Alaska with the Brewer's 06

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Betty Brewer

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Alaskan Log

Dear Friends,

Today was DAY 1 of our summer odyssey trip to Alaska.?

DAY 1? ?May 24, 2006 Clark Fork, Idaho through the Canadian border to Canal Flats, Canada

We left the cabin with Russ in the lead at 7:30 am.? This was one full hour ahead of our scheduled departure so I guess we were excited.? We needed to top off fuel in Sandpoint and make a quick run to the ATM machine.? So we unhook the car at the Conoco station and guess what?the car won?t start.? Loose battery cable?Terry fixes and I?m off to the bank.? Guess what ATM machine is out of order, bank is not yet open, but I walk up to the drive-up window and get more cash than my debit card could have allowed.? We meet up with friends Ned and Lorna, and? Russ pose for pictures with our passports. WE get our walkie talkies ready to communicate while on the road and we?re off for Canada!? Oh yes, Terry left  his full coffee mug on the dash so the first few feet of the journey I spent scrambling to mop up the coffee from his GPS cords, computer cables, the dash, the floor.  Boy this is fun!

Beautiful scenery and a beautiful day for driving.? With? 75,500 miles on our motorhome we arrive at the Canadian Border Crossing at Eastport, Canada which is north? of? Bonner?s Ferry,? Idaho. It?s a short line with only our 2 friends in front of us.? They are both stopped, asked the usual customs questions and instructed to pull over for a search.? Our turn through the narrow gates. ? Please turn off your engine sir.?? Terry? answers the usual questions.? How much alcohol do you have on board?? Answer 6 bottles of wine.? Question: any beer?? Oh yes? 2 cans.? What size are the wine bottles?? Terry answers, the size you get in a restaurant.? Question: is that the 720 ml size?? Answer yes I guess so.? Question: How many beers do you have.? Answer 2.? Question: how much cash do you have on board?? Answer about a thousand dollars. Question: Do you have more than $2,000 cash on board?? Answer NO.? We are instructed to pull over and wait for what we assume will be our inspection but the lanes in front of us are filled with our friends and their big rigs so we pull in front of them and manage to block the truck lane.? Officer instructs us to pull up on the other side of the yellow Welcome to British Columbia sign and wait.? We do.? We watch as friends behind us now are searched, slides opened, cupboards opened, drawers opened.? They are cleared and we wait for someone to come look at us. No one comes, so Terry hikes back to the customs office and we are told we cleared.? No one came even to speak to us. The sad part of this is that while waiting I figure out that with the partly opened bottle of wine in the refrigerator I actually had 7 bottles and did not want to be caught with any untruths.? ?So I poured ? bottle of wine down the sink while we waited for the inspection which did not occur.? Sigh?..(should have drank it)

First stop in Canada is a tourist information center under some trees.? Before Terry? follows others into? the parking? lots he radios, ?Is there room for me??? Yep is the answer. However when we drive down the hill and through the narrow lot, I hear a terrible sound.? Have you ever heard the sound of an aluminum can crushing?? I look for the trash can we most likely hit, or the car to be smashed on a rock.? Terry thinks he has knocked the antenna off the top by the overhanging tree branch. Terry decides this is not the place he wants to stop so we drive off on our adventure to Alaska, alone.? Several miles down the road we pull into a beautiful rest stop and to survey the damage to the rig.? He circles the rig, climbs on top and? can only find dirt.? No damage.? Whew, we seemed to have dodged this one. A lovely travel day though scenic drive with snow capped mountains, green grass, raging rivers and a beautiful rest stop. We are ?In? for the night.? I went for a walk and discovered Columbia Lake just over the ridge from our parking spot.? Information kiosk reveals this is the source of the Columbia River which is the 4th largest river on the continent.? It empties into the Pacific Ocean? at Astoria Oregon. I?m impressed.
As I contemplate dinner, our friends pull up with a crock pot full of pot roast so we dine at the picnic table along the road overlooking the mountains. (No wine with dinner) However we have good TV signal, good internet connection and a good start to the trip.? Next stop:? Banff.

Statistics:? Miles driven? 199
? ? ? Wildlife sightings:? two deer, humming bird, robins, chipmunks at rest stop.
Camping:? boondocking at reststop? ?No cost.
 

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Lorna

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Hi everyone

As Betty stated it was a great day for entering Canada on our first trip to Alaska.? While waiting at the border crossing Ned and I discovered that we had not signed our passports so quickly did that before they asked for them.? We had not used them since getting them.? While the Brewers drove on ahead of Russ, Ned and I at Cranbrook the three of us were able to meet with Gordy and Linda McMillan for coffee at their home.? We met them at Quartzsite in January.? They have a beautiful log home and hopefully Russ will post a picture of it.? We had a wonderful visit with them.? On to Banff tomorrow.
 

Shayne

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Lorna- Sorry I didn't include you and Ned in my earlier comment, with Russ, Terry and Betty, Gordy and Linda. Enjoy the journey.
 

Tom

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Thanks for the report and photos Betty. Keep them coming!
 

Jeff

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Oh yes, Terry left  his full coffee mug on the dash so the first few feet of the journey I spent scrambling to mop up the coffee from his GPS cords, computer cables, the dash, the floor.  Boy this is fun!

Betty:

Aren't you glad you have that all behind you so you can enjoy the next few months. ;D
 

Betty Brewer

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DAY 2      May 25, 2006  Rest stop South of Radium Springs to Banff, Canada.
After a morning walk to the hillside overlooking the Columbia Lake we headed out.  It was one of those drives  which left you with a ?WOW? around each corner.  The rigs behind us radioed a bear sighting along the road but it does not count for us as we did not see it.  We did see many geese and a herd of Mountain sheep along side the road.  We easily found the Tunnel Mountain RV Park in Banff.  We paid $120.00 Canadian for a pass to visit all Canadian National Parks upon entering the Banff National Park .  We then entered the Tunnel Mountain Park and got a view sight with electric only. I can?t believe there is an RV park in the world with a better view.  Our first order of business was money exchange and the visitor?s center for tourist information.  After a tour of the tourist shops on the main street, Terry and I took a drive around the local lakes.  An afternoon nap later we held happy hour with friends  and planned tomorrow.

Statistics:  Miles driven 114
Wildlife sightings:  A dozen or more Long horn sheep sitting peacefully along the road, several ground hogs here at the park, a couple of eagles. (one missed bear sighting)
Camping:  4 Nights electric only - $112.00 Canadian
 

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Betty Brewer

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Day 3 May 26, 2006  Tunnel Mountain RV Park, Banff, Alberta, Canada

What a difference a day makes.  I had my head in the clouds all day.  I awoke to the pitter patter of rain on the roof and it rained all day.  It did get all the way up to 39 degrees and snow is predicted for tomorrow.  We had planned a drive to Lake Louise but that was rained out.  We dined out for lunch at a Greek restaurant and toured Canada Place which is a big old (built in 1936) stone building which holds the offices of the National Parks superintendent. A small reception area hosts tourists with interactive displays on the formations of Canada. Our guide was a young man proud to be from Manitoba.  He allowed me a chance to practice my French.  Did you know that these inventions were made by Canadians?  Telephone, radio, instant mashed potatoes, lots of things to do with hockey, the self-propelled combine and many others I can?t recall.  We also viewed a video with the scenery from each of the 10 Provinces of Canada.  This country still has lots of untamed territory.  Many places made it to our list of places to visit someday.  We hope it clears tomorrow? but if it does not, I will shop at the cute little touristy shops in town.

Statistics: 37 hundredths of an inch of rain.  All  mountain views in the clouds.
 

Shayne

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Terry might be in trouble again if it rains.  Where's he store all the stuff from these shopping ventures. OR is he wanting me to bring my trailer up to meet you/
 

Wendy

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Feel free to send any of that rain down this way. We are soooo dry here in Colorado.
 

Ron from Big D

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Betty:

      You are seeing beauty as good as anything you will encounter in Alaska, so enjoy it while you can.  Alaska is far more remote however and untouched.  The drive from Banff to Jasper needs to be taken slowly and view all the off-shoots.  Thanks for sharing the photos. ;D

 

Betty Brewer

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Ron from Big D said:
? ? ? You are seeing beauty as good as anything you will encounter in Alaska, so enjoy it while you can.? Alaska is far more remote however and untouched.? The drive from Banff to Jasper needs to be taken slowly and view all the off-shoots.?

Ron,
When we were here for the Calgary Stampede a dozen years ago, we did not take the trip to Jasper and Terry has been disappointed since.  We will sit here and wait for the clouds to lift before we move on.  He does not want to miss this one. Our plan is to move the rig  to an RV park in Jasper  when weather clears and then drive in the car for easier access to pull off for photo ops and  the "ahhh haaa" moments. Thanks for reinforcing the idea.

Betty
 

Smoky

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LOL Betty on the pre crossing binge.  ;D

I guess, given the back and forth crossings, we will plan about 6 months ahead to deplete ourselves with many parties, and maybe store our special single malts with friends.  I never expected this aspect of border crossings.  Looks like we will have to spend more time in bars in Canada so we don't get caught with too much coming back heheh.
 

Terry A. Brewer

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Here are some general shots of the Banff area.
 

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Wendy

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Awesome scenery. Love the pic of the rentals. Looks a bit cold in the picnic table pic.
 

ArdraF

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Your notes and photos are all bringing back fond memories.  It does look a little chilly.  Meanwhile we'll be attending the hottest Indy 500 in history!  ;)  Just want you to know we're wearing shorts now.  ;D

ArdraF
 

Wendy

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Hot Indy or cold Canada, enjoy your travels and think of me home doing yard work.
 

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