Homeward Bound

Wow, can’t believe I did not write and post this a year ago when we got home. Anyhow, I am writing it now and posting it for the record.

With our stint as campground hosts at Hawley’s Landing completed, we hitched up Bertha and went back to Colbert, WA to spend a few more days with the kids and grandkids before heading home. I replaced the main AC unit as planned and the starter motor on the truck which wasn’t planned. John was a big help with both projects and all went well. We did a little travel preparation shopping and then simply enjoyed time with family.

It is September 17th and since all good things must end someday: We’ve said our good-byes and we are headed south, back to our remodeling project and our Tucson friends.

Our first day took us back to Indian Creek RV in Deer Lodge Montana where we spent the night. The next morning found us on the road again heading across Montana to Billings where we stayed at the very first KOA campground. Ok, nothing really exciting, but a decent enough place and certainly a landmark in RV history.

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Staying at the KOA in Billings, Mt

Off we go again, now on to Kaycee, Wy. Home of rodeo bareback champion and country music star Chris Ledoux. While here we visited the Chris LeDoux Park and a very fine museum of early Wyoming ranching.

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Chris LeDoux

 

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The First Kaycee Jailhouse

 

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Staying at Kaycee RV Park

The last of the consecutive days of driving. We are driving on to Cheyenne, WY where we will spend a day sightseeing and resting.

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A Herd of Bison

 

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One of the Many Sculptures around Cheyenne

 

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Our “Premium” Site at Bison Ranch

We found Cheyenne to be a charming modern city that is very proud of it’s roots. Unfortunately, the Bison Ranch was a disgustingly filthy and overpriced tourist trap.  If we were to come this way again we would find other accommodations.

Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, WY

276 Miles from Cheyenne Took us to Rock Springs, Wyoming where we spent the night at the Sweetwater Events Complex. Though not by any means pretentious we would recommend this a great stop. The staff was friendly, the sites level and clean and we shared happy-hour with some great neighbors. We couldn’t wish for more.

Back at the Provo UT Elks Lodge

We have planned a day of site seeing so will spend a second night here.

 

Elaine With Waterfall

 

The View From 8060 Feet

We took a driving tour Northeast of Provo, gaining about 3,500 feet in elevation, where we had beautiful mountain views and bought some really good apples from a roadside market.

St George Elk Rv Parking

With 2 nights in St George (our last R&R stop) We headed to the Red Reef Area near Leeds, Utah for an easy day hike.

Red Reef Trail

 

Another View of the Red Reef Trail

Sad to say just a two more nights and we will be back in reality.

Will I still be able to deal that?

Zuni Village RV in Kingman, AZ

 

KOA Journey in Gila Bend, AZ

Our last 2 nights on the road for this long journey. It September 31st and we are home safe and sound. This has been an awesome trip. I wonder where our hearts will lead us next.
Your Random Rovers

Denali, Anchorage, and Seward

An all-day bus tour of Denali National Park was in our schedule today. On it, we saw lots of flowers, wildlife, and of course some awesome scenery. Unfortunately Mt Denali, previously Mt McKinley, spent the entire day hiding in the clouds. The weather was misty, cloudy, and damp but we felt lucky as some people come here and all they get is pouring rain.

How did that mushroom sneak into the flower gallery?

In addition to the caribou, grizzly bear, and grouse above we also saw moose, deer (sorry no pictures) and lots of other small animals.

 

 

Although the day was less than photogenic we had a good time and would highly recommend the Denali tour. After the tour, we took in the visitor center and returned to the hotel for dinner. For the last 2 days of our land tour, we will be traveling by train to Anchorage and then on to Seward where we will board the Westerdam for a 7-day cruise back to Vancouver.

 

 

Some of the Scenery Heading to Anchorage

In Anchorage, we stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel. In the evening we decided to go find some fish & chips for dinner which we did and then returned to our room to rest up for the next day. Since we did not have to leave until after 11 AM we went out to breakfast rather than trying one of the hotel restaurants. After that, we sauntered off to the nearby Saturday craft market which we enjoyed. Then it was time to head to the train for Seward.

The ride to Seward was highlighted by many glaciers and mountain scenes. We saw a number of Dall sheep but I was unable to get any pictures.

Overall the land portion of our trip was something that we will always remember. It was both exhausting and worthwhile. Our Alaska trip would never have felt complete had we simply done the cruise and seen some of the port cities. We will be stopping in numerous port cities on the way back.

Looking forward to some shipboard relaxation,
Your Random Rover, Gordon

Off to Denali

This morning we boarded a chartered jet to fly from Dawson, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska. You guessed it! Once again through customs as we are heading back into the USA. From the airport we took a bus into town and got a short narrated tour of Fairbanks and a stop in downtown for a lunch break where we had ice cream and enjoyed the park.

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Then off to our hotel and  on our own for the afternoon. We shopped the town a little and went to the heritage center.

Moose and cariboo antlers form this arch
Athabaskan Antler Arch

Over 100 moose and cariboo antlers form this arch leading into the Morris Thompson Heritage Center. The arch is meant to evoke memories of adventures and times spent together. We spent quite a while touring the excellent exhibits here. Wandered the town a little more, found some local craft beer, and went back to our hotel for dinner.

The next morning it was back on the bus for more adventures.

We stopped and learned a little about the famous Alyeska Pipeline.


Hopped aboard a train of the amusement park variety to go see a gold dredge and then…

Panned for gold! As you can see we did pretty well. (Those little specks add up to about $40 dollars worth!)  Back on the bus and on to Anchorage.

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This was a nice stop with lots of nice jewelry but didn’t buy any.  Back aboard and off to Denali where we will spend 2 nights, our chance to see one of the many wonders of  Alaska. We can’t wait to get off the bus and relax but don’t want to miss anything.

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This is the view from our hotel room just outside of Denali National Park. We shopped some of the tourist stuff, found some dinner, crashed and got ready for our park tour tomorrow.

Today was one more great thread in our tapestry of adventure, with more to come,

Your random rover

From Skagway, AK to Dawson, YT

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Volendam in port at Skagway

July 13th: We left the Volendam to start our land tour of The Yukon and Alaska. We spent the afternoon and night here in Skagway.

 

Downtown Skagway

I took these pictures in the very early morning. In season, Skagway is a very busy tourist destination. We shopped and visited various interesting stores and museums here at the start of the gold rush trail.

 

Steam Engine and Plow

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On The WhitePass & Yukon Route

In the morning we rode this narrow gauge railroad up the Chilcoot trail to Fraser crossing into the Yukon Territory.

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Steep, Treacherous, And Beautiful

It was much easier for us than it was for the prospectors who carried all their supplies up the trail. It took the earlier travelers up to a week to get this far as they had to move their necessities in stages going up the steep grade.  (One ton of equipment, food, and other needs was required by law to head up the trail.)  At Fraser, which is near the summit (2,885ft), we cleared Canadian customs and left the train to proceed via tour bus to Carcross, YT.

 


Carcross, home of the Tagish/Carcross First Nation, was known as Caribou Crossing, YT until 1904 when it was renamed because the Canadian postal system started having miss-delivery problems with Caribou Crossing, BC. We spent a pleasurable hour or so here shopping and stretching our legs before heading on to Whitehorse, YT.

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Miles Canyon

About 10 minutes from Whitehorse we stopped to view Miles Canyon, a basaltic canyon carved by the Yukon river, that when combined with the Whitehorse rapids  was a major impediment to travel on the way to the gold fields. I should note that though Whitehorse, the capitol city of the Yukon, has many attractions worth visiting we simply took a short walk through town, did a little shopping, and went out to dinner as I was not feeling well and we were both tired.  Tomorrow we are off to the historic town of Dawson, the miner’s gold rush destination.

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Montague Roadhouse

Our first stop, the remnants of one of the road houses along the Whitehorse/Dawson Overland Trail. The roadhouses and their companion buildings served as shelters, restaurants, and stables for the arduous 6 to 10 day trip. We will make the entire one day in a modern coach. We took a rest stop at the village of Carmacs where we checked out a combination hardware store, gas station, and gift shop. The coffee was ok and we did get to stretch our legs.

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Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River

We took another break here at the only difficult stretch of water for the miners headed to Dawson.  Named Five Fingers because four islands break the river into five channels, four of which can be deadly.  Though it looks peaceful in the photo, the currents are powerful and run in multiple directions around the basalt islands.

We had a nice buffet style lunch at a pleasant RV campground on the bank of the river and then headed on toward Dawson City.

 

This is Moose Creek Lodge, our last place to stretch and relax today.

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Main Street Dawson

We finally made it! This was the longest day of the gold rush tour but we will spend 2 nights here and hopefully get a little rest while we do some sightseeing tomorrow. They are still actively mining in this area and there is much history to explore. By the way the highway is the only paved street in town.

 

The cabins of Robert Service and Jack London

Of course, we shopped the town, and visited some of the museums and visitor centers. Dawson was home to Jack London, famous novelist, short story writer, and chronicler of the gold rush era and also to Robert Service the most famous bard of the period.

 

Some Sights Of Dawson, YT

Tomorrow we fly to Fairbanks, AK so we get to go through customs again, Yipee!

May all your travels lead to happiness, your Random Rover

A Few Days With Family

 

Prior to heading off to Alaska and the Yukon Territory we had a few days with our Spokane family (John and Laura and their respective clans) and then a little more time with family in Port Ludlow, WA (Phil and Anette).

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Happy Birthday!

For Delaney’s special day we had a patriotic birthday party.

 

Complete with fireworks!

We also had time to help with a few projects. Our time was short, but knew we would be back in Spokane again before heading south for the winter.  With cruise embarkation getting emanate we left Bertha (our 5th wheel) at John’s and headed west over the Snoqualmie Pass and across Puget Sound to visit with brother Phil and sister-in-law Anette. 

We had a wonderful time catching up with some of Phil’s clan. There are no better hosts anywhere. We were able to go out crabbing twice and of course that meant that we gorged multiple times on the best of all the crustaceans. 

Live Dungeness Crab
Live Dungeness Crab

All too soon it was time to move on again. So we went off on another Washington State Ferry to Whidbey Island and then north to Birch Bay for a last night in the USA before departing from Vancouver, BC.

Ready to Drive off Whidbey Island Ferry
Ready to Drive off Whidbey Island Ferry

I have been remiss not posting until now, but there are so many pictures to go through and remembered events to put in order. I am working on posts about our cruise north , our land and air travels through the Yukon Territory and Alaska, and finally our cruise back south.

Enjoy what you have while you can,

Your Random Rover, Gordon

Idaho and Montana

An overnight at the Bannock County Fairgrounds in Pocatello, Idaho was our reward for the pleasant run up from Provo, UT. We have stayed here before and liked it because it is a quiet park like setting and easy to drive to. Though normally mostly empty it is impossible to use when they are having an event. If you want to stay here check the event calendar.

Our Site In Pocatello

A short day on the road placed us in Deer Lodge, Montana at the foot of the Rocky Mountains for our last stop before Spokane. We spent 2 nights here. It is a pleasant commercial park with only moderate freeway noise.

Picturesque Indian Creek RV

For our spare day’s entertainment we went to the The Sweet Palace and also shopped the rest of historic Phillipsburg, MT.

A Very Nice Day to Visit Phillipsburg

Hoping all your journeys are as pleasant as our past few days,
Your Random Rover, Gordon

Up Through Utah

Through northwest Arizona and southeast Nevada to Saint George. The Elks have a nice lodge here bordered by red rock cliffs on one side and a sumptuous golf course on the other . It is very hard to believe that we are only 5 or so minutes from downtown in this country setting.

Site 4 Saint George Elks
Site 4 Saint George Elks

Because of construction delays it took about half an hour to go four miles driving up the Virgin River Gorge on our way up from Las Vegas. It was 124 on the truck’s thermometer though I suspect it was really around 111. It felt like 124 as the AC simply couldn’t keep up until we started moving again. We did, however, make it here and in good shape. There were a number of vehicles that we saw receiving professional assistance. (The tow trucks were busy.) The next morning was very pleasant so we headed out to a local park that we had passed on before because it was too hot, we were too tired or we simply didn’t have the time.

Beautiful, Informative — Spend some time here!

If you are ever in the area this is a wonderful stop. We got lots of ideas for fixing up the landscape at home while enjoying a pleasant stroll. Almost all of the plants were well marked so I took as many pictures of the signs as I did plants. From there we enjoyed another very nice stop at the Keyenta Art Village which is an enclave of very nice galleries that span works from art through craft. Back to town to pick up a few things including fuel for tomorrow when we hit the road again heading to Provo, UT.

Provo Elks Site 2

As you can see the Provo Elks have “parking lot” sites. The lodge itself is very nice. We have stayed here before and will most likely do it again as it is fairly quiet and extremely convenient. Tomorrow we are off to Pocatello, ID.

Keeping the shiny side up and a silly grin on my face,
Your Random Rover, Gordon

Heading North Summer 2019

Almost Ready To Roll

Pull Slides In, Hitch Up, and Roll Down the Road
A synopsis of our plans

With Tucson temperatures around 107 F every day for the past week it is definitely time to start. It is June 17th, Bertha is ready to go and so are we. Our plans have us leaving on the 19th and traveling less than 300 mile on any given day with a couple of 2 night stops on the way to Spokane WA, our first destination, to see the kids and grands. After leaving Bertha with son John we will head to Port Ludlow WA to spend some time with Brother Phil and his lovely wife.

From there we are off to Vancouver BC where we will embark on a 3 day cruise to Alaska. Off the ship and onto an 8 day land tour of the Yukon Territory and Alaska followed a 7 day cruise back to Vancouver BC where we go back to reality, and start doing some of the daily chores of living again. The first will be driving back to Spokane.

Interesting Note: If I understand correctly, since these are international voyages (Canada/US and US/Canada) we get the privilege of going through customs numerous times. For instance day 1: Canadian customs at border crossing into Canada at Blaine and as the ships destination is Alaska, US Customs before getting onto cruise ship.

We plan to stop on the way back because we figure by the time we clear customs (twice) and actually hit the road it will be mid afternoon. Back in Spokane we will need to quickly reorganize and depart for Heyburn Lake State Park in Idaho where we will be volunteer camp hosts for a little over a month before we even consider heading homeward.

I will post along the way as time and internet connections allow and hope that you will follow along.
Your random rover, Gordon

An Update From Tucson, AZ

I lied. I am writing this post from New Mexico. As we now live in Arizona, the title isn’t completely false.

I lied. I am writing this post from New Mexico. As we now live in Arizona, the title isn’t completely false.

We have been very busy for the past few months. First we spent weeks and weeks looking for a suitable house. Of course, once we found it, we then had to go through the process of buying it.

What we found was/is a fixer in southeast Tucson. That’s OK because it is allowing us to make it the way we want it. It is and will continue to be a lot of work.

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Street View

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Yes! There is a shop.

We are having all the old windows replaced. We’ve had the old evaporative cooler completely removed. The heating and ac systems have been checked out and are in excellent condition. We have already re-keyed all the locks, added some new weather-stripping, thresholds, and sweeps, put in a new salt free water softener system, replaced the dishwasher, refrigerator, and washer and dryer, put in a new kitchen faucet, replaced the thermostat, and some of the light fixtures and so many other things I don’t recall them all.

Inside we have started by completely redoing the master suite. We removed the popcorn ceiling, removed and replaced all of the flooring, replaced/moved the vanity, replaced the shower plumbing, shower door, added a shower bench, replaced the vents and all of the lighting. Not to mention realigning a few walls and installing all new closet cabinets, shelving and rods. Wow, it’s all new!!

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Dated,  Cluttered, and Tired

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Light, Airy, New!!

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Shower is nice now

With the first phase done, we decided to take a short break and head back to one of favorite quiet retreats, Columbus, NM. AKA, Pancho Villa State Park. So here we are 232 miles and several light years from our new home, relaxing.  While we are here I intend to finish the new kitchen design and Elaine is working on some curtains. But it is not all work. Today we went to The Pink Store (AKA La Tienda Rosa) in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua where we shopped for some decorations and found a very nice painting that will be perfect for the master bath. Tomorrow we head to Deming, NM to do a little shopping. Some will be necessities (Walmart), some “must haves” (the very best mexican chorizo from EL Reys Carniceria) , and some niceties (like books from Readers Cove).

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Here We Are At Pancho Villa

It is springtime and the desert wildflowers are all around us. I took these pictures during a quick walk around the park.

Another short walk and more flowers. Our wet winter is paying off.

Our respite ends today so we’ll clean up, pack up and head back home.

Wishing you happy adventures and safe travels wherever you wander.

Your Random Rover, Gordon

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