain off and on until 3:30, then the sun comes out for about 3 hours when it's too late to go to an outside activity like the Botanical Garden or Zoo, then more rain.  High of 54°F, winds 5-10 mph, nice weather if you have on jeans (not shorts!)

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ian on June 23, 2009, 03:50:14 AM
We got so much dust inside our GPS on TOTW that our GPS stopped functioning and will not eject the disc so Dean can clean it out.  He is working with Pioneer to try to get it going again.  
In older days the CD/DVD players used to have a small hole in the face plate. This would allow the user to insert an opened paperclip or similar sized wire/probe and that would manipulate the drive wheel which would gradually unlock the tray and allow the CD to release. If you have such a hole in the faceplate then find a paperclip and see if that helps. If there isn't a hole then you need expert attention.

Attached pic will show some options for the hole locations.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on June 23, 2009, 09:32:48 PM
Linda, are you talking about the TV or internet MotoSat dish?  We had MotoSat TV and couldn't get signals after about Prince Rupert.  On the return down the Alcan we got TV at Soldier's Summit but no where else until we got closer to the U.S.  No one else could get it either, so don't be surprised if you're out of range.  Someone in Skagway told us you have to have a really big dish up there because of the latitude and we've since heard the same thing.  We had the same situation in Newfoundland, except for the first night which wasn't very far from the ferry dock.

Writing the above reminds me that every day as we'd pull into a campground on the Alaska trip Jerry would put up the dish and almost immediately there would be a crowd of guys around asking, "Can you get it to work?"  None of them could either.  ;D

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ken & Sheila on June 23, 2009, 10:29:30 PM
Ardra,

Fred and I both bought 30 or 32 inches dishes in Dawson Creek to try to maintain TV reception. I can say it wasn't worth the money. Worked a few places.

Ken
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on June 23, 2009, 10:35:42 PM
Ken, that's interesting.  I wonder how our new 5 LNB dish would work up there.  It is larger than the previous one but the way it triangulates to get the right satellite might preclude its usefulness too.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dawn on June 24, 2009, 10:54:18 AM
Until then, I am functioning as navigator in the RV. 

That's the scariest thing you've typed yet! :o 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 25, 2009, 11:59:26 AM
June 23 & 24   Days 32 & 33   Anchorage, AK

   Dean spent half of Tuesday, all day Wednesday, and an hour this morning working with MotoStat trying to get the internet working.  He was on the phone and busy continuously with it, with no breaks, about a 12-hour exercise. We have read with a great deal of interest the replies, and if misery loves company, we're happy.  Unfortunately, everyone agreed today that it just doesn't work here.  Dean's thinking is that the footprint should be largest in Anchorage.  He'll try again in Homer, but I'm focusing on the things we can do and see. 
   We had heard from other tourists that the Anchorage Zoo was poor, so we decided to go check it out ourselves.  It is small, but if your expectations aren't too high, you, too, could have a nice afternoon there.  They had most of the Alaskan animals, and they were awake!  We saw owls, bears, hawks, foxes, deer, eagles, lynx, wolverines, a river otter, a harbor seal, musk oxen, an amur tiger, Dall sheep, a snow leopard, caribou, freshly shorn alpacas, yaks, a porcupine, moose, and more.  There were signs giving the facts about each, and I'm sure it's very expensive to keep it going.  Each of the 6 wolves needs about 10 pounds of food per day.  Admission was only $12 (I used a Toursaver coupon and got in free), and we had a good time.
   I've been cold, and I found a wonderful "Alaska" coat today.  It has lots of pockets, lots of layers, and is cuddly.  I love it!  Meanwhile, Dean wore shorts.
   We got our mail yesterday, took care of business today, and will move to Homer tomorrow.

Wildlife:  Wendy, I know stuffed animals don't count, but how about animals in zoos?  If so, we had a great count today.  We did see 2 uncaged squirrels.

Weather:  We saw the sun a few times today!  Cloudy, high of 57°F, a few minutes of rain a few times today, but mostly dry.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 25, 2009, 12:07:26 PM
Day 32 & 33 jpart 2

The zoo had elevated boardwalks for viewing of some of the exhibits without having bars between you and the animals.  This made taking pictures much better.

More photos.

     Dean
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on June 25, 2009, 12:16:33 PM
We had HughesNet coverage everywhere in AK that we could see the horizon, including Anchorage.  You are on the Horizons 1 127W satellite, right?  That's the only one that works reliably in AK.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on June 25, 2009, 12:23:32 PM
Linda:

We also had good coverage in Anchorage with 127W. Tell Dean not to givre up, they always try to fond a reason other than their equipment.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Mike (ex-f-221) on June 25, 2009, 03:56:30 PM
The last photos:
#4 before and #3 after a visit at the barbershop?
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: carson on June 25, 2009, 04:02:03 PM
Mike, LOL

  Where is PETA when we need them. They are worried about killing a fly. Guess you know what I am talking about. I'll kill a fly in a moment and love animals in safe quarters in a Zoo... free meals..

carson FL

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 25, 2009, 10:21:12 PM
The last photos:
#4 before and #3 after a visit at the barbershop?

#3 was definitely after.  There was one unshorn alpaca in the pen, and we should have pictured him for comparison.  The shaggy beast (#4) is actually two beasts--a mother yak and her baby.  They just kind of look like a big blob of fur.  I didn't even realize the baby was there nursing until s(he) moved.  They could definitely use a trip to the barbershop!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 26, 2009, 03:34:12 AM
June 25, 2009   Day 34   Seward, AK

   What a glorious day!  When we awoke, there was no rain, AND the SUN was SHINING! I thought to myself, "How stupid we are to be leaving!"  I had read the weather reports, and Homer was supposed to have rain for the next 5 days, so we decided to try Seward instead.
   We were going right by Potter’s Marsh, and we couldn't resist stopping to see wildlife on such a gorgeous day.  We saw an Arctic tern right away, zigzagging over the water catching fish.  We were mesmerized by his quick turns and acrobatics, forgetting to get a picture until the last minute as he was flying away. We heard lots of songbirds, but they were hidden by the trees and grasses.  I did spot 2 Canadian geese in the grass.  There was a nesting box right next to the boardwalk (which was quite extensive).  The parents were busily flying food in for the chicks inside.  They had a turn-around time of less than a minute when delivering, and it took them about 10 minutes to collect the food.  They were white-bellied, with back and wing feathers of the most beautiful royal purple-blue color.  I wondered if they might be starlings.  Unfortunately, they were quicker than we were, so no photos.
     Quietly sitting near the boardwalk were two families of geese, one with mom, dad, and 3 goslings; the other was mom, dad, and 2 goslings.  All the bird parents we saw today were very attentive, guarding their young and providing for them.
   I think I've seen 3 of the "Big 5" in Alaska-bear, orca, caribou.  But, I haven't seen a wild moose I could count-the big brown blob we saw behind the rock doesn't count.  I told Dean at the beginning of the day that I envisioned seeing a moose standing in a lily pond.  I was surprised when The Milepost said we were coming to Lily Pond, and to watch for moose.  We watched, but all we saw was a pond completely covered with lilies that were about to bloom.  So we stopped and took a picture of this pretty pond.  I thought about photo-shopping in a moose, but only for a second.  The owner of our campground says they had a moose stroll through 3 days ago.  Is the 5th animal of the “Alaskan Big Five” a Dall sheep?
   We're in a very nice campground on a creek. A new electrical problem is giving Dean new challenges, so we went out to dinner at Chinook’s Waterfront.  The bill for food only was $53.36, with a coupon for 5% off from our RV cg.  The fish was good, but the sides were just wild rice and a tiny bit of cole slaw.  Afterwards we drove around and familiarized ourselves with the layout of Seward. 
   I am so glad Dean has technical skills and can work with the problems we are encountering.  As soon as we get this new problem straightened out, Dean will try some of the technical advice Forum members have sent us.  Thank you all.

Wildlife:  2 magpies, 11 Canadian geese, 1 sandpiper, 2 possible starlings
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 26, 2009, 10:35:50 AM
That's the scariest thing you've typed yet! :o 

Even with the young, memories sometimes fail us.  Do you remember going somewhere special every Friday during the summer?  Do you remember a mother who taught you and your brother to use a Thomas Guide when you were about 8 years old and who drove where you told me, even when I knew it was the wrong direction?  Do you remember being hired as a dispatcher for the Sheriff's Department based primarily on your excellent knowledge of the freeways and map-reading? 

The main navigation problem I have is maps with too little detail, and up here in Alaska, most cities don't have a whole lot of streets, and there is only one big highway going from city to city.  Piece of cake!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: gmsboss1 on June 26, 2009, 05:22:45 PM
HI Linda and Dean--

Having "done" a blog with entries almost every day for our last trip which was from the last week in March until mid June, we're well aware of the time and thought that goes into this effort you are making for us and wanted to send you a big THANKS!

Mary Ann and I haven't made the trip to Alaska, so we look forward every day to sharing your adventure -- and the pictures are great.  Please keep it going!

Hope the electrical gremlins get exorcized soon and that the rest of your trip is easier.

Thanks again.

Don and Mary Ann
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dawn on June 27, 2009, 01:10:42 PM
Do you remember going somewhere special every Friday during the summer?  Do you remember a mother who taught you and your brother to use a Thomas Guide when you were about 8 years old and who drove where you told me, even when I knew it was the wrong direction?  Do you remember being hired as a dispatcher for the Sheriff's Department based primarily on your excellent knowledge of the freeways and map-reading? 

The main navigation problem I have is maps with too little detail, and up here in Alaska, most cities don't have a whole lot of streets, and there is only one big highway going from city to city.  Piece of cake!

Let me know when you hit Mexico. 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 27, 2009, 03:36:42 PM
June 26, 2009   Day 35   Seward, AK

   Wow!  Today good news and fun!  Dean got to talk to the inverter people first thing this morning, and apparently we need a new AC board.  It is being shipped by FedEx and should arrive on Monday. Until then, we barbecue, eat cold food, or eat out.  No hairdryer, vacuum, hot cider, etc.  How easy it is to get used to these luxuries like hot food and drinks.
   We went to The Bakery for a $9 breakfast omelet (no coupon), and then went next door to embark on our Renown wildlife cruise, which departed from the Seward harbor dock.  The Glacier Express is a 3-deck catamaran, and the cruise is 6 hours long. I believe this is the best Seward tour of the Kenai Fjords NP because the catamaran is the speediest and smoothest, so there is less chance of seasickness.  It cost $129, but I got to go for free (Toursaver coupon).
    We were greeted by National Park ranger Tom who was a former high-school teacher for 34 years, and he acted as our guide. As we pulled from the dock at 11:40, the clouds were thick and covered the sky; rain was predicted, and it was cold.
    We came upon several otters, floating on their backs with pups on their tummies.  They were pretty close to the shore, so you needed magnification to see them.  Everyone rushed out on the front of the boat, and being short and slow, I was not able to see because of the tall people in front of me.  There were "only" 80 people on this ship, which can accommodate 250 passengers.  I can't help but compare this with Stan Stephens' Valdez cruise where there was no crowding because they had railing and deck all around the outside, so there was plenty of room for everyone to have a front-row seat. 
   We were served lunch at 12:15.  It was a plastic basket with a bagel, smoked salmon or turkey, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, an oatmeal raisin cookie, and a sweet, juicy apple. We were given our choice of a free can of soda.  Subsequent sodas were $1, and coffee, tea, and water were available for free all day. The bagel and the cookie came from The Bakery, same place we had breakfast, and they were the best soft bagel and most delicious oatmeal cookie I've ever had.  We stopped and bought some more cookies because I wanted to try to figure out what the mystery ingredient was in the cookies that added a subtle caramel(?)flavor and a tiny bit of crunch. Unfortunately, we ordered oatmeal cookies and she said oatmeal cookies, but when we got them home, they were chocolate chip-but still very tasty.
   After a 3-hour cruise, we proceeded slowly into an ice field generated by the Aialik Glacier. Because the sky was so overcast, the glacier blue was really vivid, especially at the base. We got closer and closer, until we were within a quarter-mile of the glacier and heard what sounded like the hull running aground.  We stayed there about 30 minutes listening to the groaning, booming explosions, shotgun-type bangs.  These big sounds were followed by tiny showers of ice falling into the water.  The Mears Glacier on the Valdez cruise was just as noisy and gave off very large chunks. The captain had what I thought was a good idea; he asked for 20 minutes of silent time to allow everyone to hear all the sounds, but people just talked a little more quietly.
   We had bypassed 2 orcas on our way into the Aialik Glacier because there were two boats observing them, and that's the legal maximum.  There was a queue forming with one boat in line, and the captain told us we'd be the second.  Well, when we came back, the orcas were gone!  I was SO disappointed!
   We cruised and cruised and cruised when the captain finally said he had found orcas.  And did he!  Too many to count!  Two were on my side of the boat, then ducked under the boat, and came up on the other side.  There were many more on my side to watch, too, as well as on the other side where the two orcas had gone.  We went a little further and found more orcas, and there were Dall's porpoises playing ring-around-the-orca, zipping through the water in circles, almost looking like they were playing tag.  What a thrill!  Dll's porpoises' shapes and coloring are just like orcas, but they're about 1/5 the size and so energetic.  We'd seen them from afar several times earlier, and the captain had failed to go over to them, saying that they were feeding and wouldn't be interesting.  I had mentally named him the "Manana Captain" because he kept saying, "We'll see better later."  Well, he knew his business, and I guess that's why he's the captain and I am the passenger.  I'm glad I didn't verbalize my thought.
   The captain then took us to see the marine birds' nesting grounds.  There were thousands of kittiwakes (real name is true gull).  They look like miniature seagulls with black wing tips.  We were told there were cormorant nests, but I only saw one cormorant there, and he went behind the rock, so I couldn't see his nest.  We were also told there were murres.  I am familiar with them, but I didn't see any.  We have seen born horned and tufted puffins throughout the trip, just swimming alongside the boat.  It's hard to get a picture because they appear and disappear so quickly.
   We went a short way to the Stellar sea lion "haulout" where the bachelor sea lions and juveniles were basking in the newly-emerged sunlight.  There were more than 100 either on the rocks or in the water.  We were told their numbers have mysteriously declined by 90% (I'd previously heard 80%), and no one knows why-predators, changing temperatures due to global warming, disease.
   The cruise was wonderful, and I'm so glad we went.  I put my emphasis on seeing wildlife when thinking about where we'd be spending our money, so we will be doing several cruises.  The Stan Stephens Valdez Cruise still has its first-place ranking.

Weather:  Thick overcast which progressively thinned and became blue sky with some clouds and SUN.  High temp was 60°F.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 27, 2009, 03:39:53 PM
Day 35 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Chet18013 on June 28, 2009, 07:33:57 AM
Hi Dean & Linda,

Are you going to stay at Seward and see the 4th of July race to the top of the mountain and back? This was one of the highlights of our visit there. One of the competitors, when we saw it was in a full "ELVIS" costume and did surprisingly well.   And of course there is also the great "OutHouse" race.  We took the all afternoon kayak tour across the sound and really enjoyed that (from the tour coupon book).

We've been reliving our trip with your posts. Thanks for taking the effort to keep us up to date with your travels.

Chet18013
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: railroad on June 28, 2009, 08:57:07 PM
Hi Linda & Dean:

Great log and writing style. I'm new to the Fourm (used to post many years back) but not new to Rv'ing. Heard about your trip from Chet (we've corresponed w/ e-mails) and my wife & I are about 3 weeks behind you. We're currently in Whitehorse and won't be leaving until next Tuesday. Then it is on to Dawson City, TOWH, Chicken, Tok and Fairbanks.

I've just spent the last 45 minutes scanning through you posts and sorry to hear of your troubles w/ the inverter.

I've been keeping our blog site up to date as best I can using the free wifi when available. Verizon had promised me aircard usage up here but never told me about the horrific roaming charges attached.

If you get the chance, check our site.

Playing golf tomorrow at Mountain View GC in Whitehorse then off to the Follies Monday nite.

Safe travels

Gene & Laurie

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 28, 2009, 11:24:40 PM
June 27   Day 36      Seward, AK

   The sun was shining when we woke up, and we both said, "SUN!"  We puttered around doing mundane chores, had a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich for brunch since we can't cook, and set off for the SeaLife Center, the Seward aquarium.  We knew it was small because we drove by it yesterday, so our expectations were low.  We paid our $20 admission (Thanks to Toursaver, my ticket was free), and had a wonderful afternoon watching and learning about amorous marine birds, Stellar sea lions who were courting, and a cute orphaned otter. The sea otter, Skittles, was found almost frozen to a dock, and he will be airlifted to a Washington zoo in a few weeks.  The sea lions, Woody and Kiska, have been together for 16 years, but separated at mating time.  This year the Center decided to let them court, and the musky odor Woody emits is so strong sometimes that the guide can smell him way out in the parking lot. We saw pretty Harlequin ducks sitting on a log, and pigeon guillemots raised their beaks in a high-pitched song.  The male King eider is so pretty in a variety of colors (grey with a unique bump on his nose), and the reddish-brown female King eider looks entirely different.  I saw many of these birds on our cruise yesterday, and I was glad to learn their names.
   The moon jellies were beautiful as always.  We bought two great little DVDs on Alaskan animals and the antics they perform in their very nice gift shop.
   We went right across the street to the restaurant on the corner (sorry we can't find the receipt with the name), and we had a good meal of scallops, beef enchiladas, and clam chowder with coffee.  It cost $52 with tip; we had good service.
   Then we took a drive out to Lowell Point.  There were two remote RV camps on the water (for Class B & C RVs), and homes with a variety of architecture.  We stopped at the smallest Safeway I've ever seen and found that it had a nice variety of goods for sale.

Wildlife not at SeaLife Center:  1 wild otter, 2 robins

Stoney Creek Campground, $38.11, FHU, 50 amps, WIFI (selected sites & in meeting room that has tables and chairs), TV svc.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 28, 2009, 11:52:43 PM
Day 36 part 2,

More photos.

Dean


Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on June 29, 2009, 01:19:32 AM
Hi Dean & Linda,

Are you going to stay at Seward and see the 4th of July race to the top of the mountain and back? This was one of the highlights of our visit there. One of the competitors, when we saw it was in a full "ELVIS" costume and did surprisingly well.   And of course there is also the great "OutHouse" race. 

Chet18013

We're not sure where we'll be--the major factor will probably be when our inverter AC card arrives.  But, I'm so glad you wrote.  I'll go to the visitor center and see what they have planned for this year, and I will also call Homer's vc because we were thinking of moving on to Homer on Tuesday if all goes well.  Thank YOU for the good info.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 02, 2009, 06:38:48 PM
June 28, 2009   Day 37      Seward, AK

   It rained all night, but the sun was shining when we awakened again!  Alaska is such a beautiful green, especially when illuminated by the sun.   I decided to go to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center at Mile 79 on the Seward Highway, 73 miles from Seward.  I thought we might as well have some fun.
  We stopped at Mile 45 at the Summit Lake Lodge for a delightful breakfast.  The lodge was handcrafted in 1954, has a nice view of a lake, and is absolutely beautiful. Swallows were everywhere, bringing food into their babies. The lodge has wonderful pictures of wildlife, good food, and reasonable prices (omelets were $9.75 with potatoes and toast).  It also has good service, and clean, roomy, nicely decorated restrooms.
   The admission at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is $10/adults up to 65, $7.50/seniors (65 and over) and all fees go to conserve Alaskan wildlife.  The first thing we viewed was a grove of trees that were killed by saltwater from the nearby inlet when the land sank 10 feet as a result of the 1964 earthquake.  The signs were very informative.  I learned that after the barbed quill of the porcupine enters a person or animal's skin, the animal's body heat makes the skin swell around the barb and makes it more difficult to remove.  We saw prairie buffalo, musk oxen, wood bison, brown bears, wood bison, orphaned moose, big moose, caribou, elk, and Sitka black-tailed deer.  We found the black bear pen, but not its occupants.  We had seen most of these at the Anchorage Zoo, but this was special because all the animals had huge enclosures and seemed to be happy.  Their mission is to restore animals which have decreased in number and to educate all ages of people.  They are also doing research.
   We reveled in seeing the beautiful landscape on the drive and enjoyed the 2 hours we spent at AWCC.  We came home with our batteries re-charged, as well as those on the motorhome.  Within 2 minutes of arrival back the cg, rain started, and it hasn't stopped.  Rain is very considerate in Seward-it only rains at night so it doesn't interfere with our activities.

Wildlife not at AWCC:  2 magpies, 3 ducks (I think they were King eider females)

Daytime temp:  High 60's, slight breeze
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 02, 2009, 06:40:03 PM
June 29   Day 38   Seward

   Good news, bad news day.  Good news--Our inverter AC thingie arrived.  Bad news-the instructions that were included were not for our part.  Good news-it came at 4:00, so there was plenty of daylight left to install it if we could get a fax or verbal instructions.  Bad news-Washington is one hour later than Alaska, so they were closed.  We called the Stoney Creek cg office to get their fax number, and they said they would come in early to receive it.  Such nice people! 
   Good news-it was a beautiful sunny day to go see Exit Glacier and eat lunch by a stream while charging our RV batteries.  Bad news-Exit Glacier is small, appears dirty from ash from Redoubt, and is a 1-mile walk on a steep trail to get to actually put your toes on it, so I couldn't do it. 
   Good news-the Seward Salmon Bake, a restaurant on Exit Glacier Road which was recommended by locals, advertises "Good beer, lousy food".  We didn't try the beer, but the food was very good.  Bad news-it cost $54.  We need to get electricity back again so we can cook at home instead of eating out so often.

Daytime temp:  high of 60°F, slight breeze
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 02, 2009, 06:41:13 PM
June 30   Day 39   Homer

   We called the inverter people as soon as they opened and found out that they don't usually include directions because most people hire an RV technician to do the work instead of doing it themselves.  They told Dean what he needed to make the repair
   We made the lovely scenic drive today from Seward to Homer.  We went through several lovely towns-Sodoltna, Kenai, Coopers Landing, Ninilchik-which were all humming with boat and RV activity.  I saw more boats and RVs today than I have in all the rest of the trip added together.  Fishermen were standing about 50 feet apart in the streams, just like a row of dominoes.  We wanted to take a picture, but the parking areas were full.  There were lots of streams, rivers, trees, greenery of all kinds.
   Dean wanted 50 amps, so we chose Oceanview RV park.  We did drive out to the spit, and the RV park out there is beautifully situated.  We may live on 30 amps out there for a day or two.  They are not much cheaper than here.
   WE HAVE ELECTRICITY!  At 10:40 p.m., Dean finished the installation of the inverter card, after several hours in cold, windy weather.  The heater came on and within minutes it was warm in the RV.  We'll sleep well tonight.
   Afterthought-while I was in the RV as Dean worked outside, I read "extra" pamphlets we had picked up.  I came across the information that the Seward Museum had two slide shows, "The History of Seward" and "The History of the Iditarod Trail" at 7 PM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  If we had gone to the VC, we would have known that, and we would have seen these shows.  It's the only VC we haven't gone to first-I don't know why we didn't.  But, in Homer, it will be our first stop.

Distance traveled:  173 miles

Daytime Temperature:  High of 60°F, strong breeze

Staying at: Oceanview R.V. Park, $53.75 with 50 amps ($5 less for 30 amps), free cable (but you have to get a box in the office and wire it in), free wifi in the laundry room (or $9/12 hours, or $5/3 hours at your site, Laundry Room, here we come!) FHU, view of the mountains, in walking distance of downtown.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 02, 2009, 06:50:16 PM
July 1, 2009   Day 40   Homer

   We started our day by visiting the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center, a very pretty small museum promoting the preservation of wildlife.  They had a 14-minute film about their mission, a beautiful building with displays about fish and wildlife, as well as a room where we viewed hundreds of kittiwakes nesting on an island in real time through a camera positioned on the island.  We also learned that the real visitors' center in Homer is the Chamber of Commerce.
   Homer does not have a true center of town, like a main street.  The fishing related restaurants and activities are out on the spit, where we decided to celebrate our successful inverter card installation.  We had a delicious dinner at Land's End.  The fresh halibut and salmon were so flavorful and moist, and the dinner came with potatoes/rice pilaf, sourdough bread, asparagus, and soup/salad.  We looked out on two large glaciers and a mountain range, as well as the ocean.  Many boats returned from fishing charters, several hundred kittiwakes flew around and bobbed in the ocean, several bald eagles flew over, and swallows flew under the restaurant's roof to deliver food to babies.
   After dinner we went exploring.  We found two mini-malls and Pioneer Blvd., where there will be a parade on July 4.  We drove north for about 30 minutes on East End Road, saw hay farmers working in their fields, pretty views of the area, and little towns.
   We shopped at our RV park's gift shop.  Their prices were less than we've paid before, and they give 20% off for a sale.  They did have a good selection of items.
   Dean saw someone's Motosat antenna up, and Jeff gave him some ideas, so trying to get our own internet is scheduled for tomorrow.  I think of Ardra's comments, but Dean does not give up easily.

Temperature: 42°F-60°F, chilly wind, sunny  When we are sheltered from the wind, it is wonderfully warm.  Otherwise, we needed coats.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on July 02, 2009, 09:51:54 PM
Linda,

When we were in Homer (my all time favorite Alaskan city) I was able to attend a couple of city community theatre plays, (on my own as it was not Russ or Terry's' thing)  The theatre was near the POND.)   Give it a look.  BTW I missed your days of no posting.  My first trip to the Forum each day is to look at your adventure.   Be sure to  visit the Thai restaurant we mentioned in our log.

We took the  day trip to Seldovia from Homer and saw the bear swimming in the water.  It was a fun day but it did involve a bit of walking.
Terry did his halibut fishing charter from Homer and  we ate his fish for months  afterward.  YUM .

I am loving your adventure.

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on July 02, 2009, 10:41:24 PM
Quote
I think of Ardra's comments, but Dean does not give up easily.

LOL!  Neither does Jerry.  I know you'll tell us if he succeeds!  ;)

How I love the halibut and salmon up there......

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 05, 2009, 03:22:24 AM
July 2, 2009   Day 41   Homer

   Dean went to Napa and got cleaner to work on the steps so I can enter/exit the coach more easily.  They currently extend only half-way because of TOTW dirt that got into them.  He has them temporarily extended, but he needs to buy yet another can of cleaner.  TOTW dirt has affected so many things.
   We drove to the library to post because our wifi here is weak.  As we drove into the parking lot, I noticed attractive young ladies who were wearing silky long dresses.  When we set up our computer in the library, we learned that we had to check in with the librarian to be able to access wifi.  As Dean was doing this, I noticed about 16 free computer cubicles, about half of which were being used by more young ladies in long, flowing gowns.  I asked one of them if there were a special occasion that everyone was dressed up for.  She explained that this was the dress of "Old Believers". 
   I asked the librarian, Jolie, if there were any books about Old Believers, and she told me she had taught many of them in her 34-yearlong K-1 & special ed  teaching career here in Homer.  She told many stories of the history of Homer, as well as telling me that the OB's (my abbreviation) had broken off from the Russian Orthodox church, were wonderful people, that they had church services that started at 2:00 A.M. (that's not a typo-it's two hours after midnight!)  Their services last between 8 and 10 hours, and they stand up the whole time.  I was so fascinated that I joined the library ($10) and checked out two books about them.  We left the library two hours later, and Jolie must have talked with me for one hour of that.  In fact, as we were leaving, she came running behind us to add something she thought we'd like to know.  If you visit here, be sure to meet her.  If you can get her talking (not hard to do), you're in for a treat!  There are 4 villages of OBs within 25 miles of Homer.  The more orthodox villages do not allow computers in their homes, so the OBs come into town to use the library's free computers.
   We further explored the spit, tried to buy halibut at the recommended Coal Point Fish Market, and discovered they only had fresh halibut when a commercial ship had come in.  We could buy frozen, but I had that in the RV.  So we came home and had clam chowder.
   I stayed up very late reading my library books and learning about the OB culture.  They consider non-OBs to be "unclean".  They are very hospitable if they invite you to their home (which happens rarely, and only after a prolonged friendship). However, they will serve your food on a paper plate with a plastic fork, or they will have special dishes and utensils that they wash separately and are stored separately for "Americans".  They try to raise as much of their food as possible via greenhouses and gardens.  They have over 200 "fasting days" per year when they don't eat meat, eggs, dairy, fish, or anything that came from an animal.  On the 8 weeks of Lent at Easter and the 6 weeks of Lent at Christmas there are more dietary restrictions, such as not using oil.  And that is current, in practice, today. 

Temperature:  high 50's, sunny
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 05, 2009, 03:29:45 AM

July 3, 2009   Day 42   Homer

   We started off earlier today to go see the Pratt Museum (buy one/get one in free coupon, total cost $6).  It is a 3-story, museum that is chuck full of information, videos, a video cam set up on Gull Island so you can see kittiwakes nesting and zoom in on any particular area, also a video cam on Kodiak Island by the best waterfall for the bears to catch salmon.  This museum is small, but rich in content.  And it has Katya!
   Our highpoint of our visit to the Pratt was going into the gift shop and meeting Katya, an OB.  Both of her parents are teachers, which is very unusual in this culture.  She has just graduated from high school, has had a back-and-forth education between the village school, extension classes, and the Homer schools.  Her dad is a convert-hence her last name of White instead of a "strong Russian name".  Initially when he converted 25 years ago, he became ultra-OB, having her mother make peanut butter from raw peanuts so no "Americans" had touched the food.  Gradually, he has liberalized.  Katya is going to the University of Alaska in Anchorage in the fall to study pre-med, which is very unusual for an OB.  Her boyfriend is a fisherman.  She expressed dismay that one of her friends, a 13-year-old, is engaged to a 15-year-old boy and will soon be married. Girls are forbidden to ever cut their hair, and Katya has long bangs.  She is debating if she will cut her hair when she goes away to school.  Yet, she considers it a priority to come home every 2 weeks (a 3-hour, one way drive) I wish I could follow her life as she tries to blend two such different cultures.
   We hurried over to the Alaska Islands Oceans Visitor Center & adjoining trail because it was now getting late (and cooler).  The volunteers there are quite knowledgeable, and we had questions.  Big oil tankers come all the way deep into Kachemak Bay to pick up pilots who will guide them into the port of Valdez.  Dean and I both thought, "Why don't they just radio, and the pilot could come out in a small boat?"
   Two trails lead out of the AIOVC, and we chose to take the boardwalk.  It led out into the mud flats where two Sand Hill cranes are raising two of the cutest chicks.  We really enjoyed watching the parents supervise the little ones.  One of the chicks was adventuresome, and the other literally followed in his father's footsteps.  While we were observing, we met a couple from Israel.  We've met lots of people from Germany.  Alaska draws from everywhere.
   By now it was after 6:00, so we decided to use our $5 coupon at the Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery & Cafe.  I had Dungeness crab; Dean had a hamburger on a freshly baked sourdough bun.  We enjoyed our meal, and we were disappointed to see a "For Sale" sign by the register.  Many of the places where we have eaten have been for sale, and we have been told that tourism is down 40-60% this year because of the economy.  On the news, they tell of how many fewer cruise ships are being scheduled for 2010.
   I overheard another customer who was raving about the highlight of his trip at the Exit Glacier, so I'd like to correct my earlier posting.  He got to walk all the way to the glacier and go on the Ice Fields Trail to the Harding Ice Field, which is an enormous ice field that extends from Seward to Homer.  He said it was just amazing.  So, for future travelers who are physically capable, it sounds like it is a "must see".
   We came back to the RV and talked with Reve, our neighbor, who told us about Dry Wash (his coach sparkles) and let us try the California Duster, both of which we will buy.  We learn so much from others.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: BernieD on July 05, 2009, 08:48:15 AM
Linda

Many libraries leave their computers on all the time so you can sit in the parking lot and pick up the wi-fi connection there.

Thanks for bringing back so many memories of our trip.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 06, 2009, 04:12:36 PM
July 4, 2009   Day 43   Homer, AK

   We started off our day with a visit to the Farmers' Market.  It was small, but we bought a lot!  We got the crispest lettuce I've ever tasted, "green lettuce" (a type of romaine), a photo of two eagles, lots of frozen halibut @ $8/pound to take with us when we leave, and cheddar popcorn.  We sampled their cranberry jelly.  Random people in the crowd were trying to make a human pyramid and were having great fun-a nice community feel.  This was followed by 3 musicians who played lively music.
   I had stayed up late on the 3rd to read another 130+ pages about the Old Believers before we set off for the Samovar Café in Nikolaevsk.  We had heard that having a meal there and listening to Nina, the café owner, would give us a rare glimpse into the Russian OB culture.  However, Katya, the OB at the Pratt, had explained to us that this village is not "true" Old Believer.
    Historically, 5 OB brothers and their families purchased 160 acres in this valley 22 miles outside of Homer in the early 80's.  They loaded up their old trucks with their belongings and left Oregon because they felt there was too much pressure on their children to become "Americanized" (reject the OB ways).  This village was accessible only by dirt road and provided the isolation they craved.  Many other OBs from Oregon followed them over the years. Around 1986 there was a great disagreement over whether to have a priest, which some rejected as not being the OB way of doing things.  So, many of the people left and formed 3 new more conservative villages.  One of these villages is accessible only by ATV and requires going down a steep cliff and crossing a beach.  It is also posted as private property.
   As Dean and I drove into the village (on paved road now), we saw males wearing T-shirts without the woven belt they are always supposed to wear, TV antennas, satellite dishes, and a very ornate Russian-looking church.  We knew that we shouldn't photograph it, so we have no photos of that.
   When we arrived at the café, no one was there, but there was a sign that said to call Nina and she would come right down.  We had been forewarned that she would try to sell you everything on the menu and in the gift shop, but that she was a very interesting character-and she was!  You need to put on your suit of mental armor to deflect all her sales pitches.  Nina came here from Russia in the early 90's, and she was an electrical engineer.  When she came here, she taught Russian K-12 for about 12 years.
   As Russian music played in the background, she tried her best to sell us red, gold, and black lacquered dishes utensils to eat our special meal with.  We had a delightful Russian tea made of fireweed blossoms, black currants, and raspberry leaves with cinnamon sprinkled on top.  Dean and I decided to sample many things by sharing each dish.  We asked for borsch (soup made of beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and celery with a swirl of sour cream and lots of dill floating on top), pirozhki (dumplings filled with cabbage, meat and vegetables or potatoes), pel'meni (Siberian dumplings filled with beef and boiled in chicken broth), and a delicious cream puff (topped with cherries, chocolate, and whipped cream).  With each course came a few minutes of oral history, a teaser, because if you wanted to know more, you should buy her history booklet for $18 (which she dropped down to $15, and I'm sure would have been reduced further if we'd been interested in buying).  In the true OB way, women are submissive, quiet followers.  That is not Nina!  Before we left, she had tried to get us to move our RV to her new "RV park" (a bare dirt lot with 50 amps, FHU, but only $29/night) and to get us to buy an apartment in Thailand, where no matter what ails you, you can throw away all your pills and be in great physical shape.  At the end, she tries to sell you her very expensive, but very delicious tea, with all the profits going to support orphanages in Russia (maybe?).
   We spent a little less than 3 hours there and missed the 4th of July parade.  There were no fireworks because it doesn't get dark enough to see them.
However, we totally enjoyed the day.

High temp-low 60's

Wildlife:  a group of 3 bald eagles flying together (always before we have seen solos) and one long bald eagle, several magpies and kittiwakes
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 06, 2009, 04:15:40 PM
July 5   Day 44

   "Twas a lazy day of doing chores, listening to TV hoping to find out more about Sarah Palin's resignation, chatting with our neighbor, and Dean working on our Motosat.  He's so stubborn he should have been born in Missouri.  I hope he succeeds.
   Interesting fact for future travelers-many of the gas stations are unmanned, and take credit card only, so don't pass them by thinking they are closed.  Another fact-those who say to fill up when your tank is half-full are right.  But they should add, don't travel by car with bladder more than half-full, because sometimes restrooms are very, very far apart.  (In the RV, you have your own facilities.)

High temp-mid 60's 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 06, 2009, 04:39:04 PM
in Homer (my all time favorite Alaskan city) I was able to attend a couple of city community theatre plays, (on my own as it was not Russ or Terry's' thing)  The theatre was near the POND.)   Give it a look.  BTW I missed your days of no posting.  My first trip to the Forum each day is to look at your adventure.   Be sure to  visit the Thai restaurant we mentioned in our log.

We took the  day trip to Seldovia from Homer and saw the bear swimming in the water.  It was a fun day but it did involve a bit of walking.
Terry did his halibut fishing charter from Homer and  we ate his fish for months  afterward.  YUM .

Betty, thank you.  I had forgotten about the Thai restaurant, but I will go and get food to-go, as Dean is not gastronomically adventuresome.

As for favorite city, so far mine would be Valdez.  I think our favorites are determined by the experiences we have there, and in Valdez we had the Stan Stephens Cruise, and the highlight of our trip so far, seeing bald eagles fly and pick up fish within feet of where I was sitting.  We really enjoyed the view over the mud flats and seeing the birds fly at all times of day.  But, Homer would be my second/third favorite tied with Seward.  We've been lucky with weather, and we have met so many people.

We went to Pier One Theatre to check is out, but they had a one-man show giving his "musings" on the 3 & 4.  It didn't sound like a good evening.  But...when we went to the Russian village, we bypassed our turnoff.  I think I was probably watching those 3 bald eagles flying together.  It was a nice big sign.  But, just like with the Motosat, Dean didn't give up.  He drove for a LONG WAY  past Anchor Point, where the turnoff was, and on my third, "We need to make a U-turn," we did.  But, I needed to find a restroom, so we stopped by a souvenir shop with moose carvings.  While I used the outhouse, Dean talked with the mother/daughter proprietors.  It turns out that the daughter is in a 6-person musical at Pier One debuting on July 7.  It turns out that is the same night as the new "Star Trek" film, so they expect small audiences.  We thought we'd go support them.

We really looked at Seldovia, which does have ferry service, so I could take my scooter.  But, the ramps are steeply inclined because there is currently more than 17 feet differential between high and low tides.  We picked up a tide chart, and just decided to skip Seldovia as too risky.  Seeing the robust lady next door with her pelvis broken in 2 places has made me much less daring.

I'm glad you are enjoying the log.  I try to give the details that fascinate me without being too wordy--a delicate balance. 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: carson on July 06, 2009, 04:40:40 PM
Hi Dean and Linda. Have enjoyed all your reports. Thank you.

Just curious... How many ruples, dineros, $ did you leave behind at the Samovar Café?  ;)

  What an interesting place.

carson FL
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on July 06, 2009, 05:50:44 PM
Valdez was one of my favorite stops, tied with the Chena Marina RV Park in Fairbanks where I watched the float planes takeoff and land for a week.  The highlight, of course, was the plane ride over Denali.  Don't miss that.  It should be in the tour book, 2 for one at Talkeetna Air.

Sorry you had to miss Seldovia, the chain saw carvings are something to see.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on July 06, 2009, 09:00:47 PM
Linda, the Samovar and Nina sound like it was quite an evening.  She must be a real character.  I'll bet the food was good.

I'd never heard of the Old Believers and you've done a wonderful job of teaching us about them.  Thank you.  It reminds me of the Mennonites who went to various countries and eventually ended up in Mexico, also because they were told their children had to learn the language of the countries they stopped in along the way.

Up by Soldotna there's a Russian church you can go into and a fascinating church graveyard where the native people combined their old customs with their new Russian/Christian customs to create the most unique graves we've ever seen.  Very bright colors.  I don't recall you visiting and writing about it but forgive me if you did.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: railroad on July 07, 2009, 01:25:28 AM
Hi Dean & Linda:

Well we've made it to Fairbanks (actually the zip code is North Pole) but we are in Riverview CG and survived the Top of the World Highway with no damage and not much dust inside the coach. Some bit more in the car but also not damage.
Celebrated the 4th with the Gold Prospectors Assn Annual Picnic and listened to the Band at the Chicken Creek Saloon.

Wildfires in this part of the state are getting pretty bad and the dense smoke is all around us. Fortunately, we have full hook-ups and 50amp so we can survive with the a/c's working. Will have to rethink Denali and may head straight for Homer and backtrack to Denali in August. Reading your comments on the Peninsula with interest.

Enjoying your posts. Will get my own blog back up now that we have internet again.

Safe travels,

Gene & Laurie
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on July 07, 2009, 10:41:35 AM
We visited with Nina at the Samovar in '06.  She liked my beard and insisted on taking a picture of me "dressed".
Payment for the picture was my promise to send her a a printed copy, which I did.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 07, 2009, 12:36:35 PM

Just curious... How many ruples, dineros, $ did you leave behind at the Samovar Café?  ;)

  What an interesting place.


Thank you for your kind words, Carson.  The Samovar was an interesting place.  We tried one of everything on the menu (split between us), and that was around $40 + tax + tip (which one of the articles I read said she would tell you how much her tip should be, but she is very savvy and I think she guessed that might not sit well with us), but Dean loved her tea.  I was very resistant to buying it for $20 (I know that I pay $5 for many more servings of a great tea at home), but he wanted it as a Christmas present.  That told me that it was something he REALLY liked, so we got it (after all, as she explained, all profits go to the orphanages in Russia).  AND, if we bought the tea, we could get our pictures taken in Russian garb, and a picture of her.  Out the door, it cost $70.  She's missing her calling.  Instead of teaching the Russian language, she should be teaching salesmen how to sell.  The whole experience was a hoot!  i thought of it as dinner and entertainment.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 07, 2009, 12:46:56 PM
We visited with Tina at the Samovar in '06.  She liked my beard and insisted on taking a picture of me "dressed".
Payment for the picture was my promise to send her a a printed copy, which I did.

I can't believe she didn't find a way to charge you money for taking your picture, even though she wanted a printed copy.  Nina must have really wanted that picture, or you reminded her of someone back home.  She must have been really tired and off her game that day!  She wanted to charge us for everything, except breathing the cafe's air.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 07, 2009, 01:12:48 PM

Well we've made it to Fairbanks (actually the zip code is North Pole) but we are in Riverview CG and survived the Top of the World Highway with no damage and not much dust inside the coach. Some bit more in the car but also not damage.

Wildfires in this part of the state are getting pretty bad and the dense smoke is all around us. Fortunately, we have full hookups and 50amp so we can survive with the a/c's working. Will have to rethink Denali and may head straight for Homer and backtrack to Denali in August.

Hi, Gene and Laurie!

I am so glad that you made it over TOTW easily.  Was there recent moisture (sprinkles?) that kept the dust down?  We must have been on it the day before the grader came through.  We were concerned for you.

We've been watching the fires and hoping they are extinguished soon, as our kids may be flying up to Anchorage around July 25, specifically to go to Denali.   Weather here in Homer is PERFECT!  It was 66° yesterday, and it felt like high 70's.  Homer is like Valdez, lots of gorgeous mountains, and I love Grewingk Glacier, which I see constantly.  It's easy to spend extra time in Homer.  We started with 4 days, added 2, added 1, added 1, and when I check out a new idea, we may add 1 more day.  Do eat at the Sourdough Express.  The RV parks are vacant!  When we were on the spit yesterday, i counted 22 RVs at Heritage ($78/night), and they say they have 107 in Trailer Life.  It seemed like there were even more vancant than 85.  Even the Spit CG had view sites available in the afternoon.  But, we are very happy at Oceanview RV Park, with 50 amps, FHU, and 200 TV channels.

It is a long way to come here and backtrack to Fairbanks.  Don't miss Valdez and the Stan Stephens cruise.

Happy trails to you!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 07, 2009, 01:23:13 PM
 I'll bet the food was good.

Up by Soldotna there's a Russian church you can go into and a fascinating church graveyard where the native people combined their old customs with their new Russian/Christian customs to create the most unique graves we've ever seen.  Very bright colors.  I don't recall you visiting and writing about it but forgive me if you did.

ArdraF

The food at the Samovar was good.

We will check out the Russian church in Soldotna.  We hadn't heard of it before.  We skipped all the towns on the way to Homer, figuring we'd do them all on our way back to Anchorage. 

Don't ever hesitate to give us an idea.  We had skipped the idea of Seldovia, but today I'm checking out using the ferry.  If we take our car on the ferry, I don't have to walk up/down the steep ramp.  I'm going to check the cost.  I had read about the woodcarvings there, but it was only after reading a reply on the Forum, that I rethought going over there.  Keep the ideas, especially those not well-known, coming!

Thank you.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on July 07, 2009, 01:23:19 PM
Linda, you are right about her trying to sell everyone everything.  She told us that the only two things not for sale in the place were, her crown and her self.  She was actually an electronics engineer in the Russian Army.

BTW - I didn't know you weren't supposed to photograph their churches so I have some beautiful pictures of it (them).
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: carson on July 07, 2009, 01:56:56 PM
Thanks for replying to my post/question, Dean and Linda..

   I think you got your money's worth; like going to a theater, having a meal and trying to enjoy  the show at the same time; Doesn't always work. I think you'll remember this experience as a  winner..you won't forget it..

  Have fun on the rest of your trip.++

carson FL

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on July 07, 2009, 09:35:02 PM
Linda,

I "think" it was Soldotna.  Try to verify the town before you go too far north 'cause I think you'll enjoy it.  We also got some very good photos of it and the graves.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on July 07, 2009, 11:01:56 PM
The church on the bluff over the old village is Ninilchik.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on July 07, 2009, 11:15:30 PM
Linda,

I "think" it was Soldotna.  Try to verify the town before you go too far north 'cause I think you'll enjoy it.  We also got some very good photos of it and the graves.

ArdraF

There was a beautiful little Russian church in Keani that we went into one day as the priest was just arriving and invited us in.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on July 07, 2009, 11:21:15 PM
The church on the bluff over the old village is Ninilchik.

This one.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on July 07, 2009, 11:26:18 PM
There was a beautiful little Russian church in Keani that we went into one day as the priest was just arriving and invited us in.

This one.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Just Lou on July 07, 2009, 11:33:21 PM
Jeff, it's the second one (only in my photo the little sign is gone off the porch and a Priest is standing there waving us in) ;D

As Russ said, the first one is in Ninilchik.(also beautiful)
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 08, 2009, 02:05:43 AM
July 6   Day 45    Homer, AK
   
   Dean worked on Motosat until 1:00, re-checking wires and talking with them. It seems that they may have changed the "footprint" slightly, and Dean is to call back tomorrow. 
   We went to the Carl Wynn Nature Center, which includes beautiful viewpoints along Skyline Drive.  Naturalists lead hikes at 10:00 and 2:00.  For hikers, there are many well-marked trails into "the bush".  We used the boardwalk, which was in poor repair and had large holes.
    While we were at Wynn, I saw cow parsnip with a label for the first time.  I had previously read that it has a powerful skin irritant that can cause blisters on your skin if you touch it.  If it is burning, it can cause blisters in the lining of your throat and lungs.  It is a tall plant with white flowers, and it is everywhere!  We are only posting the picture of the cow parsnip (also called “pushke”) so RVForum people will recognize it and stay away from it. 
   Lupine is in full bloom everywhere, and it is tall, a vibrant lavender, and plump. We enjoyed the flora, but not the fauna-lots of mosquitoes and blackflies, so we made a quick exit.  Pictures will be posted tomorrow.
   We gassed up, drove out to the Spit to locate the other fresh fish market we were told about and checked out the Fishing Hole.  We then went to Try My Thai Restaurant.  I noticed that on the sign "Try" was in different style than "My Thai". Brewers and Russ had raved about it, and Dean even agreed to eat there with me. After the first bite, I just knew it wasn't the same!  There were about 8 main dish items, 2 soups, a few sides like cucumbers.  I tried about 2 tbsp. of each, and nothing was really hot-only 2 were at all spicy.  They do have new owners.  They changed the name from My Thai to Try My Thai. That's one problem I think will be encountered even more next year.  Sourdough Express, which Brewers and we have enjoyed, is for sale, as are many businesses.
   Eating out does allow us to meet “real” Alaskans.  We met a couple who live here year-round 5 miles from the road without electricity.  She works in the hospital 3 days a week all year, and he works doing anything/everything from driving heavy machinery to roofing to pouring concrete.  Try My Thai’s owners work from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., (14 hours) 6 days a week.  They grow their own fresh spices and bean sprouts all yearlong. They drive into Anchorage (4 hours one way) to buy restaurant supplies. We continue to be amazed by the resourcefulness and hardiness of these Alaskans.

High Temp:  66°F, but it feels much warmer

Wildlife:  1 bald eagle sitting on the mud flat, numerous kittiwakes, 1 red squirrel (I don't count crows and ravens.)
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 08, 2009, 12:14:37 PM
July 7, 2009   Day 46   Homer, AK

   Brunch today was at Sourdough Express because I hadn't tried their seafood chowder, a "must do."  It was good, as was the AhLaska milk shake (child size).  Sourdough Express uses all organic food, and I wanted to see if there was a difference, like in diet food.  It was delicious, and which means it probably had as many calories as non-organic shakes.
   We went to the automatic, brushless car wash and paid $13 for their deluxe wash.  Basic was $10.  They did a good job for being automatic.
   Down the street was an auto supply place where Dean got stair de-gunker and learned that we have hit the weather jackpot.  The parts salesman told him that last summer it rained all summer long.  He would get out his lawnmower, and before he could fire it up, it was raining again.  He says we have had the most consecutive days with sun since they started keeping records.  After half-an-hour, Dean emerged, but we needed still needed to go to NAPA to get a California duster.  People came and went, more people came and went, and I waited...and waited.  Dean had a big smile, as well as the duster, when he came out.  He was like a kid in a candy shop.  He said, because of its remoteness, it had a lot of everything, was very different from NAPAs at home.  I think he would call it a "must see" for men, but ladies, bring a LONG book to read.  We did learn that while some places sell only whole items, NAPA breaks them into component parts to sell, so if you are mechanically inclined, you can replace only the defective part.  We also learned that Canada requires this, but the U. S. doesn't.  NAPA does it everywhere.
   At NAPA, Dean also learned about the outside pressure wash we could use at the car wash, which would allow him to clean out the stairs.  So...back to the car wash to check it out.  It should work.
   It was now time to bid adieu to my Sand Hill crane family, so we went back to the Oceans Visitor Center trail.  They were very far away.  I was able to spot them, but it made us grateful that they had been so up close and personal the first time.  We saw beautiful lavender columbine.  I had never seen it before, and it reminded me of delicate Japanese flowers.
   I had looked at the  Wild Berry Farm store as we went to other venues.  It was very much like an Alaskan version of the Knott's Berry Farm with a lot of Alaskan souvenirs, freshly-made candy and fudge, jellies, and smoked salmon.
   We hopped into the car to go to the Ptarmigan Art Gallery, which is a delightful gallery.  They had premium items, ranging from photography to beautiful wood pieces to jewelry to watercolors.  We didn't buy anything, only because we have been down-sizing, and we have a lack of display space.  We went next door to the Fireweed Gallery, which had a variety of art, but was predominantly jewelry.
   We knew it was getting late, and we hurried out to the spit to get fresh fish.  It wasn't even 7:00, and they were closed!  We stopped at Coal Point Fish Market & Restaurant and picked up a bowl of their seafood chowder to-go.  It had been recommended by our RV neighbor.  It had large chunks of a variety of fish in a brothy cream base with potatoes, bacon, celery, and white pepper.  It was too peppery for me, but I'm not a fan of pepper.  I'd still rate it as very good.

High Temp:  High 60's-Perfectly beautiful day!

Wildlife:  Nada.  People have commented about fewer bald eagles here this year.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 10, 2009, 01:38:28 PM
July 8      Day 47   Homer, AK

   I wake up each morning and look out the window at a beautiful black-and-white view of Grewingk Glacier and its smaller neighboring glaciers, surrounded by volcanic mountains across a shimmering bay.  The town filled up today with lots of RVs, possibly because there are many fires around Anchorage and Denali, which, according to the news reports, fill the air with unhealthy smoke-filled air.  Today was laundry day, and there were so many people in both the town laundromat and the RV park's laundry that we could only get 3 washers, so we couldn't wash everything concurrently.  This took many hours, so we didn't get to do fun things, except finish reading my library books about the Old Believers, bask in the sun, and love being here.  I am thinking about getting a washer/dryer for the RV.
   We made arrangements to go on the ferry to Seldovia tomorrow. Delicious, moist, fresh halibut ($11/pound) that Dean barbecued on a cedar plank was a real treat.

Interesting facts:  Many residents have "walnut" tires for icy roads in the winter.  Instead of studs, walnut shells are incorporated into the rubber.

A ranger told us that Homer has been really lucky because it has "only" lost 40% of its spruce trees, whereas across the bay they have lost over 80%.

High Temp:  70°F-absolutely gorgeous day!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 10, 2009, 01:45:44 PM
July 9   Day 48   Our last day in Homer

   Pinch me!  We wake up to ANOTHER fabulous day with the sun shining.  We set off for the ferry to Seldovia, which is ready to LEAVE when we get there.  We had received poor information when I called yesterday, so they went to considerable trouble to allow us to board.  Fortunately, I taken notes and had the name and number of the person I had spoken with (a habit I've developed from dealing with insurance people), and I believe that is the reason they held the boat.  We left the dock about 15 minutes late. I enjoyed talking with a 20-something Alaskan lady passenger and learning of her life.  She lives full-time in Fairbanks, but she and her husband come to their cabin in Seldovia, where they have no running water, but they do have an outhouse.  They "vacation" there for 6 WEEKS each year.  They rely on rain (which they haven't had this year), so they now have to cart in 5-gallon water bottles.  Oh, and the only way to get to their cabin, which is out on a spit, is by boat.  So, they have to buy things in Homer, ferry them over in their SUV, transfer them to a boat, motor to the cabin, and then cart them up the beach.  This is fun? The ferry comes over on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays in the summer.  In the winter, it's just 2 days a week.
   We had a beautiful, smooth trip, and docked in Seldovia a little after noon.  There were large chainsaw carvings as we entered the lazy little town of 300 people.  Our first stop was the visitor center, which was staffed by a 14-yer-old, and had a small museum with really a variety of pretty flowers.  We sauntered through the village to the Tidal Wave Café, where I had the best fish tacos I've ever had.  The halibut was not breaded and was flavorful and moist, and they had added cabbage with a very light dressing.  Dean's burger was good. 
   Seldovia only has 3 souvenir-type stores/galleries, but we enjoyed shopping, looking for more carvings, and talking.  One proprietor was really excited because he had heard that it might hit 70°!  There wasn't much to do, but we really enjoyed our relaxing day (as if we weren't already totally relaxed in Homer).
   We departed Seldovia at 6:00, about 4.5 hours after we arrived.  The trip back was equally calm.  I met a young mother, who had been educated in Seldovia's small school, and who now lived there with her husband, who renovates low-income housing.  Dean and I were surprised that there even was low- income housing.  She was a well-spoken, dyslexic, RSP student, and she had nothing good to say about her education. We pass two groups of otters, just laying on their backs enjoying the day.  They don't dive down as we pass by, just give us a casual glance.
   The ferry people were wonderful.  But, if you are physically capable, I would take the wildlife cruise over to Seldovia, though it does only allow you 1.5 hours in town.  There is currently a 17' difference between high and low tides (which each happen twice a day).  I picked up a tide chart, which is available at the Homer VC and Oceans VC.  I was concerned about how steep the short ramp would be and if I could negotiate it.
   We stopped at the library to return books, and then we stopped at Safeway.  Their prices were high of course, but they had everything I wanted, including something I couldn't even find in Anchorage.  At the Hop-Skip-Jump get-together in Utah, I had learned from Leesa about this wand-type thing made by Scrubbing Bubbles.  It allows you to clean the toilet and then dispose of the cleaning pad in the trash-no yucky toilet brush!  I've checked every grocery, Costco, Wal-Mart since the end of April, and not only did Safeway have it, but they had a second brand made by Clorox.
   Homer is a "just one more day" village.  I wish we could visit our Sand Hill cranes just one more time, but I'm sure new adventures lie ahead.

High Temp:  News on TV say 67°, but it was just perfect.  Dean would tell you I am never warm enough, and even in the evening at 8:00, I am just wearing a blouse-that sounds wrong-I mean, I'm not wearing my sweatshirt.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 10, 2009, 11:39:16 PM
July 10, 2009       Day 49   Kenai, AK

   We went to Anchor Point Tesoro because we knew gas there was 11 cents a gallon less than in Homer, but they pump it really slowly. 
   While we talked, Dean told me he had received a "senior discount" at Safeway.  We dug out the receipt and he got 10% off for being 62 or over-available only in Homer!  Good thing we saved money at Safeway, because we discovered that gas was another 11 cents cheaper at the Tesoro in Ninilchik.
   We took the Kalifornsky Loop Road because we'd been down the Sterling before, and I told Dean for the 100th time, "Maybe we'll see a moose."  WE DID!  My first wild moose!  He was just standing a few feet from the side of the road chewing his cud-do moose have cuds?  I was thrilled. 
   My map was very general, and I thought we had to return to the Sterling to be able to get to the Kenai Spur, when there was a sign that said, "Welcome to Kenai".  Our park is at the end of the road-so easy to find.
   It's a good thing we got in early.  It had been hazy all day, even in Homer there was like a fog rising off the water and blurring the mountains.  There are fires burning in the Kenai, as well as the Anchorage area and Denali.  We don't smell any smoke, but we saw black clouds floating by.  As we entered the park, we could see fishermen in the bay, boats, and lots of birds.  By 4:30, we were totally socked in by fog and we couldn't see the bay at all.  We'll have hot clam chowder for dinner tonight and stay cozy.

High temp:  Mid 60's for most of the day, followed by cool fog.

Miles traveled:  87

Overnighted at:  Beluga Lookout Lodge & RV Park, $50.88, great TV through a box with lots of channels, great WIFI, 50 amps ($3/day), FHU, small sites close together, but not scary close

Wildlife:  1 MOOSE, 3 bald eagles-I think I may have completed my Alaska Big 5-but I can't find where it says what they are.  Does anyone know?
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Marsha/CA on July 11, 2009, 05:59:28 AM
Linda, I am SO jealous.  We have not seen a moose yet.  I'm really starting to believe Tim's theory that there is only 1 moose in the entire North America and it roams around.  It's in your area now.  ;)   Congrats!!!

Marsha~
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on July 11, 2009, 09:05:39 PM
Tim's theory that there is only 1 moose in the entire North America and it roams around.  It's in your area now.  ;)   Congrats!!!

Tim's right. The moose's name is Bullwinkle and he has a radio collar. He wandered out to Hovenweep (Utah-Colorado border) while we were working there. Then the DOW guys came and got him and took him somewhere else.

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on July 11, 2009, 09:06:58 PM
Linda - Well, hot dog - er moose.  Mission accomplished!  They have faces only a mother and people like us could love.  ;)

Marsha - Your turn will come.  We saw a lot in Newfoundland, especially in the western side around Gros Morne.  If you take the hike and boat tour at the northern end of the park you're bound to see some.  We also saw coyotes in the northeastern end.  A ranger told us that about 1950 some coyotes from the mainland floated over on ice floes and have been there ever since.  Coyotes seem so very southwestern U.S. and we never expected to see them there.  We saw a family and the kits were having a great time playing in the road while we stopped to watch.

ArdraF

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 12, 2009, 01:06:43 AM
Linda, I am SO jealous.  We have not seen a moose yet.  I'm really starting to believe Tim's theory that there is only 1 moose in the entire North America and it roams around.  It's in your area now.  ;)   Congrats!!!

Marsha~

There is hope, but be careful what you wish for.  It's addictive.  Now I want to see a moose mama with her calf.  We're going out looking for wildlife tomorrow in spots the locals have told us about.  Maybe Wendy's moose got transferred up your way.  Keep looking, and I'll bet you'll find one or Tim will get so tired of hearing "maybe we'll see a moose" that he'll get you a stuffed one.  Dean just quietly smiled every time I said it. 

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Chet18013 on July 12, 2009, 07:39:20 AM
If you really want to see a moose, you need to do the Canadian Maritimes and spend at least two weeks in Newfoundland. They figure the population there to be in excess of one moose per sqKM. Not only will you see "mooses", but the scenery and the people there are GREAT!

Chet18013
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Marsha/CA on July 12, 2009, 07:43:57 AM
Chet,  we are in the maritimes now, heading to Nova Scotia tomorrow and then onto Newfoundland on Wednesday.  I'll have my camera at the ready!

Marsha~
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 13, 2009, 01:07:35 PM
July 11      Day 50   Kenai, AK

   Beluga Lookout RV Park has a great view of the bay, which is loaded with fisherpeople in waders trying out their luck.  Kittiwakes and seagulls fly by, giving Sherlock a free show. The cg sits atop a bluff, and there is a pretty panorama out our windshield each morning.
   We started our day with a trip to the Kenai Saturday Market, which was small but had interesting merchandise and people.  We followed this with brunch at the Burger Bus, a recommendation from the Brewers.  It was the best burger and fries we've had on our trip. If we were here longer, we would definitely go back.
    We went to the Visitors Center, which had 5 informative half-hour films, a wonderful art show celebrating Alaska's 50th birthday, a gift shop, and a good history museum.  I was so fascinated by one artist's work that I am trying to track him down and find out where he displays his art. A very informative young lady behind the information desk gave us good maps, but Kenai is really small.
   We stopped by the cute little Russian Orthodox church.  It still has services on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.
    Fog had already rolled in when we exited around 6:00, so we went to a movie.  Bingo (to support the Little League) is also available on Saturday nights.

Interesting Fact:  Every time I call home, everyone asks about Sarah Palin's resignation.  Tonight on ABC news the Anchorage station had asked their viewers, "Do you agree with Sarah Palin's decision to resign?"  46% said, "NO, she left the job undone."  37% said, "YES, it's OK-she can do good for Alaska outside of the governorship."
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 13, 2009, 01:13:26 PM
July 12      Day 51   Kenai, AK

   We went into Soldotna because we'd done all there was to do in Kenai.  We had a nice lunch at the Grand Burrito (buy one lunch, get one free coupon), then went toward Sterling and found "the wood carver".  We really enjoyed seeing his beautiful carvings and the wooden carousel with Alaskan animals to ride on.  Rides were $1.  Scott got started carving when the birch trees started dying of bark beetle.  He had seen a small carver's shop, and he thought, "I can do that!"  He now has 3 or 4 assistant carvers. 
   On Scott's recommendation, we went over to the Black Jaxx bar-b-q and asked for a free sample.  It was the best bar-b-q I've ever had anywhere, and we have eaten at many bar-b-q places, sometimes traveling far out of our way to do so.  We will come back tomorrow and buy 2 pounds of brisket and pork.
   We stopped at the Soldotna VC. It was very tiny and the lady inside was overwhelmed by too many people, the phone ringing often, and trying to ring up sales.  For information about the Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai VC is much, much better.
   We went to see "Ice Age" at the Soldotna theatre ($6 each) because we wanted to see it and we needed to hang around until later, hoping to see wildlife.  There is a herd of Kenai caribou that is usually in a specific area where an observation deck has been built, but there were none there tonight.
   We went to Soldotna Creek Park and strolled along the rushing Kenai River.  We enjoyed talking with the fisherpeople, and they enjoyed showing off their catches.  There is an elevated boardwalk, but the city has kindly erected staircases to allow those fishing easy access to the river.  Almost everyone had at least 1 fish. Many different wildflowers grew near the path, and we saw our first significant fireweed.  It was a fun evening.  The weather was beautiful and sunny, with a gentle breeze.
   As we drove back to Kenai, it became foggier again.  I am amazed at how different the weather is, although Kenai and Soldotna are only about 10 miles apart.

High Temp: 66°F
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on July 14, 2009, 05:33:33 PM
For those of you ( like me) who enjoy your daily fix by following "Alaska with the Stocks"  I have  a news update.  Linda called me and left a message on my cell phone to ask me to  post a note here letting you know they are not in any wifi range for the next 3 days.  She knows  how I look forward to my daily report from them and did not want me ( nor anyone else) to be disappointed when they found no post.  I will attempt to  call her cell phone tonight to see where they are and what's new.  I don't get cell phone service here at the cabin in Northern Idaho but on my way into town her message popped up.  Isn't technology grand?

She is not only a very informative  and entertaining writer, she is reliable and always concerned about others!

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on July 14, 2009, 10:14:00 PM
Betty,

If you get to talk with Linda tell her that her fans may go through withdrawal.  ;)

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 18, 2009, 02:40:57 AM
July 14      Day 53   Portage, AK

   First thing this morning, we moved to Williwaw Campground.  It was just too pretty to pass up-Dean says it is the prettiest site we've ever had anywhere, with trees surrounding us, fireweed in bloom, and a glacier out the window.
   What a gorgeous day for a glacier cruise!  I just can't believe how sunny it is.  I met a lady today (I'd guess she was in her 40's) who has lived in Alaska all her life, and she says she's never ever seen so many beautiful sunny days.  Last year they only had 6 sunny days all year long!
   We went on the Portage Glacier cruise today ($29-buy one/get one free coupon) in Portage Lake.  The Ptarmigan was only about 10% full, so there was lots of room.  First, we went to see Burns Glacier (named after Robert Burns), a pretty hanging glacier.
   Then we motored over to Portage Glacier, a freshwater glacier because it calves into a lake that it created 100 years ago by a build-up of silt called a moraine. The moraine formed a dam and trapped the glacial ice and water.  That lake is now over 600 feet deep, and it is a "dead lake" because it is so full of silt scoured off the mountain that nothing can live in it.  I felt the fine silt, and it is grey, smooth, and silky, kind of like baby powder that has been put in a blender, turned on high, and left for an hour.  The ice on the face of the glacier was 75-100 years old, but if you went to the extreme back of the glacier and drilled down, the ice would go back to the time of the Ice Age.  We saw all different shades of blue from a soft baby blue to a deep royal blue in the crevasses.  A deckhand told me that on overcast days, it is even more brilliant.  Hard to imagine!  We were told that the ice isn't really blue.  The snow has been compacted by the weight of snow on top of it, changing the shape of the ice crystals.  This process takes about 10 years.  It absorbs all the other colors, and the blue is the only color reflected back to us because it has the most energy and the shortest wave length.
   We saw many pieces of glacial ice afloat.  90% of each iceberg is below the waterline, hence the saying, "just the tip of the iceberg."  We heard groaning, but there wasn't any calving.  It was relaxing and very enjoyable.
   One hour later, we returned to the terminal, which has interesting history of the area.  On level ground, they receive 40 feet of snow on the average.  On the peaks, they get as much as 400 feet!  When they returned this spring, they had to shop vac out 88 gallons of water from their building, and the Ptarmigan was almost covered totally with snow. 
   On August 3, 2006, just 3 weeks after the Brewers visited, they had winds of over 85 mph.  In December, 2002, the nearby weather station was destroyed by winds last recorded by it of 149 mph.  Locals on their own anemometers measured them at over 200 mph.  The wind comes from 3 different groups of mountains, so a typical weather report might be, "Rain today, North winds @ 17 knots, East winds @ 10 knots, and West winds @ 14 knots." 
   We went to the Boggs-Begich Visitor Center (Mile 5.2 on Whittier/Portage Glacier Access Road) and saw interesting exhibits and a good movie on glaciers.
   The Chugach National Forest is the second largest national forest, behind Tongass.  Just as the glacier was every shade of blue, the vegetation is every shade of green.  We really love it here!

Interesting Fact:  The Alaskans treat their seniors well-free car registration, free driver's license, first $150,000 is exempt from property tax, attend classes at University of Alaska for free, free ferry rides anywhere in Alaska or Canada anytime, and every Alaskan, regardless of age, receives an "oil check" of thousands of dollars each year!

Temperature:  High of 70°F, slightly breezy

Dry camping at Williwaw Campground--$9 with Golden Age Pass--$18 without-absolutely beautiful, secluded site.  I hope our site is far from where the brown bear ripped apart a tent in this same campground 5 days ago.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 18, 2009, 11:40:55 AM
  I will attempt to  call her cell phone tonight to see where they are and what's new.  I don't get cell phone service here at the cabin in Northern Idaho but on my way into town her message popped up. 
She is not only a very informative  and entertaining writer, she is reliable and always concerned about others!

Betty

  Thanks, Betty, for the kind words and putting up the message.  We stopped in Portage to go on the lake cruise, drove around the first night just to get the lay of the land, and fell in love with Willliwaw CG.  We realized that if we did the Whittier cruise while staying in Portage, we could save over 100 miles roundtrip from Anchorage and get to stay among trees instead of among other RVs.  So, at that point, I called for your help.
  You always knew how to motivate your staff. You set high objectives to be "informative and entertaining."  I wrote a lot over these 4 days because I wanted to share the wonder of what we were seeing.  Last night, by the time we went through all the pictures, it was really late and we were really tired.  So, we made mistakes.  We ended up posting the same thing twice, and not getting  the other 3 days in at all.  We'll work on that this morning.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 18, 2009, 11:49:20 AM
Betty,

If you get to talk with Linda tell her that her fans may go through withdrawal.  ;)

ArdraF

Ardra, you'll have to let me know which is worse--withdrawal or overdose.  The last 4 days have been so amazing that I wrote and wrote--just couldn't seem to stop.  Editting the postings for these days to try to make them shorter than a novel and editting the pictures was really tough!  Each moment there made my heart sing.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 18, 2009, 12:03:09 PM
July 15, 2009   Day 54   Portage, AK

   What an incredible day!  The sun was shining as we drove 5 minutes to the Anton Anderson Tunnel, which leads to Whittier, a town of only 190 year-round residents. The 2.2 mile-long one-way tunnel is shared by cars and the railroad, and it would be open at 9:30-9:45 for traffic going our way. The toll is $12, but you only pay one way.  The tunnel was built by the Army Corps of Engineers for the railroad to supply troops who were protecting Alaska from a Japanese invasion during World War II.  A group of engineers started at each end, and when they met, they were only off by 1 (one!) foot.  That was accomplished with the tools and knowledge of almost 70 years ago.  Drops of water from the roof fell on our car.
   We got to the offices for Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises at 9:45 for the 11:00 cruise.  Sometimes they cancel a tunnel opening (It's only open on the half-hour) because of trains, and you could miss out on your cruise if you waited for the 10:30 opening. The boat had easy access doors, railing all around so you could go outside and view without crowding, spacious booths, and plenty of room.  This boat was just the right size and was very comfortable. We went up to the second level and spent the day there. We were served a main dish (good crab cakes, good chicken, or vegetarian, wild rice, veggies, and a roll).
   We saw many rafts of otters really close up, a salmon fish hatchery with the salmon jumping high out of the water, Dall's porpoises, lots of bald eagles, including two that were flying in circles, a rookery with lots of kittiwakes, sea lions, both a piedmont and a tidal glacier, and ice chunks with seals and baby seal pups. We could hear the "bergie seltzer", a fizzing sound ice makes when it moves, but there was only tiny calving down low.  We felt otter fur; it is so soft and silky that I understand why the Russians hunted them.
   I came back so exhilarated by this fabulous wildlife cruise that I signed up for another one tomorrow with a different company which goes on a different route.  The captain was very knowledgeable, the waters were calm, and I would highly recommend this cruise. ($107 + tax, buy one/get one free coupon)  This company offers 3 cruises; we took the longest one because we wanted to see everything.

High Temperature:  70°+, sunny
   
Overnighted at:  Williwaw Campground
   
Interesting Fact:  a 7-pound goose poops 4.5 pounds daily (USFS)   
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom and Margi on July 18, 2009, 01:41:07 PM
Linda:

I'm really enjoying all your posts from Alaska.  There's no such thing as overdosing on your interesting writing.  I'll cheerfully read all you have time to post.  Willawaw was one of our favorite campgrounds, also.  It was nice to be off the "gravel line-up" for a change.  We also liked the state park near Anchorage -- I think it was in or near Eagle River.

Margi
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 19, 2009, 12:05:35 AM
Linda:

I'm really enjoying all your posts from Alaska.  There's no such thing as overdosing on your interesting writing.  I'll cheerfully read all you have time to post.  Willawaw was one of our favorite campgrounds, also.  It was nice to be off the "gravel line-up" for a change.  We also liked the state park near Anchorage -- I think it was in or near Eagle River.

Margi

Thanks for your nice words.  As you can see from my references to others' logs, we have  to thank those who came before for giving us such great information.  As we've gone along, other Forum members have given us hints that have caused us to change our plans.  I have an ex-student in Eagle River whose family has kept in contact with me for over 20 years, and I was planning on seeing her--making that a day trip from Anchorage.  I will try to track down the state park.  So many of the state parks have had sites that were 15 x 30 (that seems to be a standard size for all of them), and we don't fit.   We're 37'.  If it works, we'll stay there when we visit Trisha and possibly while we visit the cities of Eklutna and Palmer.  I'd love to try it.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 19, 2009, 03:01:36 AM
July 16, 2009      Day 55   Portage, AK

   Last night I wished for an overcast day so we'd be able to see an intense blue at the glaciers.  God answered my prayers tenfold with an overcast that came down to the ground (fog).  Oops!
    We went through the tunnel at the 10:30 opening, hoping the fog would burn off by the 1:15 sailing time.  As we waited, we saw hundreds of passengers marching onto the Phillips 32-glacier catamaran, and we were glad we weren't on that one. 
   We had booked the Major Marine cruise, and the Emerald Sea was smaller than yesterday's Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise boat.  Yesterday's boat had the passengers spread out over two levels and felt very spacious.  Today's boat had tables for 4 that were VERY crowded together and fixed to the floor.  Everyone was talking about the lack of space.  You could go outside, but the walkway was so narrow that it was difficult to go past another passenger.
    This boat had a USFS (Forest Service) guide, and she did tell us some interesting facts, but she didn't tell us as much as the captain did yesterday.  She told us that the very large grey building in Whittier was built to house 1000 soldiers during WWII and was a city within a city, with a bowling alley, movie theatre, and stores, as well as apartments. Whittier was chosen because it was an ice-free port and has a lot of fog, which acts as a natural camouflage.  Their one building was grey so it would blend in with the grey weather, which would help camouflage it. It has since been replaced by another building where 90% of Whittier residents live.  They have a K-12 school with 34 students. There are no snow days, despite having 190" of rain and 20' of snow each year, because everything is in the same building. 
   We saw a rookery of kittiwakes, one raft of otters, pigeon guillemots, which are related to puffins, 3 seals, and 3 bald eagles. Yesterday we saw much more wildlife, and we saw it from much closer.
    But the glaciers were a different story! Today we saw more glaciers, they were much larger, and they were more active.  There weren't any huge calves like we saw when we visited 10 years ago, but they were larger than yesterday's. These are the bluest glaciers we've seen on our trip, and they had interesting waterfalls in addition to the typical outflow at the bottom of all tidal glaciers.  Major Marine is the only company that goes to Blackstone Glacier.  We learned that a glacier carves a "U", and rivers carve a "V".
   There was a lunch buffet of salmon & prime rib, salad, wild rice, carrot cake, cheesecake, jello, and brownies.  Dean thought his well-done prime rib was delicious, and he is hard to please.  They had something to please everyone.
   Cruises have been our favorite activity, second only to seeing bald eagles grab fish from right in front of our RV.  We ranked the cruises separately, and we totally agreed.
* #1--Stan Stephens' longest cruise in Valdez
* #2--Renown's longest cruise in Seward
* #3--Prince William Sound 6-hour cruise in Whittier
* #4--Major Marine in Whittier
      However, each cruise was a joy, and we would go on all of them again.
   NOTE:
      There are five pictures of the front of the glacier.  If you look at the center of each one you  will see it calving.

   High Temp:  Mid 50's, heavy, heavy overcast with drizzle, breezy

   Overnighted at:  Williwaw Campground

Interesting Fact: 1" on a sea otter pelt has as many hairs as an entire adult German Shepard dog
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom and Margi on July 19, 2009, 10:06:18 AM
Linda:

I finally found the trip log from our Alaska trip.   I had made this notation about Eagle River, AK, July 13 and 14, 2000.

"Another super dry-camp campground -- Eagle River Campground in Chugach State Park.   All roads and campsites are paved and plenty long and the foliage is thick and beautiful."  

As I recall we had a "side of the road" type pull-thru site, but it could just as easily have been a back-in.  Too many years of CRS have passed.  We could hear a creek rushing by down a slope from the campsite.  Our motorhome is 36 feet and we had plenty of room.   The campsites are well spaced, but no hook-ups, of course.  

Margi
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 19, 2009, 07:13:26 PM
Day 55 part 2

More photos.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 19, 2009, 08:32:50 PM
Day 55 part 3

More photos.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 19, 2009, 08:42:25 PM
July 17, 2009      Day 56   Anchorage, AK

   We said a sad good-bye to Williwaw on an overcast morning. We drove right by Girdwood since we wouldn't be able to see through the clouds if we took the tram to the top.  Maybe we'll return.  We had "swivel neck", looking for birds on the mudflats on our left and for moose in the lush green foliage on our right. We saw one bald eagle chasing a kittiwake.  On our last cruise, we learned that bald eagles will kill kittiwakes.  When a bald eagle is nearby, all the kittiwakes fly in haphazard patterns, trying to confuse the eagle.  This kittiwake was all by himself.  I hope he survived.
   We arrived in Anchorage and checked the weather report. It said we'd be having 4 days of rain starting on Sunday, so we set out to see our outdoor sights.  We went to the Botanical Garden ($5 donation requested).  I did see several plants that were new to me, but this is a "B" attraction.  I so admire the Alaskans and their ingenuity.  After WWII, they had this area by the airport where they had established paths when they practiced how to drive tanks and jeeps.  Since paths were already in, they decided to put in a botanical garden.
   We needed groceries, since Portage doesn't have any stores-not even a market or gas station.  So we did "must do's". In the evening we went through about 100 pictures, savoring the last 3 days, trying to choose just a few to post, and reliving the moments.  Hours flew by!

Miles driven 51.

Overnighted at:  Golden Nugget RV Park, $45, FHU, 30 AMPS, TV svs, good WIFI.

High Temp:  High 60's, overcast burned off somewhat in the afternoon
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 19, 2009, 08:50:06 PM
July 18, 2009      Day 57   Anchorage, AK

   We were anxious to do our outdoor activities before the rain comes, so we started early when the Saturday market opened.  They had huge vegetables, beautiful wildlife photographs, jewelry, handmade crafts, and entertainment.  You do have to be careful, however.  They had a leather purse just like the one I was carrying, made in the Lower 48, for $10 more.  We saw delicious food and drank fresh lemonade, but everything was expensive.  We spent two hours there, most of it viewing photographs.  We bought two photographs and one cat bed-Sherlock had outgrown his old one.
   We had planned to go to the Native Heritage Center, but it was too late.  Parks here don't close until around 10:00, so we went to the Visitors' Center to learn more about the handicapped-accessible trails. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is approximately 15 miles long. We spent about 1.5 hours on it, seeing little wildlife on the mudflats, just a few ducks, but seeing lots of bicyclists (age 3-70+), in-line skaters, fast runners, joggers, and walkers.  In talking with one couple about where the trail exited, I learned that Kincaid Park has many moose.  Hmmm...  The seed of an idea was planted.
   We had only eaten one lumpia (Philippine egg roll) since breakfast, so we were hungry. The Lucky Wishbone, a pan-fried chicken restaurant which was  highly recommended to me, was not too far away (nothing really is, Anchorage is not very large). The owner, George Brown, who started the café 55 years ago still works there shaking customers' hands, bussing tables, carrying large tubs of dirty dishes, and serving customers ice water.  He is 87.5 years old, and makes me feel guilty for retiring when I was only 60.  Oh, and he flies an airplane in his spare time!  The restaurant was packed with 102+ customers, not one empty seat, and had a very active drive-through.  But, no one waited long because every employee, even George, really hustles.  They served hamburgers, halibut sandwiches, malts (when did you last see a malt?), strawberry shortcake with homemade old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits, and sundaes with 10 different toppings.  Even in a bad economy, and everyone says it's especially bad up here, the old-fashioned values of hard work and producing a good product at a reasonable price still work.
   My tummy was full, but my soul wasn't.  I talked Dean into going moose hunting in Kincaid Park.  We were only going 10-15 mph, looking left and right, when Dean said, "Look behind us!"  A mama moose and her calf were following right behind our Jeep.  We pulled over to the side of the road and stopped, and they slowly came alongside.  Wow!  I hope the pictures come out good.  I was so excited that my hands were shaking!  They stayed for a few minutes before going off into the forest.  It was the same exhilaration I felt when we got to see the bald eagles close up in the wild.

Interesting & Sad Fact:  Mr. Whitekeys Fat Whale Follies at the Fly By Night Club has closed.  Too bad because it was supposed to be hilarious.

Overnighted at:  Golden Nugget RV Park.

High Temp:  65°F, mostly overcast, tried to rain but didn't succeed
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on July 19, 2009, 09:12:56 PM
Li nda and Dean,

You just can't imagine how much I am enjoying your travels.  The crusies you took and enjoyed , we saw in the fog and rain.  Recall we a went to Alaska summer of 2006 which was their wettest winter on record.  Your photos and exeriences  make me certain we will make a return trip to Alaska  health and budget willing! Keep the  stories coming!

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 21, 2009, 02:52:30 AM
July 19, 2009      Day 58   Anchorage

   We slept well with the rain gently falling all night.  Rain during the day gave us a chance to do chores and plan the future.  We are hopeful that the rain will put out the fires in Denali to help the firefighters and give us clearer skies to see "The Big One", Mt. McKinley.  We know that we have been so fortunate to have great weather.  Tonight on the news they said we've had 18 consecutive days with no rain, the longest dry spell since 1938 and second longest in all of their records since they started keeping track.  We did go to Costco when we had a brief recess from the rain.

Temperatures:  High of 65°F, Low of 52°F, rain most of the day, with about 3 hours of mist in the afternoon.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 21, 2009, 02:55:42 AM
July 20, 2009      Day 59   Anchorage

   We went to sleep with rain on our roof and woke up with rain on our roof. It was clearing pretty well by noon, so we went to the Wells Fargo Alaska Heritage Museum (only open 12-5, M-F).  They had many interesting exhibits of high quality, although it is a small museum. The curator had an excellent background and was very knowledgeable, answering many questions with detailed answers.  We really enjoyed this museum, and we stayed over 2 hours.
   We then went to the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts to see "Aurora", $8.75 buy one/get one free.  They had a film about the aurora borealis, but it wasn't very good.  We were both disappointed.
   But, Humpy's happened to be right across the street.  Every time I asked locals where to get the best Alaskan king crab, they recommended this alehouse.  I've eaten crab dinners about 6 times, but never Alaskan King Crab.  I was determined to have Alaskan king crab while I was here, and Humpy's didn't disappoint.  I ordered their smallest portion, 1 pound, and nothing else-no rice, salad, etc., and it was $28-and well worth it. Dean was also pleased with his halibut and chips.  My crab came up a little after Dean's dinner, and the waiter felt so bad, he offered me free dessert. I had their delicious bread pudding with an extraordinary whiskey sauce, and it was wonderful.  It was such a large portion that I brought half home.
   We finished our evening with a trip to Earthquake Park and the end of Northern Lights Rd., where I'd heard we might see moose.  And we did see one!  Now Dean is really getting into moose hunting, and he wants to see a bull moose. 

Weather:  High of 66°F, rain all morning, we're seeing some
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on July 21, 2009, 12:52:59 PM
Linda:

We stayed in Centennial Park, a city campground there in Anchorage and every night a cow moose and her calves would come around to entertain us.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 22, 2009, 03:05:30 AM
July 21, 2009      Day 60   Anchorage

   The rain persists, but it is kind enough to give us a clear window from noon to eight or nine, so today we went to all the art galleries along G Street.  We were extremely attracted to the oil paintings of Steven Gordon when we were at a state show in Homer, but the only place his work is on display is at Artique in Anchorage.  They had 6 of his works, which were excellent, but not jaw-dropping amazing to us, which is necessary for us to spend that much money.  We saw some beautiful ivory carving, but I learned at the Wells Fargo museum that if it's white or cream-colored, it could mean that the walrus was slain for his tusks.  Therefore, I admired, but didn't spend.  We saw beautiful glassware (see the sailboat photo), carvings in ivory, wood, and soapstone that were very intricate and high-quality, oils, minerals, photos, jewelry, and watercolors.
   The area reeks of “tourist trap”, but the art pieces were well done, as well as expensive.  We have enjoyed all the pretty flowers throughout the city.  Most have bright colors (see photo). The blooms on all the plants are large, but not as humongous as I remembered seeing 10 years ago. 
   We then went to see "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at the Regal Theatre (6 screen, comfortable seats, clean). It may be now or never, and we definitely wanted to see it.  It was a dark movie, but with each movie, I become more "hooked."  Seniors were $6.50, and popcorn was $1 because it was Tuesday.

Weather:  High of 66°F, rain & thick overcast

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 23, 2009, 12:20:46 AM
July 22, 2009      Day 61   Anchorage

   Rain in Anchorage is scheduled, and it promptly quits at noon and resumes sometime after 8 PM and rains continuously until noon the next day. So, when it quit, we set out for the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a gem-rated AAA attraction.  It cost $24.95 (buy one/get one free).  There are 6 native village houses situated around a pond, and each is staffed by 1-3 Native Americans.  We really enjoyed listening to them explain the artifacts inside each house and tell of what they had learned from their parents and grandparents or by actually living in the villages.  They are trying to get those who have drifted away to come back, and inside one house was a Navajo (related to the Athabascans) from Arizona.
   The heritage center itself is a beautiful building with a minimum of artifacts that raised lots of questions.  The emphasis inside seemed to be on the way they “lost” their heritage through the influence of the Russians and Americans, disease, having their children taken to boarding schools, and assimilation.  There were lots of quotations from those who have watched this happen painted on the walls and posters.
   Now, they are trying to resurrect their culture through educating themselves and their children.  We went by an area where they were making hides into tunics and dresses for them to wear when they work in the center.  They were doing beading using designs from drawings made by the elders.  We saw three films in the theatre.  “Living Dena’ina” was very good; the others were vague and left us with many questions.
   I’d bet that this will be ten times better ten years from now.  Very dedicated people seem to be working hard.
   We then went to New Sagayas Market.  It is a mid-size market with more choices than most supermarkets.  They have just one row of each item, so they had many different brands and varieties.  They also had unusual items.  I bought a wonderful seaweed salad at their deli.
   We contacted Centennial Park Campground this morning.  There was a tape which said they are only open on Thursday-Sunday, and everyone has to leave by noon on Monday.  We needed one more day to do laundry, etc., and when Dean went up to extend here at the Golden Nugget RV Park, he found we qualify for a free day (buy 7, get the 8th free).  Free is good!

Weather:  A cold 65°F & a thick overcast—I’m ready for some sun!
   
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 24, 2009, 02:19:12 PM
July 23      Day 62   Anchorage

   Today was a “taking care of business day”, but in the evening I kept a promise to myself and went out for fresh fish sushi.  Dish, located at 639 W. International (Int’l) Road, is a “MUST DO” for sushi lovers.  It has a pretty, modern, glass and wood motif, and probably  seats 200.  I sat next to an Inupiaq foursome from Nome at the sushi bar.  They recommended the FBI roll, but said that everything was delicious, which got many nods from others at the bar.
    My dinner started with miso soup and salad with an orange dressing (free with any roll).  I had a Northern Lights coupon for $10 off of a $30 dollar  order, so I ordered two of the most expensive rolls and green tea.  The FBI is their most popular roll, and if you order one, you’ll see why.  I asked for medium spice, and it was great.  They shake what appears to be ground red chili on top (consistency of a very fine salt).  My second roll was a salmon & cream cheese roll.  Yesterday, at the Native Heritage Center, one of the “natives” told me that he hates salmon that has been caught in the river because it is very bland compared to the ocean salmon.  The rolls were generous in size and quantity of fish, and well-packed so they didn’t fall apart.
    For the non-sushi lovers they had teriyaki everything, halibut tempura that looked delicious, vegetable & shrimp tempura, and udon (noodle soup).  They finished with a tempura covered, fried oreo cookie, with whipped cream and chocolate syrup (FREE).
    The bill arrived, and it was only $26 because the cups of green tea were also free, and there is no sales tax in Anchorage.  At home, I would have been charged for each cup of tea separately.  They let me use my $10 coupon anyway.
   I went to Carl’s Jr. and got Dean the Six Dollar Burger combo (fries & coke), and the total was $7.69.  I think that’s about what we would pay at home.

Weather:  65°F, threatening rain all day, but no follow-through  Unfortunately, the rain and dampness are not happening at Denali and their fires continue to rage.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 24, 2009, 09:29:28 PM
July 24, 2009      Day 63   Anchorage

   Weathermen on last night’s news predicted continuous rain all day today, and we planned accordingly.  They were wrong, but we had a good day anyway doing maintenance, laundry, all those jobs necessary to keep going.  But, we made time for fun in the middle and went to Century 16 Theatres to see “G-Force” in 3-D.  It’s a lovely theatre complex with great large screens, comfortable seats, and clean surroundings.  It was a silly, but enjoyable children’s film.
   We went to Vallarta’s Restaurant—a super place to eat if you like great Mexican food, wonderful service, but in a “no atmosphere” place.  It is a family-run restaurant.  I ordered the scallops in garlic butter and received instead a seafood medley in a complex red sauce.  The waiter offered to replace it, but I had already tasted it and wouldn’t let it go.  When Dean got a refill on his diet coke, we tried to verify that it was diet (important because Dean is a diabetic).  They weren’t sure, so they immediately replaced it with one they knew was diet.  The waiter said they should give us our dinner for free, but we said “no, it was so delicious”, and I was especially happy that the mistake on my dinner was made.  He insisted that my homemade flan, which was outstanding, should be free.  I had a $9 off coupon from the Northern Lights book, which we did use.  It was even a bigger bargain because my meal was so large that I had enough left over to have a full-size dinner tomorrow. If this restaurant were near our home, we would eat there often.
   
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 25, 2009, 09:57:21 PM
July 25, 2009      Day 64   Talkeetna

   It was a nice change to waken without the sound of rain on the roof, and Dean especially appreciated it while he unhooked.  We got a late start so we were ready for lunch when we went through Wasilla and came to the Alpine Gardens Bar & Grill.  I had picked it out last night because it sounded like a little garden of Eden, “nestled within a setting of landscaped perennial gardens, sculpted ponds, waterfalls, and greenhouses, creating a truly unique dining experience.  With RV parking…”  NOT!  It is a cute little place, but not only is it lacking any RV parking, but it has no turn-around, so Dean stopped the RV & went exploring.  He found a way to make a loop around the whole place—tight, but he could do it.  Then, the owner came out and parked his pick-up so it blocked our path.  I was both proud and relieved when Dean didn’t go punch him in the nose.  He was furious, but he unhooked the toad, backed up, and re-attached it.  All he said was, “Write this up in our log!” 
   Dean had expressed interest in the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, located at Mile 47 on the Parks Highway. I re-read the ad to him again, noting that it said, “RV parking and turnaround”, and asked if he was sure he wanted to travel one mile off the road to get to this place after our last experience.  A worker guided us into an area right in front of the museum. It was very interesting—boats, trains, planes, fire engines, antique ambulance, tractors, and Dean thinks a V-1 Buzz Bomb.  They were having a quilt sale to raise money for a “barn raising” to house more exhibits. Museum admission was $5 for seniors. As we left, gentle rain got more serious, and Sherlock entertained incoming visitors by chasing and attacking the windshield wipers.  Both visitors and workers were really nice people.

Overnighted at: Talkeetna Camper Park, $34, 50 amps and water, dump station, wonderful Wifi, surrounded by trees.  If the rain lets up tomorrow, we may see river rafters right by the camp.

Weather:  high of 65°F, rain started about 3:00 and hasn’t stopped
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 31, 2009, 03:02:57 AM
July 26, 2009      Day 65   Talkeetna, AK

   We had gentle but steady rain throughout the night and this morning.  When it became drizzle, we went into the small town of Talkeetna. It has the most "touristy" feel of any town we've been in while in Alaska, and there are several gift/souvenir shops.  We see many large coaches from Princess and Celebrity Tours transporting people who are going on glacier flights or flights to see Mt. McKinley.
   They have two small museums, but they each have some special items in them.  You can tell that they were each a labor of love and represent a lot of work, and I did learn several things in each one.  The $1 admission at the Visitors' Center Museum, which was the better of the two, was worth it.  We talked with the cashier for a bit and she gave us some "local" info on how they live.  The history museum was $3.  It was right across from the small Sunday Market, where we bought a few gifts, including a pair of socks made of bamboo.
   Our RV camp is right next to the RR tracks.  They don't make any noise late at night, and it's kind of nice to see and hear the train go by.  We slept well.

P.S. (written on July 30) Apologies for our not posting.  We kept thinking we were going to get WIFI, and we ran into problems.

Overnighted at Talkeetna Camper Park, which had awesome Wifi.

Weather:  high of 65°F, rain & overcast conditions
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 31, 2009, 03:08:28 AM
July 27, 2009      Day 66   Denali, AK

   We had a pleasant drive from Talkeetna, no rain, and almost saw the sun.  Lots of tall fireweed blooms by the side of the road, as well as some cotton grass.  We could clearly see the Alaska Range, but not Mt. McKinley.  Much of the route was next to rivers.  I called ahead to make reservations because in 2006, logs had shown this park was full.  I laughed when we came in because the only motorhome here was the manager's.  By 11:00 tonight there were 14 RVs + 1 tent, which means there are 56 vacancies!  The economy has really hurt Alaska's tourist business.  We learned that Fannie's Flapjack Feed (recommended to us & in our coupon book) has shut its doors forever.

   As soon as we got to Denali, the wind started howling, and it is REALLY blowing. The manager says he got up at 2:00 a.m. to bring in his slides because it was blowing so hard. No bar-b-q tonight!

   We unhooked and drove into the Wilderness Access Center to get our bus tickets for the Denali Wildlife trip.  The longest trip to Kantishna is 12 hours, but the NP agent recommended just going to Wonder Lake, an 11-hour trip.  There was availability on both, but she said that Kantishna has become so populated with private lodges and tourists who fly in that you don't see much wildlife in that last hour.  They showed us a good 18-minute film.

   We drove into the park about another mile to the Visitors' Center.  They have 2 floors of interesting exhibits as well as a good movie, and we left when they closed at 6:00.  We'll go back tomorrow.

   We'd seen so many models of animals that I wanted to go see the real thing.  We drove as far into the park as you're allowed, 15 miles.  On the way back we saw 2 GORGEOUS caribou.  The female had velvet on her impressive antlers.  The male was quite large and he stood and posed for us.  Unfortunately, we had left our camera in the RV because we had only planned on making bus reservations and  buying milk. We also saw 2 snowshoe hares. New rule: If we go out, the camera comes with us.

   We made reservations for Cabin Nite's 8:30 historical musical revue/dinner.  I am glad I went because it makes me appreciate the RV life-style so much more.  Cabin Nite and the huge motel/hotel/cabin condo set-up that it's in are all owned by Princess Cruises.  I had the feeling I was at the tail end of a herd.  We were seated at a picnic table at the rear of a huge cabin.  We were given a large bowl of salad, which was passed to everyone, along with a vinaigrette salad dressing.  When this was finished, we were expected to scrape anything left on our plates into a bucket on the table and RE-USE THE SAME PLATE for our hot food.  At $62/person, I would think they could have given us a clean plate.  Fortunately, we had a buy one, get one coupon. Everything was family style. The salmon and ribs were very good.  The sides were canned corn, a biscuit, a boiled potato, and baked beans.  Dessert, which we passed around, was a good berry cobbler.  The musical performance left a lot to be desired.  We would not recommend this event, even at our price of $31 each.

Overnighted at Riverside RV Park, pull-thru, 50 amps, electric & water, no WIFI, TV re-broadcast through DISH network, but DISH has been out for two days due to wind, $38.52/day. 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 31, 2009, 04:27:28 AM
July 28, 2009      Day 67   Denali, AK

   The wind howled all night, sometimes rocking the coach.  We slept in, and then took care of business phone calls, etc., so we didn’t get to the Visitors’ Center Part II until late.  We donated 2 months of aluminum cans into their receptacle, one can at a time, and I’m glad we found a place to get rid of them.  We finished viewing the interesting exhibits.  Then we went for another drive where we had seen the caribou yesterday, camera at the ready.  We couldn’t find any animals at all, so we stopped to buy water for tomorrow’s adventure, then came home, ate dinner, and went to bed early.

Overnighted at Riverside RV Park, TV is still out. RV Park count is now 13 RVs + 2 tents=56 vacancies again  I feel so sorry for people trying to make a go of their businesses.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 31, 2009, 06:43:01 PM
July 29, 2009      Day 68   Denali, AK

   4:00 a.m. is mighty early, even in Alaska.  We had an early morning 11-hour shuttle tour scheduled, and we wanted to get there about half-an-hour early.  We made sandwiches and packed our water into a small cooler and trudged out the door, anxiously hoping we'd see lots of wildlife.
    Our shuttle bus had stops every hour to hour-and-a-half at restrooms with flushing toilets.  There was no food or water available anywhere. We were encouraged to eat on the bus, lest we drop crumbs which wildlife might find. 
   We had 5 different grizzly sightings, and twice the bears had cubs.  I learned that the cubs stay with their mothers for two years, and the gestation period is 3 months.  Cubs are born in the winter in the den and weigh only one pound.  With Dean’s long lens, he was able to get good pictures.
   We saw too many caribou to count, but they were all far away.  We also saw dots of white on a hillside that were Dall sheep.  We saw a fox running away from us.  A ptarmigan and her chicks crossed the road right in front of our bus.  I saw the ptarmigan clearly, but not the chicks.
   As the day progressed, we saw more and more of Mt. McKinley.  This was truly thrilling, as we weren't able to see it last time we were in Alaska.  The climbing season is over. The warmer temperatures of summer has caused the snow to melt somewhat and the danger of falling into a deep crevasse or being in an avalanche is much greater.  As you can see from the photo with the flag the wind was very strong.
   Fall is already starting in Denali.  Some of the fireweed has already lost all their blooms, and there is an abundance of orange and yellow coloring everywhere as we scan the landscape.
   We enjoyed the day, but we wish we had seen more wildlife close up.  One advantage of starting an Alaska trip at the north is getting to see more wildlife in Denali.  Other RVers we've talked to who came to Denali 2 weeks to a month earlier saw much more wildlife and much closer.  I overheard one of our fellow passengers making plans to go on the same tour tomorrow.  I noticed on their signboard that there was space available on all but 2 of the 30 trips tomorrow.  When we were doing our advance planning in January, Denali told that we needed to call at least 2 days in advance for a reservation because they are always sold out for the day when you come in and the next day.
   I have enjoyed Denali. I'd like to come back and spend a few days boondocking in their Riley Campground.  The Forest Service has done a magnificent job here of handling large numbers of people and preserving the habitat.

Interesting Fact:  A group of ravens is called a MURDER!

Overnighted at Riverside RV Park, TV is still out.  RV Park count is now 11 RVs + 1 tent=59 vacancies
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on July 31, 2009, 07:06:31 PM
So you would recomment hitting Denali earlier? Denali would be my main reason for visiting Alaska. But I can't think of anything I've ever wanted to do at 4:00 AM !!

Still enjoying your travels....keep it up !
Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 31, 2009, 07:18:49 PM
July 30, 2009      Day 69   Fairbanks, AK   

   Before we said a final good-bye to Denali, we went to see the sled dog presentation at 10:00, even though we'd seen it when we were here 10 years ago.  The ranger gave us a lot of good, new information in a light-hearted manner. Then he did a demonstration on the sled being pulled by 5 dogs.  I got to pet Willow, who would be working in the afternoon.  I'd rate this as a "Don't miss!"
   The smell of smoke in the air is so strong that I called 511 to check for highway closures before we headed north.  We were told yesterday that there are about 150 fires burning in the area around Denali.  This evening in Fairbanks, we were told that there are 1.25 MILLION ACRES burning.  They let the fires burn because it's a natural occurrence, though they do protect structures when they can.  It has been an exceptionally dry summer, and lightning caused these fires. 
   We got settled into our RV camp, and we met our RV neighbor.  He told us that Pioneer Park is closed because of the smoke and high particulate count.  He says they don't want people to be outside.  We saw a biker wearing a mask.  I actually like the aroma of the smoke.
   We went to the beautiful new Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center to get questions answered and find out what places were open.  They were wonderful and full of information.
   At 7:00 every night, native Americans do cultural presentations at the VC. Admission is $5 each, which they didn’t tell us about, and they forgot to collect.  We will pay when we return there tomorrow.  This summer the performing group is the Athabascans.  We enjoyed songs and stories from the elders of the Koyukon.  They bemoaned that their youth were not learning the language and the “old ways”.  However, these ladies, who were in their 70’s and 80’s, sang songs that had been written in the last few years, and one of them didn’t know the words.  One lady sang a true “old” song that she had learned from her uncle, but she did not understand what she was singing, and apparently none of the others could translate it.
   The second group was from Arctic Village and were Gwich’in.  Their group had learned songs from the fur traders that came in the mid-1850’s, so their heritage is not “Indian” songs, but good old bluegrass.  They pass down this bluegrass as their songs, and they love to dance, primarily Texas two-step and square dances very similar to those I taught in 6th grade.   At the end, each dancer spoke.  They shared their love for their village, but they also revealed that they only go “home” once or twice a year, usually at Christmas.  The call of jobs and/or education pull them to Fairbanks, where they try to keep their culture.  How long will the village be there if all the young leave?
   We asked the VC for a recommendation of a restaurant that would be moderately priced and still open.  They suggested Gambardella’s Pasta Bella, and our meal was delicious, but not my idea of moderately-priced.  Dinners ran $22 and up.  We each ate only half of our dinner, which was generously-sized, so that will bring the cost down.

Overnighted at:  River’s Edge RV Park, $34.15, FHU, 50 amps, Wifi, some trees, Cable TV
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on July 31, 2009, 07:51:53 PM
So you would recommend hitting Denali earlier? Denali would be my main reason for visiting Alaska. But I can't think of anything I've ever wanted to do at 4:00 AM !!

Still enjoying your travels....keep it up !
Wendy

If I were coming for the first time, I'd do it exactly as we have done it, and as the Brewers recommended.  But, if I were to do it a second time, I would reverse it and do Denali first.  We talked with people who did it in late June who saw lynx, bears, caribou, ptarmigan, even a marmot.  They said their driver was snapping her own pictures, and she said it was the best day she'd ever had.  That means that in a lot of other late Junes, she didn't see as much.  That lady was lucky!  I've heard that earlier in the season, the animals are closer to the road.  We talked with others who did it earlier this summer, and they all also saw more animals and closer up than we did.  Last time we were here, we saw almost nothing, and the driver told us that it was so warm that many of the animals went to higher elevations.

The flip side is that our current neighbors in the RV park did the Kenai Peninsula(Valdez, Seward, Homer) just when we left it and had two solid weeks of rain every day all day.  They left Homer after just a couple of days, even though they'd planned on staying a week, because they were so sick of the rain.  We only had 4 days planned and ended staying 10.  If you recall, Betty bought rainboots and trekked through mud daily when they did Valdez toward the end of their trip.  Our top two favorite things happened in Valdez.

A lot of this trip is luck--luck of the particular day(s) you're at Denali, luck of the weather gods (The RV park manager told us that the wind we encountered was really rare.), luck of the animals being where they usually are in the ocean, luck of having your RV running well and not encountering delays, and for us this year, the luck of not many other people up here. We can just go to any event or RV park whenever we want.  But, this also means that some businesses that we enjoyed will undoubtedly have folded by the time you get here.  At the VC yesterday we learned that Moose Nuggets & Other Alaskan Gems is gone, as is the Ester Gold Camp & the Malamute Saloon, and we've seen the "For Sale" signs all over.  However, maybe other new ones may open.  We found one here in Fairbanks called Yukon Quest.

One other thought is that you can go on the shuttle bus two or three times.  The downside is that it's $85/two people each time.  You can drive those first 15 miles into the park several times, and we saw bear and my 2 unphotographed, up-close caribou there.  I think we drove it 3 times, and only one of the three did we see anything, but that time we saw the snowshoe hare and the caribou.  Being a lucky person helps.

I hope this answer, convoluted as it is, is helpful.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on July 31, 2009, 08:06:10 PM
Thanks Linda. Convoluted yes, helpful yes. I keep filing away all this Alaska and Maritimes info in the unlikely event that we make it to one or both of those places.

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 02, 2009, 03:56:47 PM
July 31      Day 70   Fairbanks, AK

   Today is an "at home" day to cope with our 95 e-mails, posting the pictures and log of the last 3 days, etc.

Overnighted at River's Edge RV Park

Interesting Fact:  Gold Dredge #8 is closed.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 02, 2009, 03:58:19 PM
Aug. 1, 2009      Day 71   Fairbanks, AK

   We started early for the Saturday Farmers' Market because we had been told that they sell their best items early.  It had more produce than any other market we have encountered.  The zucchini were enormous; the carrots were really small.  The cucumbers were sweet and crunchy.  Everything was expensive by Lower 48 prices.  Tomatoes were $5-6/pound, cucumbers/lettuce were $3, a small container of raspberries, blueberries, or wild strawberries (tiny-about half the size of a raspberry) was $5.  We bought smoked curry mustard, blueberry mustard, a slice of raspberry filled cake, lettuce, and a cucumber.
   We had planned on eating breakfast at the Farmers' Market, but it only had steam-table Thai and ht dogs (reindeer, musk ox, caribou, or kielbasa).  We went to The Bakery Restaurant and had a nice breakfast/lunch at a reasonable price.
   We stopped at the Mt. McKinley Hospital to get Revolution because our cat has been scratching.  We learned that Alaska does not have fleas or heartworms.  As I suspected, he has probably been bitten by a mosquito or black fly.  The price was free!
   We then went to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska. We were greeted by Otto, an 8.5 foot tall, 1000+ pound grizzly bear.  Grizzly bears can get up to 1400 pounds, but Otto was impressive.
   Wow!  What an amazing museum!  And, we came on the weekend, so we didn't have to pay for parking.  Admissions cost $18, show passes were $10, and headphones were $4.  Everything was well worth it. They had wonderful exhibits of the animals, people, and history of each region.  They showed the way of life in a way that made you feel like you were there.
    They had a special exhibit on the decline of the polar bears, how that will domino to other species, and how global warming must be addressed NOW!  The U.S. uses more fuel than all the rest of the world times 5.  Simple things like unplugging our electronics when we're not using them, turning off lights, using less heating and cooling, and using low-energy light bulbs were easy-to-do changes that would make a significant impact.
   The area that really affected my heart was about the removal of the Aleuts from their homes during World War II.  The U.S. Army set on fire the churches and homes of their villages and transported these people in the holds of ships where they got sick, and the doctor who was aboard refused to go down there to treat them.  The Army killed all the dogs and cats, and the people were only allowed to bring one bag of belongings with them.  They had minimal clothing to keep them warm, and there was no heat.  The places they were relocated to were abandoned buildings in Southeast Alaska where you might find a family of 8-12 confined to an 8' x 8' space.  They had minimal food, much of which was supplied by a daily charity boat from the Haida who wanted to help them.  They only had one outhouse, located far out on a pier, and this contaminated the water.  Even getting drinking water was a problem, and 20% of their people died.  The German POWs who were located down the road had heat, adequate food and water, sanitation, and medical attention.  The administrator of the camp and other camp personnel got fruits and vegetables trucked in from the Lower 48, but none of it was given to the Aleuts.  What an abomination!  These people were loyal and proud Americans.  They couldn’t believe what was happening to them.  When they returned to their village after the war, they were devastated, but they were glad to be home in the tundra.
   We spent 6.5 hours there, with only one 10-15 minute break to get coffee after viewing a film about winter in Alaska. Do wear socks and a warm coat, as they keep the thermostat at about 60°, and I was shivering.  Dean went to the car to get my coat.
   They used oral history to make everything real.  The museum is beautiful, a white iceberg shape with swirls reminiscent of the crevasses and leads in the ice.  This is an absolutely "MUST DO" and I'm sure it will make my TOP 10 Favorite Alaskan Activities list.
   
High Temperature 70°
Overnighted at River's Edge RV Park
 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 03, 2009, 12:12:49 AM
August 2, 2009      Day 72   Fairbanks

   We were headed to the University of Alaska’s Large Animal Research Station and our directions gave one street name and the sign had another, so we by-passed it by several lights.  On our way back we saw a pick-up truck at the side of the road at an odd, steep angle.  As we passed it, I saw a sign that said, “Car Wash, Support Your Local Firefighters.”  So, we made a U-turn.  The firemen did a good job, and I appreciate the very clean windows.  The proceeds go to the firemen’s association. 
   It was getting later, so we changed our minds and went to Pioneer Park.  This is like Knott’s Berry Farm may have been in the 1950’s.  We went into the museum and saw “The Big Stampede”, ($4), a show about the miners’ journey to get gold.  We were familiar with the information from visits to several other museums, and Dean and I yawned a lot.  We were the only people in the theatre.  Dean went to the Air Museum, which he rated as poor.  There were several little cabins that have all been moved here, but the shops had cheaply made souvenirs. The whole park was not worth a visit, except……….THE WOODCARVER!  His work was jaw-dropping amazing.  The use of several different media in the same object—fossil wood bison, moose antler, old ivory—is amazing.  He gets such real expressions on the faces of the animals with such intricate detail, and he is self-taught.  Admission to Pioneer Park is free, so skip the other things, but go see his work—it is a “Must See”.
   We ate at Pioneer Park’s Salmon Bake.  The salmon, cod, halibut, and prime rib were good, as were the salads, but I’d rather spend my $25 on a more special dinner in a nice atmosphere, such as looking out on a river or the ocean.

High Temperature 75° & aroma of smoke fills the air (I have to admit that I really like it!)
Overnighted at River’s Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on August 03, 2009, 08:21:00 PM
The carver I bought from was Justin Karella in a cabin far from the entrance.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 03, 2009, 09:20:21 PM
The carver I bought from was Justin Karella in a cabin far from the entrance.
That is the same one we saw, and he lived up to your description.  What a talented man!  We spent a long time talking to him and enjoyed listening to his stories, how he gets materials, what his personal dos and don'ts of carving ethics are, etc.  I would love to see your piece or a picture of it.  Did you post it?
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 06, 2009, 04:09:17 AM
August 3      Day 73      Fairbanks

   We went to the large Animal Research Station to learn more about musk oxen and caribou.  We were very fortunate to get the director of LARS, Lindsey, and we learned so much.  She lured them over to the fence with willows, so they were really close.  She talked about how they manage to get them to change fields, as the musk oxen bulls can be really cantankerous.  The tour was well worth the price of $9 each.  The undercoat on the musk oxen is woven into a material that is very similar to cashmere and is six times warmer than wool.  The only problem is that it is very expensive-a little cap was $200.
   We then went to the U of A Robeson Botanical Garden ($2 each-honor system), The garden seems to have been the coursework of their ag students, who have now been on vacation since mid-May.  We were impressed with the pretty blue delphiniums. I went off-roading over grass and bumps in my scooter to be able to see everything.  I tasted currants (lip-puckering bitter!), saw large cabbages, interesting plants, berries, and vegetables that I had never heard of before.  This is not really designed to be eye-appealing; it is a series of raised planters and is not landscaped. It does have a few beauty spots.  We saw apple trees totally "caged" by sturdy wire with small openings, because moose not only eat the fruit, they eat the whole tree!

Interesting Fact:  This is the driest July Fairbanks has ever recorded.   

High Temperature 80°, with a strong aroma of smoke in the area
Overnighted at River's Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 06, 2009, 04:10:06 AM
August 4      Day 74      Fairbanks

   We started our day with a trip to the 1-year-old WalMart Supercenter, where boondocking is allowed.  We bought a lot of inexpensive groceries.  Lettuce that I paid $5 for at the Farmer's Market was $2, and Alaska-grown.  We found 4 aisles of souvenirs (ulus, canned salmon, postcards, shirts, hats) that have been offered elsewhere at substantially better prices (on average about 20% less here).  As we were walking down the main aisle, we spotted a blanket that we wanted in the yardage section.  The lady who waited on us volunteered to make the material into a blanket while we shopped!  For free!  Alaskans constantly surprise us.  However, when we came back to pick it up, we discovered that she had put it together inside out so that you could read the lettering only by holding it up in front of a mirror!  Of course, the clerk had gone home because her 8-hour day was done.  Dean and I each spent an hour-and-a-half undoing it, and we left it for her to re-assemble tomorrow (hopefully).  Her heart was in the right place.
   We had spent so many hours at WalMart that we scratched our plans and went to a movie at the Regal Cinema 16.  It was a modern, comfortable theatre with long, slow lines(15 minutes each in ticketing and food).  They had $1 popcorn on Tuesdays so we paid an extra $1.50 for a tub of popcorn and called that dinner-making up for one of the expensive meals we have eaten.

High Temperature 85°, with a very strong aroma of smoke
Overnighted at River's Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 08, 2009, 03:33:16 AM
August 5, 2009      Day 75      Fairbanks

   The Ice Museum was on our "Must Do" list, and I'm glad it was.  Each March an ice-sculpting contest is held in Fairbanks, and people come from all over the world to compete.  The sculptures are then sent to this museum, where they are kept at 20°F.  You don't have to get all bundled up in warm clothing because you can observe the sculptures through a heavy, but clear viewing window.  Dean and I chose to go into the rooms to view them close up.  Wow!  They were exquisite. It was hard to get good pictures because the walkway isn't very wide and you can't get far enough away to get the whole sculpture, but take my word for it-they are spectacular.  My favorite was the prospector. Then, an ice-sculpting artist did a small one right in front of us.  The first one he did was a rose, and we stayed to see another one after the 25-minute film about Fairbanks and ice sculpting.  As he sculpted the ice into a bird, ice chips flew and covered his coat and the window, so he had to keep clearing it.  They get the ice from a special lake, and it is crystal clear.  They also cut it to send it to the "Lower 48" for sculpting there.
   There were art galleries near the Ice Museum, but the only one that we really enjoyed was the New Horizons.  They had wonderful bronze wild animals in a variety of colors, pretty water colors and oil paintings, realistic carvings, and jewelry.
   As we were going from one art shop to another, we came to the Sawatdee Café', a Thai/American restaurant.  Dean had a tuna sandwich, and I had a delicious yellow curry.
   Having seen the ice bird, we went on to see real birds at the Creamers' Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.  There were about 100 sandhill cranes on the field.  There were cranes and ducks in the pond, but the smoke from the wildfires has really become a problem.  It is so thick it resembles a fog, and it is unpleasant to breathe.  My eyes are tearing.  We are seeing more people wearing masks.
   We stopped at the famous Hot Licks Ice Cream Shop to get a cup of ice cream.  It was very expensive, but also very delicious.
   How ironic!  As I am typing this and talking about how smoky it is, the following warning came onto the TV screen. "Air quality is now at a dangerous level. If you are having trouble breathing, call 911, seek shelter in a place with filtered air such as a movie theatre, a department store, or a hospital.  Use caution while driving due to poor visibility."
   I called ahead to tomorrow's adventure, Chena Hot Springs, and they say the air is clear there.  We'll stay in Fairbanks one more night, and then hopefully leave the smoke behind.

High Temperature 74°, the smokiest environment I've ever been in
Overnighted at River's Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 08, 2009, 03:35:10 AM
August 6      Day 76   Fairbanks

   God answered the prayers of many Fairbanksians (yes, that is what they call themselves) and gave them good rain from midnight until 10:00 a.m.  One would think it would help put out the fires and clear the skies.  Not! 
   Dean wanted to do RV maintenance this a.m., and I wanted to make sure everything was good before we left the facilities/stores available in Fairbanks, so we worked before playing.
   We also needed personal maintenance, so we to a place I'd spotted earlier at 3rd & Steese Highway where there was a barbershop and L. A. Nails.  Dean got a great haircut for $10, though the place was very busy and he had to wait, even though they had 3 barbers.  My nail place was also one of the busiest places I've seen in Alaska.  $25 got me a spa pedicure--massaging chair that was delightful, swirling waters, hand massage of feet & legs--pure heaven!  I never splurge on this at home, and I may have to re-consider.
   Alaskans in the nail salon were friendly and open.  I met a lady who mines gold. She says they are working 24/7 because the price of gold is at an all-time high. In the winter, they operate 4 bulldozers and one other piece of heavy equipment to clear the snow throughout their placer mine, the road, and the surrounding area to keep the ground warmer, as they mine below permafrost and the bedrock.  They mine until the first snow, and then they spend about 4 weeks doing "reclamation", which is required by the government and carries heavy fines if not done.  Each year they have to put the ground back the way it was before they started mining in the spring.  Failure to do so results in heavy fines, and they are inspected. She said that one year winter came on quickly and they didn't get it done, and they will never make that expensive mistake again. They have to report to the government how much gold they have mined each year, and that is openly published.
   The runs of King salmon are way down for the second year in a row (like 10% of usual), and it is only catch & release this year.  They don't know why, though speculation is that food sources in the ocean are down because of changing currents due to global warming.
   I can't understand why 10 hours of rain didn't clear the air and put out the fires.  News says that the Parks Highway is closed, and rain did remove the big particulates.  The little particulates are still present, and the air-fouling stuff is at 350.  "Dangerous levels" are declared when it reaches 35, and we are at 10 times that! Yesterday, levels were over 1,000, and went over the levels that the instruments can measure.
   We went to the movies.  Today we were the only ones in line at both the ticket booth and the refreshment counter.  We had arrived 40 minutes early because of the long waits before.  Murphy is still alive and well.
   The RV park has hired people to remove about 50% of the trees, and they work from early in the morning until 10:00 at night.  They had a wind storm a few months ago, and a tree sheared off and landed on an RVer's pick-up truck. They also had a tree fall and luckily land right in-between two motorhomes.  A lot of Alaskans work long, long hours in the summer.

High Temperature 60's, rain followed by drizzle, smoky and foggy
Overnighted at River's Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 08, 2009, 03:39:31 AM
August 7       Day 77   Fairbanks

   We had read of the Aurora Ice Museum & Hotel at Chena Hot Springs in others’ logs and had seen it on-line, so we were anticipating a special day.  We had a lovely drive for 30 minutes before it hit me that we were going in the wrong direction (I had a brain burp). Dean calmly made a U-turn and showed great self-control.
   The air was quite smoky, and there was a thick haze.  I would love to make this drive again in clear conditions because it is a beautiful forested area on a skyline drive. The drive from Fairbanks would normally take about 1 hour.  We arrived at a perfect time to take a tour of the Ice Palace and the geo-thermal energy and greenhouses tour($15 a combined ticker/person).
   The Ice Museum is a pretty little 4-bedroom hotel ($600/person/night) made entirely of ice and maintained at 20°F.  Everything, even the toilet & chandeliers, was made of ice.  They had a wonderful bar where you could buy an apple-tini and have it served in a glass made of ice.  Their chess set was intricately carved. My favorite piece was the knights jousting. If the 20° gets too cold, you can warm up by the “fireplace”. The carver is a master carver who has won 18 international contests and puts in lots of detail.  We loved it.
   Geothermal energy from the hot springs is being used here to make enough electricity to power their resort.  They have received grants from the Department of Energy and are making exciting strides in providing green energy.  A law now requires that all the army bases use at least 10% green energy, and they are partnered with large corporations, and you can see that they are making real progress and expansion.
   As we left the resort, we saw a moose cow and her 2 calves munching willows at the side of the road.  She kept an eye on us, but I think she judged us to be non-threatening.
   We got a quick snack and went to see “Julie and Julia”, as we will not probably have many theatres in the next few weeks.
   The “lumbering” of our RV park continued, and only smaller trees remain.   

High Temperature 65°F
Overnighted at River’s Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 09, 2009, 11:54:30 AM
August 8      Day 78   Fairbanks

   We spent the day doing chores in preparation for leaving tomorrow.  The RV park has a good car/RV washing set-up.  A guy with a pick-up truck and camper was there when Dean went over at noon, and he was still there at 7:00!  Dean was checking it every hour, and he did other little repairs while he waited.  Finally he gave up and washed the windows on the car & MH here at the site.
   We are looking forward to the Alaska State Fair in Tanana (Fairbanks) tomorrow.  It is the oldest state fair in Alaska and is supposed to have the huge cabbages.  They have been saying on the news that it always rains for the fair and they are predicting no rain this year.  They also say summer is over, and we are seeing fall colors.
   HOWEVER, it has just started to rain!  Hope it’s like Anchorage where it rained at night and cleared up the next morning by the time we were ready to go have fun.

High Temperature 65°F
Overnighted at River’s Edge RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on August 09, 2009, 11:58:57 AM
State Fairs are always fun. Let us know what exciting and unusual things you see at the Alaska one.

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 10, 2009, 05:12:55 PM
August 9      Day 79   Rest Area at Mile 1392, by Gerstle River Black Veterans Memorial Bridge, 30 miles south of Delta Junction, AK

   Contrary to weather reports for sunny weather, it was raining when we awakened at 8:00 a.m.  By 10:00, I was debating on whether we wanted to go to the State Fair, and clearing skies made my decision for me.  We parked the RV at WalMart, as we had shopped there several times and had not parked the RV there at all, and it was conveniently located on our way out of town.  The fair does not have RV parking.
   Every since we came into Fairbanks a week ago, the air has been clouded with smoke, ranging from hazy to obnoxious.  Last night's rain completely cleared the skies, and on the day that we're leaving, it is absolutely gorgeous, with large patches of blue skies (and in the south, the direction we will be going, some grey-black clouds).  We stopped at Creamers' Wildlife Refuge to see the sandhill cranes, who were obviously enjoying the fine weather as they flew in flocks through the skies.  When they land, it is like an awkward helicopter, and it's a kick to watch.  You really expect them to fall flat on their beaks.
   It was a nice little fair ($5 admission for seniors, $10 for others).  We ate our way through it, sharing an apple dumpling and delicious sweet potato fries, a reindeer dog for me, and a bratwurst for Dean.  Between food stands we saw a quilt show with beautiful quilts, cavies (hamster-like little critters), goats, bunnies, cows, and horses.  They had the kids' vegetables displayed, and the largest cabbage was 46 pounds.  We were told that the adults would have some around 75-80 pounds, but if you really want to see big ones, the state fair in Palmer has some between 120-130 pounds.  I was impressed with our "little" 46 pounder!  They had a lots of booths, from Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays, to the Women's League of Voters who were taking a poll about governmental health care, to Galloping Gourmet, Tupperware, and beautiful wood & glass saunas.
   About 4:00, we decided we really needed to make tracks.  We only went about 30 miles before it was time to stop for ice cream.  The Knotty Shop was an interesting place.  They had wooden bowls, paddles, platters, figurines, salad tossers, backscratchers, carved lamps, a wildlife museum with a great video of Denali running, and big Alaska-sized ice cream cones at the small Texas-sized price of $1.50.  Rvery place up here sells ice cream, and even RV parks advertise their ice cream.  Alaskans consume more ice cream per person than any other state.  We are helping them maintain their average.  The ice cream at the Knotty Shop was especially good.
   The drive to Delta Junction was pretty, with lots of trees, and some unmarked frostheaves.  We had some rain off and on, and there was a colorful rainbow from the skies to earth that we followed for about an hour.
   We stopped at Delta Junction VC, which had just closed because it was now 8:00, to photograph the 3 sizes of pipes used to carry oil. The top pipe, 3" in diameter, was installed by the U. S. Army between 1943-7.  The middle pipe, 8" in diameter, was also installed by the Army, between 1955-1971.  The bottom, huge pipe, 48" in diameter, was installed by Alyeska in 1977. We thought it was interesting how they got the pipe across rivers.
    We accidentally by-passed two rest stops.  They are hidden by trees and all you see is a dirt path.  The only marking is "Rest Stop 1500 feet", but there is no actual sign at the rest stop.  We could see this one as we came across the bridge, so we knew we would have adequate turn-around space.  There was one other coach here.

High Temperature 65° F, rain, drizzle, int ermittent periods of glorious sun
Miles Traveled:  About 130 miles
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 10, 2009, 05:30:44 PM
State Fairs are always fun. Let us know what exciting and unusual things you see at the Alaska one.

Wendy

The weirdest thing was going up to a horseback rider at the side of a performance ring and asking her what the event was.  She honestly did not know!  She was wearing a number, and she was supposed to "do good".  When asked what the qualities were that the judges were looking for--speed, style, etc., the only thing she could figure out was that  it was better if you didn't knock things over!

We also saw goats with super curly hair that they called mohair.  We saw a beige "furry" rabbit whose fur almost obliterated his face.  He had floppy ears that fell down into the fur.  I'm sure he was 90% fur. 

There were strange foods, such as chocolate bacon.

They had tractors, trucks and cars for sale--that was weird.  There were military recruiters from each branch of the service.  The army recruiter had a snowmobile.  The Marines had a humongous inflated marine full of muscles--he must have been 3 stories tall or more.

The most exciting thing I didn't do, but I did enjoy watching.  Two tall towers with a cage that would hold 3 or 4 people suspended by bungie cords were viewed with anticipation.  When the cage was released, the people flew up in the air, did 360's, and bounced up and down.  Not for me, but fun to watch!

I thought of you when we saw a cool video about Denali at the Knotty Shop.  Hope you're having a great summer.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on August 10, 2009, 06:24:46 PM
Chocolate bacon ? Bleh. I'll take the Fried Twinkies instead.

Wendy
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 12, 2009, 08:13:59 PM
August 10, 2009   Day 80   Kluane River overlook at 1726 km, about 92 miles north of Haines Junction

   We drove 80 miles into Tok to be able to post our log at Fast Eddy's as we ate lunch (somehow we skipped breakfast).  We had eaten there on our way "up", and they have excellent quality and variety of food, a nice salad bar, a booming pizza business, good RV parking, and great WIFI. 
   We filled up our RV across the street at Village Gas.  We've been told gas in Canada is much more expensive. 
   On our trip "up", the All Alaskan Gift Shop didn't have the 1/4 lb. of free fudge in our coupon book, so we stopped to pick that up.
   Then, on to the Yukon.  Thanks to the Brewers' mentioning in their log that Terry said this was the worst driving day of the trip, we battened down the hatches and entered the Land of Potholes, Washboard Surfaces, Frostheaves, and Extreme Dust. 
   As we drove down the road, our cat, Sherlock, was playing with a little gnat in the window on the dashboard.  Dean hit an unmarked frostheave at speed, throwing Sherlock up high into the air.  He landed feet-first on the dashboard just in time for a second frostheave, which sent him high up in the air again, and this time he landed on the floor, with the most startled look on his face-like "How did I get here?  Did you do this to me?"  Then he hid under my seat. 
   We passed some pretty reflecting ponds and two swans floating.  Two large white birds-either geese or swans-flew overhead.  I recognize swans in the water, but not in flight.
   There are a lot of scrawny, misshapen black spruce, so it's not a pretty drive.  Many of these are dead or dying from the spruce beetle, so they are even uglier than usual.
   After we passed the Canadian border, we started looking for a place to boondock.  Every rest area was posted as "no camping, no overnight parking". 
   We came upon what we thought was a disabled RV.  It turned out that the RVer was helping a motorcyclist who had electrical problems-with the shape that the road is in that is not surprising.  They got the motorcycle charged, and he went on his way.  About 25 miles down the road, we came upon him again, stopped at the side of the road with a dead battery.  Dean waited with him for the other RV to show up. The original RVer said he would charge him up again and follow him and make sure he got to a place where he could get help.  So, a few minutes later, at 8:30, we found this spot, there were no "forbidden signs", & we called it a night.

Interesting Fact:  85% of the traffic volume north of Haines Junction is of American origin.  Therefore, in 1977, The U. S. agreed to fund reconstruction of the road by Yukon Highways and Public Works.  The Shakwak Project is supposed to reconstruct this 300-mile section by 2010.  Much of the road is of glacial origin, and putting road on the permafrost causes it to melt, causing the ice-rich soil to liquefy.  Not good!  At Milepost DC 1164.6, south of Beaver Creek, we saw where they are doing experiments on techniques to slow down the melting beneath the roadbed.  Does it really take 33 years to fix 300 miles?  That's only 10 miles per year.  I hope for future RVers who come to Alaska that it is done on time. 

Miles Traveled: 285 HARD miles
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 12, 2009, 08:16:39 PM
August 11, 2009   Day 81   Haines, AK

   Today's drive was very enjoyable. We did hit some gravel patches and marked moderate frostheaves, so packing well was important.  We had some rain, and the sun peeked through twice for a total of about 5 minutes.  We saw lots of snow and glaciers as we passed over the Chilkat Pass.  We drove through 2 lush alpine valleys, with many beautiful white, yellow, and pinkish wildflowers, as well as abundant fully bloomed fireweed. There was every shade of green in the trees and bushes; bright yellows and oranges of fall are already showing.  The large fields of magenta fireweed were adjacent to lime-green plants. If only I were an artist with a palette!
   Much of our way we had rivers, creeks, and ponds.  It was truly gorgeous. I wish it weren't raining, so we could have taken great pictures.  It was only misting when we came across a male swan standing guard as mom and babies gobbled vegetation, so we did get that picture. The Haines Highway is my favorite road so far.
   Going through both Canadian and U. S. Customs was a breeze.  We just gave them our passports and answered a few questions.  The officer did suggest we try looking for bears at Chilkoot State Park.
   We saw these large metal fish wheels just before we entered Haines.  We saw two fish get caught and funneled down.
   We barely made it into the VC before their closing time of 6:00.  The clerk gave us good information.  I had been looking forward to seeing what was described in the brochure. “In August, the bear mothers teach their cubs how to fish for salmon in Haines.”  Well, the VC tells me that there is only one bear, and it’s a male.  We’ll go searching for him tomorrow.  The lady also told us that the big fish wheels are  monitored by Fish & Game.  They take the fish out, tag them, and send them on their way.
   We had been invited to the pot luck at the RV park, but we wanted to get to the VC and were afraid we would not have time to get back before dinner and make a side dish.  The park was providing crab at $6 each.  We ate delicious halibut & chips (to go) from The Bamboo Room, which had been recommended to us.  It cost $44!  No cole slaw or anything else.  The serving size was generous, but we won’t do that again.  I had stayed in the car plotting our activities, or we would not have done it the first time.  

Wildlife:  1 young moose, a swan family of mom & dad and 4 cygnets, several bald eagles

Weather:  Primarily rainy, mostly moderate  I'm guessing that we had a high in    the low 60's.

Overnighted at: Oceanside RV Park, 30 amps, FHU, Cable TV, Wifi for a fee,    looking out at the bay and the eagles

Miles Driven: 244
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 12, 2009, 08:20:39 PM
August 12, 2009   Day 82   Haines, AK

   We tried to get Motosat going since we are now south of Soldiers’ Summit.  It didn’t work out.  Enough said!
   We drove out to Chilkoot State Park, our heads swiveling back and forth looking for the bear.  On our trip back we found him by the salmon-counting device.  It has recorded over 29,000 sockeye since June.  It will have 2 fewer to count today, because our bear got them!  His head swiveled back and forth, just as our had been a few minutes before, making it hard to time our pictures.  He was a smart bear and situated himself near a flat rock which he could place the salmon on as he ate.
   We then went over to Fort Seward and saw the parade ground and old buildings.
   We drove out Mud Flat Road and saw large glaciers in the distance.
   We came to the pretty, modern library to use their Wifi at a cost of $2.95/hour.

Overnighted at: Oceanside RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on August 12, 2009, 08:29:34 PM
Linda:

My memory must be failing me but I can't remember a VC in Haines???
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: gmsboss1 on August 14, 2009, 08:51:01 PM
Hi Linda and Dean --

Mary Ann and I have been really enjoying your posts!  It's hard to believe, but we were very close on 7/24 thru 7/26!  We were with Mary Ann's brother and his wife on an Princess cruise/tour and were in Talkeetna on the 24th and Denali on the 25th and 26th.  We did not have internet service (despite the claims of wifi at the Princess Hotels) and thought you were still in Anchorage.

We are really jealous of 1., the freedom you have to go where and when you want to while we were stuck with buses and trains, and 2., your picture of Mt McKinley.  Of the 4 days that it was possible for us to see Mt McKinley, it was always hidden by clouds.

We are home now and I'm slowly posting day by day reports of our Alaska experience on our blog http://mmgandddgtravels.blogspot.com, if you are interested.

Hope the rest of your trip goes well and safely.  We'll be checking on you everyday!

Don and Mary Ann
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom and Margi on August 14, 2009, 09:17:04 PM
Linda:  I think it's time, once again, to tell you how much I'm enjoying the tales of your adventures in Alaska.  I look forward to reading each and every post.  Thanks so much for the time and effort you put into taking us all along with you on your journey.

Don:  Thanks for the e-mail alerting me to the resumption of your blog posts.  I've caught up with you and am awaiting further.  You, too, do such a good job of reminding us of our favorite RV trip in 2000.  Even without MMG's camera, the pictures are great!

Margi
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 16, 2009, 03:27:15 AM
August 13      Day 83   Haines, AK
   We made phone calls and decisions in the morning.  We learned that the visit to the Klukwan Village is not available this year, and the Chilkat Dancers and Storytellers are not performing.  The Adventure Jet Boats are also on a limited schedule, as tourist count is way down.  Pullen Creek RV Park in Skagway is booked solid for the next 4 nights, as they have 2 caravans there.  This is the first RV park we've come across on the whole trip that was full.
   We went to the post office to mail a package.  Everyone comes to the post office to pick up their mail, as there is no home delivery.  It's a meeting place, and friends stood and talked for the whole 15 minutes Dean was inside.
   It was time for lunch, so we stopped at a restaurant that had been recommended by a local, The Lighthouse.  I had a delicious bowl of seafood chowder ($5.95) and Dean had a hamburger (around $9).
   We went two blocks to the Sheldon Museum, built as a result of lots of community effort.  You can tell by the signs that many people in Haines love its history and want to share it.  There were many Native exhibits with authentic Chilkat blankets, but also a nice mineral collection, and items related to those who founded and built Haines.  There was one volunteer who was doing research to make sure they had accurate information.  I bought a book titled If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende, which talks about life in Haines.  I wish I'd read it before I came because it gives you insight about how people live in Alaska's small towns.  Haines is a town kind of like Homer-it grows on you.  There is a feeling of community and working together, giving of oneself.     If anyone's coming to Alaska next year, ask Dean for this book in Quartzite, and he'll give it to you.  We admired the museum's beautiful mountain ash tree with its bright red berries.  We've seen these trees and bushes all over Alaska. Their 100-year-old apple tree that someone brought up here has several hundred apples on it.  The museum's flowers are pretty, and you can just feel the caring that goes into this museum.
   Dean went into the Hammer Museum ($3), which had quite an array of hammers.  One man has collected all these different hammers-some unusual, some antique, and he has life-size display mannequins donated by the Smithsonian because they were so impressed with his collection.  Dean says he would recommend it.  But, in these small towns, you have to think small.  None of these places would compete with big city museums.  However, they have a special charm and a lot of love and hard work goes into them.
   I saw an ad for the Bear-itto Bakery & Deli's raspberry bars, and I wanted to sample one, so we went across the street for a treat. Dean came out laden down with the 2 raspberry bars he went in to purchase, fresh whole-wheat sourdough bread, brownies, and 2 cups of ice cream.  The raspberry bars were the best I've ever tasted.  We used the bread to make toasted ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner, and the spices in the bread gave them a wonderful flavor.
   We stopped at the Village Market to pick up bananas.  It's a cute, modern grocery with healthy foods and a mini-deli, a miniature Trader Joe's.  They were making soup for tomorrow, and the spices gave the whole store a wonderful aroma.  This is a place where friends meet friends and enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat.

Overnighted at Oceanside RV Park
Weather: High of 58°, breezy in the evening
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 16, 2009, 03:31:15 AM
August 14, 2009   Day 84   Skagway, AK

   Our FedEx mail was supposed to be delivered by 4:30 today, so I called up to the RV office to see if it had come yet and let them know that we'd be back to pick it up if it hadn't. Bad news--FedEx does not deliver to Haines addresses.  Apparently, they get it into Anchorage and turn it over to the U S Postal Service, who delivers it to the Haines Post Office.  Worse news-this whole process takes over two weeks.  The RV Park owner says if you're going to have anything delivered anywhere in AK, the fastest by far is the U. S. Mail.  We called FedEx, and they promise to have it into the RV park in Skagway by Monday.  However, I called the owner of the RV park for their street address and zip code, and he says they don't deliver here either.  However, the FedEx lady promised Dean, so we'll wait an extra 2 days and see what happens.
   We took the RV to the Ferry Terminal to drop it off and pay our $220.  This paid for the Jeep, 38' coach, and 2 adults.  We weren't sure of all our exact measurements-you have to know the exact length, width, and height of the coach.  Dean rounded up, and a few feet here and there made a huge difference in cost.  The ferry lady came out and measured to verify and by bringing in the mirrors and measuring exactly, she cut our cost in half.
   Even though Dean was expecting a call back from FedEx and he didn't know how good the cell reception would be as we got further away from Haines, he went along with my wish to return to Chilkoot Park, where we had seen the bear two days ago.  He was in exactly the same place by the weir, and we watched him snag several salmon.  We were anxious to get back to good cell phone reception, so we decided to leave.  The bear splashed on down the river just as we were driving on, so we followed.  Dean got out and took great pictures.  We really needed to go, but we pulled into a parking area a little further down just to see where he was.  He continued eating, splashing, even galloped a little way, and strolled along the bank heading toward us.  He came up on the bank really close to us.  It was so exciting!  We could see a beige fringe around his ears.  Wow!  He has on this huge tracking collar, but it doesn't seem to bother him a bit.  What a thrill!
   We went back to the bakery to buy a few raspberry bars, so we ate lunch there.  It was good, but not special.  Dean had a hamburger ($8) and I had a sloppy Jose burrito ($8).  I think they may have the lowest prices in town.  Dean bought a couple granola-type bars and another loaf of bread, a sourdough-wheat with rosemary.  We rarely eat bread, so this is a real recommendation.
   At 3:30, we went to a presentation at the American Bald Eagle Foundation ($5 for presentation + $3 for admission/per person).  If you are coming to Haines, as soon as you get here call and find out when the presentation will be.  They don't happen every day, and this is a "Don't Miss".  Kerry Seifert, the Avian Curator and a master falconer, gave an excellent presentation with a live gyr falcon, the largest of all the falcons.  The gyr falcon ranges in color from pure white to a dark brown, depending on how close to the North Pole he lives.  His range is from Colorado, where he is dark brown to Greenland where he is white.  He stays the same color for his whole life, and he does not migrate anywhere.  Females weigh 3-4 lb., and males are 2-3 lb.  As with the eagles and most birds of prey, the female is bigger than the male.  They can measure 4.5 feet wingtip-to-wingtip.  90% of their diet is other birds.  He dives at high speed, balls up his feet, punches his prey, killing or severely injuring his prey so it falls to the ground.  He has special notches on his beak which allows him to bite across the neck of his prey and separate the vertebrae.  He feeds quickly, storing the food in his crop, because he is vulnerable to predators such as fox, lynx, martens, wolves, and wolverines when he is on the ground.  In the air he is vulnerable to bald eagles, goshawks, and golden eagles.  They have 3 eyelids, one on the top of the eye, and one on the bottom, like we do, and one that goes from side-to-side, starting at his beak and going to the outside corner of the eye.  He can close this eyelid, leave it closed, and still see through it.  It's like built-in goggles for his speedy dives.  All gyr falcons have large dark brown eyes, not colored eyes as other birds like hawks, etc.  They have bony protrusions in each nostril which act as a vortex generator so they can breathe when going fast. Gyr falcons are cliff nesters.
    This particular bird had fallen 180' out of a nest, and he was found by Kerry.  He was so young he didn't have flight feathers yet.  He had broken his ulna and radius in his wing.  $600 later, he was casted in the hopes his wing would heal well.  He can fly, but he would appear handicapped in the wild, so other birds would eat him.  He has a white feather in each wing, a genetic defect, which would also make him a target for other predators. He also had a torn crop, so the food would go in through the beak and out through the neck. Poor guy! The vet stitched him up and he enjoys eating one 6-8 oz. quail daily.  They have these frozen quail flown in from Juneau. He tolerates cold well and has been at -26°F.  He has wonderful sight.  It's like he has binoculars, and his resolving power (ability to clearly see things) is 7-8 times ours.  He can see ptarmigan in brush 2 miles away.
   The museum had lots of well-labeled fish, birds, and mammals in dioramas and mounted on the walls. They work with Auburn U in Alabama.  They currently have 3 raptors and are building a very large mew so they can accommodate more.   
   The ferry only goes out once a day, at 8:30 PM, so we went back to the motorhome and waited.  The car had to be separate from the motorhome.  It was quite dark as we crossed to Skagway, so we couldn't see any marine life, but we did see a well-lit Princess cruise ship.
   We were glad to see the manager standing out front to wave us in with his flashlight, as we got to the park at about 10:30.  Dean went to bed, but I was still so "up" from 2 exciting wildlife experiences in the same day I just had to share them with you.

Miles Driven: 6
Miles Ferried: 15

Overnighted at Garden City RV Park--30 amps, FHU, 30 amps

Weather:  High in the high 50's, rain on and off, a breeze
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 16, 2009, 03:44:05 AM
Linda:

My memory must be failing me but I can't remember a VC in Haines???

I hope my memory is correct.  I've read so many signs and articles on exhibits, brochures, newspapers, and ads in so many different cities.  I'm pretty sure I read that the VC building is new.  I don't know whether they had a different building before or if it's a totally new venue.  It doesn't have exhibits or films like so many of the others have had, just a helpful, knowledgeable guide.  It is a pretty shiny light wood and not very big, and it looks like it's been recently built.  It is not on the main street in town--it's at about 2nd Avenue and the street that's between the main street and Haines Hwy.  Sorry I can't be more specific, but i've thrown away the maps & brochures as we get through with them in an attempt to have some organization for all the papers, notes, and maps of the new city.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 16, 2009, 03:53:19 AM
Hi Linda and Dean --

 We were with Mary Ann's brother and his wife on an Princess cruise/tour and were in Talkeetna on the 24th and Denali on the 25th and 26th.  We did not have internet service (despite the claims of wifi at the Princess Hotels) and thought you were still in Anchorage.

We are really jealous of 1., the freedom you have to go where and when you want to while we were stuck with buses and trains, and 2., your picture of Mt McKinley.  Of the 4 days that it was possible for us to see Mt McKinley, it was always hidden by clouds.


We're sorry we missed you.  When we see cruise ships we turn tail and run. In Whittier we saw several busloads of people from cruise ships going on the 26 Glacier tour, one which I had considered going on.  But, when we saw all those people boarding, we crossed off that trip and signed on with Major Marine.  But, we liked Prince William Sound Cruises out of Whittier the best of all.   I hope you get a chance to do this trip in an RV.  It is beyond wonderful.

As for internet, it's been a challenge off and on.  Right now we're paying $2.95 an hour at our RV park because the info they gave us for a free 24-hour period of Wifi doesn't work. 

We didn't see Mt. McKinley on our first trip either.  They say you have about a 20% chance, so if you missed it on 4 days, you should be guaranteed to see it on the 5th!  We will enjoy reading your blog for sure.

Dean and Linda

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 16, 2009, 03:59:23 AM
Linda:  I think it's time, once again, to tell you how much I'm enjoying the tales of your adventures in Alaska.  I look forward to reading each and every post.  Thanks so much for the time and effort you put into taking us all along with you on your journey.

Margi

Margi, you and our other RVforum friends have been so kind and supportive.  Previous logs have really been so helpful to us in planning and avoiding pitfalls that i hope my log will help someone else.  Sometimes getting the right words to describe something is difficult, but usually the writing is pure joy.  The one negative of this trip is missing friends and family.  I think I've decided for the future to set a time limit of 3 months.  So, being able to write and get feedback gives us a feel-good connection.  Thanks for the warm fuzzies.

Dean and Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 17, 2009, 03:05:09 PM
August 15      Day 85      Skagway, AK

   We started our morning with a trip to the VC to get questions answered.  We wandered into the wrong one, which actually turned out to be fortunate.  There are two VCs, one city VC and one National Park VC, and we were at the NP VC.  It is the strangest looking national park I've ever seen-no trees.  Apparently, because it has historical buildings and another area where the prospectors passed through, it got that designation. The ranger says it is the most visited NP in Alaska. The ranger was able to answer most of our questions and was leading a walking tour in 45 minutes.  We went into a small room and watched 2 videos, one on not being stupid around bears and another about the Chilkat Trail.  The ranger then led us on about an hour walk past historical buildings.  He told great stories about the characters that built the town, and I would put this free tour on a "Must Do" list.  I would guess that the temperature was in the low 50's, and the wind was really howling-Dean even went back to the car and got a jacket! 
   We went from the ferry, down the main street, to the end of the businesses @ 7th Street (where the city VC is located), looking in the shops.  70% of the stores are jewelry stores.  We enjoyed the Ivory Museum, which is an extension of a gift shops. Its owner is selling the business because Obama was elected and he doesn't want to pay taxes to support Obama's programs.  Alaskans do say what's on their minds.  But, he let me hold a walrus tooth from the Stone Age.  It had been drilled on each side to make a hole so it could be lashed on a harpoon to provide a finger-rest.  He had just sold his display case of a fossilized mastodon tooth and a fossilized mammoth tooth with a beautiful piece of scrimshaw to a California dentist for his office for $15,000.  It's too bad that he didn't try to sell the business as a whole, because it was very interesting.  I'm sure he'll make more money this way.
   We appreciated others' logs who noted that the best days to visit are Saturdays and Sundays. The shops do have limited hours on the weekend, but we are so glad to be avoiding the crowds.  Skagway (population 800) will have 6,000 cruise ship passengers here on Monday and 10,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
   Skagway is my least favorite city so far-basically a tourist trap.  They get as many as 8 cruise ships in port at one time, and the tourists just have a little time, so they go shopping for souvenirs, etc.
   Miracles do happen!  When we got back to the RV, the manager came over, and he was carrying a FEDEX PACKAGE!  Our mail had arrived!  I can't remember the last time I was so pleasantly surprised. When he made his daily trip to the post office, there was a note in his PO Box telling him to get the FedEx package, too.  We had originally paid for 4 nights, and he is even refunding our money because we want to now stay only for 3 nights. I would heartily recommend this park.  He stood on the sidewalk by the street in the cold & dark last night and waited for us with a flashlight shining like a beacon to guide us into the park, even though it was after 10:30.
   As we were walking down the street, we saw friends we had met on the ferry from Haines.  They told us that they were boondocking right there in the ferry parking lot.  They said they had an OK from the ferry to spend the night there, just on the left as you exit the ferry. 
   We only have 1 TV station, CBS, but we do get good reception.  It is from our own antenna.  They gave us the Wifi name and code, but it didn't work.  It's too late to call, so we are using the pay $2.95/hour Wifi.  The ranger told us the whole town has free Wifi, so we'll go into town tomorrow and try to post this.

Overnighted at Garden City RV Park, $32.50

Weather:  Downright windy! And chilly, too! I'm guessing mid 50's.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 17, 2009, 03:05:54 PM
August 16       Day 86      Skagway, AK

   In Tlingit skaguay means "windy place", and it is certainly living up to its name.  The wind rocks the coach and howls.  Our neighbor brought in his slides.  We also had rain all day.
   We decided to wait for the rain to stop before we went out, but it didn't.  We had been told at the NP VC that there was only one showing of the Soapy Smith vaudeville-type show, and it was at 2:30 on Saturday and Sunday.  We parked, walked in the rain only to find that it was closed, with a sign that they only had one show, and that was at 12:30.  On cruise days there are 4 showings.
   The town was pretty dead, so we decided to go on the drive to Dyea to look for eagles.  We passed by Jewell Gardens & Glassworks, which was in our coupon book.  We'd seen the Gourmet Garden Tour place in town and their garden was dinky, but we thought we'd decide when we got inside.  After all, it was a $12 buy one/get one coupon, which is pretty expensive for a garden tour, and we've found that pricing often reflects quality.  When we got inside, it was 2:50, and their garden café closed at 3:00.  They had a fixed menu of broccoli mushroom soup, fresh greens from their gardens, herbed bread, and mushroom or smoked salmon quiche for $16/each. Drinks were $2, and I had a wonderful mint lemonade. Our coupon didn't give us any discount, and you could not buy the lunch separate from the garden tour.  The café was nicely decorated, with an artistically-arranged bouquet of fresh flowers on each table. Everything tasted good.  By the time we finished it was really starting to rain, so it was time for us to go out and view the gardens.  They were much larger than I had expected, and they were very attractive. I especially enjoyed the miniature garden they had built with their model train set-up.  They had an eye for detail, including even a little waterfall by a railroad tunnel.  Despite the rain, we lingered at several spots.  My only negative is that almost nothing was labeled.  We saw a huge, frilly, purple plant, and I thought it looked like kale. Dean agreed, but it was so much bigger than we'd ever seen before.  We asked inside, and it was kale.  They had many bright orange flowers and deep purple snapdragons that looked like velvet.  We enjoyed the visit.  I am amazed that their plants don't have torn leaves and the flowers aren't petal-less with all this wind.
   We drove toward Dyea, and we only saw 1 bald eagle flying far away to his tree.  Birds are smart and stay home when it's windy and rainy.
   We went looking for a gas station and found only one.  It's on State Street, and diesel was a very reasonable $3.07/gallon.  We passed Kone's ice cream store, so we stopped a got a single scoop of ice cream, which turned out to be just Dreyer's.
   We are heading into Canada to reach Hyder/Stewart.  We will probably boondock and be without Wifi for a couple of days.

Overnighted at Garden City RV Park 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on August 17, 2009, 05:51:53 PM
Linda,

We were in Skagway near the end of season as last Cruise ships were returning to Caribbean spots.  ALL of the sweatshirts were on sale so we purchased a bunch!

A thought for something to do.  Did you visit Totem Pole Park?  It was a highlight for us.

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: 007 on August 18, 2009, 12:58:48 AM
Dean & Linda,
Enjoyed your trip and pictures very much.  I was stationed in that great state 1957-58 didn't have all them CG's in those days. I was in the Signal Corp, PEI, traveled to just about every place you visited.
They made state hood in 58 and 4th Ave, Anchorage, was a open bar, same 4th Ave that split open in a earthquake.
Back in those days the communication system was known as ACS, worked in all toll centers and repeater sites on the highway systems, railroad and most military Army,AF and SAC bases.
Did allot of flying out of Merrill field with Bush Pilots into some locations.
The tourist industry has grown, something we did not see.
Did you see the Dole sheep on Sheep Mountain just north of Glen Allen on the way to TOK?
There are pretty high up would need telephoto lens for pic's.
Your daily temperatures were allot cooler than ours most days in the two summers I was there were in the 80's and in the flat lands around Big "D" could reach 100* also saw temp's in Fairbanks at -65*.  Temp's are dry in summer only in winter your ear's could fall of being so dry.
So much for global warming.
Buffalo herds around Big "D" were a site to see, had a Albino calf year I was there.
Many thanks for the memories.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on August 18, 2009, 01:22:37 AM
We were in Skagway near the end of season as last Cruise ships were returning to Caribbean spots.  ALL of the sweatshirts were on sale so we purchased a bunch!
A thought for something to do.  Did you visit Totem Pole Park?  It was a highlight for us.

My husband with the photographic memory reminded me "Totem Pole Park"  was in Ketchican on our cruise to Alsaka and not in Skagway. The memory is one of the first to go in olden golden years.

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on August 22, 2009, 04:52:36 PM
To those of you who look forward to Dean and Linda's Daily story, she phoned me to say she is trying.  First they had a park with no wifi, then  places with no cell phone service, then computer did not work.  When they got to Prince Rupert, the computer worked again but could not get wifi despite moving from site to site.  She was heading to the local libray to try and catch a signal. 
I think we all know how frustrating it can be to get technology at times.  But she is trying!

Betty
 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ken & Sheila on August 22, 2009, 08:10:06 PM
The totem pole park was neat though. At least it was in 1998. I guess it been a while.

My husband with the photographic memory reminded me "Totem Pole Park"  was in Ketchican on our cruise to Alsaka and not in Skagway. The memory is one of the first to go in olden golden years.

Betty
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 22, 2009, 11:33:08 PM
August 17, 2009   Day 87   The Rest Area at Kilometer Post 697.1 on the Cassiar Hwy. by Blue Lake, past Junction 37

Corrections First:  In yesterday's post, I said that plants at Jewell Gardens were not labeled. Today I discovered in my purse a detailed map with descriptions for each of the 32 areas of the garden they gave me when I bought our admission yesterday.  It was raining and the ink would have been everywhere, so I put it in the dry, zippered pocket of my purse and promptly forgot about it.
   Our first stop was the only gas station in town.  It has been several months since diesel gas prices were so low.  Their regular gas was expensive, but this is definitely the place to fill up your RV if you are using diesel.  Unfortunately, they are VERY small and have only two lanes.  Dean did not want to try jockeying the RV between the pump and the cashier, so we drove in circles and finally stopped at the curb and posted our log from yesterday.
   I have admired the inventiveness and practicality of Alaskans our whole time here.  Many have what appears to be a junkyard in their front or side yards.  But, they put the R in Recycling.  In Dean's flagpole picture, notice that it is made from an rusted crankshaft from what Dean thinks might have been an old locomotive. Also, notice how tattered, but brightly colored, the flag is.  It says something about how windy it is here, though at the gardens the waitress told me it has been sunny and calm all summer until the past week.   In the book I'm reading by Heather Lende, a Haines resident, she talks of taking a broken something and using it for an entirely different use at least twice.
   It rained almost non-stop today, except for the first few hours when we were in thick fog.  I did see some really cute stunted evergreens when it cleared a bit, but we were mostly looking for the yellow centerline on mountainous roads.  Not fun!  And we were up high!  I think this could have been a pretty drive.  Canadian Customs was a piece of cake.  We saw very few cars on the road all day.
   The drive was nice-some rivers, interesting bridges, good road with some minor frostheaves, and pretty trees.  At the gardens yesterday, we saw a gorgeous blue spruce tree, and we saw some in Skagway also.  Today we saw blue spruce that were either stunted or shrubs, that were also very beautiful.  We saw the beginning of fall colors.  I'd love to be here when everything turns colors.  We saw almost iridescent yellow leaves on trees.  They sparkled in the few minutes of sunlight we had today. 
   We noticed a slight dimming of daylight so we looked in the Milepost for a place to boondock.  There were several turnouts and rest areas listed, but each was near an RV park.  In the Yukon, they post any place that is within about 10 miles of an RV park with a "no camping, no overnight parking" sign. We drove, found posted rest areas and drove some more.  About 7:30, Sherlock, our cat, took his towel off the dash with his mouth, which is like putting up a "closed" sign.  He does this each night before he goes to bed.  We agreed that we wanted to stop, especially when we saw the sign that said that the next 50 miles of the Cassiar Highway were under construction!  It was washboard, rutted, bumpy dirt with occasional very short patches of smooth blacktop. There was no choice but to keep going.  At 8:50, we found this wonderful rest area by a beautiful lake.

Miles Traveled:  328 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 22, 2009, 11:40:37 PM
August 18      Day 88   Boondocking @ MP 297 on Cassiar Highway, 200 km N of turn-off for 37A (Hyder-Stewart Access Road) 

Correction:  In  Trailer Life, Skagway's Garden City RV Park says it has Wifi.  We were given a code, but we were never able to access it despite several tries, and the manager was not helpful on this. 

   Today was all travel, with generally satisfactory road except for one long stretch of rugged construction in the morning that really was quite bumpy.  Some of the road was as smooth as glass.  There were beautiful wildflowers and lots of rivers and lakes.
   We stopped at Jade City, a store, not a city.  If you travel this route, you will see it, but there are no cities nearby or even farby to use as a reference point.  We have been without cell phone or internet now for several days, so we are excited when they tell us we can use their internet.  However, our computer will not open up a screen and apparently something has been jarred loose in it.  Jade City also offers free boondocking and coffee.  But, best of all, they have the most wonderfully carved jade. 
   I bought a quilted wall-hanging of a bear with a salmon in his mouth and ravens in the background, as well as kittiwakes.  It is very reminiscent of what we've actually seen most frequently.  At $275, the price is steep, but the lady who makes them donates it all to charity.  If only I could write it off on my taxes!
   We were amazed by their beautifully carved jade chess set, as well as many other pretty figures.  They do the cutting right there in front of the shop. Their prices are reasonable, and we bought several souvenirs.

Wildlife Count:  2 brown bears, 1 ptarmigan
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 22, 2009, 11:49:53 PM
August 19      Day 89   Stewart, BC

   We had a mixed drive into Stewart, but we got to see 2 bears!  One stopped and stared at us as we cautiously opened the door and took his picture.  Some of the road was quite rough, even though it was paved.  There were 2 lengthy construction areas with dirt and gravel.  Some of the road was brand new and really like gliding on air.
   We got into Stewart early and scurried to do everything possible because rain and lightning are predicted all day tomorrow. I wanted to see the bears, so we headed for the observation deck and self-guided auto drive in Hyder first.  We spent about an hour with no bears, but we did see a beautiful grey-blue pocket of the river and LOTS OF BITING BUGS!  What a stink all the dead salmon made!  But, bears are worth it.
   We talked with the rangers and learned that there are only 60-70 full-time residents.  They told us that many of the parents choose to home-school.  The elementary school (which is new and modern) is not open this year because they didn't have the minimum number of necessary students.  They have moved to the high school, where in K-12 they have 17 students taught by 2 teachers and 1 teachers' aide.
    We drove 17 miles on a washboard, potholed, narrow road and a pick-up went by us headed the other way, and kicked up a rock, which made a terrific CLUNK on our Jeep.  We always slow down to a crawl in consideration of others, but Dean says I shouldn't expect others to care.  We saw hanging glaciers, but they had a lot of rubble all over them.
   We then drove back to the beautiful red maple trees at the town cemetery that we had seen on our way in.  I have never seen such a beautiful intense red.  Our picture was taken when it was overcast.  When we had come into town, the sun was on them, and it was like they were on fire. 
   I also wanted to see the beautiful, tall waterfall again.  The drive back was especially impressive because the passenger is right by a rushing river with many rapids.
   Some of the people we met when we waited for the bears in the afternoon told us how great the halibut was at "The Bus".  The husband goes out and catches the halibut, and the wife cooks 2 orders and only 2 orders at a time.  They say it is worth the wait, and they are right.  A generous 3 pieces of halibut and French fries costs only $13.  The taste and cholesterol are high, but the price is low.
   We then went back to the Observation Deck to wait for bear action.  After about 30 minutes, Dean sees a little black bear, as he quickly runs away from the approaching grizzly bear.  The ranger tells us that they have found black bears, who are smaller, that have been killed by grizzlies.  Monica quietly walks along the bank of the river and has a quick reaction when she spots a salmon.  She is very efficient.  The ranger says she is at the end of her feeding for the day, as she is only eating the eggs and skin and leaving all the rest of the fish.  The eggs are especially high in protein and fat.  It is getting dark and it is raining as you can tell from the picture.  We watch Monica until a little after 9:30, when she leaves.  Everyone else does, too, so the rangers get to go home early.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 22, 2009, 11:55:25 PM
August 20      Day 90   Stewart, BC

   We got up at 5:15 to go over to Hyder, AK, to see the bears for the last time.  The rain quit, though it was overcast.  The Observation Deck is staffed with U.S. Forest Service personnel and open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.  The rangers told us we were most likely to see good bear action at 6:00 a.m. or 8:00-9:00 p.m.
   About 8:00, Mira, a 6-year-old grizzly came bounding down the stream.  She has an entirely different method of fishing from her mother, Monica, who we met yesterday evening.  She runs around in the river, which causes a salmon frenzy.  Then she pursues one and tries to catch it mid-air.  She devours the whole fish.  She also backtracks back up the river in her quest, which makes it harder to figure out where to be.  She uses a lot of energy as she bounces and splashes.
   By 9:15, our lack of breakfast, short sleep, many mosquito and blackfly bites, and the lack of bear activity convince us to go home.  As soon as we are cozy in the RV, rain starts pounding and continues all day and night.  We have cable TV, but no cell phone service, and our computer has gone on vacation.  Hopefully, when we can remedy its problem when we get cell phone service and stores tomorrow.  We nap and map our future adventures.

Weather:  Rain, rain, and more rain.  High temp around 58°.

Overnighted at Bear River RV, FHU, cable TV, free Wifi (but our computer doesn't work), and free firewood for ONLY $23!  Unfortunately, the park is for sale.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 22, 2009, 11:56:41 PM
August 21, 2009   Day 91   Prince Rupert, BC

   We got up at 5:15 a.m. because we knew the bears on the side of the highways would be more likely to be out if we left early.  It was raining, so I was really glad that we came back and got the waterfall and red maple tree pictures on our first day in Stewart.  I was looking eagerly, but we drove the whole 40 miles on the Stewart Highway without seeing any.  37A is the only way in or out of Stewart, and it is a beautiful drive with waterfalls, glaciers, masses of blooming little yellow flowers, evergreens, and two bright red maple trees, and one very bright gold tree.
   We turned onto the 37 and it was very pretty, also.  We stopped by the First People's village of Gitanyow.  The K'sans had authentic totems, and we were struggling to figure out what each figure was on a totem pole.  We were fortunate to meet a non-First Nations lady, Jan Thompson, who was walking by and volunteered that she knew the story of one of the poles.  She had been picking saskatoonberries in the bushes right behind the totem poles, and she offered us a sample.  They look like blueberries, and they have a similar taste, but they are much sweeter. Jan is an artist who is visiting the area, doing some acrylic art, and inspiring the children to draw by giving free lessons each day at 1:30.  The government is putting a lot of money into the  First People's history throughout Canada.  They are paying the K'san to build a wood carving shed in the hope of attracting a woodcarver who will carve totems as they were done in the past.  She told us that the museum was closed because everyone had received their monthly checks and had gone to buy school supplies.  All parents, rich or poor, receive a monthly check for each child they are raising.
   Shortly after we turned onto Highway 16, we spotted a wolf drinking from the Skeena River.  There were tall bushes and trees, so it was a tease to try to peek between trees at 60 mph.  We would have liked to go slower, and when we had an opportunity to move into the right lane and let others go by, we did.  A bald eagle flew into his roost, so I was looking both high and low.  I glimpsed a large brown bear standing on the bank of the river and then a black bear standing in the middle of the very wide river.  As I expressed my dismay that there weren't pullouts with good views of the river, a black bear crossed right in front of our RV!  As we entered Prince Rupert, two beautiful blue jays flew beside our coach.
   
Overnighted at Prince Rupert RV Park-FHU, 30 amps, Wifi that doesn't work, $36.50 (up 16% from last year!), but the only park with HU in Prince Rupert.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: BernieD on August 23, 2009, 07:50:28 AM
Linda & Dean

Hope this reaches you in time. When you leave Prince Rupert on CN 16, about 100 miles up the road is Terrace, BC. There is an island on the east side of town with a most enjoyable campground, Ferry Island RV Park. The owners are most accommodating and helpful. There is a nice walk around the island and a woodcarver has carved faces and figures into a number of the trees. We also enjoyed watching the fisherpeople sitting on their lawn chairs in the river fishing for salmon.

Further up 16, take a detour to the town with the totem museum. They have a large collection of totems that have been brought in from other locations. I can't remember the name of the town but there was also another area we stopped at on 16 to watch the local First Nation people fishing in a gorge using spears and hoops. Fascinating.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2009, 12:11:26 PM
Linda,

A thought for something to do.  Did you visit Totem Pole Park?  It was a highlight for us.

Betty

We missed it!  We saw a Totem Pole Park in Ketchikan when we went on our cruise to Alaska about 10 years ago and some in Vancouver at the BC Museum there.  I bought a book and showed the kids my favorite one.  It was done about one of our presidents, maybe Coolidge (if I don't use it, my memory loses it), who visited them and they gave him wonderful carved gifts and had a big potlach in his honor.  They expected a gift in return, but he came empty-handed.  They figured that was OK; he would just send gifts later.  After two years had elapsed and they have received nothing, they carved this pole, which was plain at the bottom and had his figure at the top, with the face painted red for the embarrassment he should feel.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2009, 12:16:10 PM
My husband with the photographic memory reminded me "Totem Pole Park"  was in Ketchican on our cruise to Alsaka and not in Skagway. The memory is one of the first to go in olden golden years.

Betty

It's not the where that's important, it's the experience.  Dean and I figure we have one memory between the two of us, and we are fortunate that we are able to fill in each other's blanks, just like you and Terry. 

A few years ago, Dean and I were looking for a Discount Mall outside of Las Vegas where there was a special store that we had purchased from.  There was a discount mall, but it wasn't the same one that Dean and I remembered.  The weirdest thing was that we both had the same wrong memory.  And it isn't like it would have been torn down because it was brand new.

I read a senior's idea the other day that said that if you don't remember it, it didn't happen.  That could come in handy for those embarrassing moments in all of our lives.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2009, 12:22:03 PM
Dean & Linda,

Did you see the Dole sheep on Sheep Mountain just north of Glen Allen on the way to TOK?
There are pretty high up would need telephoto lens for pic's.

So much for global warming.
Buffalo herds around Big "D" were a site to see, had a Albino calf year I was there.
Many thanks for the memories.

It's fun to hear history.  Thanks for sharing.  We didn't see Dall sheep on Sheep Mountain because of low-hanging clouds, even though we spent the night at an RV park right across from it.  We have a good telephoto lens, but things happen so quickly up here that Dean swears that even though he has only two major lenses, the wrong one is always on when he needs to get a quick animal picture.

We have seen lots of signs of global warming.  They show us where the glaciers were ten years ago, and where they are now, over a mile away.  The animals are reacting to it also, with diminishing numbers.  We have seen buffalo on ranches, but I can't recall seeing them in the wild.  I'm glad you are enjoying the log.  It's usually fun to write, but sometimes a pain to post.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2009, 12:27:36 PM
In Ketchican we stayed in a parking lot (Fred Myers?). Ok for a 36 ft rig as we fit in two parking spots. Anything longer would hang on into the ailse. The lot wasn't big enough to park "against"(perpendicular to)  the parking spots.


How did you get to Ketchikan?  On the ferry?  We would have loved to take the coach to Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka, but the ferry was so expensive and there weren't any roads there. We didn't have enough time in Juneau on our cruise, so the 3 hours on the Fjord Express would not have been adequate; we loved Totem Pole Park in Ketchikan; we were awed at the Raptor Center in Sitka.  We know so much more about the Russian Orthodox Church now that I would have liked to re-visit the church in Sitka.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2009, 12:53:42 PM
Linda & Dean
 When you leave Prince Rupert on CN 16, about 100 miles up the road is Terrace, BC. There is an island on the east side of town with a most enjoyable campground, Ferry Island RV Park. The owners are most accommodating and helpful. There is a nice walk around the island and a woodcarver has carved faces and figures into a number of the trees. We also enjoyed watching the fisherpeople sitting on their lawn chairs in the river fishing for salmon.

Further up 16, take a detour to the town with the totem museum. They have a large collection of totems that have been brought in from other locations. I can't remember the name of the town but there was also another area we stopped at on 16 to watch the local First Nation people fishing in a gorge using spears and hoops. Fascinating.
We found Terrace on our way into Rupert.  Their VC has the world's most unfriendly to RV parking lot we've ever been in.  We ended up leaving by going the wrong way on a one-way street.  We had stopped there because it was the first place with cell reception that we had come to.  Dean wanted to call Apple and get help with our non-functioning computer.  He powered up the computer so he could follow Apple's directions on what to do, and it worked like a charm, so we moved on. 
Unfortunately, RAIN (as differentiated up here from SHOWERS) is predicted up here for the next 4 days.  We have had a mix of rain and showers the 2 days we've been here, so we probably won't go to Ferry Island.  We would have loved to have seen it if we had decent weather. 
   I think the village you are referring to is Hazelton.  We planned to spend a day there and overnight at their RV park, but now we'll definitely stop at their museum, but probably move on after a short visit because of the rain.  We will ask when we are there about fishing in the gorge.  That sounds really interesting.  I don't know if I put it in one of my posts, but even the First Peoples have been limited in their salmon catches this year--in most areas, they are only allowed to catch 2 salmon per person for the whole year!  Their salmon count is only 10% of what they thought it would be.  This is a double whammy for them because not only do they not have the salmon to eat, but most of them are commercial fishermen, so their livelihood is gone.  This is not the first year it is happened.  They have had to switch to other foods, and they have shown a marked increase in heart attacks (not enough fish oil?) and diabetes.  There was a news item on TV where they were discussing this.  Apparently in the U.S., we are doing something right, and the salmon are coming back to our streams.  We are also spending a significant amount of money to seed the rivers with eggs.  The First Peoples feel that the government up here has been unresponsive to their plight and are challenging them to do as well as the U. S.  We so often hear negatives about how our government works, it's nice to be held up as a standard for another government to achieve. 
  Along the same lines, I have inquired of every Canadian up here about how satisfied they are with their medical care.  They REALLY like it.  Only one person was even a little bit negative.  Everything is covered except plastic surgery.  If you have a burn on your face, that is called "reconstructive surgery" and is covered, whereas a breast enlargement would not be.   I was against single-payer before we came, but after speaking with so many Canadians and in depth with some, I am for it.  Obama is right, also, when he says we pay so much more per person for medical services with poorer results.  The government is also working on equalizing payments for doctors here, so they are responding to the problems in their system.  All doctors are paid the same for an office visit, whether it lasts 5 minutes or 5 hours.  Therefore, gerontologists who deal with people who have developed multiple problems which require longer to assess and treat are on their way to the poor house, while surgeons, who are paid per procedure, hop from room to room in the hospital, etc. are doing quite well.  Result?  Lots of surgeons and few gerontologists.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2009, 01:31:12 PM

August 22, 2009   Day 92(a day which necessitated a sense of humor)   Prince Rupert, BC

   Two 5:15 get-ups earned us a “sleep in” today.  We then spend a few hours trying to reconstruct over a week of events from my chickenscratches and 2 senior memories. Even when we haven’t had wifi before, at least the computer worked, so I could write each night.  Trying to remember what happened when is the berries!
    Dean then downloaded his photos, which we enjoyed reliving, but did not enjoy seeing the problems of diminishing light and increasing moisture.  The raindrops that Dean thought he was shooting through were actually drops on the lens, so we lost several good pictures that have big polka dots in them.
   We moved to two different sites here trying to pick up Wifi, but can’t get it, so we’ll have to go elsewhere to post.  And so begins out saga!
   By mid-afternoon we were able to leave for the VC.  However, the coach is sitting so high in the air that I can’t get out of it, even with a portable step.  Engineer Dean comes up with the idea of using the wood that we sometimes put under the jacks, putting that on top of the portable step, and it works.  The step onto it and the step from it to the ground are just “doable”.
   We get to the VC on Cow Bay Road, and we have the address, but it’s hard to find.  We find it in a mini-stripmall on our third time around.  They have no ramps, and I can’t stand very long, so Dean goes in with our list.  They have maps and good info and suggest we go over to the library to use Wifi.
   We find the library with no problems, only to discover that neither of us brought the computer!  I had packed it per Dean’s instructions according to what pieces he wanted to bring, and I thought I was done.  He figured I had it handled.  Wrong & wrong again!
   So back to the RV park we go.  Unfortunately, the library closes at 5:00, and it’s already 4;45, so we can’t go back in there.  We pass a Safeway and that is a biggie on our list now that we’re back from “the bush”, so we stop and re-stock since we’re going back to the RV park anyway.
   We head to the VC, which is open until 8:00.  But along the way, our stomachs remind us that we haven’t eaten since breakfast.  So, we pull out the VC map which lists restaurants.  We choose one and get there with little difficulty, but it is out-of-business.  So we choose another.  It is usually open on Saturday nights, but has closed this night for one night only.  Next door is CU’s seafood and steak restaurant.  The food was OK and reasonably priced.
   It’s now close to 8:00 when we arrive back at the VC.  We decide to use the computer from the parking area since the VC will close in 10 minutes and we have a lot to post.  No entry for them shows up, so Dean goes in to inquire.  It turns out that they use the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s wifi, and that is located upstairs.  Even inside the VC the signal is very weak, so we stand no chance outside.  We decide to try outside the library—no dice.  We go to the casino, which the VC had recommended.  Theirs is locked, we don’t have a password, and we don’t want to gamble to get one.  Maybe outside our RV park’s office.  It doesn’t work.  Dean remembers that the owner said the antenna was by his bedroom window, so Dean parks in a line with it, and we’re good!  Oops!  Dean forgot to put in the picture of the flagpole, so he has to go back into the coach to download the picture from the camera.  He is amazed to find that we now have Wifi at the coach.  Amazing!  We get our posts done and have a real feeling of accomplishment.
   It has poured all day; the RV is cozy.  We are in for the night.

Overnighted at Prince Rupert RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ken & Sheila on August 23, 2009, 06:43:26 PM
How did you get to Ketchikan?  On the ferry?  We would have loved to take the coach to Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka, but the ferry was so expensive and there weren't any roads there. We didn't have enough time in Juneau on our cruise, so the 3 hours on the Fjord Express would not have been adequate; we loved Totem Pole Park in Ketchikan; we were awed at the Raptor Center in Sitka.  We know so much more about the Russian Orthodox Church now that I would have liked to re-visit the church in Sitka.

We did it by ferry with our 36 ft HR and Grand Cherokee. We made last minute reservations, available because the ferry system had just put a new vessel in service early. We took it to Juneau and stayed at the shopping center parking lot (with permission) and then to Ketichan where we again stay in a parking lot with permission. Then we when to Hyder-Stewart from where we were back on land. I understand the ferry no longer goes to Hyder-Stewart (actually it went to Stewart). Our previous trip to Alaska, (fly, train, cruise) we stopped in Juneau and Sitka.

I don't know if the ferries have adjusted there lanes for "wide body" motorhomes, but but on at least one leg you could only open the door enough to squeeze in with our "narrow body" rig. We made "deck calls" to feed and comfort the cats.

It was expensive, but we didn't know if would ever get back and the Cassiar Hwy was a disaster that year (1998) so it was the only way to Hyder-Stewart.

I won't take my new 43 ft rig to Alaska so we will probably buy a used class C for the next trip, he says hopefully, (maybe also take it to Mexico) and then sell it.

Sheila and I are really enjoying your journals. Thank you.

ken
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 24, 2009, 01:46:07 AM
August 23      Day 93   Prince Rupert

   Today was a day spent living life.  We went to the Safeway to get Benadryl for me since I’ve had two nights of frequently interrupted sleep from the “itchies”, and I’m determined to get a good night’s sleep tonight.  Black flies and no-see-ums started biting me in Hyder and have follow me here.  My hands and feet are so bumpy and frostheaved by bites that they resemble Yukon roads.  Going horizontal seems to make them start itching like crazy.  Change in blood flow? I held out for 2 days, but now I’m willing to get an OTC.  I have taken 2-3 garlic pills for the last 3 months as a preventative, per the recommendation of a friendly pharmacist.  It only made me better seasoned for them.
   We spent the day doing laundry.  Recommendation:  Make sure you have at least a week of clean clothes/towels before you leave Skagway.  Hyder & Stewart were too small to have a laundromat, and the RV park didn’t have one, either.  Then you are probably boondocking for a couple of days. At the Princess Rupert RV Park they had 4 washers, and only 2 of those worked. Oh, and you can only use cold water between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.—no hot or warm is available.  We are always finding things that amaze us—even after 3 years of RVing—and this was the first “only cold water” laundry!
   So, we used the info from the VC.  They listed 2 laundries, and one of those is out-of-business.  The other had many broken washers and dryers, so laundry had to be dried one load at a time.  It took FOREVER!  Then Dean discovered two other laundromats while driving around the block.  We did not take the time to check them out.
   Then we went looking for a place to buy diesel, as the 2 stations in town were accidents waiting to happen, and we try to travel on the top half of the tank.  We found a Petro Canada outside of town at the same price of $1.07/liter. 
   We found a lovely park that is very close to the museum.  The Court Building is in the center of the park.  It has very pretty plantings, some well-shaped, tiny trees, some beautiful large trees, as well as a totem pole.  It’s worth driving through at the same time you visit the VC or museum.
   We drove about 10 miles out of town past Port Edward to visit some residential areas and a lake.  On the way out there we passed a Little League field with 3 pretty totem poles that we tried to decipher.  It was called the City Centre, but it was a little outside the city, and definitely not in the center of the city.  It was really interesting to see the different styles of homes, some elegant and some reflecting multiple add-ons in different styles.
   We scouted out a place to park the RV tomorrow morning across from the Prince Rupert Museum and a secondary site by the “mall” (their term, not mine).

Weather:  Overcast, sun peeked through occasionally, rain in the late afternoon coinciding with our drive.  High temp was in the high 50’s.

Overnighted at Prince Rupert RV Park
   
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: BernieD on August 24, 2009, 07:21:32 AM
We found Terrace on our way into Rupert.  Their VC has the world's most unfriendly to RV parking lot we've ever been in.  We ended up leaving by going the wrong way on a one-way street.

Linda & Dean

We stopped at the VC on our way thru Terrace on the way to Prince Rupert and found it both difficult to traverse and lacking in knowledge. Unfortunate. We had seen the Ferry Island CG on our way into town and thought there was no way we could get our 41' coach in there, so we asked at the VC about boondocking. They gave us a couple of potentials, but also called the CG which informed them that they would be able to fit us in without a problem. We tried the the 2 boondocking sites recommended by the VC, which were useless, and then head to Ferry Island, which worked out great.

Ken & Sheila

We were in Stewart-Hyder in 2003 and wanted very much to take a ferry over to Ketchican, our favorite place in Alaska and not too far away, but all ferry service out of S-H had been discontinued a couple of years earlier.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2009, 05:26:42 PM
August 24      Day 94   Fort Telkwa, BC (just east of Telkwa)

   It was raining hard when we awoke, so we waited for it to diminish.  It didn't.  So at 10:45, Dean put on his coat and went outside to detach.  Of course, we didn't have a pull-through, so he had to go out a second time to attach the Jeep.  We had planned to go to the P. R. Museum, but we just wanted to be gone from the rain.  I hope the museum wasn't spectacular. 
   We looked forward to possibly seeing black bears and moose, but only saw a few ravens.  We headed toward the 'Ksan Historic Village in Hazelton, a replica Gitxsan Indian Village, which was a little over 175 miles from Prince Rupert.
    We saw the VC, so we stopped to get a better map, as you have to turn off Highway 16 and we didn't want to have to rely on signs.  We bought Okanogan peaches from a roadside stand at the VC, and Dean dashed into the VC.  We planned to stay at the 'Ksan RV park. The VC lady said she had tried talking to "the kids who are running it" and they did not give her information, and weren't very helpful.  In the Trailer Life, they had written that they had not been given access when they came out to rate it. 
   When Dean came out from the VC, he gave me the map, and made a mistake and made a left turn, which put us back on Hwy. 16.  Oops!  We drove and drove with no place to turn around, the rain increased, and we decided to take a pass on visiting Hazelton.  One of the RVForum people told me it was really good.  I have a big interest in Northwest First Peoples, so I was disappointed. However, it was pouring rain, and a lot of the village was outdoors.  Maybe next time!
   The road was good all day and the scenery was pretty. The rain stopped about 5:30 p.m., an hour before we lit for the night, so Dean got to connect us without getting drenched--a big plus.

Weather:  High in the high 50's, lots of rain

Miles traveled:  229

Overnighted at Ft. Telkwa R. V. Park, Space 30, overlooking a large, pretty river (see picture) with many mature trees, Cable TV, Wifi for $3.15, but it didn't work in our site so they refunded our money, walking trail, FHU, 30 amps, free RV high-pressure wash, and our cell phones worked, very secure with a large metal gate that has a camera on it, $26  They also advertise, but we didn't see the following:  glacier view, free private deluxe shower rooms, sauna.  The managers were very nice.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2009, 05:31:55 PM
August 25, 2009   Day 95   Fort St. James, BC

   Today was a beautiful day with SUN playing hide-and-seek with the clouds, but winning most of the time.  We were impressed by the town of Smithers.  It had lots of useful businesses, and everything was so neat, well-maintained, and clean.  Houston is also a very attractive town.  The park on the highway has spectacular plantings of flowers and a variety of trees, especially the gorgeous blue spruce.
   We turned off Hwy. 16 to go to Fort St. James National Historic Site.  We drove 37 miles to FSJ, saw the VC, but confidently made the left turn following the signs to the historic site.  Oh, no!  The road dead ends into a lake; we can turn left onto a gravel/dirt road; or there is a dark wooden another Fort St. James Visitor Center in a dark brown log cabin with what appears to be a very small parking lot on our right.  I call the number for the Historic Site, and the lady tells me she knows where we are, and we should have turned one street earlier.  She does not know if the gravel/dirt road on our left leads back to the highway.  She gives directions on how to get to her once we get back on the highway. 
   So we turn left onto this residential street of about 20 homes.  We can see where the road ends or bends left back toward the highway.  Which will it be?  We see a man outside his home.  We'll ask him.  As Dean opens the driver's window, the man almost runs back into his house. Dean is NOT happy!  He sees a wide spot on the dirt road and says it's going to be tight, but maybe we can make a U-turn.  However, there is a steep drop into a drainage ditch, so we can't be wrong.  Dean is 90% through the turn when he decides he can't make it and will have to detach the car, move it up, back up the motorhome, complete the turn, and re-attach. 
   Dean starts this "blue job".  The neighborhood is all Nak'azdli and all the homes are in a state of disrepair.  I see a man come out onto his second story to shake a rug.  He sees us and disappears.  Soon his whole family is standing in the doorway watching us, and the wife and daughter have cell phones in their hands, I'm sure calling all the neighbors.  Within the time it takes Dean to complete the task, 6 cars/trucks have driven by us (representing about 30% of the houses).  Am I getting paranoid?  Everyone smiles and waves except for the man who lived in the house we're in front of.  He talked to Dean and laughed, and Dean had no idea what he might have said.  As Dean comes into the RV with his knee bleeding, he says, "I think we provided entertainment for the whole neighborhood!"
   We decide to do what we always do first--go to the VC!  It is now so late we would not have time to see the Historic Site before it closed.  We are determined at this point to view every morsel because we have invested so much into getting to it.  It is 37 miles from Hwy. 16, and we will have to backtrack that.  We have passed up two "want to do's", and we are dedicated to doing this (unless it rains hard).  At the VC we learn that we can boondock at a nearby park.  There is an interesting chain saw carving oof a prospector in front.
   We decided to go for a drive. The town is really run-down-lots of vacant stores/restaurants/markets, peeling paint, broken boards, rusting junk sitting around, and some pretty bright flowers.  There was a beautifully carved Mountie at the RCMP office.  The guide to the town showed a population of over 4,000, and I wondered about the unemployment rate.  We've seen lots of clear-cut forest land, and we saw many logging trucks going down the road.
   We went down to the marina to pay our $13 and meet the marina manager, a young lady who lives in her fifth-wheel.  "Marina" is an exaggeration.  It is actually a place for boats to land or tie up, and it does not have many customers. 
   We were very curious about the pink elementary school behind our park (see picture).  It was originally red, and it's now a tribal school that is not well-maintained. The tribe & the local gas station are planning on building a whole new school in 2010.   The elementary school is K-6, and there are about 70 students in 6 classrooms, and each class has one teacher and an aide.  They also have 3 full-time teachers who work with remedial students.  There are a substantial number of students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Since the tribe took over the school and they got this fantastic ratio, reading has markedly improved, especially comprehension.
   In seventh grade they go to the middle school, then on to high school.  The manager of the marina has a degree in law enforcement, but she has chosen to teach alternative education.  She says many of her students have very, very low achievement levels, like first grade in math (ten years below grade level!).  Education is not a priority in their culture and family.  I can't even imagine how hard it would be to teach in that situation.  And, I wonder if the boys would respond better to a school that was any color but pink!
   An amazing blue and white church with intriguing ornate architecture was near our RV spot.  Our Lady of Good Hope Church was built in 1873 and is the third oldest in B.C.  I would never have guessed it was Catholic except for the cross above the entry/steeple and the lighted Christ on the cross next to the church.  They had a French priest who may have influenced its design. 
   
Boondocked at Cottonwood Park, a municipal campground looking out on Lake Stewart, dry camping, $13   

Miles Traveled:  191
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2009, 05:34:59 PM
August 26, 2009   Day 96   Prince George, BC

   We started our day by opening our drapes and seeing a big bright sun!  We left the coach at the park and drove about 3 minutes to Fort St. James (FSJ) National Historic Site, a gem-rated AAA venue, with a parking lot big enough for 2 or 3 motorhomes with toweds if people are considerate when they park.  Admission was $14.35 CN for 1 senior and 1 adult.  The museum showed an introductory film explaining the history of this fur-trading post and how the people lived. The aboriginal people were Carrier Indians.  They were called this because if a man died, his remains were cremated, and his widow carried them in a pack on her back for the rest of her life.
   It gets as cold as -40°F!  There were about 7 buildings, and each had one or more fireplaces and  was staffed by someone in period dress who gave you a personal tour of that building.  We learned so much, and the explanations were interesting. The Hudson's Bay Company sent people here for 2 year enlistments, and they married native women called "country wives", who they left behind when they returned home.  Hudson's Bay encouraged them to marry the native women to improve their relationships.  Many of the employees of the Hudson's Bay Company here were themselves half-Indian and half-Scotch, including the boss of the trading post, Mr. Murray.  All of the trappers/hunters were natives.
   The warehouse held the furs and what was going to be traded, like pots, food, blankets, liquor (although they would not sell it to the natives, and there were massive amounts of liquor for just 8 Hudson Bay employees), and it was filled in July/August when 3 extra HB employees would come to get the furs.  They would usually get 300 90-pound bundles of ermine, beaver, muskrat, wolverine, wolf, fox, coyote, bear, and mink furs.  They would get skunk pelts and dye the white stripe black and sell them to the aristocracy of London as beaver hats.
   We also saw a performance by a talented young actress who will be performing in two dances at the Vancouver Olympics.  She enacted the difficulties of the daughter of the "boss" of the trading post.  She sang without music and wowed us!
   The man in the fur processing & canoe/wood shop really knew his stuff.  He does this during the summer and attends college during the school year.  He was very well-spoken and will either teach high school history or go into forest administration.  He is the father of 3, two of whom are teenagers.  I didn't pry, but I think the tribe and Canadian government must really subsidize Indian education.  He alternates sending his children to the tribal school and the provincial school.  He says the low class size in the tribal school has allowed his high-achieving children to be challenged, and his son  has skipped one grade.  At the tribal school, there is an emphasis on learning the tribal language and to treasure the land and live from it.  They take the kids on field trips to learn how to ice fish on Lake Stewart, trap and prepare the skins, and into Barkerville, a 200-mile trek.  The field trips are free, but the children must earn their entry by doing what they are supposed to at school. Free breakfast is provided daily, and there are free lunches twice a week.  This is all paid for by the local gas station.  I wonder about all the academic time that is lost doing tribal culture activities and how that impacts the average child's achievement.
   Dean also got a picture of the dock/pier.  They had a little tram from the dock that was used to haul the goods up to the warehouse and haul the furs down to the dock.
   We really enjoyed it, but don't expect Jamestown.  After their canned speeches, ask questions.  That's when it's most interesting and you really learn the most. Many of the guides have done research to learn as much as possible about their We spent over 3 hrs. there.   
   We made a "what-should-have-been" a pretty drive through forested land.  There were so many dead & dying birch trees that there was more brown than green.  The number of infected trees we have seen on this trip seems like an infinite number.

Miles Traveled:  105

Weather:  Morning was 55°F, late afternoon was 85°F.

Overnighted at:  Sintich Trailer & RV Park, FHU, 50 amps, Wifi that doesn't work tonight, Cable TV, very well maintained-they even had a water truck wetting down the gravel, $30.24CN with Good Sam-I like this much better than Busy Bee, where we stayed last time
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2009, 05:42:28 PM
August 27      Day 97   Prince George, BC

   PG is a place to re-stock, do maintenance & repairs, and catch out breath after 4 months of travel.  We started at the VC at the intersection of Hwys. 16 and 97.  They gave us a good map and knew where almost everything was.  Two people helped us and used their phone book to look up and call our unusual requests, like for a sugar-free pie and a place where they have people working at the car wash (the interior of the Jeep is almost as dirty as the outside).  We involuntarily toured the outskirts of PG after not making a turn we should have.  Both of the major highways have miles of construction, and it's frustrating because you can see where you want to go, but there is an enormous ditch between Points A & B.
   We made a very lengthy stop at Happy Trails RV, which had a nice variety of stock and a very helpful salesman. 
   We saw the MacDonald's and figured out how to get there because we were parched in this heat. It was clean, but Dean said he found a new definition for "slow".  All we wanted was a diet coke.
   We stopped at a bank and picked up Canadian $, and they didn't list any bank fee.  Maybe free?
   At the VC they recommended the restaurant in the casino, so we stopped there.  And would you believe it-we got lost!  It seems that the restaurant can only be entered from the outside parking lot.  Inside they have a snack bar.  We were tired and hungry, so we stayed.  It was cheap, but we would not recommend their fish & chips.  I had a cup of soup, which was excellent. We stayed a little while and played.  It was fun and clean.
   We went to the Canadian Superstore to do grocery shopping.  You have to turn in on Ferry before you get to the store, or it's a long way to the next turn.  But, we did find the Costco, and we see you have to turn in early for that, also.
   The Superstore was like a WalMart, which they also have, but was possibly closed.  The clerk told me about hitting a moose with her semi, and she said it did $30,000 damage.  I asked her if it was a bull moose, but she only knew that there was moose poop everywhere.  We will be careful to avoid hitting moose, but we'd sure like to see one.  She also told me that both black and brown bears wander around in town now looking for blueberries.  I hope we see one!

Overnighted at Sintich Trailer & RV Park.

Weather:  People say it is humid because of the lakes, but Dean and I are enjoying the 85°F weather!  We have no complaints.   
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 29, 2009, 03:44:06 PM
August 28      Day 98 (a fix and re-supply day)   Prince George, BC

   After doing chores at the RV, we went to the library, located in the Civic Centre.  We downloaded our e-mail, map-quested, posted, banked, paid bills, and googled places.  We saved ourselves a lot of time by googling and calling businesses.
   Our Jeep was in need of TLC.  It has over 20 chips in the  windshield and 3 cracks, as well as hundreds of tiny dots.  Even though Dean has washed it, it needed a thorough inside and outside wash.  There are two "full service" car washes-Finish Line and Hands On.  FL is being renovated for the next 10 days, so we spent $30 at HO, and they got a lot of the dust/dirt out of the inside, and the outside is so clean that I don't recognize it!
   The Jeep also needed a plastic light cover for the turn signal light ($80!). The Jeep dealer here did not have it. A piece of gravel shattered it.  Many of dings in the windshield and the injury to the light cover occurred when we were driving it (as versus towing), so no amount of padding over the front or shielding would have prevented the need to replace the windshield when we get home.
   We went to The Home Building Centre, which was very well-stocked, to get a caulking gun.  They also had hinges that we needed.
   The Future Shop is the equivalent of Best Buy.  It did not have the memory card Dean wanted for our camera, but it did have good stock and Dean got me a memory stick.
   Then, we proceeded to the bank to get cash. Gas has been running around $1.05 per litre, and we have found a cash price of $0.88 at the Shell on Hwy. 97 right by our RV park.  We will pay cash.
   We went to AA Burger Bar, where Dean had a very good burger with hand-pressed meat and fresh bakery bun.  I had chicken, which was good, and a great dinner salad with red onion, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  We would recommend them.
   There is only one 6-screen movie theatre in this town of 80,000.  They also have The Park Drive-In which plays the same double feature film all summer and is open on Friday and Saturday nights.

Weather:  High of 81°F, smoky air because of fires caused by lightning

Overnighted at Sintich Trailer & RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ian on August 30, 2009, 07:14:05 AM
My cousin, Dennis Loxton, has lived in Prince George for many years.  Compared to me he is a bit wild, always coming up with great moneymaking schemes and wild women LOL

At one time his business was to agist sheep for the farmers in the snowfilled regions. Then he would get together with his shepherds and miles of moveable gates and 'drive' the mob of sheep up the large wide ways between the block of trees in the pine forests. For this he would be paid good money by the farmers to agist their sheep when their land was snowed over. He would also be paid good money by the BC Forest folks for weeding the ways between the blocks, and there was the bonus of rich manure spread randomly ;)  He used the name of silviculture to describe the process to me.

Now that sounds like a wild-aussie scheme but it worked for quite a few years. Maybe his wife and children still live there, have not seen him for some months so it is hard to know just what he is up to at any one time ;)

Here is a blog about him and the business that used to be... http://earthjustice.blogspot.com/2008/08/sheep-and-softwood-lumber.html
And a comment says: "As far as I know you can reach Dennis Loxton at 250-971-2348"

If you get the chance, please take a few minutes to say G'day to him. He's a character in the full meaning of the word LOL
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 31, 2009, 05:34:24 PM
August 29, 2009   Day 99    Prince George, BC

   Where do locals bring the produce they grow and pick from the wild?  The Saturday Farmers' Market had about 30 booths, and the smell of bannock (a kind of Canadian Indian fry bread served with preserves or dusted in powdered sugar) wafted through the air.  We resisted and bought a small sugar-free cake, sugar-free preserves, and a "lemon cucumber" which is about the size of an orange.  We cannot find sugar-free sweets anywhere (we have done an active search & contacted 5 places), so this was a treat.
   The elevator access to the library from the parking lot is through City Hall. Today (Saturday) there was a wedding in progress, and the whole building was off-limits.  We found a way in through the underground garage-best way to come in is through 15th St.
   We went to the library to post & do the things we forgot yesterday.  They have a traveling book program.  You take a book from the shelf, log into the internet when you finish reading it, and leave it at another library.  You can also see where it has been.
   We went across the parking lot to Two Rivers Gallery.  They had the most real looking tree coming out of a man's head (statue).  It is made out of cast iron, even the pine cones!  It is so realistic that even the birds were fooled at first.  We were intrigued by the beautiful totem pole and wondered about its symbolism.  We had previously seen a totem with the big hole in the bottom often signifies the year when they had no summer due to a Phillipine volcano that erupted about 100 years ago.  The skies were so darkened by ash that the sun was obliterated.
   The gallery building has gorgeous architecture, but there were only about 20 paintings and 10 pottery exhibits inside.  There were 2 that were impressive.  Admission was only $4 each, so we hadn't invested much time or money.  Not a "must do", but it's so close to the library and Connaught Park that you might want to stop by.
   We enjoyed driving through Connaught Park and seeing all their lovely floral displays.
   Mother Maria's Health Store told us they have sugar-free cookies. The store was small, had limited stock, no sugar-free cookies, and the prices were very high.  Dean was disappointed.
   I went next door to the very small sushi bar.  They only had 2 fresh sushi, salmon and tuna, and most of their sushi was fried or cooked.
   We stopped at the Shell station near Sintich RV Park on Hwy. 97 to gas the car and discovered that it's a Flying J, but the only way you'd know it is if you drove in and saw the pumps in the back with the Flying J insignia-no sign anywhere else.
   We went to Costco, and it had closed early because it is Saturday.
   We want to leave early to drive 2.5 hours to Barkerville, so we came home to do some repairs, eat dinner, and get to bed.

Weather: High of 83°F, fires still rage near Vancouver, but the smell is gone.

Overnighted at Sintich Trailer & RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 31, 2009, 05:37:12 PM

August 30, 2009   Day 100   Prince George, BC

   We should have stopped at Barkerville, a national historic site, when we came north on Hwy. 97, but we didn't know about its existence.  It is a 2.5 hour drive from Prince George.
   Stop at the VC on the highway on your way in and you'll save money on the admission ($24.25).  Their hours are 8:30 to 8:00.  Try to get there early because it should be an all-day excursion. They do have  RV parks in Wells (5 miles away), but we didn't check them out.
   Barkerville is a gold rush town of 125 heritage buildings with people dressed in period clothing.  It was good, but it has the potential to be so much more, and we can see work in progress.
   There is a 10-minute video when you enter.  We got there about 11:30, and we didn't get a chance to do the guided town tour with a historic interpreter because we had to make choices of activities.  We have found that these tours are really good and bring history to life.  We went on the historical tour of Chinatown, heard the story of the Theatre Royal and Williams Creek Fire Brigade, and went to the live show at the Theatre Royal ($25).  This was an hour-long very professional performance; be sure to see it.  I ate in Chinatown, and Dean ate at Jake's in European town.  Both places were good.  Mine was $12, and the fabulous vegetables are cooked one order at a time-no steam table-so they were crispy, but cooked.
   The ticket is good for two days, and if you go to all the walks/talks, you could spend two days there.  There are stage-coach rides, gold-panning, demonstrations, and a lot of tours offered only in the morning.  You can also tour the buildings on your own. 
   The drive on Highway 26 takes about an hour, and has good road, nice scenery, and good wildlife.

Wildlife sightings: 2 deer, 1 black bear

Weather:  High of over 87°F

Overnighted at Sintich Trailer & RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 03, 2009, 11:23:33 PM
August 31 & September 1      Days 101 & 102      Prince George, BC

   We have spent lots of time here chasing our tails.  Dean needed a new memory card for his camera.  People keep on telling us where there are camera stores, but they’ve all been put out of business by the big box stores of Costco & WalMart.  We discover this after driving to each place we heard about.  We were smart enough to call those we found by googling in the library.
   Dean went out to replace the turn signal light bulb on the jeep.  It requires a special kind of wrench.  Over to Sears we go again.  We have decided to leave tomorrow morning, even though we haven’t seen the Railroad and Transportation Museum.  Otherwise, we’ll never get out of here.
   We went to Costco & laid in supplies.  It is much smaller than ours at home, but it is SO MUCH BIGGER than anything we’ve seen in weeks that it’s a treat to shop there.   

Weather:  80’s

Overnighted at Sintich Trailer & RV Park

September 2   Day 103   Jasper, AB

   Our drive on Highway 16 was pretty, but everything is tinder-dry.  The road was great, and we should have seen lots of wildlife.  There are many dead trees, yellow grass, but also many pretty evergreens.
   At the KOA, they say that all the wildlife has gone high up on the mountains because of the heat and drought.  We had planned on going into Jasper NP, but we want to see wildlife.  We decide to stay only one night here.  Too bad, because it is the loveliest park we’ve been in on this whole 5-month trip.
   We will come back and see Jasper in May/early June, some year. 

Overnighted at Hinton/Jasper KOA, 50 AMPS, wifi?—if I hold it with one hand, hanging off the computer table, and then only for a few minutes before we’re dropped, 50 AMPS, wide, grassy sites, though Dean would prefer wider roads, beautifully maintained, tables with benches at every site, a puppy playground with tunnels, slides, and hoops, a lot of expensive play equipment—slides, horizontal bars, swings, ladders, and more, firepit building, a baby bath sink in the washroom, kamper kitchen, community campfire, laundry with great hours (8-10), games room, and a tiny tots playroom.  We usually go to KOA’s as a last resort, but we’d definitely stay here again.  $36

Weather:  90°F or close to it.
 
September 3, 2009   Day 104   Edmonton, AB

   We made the easiest 4-hour drive of our trip—-divided 4-lane highway, with a wide green parkway in the middle, smooth pavement, gorgeous but infrequent rest stops (long, diagonal parking for RV’s that are towing, flush toilets, level, and blacktop!).  We did note that on the half-circle sign showing fire danger, ranging from  very little to extremely dangerous, the needle had been positioned 20° past extremely dangerous.  We see all kinds of signs warning of moose, deer, and mountain sheep, but only see ravens.  Dean did see a large dark animal dart from the parkway center divider across the opposite side of the road, and he believes it was a wolf.  Alberta’s Dept. of Hwys. Deserves a gold medal.  We’ve only encountered short periods of construction, and miles of smooth as glass asphalt.
   We got to the VC at 4:32—it closes at 4:00.  We got to the Jeep dealer at 4:59, and they closed at 5:00.
   We came home to eat, use wifi, and plan.  We had hot weather today and a thunderstorm with lightning and thunder this evening.  Our cat is sensitive to noise and hid in the panel behind the accelerator. Dean tried his best to get him out, but he couldn’t. I hope he comes out soon!
   
Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park & Travel Centre, $34.20, FHU, 30 AMPS, TV svs via antenna, Wifi, $34.20.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 06, 2009, 12:45:44 PM
September 3   Day 105   Edmonton, AB

   We caught up on our e-mail in the morning, and we should have opened the Telus Science Center.  It is so interesting, we could have spent a full day there.  They have a special DaVinci exhibit that leaves in 4 days.  I didn't realize that he also was an inventor, as well as a painter.  He also did a beautiful bronze horse, which took him 16 years to make because he spent so much time watching the movements of different kinds of horses.  Unfortunately, it was destroyed, but there is another one made from his same mold.  He invented many types of machines which included devices that transferred linear motion into rotational and visa versa.  He built a bridge which only consisted of relatively small logs that would be available anywhere, and there were no fixed attachments (bolts, ropes, nails).  It could be taken apart and put together with ease.
   I learned so much in the Human Body section.  I usually run that category on Jeopardy, so I thought I knew quite a bit.  Not so!
   I wish we had skipped the show, which Dean enjoyed and I thought was so-so, as it took time from the museum part.  We spent about 5 hours there, no time out for eating, just seeing their exhibits, and we are planning on going back.
   This is the best science museum I've ever been to, and we've been in many.  Their explanations were excellent.  You had to read and understand the scientific principle before you could do the interactive exhibits, or you wouldn't know what to do.  In other museums, I have often seen kids just running from exhibit to exhibit pushing buttons, with no idea of what they are seeing.  You can't do that in this museum. 
   They kicked us out at 7:00, and the other patrons were also lingering.  The City Guide and AAA book said they were open until 9:00.  We are finding that the decrease in tourism has caused several places to change their hours.

Weather:  It rained a lot in the afternoon while we were inside, and it stopped shortly before we came outside.  How convenient!

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park-great WIFI!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 06, 2009, 12:47:39 PM
September 4   Day 106   Edmonton, AB

   We got up early to make the hour-long drive to the Ukranian Cultural Heritage Center (a gem-rated AAA attraction) and be there when it opened at 10:00.  Even though we arrived a few minutes after 10, the parking lot was almost deserted, and there was a "CLOSED" sign at the entrance to the parking lot.  We talked to others who were wandering around, and just as we were driving out, I saw a security guard.  He told us it was open, but the money-taker hadn't come.  The K-12 schools as well as the colleges here started the Wednesday BEFORE Labor Day, and the Center wasn't aware of it, so they had a "skeleton staff" today.
   The Center is composed of authentic buildings from the 1910-1920 era. About half the buildings had costumed interpreters who explained about the site as if they were the person from that era who owned or operated that building.  I especially enjoyed the grain elevator, and Dean thought the blacksmith was interesting.  We were impressed with the inventiveness and adaptations these people made to be able to have a good life in this new land.
   We have found that people make these places come alive, and many of the buildings were closed completely because their interpreter had gone back to college. The site is really spread out, so wear good walking shoes.
   We had lunch there.  I had a true Ukranian meal with piroghies, cabbage stuffed with lemon rice, and a kielbasa.  Dean had a burger.  They did not have ice for our cokes, which we have encountered in several places.  Maybe they have so much ice in the winter that they don't want any in the summer.
   We took the guided tour, which was interesting.  I would definitely try to get here when they have a full staff, because the interpreters add so much.  We left around 3:30, so it was a full-day activity.
   The attached pictures ore of the Ukranian Orthodox church, a combination hardware store and gas station, the lumber company  and blacksmith shop, and the grain elevator.  The blacksmith had used a Ford model T engine to power the various tools in the shop vis a series of belts and shafts.
   We stopped at the wonderful big Costco on our way home.  They had a much greater selection than Prince George.

Weather:  High in the high 70's, about 2 minutes of heavy rain twice, mostly       sunny

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tim Lassen on September 07, 2009, 08:13:19 AM
We were in Edmonton two years ago and enjoyed our stay waiting on a new MH windshield.  Our the roads still a mess or have they fixed them?..Where are you heading next?  We are currently in Winnipeg heading west towards Regina and will enter the US Thursday..tim
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 07, 2009, 09:44:54 AM
We were in Edmonton two years ago and enjoyed our stay waiting on a new MH windshield.  Our the roads still a mess or have they fixed them?..Where are you heading next?  We are currently in Winnipeg heading west towards Regina and will enter the US Thursday..tim
If I were stuck in Canada, this is the place I would want to be.  The roads are beautiful!  We can't understand how they do it with the same cold winter temps you see in Yukon.  if you come here, you will be amazed.  When they do construction, you see lots of people working hard and you can see the progress day by day.  We have found this to be true throughout the whole province of Alberta, not just in the Edmonton vicinity.

We are going to be here several more days as there is so much to do.  Then we are headed to Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise, possibly Revelstoke, then onto the US to see Glacier National Park,  over to Oregon's Willamette Valley to see fall leaves, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento (we've seen over half of the US state capitol buildings, but not our own!), and home.

We want to be in the U S by September 15 so we can postmark a quarterly tax payments and have them travel only by U. S. mails, but it is looking more and more likely that we will have to entrust it to Canadian mails, which absolutely gives me chills.

How far west are you coming?  Happy trails to you!

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 07, 2009, 11:45:33 AM
September 5    Day 107      Edmonton, AB

   We love Alberta, especially Edmonton!  The weather is fascinating.  If you wait an hour, it will change.  They have interesting attractions and wonderful people.
   Today we went to Fort Edmonton Park and saw 4 towns of different eras-Fort Selkirk, the Hudson's Bay Co. fur-trading post of 1845, Edmonton in 1895, 1905, and 1920.  Each of the sites had about 17 buildings, many with costumed interpreters playing the role of the real people who lives in, owned, or ran the building.  All buildings were open, and I think they usually all have interpreters, but the early start date of the universities robbed them of several of their employees. 
   Entrance for 1 senior and 1 adult was $23.75 and included everything, including a wonderful train ride.  The train cars were from 1895, and 1905.  The engine was first used in 1915.  In the day it used wood, but today it runs on recycled motor oil!  Canadians do a better job of recycling than we do, although they say they produce more trash per person than any other country in the whole world.  The train cars were in perfect condition and the seating areas were beautiful varnished wood.  You can go into the high cupola of the caboose and look up over the train and see all the different settlements. 
   Be sure to see their extensive 30' x 50' model train exhibit.  Talk with the guys for a few minutes and they may give you a behind-the-scenes tour, actually walking among the layout.  As a young married, Dean had an HO train set up on wooden tables in our living room.  After several years, we accumulated enough money to be able to afford living room furniture, and his layout got banished to the garage, with the thought that "someday" he would build a platform that he could raise and lower-never happened.  Telling this story got Dean the offer of a guided tour.
   The park is at its peak in July and August, with all sorts of activities going on throughout, like wood-splitting, plays, etc.  In May, June, and September they are on a reduced schedule, in September only functioning on Sundays and Labor Day.  There were several thousand people there, but there is so much to do that it didn't feel crowded.
   This is a "MUST SEE"-the best of the village re-creations we have seen.  Get there when it opens at 10:00 because it is a full day excursion.
   Afterwards, we went to the West Edmonton Mall, the second largest mall in North America.  We only saw a part of it, but suffice to say, it has 3 exits from the freeway because it is so huge.  It was after 6:00 on a Sunday, and almost all of the shops were closed.
   We decided to find a restaurant as it had been about 9 hours since we had eaten, so we wanted to eat NOW!  We found this obscure Chinese restaurant in a small strip mall, which was very nicely decorated and had wonderful food.  We had their 2 person special, which included egg rolls, chicken fried rice, tea, our choice of 3 main dishes, and fortune cookie for only $23 TOTAL!  We would definitely recommend The New dragon Palace restaurant at 17743 98A Ave..

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom on September 07, 2009, 08:59:21 PM
Aye, the Edmonton mall is huge, much larger than the Eastridge (East San Jose) mall, and smaller than the Mall of America.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Marsha/CA on September 08, 2009, 09:53:03 AM
Linda,

I think it was the Glowing Embers RV Park where we stayed for the 2 weeks waiting for our windshield replacement.

FYI, I would NOT rely on Canadian mail into the US for something important.  Can you pay it online?  We have sent a couple of things, just via mail, and everything took at least 2-3 weeks.  One small package I sent via airmail and it still took over 3 weeks.  And, I'm not sure I would trust the US government to honor a Canadian postmark.

Isn't that Edmonton mall something?  I've been to both the one in Edmonton and the "mall of America".  You almost need a couple of days to see everything.  I'm not a shopper, so just walking around a bit to get a feel of just how massive it is was enough for me.

Alberta is a great province, their taxes are less..... ;)

We were headed to Glacier NP also, then I called them.  They informed us that the "top of the world" (I could have the name wrong) road is closed for the season.  That is one we really wanted to see and drive, so we decided to visit Glacier at a later date.  If you decide to go to Glacier be sure and also see Waterton NP on the Canadian side.  I understand it is also very nice.  I was really disappointed about not seeing Glacier, so we substituted Yellowstone in so that I would "cheer-up".....

Marsha~
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 08, 2009, 10:47:39 PM
Linda,

FYI, I would NOT rely on Canadian mail into the US for something important.  Can you pay it online? 

We were headed to Glacier NP also, then I called them.  They informed us that the "top of the world" (I could have the name wrong) road is closed for the season.  That is one we really wanted to see and drive, so we decided to visit Glacier at a later date. 
Marsha~

Marsha, you really motivated me to get my act together.  We've just been blowing in the wind, passing through things that didn't work and staying as long as we wanted when we found interesting places, letting circumstances set out timetable.  Our daughter let us know that she expected us home on October 1.  Is it possible that she misses us as much as we miss her?  We have tickets with Dawn and her husband for the Blue Angels on the 3rd, too.  I sketched out an itinerary, and your info on the road in Glacier NP (I think it's the Road to the Sun or something) will have a definite impact.  We'll also re-schedule it for another trip.  It relieves some of the time pressure and will give us extra days in Banff that we wanted.  I think you will make it to Nevada earlier than we will, but let me know when you're closing in on 50, and we'll see if we're nearby.  .

Thanks for the suggestion on e-mail.  As soon as I finish this, I will research that brilliant idea.  Dean and I both knew that existed, but we haven't needed to use it, and it does cost money, so we filed it deep in our memories.  Our brains have focused on traveling, and they don't change into business mode easily.   Taxes just aren't as much fun as figuring out what sights to see tomorrow.

May all your roads home be free of construction and smooth.

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 08, 2009, 10:52:09 PM
Aye, the Edmonton mall is huge, much larger than the Eastridge (East San Jose) mall, and smaller than the Mall of America.

The sights are now closing around 4:00, so our evenings are free.  We may get to explore the mall.  We can't believe that there isn't a big directory when you enter telling you where everything is.  You really need a map.  We didn't go to the VC in Edmonton.  The first time we were 2 minutes after close (4:32) and today we were 9 minutes late.  They may well have a map of the mall.  We hope to see a movie there tomorrow night, and I want to see their penguins.

Thanks so much for helping us set up this blog, Tom.  It has been such fun!

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom on September 09, 2009, 10:08:43 AM
Quote from: Dean & Linda Stock
Thanks so much for helping us set up this blog, Tom.  It has been such fun!

You're very welcome Linda. I'm one of many here who are glad you decided to write it. We're following along, enjoying "being there" through your writing and your photos.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 09, 2009, 10:55:44 PM
September 7 (Labor Day)   Day 108   Edmonton, AB

   We started our day by practicing our navigating skills and finally arriving at the Alberta Railway Museum.  We had huge winds last night, and they knocked down the signs showing where to turn.  11/2 hours, two phone calls, and one U-turn later, we found the thin black ribbon of asphalt with trees on each side of it that led to a rail yard.  Even I was fascinated by the enormous snowplow that was at least the height of a caboose.  If you love trains, you will enjoy this. I think all of the members of their club were there working.  They were really proud that they had one train running a short distance.  The enthusiasm of these guys was wonderful, but the museum is mainly the rail yard and a small museum with communication equipment from throughout the last century.  I feel bad saying that even Dean said it was only "OK" because we can see that the guys have put a lot of work into it.
   We had a couple of hours before the Telus Science Center closed, and we had wanted to spend more time there.  We correctly solved the mystery in the law enforcement part of the museum, but only after comparing fingerprints, shoeprints, cloth fibers, handwriting, DNA, and evaluating their means. Motive, and opportunity.  We re-visited the DaVinci exhibit, which we didn't get to see all of when we were there before.  It was truly excellent, and everything in the place is well done.  For future visitors, they will have a different special exhibit, but I'm sure it would be good.

Weather:  High of about 70°F, brief periods of rain

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 09, 2009, 11:00:32 PM
September 8, 2009   Day 109   Edmonton, AB

   Edmonton's premier horticultural attraction is the Muttart Conservatory.  There are 4 large glass pyramids that act as greenhouses. They represent flowers from 4 regions-tropical, arid, "show" (a special changing exhibit), and temperate. They had several large floral displays planted outside among beautiful trees.  We got a late start(laundry), and we spent about 3 enjoyable hours here.
   We drove into downtown looking for a store that has moved, and everything closed by 5:00 (post Labor Day hours) so we went to the River Cree Casino & Resort for dinner.  The buffet was nicely decorated, with very limited selection, satisfactory as to taste, but we wouldn't go again.  It's a 3-year-old cheery, comfortable casino with table games, craps, and slots. The people were very nice and answered questions we had about Alberta.  They told us that they get tornadoes around this time of year.  Their worst ever was on August 31, 1989.  I had noticed a black spherical cloud in the sky yesterday, which prompted that question.

Weather:  High of 61°F, no rain
   
Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park
 
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 10, 2009, 10:44:42 PM

FYI, I would NOT rely on Canadian mail into the US for something important.  Can you pay it online? 
Marsha~

We paid our CAlifornia state taxes on-line.  It was a piece of cake--five minutes and it was done.

The Feds were another matter.  Wading through their convoluted website to find out what to do required a large shovel and a lot of time.  We had to join  EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), which was quite an experience.  However, it takes them 15 business days to process your application.  Since our quarterly payments are due on Sept. 15, just 5 days away, it doesn't help us a bit for this time.   I'm going to try using it for our January 15 payment, just to have it all worked out for the future.

I called my CPA, and we decided to mail the payment from the U. S. when we get there.  It will be a few days late, but he says the interest charges will be minimal.

Thanks for the "heads up" re Canadian mail going to U.S.  In talking with the Albertans, they agree with you, but they say it's great within Canada.

Linda

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Wendy on September 11, 2009, 10:22:17 AM
I called my CPA, and we decided to mail the payment from the U. S. when we get there.  It will be a few days late, but he says the interest charges will be minimal.

Payments to IRS must be mailed by the due date. If you mail the payment by 9/15, you're covered, no matter when they receive it.

If you're still concerned about that, do you have someone at home who can send the payment and you'll pay them back? When my parents traveled full-time (before ATMs and overnight mailing), we had a couple of checks from their checking account to use in an emergency if they called us.

Wendy


Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on September 11, 2009, 10:29:57 AM
This year we're using the automatic payment service where the IRS is paid directly from our checking account on the due dates.  No more forgetting about the quarterly 1040-ES filings.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 11, 2009, 02:33:54 PM

If you're still concerned about that, do you have someone at home who can send the payment and you'll pay them back? When my parents traveled full-time (before ATMs and overnight mailing), we had a couple of checks from their checking account to use in an emergency if they called us.

Wendy

Wendy, what a great idea!  It makes me wonder why we never thought of it!  We will definitely leave signed checks with our daughter when we leave next time.  It would cover house repairs, too, if they should be needed.  THANK YOU!
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 11, 2009, 02:38:49 PM
This year we're using the automatic payment service where the IRS is paid directly from our checking account on the due dates.  No more forgetting about the quarterly 1040-ES filings.

I didn't even know you could do that.  We'll have to talk that idea over.  I am so mentally frustrated & fatigued from trying to go through the IRS website that I will check this out in a few days, if Dean is willing to do it this way.  It makes good sense--you just have to make sure you have the money in your checking account.  Do they take it out on the 15th or before?

Linda
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on September 11, 2009, 05:16:59 PM
They take it on the 15th.  I suspect it's too late to set it up for the Sept. payment, but keep it in mind for next year.  I set this up through my CPA.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Jeff on September 11, 2009, 08:08:55 PM
This year we're using the automatic payment service where the IRS is paid directly from our checking account on the due dates.  No more forgetting about the quarterly 1040-ES filings.

Ned:

Sounds like the simplified IRS collection system they have had for years; send them what you have and they will refund anything they think you deserve. ;D ;D
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ned on September 11, 2009, 08:34:05 PM
Don't wait up for the refund :)
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 11, 2009, 11:51:35 PM
September 9, 2009   Day 110   Edmonton, AB

   We got off to an early start and stopped at Fraserway Camp Care RV (open 8-5).  They didn't have what we needed, but they ordered a part for the toilet.
   I was really looking forward to the Royal Alberta Museum ($16.20/1 senior & 1 adult), and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.  We got there about 9:15 and closed it at 5:00. They had a wonderful frieze showing the history of the people of Alberta.  They had a seasonal photography exhibit, a competition for people from all over the world, and it was spectacular.  Their display of minerals was extensive and of high quality.  We lingered in their First People's section, reading all the explanations.  Dean's picture of the statue by the entrance depicts the settlers who came from all over to get the free land being offered in Alberta. Many of the settlers came from the plains states in the U.S.  We didn't get into their Wild Animals section, and I'd love to go back to see it.  We also missed a lot of the natural history area.
   Around 1:00, we took a 5-minute walk to Original Joe's, a restaurant that was recommended.  We both had sweet potato fries and pulled pork sandwiches that melted in our mouths, so good that I am going to download their other sites into my files.  They had a wonderful smooth beer that was made locally, an apricot beer made by Alley Kat, a local brewery.  I know it sounds odd, but it was great!
   The Public Schools Museum (free) was open late on Wednesdays, so we set off.  We found an empty parking lot, and a beautiful old school with lots of ornate woodwork.  The school board members wanted the children to feel a sense of privilege and awe so they would want to come to school. We got a personal 2-hour tour.  Some of the items they had on display (butter churn, pencil sharpener, treadle sewing machine, tea kettle) were there to give school children on field trips a feeling of what life was like when the McKay School was built around 1913.  Dean took a picture of the chart of how many "lashings" a student would receive for various infractions. The third floor was the site where the early Provincial Assembly met while waiting for their Capitol building to be built. 

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 12, 2009, 12:46:50 AM
September 10, 2009   Day 111   Edmonton, AB

   We had business to do in the morning, but we got to the Alberta Legislature Building in time for the 1:30 tour (every half-hour). Colleen was an excellent guide, and we were her only customers.  We learned that Alberta became a province in 1905, and their first legislature was held in a curling rink, then in a school.  It was designed in 1912, and finished in 1917.  This is amazing because they imported 2,000 metric tons of marble from Quebec.  It was the first building in Alberta with electricity.  The fountain was installed in 1959 when Queen Elizabeth visited.  Dean took a picture of the 5 palms up by the dome.  The seedlings were sent by the state of California, probably as an invitation to come to our Olympics, and they are a thriving 7-meters tall.  Alberta is named after Louise Caroline Alberta, Queen Victoria's fourth daughter who was married to the governor general (he represents the queen and acts as a check and balance).  She never saw Alberta, and Lake Louise was also named after her.
   We still don't understand all the intricacies of their system of governing.  We have been told by educated Canadians that the governor-general is just a figurehead, but our guide told us that for a bill to be enacted it requires 4 readings, a positive vote, and the signature of the lieutenant general.  If he says "no", it is not enacted.  The premier is the head of the state government, equal to our governor, and the prime minister is equivalent to our president.  Elections are held when they are "called", every 3-4 years, but they must be held every 5 years.  There's a big brouhaha going on right now, and an election may be called. The Legislature meets at 1:30, Monday-Thursday, from mid-Oct. to early December, and from Feb. to June.
   They have had some interesting prime ministers.  "Bible Bill" Abrahart , an Albertan premier, had his own 4-hour Sunday religious radio show.  He wanted for Alberta to print its own currency and supervise its own banks. Bill got mad at the lt. governor because he wouldn't sign the law since it was unconstitutional.
Bill shut off the electricity to the lt. governor's house, causing the pipes to freeze and sold off all the furnishings.  The lt. governors for all provinces are chosen by the governor general in consultation with the premier.  Women got the vote in 1916, while the U. S. woman didn't get that right until 1919.  However, until 1925, women in Canada were considered chattel, but 5 women came into Alberta and forced the issue, carrying it all the way to London, where they prevailed and won "personhood", allowing for their election.  They have had one woman premier.
   One premier emphasized education, and to this day if a student has an 80% grade-point-average in 10th grade, he earns $400, in grade 11 he earns $800, and in grade 12, he can earn $1300, for a total of $2500 which can be used for college.
   Dean got a call from Camp Care RV, who told him that his part was ready to be picked up, about 24 hours after being ordered.
   We went to the West Edmonton Mall about 4:30. We wanted to see the penguins, seals, lizards, etc. in the Deep Cave exhibit, but the shows were over for the day, and the admission was $10 each.  It seemed like a minimal experience with few exhibits, so we passed.  Every Edmontonian says the zoo is really bad, even "am embarrassment", so we'll take a pass on that also.  They have the eating areas well-organized.  All the fast food is together, and the sit-down restaurants together.  We ate at Jungle Jim's.  I had a pineapple chicken wrap & sweet potato fries, and Dean had a hamburger & s.p. fries.  With 2 root beers, the total was $27.15 CN.  The movie, "All About Steve" cost $8.56 each.  The theatre was nice and had 13 screens.

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 12, 2009, 12:48:37 AM
September 11, 2009      Day 112   Edmonton, AB

   Dean went to the Alley Kat Brewery to get apricot beer to take home and picked up his RV part while I tried to do everything with WIFI while we have great WIFI.  So often RV parks have advertised WIFI and not had it.
   We then went to the Devonian Gardens ($13/adult, $8.50/senior), 5 miles north of Devon.  It is owned by the University of Alberta and primarily functions as an outdoor lab for horticulture students.  It lacks artistry, even in its Japanese Garden.  But it has an interesting Medicinal and Poisonous Garden which features plants like hemlock, opium poppies, and nightshade.  We had perfect weather, so it was nice to stroll among trees, but I would not go back.
   We have really enjoyed Edmonton!  If you're going to Alaska, this is a great place to visit.

Weather: Sunny, with a high of 80°F, very slight breeze-JUST PERFECT!

Overnighted at Glowing Embers RV Park
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 14, 2009, 04:50:39 PM
7:44 P.M. on September 12, 2009   Frustrating Day 113      Calgary, AB

   We left Edmonton today a little before noon, and the 3.5 hour drive took us 7.75 hours!  And we didn't even stop for lunch!  The road was smooth with moderate traffic that flowed well. 
   Our directions to the park were sketchy, but the person on the phone told us there would be big signs and we couldn't miss it.  Well, we did.  Our GPS takes in the information, but doesn't speak again until we arrive, and then she cheerily says, "YOU HAVE ARRIVED!"  She does much better in the Lower 48. 
   After we got to Calgary, our saga began.  If the RV park lady told us to go south on a highway, we should have gone north.  On the freeway, she had us continue going south, and as we passed the city limits I decided to make another call.  During each phone call, I repeated what she told me so Dean could hear it and I was sure what she said.  Each time we called, she told us we would have a long drive  (20-30 minutes), so we drove and drove, only to have to backtrack.  We finally put our heads together over a map and decided we were going to go how we thought it should be.  We looked out and saw 3 deer grazing and took that as a good omen.  We followed what seemed logical from the map and finally got here, only to find it was the most expensive park we've stayed at, I think. But the only other park near where we wanted to be said in Trailer Life that it closed September 5. We signed up for 3 nights, but if we want more, we may check out other parks or WalMart, if only for 1 night.
   It's Dean's birthday, and I had looked up steak restaurants in the AAA book on our way here.  However, we are tired and hungry, so we will probably eat in.
 
   Overnighted at Calgary West RV Park--$45.15! FHU, 30 amps, poor tv svs. on 4 channels, advertised WIFI is available only if you go up to the office, located atop a hill, giving us a great view of the city lights which probably contributes to the price.

P.S.  10:45  After 41 years of marriage, Dean still surprises me.  He did want to go out to eat, but somewhere close, so we went to VanGogh, an eclectic restaurant just 2 minutes away.  I had a wonderful Caesar salad, tender souvlaki, lemon potatoes, pita triangles, baklava, and rose tea. Dean had a hamburger and great fries.  We both brought home food.

Weather:  Clear, with a high of 80°
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 14, 2009, 04:56:13 PM

September 13, 2009      Day 114      Calgary, AB

   We went to the VC at the Canadian Olympic Village (COV), avoiding the downtown VC.  Our Jeep is out of alignment, we needed a map, and they always have valuable info.  This VC saved us 172 miles of driving and a ton of frustration!  I wanted to verify my directions to the supposedly extraordinary dinosaur museum at Drumheller.  The VC man just tossed in their brochure.  Later in the day, while waiting for Dean to gas the car, I thumbed through it and discovered that the museum is closed on Mondays, contrary to the AAA book info, which showed shorter fall hours, but daily until October.  I called, and they are now closed on Mondays.  We will go to Drumheller on Tuesday.
   We didn't have enough time to go through the COV Museum, commemorating the 1988 Winter Olympics, but we did take pictures of the venue.  We could see the training or warm-up small "ski jumps" on the left, and Dean and I were both surprised how small the "landing" area is.  Canadians are like the Alaskans, very practical, and while they still use these facilities as jumps and ski runs during the winter, they use the slopes for bicycles before snow falls.  These are not your typical bikes-they are very sturdy mountain bikes.  The bicyclists put on ankle pads, shin guards, elbow pads, arm pads, wrist guards, and their helmet straps are cinched tightly.  We could not see them riding because of the topography.  Pardon the fenceline in the pictures.  Dean got the best shots he could without going through the Museum.
   We wanted to get to the Glenbow Museum as quickly as possible because we had heard that it was spectacular, and it is only open now from 10-5.  We spent about an hour circling, looking for parking, encountering all one-way streets (Wouldn't you think that 50% of the time they would be going the right way?), streets blockaded off to allow only for light rail, and streets that curve.  We saw one place where they wanted $20 for "all day" parking.  We finally saw a sign with a green "P", no prices, no name even.  We took a chance and went into this parking garage located on the back side of a building across from the museum and only paid $5.
   The museum was well worth the effort.  With a coupon available from the "Calgary Tour Book" that we were given at the VC, we saved $10.  Be sure to get this book, as it has discounts for ALL of the attractions.  You can also download this from the internet, which our friend at the Edmonton Royal Alberta Museum had done for us.
   The theme was "Mavericks", apparently a term popular here in Alberta long before Sarah Palin.  We went to the First People's section first and spent most of our time there.  They had many true artifacts from the 1800's and early 1900's, unlike many of the other museums where they have had reproductions because so many artifacts have been destroyed or lost.  The museum has modern architecture and light pleasing lines, but a reverence for the past and the "old ones" is especially shown in this area.  The quality of their relics is excellent, and their labeling tells not only of use, but of appreciation for what their ancestors went through.  There also is much talk of the future and what they will do to preserve their history, as well as adaptations, such as an appreciation for higher education.
   In one area they highlight the history of oil in Alberta and the people who have made that history colorful.  When the price of oil skyrocketed in the 1970's, Pierre Trudeau decided to tax oil heavily.  The oil companies went to 85% of production, with possible further decreases.  Eventually, compromise worked.  The taxes were raised, but not as much, and the proceeds were split between the federal government and Alberta (the feds had wanted all the revenue).  There is still a lot of oil being produced here, and that is how Alberta pays for their beautiful museums, smooth roads, and pretty mowed open spaces.
   Another area highlighted the cowboys and Calgary Stampede that is held in July.  I have developed a greater appreciation of art, and this statue of a horse made out of BARBED WIRE wowed me!
   Another, small section highlighted their government.  I found "Bible Bill" mentioned here again, just as in the Legislature in Edmonton.  This time they had an audiotape with him promising $25 and a lower cost-of-living to each Albertan.  I wonder if they ever got their $25.
   They had a whole floor of art-Asian, modern, and historical.  We only had 15 minutes to see all of it.  We enjoyed the Asian section, and wish we had longer.  Again, we closed the museum.  Another great day!

Weather:  Beautiful, high of 78°, but Dean forgot to turn on the heater, and I can't give you a number, but it gets really COLD here at night!

Overnighted at West Calgary RV
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 14, 2009, 04:59:16 PM
Day 114 Part 2

More pictures.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: carson on September 14, 2009, 05:35:10 PM
Hi Dean and Linda. Enjoyed all of your blogs.

Bet you'll be happy when you get back home. What a trip....

   What's the first thing you'll do when you hit home base?

carson Fl

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2009, 12:00:33 PM
September 14, 2009      Day 115      Calgary, AB

   Dean took the Jeep in to have it aligned on the 14th.  Edmonton had great roads everywhere except for the pothole we hit twice, near our RV park.  In defense of Dean, there was little lighting and it was dark.  Anyway, Dean noticed the unusual tire wear, so he took it in.  A part had to be ordered, but it should be here tomorrow morning and they will come get Dean to pick up the Jeep around noon tomorrow

Weather:  High of 79°, about 20 minutes of rain

September 15, 2009      Day 116      Calgary, AB

   Oops!  We needed a left whatchamathingee and they sent a right, so they promised our Jeep would be fixed by about noon tomorrow.  Meanwhile, we are doing fix-its and cleaning. 
   I totaled up the savings on the Great Alaskan TourSaver coupon book, which cost $100.  I could have saved more if I had noticed that it had discounts in Canada on our way up to Alaska.  It saved us $444.  The Northern Lights Coupon book had many of the same coupons, but did not have the Stan Stevens Cruise, which was our #1 cruise.  That cruise cost $112, so buying the Great Alaskan TourSaver made sense.  However, the Northern Lights coupon book only cost $50, and we saved $134, as well as taking us out to eat at specific places, all of which were good and moderately priced.  They have nicer restaurants also, but Dean loves his shorts and I'm not comfortable going into a fine dining restaurant without being dressed appropriately.  The Northern Lights coupons were primarily Buy 1/Get 1 Free.  It had primarily activities and restaurants near Anchorage. For us, buying both paid off.

Weather:  High of 78°.

September 16, 2009      Day 117      Calgary, AB

   Good news!  They fixed the Jeep and Dean was back home by 10:30!  Bad news!
It cost $1000.  Better news.  That is what it cost in Canadian dollars, and the exchange rate is at about $0.93, so it really ONLY cost $930.
   By the time you get to be X number of years old, don't you think you've seen almost every animal in a zoo at some time?  Dean and I both enjoy zoos. We've been to most of the big ones in the U. S., as well as living near the San Diego Zoo.  The Calgary Zoo may not be as large, but it is the most interesting.  Their focus is on endangered animals and educating the public.  The biggest problem is shrinking habitat.
   Calgary has the greatest number of unusual animals that we've never seen or read about before.  We kept on saying, "What's that?"  Look at the pictures, and I'll post the answers tomorrow in the order in which the pictures appear.  Unfortunately, it was difficult to get pictures of many of the most obscure and unusual because the cages have a wire fence that makes photography challenging.
   We had a very enjoyable day.  I would put this zoo near the top of the "MUST SEE" list while in Canada.

Weather:  Record setting high of 30.4°C (about 87°F)
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2009, 12:04:54 PM
Hi Dean and Linda. Enjoyed all of your blogs.

Bet you'll be happy when you get back home. What a trip....

   What's the first thing you'll do when you hit home base?

carson Fl
Thanks, Carson.  It's been the RV trip of a lifetime.  Others' posts have made it run pretty smoothly and have been a wonderful help.  I hope ours helps someone else with their planning and motivates others to go see what we've seen.

We'll do one more post probably.  We will tell of what we see at Banff & Lake Louise late in the season and encounter at the border.  The first thing I'll do when I get home is call my kids & friends.  Second is to sort through 5+ months of mail to make sure that when Dawn sent the primo pieces she didn't miss something important.

[edit]Fixed quoting[/edit]
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2009, 12:33:03 PM
September 17, 2009      Day 118      Calgary, AB

   If you took a guess on the pictures from yesterday, the answers are at the bottom of today's post.
   We got up early to make the two-hour drive to Drumheller to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum.  Be sure to stop at the Drumheller VC.  When Dean came out with ANOTHER map of Alberta, I thought he had lost his mind.  Everybody has been giving us maps, and we already had 2 from our AAA.  It turns out that if you buy a map—and you can imagine what I thought when he said he had spent $1.97 to buy this Alberta map—you find inside the map a Buy one/Get one free for the Tyrrell.  This saved us $10 (my cost, being so young).  Dean only had to pay the $8 senior fee. 
   Owned by the Province of Alberta, it is a beautiful modern museum, and no expense was spared.  They have unearthed 2 Tyrannosaurus Rex, and  lots of large Albertosauruses and other dinosaurs.  We learned about the Bearpaw Sea which reached from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean and contributed to the rich dinosaur in Alberta. 
   I thought I knew a lot about dinosaurs because my son was really into them when he was young, and we read lots of books together and visited museums.  This museum had so many that I had never heard of that my brain hurt from over-exercise by the time we left.  They also had a lot of other pre-historic fossils.  It was truly amazing, but I felt saturated by the time we left.  This is about the first museum that we've been to that we didn't close.
   Having been RV-bound for two days, I did not want to go home at 4:00.  TV from the air in Calgary is terrible.  We forgot to find out where the movies were.  So we decided to explore the Eagle Casino, which was sort of on our way home and listed in our AAA book. 
   We got into downtown rush-hour traffic! The Calgary Flames (hockey team) was playing their first game, and their hugest star was coming back for his first game since his 4-year drug rehab.  There were people everywhere wearing red hockey jerseys racing around, some in cars and some on foot.
   Dean accidentally drove by the casino and off the map, into an industrial area.  Edmonton was a dream to navigate, even without a map, because everything is numbered.  "Streets" got one way and "Avenues" go another.  But, Calgary had a lot of windy "Trails", probably a relic of the days when they brought the cattle to market, or maybe from the First Peoples.  And the streets have endings like 3rd St. NE and 3rd St. SW.  We changed our focus to just getting back to the RV park.  We had spent about 3.5 hours in the car.
   We had wanted to go to The Keg, which was recommended as a great place to have Albertan grain-fed beef.  At this point, I just wanted to eat and go home.  We saw an Earl's, which is a chain.  We each had a New York striploin, which was very good.
   We are headed to Banff and Lake Louise tomorrow.  Only one RV park in our Trailer Life may be still open, and it doesn't have WIFI.  Then we will be on the road, probably boondocking.  I will do one more post to tell about our border crossing and Banff & Lake Louise.

Weather:  Mostly sunny, a couple of 5-minute sprinkles, high of 74°F, but really cold at night.  When we got home at 10:00, it was down in the mid 40's.

Answers:  Asian Wild Horse, Red River Hog, Reeve's Muntjac, and Markhor  We have posted the information signs if you'd like to know more about these critters. My favorite was the Red River Hog with his long braids of hair hanging from his Mr. Spock-type ears.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2009, 12:35:28 PM
Day 118 Part 2 More Photos
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2009, 12:41:56 PM
Day 118 Part 3 More Photos & Answer #4 to the Zoo Animals


Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on September 20, 2009, 08:13:22 AM
Great saga! I have enjoyed remembering the places we both visited and your superb narrating. Like the effective use of label photos with the dinosaurs.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 10, 2009, 04:34:57 PM
September 18, 2009      Day 119      Calgary, AB

   We got a late start because Dean taught me how to post photos.  Why did we choose a day with 15 photos to post?  After I got about 11 photos cropped, enhanced, and straightened, I accidentally double-clicked, lost them all, and had to start over.  Suggestion for future Alaskan trekkers-learn how to do it before you come.
   The drive to Banff took about 2 hours on good road, no turns.  We stopped at the lovely VC to find out which RV parks might be open.  We chose the Tunnel Mountain Village II Park.  Number I is dry camping.  It is a pretty site in the trees.
   I wanted to see wildlife and we were told by the ranger to try the Minnewanka Loop.  It's only about 10 minutes from the RV park.  We didn't expect to see any wildlife because it was around 4:00 and still around 73°.  We stopped at each turnout, and at one of the turnouts we found a mama mountain and her kid who were grazing.  She was having a bad day and kept butting him, and we couldn't see what he was doing-just minding his own business.  Maybe she thinks it's time for him to move out and be on his own.
   We then went to Bow Falls, which were wide, if not tall.  A lot of water is running over them despite it being early fall.  I'm guessing that the source is the Icefields, which are 2.5 hours away from us.
   We followed the road past the falls, which I would NOT recommend.  It is poorly maintained, goes around the border of a very large golf course (Banff Springs), and you can't turn around because it is one way.
   The Keg has a restaurant here, and it had been recommended to us in Calgary.  The steak was delicious and tender, the twice-baked potato with the 3-cheese sauce was outstanding, and the salads were wonderful.  We may go there again tomorrow night, something we rarely do because I like to explore.
   We were headed back to the RV park when I reminded Dean that we wanted to do the Minnewanke Loop again at dusk, which it now was.  So, nice man that he is, he made a U-turn.  We were well rewarded. 
   The first sight was 8 mountain goats slowly sauntering slowly down the yellow line of the road.  As they passed by our car, they broke into a slow trot, their hooves click, clicking on the blacktop.  No one was feeding them, but they were obviously headed somewhere.
   Then we came across an elk way across a meadow.  He kindly started moving slowly toward us.  Meanwhile, across the street, we were hearing bugling, as this is rutting season.  The elk crossed the street, and when Dean's flash went off, he would look at Dean as if to say, "What ARE you doing?"  We must have spent 30-40 minutes watching him, even after it was too dark to take pictures.  He was so beautiful!  Dean is going to read his camera book tonight to see if he can't even get better pictures when we go back tomorrow night.

WILDLIFE COUNT!  It's so cool to even have one.  We saw 10 mountain goats, 1 elk, 8 Canadian geese, lots of ducks.

Weather:  High of 73°F, comfortable all day.

Overnighted at Tunnel Mountain Village II Park-FHU, 30 amps, no WIFI or TV, $38.20.  Electric only would have been $32, no water or sewer.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 10, 2009, 04:40:55 PM
September 19, 2009      Day 120      Calgary, AB

   We set out early for Lake Louise, hoping to see wildlife.  We took the Bow Parkway which parallels Canadian Hwy. 1, but is less traveled.   We went to Lake Moraine and Lake Louise. We saw lots of beautiful blue-green streams, rivers, and lakes.
   We had an early lunch-11:30 at the Lake Louise Restaurant, and the food was not good.  I had mushroom soup, and it was watery, and egg rolls which were only about 2% filling.  Then a busload of about 40-50 Koreans came in.  The restaurant was well-prepared and served them efficiently, but neither Dean nor I could figure out what the meat was that they were served, with soup, what looked like canned vegetables, and fries.  Try the bakery/deli, the café, or the hotel.  After seeing how pretty Banff is & it has so many choices, I didn't expect Lake Louise to be so tiny.
   We ate early because we wanted to see the Icefields Parkway, which was only 1-1.5 hours away.  We knew we probably wouldn't get to go on a Sno-Cat, but at least we could see the icefields and maybe we would get lucky. 
   When we came out of the restaurant, there were large dark grey clouds coming in the direction of the icefields.  We will see them on our next trip.
   We went to see the Vermillion Lakes, which was a short drive off the main highway.  They really weren't very pretty, with lots of natures debris forming mats at the shores.  It's only a few minutes, and maybe it's prettier in the spring.
   We went back to the RV and planned the rest of our trip.  At dusk, we went out to the fields where there had been several elk bugling the night before.  We had only seen one, but we knew there were several out there.  So, we patiently sat and waited for them to make an appearance, as did two other cars.  As it was getting dark, we decided to drive 5 minutes down the road, turn around and come back.  About 2 minutes later, we saw an elk just sitting quietly watching the cars go by.  We got a picture, stayed about 5 minutes, and went back to our original stake-out.  Nothing showed up, so we went to home and to bed.

Wildlife Count:  1 elk, 2 Spruce Grouse

Overnighted at Tunnel Mountain Village II Park--$38.20 and another $20 to stay in Banff NP.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 10, 2009, 04:43:28 PM
September 20, 2009      Day 121      Post Falls, ID

   It is good to be back in the U.S.  We don't have to convert speed, distance, liters, or money.  And gas is more than $1 less per gallon.  And we spell "correctly"-like "center" instead of "centre".
   Seriously, we found the cost-of-living to be much higher in Canada than in the U.S.  It isn't just gas; it's everything.
   Our drive was smooth, but the scenery was barren for miles because of the bark beetle.  I know I've mentioned it before, but miles and miles of matchstick dead trees is so depressing.  However, the water in the rivers was a beautiful blue-green, and we were entertained by people returning home with their 1940, 1950, 1960, and a few 1970 vintage cars and trucks that were in superb shape.  They all sparkled, and we took a trip down memory lane to the time I learned to knit so I could make Dean a mirror warmer.  Younger people won't know what I'm talking about, but they were a fluffy frame that went around the rear-view mirror in the front of the car.  Having one on your car meant you were taken.  We saw dice dangling from the mirrors, also.  We guesstimated the first 300 cars, and then we did an actual count.  We counted a total of 670 cars, and there were so many in one village we couldn't count them all as we went through.
   The border crossing was a piece of cake.  You can bring back 1 case of beer per person (at least into Idaho).  They asked several times about how long we had been in Canada, total length of trip, how long in Alaska, if we had any citrus, seeds, soil, tobacco products, spirits, wine, guns, and what we had bought.  We told him that we had bought $500 worth of souvenirs, and it didn't trigger any reaction. 
   This is the last normal entry.  A trip summary will follow after we get home. If anyone is actually going to Alaska, ask Dean for the Church's book while you are in Quartzsite.  We didn't use it because we had such good recommendations from previous travelers, and it is in brand-new condition.  Our Milepost is looking forward to retirement, as it has shed 3 pages, and anyone going needs the newest edition.  They tell about road construction for that year, etc., and that is important to know.  If anyone is going and would like my detailed itinerary in which I listed all the venues, hours they are open, cost, phone numbers, contact people, and addresses, e-mail me, and I will be happy to e-mail it back to you.  It is lengthy, about 30 pages when printed out.
   It has been a wonderful experience.  Thanks again to those who read, suggested, advised, and contributed to its success.  Your kind compliments made us feel so appreciated.

Overnighted at WalMart Supercenter in Post Falls, ID.  Very nice.  You can park wherever you want, and they give you 24-hours, which is about 12 hours longer than we'll need.
 
Wildlife Count:  2 pheasants

Trip summary to follow.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Lorna on October 10, 2009, 10:24:05 PM
Thank you for your daily reports of your trip.  It brought back many wonderful memories of our trip to Alaska and Canada.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: rhmahoney on October 11, 2009, 09:22:20 AM
Thanks, its been a good read.
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: ArdraF on October 11, 2009, 05:06:29 PM
Linda and Dean,

I'll miss your trip report.  You did a very nice job!  Very informative and I know it will be useful to future travelers.

Welcome home!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Betty Brewer on October 11, 2009, 07:42:43 PM
Hi Linda,

I really enjoyed following your journey.  Your writing style left me interested daily  and many times gave me a chuckle with your " adventures." I'm glad you had no problem at the border crossings. 

Your journal will be a neat help to future Alaska travelers.  I think you got more out of  the museums and speaking to the locals than anyone else I know who made the trip.  Good job on photos too.  Thanks Dean.

Betty

Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Tom and Margi on October 11, 2009, 10:47:52 PM

 I think you got more out of  the museums and speaking to the locals than anyone else I know who made the trip. 


I also enjoyed reading your museum reports and appreciate your tenacity in seeking and reporting local information.   I miss my daily "Linda's Trip" read.   Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into sharing your trip with all of us.  It brought back many memories of our 2000 trip and will be a terrific resource for those planning  trips to Canada and Alaska in the future. 

Margi
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: Ken & Sheila on October 12, 2009, 08:40:06 PM
Linda,

Thanks for the memories revisited via your excellent journal.

Ken
Title: Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
Post by: winstons mom on October 13, 2009, 03:24:34 PM
Linda, thanks for you trip writings.  We didn't do anything this summer.  Couldn't even get the hubby off the couch to go to a near by state park for a day trip.  Thanks to you posts I took a trip through you.  So glad you did and had a good time.  Now I guess I'll have to find my own adventure from a book or movie.  Thanks again