joysofdickandjune

Our Fantastic Alaskan RV Trip- Part 1 of 4

In postaweek2011, RVing on January 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Leaving Florida for Alaska

WoW ! , Here I am, sitting here typing an opening statement to my first Blog.  I was beginning to think that I would never get to this point. It has been several months since the day that I decided to blog.You see, we are of the “older Generation” now, and, of course, retired. We have had a wonderful life together since our marriage in 1951. Yes, I know, that was a long time ago, but heck, we have been so busy having fun and enjoying the things that nature put on earth for us to have fun with, that time just seemed to “zip” on by. I kept a sort of loose type of logs, on each year that we RVed. I plan to test the “Blogging Arena”soon  with trips that we took(with the help of my logs) and other subjects that are of interest to me and  perhaps, to you….I may do a political blog or two, because our leaders seem to have so little empathy for the public in general.(And then, I may not- I get so P.O.ed at them in general)

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(I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan Island,..but it  turned out to be an optical Aleutian)

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Dick & June at mile one

Alaska-Here we come.

In 1997 we signed up for the Camping World President’s  Club 38 Day Alaskan Caravan tour. We  wanted to go in 1996, but we had waited too long and the tour was sold out. Needless to say, we signed up earlier in 1997. We had talked about setting off on our own, but decided against it as a bad idea. I’m sure that you know people that could  plan out an Alaskan trip for themselves, pack up their RV and go where they planned, have a fantastic time, come home and talk for  hours on where they had gone and what they had done . Not us!! If we planned a trip, we would pack up and go, have a pretty good  time, come home and people would  ask us if we saw this and did we do that, and I would say “heck no, was all that stuff there”. Thats the reason we took the Caravan tour, they  know all the things that people want to see and want to do..And you always have a camp site when you get there.                    I will  do the posts  by following our daily logs from our trip.

Alaskan Hwy-Dawson Creek

6/16/97) We arrived at Dawson Creek, BC. Checked in and got a Camp site, Got the RV set up.

(6/17/97)  We went down to the Dawson Creek Information Center and picked up information on where to go and what to see around Dawson Creek. If it ever stops sprinkling and clears up, we plan to go down to the” mile zero” sign post for the Alaskan hwy and take some pictures.

(6/18/97)  We decided that as long as we only have one used original tire left on the RV as a spare, that we had better swap it out with a new  tire and eliminate the chance of having to depend on a questionable tire. We  had the CB and antenna checked because they were not working right. Both were  bad & replaced. Also got a new battery for our “bag” cell phone.The nice little cell phones of today were too darn expensive for what little use that they would get (remember the “roaming” chargers you had to pay for the pleasure of talking”) . I  know of several RVer’s who were quite surprised with their 1st phone bill after buying a cell phone and calling home every day. I mean bills up into the hundreds of dollars. Most generally that cured them of idle “gabbing”.

(6/19/97)   I got up  early this morning and it sure was cold. The LP cylinder went empty last night .( I need to put an automatic change-over regular on the cylinders.) We drove to town to fill the empty cylinder. Met our new neighbors  while putting the LP cylinder back in the RV.   They are our rear wagon masters, Hap & Dolly. I will get to know each better during the trip. Seem like very nice people.

Army Trucks Arriving in Dawson Creek

(6/20/97)  After it stopped raining, I changed out the diesel’s in-take air filter and cleaned  up the dirty filter and oiled it. After lunch we went down to the Visitors Information Center. We watched a video on building the  Alaskan Hwy. It was a good video.They also have two pretty good Museums that we toured for a Loonie ($2.00)


(6/21/97)  We sat and watched the Tracks To Alaska Caravan get their last instructions and pull out this morning. The rear Wagon Master had a hand-held CB set and was putting them out on the road in an  orderly manner…In between showers we registered with the rally hosts at the campground Rally Building. We came back later for our orientation meeting  where the rules are laid out & what to expect on the tour, and we got a chance to meet the other members of our group..It seems as though we have a friendly bunch. Jack was appointed the  “can man”! His thankless job was to make sure that everyone wore their name tags. There is a 25 cent fine for all offenders. The fine money will be used for an ice cream social later on in the trip.

Distance to Home sign posts at Watson Lake


(6/22/98)  Today was spent getting ready to travel tomorrow. Last minute washing clothes. We took some photos at the mile zero sign post. The caravan bused us to The George Dawson Inn for a nice buffet dinner. A Dawson Creek public relations  Lady,  gave us an interesting talk on the history of Dawson Creek and showed us the same video that we saw at the info Center. (Back in 1942 one soldier was over heard to say: This country ain’t nothing but  miles and miles of nothing), and that pretty much covers the vastness of the land  up here.
(6/23/97)   Leaving Tubby’s RV Park, Dawson Creek, BC  –   for   –  Westend Campground, Fort Nelson, BC                   Today is the day that we begin our Caravan. We got up early because we have about 300 miles to travel today.The trip was quite uneventful. I thought that the West End Campground left a bit to be desired. The sites were narrow, with 20 amps electrical, water and sewer connections at just about ground level. I hope that we don’t sink down too deep in the mud tomorrow when we leave. I went outside around 10:45 pm and video taped the area around our site. This is the longest day of the year (I’m told) and it was no darker than a cloudy day. We had a slide show at the theater in Fort Nelson. The girl putting it on did a great job.

Lets see,put this thing in here......


(6/24/97)   Leaving West End Campground, Fort Nelson.BC   –  for   –  J & H Wilderness Campground,Muncho Lake,BC…If yesterday was routine, then today was a much different day..It started off at the West End Campground where we were over-nighting. It rained most of the night so there was more water and mud then dirt to start out on. Grant & Barbara, who are the self-appointed leaders of our little 4 unit sub-group, were ready to go by the time we were ready, so we pulled ourselves out and onto the road. June wanted no part of driving in this mess, so she let me drive.We were due to cross over Steam Boat Mountain, 25 miles out of Fort Nelson. We were also told that there was some road construction, so be careful. Now I know that doesn’t sound too bad….but here is what happened. We arrived at Steam Boat Mountain in the rain. One third the way up the mountain we found out just how low the clouds were. Grant, who was 50 feet ahead of us, suddenly disappeared from sight, except for two little tiny red tail  lights showing. Near the top third of the mountain we found the construction area . It looked as if they had blasted off the  top third of he mountain. The paved road is gone, only mud and dirt to drive on.. Grant had problems on deciding on what was road and what was not. Add to that, a couple of pretty good up hill grades, and you get an idea of the fun we were having, After topping the mountain and starting down, it was more of the same. By gearing down and using the exhaust brake we were in good shape until at the last hill when I put on the exhaust brake again and it blew the  (#@$#%$)...  exhaust pipe loose from the manifold pipe. No more exhaust brake to use and a lot of exhaust noise all the time. Fortunately we were down most of the steep grades. At the service area where we had lunch, I looked at the problem and blocked and tied up the loose exhaust pipe. I plan to fix it at the next campground. We drove through a series of beautiful mountain scenes. Snow capped peaks were all around  us. I suggested to June that she should keep

Al Can Hwy (from stock photos)

the camcorder ready to capture some of the beautiful scenes.”CAMCORDER !” she said in an excited voice, “I CAN”T,  I”M HELPING YOU DRIVE”…But it didn’t really matter because when she did decide to use the camcorder, the video tape ran out, and when she replaced the tape, the battery went dead. And thats the way this trip has gone, so far. At the campground. Hap(rear wagon master) and I re-attached the exhaust pipe again using stainless straps and baling wire. June went on the “Muncho Lake Tour” with the rest of the group. After supper,we went down to the campfire  for some “smoores”, and to  sit around and tell stories of our travels so far….Today we saw, Black Bear, Bison, Sheep and Deer. I didn’tsee many of them. Mostly all I saw was fog, rain, mud & road. We finally arrived at: J & H  Wilderness Campground, Muncho Lake,BC

(6/25/97)  Today we are leaving J  & H Wildness Camp Ground ,Muncho Lake,  BC  For – Campground  Services, Watson Lake,Yukon –   “Murphy” has not left us. It wasn’t raining this morning when we pulled out, but it had not been stopped very long. We had to “gun” the truck to pull the RV out of the mud. It came out ok. About 5 miles out of town we had to go down a steep grade. When I put on the exhaust brake, you know what happened, the exhaust pipe blew off the manifold again. It didn’t sound too bad until we went over some “wash board” road, then it really broke loose,  nice and loud. I pulled over into the next service station and began to put it back together. Hap showed up after I had finished . He helped me to support the exhaust pipe using more stainless straps that he had found. It should hold good now, its never been this well supported. Grant and Barbara  went ahead of us, Barbara had fallen last night and hurt her ankle and arm. Grant wanted to get her to a doctor. It was only sprained, not broken but she was in pain. We saw some sheep (still look like goats to me), crossing the road. Also saw a big Bison walking in the ditch beside the road. We were the next to last rig into camp again. Hap is on the payroll and is required to be last one in. If anyone breaks down, he has to stay with them. We had a finger-food get together. Lots of fun.

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HUMOR IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL

As a Bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral
director to play at a grave side service for a homeless man. He had
no family or friends. so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery
in the Kentucky back-country.
As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost, and being a typical
man I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw
the undertaker had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in
sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating
lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side
of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I
didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gether gather around.
I played out my heart and sole for this man with no family and friends. I
played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’the workers began to weep.They wept,
I wept,we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes
and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
And as I was opening the door of my car, I heard one of the workers say,
I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks
for twenty-two years.
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