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Over The Network

Tim & Jan's Alaska trip 2003

by Tim & Jan Lynch

Tim & Jan relate the story of their trip to Alaska in 2003.

We crossed into British Columbia from Sumas Washington on June 1st. The border crossing was uneventful except for my driving the passenger side mirror into a support column at the guard station. The officer said that it happens all the time. The glass wasn't damaged, but now we have a two tone mirror housing. A couple of other RVs spent much more time than we did with the guard.

We started our day, June 1st, in Gig Harbor Washington and ended it a few miles North of Hope, BC. We had intended to go into a Provincial Park and saw the signs indicating that the turn off was coming up. We turned off and were greeted by a locked gate with a closed sign on it. There was no room to turn around, but luckily opposite the Provincial entrance there was a lane to a private campground, Yale Campground. After a couple hundred yards of brushing through branches, we came to a clearing where at least ten long rigs could fit. Electric was 30 amp breaker with 15 amp outlets so we were frugal with the electric so as to not burn up their outlet or our adapter. At the turnoff there were train tracks and pretty often we heard loud horns as the trains went past.

June 2nd, we traveled from Hope along the Fraser Canyon and Cariboo Highways to Lac La Hache, BC and stayed at Fir Crest Resort where we had a partial view of the lake. As we were hooking up, we found out that the electric just went off and it would be about an hour before it comes back on. Surprise, it really did come back on and lasted till we left in the morning. The weather in the canyon area was mostly low clouds and some light rain, so didn't have great views. After a little North of the canyon the clouds started to break up and the views got much better.

June 3rd, went to Prince George and it was mostly sunny, which made for an enjoyable ride. Staying at the Blue Spruce Campground, which has no view but is nice. They have a lot of pull throughs that would handle the longest RVs. We found a Costco, Walmart and small mall near the campground.

Animal sightings: a bunch of horses and cows with a few sheep and a Bison Ranch. We will have to start looking harder!

June 4th, we went from Prince George to Telkwa and stayed at Fort Telkwa Campround. It is along a river, but it may have been better to go on to Smithers. Did take advantage of the free power wash for the RV, the windshield was covered with an assortment of creatures. Another sunny day in the mid 70s and great views on the ride.

Animal sightings: Exciting! Jan spotted the first bear on our trip. It was a young black bear that was in the clearing between the road and the tree line. It was rooting around looking for a snack. This was about 20 miles from Prince George on 16. We did see one deer later and nothing else.

June 5th, we went from Telkwa to the Meziadin junction of 37 &37A. We took the Yellow Head Highway, Rt 16, to the Stewart Cassiar Highway, Rt 37.

We stayed at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, about 50 miles East of Stewart, and got a site at the edge of the lake. We had a beatiful ride into Stewart, with the highlight seeing Bear Glacier, what a sight! We went into Hyder from Stewart, then on to the bear viewing area and saw three other people and no bears. We were a few weeks early but thought we might see at least one bear scouting for salmon. We continued on the same road to see the Toe of Salmon Glacier which was worth the one hour, 15MPH drive on a road that would be a Moab "easy". A bumpy ride but the views spectacular, waterfalls from the tops of the mountains running strong and gushing to the road in some places. Photos just don't capture some of the moments as I'm sure we all know.

Animal sightings: Jan spotted a black bear with two cubs near the tree line and later we saw a good size black bear ambling down the road towards us in our lane. When the bear realized something big was coming it took off down into the ditch and then disappeared into the woods in the blink of an eye. Both of the sightings were on Rt 37.

June 6th, This morning's first view out the front window was so nice, not any movement on the lake just reflections of the mountains and trees. Then suddenly Jan saw something in the water create a ripple. Tim saw a branch floating near the edge of the lake. Soon the branch started moving fast across the water...the early morning beavers were at work on their "lodge". Too bad we have to leave.

We went from Meziadin Lake to the Dease River Crossing RV Park which is about 40 miles North of the Dease Lake community. This park is owned by a couple that have a "work in progress", no electric yet. They have taken trees from the property and built cabins, a shower/laundry building and furniture. The setting on the river is great, we dry camped and enjoyed the stay. The Cassiar gets a little rougher and narrower. Today's drive was about seven and a half hours, this is a long day for us but we wanted to get beyond the rough spots in the road. The drive was so beautiful, sunshine again, the aspens were almost glowing among the pines. Had some sections of loose gravel, but not too bad.

Animal sightings: We saw what we think was a fox walking in the ditch along the road. It was a quick sighting. Later we saw a black bear having a grass snack about 30' off the road. There was no traffic so we pulled to a stop next to it and it hardly paid any attention to us. We took a couple of photos, but mainly got it's behind. On several sections of the drive we saw droppings indicating that healthy animals were out there somewhere.

June 7th, we went from the Dease River Crossing RV Park to the Downtown RV Park in Watson Lake with full hookups, rv wash, and laundry on a basic gravel lot. On today's travel there were no gravel sections, but a few mild frost heaves had been patched. The road was a little narrower and much more uneven than the previous sections, with the MH doing a lot of rolling from side to side.

Animal sightings: None.

June 8th, while still in Watson Lake we posted our version of an RV Forum sign in the sign forest. If you come through here it's located on the row of posts next to the passenger side of the antique fire truck.

We have had sunny weather since entering Canada after traveling through Fraser Canyon. Had to run the AC while parked in Watson Lake yesterday! Today, June 8th, it's completely overcast with both dark and light clouds. Temp at 9AM about 56º, been lucky so far.

June 9th, we traveled from Watson Lake to Whitehorse and stopped at Mukluk Annies for the famous salmon bake, it was delicious. Another beautiful drive following the Rancheria River a good part of the way. You can still see snow on the mountains and tall pines all through the drive, the skies are clear and you can see for miles. Crossed the Continental Divide, the Yukon River and Mackenzie River watersheds.

Animal sightings: One coyote.

June 10th and 11th, stayed in Whitehorse and mostly took it easy. We went to the Beringia Interpretive Center, taking us back to the last ice age, very interesting. hen we visited the Transportation Museum which included everything from snowshoes and dogsleds to stagecoaches. Outside the Whitehorse Airport, there is a full size DC-3 that's set up as a weathervane and really works, strange but very impressive. We strolled through downtown and enjoyed "Arts in the Park" where we were entertained by a classical guitar player and a local story teller. We also took The Yukon River Cruise for a couple of hours. After all the wonderful scenery we have seen,the cruise was not very exciting to us.

June 12th, we have started on our way to Dawson City. Another sunny warm day and wonderful vistas as we drive. Passing interesting valleys, rivers and lakes with pines. There is an area where 328,000 acres burned in 1995, we can see some life coming back today. Decided to stop about 1/2 way to Dawson City at the Minto Resorts RV Park. It's quite a nice wooded campground along the Yukon River with dry camping. The North Klondike highway was in good shape to Minto Resorts.

Animal sightings: One mule deer.

June 13th, left Minto Landing for Dawson City. Saw a couple of gravel areas South of Pelly Crossing, one about 1/4/mile and the other about 3/4 mile. The next gravel section was from about Moose Creek Lodge South for about 8 miles, this is where we got our first chip in the motorhome windshield. The chip was a result of a van going probably 40MPH plus in the opposite direction. The last gravel section was about 20 miles long that ended maybe 15 miles South of Dawson City. There were a couple of areas between Minto Resorts and Dawson City that had construction signs set up, but covered with black plastic until they were ready to start work. We had some light rain today, but none as we went through the gravel areas. About an hour after we arrived in Dawson City it rained pretty hard for about an hour and RVs coming in from the South were all mud covered.

Animal sightings: Chipmunks.

June 14th through June 17th, Dawson City Heart of The Klondike Gold Rush. After visiting the tourism office, we visited the Dawson City Museum to view the displays of gold rush items, First Nations artifacts and other films and presentations there. One day we enjoyed the Author's Avenue Program. Part one was a very interesting one hour presentation by a very personable character (Parcs Service Employee). We gathered in front of Robert Service's Cabin and he told us all about Robert Service from early years until his death. This included reciting a good portion of "The Cremation of Sam McGee". We then walked down the street to Jack London's cabin for a much shorter but interesting presentation about Jack London. Tim tried "gold panning" in Bonanza Creek, no bonanza for us! Visited Dredge #4, traveled Midnight Dome road for the view. Had time to see the Gaslight Follies, Diamond Tooth Gertie's and some of the interesting shops in town. While in town we saw one RCMP on horseback but were unable to catch up for a photo, thought we could do it later and now we can't find him.

Animal sightings: One moose.

June 18th, we lined up for the Dawson City ferry crossing at about 10:30 AM to start our TOW highway trip. There were 7 rigs in front of us and the weather was overcast with some light drizzle. The drizzle helped keep the dust down a little, but we were still pretty dirty by the time we got to Tok. The road between Dawson City and the border crossing was gravel about half of the time and it generally was pretty good. The road from the border to Chicken was all dirt/clay and stone, ranging from hard clay and few loose stones to a 50/50 mix to mostly stone and terrible washboard stretches. It took us about 4 1/2 hours to get to Chicken. We took a break to see Beautiful Downtown Chicken and check out the gift shop. The road from Chicken to Tok was mostly great, with some short repair areas that you need to be watching for. It took us a little over 2 hours to get from Chicken to Tok.

Even though it was overcast, the clouds were high enough to allow some great views across The Top of the World! While in Tok we had our windshield chip repaired by probably the same fellow that repaired Brincks and DeMars windshields in 2002. Same $60 charge and we were his 85th repair for 2003.

Animal sightings: One moose, and Jan saw a Rock Ptarmigan.

June 19th, traveled from Tok to Glennallen, having low clouds and constant drizzle most of the way. We can only imagine what views we missed. There were many gravel repair spots along about a 60 mile stretch. The rest of the road was an easy drive, but you have to constantly look ahead for frost heaves. We had mostly dust/dirt yesterday and mud today. We found a RV/car wash and got about 80% of the crud off.

Animal sightings: One eagle, only about 20' in front of and above the MH. It was carrying a good size branch for his remodeling project.

June 19th though June 24th, traveled from Glennallen to Valdez. It was an easy drive, but because of drizzle and very low clouds we could see very little scenery. We stopped at viewing areas for Bridal Falls, which could be seen OK, and Worthington Glacier which was pretty dismal due to the weather. We stayed at the Sea Otter Park, on a site within 15' of the Harbor. The otters swim by often and we regularly have Arctic Terns, Surf Scoters and many gulls very near us. We have a great spot for watching the activity here, boats, kayakers, fishing rigs, some sea life and the beautiful mountains. We have explored the area museums for history of the earthquake that destroyed Valdez in 1964 and the Oil Spill in 1989. Took a boat cruise to Columbia Glacier on Prince William Sound, was a good day for sea life and birds. We were entertained by a Humpback Whale, he was fishing for lunch.

We drove back along Richardson Highway to view Worthington Glacier and Billy Mitchell Mountain, it was a sunny day and it was well worth the trip. The mountains surrounding Valdez are snow capped creating a Switzerland touch.

We were pleasantly surprised when Bernie and Marlene Dobrin came calling one evening. There was so much to catch up on, we are traveling different routes and we all had so much to say! Got together again the next day for happy hour at their place with the folks in their caravan. Marlene and Bernie happened to get tickets for the Last Frontier Theater Conference here in Valdez and asked us to join them. A nice evening together listening to Patricia Neal in "As I Am".

Wildlife sightings: Marmot, sea otters, Stellar sea lions, puffins, whale, eagles.

June 25th, we traveled from Valdez to Palmer along the Richardson Highway, which was in good shape, to Glennallen. The Glenn Highway to Palmer for the most part wasn't as good as the Richardson. There is about a 9 mile stretch that's being reconstructed between the 100 and 109 marker. The construction area wasn't bad until we had about a half mile to go and a water tanker pulled in front of the lead truck, which we were right behind, and we got slimed. In the evening we met with Bernie & Marlene Dobrin, Dan & Jeaninne Wainwright and Chet & Laurie Parks for dinner. We were able to get acquainted since Chet and Laurie stayed an extra day in Palmer so that we could meet and they also arranged for us to meet Dan and Jeaninne. It's fun to actually talk with the folks we trade travel stories with on the Forum.

Wildlife sightings: One eagle.

June 26th, took a drive to the Independence Mine Historical Park on Hatcher Pass Road. It was a clear day, the drive was beautiful and we enjoyed walking around the grounds of the once prosperous mine. We had to stop at that point since the road to Hatcher Pass will not be open for a couple of weeks. Got back to the RV park in Palmer, hooked up the car and moved on to Ship Creek Landings RV Park in Anchorage.

Wildlife sightings: None.

June 27th through June 30th, We stayed at Ship Creek Landings RV Park for two nights, as we had a two for one coupon and then moved to the Anchorage RV Park for three nights, where we had another coupon. Anchorage RV Park was much nicer than Shipcreek, but Shipcreek was within walking distance of downtown. Visited with Chet and Laurie at Shipcreek and enjoyed having dinner with them one evening. We were very busy in Anchorage. We walked downtown to the Museum of History and Art which was an excellent museum, Alaska Native Heritage Center on the edge of town was also good. Our Alaska Experience Theater visit is not as high on the list bordering on "hokey" for the Earthquake movie. The Center for Performing Arts presented movies on the Northern Lights and Bears, they were okay. The Alaska Zoo was a big disappointment, the highlight was one polar bear playing in the water with a ball, the only company he had. Other sites, Earthquake Park, watching salmon fishing on Ship Creek and a wonderful USAF Thunderbirds show watched from the Anchorage RV Park.

Wildlife sightings: None

July 1st, We went to Seward and stayed two nights at Stoney Creek RV Park. The park has plenty of large level sites, some facing the river. You have to be careful following the entry roads, excellent directions given when we called to make a reservation. They now have a building with showers, laundry and a modem hook up. The roads from Anchorage to Seward were in great shape, with two short areas of construction. While in Seward we took the Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise, it was great. Leaving at 3:00 and returning at 9:00 (still daylight up here). It included a salmon bake dinner, we saw lots of wildlife and the glacier was spectacular. The engines were shut down and we could hear the glacier cracking with some calving, it was so quiet there, very nice. The crew and narration were also very good. The next day we drove out to Exit Glacier, just a half mile walk to the face of the glacier. Some people were ignoring the warning signs DO NOT WALK BEYOND THIS POINT. A couple of months ago a huge chunk fell from the face, luckily no one was in the way. A visitor offered to take a picture of Tim and I together, turns out he is Herm Jantzen, sometimes heard from on the RV Forum. We had a nice chat with Herm and Linda, small world as we say! We also visited the Alaska Sealife Center, a working research and rehabilitation center, building financed mostly from the settlements of the oil spill. We didn't spend much time in town, it was easy to see the shops were preparing for the big July 4th celebration which includes the annual run to the top of Mt. Marathon.

Wildlife sightings: Sea otters, Stellar sea lions, puffins, tufted puffins, a colony of common murres, guillemots, and humpback whale while out on the cruise. Eagles & moose.

July 3rd, We moved to Kenai, stayed two nights at the Beluga Lookout RV Park and parked on the bluff overlooking Cook Inlet, again the roads were in great shape. While there we relaxed watching the tide come in and also the charter fishing boats, a good business to be in right here and now. There are clear views of the surrounding volcanoes and mountains in the Alaska Range most of the time. Eagles are soaring, the sun is shining, we can't ask for more. Visited the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center, the Dobrins recommended we stop there. The city is hosting "Alaska 2003: A Celebration of Wildlife Art". We saw some magnificent works in oils, pencil, and watercolors ranging from $650 to $55,000, well worth the visit.

July 4th, Happy Birthday USA!! We joined the locals and watched the parade. A small town but they all came out to participate in or watch the parade, a good thing to do today. It took an hour and a half for the entire parade to pass by. There was a picnic in the park with vendors, a "cake walk" sponsored by a local church, sno-cones, cotton candy and a bake sale with apple pies!. That night we were awakened by the sound of fireworks on the beach near the RV park. The colors and beauty are very much diminished when the night sky is not a dark. The spirit was there.

Wildlife sightings: One moose and her calf

July 5th through July 7th, We went to Homer and the weather turned cloudy and drizzled. After checking in at the Oceanview Campground we took a ride to the Spit, but with the rain and traffic congestion we didn't spend much time there. Later that evening the clouds went away and the next two days were sunny and great. We had a terrific view of Cook Inlet and the mountain range across from Oceanview Park. We spent more time on the Spit and had a pretty good dinner at Captain Patties there. Took a ride along Skyline Drive to get a birdseye view of the area and stopped at the Pratt Museum in town. We drove to Old Ninilchik, originally a Russian village, where we saw some of the remaining buildings including an historic Russian Orthodox Church. Nearby Anchor Point's claim to fame is the most westerly point on the North American continent accessible by a continuous road system. It is also here that they have private farm type tractors assisting in boat launches for fisherman. Very interesting to watch the boats at low tide waiting for a tractor to bring the boat trailer to them in the water. I might add we're likely to drive out of our way to see the world's largest, deepest, longest, highest what have you.

Wildlife sightings: From our site at the campground we saw various birds and one eagle in particular liked to fish nearby.

July 8th and 9th, We moved to the Kenai Riverside Campground in Cooper Landing. One of our reasons for stopping here was to view some of the "combat fishing" but again our timing was wrong and there were few fishermen as the salmon had been through and were moving on. We used our second day to get caught up on tasks that we had been putting off.

All of the roads on the Kenai were in very good shape.

Wildlife sightings: None.

July 10th, We drove to the Talkeetna area and are staying at the Mat-Su Valley Campground on our way to Denali. We had five miles of construction around mile marker 70 from Anchorage and had a lead truck for about a mile through an unpaved area, it wasn't much of a problem. Talkeetna is an interesting town, mostly gift shops and lots of offers for guided trips, flightseeing and climbs to Mt. McKinley. First town we had an excellent salmon dinner for a reasonable price, the West Rib Pub.

Wildlife sightings: None.

July 11th through July 13th, We stayed at the Denali Grizzly Bear RV Park, which is about 6 miles South of the Denali N.P. entrance. We stayed there because we booked an all day drive through Denali out to Kantishna Road House. One of the pick up points is across the road from Grizzly. If we could have had a site on the main level of Grizzly we may have been satisfied, but we were on a lower level with a hard to get into and out of site. We would recommend staying at the Denali Rainbow outside of the park or go into one of the camp grounds within Denali N.P. We enjoyed the all day bus trip and were able to get a great view of Mt. McKinley and plenty of wildlife. Seeing "The Mountain" was a highlight, there are no guarantees that it will be visible. The grandeur of this park and the views are different with every turn in the road. During the next day we saw a Ranger led sled dog demonstration that was very well done. Many of the park dogs are available to see up close and interaction with visitors is okay. There are five cute pups in the kennel however they were busy huddled together napping.

We had a short section of construction between Talkeetna and Denali.

Wildlife sightings: Spectacular! On our bus trip through Denali our first sighting was a porcupine. It got better, before the day was over we saw numerous caribou, moose on the meadow and close up in a pond, grizzly sow with cub romping along, Dall sheep resting very near the road, and of course the Arctic ground squirrel that tried to scurry away from everyone. We are no longer wildlife deprived.

July 13th through July 20th, We were at the Chena Marina RV Park in Fairbanks. The neat thing about the park is that it fronts a float plane landing pond. The 1/4 mile entry road had more pot holes than any road we had been on so far on our Alaska trip, but after about four days the road was regraded and now it's so nice that all the locals run about 40mph and everyone is covered with dust. Can't win.

We gave ourselves a week in Fairbanks and find we are having a hard time seeing and doing everything. Met up with Chet and Laurie Parks here and we all visited the Ft. Knox working gold mine. Also went out to dinner and a breakfast together while here. They had things to take care of as did we, however we made some time for visits. Tim and I picked up on the tourism trail. Visited the Ice Museum, the U of A Museum, the Botanical Garden and drove by the musk ox/ reindeer research center. Had a very nice dinner at the Pump House, took the Riverboat Discovery cruise. Our biggest day was the fly/drive trip to Coldfoot, AK. A beautiful sunny day we left Fairbanks at 1:30 in the afternoon in a twin engine Navajo Chieftain. Had some "frost heaves" in the air, but the views were great. Landed in Coldfoot, lunch was ready for us and after lunch started back in a 12 passenger van. Several stops along the way, mainly "THE" arctic circle. Part of the trip was viewing and touching the Trans Alaska Pipeline in a couple of places, was an impressive sight from the air. Arrived back in Fairbanks about 1:00 A.M. A very good trip above and through the wilderness of Alaska. "Golden Days" is a week long celebration in Fairbanks held annually. Lots of activities, one of which is the Red Green River Regatta on the Chena River. We settled in on the bank of the river to be entertained by the creativity of the entrants. Hand made "vessels" using duct tape float along the river. Chena Marina's entry was an Airstream trailer being towed by a canoe. It was a good way to enjoy a pleasant afternoon. Tonight we will venture out to the Turtle Club for prime rib, a change of pace from salmon and halibut.

There was road reconstruction coming from Denali starting at about mile 262 and ending about mile 288. Had rained for at least one day before we came through and we picked up a lot of mud.

We leave Fairbanks the 21st for Haines, which is the grand finale area of our trip to the Yukon and Alaska.

Wildlife sightings: Mother porcupine with one youngster, cow moose with calf, young bull moose in pond, and from the boat: reindeer, duck with ducklings.

July 21st, We moved to Tok and spent the night in the back of Young's Chevron, free dry camping with a fill up, plus 10cents off a gallon if you pick up a coupon at the visitor center. Walked over to the local gift shop and got our free 1/4 lb of fudge, using one of our coupons. We did buy breakfast at Young's Restaurant before leaving . While on the Richardson Highway we stopped at Milepost 275, Rika's Roadhouse, which is part of the Big Delta Historical Park. It's really an interesting stop with historical buildings, campground, gift shop and restaurant.The road from Fairbanks was in good shape.

Wildlife sightings: None.

July 22nd, We headed towards Haines Junction and stopped for the night in the White River Crossing RV Park. It rained most of the day. The road from Tok to the Canada border wasn't too bad, having some frost heaves and areas that were recently patched which had some loose gravel. Starting at the Canada border it was all gravel for about ten miles and we got our second windshield chip with a rock thrown by a gravel hauler going the other way. The Canada customs station is about twenty miles in from the border and when we got to it, there were about twenty vehicles ahead of us. It took an hour and twenty minutes to get through, they asked no food questions, but did all the other usual crossing questions. There were some vehicles pulled off to the side. By the time we got to the guard station there had to be about three times as many vehicles (60) waiting. As we continued on our way there were lots of frost heaves. Rain has stopped, but with the fog and clouds not much can be seen.

Wildlife sightings: A pair of eagles on a stump in a pond very near the highway.

July 23rd, Most of the clouds went away and we continued on to Haines Junction and stayed at Kluane RV Park and spent a lot of loonies cleaning the car and M.H. I think Russ Mahoney said it best, this is the road from hell.

Wildlife sightings: None.

July 24th through July 30th, We finished our drive to Haines and stayed at the Haines Hitch-up RV Park, which is a really well kept, nice park. The highway from Haines Junction to Haines was like driving on a boulevard compared to what we've been on lately. We used Haines as a base to visit Skagway and Juneau by means of fast ferry boats. In Skagway our main purpose was to ride the White Pass and Yukon Railroad to Fraser B.C. and back. Even though we had rain and low clouds, it was still a good experience. The train trip didn't leave a lot of time in Skagway which appears very dependent on cruise ship visitors and many stores don't even open if there isn't a ship in port. There was a small cruise ship there so most of the stores were open. Our trip to Juneau aboard the Fjord Express included a short bus tour of the city and a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier with about three hours on our own downtown. There were at least five cruise ships in port and it was wall to wall people. We walked the shops and had a nice lunch before heading back to the ferry. The Fjord Express is owned and operated by a young couple and they provided a great trip. We felt most comfortable in Haines, because they aren't as dependent on the cruise ships and you see the area in it's normal every day operation.

Wildlife sightings: Whales, Porpoise, Sea lions, Grizzly, Moose with calf and an abundance of eagles in Haines.

July 31st, We retraced our drive back to Haines Junction and on to Whitehorse. The road from Haines Junction was mostly pretty good. There are a couple of short gravel crossover areas where some reconstruction is being done and when getting near Whitehorse there were quite a few frost heaves that we had to watch out for. We stayed at the Pioneer RV Park and had our windshield star chip repaired there. Decided to eat breakfast in their "rec room" and we were pleasantly surprised at the good food and service.

Wildlife sightings: Grizzly and Snowy Owl.

August 1st, We continued on to Watson Lake and again stayed at the Downtown RV Park. The road was in great shape with only a few frost heave patch areas and was another pleasant drive.

Wildlife sightings: None

August 2nd, We went to the West Side RV Park in Fort Nelson. What a difference a day makes! The road went from a mix of very nice recently reconstructed sections to about 30% of the original highway with lots of patches. There were two 5 mile areas being reconstructed and we got through them OK, but later got another windshield chip. This chip was caused by some kind of hard bug. We had a similar bug crack while traveling through Texas. Later we got hit with a rock with a much higher impact than any other hits. We stopped at The Toad River Cafe to use their phone and walked right into an RV Forum hat front and center displayed with many other hats on the ceiling and walls. It was here we found out about a major storm in Fort Nelson the previous night and there was no power, water or phone service in the whole town. Stopped at Stone Mountain Park/gas station to see if they had a phone working. Same story and now reports from travelers from Ft. Nelson that the line was very long at the one gas station with power. Decided we should gas up and then move on to Ft. Nelson. Arrived at the campground and only available sites were dry. No power, can't use the water or sewer and the local radio and TV are not working at all. Last night was a nightmare for the town with flooding and lots of damage including rigs at the campground.

Wildlife sightings: Brown bears, two small herds of Bison right along the edge of the road, a deer, a coyote, about 15 (wild?) horses in a group close to the road, a moose snacking near the edge of the road, also Ptarmigan, hawk and rabbit. The hawk wasn't near the rabbit....that could have changed the count.

August 3rd, We came into Dawson Creek and checked in at the Northern Lights RV Park, they have quite a few good size pull throughs and a free RV/car wash. Tim spent most of two days cleaning the car and MH, as we picked up a lot of tar between Haines and Dawson Creek. The road from Fort Nelson was good having a few small recent patch areas, but the high impact chip that we got yesterday developed into about a 18" crack in both panes on the driverside section of the windshield. Almost escaped with only chips.

This will be our last Alaska report. Alaska should be visited by everyone to really appreciate the beauty and have the personal experience of all it has to offer. We wouldn't try to put a pricetag on the trip....it was priceless. Tomorrow we move on towards Edmonton. We will head East as far as Winnipeg or maybe Thunder Bay and then go South to visit friends and relatives in the Chicago area, on to South Bend IN, then to Sarasota FL and return to Surprise AZ about November 1st. We will make a report after we leave Canada, on our Verizon experience in A laska and Canada, also a report on the Blue Ox underskirt.