Watson Lake

August 30, 2014

Lookie what we saw today! We have determined that there are more bears in Canada than in Alaska. Mom and her three cubs were out for a stroll along the highway.

w4 w3 w2

 

We traveled the road between Whitehorse and Watson Lake today, party cloudy and no rain. Beautiful scenery and more traffic than we have seen thus far. We are staying in an RV park just outside of Watson Lake and there is a group of 27 motor homes all traveling together – must be why we saw more folks on the road today.

We crossed the Continental Divide today. The rivers on the eastern side empty into the Arctic ocean and the rivers on the western side empty into the Bering Sea. The black spruce really stand out right now with their unusual shape and color.

w1

The people we meet in the RV parks have been talking about how they have seen the northern lights. We have managed to not be in the right place at the right time but tonight is looking better for us to see the lights. It is a bit cloudy but not solid clouds so I think we will set an alarm and check the sky about midnight. We will let you know tomorrow!

Cliff and Cyndy

Advertisements

Whitehorse

August 29, 2014

When you talk about driving to Alaska, people always make comments about the roads. Some have heard they are bad and others who have driven the Alcan highway, know they are bad. We had another day of awful roads and they were really bad! Yesterday we had about 30 miles of gravel roads and today we had about 30 miles of patched roads – it would be a tossup as to which was the worst! Thankfully, we had everything tucked away inside the trailer so no damage, well no damage that we can see. Who knows what bolts and screws came loose under the trailer. When the wheels fall off we will blame it on these roads!

It was hard to watch the road with scenery like this. We moved from the coastal mountains onto the high plateau. We made it to Whitehorse under partly cloudy skies but no rain today. It is cooling off in the evenings, down into the 40’s.

We will be in Watson Lake tomorrow, heading for the Stewart Cassiar Highway. We will be taking a different way home than the way we drove up to Alaska in May. Maybe we will finally see a grizzly bear! Everywhere we go we ask about grizzlies and we always hear about one that was just seen a few days ago. Hmmm, not helpful…..

We had a nice chat with our friends at AT&T to set up our international plans. We had an entire day with no service on our phones and we expect more places along the way where that will happen again. WiFi is hit or miss and we have learned that not everyone is truthful about if they have wifi or not. We are struggling to not get frustrated by phones, computers, WiFi and technology in general but we are spoiled Americans used to having our WiFi when we want it!

z1 z3 z2

Cliff and Cyndy

Farewell Alaska!

August 28, 2014

Our travels took us to North Pole AK last night. The whole town is crazy into the Christmas theme with santas and reindeer everywhere. The light poles are all wrapped to look like candy canes. Cliff was very disappointed that the reindeer did not fly!

y1

We started our journey “outside” today and it was sad when we hit the border of Alaska and crossed into the Yukon Territory. The drive was beautiful and we noticed fall colors everywhere. We have enjoyed our summer and plan to come back next year.

y3

 

y2

Cliff and Cyndy

 

Denali and Fairbanks

August 27, 2014

We were great tourists, showed up early for our 6:30am tour of Denali with snacks, binoculars, camera and rain gear. We needed the rain gear the most! We saw no grizzlies, no moose, one itty bitty ptarmigan bird standing in the rain on the side of the road and no view or even a glimpse of Mt. McKinley. We will definitely need to go back as the park, even shrouded in clouds and pouring rain, it is beautiful.

d3

We headed to Fairbanks after the tour and the closer we got to Fairbanks the better the weather. We had an absolutely gorgeous evening, camped along the river. Cliff managed to get his computer fixed, get his hearing aid fixed and got the truck looked at the next morning. We were all fixed!

We noticed that the trees and vegetation do not grow as high as in other places because of the amount of top soil lying on top of the permafrost. The thicker the top soil, the taller the trees. It also explains why the trees stop growing in the park at around 2,500 feet in elevation as they just don’t have enough top soil.

Tall thick trees meant that they had a deep layer of top soil.

Tall thick trees mean that they have a deep layer of top soil.

Notice how thick the forest’s undergrowth is.  No wonder the earlier settlers traveled by water.

Here the growth is much shorter which means less top soil.  No way you could ride a horse through this.

Here the growth is a little shorter which means less top soil. No way you could ride a horse through this.

In this area the vegetation  was still shorter.  Notice the color change, fall is coming.

In this area the vegetation was still shorter. Notice the color change, fall is coming.

We parked last night on the bank of the Chena River in Fairbanks.

We parked on the bank of the Chena River in Fairbanks.

The only thing that make Fairbanks any different than any other city in the lower 48 is that it can get over 40 below zero here in the winter time and stay there for a week.  Downtown business have electric plugs in their parking lots so that you can plug in your car’s block heater while you are shopping otherwise you might not be able to get it started again.

In Fairbanks, the sunrise on June 21 is at 4:20am and it sets at 11:40pm. When the winter solstice comes around on December 21, the sun comes up at 10:12am and goes down at 3:41pm. All in all, more messed up people who don’t know when they should be asleep and when they should be awake!

Cliff and Cyndy

 

Fall has arrived!

August 25, 2014

We drove today from Talkeetna to Denali in the rain, clouds, fog and cold weather. Fall has arrived, making a beautiful place look even more amazing. We are staying in an RV Park just outside the park and it looks like an Estes Park kind of place with restaurants, shops and everything a tourist might want. A person does not just go driving around in Denali, you must take one of the tours and we are signed up for the 6:30am tour tomorrow. Once a year they open the roads for cars but there is  lottery system in place to control the number of cars allowed into the park for that one day. We are excited to see this park and we blog tomorrow with our impressions!

photo

photo

P1020412

Cyndy and Cliff

 

 

 

 

Talkeetna

August 24, 2014

Hi Family and Friends! Thanks for your emails and phone calls wondering what we are doing and why we have not posted anything to the blog. We are fine, just not doing anything worthy of blog space! Today we started on our way back to the lower 48 so we will be posting again to the blog. There is an option on the blog to have an email sent to you every time we post – I think it is at the bottom of the page.

We said goodbye to our new friends at the Sterling Community Center on Friday night at a dinner honoring the 60 some volunteers that help out. It was nice to be a part of this community for 2 1/2 months and join a team of people with community as their goal. We lived in the parking lot and “guarded” the building – mostly from kids on ATV’s and motorcycles! We also said goodbye to our friends Dave and Rochelle Schneider with dinner at a new restaurant called The Flats. The view of the river was spectacular and the food was also spectacular! We will miss you, Dave and Rochelle and thanks for making us feel at home on the Kenai Peninsula.

P1020411

The day is rainy and cool, fall is in the air. We drove back through Anchorage and once again it felt weird to be in the big city! We stopped to pick up Cliff’s now repaired computer, grab some lunch and headed out to Talkeetna. The drive was like every other drive in Alaska, amazingly beautiful. The problem with this state is that there are just too many trees – they make it hard to see the wildlife, rivers, ocean and mountains!

P1020409

Talkeetna is at the base of Mt. McKinley and a staging place for just about any adventure you can think of – land, air, water, etc. We had dinner in the local brew pub because they have the best food! Cliff tried the root beer, I tried the house malbec and we shared a thai shrimp dish and called it a good evening.

Our plan is to move on to Denali tomorrow and spend a couple of days, take the bus tour of the park on Wednesday. We will head to Fairbanks for a couple of days and then start down the Alaskan Highway towards Banff and Lake Louise. We are planning to be in Northern Idaho by the middle of September to start our volunteer job at Dworshak Dam.

Thanks for reading our blog!

Cliff and Cyndy