Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ticking off the miles from Dawson City to Vancouver.

We have now traveled 1,905 miles from Dawson City and are still in Canada, traversing through two provinces, Yukon Territory and British Columbia.  The group left Dawson City on the 18th of August and drove the entire length of the Klondike Highway.  Our return to Whitehorse brought a return of our friend, the windshield repairman.  Both Ehlenberg's and Murley's were the recipients of Canadian road rocks and had to have the holes filled in our coach windshields.
Glass repairman repairing chipped  windshield

Wanting to visit Skagway, we decided to stay in Whitehorse for 2 days and use the second day to drive the 100 plus miles, one way, and cross back in into Alaska one more time.  Since we have been following the "gold rush frenzy" history, we wanted to see where many of the people arrived to start their trek over the famous Chilcoot Trail, on their way to Dawson City and riches beyond their wildest dreams.
The Chilcoot Trail Head
Heading out on Chilcoot Trail

The next stop was a return visit to Watson lake where we were able to stop at the famous "Sign Forest" and leave our group sign which is now hanging with about 75,000 others.  The people of that town do a remarkable job making sure the "forest" is there and available for others making the trip from their hometowns.
View of sign post forrest 
The five of us around our sign contribution

Our signs posted in the sign forrest
Six days later, we arrived in Stewart, BC, hoping to see bear feeding on salmon in  Fish Creek in Hyder, AK.  It is a 40 mile drive in, off the Cassier Highway, to Stewart, a town of about 700 people.  From there you need to drive 7 miles to the American border and enter Hyder, AK, population less than 100  then, another 9 miles out to the famous 600 foot long boardwalk.  The Park Rangers told us early morning or late evening were the best for viewing.  Everyone but Tam got up early the next morning in hopes of a sighting, no luck.  Several bears were spotted on the roadway near the river but none were seen in the river, although many people were hanging out for hours in hopes of a glimpse of just one.  We stopped back several times but, again, no luck.  We did spend one afternoon driving up to view Salmon Glacier, the 5th largest glacier in Canada.  This would be our last time in Alaska so decided to dine at the bus "Seafood Express," a landmark eatery in Hyder, quite the experience!
Boardwalk for viewing bears feeding on salmon

Momma bear with cubs on roadway along viewing stream
Our last meal in Alaska and it was Halibut for all of us.
The Murley's were leading the caravan the next morning and had a black bear run out from the bushes into the road, think about it and run back across into the same bushes.  Applying the breaks to avoid an accident, Rich, second in line, went flying past in the oncoming lane.  All we heard on the radio was "sorry Ray."  Seems he looked down momentarily at his gages and when he looked up, he needed about 3 more coach lengths to stop, so he took the only way out and, unexpectedly, took the lead.

Three days later, we arrived in Cache Creek, BC.  What a scenic drive into that town.  The locals refer to it as a "low desert."  They say if you can irrigate it they can grow it.  We saw many instances of lush green on the desert floor and stark steep barren hills.
The surrounding hills are desert and the irrigated valley is lush green
The next morning brought a change to our group.  The Ehlenberg's left on their anticipated start toward their long drive back to Alabama, Rich decided to stay on one more day for health reasons and we headed for Vancouver, the first time we have been separated for more the a few hours since the trip began except for Rich's absence on two occasions.

This part of the journey is over but we will meet up with Rich in the lower 48 and continue our wonderful experience.  We will all get together in January for the usual winter filled with great rallies.

We have finally left the potholes, dusty roads, no shoulders and twists and turns of Canadian and Alaskan  roadways.  Leaving Hope, we discovered the road turned into a 4 lane divided highway,  a welcome experience.  Vancouver will be home to us for the next 4 days as we play tourist in a town new to us.

What we will NOT miss now?  Let's see - the list goes something like this:  high fuel prices, expensive groceries, cold damp days, overinflated restaurant prices, lack of phone/internet services for days on end, no TV, cold damp days, only 30 amp service (because we need 50 amps to run our clothes dryer, so we have seen many loonies and toonies dropped in laundromat dryers), wilderness driving, cold damp days, watching for wildlife, dusty and often full of pothole roads or when wet - sloppy muddy roads, card lock fueling stations and leaves already turning and falling.  Did you get the idea we really got tired of cold damp days?

The problems with the coaches were pretty minimal considering the beating they took, cudos to Monaco.  The Ehlenberg's middle AC unit failed as did their fireplace and one of their tire pressure sensors.  Jack replaced one windshield wiper on the coach and one on his toad and needs to replace the other one.  They also needed to be towed in Anchorage because their starter failed.  Rich had his entry door handle break which necessitated him keeping one window unlocked in case he was unable to enter from the door (not a pretty sight!) and his Jeep front tire went flat in Dawson City from a loose valve stem.  We lost our rear AC unit, have a leaking driver's side window and entry steps that would not retract until a full can of WD 40 was applied to wash out all of the dust and mud that collected on them.  Not to be forgotten are the windshield stars.  Rich had 3 on his jeep, Jack and Betty had 1 on their coach and we took 3 to our coach windshield.  Fortunately, everything that happened did so in a safe place and was usually repairable.

We will be crossing the border into Washington State on Labor Day.  Our only obligation in the near future is to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for 4 days in mid-October with Rich and 78 other Monaco coaches.  By October 13th, we will be heading east across I 40 and back to Florida, nearly 6 months after leaving on April 24, 2014 on our most anticipated Alaska Oddysey.  What a trip!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment